Baby Development 101

Another child, another pile of SHITE at the hands of the HSE.

So, at Michael’s three month check up yesterday we were subjected once more to the ridiculous soundings of our delightful public health nurse:

PHN: So… how are we DOING? (insert fake smiley voice here)

ME: Ah, sure we’re grand! The mere miracle of the fact that I’ve kept the two babies alive keeps me feeling upbeat.

tumbleweed. a lot of writing down on forms

ME: I’M JOKING. All is great. etc.

PHN: Right, let’s get baby undressed and doing some pushups shall we?

Micheal is weighed, measured and put on his tummy

PHN: OH. You’re obviously not giving baby his tummy time. His head movement really is below par.

ME: Eh, you are aware that I also have a one and a half year old? You do REALISE that leaving Michael on the floor for extended periods of time would lead to some serious maiming at the hands of his older brother?

PHN: Oh, I see. Does he have a problem with his younger brother? (furious note taking)

ME: He is one and a half. It’s what they do.

PHN: Well, you really SHOULD be giving him tummy time. It’s the ONLY way to make sure that they are developing the way we want them to.

At this point I start to think about all the babies in 1970s Ireland, who languished in prams to keep them safe from their nine brothers and sisters – they definitely didn’t get tummy time. 

ME: Ok so, that’s grand, thanks a million, can-we-go-now?

PHN: NO NO. Let’s talk about Mum! How’s Mum feeling? Overwhelmed? Dejected? Depressed? Fill out this form there like a good girl and we’ll see if you have post natal depression.


ME: Ah, I’m grand. Really. See? Look! I don’t have it! I’m HAPPY ALL THE TIME!!!

PHN: Oh, very good. You don’t have it – you ticked all the right boxes. Good girl.


PHN: Now, let’s talk about solids. Since your last baby, let’s see, a year and a half ago, we’ve changed all the guidelines on what to feed your baby. Now we say don’t give them fruit because we think that it is going to make them fat.




About Ciara McDonnell

Ouch My Fanny Hurts was born in the late stages of my first pregnancy. I was sick and tired of everyone going on and ON about how brilliant it is to be pregnant, when actually, lots of it was quite crap really. And, my fanny hurt a lot. So, I decided to tell the truth about my experience while I was pregnant, and the journey I have been on since, as our little fella grew a little bigger, and we brought our second son into the world in what turned out to be fairly scary circumstances. It’s my story, and I am delighted to share it.
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12 Responses to Baby Development 101

  1. Been there so many times. I wonder do we have the same PHN?
    My favourite one was when she corrected me on the spelling of my third baby’s name and wrote out on a page how I should spell it. I ushered her out of the house quite quickly. She arrived back two minutes later to push flyer on PND on my husband as I seemed in a bad mood. I was one week post-partum with a newborn, 1 and 3 year old and she was correcting me on my childs name, that was the cause of my bad mood.

  2. Natalie says:

    Oh for god’s sake!!! Our mothers and grandmothers raised their kids perfectly well without listening to that garbage! You’d be in a bad mood leaving that place!!

  3. My mother always said to us that children had to eat a pound of dirt before they grew up and she somehow managed to raise 5 healthy happy muck-loving daughters. Ignore the mad nurse! xxx

  4. Feckin PHNs! I think they have a list to tick to say they did a bunch of things regardless of who’s sitting in front of them or what they’ve just said. My PHN hounded me like a stalker because I think she’d put me on some hippie barefoot crazy mammy list who needed to be checked up on. She’d little to be worrying about if she looked me up and down and decided I was “one to watch”.

  5. gwen loughman says:

    Holy Jeebus!!!!! I actually went for a counselling session for PND about 2 years now and it was horrendous. I was compared to monkey’s and african ladies because I was 6 months pg and still breastfeeding a child over 12 months. Refused anti d’s for obvious reasons and was told “Come back when your baby is 6 months old and you’re depressed again and I’ll give you drugs.” I made an app but didn’t keep to it. Also didn;t get a call to find out had I killed myself and/or my kids. I have it all typed out somewhere and I might even throw up a blog post about it some day.

  6. Please write that blog post Gwen! Good God, are you serious? Talk about kicking a monkey a when she’s down! That’s an outrageous comparison to make. More power to you lady.

    • Gwen! You simply must write this down! It is a BLOODY DISGRACE that you were treated this way, when you are at your most vulnerable. I am VERY VERY ANGRY on your behalf. Use your gift, and your soapbox to shame those horrible people, and to make your voice heard – it is IMPORTANT. GRRRRRR.

  7. Jacquie says:

    Ciara, my little man is 12 weeks now and still under the care of the hospital, at the 2 week check they noted his head was slightly flat and “do you other doing any tummy time?”. The child was 2 weeks old!! Never mind they ignored the fact he had a slightly flat head from having a short cord and stuck in 1 position, he also had other issues, but they never read the notes! They hyymmm and haw doing that dreaded head tilt while I try and explain his problems yet again to another new doctor, then the consult the notes and exclaim “Oh I see….”. Anyway at 6 weeks his head still wasn’t completely round, another new Dr. ” Oh he had a bit of a flat head, and the notes say you were advised of it at the 2 week check, are we still not doing tummy time??….. On and your child has an exceptionally large head, we need to monitor that” I explained again that we though N had nutrition issues with the cord as he’s grown extremely long and put on a good bit of weight since he was born! Plus our family have obscenely large heads, think human bubbleheads. According to the doctor his weight was fine but his head circumference v’s weight meant his head was too big. I asked about checking his length as he was flying out of the 0-3 clothes and was told ” ah shure we don’t keep track of that….”. So home I toddled and kept up with the tummy time a few times a day, N hates it and either tries to suffocate himself or falls fast asleep. He has superb head control, I’ve dodged a few black eyes from him head butting me. So back at 11 weeks and now they want us back in 2 months as she’s worried about his developmental issues, just based on him refusing to move when she stuck him on his stomach. At home now he’s moving about and will lift his head, but he’s not a performing monkey, and sticking him down on that paper roll they use is never going to go down well with an 11 week old. So were being Referred for physio, the same physio i asked for at the 2 week check and was refused, I was told i was being over cautious about N holding his head to the left. I’m rambling now, but these “milestones” really anger me, I know a baby’s development has to be monitored but don’t treat the mothers like criminals when the baby’s are not happy with performing under pressure. I was born in the 70s, tummy time wasnt invented and I’ve got superb head holding skills!

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