Tag Archives: parent

#nopoo one month on

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It’s been a month since my last post about going #nopoo.

The facebook NoPoo group is brilliant with lots of really helpful group files which explain and link to all the different methods of #nopoo (and #lopoo), trouble shooting, advice and photos.

I decided that the bicarb washes weren’t really working for me, mostly it seems because we are in a hard water area. It was increasing the waxiness in the texture (although it looked ok, it felt yucky) and was drying out the ends even with the vinegar rinse. So after a bit of research and two (homemade) apple sauce masks to reduce the waxiness I tried an egg wash. Oh my word, this was quite something. It didn’t help that our shower hose was on it’s last legs and I knew I had to rinse with cold water. However with the hose falling apart it would only do ice cold water, which gave me brain freeze for about 2 hours after. Despite this, it was amazing. I just mixed two eggs (could have done one) with a little water and applied it to dry hair. I rubbed it into the scalp and massaged it to the ends and left it for about 5 minutes. It was a very messy process! Then I just rinsed it carefully with cold water. I didn’t follow it with a rinse and my hair was beautifully soft for a few days after.

Egg washes aren’t to be used too often as the protein can affect your hair texture, so I’ve not done another since. However, I’d heard the virtues of rye flour being discussed and as it turns out to be readily available in the baking aisle, I thought I’d try it as a wash. It’s best to at least sieve it first as it’s a very “bitty” flour, and even then you need to carefully brush out your hair afterwards as it ends up with lots of flakes in. I might try steeping the flour in a tea strainer or muslin in the future  and just use the “milk” from it as I often wash and then go straight out so it’s hard to sit there and brush the bits out. However it’s a lovely “wash”- leaving my hair feeling very nice. I tend to follow it with a cide vinegar rinse to moisurise. I’m trying to wash with rye flour once a week and then just use a rinse inbetween. This seems to be working as 2 months in my hair is starting to feel wonderful. It still looks a bit greasy on inbetween days, but it’s definitely much better.

I also had a go at “plopping” (ridiculous name) which involves wrapping your hair in a tshirtafter a wash and it helps your natural curl by reducing frizz and lifting at the roots. I’m not sure it worked for me, though if I did it again I’d use some kind of coconut oil or aloe vera to help my hair hold the curl!

All a bit of a fun experiment. It’s interesting how much of life is mind over matter (I’ve noticed this in a few areas recently). Because I’m trialling #nopoo, I don’t mind if my hair looks totally crap. I’ll try to make it look nice but if it doesn’t I’m resigned to it. However, pre #nopoo I would get quite stressed if my hair looked awful! I guess I know I’m doing something nice for my hair, taking away them chemicals and reducing the number of times a week/month I wash it and agitate it, meaning that I’m giving it lots of lovely natural products and giving it a bit of a break.

I guess in the long run, this will ideally be a way of cutting down time spent washing my hair. I’ve got a fun toddler to be hanging around with and I want to enjoy more of his company!

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Slingthing Slingswing

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Slingthing Slingswing

Two things

One- I’ve got another sling- I wanted to try a Linen blend! It’s been here a few weeks and it’s lovely. I’ve heard about <a href=”http://www.firespiralslings.co.uk/”>Firespiral</a&gt; cotton being wonderfully soft and no word of a lie, it’s like it’s made of clouds! The linen has surprised me. It started out a little crunchy so I bravely washed the wrap and have been wearing it and braiding it and doughnutting it. Instantly the weave was tighter and less likely to pull (Fispi’s also pull easily) and it’s definitely softening up on the linen side. It’s a size four so I’ve been trying new things with it. In particular I like Double Hammock tied at Shoulder and have been making things up a bit. Sadly it’s too thin really for my sling rings, I need to buy some medium ones.

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Daddy even took it out for a wander in a FWCC TUB (Front Wrap Cross Carry Tied Under Bum) when a certain small person got too tired to walk.

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One of the things I was looking for in this particular wrap was something with a distinctive flip side which I love for things like shoulder flips on a double rebozo or kangaroo or even just for tying a ruck Tibeten to show off both colours.

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Here it is in all it’s bronze and purple Glory.

Ironed and everything

Ironed and everything

This wrap is the Blooming Babies Irish Babywearing Conference Exclusive. All my wraps have short names (Oki, Raja, Pfau) based on the name of the patter/blend/colourway but I call this one either just Fispi or Irish.

I’ve also been having fun when I can on a Friday morning at <A href=”https://www.facebook.com/slingswingreadingandwokingham”&gt; Sling Swing </a> in Bracknell. It’s held at the same venue as our sling meet by the lovely Jen who guest blogged for the <a href=”https://bracknellslingmeet.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/qa-guest-post-jen/”&gt; Sling Meet/ Library last month </a>.

“Sling Swing is an exciting gentle movement and dance class for mums and dads or carers with their babies and toddlers in soft structured slings and baby carriers or wraps.

Musical styles include pop, hip hop, Charleston, Cha Cha, Salsa, Swing, Disco, Motown, 90s, Musical theatre and much more. Participants are encouraged to wear their little ones in high quality slings and carriers and spares are always available for people wanting to try one out.

Classes are fun, exciting and innovative. Come along and have a boogie!!”

How could I resist that? It’s a fun, informal class with a bit of gentle movement to some funky music. I take small along and he likes to join in the dancing himself for a bit and then eventually wants to come up like the other (mostly smaller) kids there.

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When he decided to come up!

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Joining in the dancing

Nopoo

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Been meaning to post about this for a while! Need to find a use for my night feeds.

For no real for reason at all (though there are plenty of great reasons to do it), I’ve decided to attempt to go #nopoo I.e shampoo free. Reducing unnatural chemicals which build up the hair causing the overstimulation of oil glands, hence ‘needing’ to wash one’s hair every other day (more if exercising)!

I’ve read a lot about it and there a plethora of information on the web -like most subjects, some more helpful than others.

I’ve gone for the most simple though potentially slow method of bicarb ‘washes’ with Apple cider vinegar ‘conditioner’ to balance the pH. I’m doing this about twice a week at the moment with water washes when needed.

My hair has taken it… OK. It had an identity crisis early on in week 2 when it decided I had huge bouncing curls for one evening. I’ve not been through any awful greasy stage though I’m currently experiencing a waxiness that is likely due to us being in a hard water area. So this evening I made a cooked Apple puree that nopoo-ers call Applesauce which I cling filmed to my head for half an hour before washing out.

My new hair texture means that it takes approximately forever to dry now so waiting to see if my first Apple saucing has worked! In busy trying not to get sucked in to buying a squillion ‘natural’ products to try to find the perfect balance for my hair- much happier with store cupboard contents!

Here is a short photo  journey of the last almost-four-weeks!

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Stating to look wild in week one

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Nutty curls that sprang up one evening

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Week two, bit lank

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Crazy volume during week two

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Looking a bit dry

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After a vinegar ph balance

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End of week three

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Today at 25 days in

Let’s see where it goes next!

The secret formula

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This week I listened to The Food Program on radio 4. Although radio 4 is probably my most listened to station (that and Planet Rock when there’s a digital radio about) is unusual for me to seek out The Food Program (last time I did was a few years ago when the gin episode was on). Last week’s edition was called The Secret Formula- the subject of the episode all about baby formula- history,  manufacturing process,  ingredients and the law.

I was quite interested to see how they were going to play it and I must admit that overall I found their approach baffling and rather poor. The initial section which talked about low milk prices and why the milk industry especially in Ireland is refocusing their market to look more towards the production of formula was really interesting.  Milk prices are so low,  pushed down by the large conglomerates and supermarkets that farmers are struggling to make any money at all,  but formula is a growing market especially in newly developed and developing countries.

The presenters managed to get a guided tour of a formula production factory which in all honesty despite being the largest section of the programme was a huge waste of the valuable 26 minutes available. The presenter feigned surprise at the sights and conditions of the factory and it’s equipment with a very derogatory stance in regards to the hygiene/health&safety precautions and “all the huge metal storage tanks and tubes”. Whilst I’d be the first to raise a wry smile at the complicated process that goes into replicating breastmilk (the process of which we don’t have to concern ourselves with), my limited knowledge and experience of processed food production would suggest that both the above parts off the presenters experience were entirely normal. To top this off more minutes from the program were used up on listening to a protective suit being donned.

The presenters next looked at a potted history of baby foods and early “formula”. This part was particularly interesting but fell short of describing the changes in advice on weaning in the last 50 years or so or explaining why early “formulas” of mashed up bread and milk are now known to be unsuitable for children. I wonder if this was partially to appease the likely listener-ship of a radio four programme. Advice and info changes so regularly that is possible they didn’t want to alienate listeners who may have been parents of babies 20 to 80 years ago, and who very likely did some of the things that are now  frowned upon.

The part I found most fascinating covered law and regulation around formula production and how it is regulated. Although I felt I already knew  a reasonable amount on this subject I was pleased that the expert suggested how the rules could be changed in the future-including banning formula production companies from advertising any formula milk below one year and a ban on “follow on milks”. These follow on milks are not necessary and have been thought up by formula producing companies to get around the current legislation which states that formula cannot be advertised nor be on special offer aimed at babies under six months old.

Finally the piece spoke to a small group of mothers with formula fed babies. Whilst is unfair of me to judge anything that was said by those individuals,  it was interesting to see how marketing and celebrity had affected their decisions around which brand of formula to use.  When I think about my own friends, their decisions for what formula to chose was usually based on where they shopped and which ones their babies seemed to get on with best.

It got me thinking though about why the programs left me feeling cold. I felt like there was a lot that could have been said in a professional, factual and impartial way about formula production, the companies that produce it and the risks and problems associated with it. However instead the programme content was neutral but the tone was sniffy and judgemental as if in in lieu of actually being able to say anything factually correct but potentially negative about formula.

I appreciate this was not a programme about breastfeeding. However I feel it’s almost impossible to talk about formula without the context of breastfeeding and I don’t think this was addressed very clearly. Try harder please Radio 4.

Long time

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So its been a blooming long time since I posted. Been busy raising a baby!

Baby is almost 8 months now and it’s not been an easy ride. We are lucky that he is healthy and happy but it looks like we’ve definitely got one of the broken ones that doesn’t sleep.  Which is of course frustrating because we are exhausted all the time. We also get to hear regularly about other local mummies whose babies sleep through so there’s a little resentment and jealousy there too.  On top of that everyone had ideas of what can help but sadly nothing does seem to help this one.

Baby is unable to settle himself. There is some argument about whether self settling actually exists or not or whether it’s something that can be learnt or taught. My theory would be that it does exist but cannot be taught to some babies.  There is one baby at the Wednesday group I go to who falls asleep on the play mat every week in the middle of the hubub. No dummy or comforter. No boob, no mummy cuddle. Just flat out snoozing on the play mat in the middle of the room.

Baby feeds to sleep and can sometimes be persuaded to sleep in daddys arms.  If he is due a nap, the pram or sling will also work for day time naps.

Since Christmas the general sleep pattern has been 90min to 2hr stretches. We had one good phase for about two weeks at the start of April but then teething seemed to turn it back. We saw the doctor in April and she suggested it could be reflux so we tried gaviscon for three weeks but it made no  difference to his sleep.

Since his first tooth came through last month and the associated teething that goes with it, he has become painfully clingy and refuses to sleep in the cot. I don’t know what I can do to persuade him and I get a little more sleep when he comes in with us so I’m rolling with it. It won’t be forever.

Our children’s centre gave us a handout this week of things to do to help your baby to sleep. We already do all the things they suggested! We try!  From a straw poll of my lovely mumsnet friends, it seems his patterns are normal. …. fringe but within the bounds of normal.

Developmentally is so interesting to look at him and his little friends. Baby can sit quite happily (except when he forgets how to and bumps his head). He loves to stand but is on his tippy toes and has no balance. At all. He’s eating solids but is quite difficult and will only eat what he fancies. We give him lots of finger food for some baby led weaning and load spoons for him to feed himself with which is how he prefers things! He has one tooth on the bottom which didn’t give him too much grief coming through thankfully. He’s still uninterested by rolling but I think he could if he tried!

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He is a wonderful cheeky little chap and keeps me very entertained. It is difficult.  Especially being exhausted from total lack of sleep, and on top of that  I’m booking in my keeping in touch days at work (KIT days) , one down and nine to go. I very paid for then which is ace but a days work on no sleep is challenging.

I’m going to try to keep this more up to date from now on.
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The exact expected rollercoaster ride

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This is so what I was expecting!
Sleeping and eating
These babies are amazing, they really know (instinctively) how to push your buttons and what your absolute limit of exhaustion and being able to cope is. Then they show you how wonderful they are and you forgive them…. until the next time!

We have had some really shocking nights. We’ll do a feed around 10 or 11pm, then put the baby down. On these bad nights, he tends to settle quite well initially. Then around 1am he wakes up and that is it until half past five in the morning. He will feed, burp, posset, cry, wriggle, feed….. etc etc for 4 1/2 hours. Sometimes he sounds frustrated and really does have tantrums, other times he just grizzles and moans. A couple of nights like that in a row are very hard to cope with, and he tends to seem to push right to the limit, then have a sudden good night to surprise us!

Last night was his best night ever (after a rocky start). He “cluster fed” (as above) on and off from about 7pm until 11:30pm, then he finally fell asleep. The next thing we knew, it was 4am! That is officially his longest ever night time sleep since we started feeding on demand. Once he went down, he then didn’t awake again until just before nine. What a hero! He even was chilled out enough to let me go off and express some milk this morning.

It also seems the cluster feeding is working. I believe the idea of it (isn’t apparently to make me tired!!) is to help increase my supply- and it really seems to have done that. I expressed 120ml (which is a whole feed) in about 15 minutes this morning! Very efficient! And had enough left to feed him straight after and he’s still settled 2 hours later. Amazing.

I know this is unlikely to last and just as we get complacent, he’ll revet back. However, it’s so welcome to get just that little bit more sleep. I feel so so human. I even went into deep sleep and dreamt last night- for the first time in 5 weeks!

On the bottle
One of our aims now is to get baby taking a bottle of expressed milk. This is not only to make my nights a bit more pleasant and to mean that if needs be, I can actually go out when a feed is due, it also is really important to help daddy (and potentially others like grandparents and uncles/aunts) bond with baby too.

Thursday we tried a bit of milk from the bottle and baby was having none of it. We know that he DID know how to take a bottle during weeks 1 and 2 whilst we were trying to get him feeding better but it seems he had forgotten/ prefers the breast. Baby did not play ball- daddy was downstairs trying to feed him and I was upstairs trying to grab a nap… Eventually daddy brought him up, and he then took the milk whilst I was in the room (then I BF him after).

On Friday night, I went out. This was every bit as terrifying as I thought it would be. I was an hour late due to baby needing a feed (a long one) and sicking up a lot of the feed, then after I had been out an hour, poor daddy sent me a text to say he was putting the baby in the sling and coming up to see me to help baby sleep. Baby was refusing the expressed milk and screaming, so the sling was the only option. It worked! Baby slept like a dream in the sling. And I got to walk home with daddy and baby which was nice. 90 mins out was better than nothing!

Last night, we had a bottle of expressed milk ready to do, and then with the evening cluster feed, we never got around to using it. Excepting the baby to wake up about 1am ish, we said that daddy could do the next feed. So at 4am, baby got the expressed milk. He wasn’t super- keen on taking it and grizzled a bit but superdaddy persevered and got it all in him. Baby didn’t fall asleep so I gave him a little breast and after that he slept well.

We will keep persevering with this!

A LOT of text- apologies. Have a picture!

Hurrah
All the ladies from the Mumsnet Sept 2013 due date thread have now had their babies so we had a mass-celebration friday/ sat night (to suit). We all had a glass of champagne (or other favourite tipple) and posted a picture onto our facebook group to celebrate. I, and another lady also put together some fun awards to the gang- I really enjoyed it! What a lovely bunch of ladies!

Celebrate

Colic

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Colic is one of those things you hear about but never really know what it is. So when people suggested (after a few hard nights) that baby D had Colic, I was a bit surprised. Then did a bit of research. It’s a bit weird really- no-one really knows what it is or why it is- though there are theories about what causes it.

Baby D had a few nights which were awful from 10pm until 2am or midnight until 4 he was inconsolable. We’d feed him, burp him, change him, cuddle him, put him down, swaddle him, put a layer on, take a layer off, try skin to skin contact… nothing really worked. Eventually if he did settle, it would only be on me, and then with all the warnings from midwives etc about co-sleeping, I was too terrified to fall asleep with him on me…. so I lay awake for hours as if I tried to put him in his moses basket, he’s start screaming again.

The health visitor talked it through with us and said it was sounding like colic and gave us some ideas of things to try (massage and colic drops in particular). We bought the colic drops (Dentanox rather than Infacol as it’s what the pharmacy had)- it smells utterly disgusting a mix between sambuca and gaviscon! Gross. He doesn’t like it

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(as you can see from this face)

Wednesday night was another nightmare one, but Thursday afternoon and evening we tried lots of tricks including some tummy massage, sitting upright in the bouncy chair, having a bath with mummy and kept up the colic-drops. I’m not expecting it to last or happen every night but he slept beautifully last night- sat awake but happy in the bouncy chair until 11pm ish, then fed at three, six and 8:30am. And inbetween he slept in the moses basket and mummy got to sleep too! This morning he was too chilled out and happy to feed properly!