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    Blogs — Bath & Changing

    cloth nappies, nappy bin

    Do I have time for washable cloth nappies?

    We use washable nappies.  When I tell people this (or they notice, sly eyed across a baby massage class), I am met with a range of reactions; from bewilderment to amusement, intrigue to (mild) disgust.  The most common response however is 'I wish we could use washable nappies but...'.  I would like to take the 'but' (pun intended) out of this sentence. Sure, there are things to consider when making the move over to washables but in the year when disposable plastics are firmly in the spotlight, disposable nappies and their environmental impact (spoiler alert; they're  not great) are sure to take a hit.  So get ahead of the curve and jump on the washables train....

    You will wash them.  A lot.  But that's OK – you do heaps of washing anyway with a baby as one of their favourite pastimes seems to be being sick. We do a nappy wash every other day generally but this fluctuates and should get less as A gets older.  You will also need space to dry them.  Obviously when the weather is glorious, as it is now, everything in the house gets washed (Oh hi Christmas Jumper on the line) but when normal service is resumed (I live in Manchester, an area not known for its dry climate) you will be drying them in the house.  Invest in a new airer.

    They are expensive, but they are an investment.  Obviously I speak from a place of privilege here and totally accept that not everyone has £100 to drop on nappies; a £1 pack of nappies from Aldi is accessible and do-able for most  However there is a active second hand market so you can easily pick some up on the cheap (and sell them on when you are done with them) and they will do for more then one baby so the savings really add up in the long term.    But we are missing a key point here – people want to buy you stuff when you have a baby  – do you really need another baby grow they will wear for two weeks and then be sick on (see above)? When people ask what you want or need for the baby maybe you can ask for nappies or some pennies towards some – let Great Aunt Mabel* get you something actually useful, something you will use every day, that will grow with your baby, save you money and save the world (OK, maybe not the whole world, but your little corner of it). We bought our nappy set as we were very kindly given a voucher for Mothercare and they had an offer on.  We are suckers for a deal.

    But the main and possibly most important point that I would like to make is that, in my experience, washable nappies work.  They are far superior to disposables at containing whatever surprises your baby has in there for you which in turns leads to less ruined outfits due to leakage.   The last time I used disposable nappies I had to change A's outfit four times.  Four. When I complained to my friends about this they rolled their eyes, a pitying look given – Outfit changes seems to be the order of the day with disposables.  I accept that disposable nappies have a place in your repertoire– when you can't, for whatever reason, carry around dirty nappies or when you don't have access to regular washing facilities (on holiday or when travelling for example).  But why not use them for just that? The odd occasion when you need them for that convenience.  Because that's what disposable nappies and all one use plastics are; convenient.  But, as you all know, convenience is killing our planet. 

    Give washables a chance.  Lots of companies offer a try before you buy system.  If you are really lucky you may even have a nappy library in your hood. Let me know how you get on.  Maybe one day I'll be giving you a sly glance in baby massage checking out your baby's nappy.

    *You might want to help Great Aunt Mabel out and send her a link

    How and why I spend longer folding up clothes to save time in the long term

    How and why I spend longer folding up clothes to save time in the long term

    I’m not an overly tidy person but I do like to see things tidy or not see them at all.  Toys are easy enough to be tidied away and the mess of our toys is usually hidden from view because we use the ever so practical and great Ikea Kallax.  It doesn’t really matter that the toys are randomly tossed into the boxes or cupboards since the way our kids play with their toys, it would all simply be taken all out again the next day anyway.  However, when it comes to clothes, it used to drive me mad that I would fold the kids’ clothes away and after just one day it would be messy again. I can't blame anybody else except myself since it was me who'd be rummaging through the drawers looking for a particular top or grabbing any combination of clothing I could reach first. 

    Do my kids look scruffy?

    Late last year, we had some friends stay with us and as anyone with kids will know, washing and clothes drying on the clothes horse becomes part of your household decor. One evening, I came home from work and was 'pleasantly' shocked to find a pile of clothes neatly folded into small tiny parcels. My initials thoughts were ‘this is somebody with too much time on their hands’ and then embarrassingly how untidy they must think I am. They had obviously seen the state of the kids’ wardrobes and drawers and I felt bad incase they thought it represented the state of my kids and how they are presented. Oh, the shame.  Still. I thanked and appreciated the kind gesture. I put the neatly folded clothes away into the drawers, too worried incase they fell out of place and I daren't do a wash load again until they had left!

    6 months later they came to visit again and I was actually looking forward to having someone put some order into the kids' drawers and fold away their clothes. I realised, when you have kids, any help you can get is a bonus.  It was one less job for me to do. 

    The Marie Kondo way

    It dawned on me that, going forward, I should try to do what my friend did.  She raved on about this style of folding clothes so that the clothes would be stacked in a row rather than on top of each other.  This way each item of clothing could be viewed when a drawer was pulled out.  It is a method by Marie Kondo - a way of folding up your clothes into small parcels and placed side by side in sections, rows or columns so that you can see each time of clothing.

    How my life has changed

    6 months on and I’m still using her method. It does take a little longer to fold and put away the clothes but the drawers are tidy and they stay tidy.  I don’t need to rummage through piles of stacked clothes to look for an item. The Marie Kondo way means I can glance through the clothes when I open the drawers. I’ve converted and even for my own clothes.

    This is the reason I spend longer folding up clothes so I can save time from having to refold them again and again. It's definitely worth putting the time in to do it properly and definitely saves time in the long run.

    What to pack in your nappy bag

    What to pack in your nappy bag

    Do you feel like you need to pack a suitcase full of baby things when you leave the house? Even if it's only for a couple of hours?  Or do you wonder why you need to pack at all and surely only a couple of nappies will do.  Trust us – a well packed nappy bag will save your day.  Here's our list of what we think you should be packing for your baby and you! 

    For your baby

    • Nappies – pack one for every couple of hours you’re out and a couple extra.
    • Wipes – not only are they useful for nappy changes but sticky hands and surfaces too. Instead of carrying the whole packet, which can be rather chunky and heavy – you can put some wipes in a plastic bag.
    • Changing mat  -  some changing rooms have paper towels to cover the changing station but many don’t so having your own lightweight one is a must and it means you can pretty much change your baby anywhere.
    • Hand cleaning gel - to clean your hands when there’s no basin
      For cleaning your hands after diaper changes when there's no time or place to wash them.
    • Nappy bags – So useful for everything, dirty nappies, clothes, as rubbish bags
    • Bottle(s) of milk – if your baby uses the bottle (we recommend Pura)
    • Dribble bibs - if your baby is teething
    • Meals (if weaning)
    • Snacks (for older babies and toddlers)
    • Water bottles - we recommend Squeasy or Pura.

    Extras, just in case

    • Large muslin cloth – so versatile you can use it to cover your baby for warmth, as a shade, nursing cover, burp cloth.
    • Extra clothes including bib, vest and baby gro – just for those times when you have an accident of some kind.  
    • Dummy/Comforter -  if your baby uses one
    • Sunscreen or a hat to protect your child from the sun
    • Entertainment – a young baby may not need any toy whilst a toddler going to a restaurant will need more distractions – books, colouring paper, stickers and crayons will make your trip out much easier.
    • Medicine – plasters, paracetamol sachets and any other regular medicines
    • Sling or wrap for carrying your baby - sometimes your baby doesn’t want to be in the stroller, sometimes you need to park the stroller or for those times you just want to have your baby close to you.

     Don’t forget your own essentials too!

    • Nursing cover – if you use a breastfeeding cover then you’ll want to take this in your nappy bag
    • Breast pads if you’re breastfeeding

    Have a read of some real tips from parents

    5 things you didn’t know you would do until you had a baby

    5 things you didn’t know you would do until you had a baby

    We all know that having your precious little baby is life changing. Your body changes forever, you can't sleep, you change a million dirty nappies, you are responsible for everything your baby needs: feeding, changing, cleaning, teaching and loving them.  But who knew all the other things that you would do when you have a baby to make life work.  

    1. Going to the toilet whilst holding your baby – you’ve held on for as long as you can and your baby either hasn’t finished his nap or just will not let you go without crying, and you have already slightly leaked.   So you go to take a pee whilst holding your baby.  It can be done. This is when you realise those jeans are a pain to put back on … with one hand.
    2. Cook whilst holding your baby in one arm -  It’s Wednesday and you haven’t had a home cooked meal since Sunday when husband was at home so you decide to cook dinner but it’s now 6pm and you still haven’t managed to time preparing dinner with your baby.  So you learn the art of one handed dinner preparation and cooking.  The carrots might still have the skin on – it’s hard using a peeler with one hand.  The courgettes might not be perfectly sliced in equal pieces.  Have you ever chopped with a blunt knife before? And the chicken might be overcooked because there are uneven pieces but at least you can say you cooked.
    3. Playing tag at meal times with your partner.  On the days you actually manage to cook dinner you’ll want to enjoy your delicious meal whilst it’s hot.  Why do babies always know when it’s our meal time? And wont’ let you eat in peace.  So one of you holds the baby walking around the house, starving.  At least one of you can enjoy your meal whilst it’s hot although you’ll prob eat it in half the time that you usually do so that your partner can have some food.  
    4. 1 - 2 minute showers – you know still being in your pyjamas at 4pm is normal but in this heat you can’t wait to jump in the shower except baby just won’t let you… so you put him down, he’s crying as if it was the worst thing on earth you could ever do, so you have the fastest shower on record. Barely getting yourself wet.  Lather up and rinse.  The hair can wait until tomorrow.  Hardly relaxing but at least you are clean. Sort of.  You’re saving water at least.   
    5. Breastfeeding on the go – when your baby is half way through his hour long feed and you only have half an hour left of parking and haven’t even picked up one thing from your list of things to get – you’ll find yourself breastfeeding on the go.  As long as he’s being fed you can carry on your with what you need to do. Multitasker extraordinaire!

    Too young to be toilet trained?

    Too young to be toilet trained?

    There are two sides to every story and it’s no different with regards to potty training or toilet training in my case. I’m talking about elimination communication (EC) or baby led potty training (BLPT) as some may call it. This is my personal way of doing it, not necessarily by following a particular book or routine but my own natural instincts as a mother.

    Nappies were not so readily available many decades ago, and even in many cultures today where potty training is encouraged even before a baby learns to walk and talk, perhaps early potty training was and is more of a necessity for some. Over time with the introduction of disposable nappies and perhaps with working parents not having the time, the average age of children being potty trained has increased over the years.

    So will it work for you?

    Only you will know. A lot of it all depends on how much time and effort you want to put into it and then knowing how your baby responds to it. All 3 of my children were toilet trained at what is considered to be ‘early’. My no.3 has hardly soiled his nappies since he was born. Of course, it’s only natural that they will wet and soil their nappies from time to time but they will slowly learn. Just as you would sing nursery rhymes over and over again or teach them how to say hello and goodbye by waving your hand, I feel it is a similar process in being consistent with your approach and your babies will slowly learn the signs. Yes, there are arguments that you should wait until your baby is physically and emotionally ready before you start potty training, yes I’ve read the warnings that if you start too early, it may lead to potential problems such as bladder infections, chronic constipation, anxiety over accidents, regression at school but I think if you know your baby and you learn how their ‘cycle’ works, by taking a relaxed approach and with a little patience and perseverance, I think it can work for anyone willing to try.

    Why am I doing it?

    Not because I necessarily want to save money on nappies (although of course, it all helps) but if I’m honest with you, I just hate wiping a dirty bottom so if I know my baby is about to do a potty, I would much rather that be done in a toilet and I can press a button to flush away rather than me having to wipe a dirty bottom! The thought of my babies sitting in their own mess makes me just as uncomfortable so I can only imagine what they must be feeling. And of course, the added benefits that come with all of this is that you are likely to use less nappies and therefore save money and the environment!

    So what did I do?

    Most of my friends are often surprised and amazed that my babies knew how to use the toilet at such an early age. They would often ask ‘how do you do it?’ and even some then went on to train their children earlier than when they were expecting to and thanked me for helping them. Referring to my youngest (as it did take a little longer with my firstborn - as you do, I had no idea what I was doing as a mother, let alone how to toilet train a baby), when my little one was around 2 weeks old, after each feed I would sit him up to wind him. One of the ways I was ‘taught’ to burp a baby was to do cycling motions with their legs by having baby facing away from you with their back against your front and holding their legs so they are knees bent, almost in a squatting position. All 3 of my children were not easy burpers! It took forever trying to burp them but I found this to be the most effective method. After each feed, when holding him in a position to burp him, I realised he would end up doing a poo in his nappy (as they so often do!) and so I would be talking to him and saying ‘oh you just did a poo’.

    Making ‘hmmm hmmmm’ and ‘shhh shhh’ noises

    Introducing sounds along the lines of ‘hmmmm hmmmm’ and ‘shhhh shhhhh’ so that he begins to familiarise the sound with the action of doing a poo or wee respectively, helps. The first week, I would practice this and purposely ‘let’ him poo in his nappies (yes it might sound contradictory given I am potty training my 2 week old but LO seemed far too little to be squatting over a toilet!). Of course, it didn’t always happen and of course, there’s only so much I can control the bowel movement of a 2 week old especially as little newborns poo at least every couple of hours so if it's going to happen, it will. So I added it to our routine of feeding and changing and more often than not, it worked. And so, I continued with this routine after each time I fed him. Then around 3-4 weeks old, it seemed to be consistent and so I would take baby to the toilet to do his no.2s. Firstly by holding him in a position where I would be knelt down by the toilet (not the most desired place to be but as far as being a parent goes, it’s one of the things you become accustomed to - spending a good part of your day in the toilet!) with his body resting against my front and holding his legs so they are bent. Then when he got a bit more stable around the 2-3 months mark, I held him sitting upright on a padded toilet training seat over the toilet. I never liked the idea of those standard potty that you can place in any room. As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I dislike wiping my own childs bottom so I’m not going to like cleaning a dirty potty any more!

    Giving you the ‘look’

    As my baby gradually got older, I would watch for his facial expressions and when I see the ‘constipated/cstraining’ look, I would pick him up and run for the toilet, telling him to ‘wait wait’. Sometimes, at the beginning he would have started in his nappy but he would always finish off in the toilet. Eventually, he would find me and give me the ‘look’ or hold his nappy and that was his sign to tell me that he needed to go to the toilet.

    Be patient and show praise

    So this is how I toilet trained my kids. Some people might think I’m some ‘maniac’ mum forcing their kids to use the toilet. Yes there will be parents who do not agree with this approach and believe a child should learn at his or her own pace and that a child is simply not physically or mentally ready until they are around 3 years old but for me, it was simply adding an extra step to their feeding, burping and changing routine. I didn’t put any pressure on my children nor myself to have them toilet trained by a certain age. If it didn’t work, then fine, we try again but when it did,  I got so excited and proud of my little babies that it made me want to continue with it more. It does take an effort, particularly when training for a wee as you would have to remind yourself to take LO every 20-30 minutes but with each try, it seemed my little baby was understanding the concept of going to the toilet.  Definitely praise your LO if it is a successful, no matter how young they are, I personally believe babies are aware.

    So are they too young to be toilet trained? Toilet training for me, was getting to know my child and listening out for what they needed and eventually, (this worked for all three of my children), they were able to communicate to me through signing or making distinct noises that they needed the toilet. Many people may not agree with my approach but for me, I don't think you can be too young to start toilet training. I came across the following quote and it sums up how I feel about toilet training my children earlier and why not show how much you value your children from an early age:

    Baby gains self esteem. When she cries for help to potty and is responded to respectfully, she begins to understand that what she communicates has value and, therefore, she has value. (Mama Natural)

    Useful links

    Potette plus travel potty and trainer

    WaterWipes baby wipes

    Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment