Emotional times: our Babe turning one…

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So, on the 23rd February our beautiful Babe turned one.  365 days ago, we were in hospital giving birth to our bambino.  We knew it would change everything, but I was not prepared for all the emotions that would last well, well past the early stages.   

Now I am a pretty emotional person anyway but pregnancy and then becoming a mother has put these on a whole other level.  I have always cried at films, heart-warming youtube videos etc.  But now I just need to be told about something or have a little think and I can genuinely be in floods of tears.  This doesn’t bode well for this amazingly significant point of O’s first birthday.

 I have, I would say since Christmas, been thinking about the time left before O turned one.  A LOT.  Counting down the days if you want, but not in a ‘can’t wait for that’ kinda way, but in a ‘oh my goodness, its coming way too fast’ kinda way.  Not only in relation to her birthday itself, but what that means afterwards.

 In one way it feels as though this little bean has been with us forever, but in another it was just yesterday that we were bringing her home for the first time.   Everyone tells you that it all goes so fast, and you politely nod, and say ‘yes, so everyone says’ but in your mind thinking, I’m sure the perimeters of time will stay the same as they have been.  But they were right, it does.  It goes so fast.  Faster than any other passage of time I have ever experienced.  I can’t believe that we have written the cards, opened the gifts and had the gathering with our family already.  And it’s done.  Our first year is over.  My maternity leave is coming to an end.  And we are booking settling in days for nursery.  How has this even happened? 

Christmas and new year was a poignant point for me.  Up until then I was always going back to work ‘next year’.  When we hit the first of January, not only was it only about 8 weeks until O’s birthday, but I was now going back to work ‘this year’.  I can’t sit here and say that this hasn’t played on my mind for months as it has.  I met with my work in November to have some initial conversations about my return to work and part-time working, and that settled my mind for a few weeks but as soon as we hit the 1st January, all of those worries rose to the surface again, weaving their way into many of my daily thoughts and conversations, like a really persistent weed in a garden shadowing all the beautiful flowers right in front of your eyes.   

Speaking to my friends, I do not think that this is uncommon amongst those who are returning to work after maternity leave.  But is it ever really spoken about, except within your social circle?  Does everyone worry about this at the same level as I do? I wish it hadn’t consumed so much of my mind space during this time I have had off with our Babe, but I am sad to say it has.

I worry about a lot.  A lot of the time.  And this particular internal angst has a few different directions, it starts with, how O will find nursery?  How I will find nursery? What if she doesn’t like it?  How will we juggle everything?  What will I miss of Ottilie’s development?  How will we get up and out on time with a baby, drop her off and get to work? – Let’s face it we just get up when we get up currently and sometimes, even a year in, still don’t get out of the house until gone midday!

Then the thought process changes.  Do I actually need to go back now?  What if I didn’t go back? How would we cope?  Could we afford to live, pay bills etc. But what about all the other stuff?  Then I change direction again.  I think about what else may happen in our future.  We want to move house, when – will depend on schooling and that seems miles away.  But when I think how quickly this last 12 months has gone, I’m sure it’s just around the corner.  We want to have another baby, and god knows IVF costs more than just a few pennies. We want to be able to take O on family holidays to make memories that will stay with her forever as my childhood memories do.

And then there is breastfeeding.  We are 12 months in with no signs of stopping.  It has been the most amazing journey and I don’t want it to end.  But how will that even work if I am at work and O is at Nursery?  This is one of my biggest worries as I don’t want to force O to stop feeding before she is ready to.  Just add that to the list of worries.

 I am on this constant state of what if’s and it is exhausting.

 Otti’s birthday was last week. The only reminders are the collapsed pile of ceiling hangers and some left over cake, which although amazing on the day, is definitely on the wrong side of great now.  The day itself, was a lovely celebration with all of our best people.  The emotions seemed to be far stronger in the lead up as opposed to the aftermath which is a bit of a relief. 

 I will always be a worrier.  I will always have a list of ‘what if’s’ looming in the background and occasionally they take over and take up too much of my time.  However I think as a mother, the pressure to have everything just so and to be on top of it all is enormous.  And I know I do this to myself.  I am sure that everything will work itself out eventually, says my rational mind but sometimes that’s easier said than done.  For now, I want to let myself enjoy the last few weeks with our Babe, savouring every second – even those 3am wake-ups!

 Whatever happens, if it isn’t right for our family, then we can always change it up – I need to remember that.  Right now though I’m off to give my girls a squeeze and maybe go out and play in snow!

 

Why we chose the cloth life…

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So we are proud members of #teamcloth for both our nappies and wipes. We didn’t even really discuss it at length, but we just knew it’s what we were going to do.  There are a few reasons we chose to go cloth and a few things we discovered along the way which may help to you if you are thinking about going with or moving to cloth.

We use the Mio Solo from the brand Bambino Mio for nappies.  These can be used from 8lbs until potty trained.  They have poppers on the front to make the nappy smaller and you can angle the Velcro tabs to adjust the legs hole size and shape when fastening.  We chose this as we wanted an all-in-one nappy where the waterproof outer and absorbent inner are all one piece which goes in the wash together. The other kind you can get have an insert and a cover, we have never used these so not sure of the comparison.

The main reason for choosing this brand is that they are well known. Selling online at bambinomio.com as well as some supermarkets and Boots.  They have also put their new designs in Aldi during their baby events over the last couple of years and that is where I have bought all of our nappies. They were much cheaper and get reduced.  The first batch I purchased from there had gone down to £3.99 each vs £16.99 – and I do love a bargain!

So how does it all work for us?

We have approximately 30-35 nappies in use at any one time. By in use I mean either ready to go, being worn, in the nappy bin, or being washed and dried. There are always five in the nappy bag.  And a further five in the back up wet bag in the car – for emergencies, like if I forget our massive baby bag.  I know, I know, highly unlikely but you never know and I would rather be safe than sorry!  Also if a poonami did hit us, we would always have a back-up.

O is 11 months old and we used approximately 7/8 nappies a day including the night time nappies.  We also use a additional absorbent fabric liner, again from Bambino Mio, which is just placed inside the nappy and gets washed along with the nappies and resused again.  We put a wash on every day – usually in the evening so I can get it out to dry before I go to bed – with the odd exception here and there.

In the summer the nappies were going out on the line and drying fairly quickly in the sun. Come autumn drying them on the airer proved more difficult until we invested in a heated airer, or rather my Mum kindly did for us – thanks Mum!  This has halved the drying time down to approximately 12 hours, they are under a cover and look far more organised.

I put the nappies ‘back together’ as soon as they are dry and roll them ready to be worn again. I keep them on a storage unit (raskog from Ikea) and actually find this process quite therapeutic to do in the evening.

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Jumping back a bit to the actual storage and washing of the dirty nappies. We purchased the nappy bucket from Bambino Mio but you could purchase a bucket from anywhere. It is a square bucket with a lid and comes with two net bags, one of which will go inside on hooks.  Basically once the nappy is used and you have changed your babe, you unpop any poppers, fold the Velcro fasteners in on themselves and pull the inner out.  This then goes in the bucket.  Once it’s full, which is approximately 12 nappies I find – although you can fit another sneaky couple in.  You unhook and remove the net bag, leaving the bag open, just put it straight in the washing machine.  This means you don’t have to go through the dirty nappies again, it’s really simple.

They go on a regular 30 degree wash. Using my normal washing detergent (we use Ecover non-bio in lavender and sandalwood if anyone is interested!!) and I use a scoop of the Bambino Mio Miofesh powder.  This is designed to be used at 30 degrees, has anti-bacterial agents and is 100% biodegradable and chlorine free.  You do not use a fabric softener as this affects the ‘waterproofness’ – not even a word, but I’m allowed due to baby brain right – you all know what I mean!

In terms of poo nappies. There are liners available which I liken to tumble dryer sheets, that kind of see-through, rough but very thin paper.  O was a nearly 10lb baby, so we started using the nappies from birth and we also used the liners as we just thought that’s what we were meant to do.  However O started suffering from savage nappy rash and after a week or so we stopped using both the liners and nappies.  Having spoken to people since, it was the liners which started the rash.  And using a logical brain and not a ‘new mum knackered brain’ the point of the liners is to catch the poo.  Obviously a new born has very wet poo and it would soak through so they don’t need to be used.  It’s obviously solid now, but we still don’t use them.  Mainly because I don’t feel we need to.  I do however have an extreme amount upstairs in a drawer – the curse of the bulk-buyer.  I just put the poo down the toilet and put the nappy in the bin as explained before.

When she did have wetter nappies, we used water and a dedicated scrubbing brush – just a handheld one from Wilkos – and cleaned these off before putting them in the bin and put the brush through the wash with the nappies.

Being out and about, the only difference is that the nappies go into a waterproof wet bag and we bring them home to go into the bucket. From questions we’ve been asked, I think people get hung up on the dirty nappies hanging around or having to be carried about if you are out of the house, but that is really not even a thing.   You will have more poo hanging around from a disposable nappy bin than from these.  And put it this way, if your babe had an accident on clothing you loved whilst out of the house you would just put it in a nappy sack and bring it home to wash – right?  There is no difference.

Another major difference to disposable nappies is that the smell is really contained. You know how you can usually smell if a baby has had a poo, well in these you can’t so much, if at all most of the time.  We have on occasion, thought O was going, only do the good ol’ sniff test and decide she hasn’t.  But actually she did.  We just couldn’t smell it.  I can’t speak for all reusables but with these ones that is definitely the case.

So that’s it on the nappy front.  We also use reusable wipes from Cheeky Wipes.  We use the terry cloth ones, and they are basically like small flannels really.  We do have some of the super soft bamboo wipes which we use when O has a cold as they are good to wipe sore baby noses!

There are two pots, one for fresh and one for dirty wipes. You fill them both with water and then you add the essential oils to them.  An antibacterial one such as tea-tree for the used wipes and a kind, calming one for the clean wipes – we use lavender and camomile, but we also have clementine as well.  A few drops go in each pot.  You store the clean cloths in the fresh pot and the dirty ones in the mucky pot.  There is a bag in the mucky one, so much like the nappies, you just lift the bag out and put it in the wash.  They can go in any wash but I usually just put these in with the nappies of an evening.

You can also get a fresh and mucky travel bag to take whilst you are out and about.   I tend to take 8-10 wipes out with us on a daily basis for a normal day.  If I know we are going to be out for a full day I may take more, but that is usually enough.  We do have a pack of water wipes in the bag, just in case but don’t often have to use them.  We use the cloth wipes all the time now however we didn’t use them straight from birth and just used water as advised.  It would also have been another thing to set up and fit into our schedule which I just couldn’t do as a new mum!

One other great benefit is the lovely smell. We noticed that O’s skin often smelt like wee, even after just being changed with conventional wipes.  This is no longer the case.  The oils smell amazing and therefore so does O.   There are different wipes, pack sizes, bundles etc. all on the cheekywipes site and the bundle comes highly recommended.

The overall benefits for us speak for themselves…

Kinder to my babe:  The nappies are kinder to our babe’s skin. There are no chemicals, other than the cleaning detergents involved and that is a win for us.  As well as that, the gel in disposables can evoke the feeling of dryness when in fact your babe has wet nappy against their skin.  This can lead to longer time between changes and increased nappy rash.

Kinder to the planet:  *Each standard nappy takes approximately 500 years to biodegrade and they are one of the largest contributors to landfill in the world. Eight million nappies are thrown away, EVERY SINGLE DAY, just in the UK.  To me that is madness and although our family may only be making the teeny weeniest of dents in that, we are doing our bit.

 *statistics from bambinomio.com

Kinder to our bank balance:  The cost saving is also amazing, although this is a bonus rather than the main reason for us choosing cloth. The 35 nappies I use cost us £180 (reduced in Aldi). Obviously depending on the age of potty training that has saved us at least £700, maybe more.

So honestly this reusable nappy and wipe thing is definitely the right choice for our family. It does take more time and involves more work than taking a nappy off and sticking it in a nappy bin.  But there are so many more benefits to outweigh something which didn’t take long to fit into our daily routine.

And the cherry on the top is that they look super cute right?