Sunday, 23 May 2010

Sun, sleep and... not much else.

Very hot at the moment... Was slightly concerned Jess would roast in the sling but she seems absolutely fine and goes to sleep just as well as usual. Attempted to buy suncream for her in Whole Foods who seemed marginally aggressive about the fact that babies under six months shouldn't use suncream. Felt a little like they assumed I was going to stick her under the midday skies to crisp up.

We've also had to move her into the cot which also means she's gone into her own room. Didn't manage to build up to it as I would have liked to. She just seemed to be getting a bit big for the old moses basket and I suspect is finding it harder to sleep in the hot weather. Unfortunately she's a bit bigger now and when she can't sleep she thrashes around a fair bit which results in the lining of the moses basket become dislodged and engulfing her. Needless to say this tends to make her thrash about even more!

Anyway, she's in the cot so now when she can't sleep she wakes up in what I suspect is some confusion as to where she is. To be honest I'm so used to her dropping off as soon as I put her down that I'm finding the whole situation a bit weird. Can't quite work out what I'm supposed to do with her when she wakes up and I know she's not hungry! Boris has decided all of a sudden that the cot is a good place to sleep, hence the photo. Felt a bit bad hoisting him out but it's probably not a good idea to leave him.

Not the original photo from this post which was lost by blogspot grrr

Anyway, got lots to look forward to. Somerset for bank holiday then out to France again to spend a lovely week with Georgie, Barney, Gen and little baby Rowan.

Friday, 21 May 2010

The delights of nappies!

Embarrassingly I was really excited when John and I went to buy our nappies for Jess. Anyone who has been unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of me banging on about real nappies will know how passionate I am about them and I will be the first to admit that I can get quite militant!

The amount of waste that using disposables generates is outrageous. One baby will create half a ton of used nappies a year and that all has to go somewhere, mostly into landfill. And it has been predicted that some bits of disposable nappies could take up to 500 years to biodegrade. There are also bucket loads of chemicals in the absorbent gels which I personally wouldn’t want to put up against Jess’ bum and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for them going into landfill either. Eco disposables are better than the horrors that are pampers etc and I will add my thoughts to the ones I have used but I would whole heartedly recommend having a go with cloth. I have put a terry towelling nappy on my nephew so I know where the feeling that reusable’s are complicated comes from however there are just so many more options on the market now that make life a lot easier.

I would recommend bum genius flip nappies. I am well aware that as I don’t use anything else I’m not in a position to say they are the best on the market but there were reasons I chose them and they have really lived up to my expectations. They consist of a wrap that you put an insert into. The standard inserts are called stay dry but you can get organic foldable ones that are good for overnight and long journeys and disposable inserts that are good for when you need to be disposable! The disposable inserts are apparently 97% biodegradable which is better than even the most eco friendly of disposable nappies but I find they do not absorb as much wee as the stay dry inserts.

They are so so easy to use and leak no more than a disposable nappy would and probably less than some. The wraps and inserts are all adjustable in size so one set of nappies will last you from birth to potty training and obviously one set of nappies should last you for more than one child. We’ve got 24 stay dry inserts and eight wraps which means that I generally do a nappy wash every three days. They come up well on a 60 wash with bio D (similar to ecover) but would probably be fine on a 40. I stick a touch of ecover laundry bleach in but if you can hang them in the sunshine that should sort out stains. I tend to rinse them if she has had a poo otherwise the nappy bucket can get a bit gross. The wraps come in three colours at the moment (blue, green and pink) and once they’ve gone through six dark washes they can be washed with anything without bleeding.

The wraps are billed as being wipe clean but I have found that if the poo is explosive enough they do need to be changed. If there is no pooing then I tend to get through two to three wraps in a 24 hour period. It's relatively simple to use the flip nappies and reusable wipes when out and about but the great thing is that you can take the disposable inserts if you want things to be a bit easier. Washing and drying is also less hassle than you might think! We live in a small flat on the 3rd floor with no outdoor space and we don’t have a tumble dryer. The component parts of the flips do dry very quickly and take up very little drying space.

The flips are a bit expensive, check out the Cheeks and Cherries website for pricing (I’ve looked around and they don’t seem to come up cheaper anywhere else) but you can get fewer inserts and buy some terry towelling squares and cut them down to size or fold them to make your own inserts which can be a bit bulkier but are good for going through the night. To be honest you could cut up old towels to use for inserts too. Terry towelling nappies or cut up towels are also great for popping under your wee one if they go nappy free for a while (good for getting rid of and avoiding nappy rash). I don’t have any small squares like this and I can guarantee that if I take Jess’ nappy off and stick her on a towel she will instantly have a poo. Needless to say it’d be easier to wash a small square or two than a whole towel. I’m actually tempted to go and hack up some of our towels now.... Maybe John will let me buy some nice fluffy new towels if I destroy all the old ones.

Remember some councils, especially in London will give you a voucher to use to buy nappies or put towards a nappy laundering service (yes, you can have someone take away your dirties and bring them back clean!). See the real nappies for London website.

Said I was going to do a quick rundown of the eco disposables I’d used:

Tushies (about £10 a pack)- I didn’t have too many problems with these although I did tend to find the tabs were quite sticky and if they stuck to Jess I’d feel a bit shitty pulling them off.

Bambo (I think similar price to tushies) - again very good but I didn’t use them very much because the animal pictures on the front scared me slightly (how shallow am I?)

Nature Babycare (£6 or there abouts for a pack) - rubbish but that was more of a fitting problem than anything else. I did find that if Jess did a poo while feeding and was on her side it’d just come straight out and onto my leg- not handy at all.

Moltex (about £15 per pack) - supposedly the most eco friendly and generally very good but they don’t have any elastic in the back so a large poo will usually require a change of clothes (a really large poo may mean you need to hose your baby down).

One of the main problems with nappies in land fill is the faecal matter and if using disposables it is recommended to use a flushable liner so poo can be flushed down the loo and dealt with safely.

I know I can get on my high horse about real nappies but they are so easy and disposable ones are so bad for the environment and I honestly think that most people will be convinced just by having a go. Cheeks and Cherries do trial packs where you can try them out to see which ones you like before you buy a whole set.

Christ I could go on about this for ages! If anyone has used any other types of nappies and would like to add to the discussion please go ahead! Coming up- lily padz and other boob delights and sleeping.

Jess modelling a flip in pink (or zinnia to give it it's technical name...)

Thursday, 20 May 2010

First thoughts.

I was thinking the other day about motherhood and how, in the past, we lived in small communities. We probably had more physical support from the local female population and especially our mothers and families. Now we’ve spread out and away from these communities, for myself my mother lives in somerset and my sister in France so the support they offer (and extremely valuble it is) is mainly over the phone. In addition to this, the amount of products developed for parent hood has gone stellar and it’s often hard to know what we need, what’s good and what’s a big pile of crap. One thing I have realised is that you really don’t need as much as you are told you do...

So I have decided to write this list of things I have found really useful and I’ve tagged people I know are new parents, expecting or may know someone who would be interested and can pass it on. If you want to post feedback, ideas etc that’d be great and if anyone thinks it’s a good plan I may set up a page on facebook where we can discuss parenting “techniques”, have a moan and let each other know what works well for us.

To clarify- I am not setting myself up as a paragon of parenthood because I’m not! I’m making it up as I go along and I am aware that Jess is very easy going. Every parent and every child are different so although I can get quite evangelical about things they aren’t right for everyone!


I love my sling! Jess is 4 months old and 6kg now and we still don’t have a buggy, I want to wait til I can get a really light foldy one (I’m eyeing up the maclaren volo which is good from 6 months). Anyway, we’ve got a moby stretchy sling which I use and a baby bjorn which John occasionally uses.

The moby is great; basically a long slightly strectchy piece of material that you wrap around yourself and pop your baby in, one method of wrapping is good for quite a few different ways of carrying which is good for different ages of baby. They can be carried as if in a cradle when they are tiny, facing towards you to sleep in, or out when they have the head control and want to look at the world and on your hip when they are older and might want to get out and walk.

It looks good (very important), it’s comfortable and doesn’t put very much strain on your back at all, it holds your baby really close which I love and you can use it up until they are a toddler. I have a tendency to get a sore lower back thanks to my profession and carrying Jess in the Moby hasn’t made that worse and I don’t go to bed at night in pain (which I did in the latter months of pregnancy). The cons are that you have to carry your child everywhere (obviously) and you have to take the sling off to breast feed. It’s also not so good if you go out for a meal as they have nowhere to lie and go to sleep but if you can find a spot you can use the moby to make a cosy little nest for them to kip in.

It doesn’t take very long to learn how to use and once you have the knack it’s really very easy! The baby bjorn is good as it’s really quick and easy to get on and off but I don’t like it because I don’t feel it holds Jess so close and it’s not as flexible with ways you can hold your baby. They’ll also grow out of it sooner than they would do a moby.

I also briefly had a storchenwiege woven sling which is similar to the moby but doesn't have any stretch or give. I found it harder to use as you have to wrap it round the baby and you instead of putting it on and then putting the baby into it. It really was incredibly beautiful but I just knew I wouldn’t have the patience to use it, especially as I do use my sling everytime Jess and I go out. My gorgeous sister is now using the storchenwiege for my nephew so maybe she can feed back how she goes.

The real benefit with the slings is the ease of getting around, you can get in and out of anywhere and public transport is much easier than with a buggy. I’m quite a speedy walker and I love that I can still weave through the foot traffic with ease!

I seem to have written more than I intended so I’ll post this and do the rest in bite size chunks!

Moby wrap homepage:

Big mama slings (stock pretty much everything!)

Jess and I wrapped in the moby. She can face out and look at the world or face towards me to go to sleep, I tuck her head under one of the shoulder bits and she's as snug as a bug in a rug!

Thanks to Polly who I stole this picture off!

Thanks for reading!