Cloth Bum

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We have been part time clothbum parents since small was about 3 months old. We knew that we wanted to use loth but also saw the benefits of disposeable nappies, and so were happily using both. Usually cloth for at home during the day and disposeables at night and out of the house. At Christmas we were away and decided not to take the cloth nappies with us. The travelling combined with the small deciding that lying down for a nappy change wasn’t something he was willing to do, meant that cloth- especially the 2 parters we were often using were not currently working for us.

However, recently it was Reuseable Nappy Week and I was inspired to get his bum back in cloth and have another go at it. It helps that we now have more all-in-one nappies (mostly pocket nappies) which are a bit quicker to put on, however we have more leak-free success with the two parters.

The reason we wanted to try cloth was because of the obvious environmental impacts of disposeable nappies. I worked in Recycling for a few years and the amount of waste we produce in the West is really quite frightening. One family’s bin doesn’t feel like a lot, but then you multiply it by the 45,000 households in your town, then think upwards to your region, county, country, etc… it really is huge. NAppies alone- each baby will go through around 4,000 before potty training and they each take 200 years to degrade fully.

The Basel Convention has estimated the amount of hazardous and other waste generated for 2000 and 2001 at 318 and 338 millions tonnes respectively. These figures are based on incomplete reports from the parties to the Convention. Compare this with the almost 4 billion tonnes estimated by the OECD as generated by their 25 member countries in 2001 (Environmental Outlook, OECD) and the problems of calculating a definitive number for global waste generation are obvious.

http://www.grida.no/publications/vg/waste/page/2854.aspx

(Average amount of disposeable nappies used by one child, birth to potty)

Some people like to argue that reuseable/washeable nappies are bad for the environment because of the washing. Like everything it depends on how you approach it. There is an assumption that nappies are washed on high temperatures and then tumbledried, which actually goes against most manufacturers guidelines. Most people I know who use cloth wash on lower temperatures with an extra rinse and then line dry. Although I am doing this I do feel I need to learn how to use my washing machine better!

An updated government report published by the Environment Agency in October 2008 found that reusable nappies can be 40% better for the environment than disposable nappies – but only when parents take sensible steps to reduce the environmental impact of cleaning and drying them.

http://www.which.co.uk/baby-and-child/nursery-and-feeding/guides/disposable-vs-reusable-nappies/environmental-impact-/

We have two main types of cloth nappies- I’ll let BabyCentre do the hard work in describing what they are and how you use them:

Pocket diaper

A pocket diaper consists of a waterproof outer layer and an inner layer of fabric that has a pocket opening. An insert is stuffed into the pocket opening before wearing and then taken out for washing. Pocket diapers’ absorbency can be adjusted by using more or fewer absorbent inserts.

The inner layer of fabric is sometimes made with stay-dry material to keep your baby comfortable. Pocket diapers have elastic around the legs and waist and fasten with snaps or tabs.

An “All in Two” diaper, or AI2

An AI2 diaper consists of an outer waterproof shell (similar to a diaper cover) and an insert that gets put into the shell and lies directly against your baby’s skin. Some inserts attach with snaps or Velcro, and some get tucked under flaps in the cover.

The shell has elastic around the legs and waist and fastens with snaps or tabs. The insert is made of absorbent material. Some inserts are topped with a stay-dry fabric for your baby’s comfort.

All-In-Two Nappy (images thanks to Ecoaction.com.au, words from http://www.babycenter.com/0_cloth-diapers-a-quick-guide-to-your-choices_10320145.bc)

We have joined some clothbum facebook groups and started using the cloth more again. Hardest thing is getting small still for long enough to adjust a cloth nappy to get it right. There are some great youtube videos out there to help so I won’t bang on about it, but they do sit differently to disposeables and it’s worth taking the time to find it out.

Cloth nappies can be a bit scary- some people don’t like the thought of it or don’t know where to start. We got lots of second hand cloth and worked our way from there. For us the best fit is a tots bots or bambino mio pocket nappy with a microfibre insert, possibly a bamboo one too (as these are thin) and then a fleece liner with a flushable paper liner on top to catch any pooh! Very different at 20 months to three months!

We did buy a few cheapy pocket nappies with soft outers and although we love them, the fit isn’t great!

All in all, I’d say to go for it if you’re not sure. I do like cloth even though it takes a slightly different mind set and we’ve also been using them out and about now we’re more confident! Your local council may offer a cheap starter pack or even a cashback incentive. Even though we bought all our nappies second hand, we have recently applied to get cashback from our local council!

Review: Bebe Sachi “hobo” bag

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Review: Bebe Sachi  “hobo” bag

I’ve been looking for a comfy babywearing bag for a while.

Rucksacks kindof work but not really all the time. I do have a cross body style bag  but it’s a bit small for everyday wearing (need to fit a lot in) and it can only be worn on one way and can get a bit  uncomfortable after a while.

It’s been bugging me for a while now so I’m really happy to be able to say that I think I’ve found something.

And it’s been lusted over at sling meet, and I know of at least two more people who have already purchased the bag having seen mine in person!

Normal kit I need to take around with me from spring to Autumn (winter is a whole other story of layers) for him:

  • spare nappy (sometimes cloth which are bulky), wipes and bags
  • snack and water
  • sling (if he’s not in it or I’m not wearing it as a scarf)
  • maybe a toy or two
  • jumper/sunhat/suncream

On top of that I’ll have my classic wallet/phone/keys and if we’re out for longer maybe a few other bits too.

A lot of proper “babywearing” bags are beautiful but a)expensive as they’re usually made from woven wrap fabric and b)pretty small which is no good for the above. So I’ve been searching and this one really fell into my lap.

One of my old slings (mei tai) was made by a brand called Bebe Sachi. They are owned by a Malaysian Social Enterprise whose aims are :

…. to provide an alternative to the forced mass migration of artisan weavers into the cities looking for employment. Buying from us helps us to provide what we are hoping to be sustainable employment for our weavers thus preserving their ancient tradition of hand weaving.

 

A very worthy company who make beautiful hand-loomed wraps.

Bebe Sachi are currently selling this “Hobo Bag” on their Etsy store for just £18.58 (plus shipping). It’s not made from woven fabric- just simple cotton but it really is great. Not only is it huge at 18.5 inches wide and 14.5inches high but it has a tie up strap which ties in a number of ways to make it very versatile.

It has a small loop near the bottom on the outside which you can thread the strap through and tie off as you like to make it into a backpack. You can also tie to adjust the height to make it comfortable if you’re wearing it across your body. Not much to say other than it fits everything in, is really versatile and looks great. I will admit that I’m thinking of dying it, but only because cream & me & a toddler is not a great mix!

AND EVEN BETTER:
£3 of each purchase is going towards the Nepal Earthquake Appeal!

19 months

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19 months probably isn’t a huge milestone but I’m inordinately proud of the small person. The speed at which he learns new things blows my mind. He knows the difference between a goose and a duck (mostly), can copy ‘alpaca’ and ‘llama’, knows what a toucan is and can identify flowers,trees and leaves. He can even do a pretty convincing pigeon ‘co-cooooooo-co’ noise and will attempt to copy 4 or 5 syllable phrases and words.

Mostly he still just wants to say ‘car’.

Over the last few months he’s tried new things like omlette, cheese on toast, cucumber and chicken. He might default to carbs but two days running he’s eaten a whole Apple so he is getting some non milk related vitamins in!

The garden has been mostly baby-safed so he been enjoying it in the nice weather.

image

The sun is shining and parenting feels OK right now :)

Still waking 6 plus times a night to feed, having hilarious tantrums and kicking me in the face whilst feeding but the goods are good right now.

Development

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Talking is the new favourite thing over here- lots to say all the time. In fact I have little idea what he is saying most of the time, as it’s a constant babble of verbal explosions which continue on with the odd recogniseable word like Car or Cat or Truck in between.

New words are coming thick and fast- this week it’s been “geese” “flower” and “dirty” all of which are being used in the correct context (“car dirty” for example). It’s quote fun. We talk a lot to and with him. We read to him and encourage him to point out the things he recognises in the book, but I’m sure genetics are as much to play. Apparently as a child I was bright and precocious and used to remember books off by heart so that other people thought that I was able to read when actually I was just memorising what I’d been read!

This week he also decided was the week to learn to ride a bike. A friend kindly dropped around a second hand balance bike. It was left in the hallway, and little person climbed right on despite the saddle being about 3 inches too high and tried to ride it!

Challenge

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Gemma from sling meet suggested having a go at this:
30 day challenge
The 30 day sling challenge.

We do #1 as standard, so thought we’d try the rest.

Day #2 was the semi forward wrap cross carry. Gemma posted this video:
Wrap your Baby
And I had a go.
02 semi fwcc-2
I couldn’t quite get a slipknot sorted in my thick woolie size three, so thought I’d look up another video.

Wrapping Rachel Semi FWCC
And then realised this was actually the first wrap I ever did with my 3, but the technique is SO different I hadn’t realised it was the same.
I did it again and took this shot:
02 semi fwcc-1
(other hip)

Not for me, this one!

More thoughts on feeding a toddler

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I have another urge to write something about what I’ve learnt about breastfeeding a toddler.

In a way I feel like I shouldn’t have to write this yet somehow it needs to be said.  I’m learning slowly how to communicate the way I feel in a positive way rather than being typically British and apologetic. I am now trying to ensure that I always say “R is breastfed” rather than the usual “R is still breastfed”. Don’t forget that the WHO recommend breastfeeding to two and beyond so I’m not some crazy boobmatyrhippy I’m just following World Health guidelines.

I’m lucky that both my mother and mother in law breastfed, although in a different day and age and with very different guidelines and advice. This means that straight off no one in my immediate family found  “natural term” breastfeeding odd or gave me a hard time about it. That’s another phrase-refusing to say “extended”breastfeeding any more to mean feeding past six months,  but to say “natural term” to reflect the nature of feeding a child until an extend nursing strike or self-initiated weaning.

It would be a lie to say that I don’t care what other people think or what they think of me. Obviously I care little about what strangers think of me as their opinion is irrelevant whilst it matters more what my friends and family think.  There is a huge disappointment when I hear phrases from friends and acquaintances like “I’m all for breastfeeding but. ..” which is the breastfeeding-in-public version of “I’m not a racist but”. Whatever is going to come after that “but” is almost certainly going to be misinformed, incorrect and offensive.

  I talk passionately about breastfeeding because I think it’s important that we change the way our society  views it. I’m not saying that everyone should breastfeed no matter what but just that we accept it as a normal part of every day public life.  This in turn will improve rates of breastfeeding as it becomes a more normalised and publically discussed activity. It will make it more accessible to more people, giving women the choice and the power back in the relationship rather than giving over to the misinformation rife when women are having a physical or emotional wobble about breastfeeding

So whilst I  “don’t care” what strangers think of me breastfeeding a toddler in public (probably not discreetly as he won’t stay still for 5 seconds), I do care about why people would find this entirely natural act offensive. I worry about the state of the country I live in where people think that feeding a baby from the breast is disgusting or wrong. I want to change the way people feel about it and the way they view it.

There are (to my honest knowledge) many people who think that women that breastfed past a certain age (usually a number picked out of the air) are “only doing it for themselves”. If you’ve ever watched a toddler breastfeed you’d have something else to say. With blocked ducts and mastitis,  nipple and skin pinching, Gymnastics, teeth etc it’s not really a relaxing cuddle with your small person. But then on the back of that, another huge swathe of people think that women who breastfeed to natural term are ridiculous martyrs who like to Lord over everyone else about how hard their lives are but who won’t help themselves to make life easier. By help themselves I mean employ tactics they are not comfortable with/ dont believe in that someone else thinks it will help them.

I promise you that the majority of us are neither of the above.  When you make a parenting decision, you often feel like the decision has been made for you and there was actually no choice at all.

There are very few circumstances under which a woman cannot breastfeed. This is not to undermine those who genuinely can’t , but they are in a very small minority. There was absolutely no decision to be made for me,  if I could, I would. I didn’t feel like this was a decision that I made and it certainly wasn’t in silo. It was about my whole outlook on the point of procreation- and it was just always going to be that way. Luckily once he worked it out, R felt the same and his complete bottle refusal showed me that he wanted to be breastfed. Even if for any reason I wanted to wean now, I wouldn’t have the first idea about how to go about it and R would be none too pleased about it all. It’s an even better reason to keep feeding him.

And this is what makes things hard. R is not a sleeper. And some breastfed babies are, some aren’t. Babies are made to wake every 90 minutes or so. Some can settle themselves back to sleep and some can’t. Sometimes this is beyond challenging. During my week of solo parenting R decided on the last night that he didn’t fancy going to sleep. I was exhausted having been up and out to buggy fit in the morning then out to a friends in the afternoon and it was day five of solo parenting. It took me two hours and two different beds to get him down. He woke after fifteen minutes. He then took another hour to settle again and that time slept for just thirty minutes. After about 2 1/2 hours I started to slowly crumble. This isn’t related to breastfeeding specifically but the style of more natural /attachment parenting that we have fallen into through our beliefs and Outlook.

Toddler refusingto sleep, Husband about to board a plane hundreds of miles away and all I felt was that I was trapped and unable to express honestly how I was feeling to anyone. When it feels (from comments made like “you spoil him” or “you need to put him in his own bed otherwise you’ll never get him out” etc) everyone seems to view you as a soft idiot who should be shutting the door on your screaming baby to try to”fix” him, it’s hard to find solidarity. Luckily someone posted about a similar problem on the Facebook breastfeeding group that I’m on and I felt able to share there and the lovely comments and support I received there was invaluable that night, another night feeling in a pit of despair.

What to say? Never assume you know how someone else is thinking or that you know what you’d do in their shoes. Women who have had around 4hrs sleep a night for a year plus don’t tend to handle thoughtless comments well. Don’t underestimate how far a nice comment can go when it’s needed.

Going solo

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This week had been my opportunity to really appreciate how fortunate I am.

Since R was born, this is my first extended period of solo parenting. The most I’ve done over the past 17 months is a weekend (which struck at the height of tantrums and wanting to walk everywhere), but this is pretty much a week. Dada was out Friday with work then went away on Sunday and won’t be back until Friday.

So far we’ve coped ok. Largely helped by the fact that I can work from home so have a bit of time bookending  the day before the childcare run where I can get *stuff* done. It helps that we are mostly all feeling ok and healthy too. I’ve also resigned to the fact that stuff needs to be done and I need to be prepared at all times so pack lunches have been put together the night before,  all clearing up and chores done as soon as possible and dinners have slow cooked whilst I pick R up from the childminders.

And it’s easy there’s an end in sight. Ok Dada will come home exhausted and jet  lagged and possibly a little useless for a few days but we got back to being 2 on 1 which is a ratio that works for us.

I don’t mean this to be a patronising post that makes any assumptions about other people’s situation. However I have got to say yet again how I admire single parents. No matter what the circumstances, let alone those fraught with grief or arguments and stress,  parenting by yourself is hard work. Expecially if you’re lacking in family to support you; financially, emotionally or just by being able to help or and Hove you some time off.

I really am fortunate and I’ll work on appreciating that a little more in the future.

Another sling post

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Another sling post

I’ve been playing. I’m trying to get up ten minutes earlier in the morning and practice a different carry or finish in the sling!

Two days in (plus a play on sunday) and I’m getting there with techniques for distracting the wriggling small person and taking the time to get it right! So much to remember!


Not bad! I need to work on getting my back carries higher and tighter, and using the leg passes to pin the seat, but the pretty finishes (that take pressure off the shoulders so they’re practical too) are coming along.

What shall I try tomorrow?

(huge thanks to Wrap You In Love for wonderfully helpful tutorials without any irritating voiceover! :)

Playing with slings

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Playing with slings

And there’s another on it’s way! Lets hope small stuff lets me wrap him.. I don’t want to always have to wait until he’s asleep!!

Been having fun in preparation for the new sling library if we get it up and running! First sling meet next week so I need to brush up!

With my 3 I can do:
-Poppins Hip Carry
-Robbins Hip Carry
-Kangaroo TUB (Tied under bum)
-Ruck
-Half Jordans with leg pass (kind of)
-no sew ring sling

With my 7 I can do the above plus
-FWCC
-BWCC

And at some point I’ve managed both a saltwater finish and a candycane chestbelt but need to work on both!

So many more kinds of carry to learn!

ION I’ve lost my sling rings. They were on the sofa, then they weren’t!! I have a witness that they just DISAPPEARED! Help!