Outdoor fun with my heart child

Regular readers of my blog will know that we’re a family who love to get out and about as much as possible. My philosophy tends to be along the lines of “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing” which I usually follow, within sensible limits weather-wise. I am always amazed by how well Jessica copes with some of our outdoor walks in view of her heart condition. She is a good little walker, loves the great outdoors and doesn’t let her half her heart hold her back from living life to the full. That said though, there are always a few things that I am conscious of when we are out and about together.

Outdoor fun with my heart child - Little Hearts, Big Love

1) Keeping warm

Jessica’s heart condition and poor circulation means that she can get cold very easily and go quite blue, especially on her hands, feet, cheeks and lips. Long-sleeved thermal vests, tights under trousers and plenty of thin layers are essential in the winter, along with warm hats and gloves. Sometimes she has so many layers on that I have a mini Michelin man walking along next to me, but at least she is warm! I’ve also learned now what level of “blueness” is fine when we are out and about in cold weather and when to be concerned. Jessica will now also tell me when she is “cold and a bit blue” and needs to go inside to warm up (or have extra layers put on) and it’s quite reassuring that her limit and my comfort level, with regards to her colour, align quite nicely.

 

Keeping warm is also important with water play – even on a hot summer day, if our activities involve swimming or splashing, I will always make sure I have warm cardigans with me to help warm Jessica back up as quickly as possible.

 

2) Allowing plenty of time

Jessica isn’t very fast on her feet and so we tend to take quite a leisurely pace on our walks, making sure that we have time to stop and take a rest if Jessica is getting tired or a little out of breath. She is good at knowing her own limits and we tend to be guided by her on when she needs to stop. I also find the golden rule from Little Hearts Matter (“if you become so breathless, you can’t talk – STOP!”) very useful in helping me to know when I might need to intervene.

If you become so breathless you can’t talk – STOP! - The golden rule of exercise in heart children (taken from Little Hearts Matter Sports & Exercise booklet)

3) Opportunities for rest

For longer walks or full days out, having the buggy or the toddler carrier with me is useful so that either child can rest their legs for a while. Now that Sophie is getting bigger, she is mostly happy to walk but Jessica will still ask to be carried or to go in the buggy because she is getting tired.

Enjoying our Shaun the Sheep hunt - Outdoor fun with my heart child - Little Hearts, Big Love

4) Hydration

Being well hydrated is extra important for children with heart conditions like Jessica has, as dehydration will thicken her blood and raise her blood pressure, and so we always make sure we have plenty of water with us.

 

Jessica’s colour and her energy levels are the two main things that I am always subconsciously aware of when out and about as these tend to be the key indicators of whether she is coping well. Whilst I know that I am always constantly assessing her, I try not to hold her back or treat her any differently from Sophie. Seeing my two girls out and about together, having fun exploring and making memories brings me so much joy and I hope that we will continue to have lots of great outdoor adventures together as a family.

 

Outdoor fun with my heart child - Little Hearts, Big Love

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Little Hearts Big Love

14 thoughts on “Outdoor fun with my heart child

  1. It’s so great you get out and about so much. She looks absolutley glowing with delight in all the photos. That last one is heart-melting, little sweethearts 🙂 Gorgeous #coolmumclub

  2. Jessica is such a trooper…She does so well despite her heart problems. You have some great adventures!
    Ellie my youngest is fine but Becky my eldest still has that blueness especially on cold days. I am forever telling her to put an extra jumper or hoodie on…

    1. Thanks Kim – we do have lots of lovely adventures. Glad to hear that Ellie is fine but I am sure it must be worrying to see Becky going a bit blue on cold days and having to remind her to put extra layers on.

  3. It’s great that you still get out and about so much but that you are an expert at doing it safely with your little heart girl. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely x

  4. Jessica is such a brave little girl and I love how you let her carry on and do things any other child would like to whilst always watching out for her, she and Sophie look like they are becoming great friends and enjoying their family outings with you both. Thank you for sharing a little more of Jessica’s condition and her family time outdoors on #CountryKids

    1. Thank you Fiona – it is lovely to see how the girls enjoy getting out and about together and always a pleasure to link up 🙂

  5. I find your posts really interesting to read having never experienced the condition in my family before. The picture of your two girls at the bottom is be beautiful and the photo of Jessica out with her layers made me laugh as I do that to mine subconsciously #CountryKids

    1. Thank you Sherry – I wanted to show that whilst it doesn’t hold us back, there are things that I always have to be aware of

  6. Awwww lovely photos of both Jessica and Sophie. A really interesting post to read and it is great that you get out and about going on amazing adventures. They will have such lovely memories of their childhood when they are older 🙂 #countrykids

    1. Thank you Emma – it is lovely to watch the girls having adventures together and to make those memories 🙂

    1. Thanks Mary – she does do amazingly well and it’s lovely to see how much she enjoys getting out and about.

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