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Category Archives: Parenting

Cloth Bottys!…

At the moment you can buy Bambino Miosolo nappies for just £7.99 from Aldi (fabulous when you consider that they can be twice that price!) and you have three designs to choose from…

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…we got two each of the ‘little birdy’ and the ‘up up & away’ patterns.

We haven’t started using cloth yet (much to my chagrin) as I’ve just not been in the right place in my head to deal with the extra work. Even now, we’ve only got these four (plus the prefolds I’ve talked about already) so we have a way to go before we’re totally weaned off ‘sposies.

These nappies are all-in-one so they have a waterproof cover that has intergral absorbant material (thick microfibre in this case) rather than separate inserts. The insert can be pulled out to make washing/drying easier, and the pocket it goes in can be boosted with extra inserts, should you need to.

At first glance, they look great…

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The velcro fasteners can be secured back on themselves (top picture) which is really useful to keep the nappies from getting stuck to each other when washing. The insert has a handy little loop (right) to make pulling it out easier (for washing purposes), and it also has a little ‘glove’ pocket at the end (bottom left), to help push it back into place once they’re clean and dried.

Nappy Prep…

Cloth nappies need to be prepared before you can use them.

All nappies should be washed at least once to get rid of any manufacturing dirt/chemicals before use. Natural fibre cloth (like cotton and bamboo) has natural oils that will repel water (and, therefore, pee and poop) so they need to be washed on a hot wash two or three times to get rid of the oils and improve their absorbency.

Miosolos are completely synthetic so I put them through a 40 degree wash with a bit of Ecover laundry liquid, followed by a rinse to get rid of any leftover detergent. In the future (when they’re dirty) I’ll rinse them first to get rid of excess pee/poop, then put them through a 60 degree wash. I’ll probably follow with a rinse then too.

Note…you must wash natural and synthetic nappies separately until you have stripped the oils from the natural cloth so that the synthetic fabrics don’t take-up the oils as they are released.

I dried them on a radiator rack (so they weren’t directly touching the heat) and they were dry by the morning, but you can put them in the tumble-drier on a cool cycle if you want to.

Ready to go…almost…

So! The nappies are washed and ready to be used, but I don’t have any liners for them. Liners not only wick the wetness away from baby’s skin (which the fleecy material of the pocket also does) but they also make it a lot easier to deal with poop…

With liners, I’ll be able to throw (disposable liner) or wash (reusable liner) most of the poop away.

Without liners, I’ll have a pail full of lots of VERY poopy nappies. There will be staining. The bucket will smell a hundred times worse. I will be putting a LOT of poop through the washing machine.

At the moment I don’t know what direction to take with liners. Disposable ones seem easiest as they just go out of the nappy and either down the loo or into a nappy bag and into the bin. Reuseable ones mean less waste of course, and I kind of feel that if I’m going to be washing nappies and wipes (we use reusable wipes already) then I might as well be washing liners too…but I’m not sure I want to be rinsing poopy liners out.

I already have a big sheet of fleece (a cheap Ikea blanket…far FAR cheaper than buying the equivalent amount of fleece fabric) to make more wipes out of, so I may as well make nappy liners at the same time. It’d make more sense to do that than buy liners.

…I’m also waiting for a lidded bucket to arrive. I searched online for a “nappy bucket” and found several options, the cheapest being about £7. I searched again for a “lidded bucket” and found this white one for £4.99 (with free delivery) that I can decorate with Sharpies, should I so desire.

We’ve only got the four at the moment, and I’m loathe to buy any more until I know how they work for us, but we should be able to do the best part of a day in cloth once the bucket arrives.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2016 in Baby, Life, Parenting, Plans, Reviews

 

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Rolling, Rolling, Rolling!…

George rolled over ALL BY HIMSELF for the first time today!!!

…this is how it came about…

I took a trip to Ikea last week (to pick up a highchair…more about that soon) and got this play rug…it was only £14 and is HUGE. It’s also lovely and soft with a low looped pile, and it has SO much going on on it (roads, a beach, a castle, a volcano, shops, houses…it’s going to be the inspiration for many a game in years to come).

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Previously we’d only been doing tummy time on the bed, reasoning that it was nice and soft, and cleaner than the carpet (we have dogs), but it has always been pretty unsuccessful. He would just bury his face in the mattress and shriek in temper and frustration.

George hates tummy time…

He hates it so much that, to be honest, I’d rather not do it. In fact, most days we only managed a minute or two all day long, and I was starting to feel like an awful mother because he still couldn’t hold his head up off the bed for more than a couple of seconds.

Anyway. I bought the rug, and I bought it with the future in mind…after all, what use is a townscape playmat to an infant? I actually thought that I might be jumping the gun by buying it. It turns out to have been the best “toy” that I’ve bought so far.

The looped pile means that George can lick it as much as he likes and he won’t get a mouthful of fibres (always good!) and the fact that it’s firm (unlike the bed) means that he has far more support.

He did have a bit of a cry when I put him on his tummy but it wasn’t long before he was propped up on his elbows and reaching for toys…

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…and he stayed like that for ages

I called Luke to come and see because I couldn’t quite believe how well he was doing – how strong George was despite the lack of tummy time. We stood there smiling, proud, happy to watch him enjoying his toys from a new perspective, and then suddenly he just flipped over onto his back!…

I’m not sure who was more surprised, him or us!

We rewarded him with a chorus of cheers and his shock turned to smiles almost as quickly as he’d flipped over. He’s done it a few more times as the day has gone on, as well as almost managing a back to front roll on a couple of occasions.

All hail the Ikea play rug 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2016 in Baby, Life, Parenting

 

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Hardly Posting…

It’s been a month since my last post. I am SO frustrated at myself and my life at the moment.

George is almost 5 months old now and I (naively) thought that he’d be a bit more independent by now…happy to sit and play with toys or have a nap on his own. Ha.

He doesn’t really like to nap anywhere other than in my arms, and although he will sometimes fall so deeply asleep that I can put him down, he has the uncanny knack of waking up as soon as I get into doing something. As such, I get half a load of dishes done, washing gets done but gets left in the machine, dried clothes sit in piles waiting to be put away…

We’ve now entered a stage of development where only I will do too, so I can’t even pass him to someone while I get stuff done (or try to at least). Luke does pretty much all the housework (and gets to finish all my half-done jobs) which must be pretty annoying for him. I’m trying to remind myself that George will only be little once, and that the day will come when he doesn’t want to be cuddled, and that on that day I will be immeasurably sad, but that doesn’t work all of the time. I want to be the selfless super-mum that society tells me I should be, but some days I just want to have my arms to myself, to read a book, to tidy a room…to go for a pee without having to yell “IT’S OK! MUMMY IS STILL HERE! YOU’RE NOT ON YOUR OWN!”…

Even now, I’m typing this (laboriously) on my phone while he sleeps in my arms. He keeps stirring and I feel guilty for not being a good mattress and keeping still, but I’m fed up of not getting things done, and this blog (and my failure to write for it) is a major source of guilt for me at the moment.

Another source of guilt is Old Red…

…he’s rapidly becoming Old Green…or Old Rust Bucket. It makes me SO sad and SO depressed…

As it stands he hasn’t moved (not properly) in over 2 years and is SERIOUSLY in need of work. A lot of it is going to cost money that we don’t have, but a lot of it can be done by us and (hopefully) quite cheaply. Our first job is to fit our tailgate struts, which Luke is going to do on the next sunny day we have.

Roll on sunny day!

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2016 in Baby, Life, Parenting, Plans, Van Maintenance

 

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Magazine Subscription…

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Yesterday I signed up for a subscription of The Green Parent Magazine

It was £5 for the first 6 months (a special half-price offer that’s only on til 31/12/15…aka tomorrow!) and is going to be £10 for every 6 months beyond that.

They send out six issues a year and we’ll get our first one in January. I’m really looking forward to receiving it!…I just wanted to write about it on here so others could take advantage of the half price offer.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2015 in Baby, Life, Parenting, Random

 

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Adventures in Dairy-free Living…

I haven’t blogged in a while…a LONG while. I have a backlog of things to do and write about but I barely get any time to write because I usually find myself stuck under a baby (now 11 weeks old!!) who is eating or screaming or sleeping (putting him down for a nap inevitably leads back to sceeaming or eating).

A couple of days ago, after a lot of screaming, a particularly terrible nappy, and a bit of Googling, I realised that our little George might have an allergy to milk. He’s only drinking breastmilk at the moment, but the cow’s milk protein can pass through my milk to him…and I drink a LOT of milk (and eat a lot of cheese, butter, chocolate, cream…you name it).

He has (and I apologise for the TMI) very mucousy poo, and while this can be because of excess dribble – and he’s been really drooling the past couple of weeks – he’s always suffered with (again, apologies) sticky, stringy nappies. He’s also been very colicky, which, again, is a delayed symptom of a cow’s milk protien allergy.

Finally, George has been very very slow to put weight on, so much so that it took 6 weeks for him to get back to his birth weight when most babies manage it in a fortnight. He’s rarely put on more than 10g a day, when the charts would like him to be putting on around thtee times that. More about that another time (soon, I hope!)

Anyway…I could be wrong about it all, but I’ve cut all milk and soya products out of my diet (50% of babies with CMPA also react to soya protein) and I’m giving it three weeks to get all of the protein out of my system. It’s only been about 5 days so far, but he’s already seeming less colicky and far happier. His nappies are better and better each day too.

If I’m honest, this is very difficult for me. Very VERY difficult. It’s only been five days and all I can think about is milk chocolate and flapjacks and all-butter pastries. I have been feeling very sorry for myself as I’ve been wandering around the supermarket (milk and soya are in practically everything), and even more sorry for myself when Luke is tucking into a pack of chocolate coated malted milk biscuits…but at the same time I am so SO happy to see George smiling rather than screaming.

Christmas with George’s grin is a million times better than Christmas with cheese or chocolate.

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Posted by on December 2, 2015 in Baby, Food, Life, Parenting

 

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Parenting Plans – Carry, Don’t Push…

This post was written before George’s arrival…we are now 6 weeks into our babywearing adventure so I will post a follow-up ASAP!


This is hard for me to admit…but…I hate pushchairs and I don’t want to be a pushchair user.

There. I said it.

I hate it when they fall over backwards because they’re laden with bags. I hate that their occupants usually have to stare at a forest of knees (or worse, at the back of their sibling’s chair). I hate that you have to have a special one if you want to use it on anything other than pavements. I hate that most of them cost more than a half-decent second-hand car.

I’m not judging people that use them because I know that most people are considerate and careful, but I also hate it when they’re used as battering rams, and when they get pushed into the road slightly when traffic is still going by. I also hate having to dodge past them because the people pushing them are too busy looking at their phones.

Luke and I are both pretty set on not wasting our money on a pram, pushchair or buggy unless we absolutely have to. Instead, we are embracing babywearing and plan to transport our boy around in wraps, slings and carriers on our own bodies. People tend to think of wraps as unsafe (the baby could fall out!…what would you do if you fell over with him on your chest!…surely he’s overheating in there!), but if you’re mindful of the equipment you use it’s incredibly safe, and although we see prams and pushchairs as being the ‘norm’, babywearing has been around far far longer.

I wanted to start off with a stretchy wrap as they’re cheap, easy to use, and great for newborns. You can put them on and then pop the baby inside, and then also take the baby out again without removing the wrap – a quality known as “popability”. This is great if you want to wear your baby round the house, transfer them to a car seat for a car journey (in which you can leave the wrap on), and then pop them back into it once you reach your destination.

You can get a new one for as little as £20, and second hand ones for even less if you join the right groups on facebook. The only problem with them is that theyre not so supportive once your baby gets past about 20lbs.

After looking online for a while and asking the advice of some babywearing mothers on facebook I was offered this “hybrid” stretchy for £50…

wrapsody Stella wrap

…not only is it BEAUTIFUL (and vaguely reminiscent of Doctor Who with its TARDIS blue) but, because it’s a hybrid, it is more supportive than a regular stretchy and can be used up to about 35lbs.

We also got a Close Caboo for Luke to wear our newborn in, because he’s more into the idea of a “carrier” style rather than a wrap. It’s made up of two pieces, one that

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…and once again bought 2nd hand from a lovely lady on facebook who was selling it for £25. Like the stretchies though, the Caboo will only last until our little one is about 20lbs.

There are LOADS of different types of carrier, sling and woven wraps on the market (some of which are almost as expensive as the pushchairs) which can be a bit confusing for a babywearing newbie, but there is hope. Just like the cloth nappies there are such things as sling libraries where you can learn about different carriers and wraps, get advice on how to  get the best from them,  and even hire them out for a small charge so you can decide if you like a certain type/brand before you buy.

In fact, while we were waiting for our midwife appointment last week I noticed a poster urging dads to bond with their babies by wearing them AND advertising a hire service. Wonderful stuff!

From everything that I’ve read I’ve learnt that carrying your child (both inside the house as well as outside) is beneficial for:

  • helping to regulate their temperature, heat rate and breathing…
  • making them feel secure and attached to you (which is especially important during their first three months, aka the 4th trimester)…
  • reducing crying and therefore helping them to keep their stress and cortisol levels low…
  • developing language skills – babies that are worn are often interacted with more than babies that are in pushchairs or lying in baby gyms, and so usually develop language skills a little faster (this is obviously not a hard and fast rule though)…

There’s benefits for us too as we don’t have to wrestle with pushchairs, or worry about getting the wheels stuck if we want to go for a walk on rough terrain. We also don’t need to leave our little boy napping on his own as he’ll get used to falling asleep in his carrier as we’re walking around the house doing chores. The only thing I’m really worried about is that he’ll get upset when he’s put in his car seat and one of us has to take him somewhere alone. If he’s used to being near to us all the time it won'[t be nice for him to be rear-facing in the back of the car on his own. I can’t see it happening a lot though.

Of course, it might not be plain sailing. There are babies who hate being worn, or who grow out of liking it, and so although we will persevere with it as much as possible, we’re prepared to give in and buy a pushchair if we absolutely have to. Also, we will have a backup in his first year as my friend Adele is lending us her Quinny Buzz frame (which our Maxi-Cosi car seat fits into) so we do have the option to use it if needs be…

We’d both much rather have him nestled on our chests though.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2015 in Baby, Life, Parenting

 

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Bounty Newborn Pack…

When you’ve given birth to your lovely baby, and you’re spending your time getting to know them on the postnatal ward, the Bounty reps come around bearing gift-packs and cameras. We turned down the offer of photographs (feeling like we were going to be trapped into spending lots of money, and not wanting Bounty to have possession of any pictures of our son), but were happy to accept the pack.

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If I’m honest, after the last two packs I’ve received (Bounty Mum-to-Be and Emma’s Diary Bump-to-Baby) I didn’t hold out much hope for the Bounty Newborn Pack, but I was really pleasantly surprised…

The first thing you notice is the free STUFF, because it’s bigger and more interesting than the small forest of literature that’s included…

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The best thing in the pack was a baby towel (top left) that is beautifully soft and comes with a sample of Persil Non Bio liquid and Comfort softener as well as money off vouchers for the same (the two brands we already use! Huzzah!)

Next best things were sample nappies and wipes from Aldi and Asda (I used the Asda wipes before I had chance to take the picture. Whoops). Asda only give you two of their ‘Little Angels’ nappies, and I think the pack had 10 wipes in it. Aldi are FAR more generous with 24 Mamia wipes (now in our nappy bag for emergencies) and 4 sample nappies. Fabulous!

We have since used the rest of these nappy samples up (more about our nappy experiences soon…) and can safely say that both Little Angels and Mamia nappies are very good quality and very good value if you then go on to buy them. The wipes are brilliant too, and we’ve used them on George’s bum and face with no adverse reactions (unlike Huggies aloe vera wipes which gave him sore skin. Bad Huggies!)

There was also a Tena Lights sample (and money off voucher) in the pack, another mini pot of Sudocrem, and a sample of Baby D Drops. All in all, a cornucopia of freebies!…and useful ones at that!

So…that’s all the interesting ‘STUFF’…now onto the forest of paper that was included in the pack. I was prepared for it to all be selling me something or just generally useless, but again I was pleasantly surprised…

  • Child Benefit Form…VERY useful! Unfortunately I didn’t know it was in there until a week or so ago (despite it being printed on the pack itself) so I didn’t have it with me when we registered George (you can apparently hand your filled in form to the Registrar)
  • 2 x Lansinoh Breast Milk Freezer Bags…also VERY useful. I hadn’t even thought about buying these so when I needed to freeze some of my expressed milk I had two in reserve! Awesome stuff!
  • Hotel Chocolat Tasting Club voucher…to get a £22.95 selection for £6.95. I love these chocolates! USEFUL!
  • Obligatory “Ocado 20% off” voucher…when you spend over £80 of course…not at all useful.
  • Pixifoto voucher sheet…for free photography sessions as your baby grows. Pretty useful if you like that sort of thing.
  • “Gift Certificates”…these look like great offers on the face of it BUT they’re all American sites so you have to pay almost £10 in postage for each purchase. It’s not bad if they were things you wanted anyway…you can get:
  • You and Your Newborn Bounty Book…I haven’t even looked through this but I’m fairly sure it’s another book of advertisements. It could be useful. Maybe.
  • Your Guide to Contraception After You’ve Had a Baby…leaflet. Useful!
  • Meningitis Awareness…mini leaflet. Also useful!
  • Coping With Wind and Infant Colic…leaflet (it’s basically an informative advert for Infacol)…very useful as George has suffered with bad wind (possibly colic)
  • Junior ISAs…leaflet. Might be useful.
  • D Drops Voucher…and leaflet. Useful for finding out what they’re about (and buying more).
  • Bounty Parenting Club Form…of course. I’m sure this will be useful if they want to give me more free things.

So there you have it! It was stuffed with STUFF and THINGS and a lot of it was useful (or could be seen as being useful)…all in all I’m pretty impressed!

Thanks Bounty 🙂

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2015 in Baby, Life, Lists, Parenting

 

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