European Week for Waste Reduction #ewwr17 – Reusable nappies versus disposables…

I knew my next blog post was going to be about reusable nappies so when I saw that last week was European Week for Waste Reduction ‪#‎ewwr17‬, I wanted to add in my own thoughts.

Waste is a huge problem in our society and disposable nappies is a biggy. There are loads of easy ways to reduce the amount of waste we create such as ensuring we recycle what we can, reducing plastic use, using reusable bags and swapping to reusable/biodegradable nappies. The Bambino Mio website states that it can take up to 500 years for disposable nappies to decompose, and given that around the world 6000 TONNES of nappies are thrown away every day, it’s definitely worth considering a more eco-friendly alternative. I’ve spent time looking into what’s available so if you fancy giving it a go, I’ve added some links.

With babe number 1 I mostly used Naty Nappies. These are a fair compromise when using disposable nappies as they contain less harmful chemicals and degrade much more easily. I didn’t really have the money at the time to invest in buying cloth as the start up cost isn’t the cheapest. But on the other hand, when you add up the cost of disposable nappies over the whole use, it probably worked out cheaper.  I have since seen another Eco-friendly brand called Kit and Kin which has super cute designs and was created by that little-known Spice Girl Emma Bunton! It’s great to see more choice for disposables which are becoming more affordable too. I decided to change to cloth after I had Louis.

My first lot of nappies were Little Lamb birth-to-potty pocket nappies. There are a number of different types available. you can buy sized nappies or nappies which grow with your baby. I decided these would be more economical. They had poppers to adjust the length and width and inserts of bamboo cotton to absorb the wee. These are a lovely quality but it wasn’t the right type of nappy for us. I found the stuffing of them quite laborious and we lived in a small house which didn’t have much space for drying. The outer part of the nappy dried quickly but the inserts took quite a while to dry. After a few weeks of using them, I wanted to try something else. If you decide use cloth, you get quite into nappies… I can’t believe I got “quite” into nappies. I used to be “quite” into socialising, having a drink or three and going to see my favourite bands. Last year, I got “quite” into cloth nappies. In my defence, there are some awesome designs out there and they do look incredibly cute!

IMG_20171126_101955852

My Tots Bots collection

I discovered that there is a large market for second-hand nappies out there. This will save you a huge amount of money so is definitely worth looking into. I joined a few groups on facebook and managed to build a decent collection quickly but without breaking the bank. I went for Tots Bots and Mio Solo nappies for the day and a selection of Little lambs, Lollipop and Mother ease two part nappies for night time. The Tots Bots have velcro tabs to fasten them and an extra insert which is detachable if you want it less bulky but they are so easy to use as you just push the insert in and they dry quickly too. Two part nappies consist of a thick cloth layer – I chose shaped ones with Velcro fastening, and a waterproof outer wrap. These are intended to last overnight. I found they didn’t quite last for Louis in the beginning as he was a heavy wetter so I would have to change him at least once. However, as he has grown older and no longer feeds at night, it lasts him no bother at all. I have had issues at times with the smell of ammonia! It’s worth looking at your washing regime if you experience stinks. It take some trial and error but you get there in the end.

Cloth nappies need changing more frequently than disposables. They are more prone to leaks and are definitely more effort at times. Since L has grown, I don’t have many leakage problems any more so I don’t have to change him every hour or so! He was a ridiculous wriggler for a few months and changing him was really challenging but it didn’t matter if it was cloth or disposables that I used! It really was a sight to behold watching him at work! Getting a good fit takes a bit of perseverance and there are you tube videos which can help as it’s good to see a visual demonstration.

I have a pretty cute collection of Tots bots. They’re super easy to use too and I’m glad I’ve persevered with them. I also bought reusable wipes and fleece liners. The wipes have helped me cut down massively on using baby wipes and I think they do a better job too. I wet them in a box and use a few drops of lavender oil to keep them smelling fresh. It does take organisation to keep a routine with disposable nappies but once you get into it, it really isn’t too hard. Poops are flushed down the loo, I keep the nappies in a nappy bin in a net bag and once it’s full, I pop them into the washing machine for a long cycle and extra rinses! I’m more organised on outings too and take my special nappy bag out with my which has a pocket for clean ones and a dirty pocket too. I’m sure I’ve saved money in the long run and it’s reduced my contribution of sending nappies to landfill. I know the counter argument is an increased use of electricity and more frequent use of the washing machine which results in microfibers going into the water system. On weighing up the pros and cons I’ve decided to stick with cloth.

I didn’t use them when Louis was a newborn, I know a lot of people do use them from day one but I didn’t purchase them until he was a month or so old. I imagine that’s hard work as the number of nappy changes you have with a newborn is crazy but I think if I could do it again, I would use cloth in those early days and I would absolutely have used them for Penny too in hindsight. One issue I had was a temperamental washing machine…yeah it broke down, twice, with a load of dirty nappies inside! That wasn’t much fun and I had to switch to disposables until it was fixed. Our local council provide bags to get nappies picked up separately from the rest of the household waste and it’s quite a good way of getting a visual on how many are used in a two-week period.

If you’re thinking of trying reusable nappies but don’t know where to start, definitely check out some local selling groups or see if your area has a nappy library where you can buy second-hand nappies. they may not be as convenient as disposable nappies are but even having a few will reduce the number of disposable ones being sent to landfill.

For local readers, the Edinburgh Real Nappy Community are holding a Nappucino on December 1st. Details are available here: https://www.facebook.com/edinburghrealnappy/

 

 

Advertisements

Goodbye to breastfeeding – the end of an era

I’ve spent two years of my life breastfeeding my babies, there have been ups and downs but I’m very grateful to have been able to do it. I decided to see if Louis was ready to stop as he had lost interest over the past few weeks and I was only giving him a feed in the wee hours just to try get him back to sleep. (I know this probably isn’t the best strategy but lack of sleep makes you do anything to get some rest!) I wasn’t producing enough milk in the end so it was only sending him into a rage which wasn’t quite what I was trying to achieve!

I feel a certain sadness that my breastfeeding journey is over. I did it with both kids until they were 1 year old and both were ready to stop so I didn’t have any issues with weaning them. It’s been an amazing experience. I loved bonding with them during feeds and was really lucky that I didn’t have any issues once I established feeding with both them.

But those first few weeks weren’t so easy… trying to figure out how to position them properly and get a good latch was tricky. Constant feeding was exhausting and the initial pain while establishing feeding wasn’t pleasant to say the least.

Both my babies were petite so I feared smothering them as my boobs grew to a humongous size!! I cradled them in front of me, I tried a sideways hold, I lay down in bed with them beside me or on top of me. Sometimes it felt like I did nothing else in a day but feed and change nappies! One feed rolled into another. Night time was brutal at times. I felt like I was going mad with tiredness, it was relentless! I can see why sleep deprivation is a form of torture! I used to set an alarm for every four hours when both my babies were new as I feared them going too long in between feeds. Although I fed on demand, they were both fairly small birth weights -6lb 6oz and 5lb 5oz- so it was recommended to me not to let them go longer than 3-4 hours to start with. Funnily enough the alarm never went off as they always woke up before that, if my memory serves me right I think it was every 2-3 hours at the most in those early weeks! I felt it helped me feel less anxious in between feeds as I feared sleeping for too long and not feeding them when they needed it.

 

zcamera-20170119_213325

Both exhausted!

 

Every time I saw a wee mouth open and slam down on my nipple I winced in pain. I had to brace myself until my skin toughened up. I used cabbage leaves which apparently help with engorgement, but I also loved the cooling sensation as sometimes it felt like my boobs were on fire! Lanolin was also really good for chaffed nipples. I looked really glam rubbing my cream in and sticking my cabbage leaves down my bra! The imprint of the leaves was impressive on my skin.

 

cabbage-vegetable-power-green

Cabbage leaves came in handy in the early days!

 

I wanted to stop breastfeeding at times and it was a wee bit overwhelming but I always kept in my mind that it wouldn’t always be like this, I would eventually get past all the pain, the sleeplessness and I could enjoy the experience. I planned to express milk so that Jim could take turns feeding with both babies. In the end I didn’t do it nearly as often as I planned purely due to not really liking expressing and I found it time consuming. I used a hand-held breast pump and was always pretty impressed by the volumes that I was producing, I think our bodies are awesome! I found it hard to find the time to do it the second time as I had an older child to look after. Feeding Penny was easier in a way as I didn’t have to worry about anything else but I sometimes felt sorry for both her and Louis when I fed him. Often she would climb up and want a cuddle as I fed him bringing those feelings of mummy guilt, and I just didn’t have the same uninterrupted time with him for feeds which led to mummy guilt then too!! Also, Louis was an extremely fidgety feeder, I’ve never seen a baby wriggle around quite like him! It was so funny to watch but drove me nuts at times! Feeds were never really a relaxing time for us!

So if you are at the start of your breastfeeding journey, are finding it hard work but want to carry on, I promise that even when you feel completely overwhelmed by it all, it can get easier if you get support in whatever way works for you. My family was enough support for me but sometimes you need more. There are great breastfeeding support groups out there, whether you prefer meeting other mums face-to-face or need to chat to a counsellor over the phone, there is a way to get support if you need it. I was really fortunate that I didn’t need additional support but I really appreciate that not everyone has a similar experience and it definitely isn’t easy but if you can manage to get past any issues you experience, it really is lovely to do with your baby if it’s what you want to do. You can speak to your health visitor to find out about local breastfeeding support groups. La Leche League is a great resource for breastfeeding information and support, which includes a helpline. The NHS choices website also has  more information about the benefits of breastfeeding. I remember when Louis was quite young we all caught a horrendous vomiting bug. It was the kind of bug that left me unable to walk so I crawled around the house! It was really grim but the one person who didn’t catch it was Louis and I’m convinced it was thanks to me breastfeeding him and passing on the antibodies through my milk. I really think that stuff has magic properties! I find it fascinating that it adapts to suits the baby’s needs, it’s absolutely amazing!

So I was fortunate not to experience issues while breastfeeding and another aspect of that I wanted to touch on which was feeding in public. This one is very topical and seems to provoke some pretty extreme reactions from people. Personally, I don’t quite understand a negative point of view of feeding a child in public, though I appreciate that it’s a refection of that person’s belief system for whatever reason they have. I never experienced any negativity when I fed my babes in public. I find it really sad to think that people have issues with women feeding their baby, and make them feel awkward for doing so. No one deserves to be made to feel uncomfortable for doing a very natural and essential part of raising a baby.
If you are feeding out and about and are looking for clothing that will help make you feel more comfortable, I recommend my favourite item which is called a breastvest. It’s designed to be worn under your normal tops and is shaped to fit under your breasts so that when feeding, you just lifted your top up without worrying about showing your belly off and you don’t need to worry about buying expensive nursing tops or stretching tops out of shape to pull them down to whip that booby out! I highly recommend trying one if it’s something you’re thinking about. I used them both times and they helped give me confidence when feeding out of the house. I didn’t feel the need to use muslin squares to cover up thanks to using them. They have been well used and are now definitely at the end of their life-span much like my breastfeeding days.

 

I’ll always be thankful that I had such a positive breastfeeding experience. As much as I’ll miss those moments in the wee small hours, stroking a hand and enjoying extended cuddles, or battling Mr grabby hands as he fidgeted around, it does feel it’s come to a natural end. The pluses of no longer breastfeeding are I don’t have to worry about expressing while I’m out or away from the kids. I had to express in the toilets of the SSE Hydro in Glasgow when we went to watch Brian Cox earlier this year! It wasn’t one of my finest moments! Most other times I expressed I was able to find a designated area and I think it’s great that there’s so much thought put into providing women with areas which are comfortable and clean to feed or express in private. It’s also easier to leave the baby with family or friends and not have to worry about being there for feeds or expressing. Finally, I get to sleep much better these days yay!! You may have picked up how much I love my sleep!

I have stretch marks, I’ve had big leaky boobs which have done their worst while I’ve been out and they have since shrunk quite a bit. Yet I feel more confident than ever in my body as I know the amazing job it’s done for me by growing my babies and feeding them for a whole year each!

Goodbye breastfeeding, thank you for all the good you did and you will be missed!

#loveyourbody   #breastfeeding   #naturesfinest    #mammasmilk

 

Happy first birthday Louis!!!

IMG_20171104_155241931

Loves a bit of pointing!

I’m writing this a week late as my little darlingboth fell ill over the past week so there has been lots of tears, cuddles and calpol at home!

So I think the last year has possibly been the quickest one yet! We welcomed our baby boy into our family and our lives have changed in so many ways. We had an adjustment period of having a new wee person to look after, we moved house and I started my business! I won’t pretend it’s all been plain-sailing as there have been moments when I’ve thought I was going mad at times but I can say whole-heartedly that it’s worth every sleepless night, every stress and moment of thinking I can’t keep up with everything. Having a second child in the house somehow felt like having an extra 10 people! It’s a mad house at times but a fun, loving house too!

Louis’s birthday got me in a reflective mood. I didn’t keep too well throughout my pregnancy, I suffered morning sickness until around 18 weeks and then had pelvic grindle pain which made it quite difficult to walk. That coupled with having a 1 year old to look after left me feeling absolutely exhausted. The turning point for me was when I signed up to do my hypnobirthing training. I was approaching 30 weeks when I started it and I had the light-bulb moment that this was going to make such a difference to my birth experience coupled with knowing that I was finally on the right career path too. Lucky me! It’s been the best decision I could have made as it’s helped develop a really positive mindset and I’m so excited to be working with other expectant parents to help them have a positive experience too.

My beautiful boy arrived shortly after I completed my training weighing 5lb 5oz at 9.06am on the 5th of November – an easy date to remember, remember! My previous blog post talks about his birth story so I won’t go into it here but you can have a read by clicking here.

I had a stay in hospital of 3 nights after his birth as he was a little slow to feed, and then also had jaundice so he had to go on the sunbed for a night and day. That part was difficult as he needed to stay under the lights as much as possible and he just wanted cuddles with mummy, plus feeding was tricky to establish as he was sleepy so not feeding much from me. I had my hormonal, tearful moment the following morning when I just wanted to hold him and be at home with him, Penny and Jim, and I sobbed to the midwife! A chat, hug and a cup of tea later and I felt much better. When we got the results back that his bilirubin levels were fine and we could go home I was delighted! It was late at night when we got the result so we stayed one final night and I was up and packed by 6am to go home. I felt like a dog impatiently waiting for it’s owner to come home as I waited for Jim and Penny to pick us up! I’m so grateful that we were only in for a few days and my boy was healthy, I can only imagine the pain of watching your child being ill and the impact it has on the family.

WP_20161107_00_02_38_Pro

Louis getting phototherapy

And so, we adjusted to our new lives as a family of 4. It was back to sleepless nights, frequent feeding and nappy changes and watching every move of the new baby. There’s 19 months between Penny and Louis so it hasn’t been easy all the time as I’m in demand from both of them A LOT! At times it does get a bit overwhelming and my breathing techniques tend to come in handy! Penny is amazing with her brother, she still calls him baba – I’ll be sad when that stops so I think I’ll try to keep it going! She cuddles him, plays with him and does a baby voice with him which is adorable. My favourites are: “What’s the matter baba?”, “Are you ok?” and “Aww baba!”. When I see the way they interact with each other it melts my heart. He adores her too, he finds her hilarious and they love holding hands. Plus she sneaks him food so he’s sold on that alone! Of course, they’re brother and sister so there’s lots of sibling rivalry and toy snatching too! Louis’s scuttle bug birthday present as been nabbed by Penny on many an occasion!

The past year has been amazing watching them grow together. They shared a room for a couple of months until we moved. It was the sweetest thing hearing them laugh together but also quite torturous when they would wake each other up! I have to say I’m enjoying more peaceful nights now that they each have a room.

The early days of having Louis were a big change for all of us. He had reflux for his first few months, I didn’t experience this with Penny and any of you who have, know what it’s like to have an upset baby on your hands. Unfortunately there wasn’t much that helped him despite trying various medications. He was sick after every feed, and quite unsettled at times with it. He was breastfed and I just kept going with it and kept him upright afterwards. I found giving him a dummy helped a wee bit too. Thankfully, once he started weaning, it resolved and it’s now only the occasion mouthful of Weetabix that finds it’s way onto my clothes! Talking of weaning – wow does that boy LOVE his food! He may be wee but he has a massive appetite! Good for him! It’s mostly been baby-led weaning as he doesn’t like me trying to feed him. I’m not fast enough and it’s the end of the world when I finish if I do it for him! The drama! He’s also incredibly lean and muscular! Our wee beefcake!

And so we reached that one year milestone and I realised how much he and we have changed. He’s a happy, bubbly boy who does the most amazing commando crawl across the floor! It’s such fun to watch! He can crawl but he much prefers to fly across the floor. He’s so close to taking his first steps, I’m going to have to be ready for that one as he shows signs of being a wee rascal already! He says “bye” and waves at the door when he leaves the house, claps along to music and has a great sense of rhythm, as does his sister. His daddy was a professional musician and his grandad and uncle play too so music is clearly in the blood of our children! His favourite things are shoes, the telly remote, a cat draft-excluder and the cats too! He loves cuddles and is a great communicator at letting us know when things aren’t quite right for him. He’s quite dinky in size but has a tremendous volume on him!

So happy 1st birthday Louis!!! Thank you for being you and we can’t wait to watch as you grow into an amazing person!

Here’s some highlights from our first year with Louis.

Breastfeeding support: https://www.laleche.org.uk/

https://www.nationalbreastfeedinghelpline.org.uk/

NCT https://www.nct.org.uk/ is a fab resource for any issues during pregnancy and for the first two years.

For support during pregnancy http://www.aims.org.uk/ is a great resource to help you make informed choices.