Monthly Archives: January 2015

More Okinami

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I’ve finally got the proper camera out so here goes (half crossposted from my photography blog).

After my Blog post last week about “babywearing“, with a hodgepodge of different photos, it made me realise that I needed to get on with taking some better photos.

So this is what babywearers call the stash shot. It’s not very impressive in comparison to some (multiples of the same wrap in different lengths, colourways or blends), but it’s mine and it’s about what I’m prepared to spend! It shows what I currently own- though you may remember that I did own a babyhawke mei tai previous to the wrap strap mei tai.

Stash of four

The wrap of focus is the Okinami Noir from the Oscha Boutique. This is because not only is the most expensive and beautiful wrap that I own by far, it’s also our “legacy wrap” as I explained in the previous post.

Noir and rings
I’ve bought some sling rings to go with, which hopefully will give me more options for tying it, once I’ve worked it all out!

This is how they do it
This is the shot that everyone takes, so I thought I’d better join the gang.

Today the weather was beautiful and despite all our multiple germs, we decided to get a few shots. I was determined to get a good photo of the Half Jordans Back Carry with Hammock Pass that I mastered at 4am when baby kindly woke up for three hours in the middle of the night- thought I’d put it to good use, but baby of course refused to play ball when I tried to get him onto my back this morning! So instead we went for a Robbins Hip Carry which I’ve definitely got the hang of, although it’s not toddlerproof and he can get out of it if required!
Noir

Bear

I’m quite pleased with these and it’s finally a decent photo of my new hair cut and colour!

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Annual fitness update

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Time for my annual exercise update!

In 2015 despite having a small person I completed about 653 1/2 hours of exercise (most to date!)- covering about 1540 miles (245 by bike, over 1000 walking, 70 running and a few others too). Most of it was walking to the shops, to visit friends or for the sake of walking, and 53 buggyfit classes.

Most of those miles include pushing or carrying baby.

Most active month was October with around 50 hours of exercise!

New things- didn’t try many new things this year but did attend 2 days of Gilly’s festive bootcamp and tried my first two boxercise sessions. Enjoyed a little Ice Skate on the Isle of Man too.

And I bought some new leggings too!

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Boobs again

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Christ it’s all going down today. This morning a mother went onto This morning on itv to talk about why she still breastfeeds her 6 year old.

To me this woman is selfless and brave. She knew that people wouldn’t understand but thought her point was important enough to put herself in the firing line. The breastfeeding support forums have been buzzing today with anger and upset at the comments (DON’T READ THE COMMENTS! )(sorry it’s just a thing we say to try to stop troll-feeding) that members of the public are making,  but for some people even close friends too.

We’re back to that classic issue of the anonymity and removed nature of the Internet comment section. The concept that you can say basically anything you like with no repercussion. But it goes deeper than that. It seems that most adults in the UK feel at best uncomfortable with the concept of breastfeeding a six year old. At worst they think it’s “disgusting” and “perverted” and “akin to child abuse”. There is something very inherently wrong with this societal view. In most issues, I’m a fence sitter nature but there are some things I just can’t understand.

The benefits of extended breastfeeding are well documented. Anyone who says there is no benefit to the child at this age may want to do some research on the subject. I’ve talked before about the sexualisation of breasts (in fact my Samsung Mobile Phone will not automatically let me type the word breast and tries to auto correct to the hilarious “beast” or the factual “breastfeeding”) in the western world particularly.  Some people say that the only benefit is to the mother. Whilst many mothers enjoy natural term feeding that’s not to say it’s easy. From latch issues from brand new babyhood all the way through to each new tooth, babies touching and fiddling and scratching and pinching and doing gymnastics and waking every 90 mins,  mums feeling “touched out” (fed up of being attached to the child all the time)…. I stand by my word when I say that mother is selfless to do that for six years.

But how do we change opinion?  The Daily Mirror were running a poll for their (no doubt open minded, liberal and well read) readers to find out what % of then thought it was right to feed a 6 year old. When I received a link to it and voted,  over 87% said that it wasn’t right. How do we tackle this?

I for one absolutely refuse to apologise or hide breastfeeding.  I feed in public wherever we need to. I talk about breastfeeding in normal everyday conversations with friends, family and colleagues because it is normal and the more we normalise the more we enable others to build their confidence to realise it’s normal and do the same.

Wrapping

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Nope, not a post about christmas!

I thought it was time for another post about “babywearing”. My wrap count is now up to 4! There were two other carriers in the past two- one which I now know isn’t very ergonomic and wasn’t very comfy with his weight anyway and one which I upgraded to something a bit more supportive for a heavier toddler.

So the first kind of carrier I had was something a bit like this:
mothercare carrier
The kind of highstreet carrier you’ll find lots of mums and dads buying. It was given to us and was a great entry into the world of slings and wraps, but wasn’t used for very long.

I was also kindly lent a ringsling by a friend. I’ve heard lots of brilliant things about ringslings- in particular they are good for “quick up and downs” especially with toddlers who want to walk but then get tired.
ringsling
Sadly this one isn’t brilliant and I’ve struggled with it. At first it was fine, with small light baby and I could get it nice and tight. Now the extra weight is uncomfortable on long (more than half a mile) walks and the fabric is hard to adjust as the rings are a bit small for the thickness of the fabric.

Third sling was the first that I bought, having tried a mei tai at a local sling meet. Second hand, this BabyHawke Mei Tai served me really well up until about 10 months old, when he seemed to get a bit too heavy for it, and no matter which kind of carry I tried, his weight pulled at my shoulders.I only worked out how to get him onto my back with help from someone else but it was great when it happened as he could fall asleep whilst I did housework or went for a walk.
mei tai
I promise he’s comfier than he looks! The Mei Tai is a soft structured carrier- a rectangle of fabric with a waist strap that you tie up and two shoulder straps that you can tie in numerous ways to support the baby and be comfortable for you.

I also bought a cheap wrap- it’s a Calin Bleu size “L” which equates to about a “size 6 wrap”. I wanted something lightweight for summer and easy to wrap with as the different fiber blends give the wraps different properties. This was perfect for what I needed, and taught me how woven wraps can spread the weight of your baby as you carry them and support them better.
wrap
This was my first successful attempt at getting baby onto my back by myself with the wrap. It wasn’t perfect but it was safe and we were both comfy!

So I decided I wanted a mei tai with “wrap straps”. These are wider than the normal straps, and are used a bit more like a woven wrap, to spread out the weight better. I looked for a second hand one within budget and struggled to find one, despite being on all the second hand sling forums on facebook! However, someone kindly pointed me towards a company called Bebe Sachi who are a Malaysian Social Enterprise, producing wraps in fairtrade conditions in Bangladesh. Though I found their website impossible to navigate and at one point had paypalled a nice lady on facebook with no idea of whether anything would materialise- they are a wonderfully ethical company and I got great service from them. Even better- if you look after them, their resale value is high. In fact most slings keep a decent resale value, and when I bought my Bebe Sachi wrap strap mei tai and sold the old mei tai, I got back the cost of buying it second hand originally.
Bebe sachi
Another back carry, getting from one part of a wedding to the other. It spreads his weight (now 10.5kg) around my waist and over my shoulders in a way the standard straps can’t. It’s my go-to for easy front carries- and now I’ve figured it out-easy back carries too.

So really my collection (Stash as it’s called in the babywearing business) was done (bar replacing the ring sling if I ever decided to)- except I probably spent too long on the facebook forums and learnt about the Legacy Wrap. A legacy wrap is one that is bought because of a special link to it, and is kept as part of your “permastash” and maybe passed on to your child eventually for them to use. Most people start to look by DOB, then if no special wraps or wraps they like were released on that date, they look at other special dates, colours or word associations to find a really special wrap to them. I used the woven wrap database but this hasn’t been updated since March 2014 or so. I found three wraps that were released on baby D’s birthday.

The first was the Artipoppe Tyger Copper- which is a beautiful design and colour but Artipoppe are very high end wraps and quite hard to get hold of in the UK I believe.
Artipoppe

The second was Natibaby Orchid in the Morea colourway. This one was nice but didn’t shout out to me at all.
Natibaby

The final one had me going “oooh” and made me unable to forget about it! It was the Oscha Okinami in Noir (which is the blend and colourway). It’s a wool, cotton and silk blend, so is very thick and chunky. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I also knew that a)it was expensive and b)it was going to be hard to get hold of but I kept my eyes peeled instead.
Oki

A few months later my wonderful husband asked if I might like one for christmas. I can only imagine the hints I dropped were a little too heavy…..
So I managed to source a size three second hand via the facebook Oscha group and on Christmas day I opened it (having tried a quick wrap with it a few weeks before once it arrived to check all was ok).
Oki me

I’ve never used a size three wrap before, so spent much of the weeks leading up to christmas googling which carries I could do. It turns out that because the wrap is also very thick, it’s quite hard to tie off at the end, making some of the different carries a bit harder! I found this website http://www.wrapyourbaby.com/wovenwraplength.html pretty helpful, and youtube has some great videos too.

Now we are back to normal every day life, I’ve been trying to use the new sling a bit more and get to grips with it. Two mornings going to the childminder and two different wraps tried. Turns out I think I did both of them wrong but they were supportive and safe enough for a 15 minute walk.

Must practice more!

Review: BUGGYFIT

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Something I’m always talking about because it’s the one constant in my weekly routine since October 2013 is Buggyfit.

I’m an active outdoorsey kind of person, so when I heard about a weekly exercise class to encourage new mums to keep fit and get out of the house, I signed up in a heartbeat. I’m really lucky that my local class really is very local. I resent driving anywhere to do exercise and don’t have the use of a car most of the time anyway, so the fact that Buggyfit is run at South Hill Park which is exactly a mile’s walk from my house is a huge bonus. I called the class weekly but actually GLF Fitness run a number of buggyfit classes throughout the week- two at South Hill Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am and one California Country Park in Finchampstead at 10:30 am on a Wednesday morning.

This is only going to be a positive review, let me tell you now!
Things I LOVE about buggyfit:

*It gets you out of the house
As a new parent whether it’s your first or subsequent child, getting out of the house is something most people actively crave, though don’t always have the motivation to do so. It’s really important not only for physical health but for mental health too- To go from an active adult with a busy work and social life to being a mummy where you might feel you’re “stuck” at home all day in the totally new environment of having a baby to look after is a huge change that can really affect mental health and happiness.

It’s hard to get out with a new baby- knowing what to take, getting them ready, choosing their layers of clothing (forgetting your extra layers), sorting snacks and drinks, working out when you’ll be able to feed them, planning outings around nap times and so on. Not to mention the utter exhaustion of parenthood which can lead to entirely forgetting your own name, let alone a water bottle for an exercise class. When R was little, we went out every day – even if it was just a short walk. We went out in any weather but then I know I’m that kind of person who will find the motivation to leave the house and get some fresh air and exercise. However, like I said before- this is the one permanent fixture in my diary- I am officially busy on a Thursday morning doing Buggyfit!

*The trainers are GREAT
Gilly and Becky run my local Buggyfit classes and they are both brilliant. They are well organised, friendly and very knowledgeable, particularly on the kind of exercises new mums should and shouldn’t do, but also generally within the fitness arena. Both can gauge fitness and strength levels of a participant very quickly and will use that to support you through injury or tiredness and push you if you want to work hard. I want to work hard but need a little motivation and they keep me going throughout the class. They’re both also great with children so whilst you’re taking part in circuits or a short run, they are happy to jiggle the prams and keep the small people amused.

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*The classes are varied
As Gilly and Becky run other classes too, they have lots of equipment and ideas to keep the classes interesting. We do a mix of fast walking, circuit training, work with bands, light handweights, some boxing, partner work and the odd bit of running for those who want to. Although you get to know the general format of the class, you never do the same route and exercises two weeks running.

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*Beautiful locations
Both California Country Park and South Hill Park are really lovely places to hang out, and the lovely manicured gardens and forested walkways at SHP make the exercise all the more enjoyable. Sometimes we have to dodge the swans around the lake, but we always have tree cover for the hot sunny summer days and somewhere to shelter on the really soggy ones. Surprisingly we don’t get that many really cold wet mornings, but the classes go ahead pretty much no matter what the weather, and people attend!

*Great people
I’ve met some really lovely friends through Buggyfit- likeminded local mummies (And daddies!). There’s always a great camaraderie in the group and when we can we pop into the cafe for a cuppa afterwards. Now my little boy is a bit bigger, he wants to run around the play park afterwards which makes heading in for a hot drink a bit more challenging, but it’s fun nonetheless.
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*They run other classes too
This has sparked a very surprising (for me) love of Boxing! We do a little boxing sometimes as part of Buggyfit with gloves and pads, and I shocked myself by loving it. It’s a great combination of cardio and strength using lots of core muscles and I find it very engaging. As a result, I’ve now attended two of Gilly’s Saturday morning Boxercise classes at Pinewood Scout Hut before Christmas and plan to attend more in the new year to build on my strength.

I also signed up to a couple of days of Gilly and Becky’s intensive 8 day Christmas Boot Camp. As we were away for much of the christmas period (and then I had a big birthday), I only attended two consecutive days (unlike the amazing hardcore lads and ladies who did all 8). However it was great fun, despite being -4 both mornings and us completing our circuits (the first day I did) and boxing (the second day) outside on frosty ground. It was a huge friendly group with a great focussed attitude. Gilly even provided us all with Epsom Salts for a nice muscle relaxing soak afterwards!

*Inspiration
I’ve been inspired to not only try Gilly’s other classes but get out a bit more by myself outside of that time. Whilst I tend to maintain some level of fitness, the lack of cycling over the last 16 months has been hard on my fitness levels and strength. So I have taken up a little running etc when I have a chance. Gilly is herself an inspiration- on her last big birthday I actually thought she was 10 years younger than she actually is! If i can be half as fit and look half as good as her when I reach that big birthday, I will be pleased!

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More info on GLF Fitness Classes here: http://www.glffitness.com/ .
Come along and try one!

Photos copyright Marla White (link to Flickr account)– taken at the Festive Bootcamp in the frost!

Manx Milk

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So we’ve been away for Christmas (mastitis all cleared up Thank you) visiting family on the Isle of Man.

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We even got to see some nice weather

It was our first flight with a very mobile toddler and it was definitely challenging“. In actual fact the flight it’s self turned out to be fine in both directions due to lucky timing, magic milk and probably an element of movement. He fed and slept for the majority of the short flight and was no trouble at all. The airport was a different matter- lucky we took our Little Life backpack (a prettier version of reins) and tag teamed the chasing. Getting through security was fun,  esp as on the way back we were hurrying due to an EasyJet muck up. And toddler set off the alarm at security so had to have cardigan and shoes removed and be scanned again.

By the time we got onto the planes we were sweaty and frazzled and I was on the brink of tears through stress so we were very grateful that he was calm on the flight.

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Pre take off

We aren’t really strict routine people so hence or baby is not either. However the disruption of travelling and being away for a week really got to him and whilst we were away there were too many 11pm bed times-and not all of them after an accidental late afternoon nap. We have been very tired.

Since returning it’s taken a few days to return to “normal” though tonight we suspect croup. Hence I’m awake and blogging whilst propping up my (now sleeping again) baby and keeping an eye on his breathing.

Isle of Man trip was interesting. We’ve not been since baby D arrived and I know from experience that some attitudes there can be slightly “small town” and behind the times- for example they don’t seem to have disability access laws same as England. However I was really pleased to see a number of eateries sporting “breastfeeding welcome” stickers on their doors- Laxey Diner and the cafe at Tynwald Mills to mention two places. Though I don’t feel it’s necessary as it should be welcome everywhere,  it was a nice touch and hopefully means positive bf experiences for all.

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Turns out that at Laxey Diner he preferred the chips and we were baby-free during the few hours we visited Tynwald anyway!