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February 14, 2014




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March 15, 2011

Part time nappy free

I'm very excited by the prospect of using less nappies. Whilst cloth nappies are infinately more appealing to me then disposables, I'd still like to buy and wash less nappies. But it seems that with the advent of disposables we've forgotten how to use less, because in our consumer culture Huggies is constantly convincing us that we need to use more.

When I came across the website Part Time Nappy Free it instantly made sense. Imagine babies in tribes, baby's in the bush, baby's in India, baby's in villages, do you picture a nappy? So how do they contain the mess? They offer their baby's the opportunity to go to the toilet, just like the rest of us.

It's now got fancy names like infant potty training or elimination communication, but it's basically what our great grandmothers would have done. Imagine life before dispoables AND before washing machines, you'd want to avoid nappies too!

We've been putting Harriet on the potty since she was about 6 months old. It's easy to catch poo's cause it's so obvious that she's doing one. Wee's are a bit trickier, and are more about timing than training at this stage. We started offering her a wee on the potty (accompanied by a 'psssss' sound) about every fifteen minutes. She was quickly able to hold on for half an hour and now it's more like 45 minutes, depending on how much water she's drank or how recently she's had a breastfeed. Now she only wears nappies for sleeps and outings and wears training pants at home for when I'm not paying enough attention and we miss one. If she's sick or cranky or having a wonder week then the nappy goes back on so it doesn't get stressful.

About a week before her first birthday we had a really big breakthrough. She's learning sign language really fast now, picking up a new sign every few days. She came for a cuddle in our bed in the morning and then suddenly sat up and did the poo sign, which is waving your hand in front of your nose like you can smell something, well, pooey. I didn't respond quick enough cause I couldn't quite believe it, so she signed more urgently and then lifted her hands in the air which means 'pick me up.' So I carried her to potty and she did a big poo. I was so proud!!!

One thing I really love about EC is that the parent and baby do it together. I have to remember to put her on the potty and pay attention to her signs and facial expressions. I'd highly recommend checking out this website and signing up for the free seven secrets. Then buy yourself a few cloth nappies as backup and look forward to beautiful, respectful and honest communication with your baby.

Real Nappies review and WIN A FREE CLOTH NAPPY

To win an intro pack visit the new website and leave a comment below saying which snugwrap colour is your favourite.

Real Nappies have invited me to review their products on my blog in return for some free stuff. I promise I will tell you the truth though!

Disclosure aside, I have been using Real Nappies for Harriet since she was born. I wrote about my choice here, and now after a year of using them I want to share a bit about my experience.

Real Nappies are a cotton prefold system with a PUL waterproof cover with velcro tabs. You can fold the nappy differently for boys, girls or runny poos.

Feature: Cotton
Pro: I chose them because I wanted to cotton against my babies skin. Personally I hate wearing anything other than cotton, especially underwear, so I'd expect the same for my daughter.
Con: I found that overnight Harriet got nappy rash in cotton, so we used to put her in a disposable overnight until we discovered stay-dry microfibre. I noticed Real Nappies have micro-fibre night time boosters but I haven't tried them. Also cotton can be a bit bulky, especially when baby moves into the next size up.

Feature: Velcro
Pro: Velcro is easier then press studs to open and close.
Con: By the time Harriet was about 9 months she could undo the velcro herself, but my daughter is a genius ;) so I don't know if all babies could do that. Now, so her little hands can't get to the velcro, she always wears frilly knickers over her nappy, which are pretty cute, but a bit annoying to add an extra step to every nappy change.

Feature: Fold
Pro: The unique folding system means you can adjust the absorbancy to suit boys or girls or runny poos or tummy sleepers. I love that you can fold them flat to wash and they dry really quick.
Con: Some of my friends are using all in ones for their older babies cause they won't stay still enough to fold everything in place. I haven't really had this problem with Harriet, I just give her a toy or a book whilst I change her and she's happy to lie there for a minute. Unless it's a wonderweek, but that's another post.

Feature: Price
Pro: They are one fo the cheaper cloth nappy options, the only other cheap one I can find is Bumgenius econobums, which you can get great deals on especially if you live in America.
Con: No complaints here!

Feature: Sizes
Pro: Harriet was in cloth from the moment we got home from the hospital, some one size nappies are far too bulky on newborns and they can't wear them till they grow a bit.
Con: I suppose we had to buy more nappies to cover each size but they are cheap enough so I don't mind.

Overall I am very happy with my Real Nappies. There are easier modern cloth nappy options, like all in ones, but they are more expensive, you need to buy a lot of them and they take longer to dry since you can't unfold them. Real Nappies are cheap and easy to use. Something about the cotton squares and plain white covers appeals to me, as they seem quite classic and timeless, with the ease of being a modern cloth nappy.

However I did need to use microfibre nappies for overnight and knickers to cover the velcro. I actually bought a couple of Bumgenius flips with press studs (they have a clever one size fits all PUL cover) to complement my Real Nappy stash, they come with microfibre nappies as well. If Real Nappies had press studs instead of velcro (especially on the larger sizes) I wouldn't have any complaints.

Real Nappies have a new website with great videos and instructions and information. And you can find them on facebook too.

To win an intro pack visit the new website and leave a comment below saying which snugwrap colour is your favourite. Competition is open to Australian residents only and winner will be drawn 29 April 2011. Leave your email in the comment.

October 14, 2010

Little update

Well my little girl is keeping me busy-crawling at six months! I'm moving house and my husbands way too busy at work. Plus my meditation teacher Baba ji is visiting Perth. My daughter loved sitting on his lap and tugging his beard!

I wish I had time to write cause I am learning so much that I would love to share with you all but where does the day go??? A few things I love:
  • Elimination Communication (also known as infant toilet training)
Visit Charndra's great website to learn more. We're only using three cloth nappies a day now and my clever, clever girl can sit up on the potty all by herself.

  • Baby led weaning
There's a book but personally I found this blog much more inspiring. Watching my seven month old eat her dahl and rice with her own hands is brilliant. I don't have to prepare special food-she just eats what I eat- and my hands are free to eat my own food! I love it. Very messy but very fun. If you take it on I'd recommend a shower curtain on the floor and a stack of long sleeved bibs from IKEA.

  • Aware Parenting
After a traumatic birth experience and very difficult and prolonged recovery our little family needed some serious emotional rejuvenation. We chose something called Aware parenting which is basically a form of attachment parenting, but with the addition of something called release crying. Release crying is supposed to help babies release stress and tension and we have seen such a difference in our little darling since doing it. She is more relaxed and confident, she sleeps better, she is less clingy and sensitive. We feel we have really benefited from it. Read the book Aware Baby or google it, there's lots of good websites out there. We had a few sessions with psychologist called the baby calmer to get us started.

Finally some pics of our darling.

March 23, 2010

Harriet's arrival

Phew! It's been a big week for us, but we finally have a moment to announce the arrival of our little girl, Harriet Tully Jones Smith on Monday 15th March at 1.09am. She was 7 pounds 2 ounces and 55 cm long.

It was a very, very fast and easy birth. The homebirth midwife only arrived ten minutes before I was pushing. While in the birth pool the baby descended and I reached down and felt what should have been her head and it was soft. We realised it was a bum! Marilyn (our midwife) called the ambulance just in case (as it is protocol not to birth breech babies at home) and I ended up pushing her out just minutes after arriving at the hospital.

The whole labour, including mild contractions in the restaurant to the birth of the placenta was only 6 hours, the midwives only counted it as 3.5 hours! Harriet is perfect and the birth was unassisted.

About an hour later however I began to bleed alot. I lost 2.2 litres of blood which is a very frightening thing. I needed surgery to stop the bleeding and two blood tranfusions. I am recovering surprisingly quickly, and gathering strength every day.

I feel very happy that I got the best of both worlds. If I'd planned a hospital birth then Harriet would have been almost definitely born by ceasarian, as vaginal breeches are rarely attempted these days, mainly due to a lack of experienced doctors. But the care I recieved for my bleeding was excellent and I am incredibly grateful to the hospital and modern medicine. If I had not had access to a hospital I'm not sure I would have survived, and even if I were at a smaller, less specialised hospital I may have ended up with a hysterectomy.

As it is I had a beautiful, natural, drug free birth, followed by the best medical care on offer. I feel very fortunate, although it was more dramatic than I had hoped!

You can see for yourself how beautiful she is! Her head wasn't squashed like head first bubs, though her bottom is a bit bruised and pointy! We're enjoying falling in love with her and spending those first precious weeks together drenched in Newborn Baby Smell, but having to fight off family for cuddles.

March 10, 2010

39 - Due Dates

Some people talk about due dates these days as though they were set in stone. Indeed for many people they are. They book in for an induction or a ceasarian at a convenient time for themselves and for the hospital and can plan for the exact moment their little one arrives.

I'm on the other end of the spectrum. A home birth is considered safe between 37 and 43 weeks provided there are no other complications. I'm now sitting at 39 weeks and willing my baby to come. I really don't want to go over, I was born three weeks late and caused no end of trouble to my poor mother! After 41 weeks the hospital like to see pregnant women to observe the baby and the placenta every couple of days, and as long as all is well and healthy then I can just wait as long as I am comfortable.

Who you choose as your primary carer (ie midwife or obstetrician) largely indicates when it is acceptable for your baby to arrive, but the other strange thing is how due dates are actually calculated. It is assumed by those little wheels they use that every woman has a 28 day cycle and ovulates on day 14. Any woman reading this is probably laughing out loud, My cycle for example is 23 days and I ovulate on day 8. How do I know? I can feel it, a little twinge in one ovary, alternating sides around the 8th day after my period. But most women can't tell when they are ovulating so they have to make some assumptions. So if ovulate 6 days earlier than most women then it follows that my baby will be due 6 days earlier. This works in my favour because I can tell everyone the later due date and hope that the baby comes by then. Most first babies are born about one week late, which puts me back to the later date.

To prepare my body and my baby for birth I have been doing a few different things. None of these are directly to induce labour, more just to encourage things in the right direction.
  • Many herbal teas ncourage contractions. Choose what feels appropriate for your dosha. I found raspberry leaf too astringent, and have preferred dandelion made into chai, or tea made from two parts fennel and one part fennugreek, brewed fairly weak, about 1 tspn to 500 mls water.
  • Walking, squatting, lunging, belly dancing, hula hooping and cat and cow all help to open the pelvis and encourage baby to head South.
  • Talking to baby, telling stories about how wonderful the world is and how much love is here waiting, as well as visualing the birth positively surely can't do any harm at all!
If your caregiver wants to induce your labour find out if their is a good reason. Just being late is not reason enough, because it could be that your due date is inaccurate to begin with.

39 weeks - my birth plan

I've been leaving this for last because I keep changing my plan as I learn more. Some people like planning, some don't. I love it. I love plans and lists because they help me to clear my mind, make decisions and have positive expectations of the world. I don't expect everything to go to plan, I don't think I'm in control and I am happy to accept whatever comes my way. But I always think it's worth asking for what I want and putting in efforts, without being to attached to the outcome.

My latest favourite preparation for birth technique comes from the book Birthing from Within. The author doesn't believe in birth plans as such, but she really encourages pregnant women to positively picture birth. (which I think is just a matter of semantics, cause it all depends on how you define a birth plan.) Many women in our culture can't actually picture birth, and go straight for the ending, the happy family snapshot.

But here are the four images I use to picture my own birth:
  • Walking along the swan river with my sister and two of my oldest girl friends, picking some flowers to decorate the birthing room with. Being infused with their girl power, walking to get the contractions going, and being in nature, by the water in one of my favourite places in the world.
  • At home, sitting on the fit ball at the my kitchen table, blanching and peeling almonds. I'm making a birthday cake for my baby, and stop every now and then to rest my head on the table as the contractions get more intense.
  • Kneeling on the floor in the birthing room resting over the fit ball. The contractions are very powerful know and I need to go inside myself to get through the next stage. It's dark and cave like.
  • Finally the actaul birth. I am squatting in the warm water pushing my baby out. My husband is in the water behind me. He catches our baby and pushes it through my legs, I pull our baby up to my breast and lean back on my husband, where we cuddle and gaze at each other in love and amazement.
I'll post my more practical birth plan shortly...