30 April 2015

Taking the plunge- switching to cloth nappies at night

We have been using cloth nappies for over a month now and I really love them, they are so soft and comfy against Little 3's skin, he seems very happy and comfortable in them. I love the designs and who can resist patting a big cloth bottom on a newborn. 

Up until this point we had only been using cloth in the day, I had been a bit apprehensive about using cloth at night (I was worried about how long they'd last and if they would leak causing disrupted nights). Newborns tend to poo at every feed and need several changes at night so I also didn't fancy changing cloth nappies and having to deal with storing wet nappies in our room at night. I tend to change night nappies on our bed for minimal disturbance of Little 3 and the wet bags etc for storing dirty nappies are set up in the nursery. Because of this we opted to use disposables at night for a few weeks so that I could just throw them away.

We use pocket nappies in the day and they need to be changed every 2-3 hours so they were not going to be the best thing for night so I asked a few questions in the cloth chat rooms and it became clear that there was one really popular choice for a night nappy- the Totsbots bamboozle which is a thick bamboo nappy with microfibre core that requires a separate waterproof wrap over the top, apparently this combination is bombproof and will last 12 hours easily even on a toddler.

The Totsbots bamboozle

I bought a pack of the bamboozle nappies and just needed a couple of the waterproof wraps then we would be good to take the plunge, Tots bots themselves offered to help and sent me their lovely Twinkle stretchy wrap to try. 

Sporting his night nappy combo
Little 3 now weighs just over 10lb and is at the smallest end of the weight range for this nappy/wrap, They are size 2 (birth to potty size) and fit around 9-35lb babies (there is a smaller size 1 that fits up to 16lb too). When I first fitted the nappy on the smallest size setting I was a little concerned that Little 3's legs might not quite be chunky enough to allow the nappy to fit snuggly and therefore avoid leaks when wearing it all night. The bamboozle nappy fitted him nicely but there is a little gap at the side of the wrap just inside the hips (in line with the size adjusting poppers, just down to the cut of the wrap and where it has been shortened to the smaller size) and no matter how tightly I did it up I couldn't cover a tiny bit of the nappy underneath. I put him to bed and hoped for the best.

Little 3 has been wearing the bamboozle and wrap combo at night for a week now and I can safely say I needn't have worried. Some nights he has needed a middle of night dirty nappy change and others he has worn the nappy 12 hours straight, we have not had a single leak and the nappy really is soaked through in the morning but it is all safely contained in the wrap. We will definitely continue using these as our night nappy from now on, no more disposables here.

Totsbots were also kind enough to send me another nappy to try the all-in-one Easyfit V4 in Humpty Dumpty pattern. This is just like the pocket nappies we are using but the insert is sewn into the nappy and comes with another one you can popper in to boost absorption.

This nappy is great, it is so easy to put on just like a disposable and fits Little 3 lovely, it has  a great design and is soft inside and out. The nappy is quite slim and not as bulky as some of my other nappies but just as absorbent. It washed well and dried super quick too, I might just have to get myself Little 3 a few more Easyfit nappies.

N.B We were kindly sent a Totsbots twinkle stretchy wrap, Easyfit nappy and extra booster in return for their inclusion in this post. 

21 April 2015

We are using reusable nappies....

Seeing as this week is #realnappyweek2015 I thought I'd better get on the bandwagon and write my cloth nappy post. 

We are a bit late really using cloth for our third child as we could have saved a fortune in disposable nappies over the years but as they say it is better late than never and we'll still save lots of money and the environment too using them on just Little 3.

When Little 1 was born I had briefly considered reusable nappies but all I knew about were the big bulky ones with a plastic wrap that from my experience, at the time as a nursery nurse and having changed a couple of children who wore these, leaked constantly and stank of wee, I decided against it (I did not look into it much further mind you, I'm sure there were others out there). We did though instead opt for reusable wipes and 5 and a half years later we are still using these and recently replaced our stash in time for the arrival of Little 3.

It wasn't until I met a friend who's child wore cloth nappies last year that I realised how much reusable nappies had changed since I had considered them and I thought about using them for Little 3. There are now so many different options and brands out there, some nappies are as easy to put on as disposables and such an array of colourful, funky and gorgeous designs. It didn't take me long to do a little research and convince Daddy that I wanted to give it a go and he was completely up for it (as long as I washed them though!) 

My nappy stash waiting for Little 3 to arrive
Having made the decision to go for it I joined a few forums and asked lots of questions finding out what was recommended and what was not, It can be a little confusing with wraps, liners, prefolds, woolsoakers, flips, pockets and inserts but I soon learnt what everything was and began to build my stash.

The simplest kind of nappy that appealed to me seemed to me to be the pocket nappy or all-in-one where a nappy (consisting of a waterproof outer and fleecy inner) is stuffed with various inserts and then separated for washing, in the case of the pocket nappy (the inserts are sewn into the all-in-one, you just pull it out one end). As your child grows you just use inserts of different materials (microfibre, bamboo, charcoal) to get the absorbency needed, some materials are more absorbent but take longer to absorb the wee and also to dry so a combination works well, you can stuff 2 or 3 of these into a pocket nappy for heavy wetters or overnight use.

I took advantage of the post christmas sales as I decided which brands to try and built up my stash. I loved choosing the nappy designs and love the array of colours in the nappy drawer. My three favourites have to be the frog, dinosaur and cheeky monkey ones we have. I can see how these nappies can become addictive, Each time I see a new bunch of designs come out I want them but we have enough to keep us going for now some for wearing and some in the wash. 

These are always the first to get used!

We have been using our cloth nappies in the daytime since Little 3 came home from hospital starting with newborn sized ones and a few two parters, now he has moved up to birth to potty size on the smallest setting of our pocket nappies and we love using them. At night time we are using up a few packs of disposables we'd stocked up before his birth and will shortly be making the switch to full time cloth using some recommended supersoaker bombproof bamboo nappies and wraps so watch this space later in the week for an update on that.

19 April 2015

Natalia vital touch pregnancy and birth products- review

Recently I was lucky enough to become a #nextorganicmum with Natalia Vital Touch. The company Vital Touch sells the Natalia range of natural organic products for pregnancy, labour and after birth developed by pregnancy expert Katie Whitehouse.

I was sent some of their gorgeous products at the end of my pregnancy to try out and use during labour and after birth.

I tried the Natalia Labour and Birth box which would make a really lovely gift for a mum to be, it included Natalia Labour Bath Ease with aloe vera, lavender and clary sage, Natalia Labour Massage Oil with sunflower oil, bergamot, clary sage and jasmine, the Natalia Labour Instant Energiser pulse roll on with sunflower oil, frankincense, rosemary and peppermint, a massage information booklet and an organic cotton flannel.

The products were all nicely packaged in a calming green and blue box in frosted glass containers and looked luxurious and fancy, the flannel was really soft and the massage booklet was full of really useful tips and techniques on pregnancy and labour massage, I couldn't wait to test these products out! 

I also received Natalia Prenatal Bath Soak containing aloe vera, lavender, vetiver and ylang ylang, Natalia Prenatal Instant Unwinder pulse pointer with sunflower oil, lavender, vetiver and ylang ylang and Mum's Miracle Balm with rosehip seed oil and rose.

I loved the cool and sophisticated look of these products, the pale green colours and glass bottles looked smart and relaxing, the usage instructions were clear and easy to read without covering the bottles in writing either. 

I couldn't wait to check out the products and began smelling them and trying one or two products right away, the pulse point unwinder was the first thing I tried. It smelt really refreshing, it wasn't too greasy and after letting it absorb for a few moments it didn't mark the cuffs of my top, there was a really refreshing strong relaxing smell which lasted quite a while.

Over the last few weeks of my pregnancy I used the products particularly the Prenatal Bath Soak, Labour Massage Oil, Mum's Miracle Balm and both Roll-ons and like every one of them. All the Natalia products are made with natural organic ingredients (where possible) and every product is tailored for it's intended use with the particular ingredients it contains. Each of the products smells as lovely and refreshing as the next, it was difficult to know which to chose sometimes!

My favourite product has to be the Labour massage oil and while I did not have a chance to use it in labour, due the the super speedy arrival of Little 3, I did use it lots once I went past my due date (it contains clary sage oil which can be rather potent and so it is not advisable to use it before your due date). I massaged it into my bump morning and evening, it was lovely and soft as well as soothing on my stretched skin, I didn't develop any stretch marks despite being bigger this time around than I had been with the girls and I think the oil definitely helped with that. I also have sensitive skin and a lot of products in the past have made me itchy but the Natalia products did not.

I enjoyed testing the Natalia products and am still using them now particularly the energiser roll-on which offers a little boost after the long sleepless nights with a newborn. I recommend them if you are looking for something natural and a little bit fancy to pamper yourself or give as a gift to someone who's expecting.

The Natalia Vital touch products can be found on their website www.vitaltouch.com 

N.B I received the products detailed in this post in return for this review.

16 April 2015

A delightful day out in the park for Daddy's birthday

Last week it was Daddy's birthday and so with a day off and Little 1 still on her Easter holidays we went out for the day. It was beautifully sunny but still a little cool in the shade. We took daddy to one of the places Nanny and I often take the girls for a few hours when he is at work as we knew he would like it there.

There is a small lake with a short circular walk around it and plenty of fish and ducks to spot, a play area, green grassy areas for a picnic or game of football and a nearby cafe with a sandpit and wendy house outside and a child friendly play area with sofas upstairs, perfect.

We arrived around coffee time and Little 3 needed feeding so headed to the cafe and made ourselves at home amongst the toys upstairs, lunch shortly followed and then we were ready to stroll.

The girls have a thing about their sunglasses at the moment and they are never very far away, they wear them in the car and at the dinner table and Little 2 is often sporting a dress and tiara with hers!

We were fish spotting on the bridge when Little 2 spotted a paved area behind us and declared it was a stage, she certainly got her groove on oblivious to the camera and was soon joined by Little 1.

We headed to the park first and the girls really enjoyed playing with Daddy and showing him what they could do on the equipment while Mummy chatted to Nanny.

We set off on our stroll around the lake, the girls liked watching the ducks and wildlife spotting as they walked along hand in hand with Daddy. 

There was lots of hiding in trees and climbing too as well as chasing, squealing and lots of laughter. We headed to a nearby garden centre after for a look around and then ended up back at the park for a game of football and snack while I fed Little 3. We all had a great day out and Daddy certainly enjoyed his birthday after we followed our trip out with chinese and chocolate cake with family and friends.

13 April 2015

A post birth update on Little 3's irregular heartrate.

Throughout my pregnancy you may remember me talking about Little 3 having an ectopic heartbeat where his heart had an irregular rhythm, which caused us to be sent to hospital by my midwives to be monitored many times in the final few months. We had quite a few scans and saw consultants and they all said it was quite common and not to worry, that it would more than likely sort itself out at birth when all the changes in the heart take place as baby breathes for the first time and some of the heart ducts used in the womb close over.

Well, it didn't sort itself out at birth and the doctors and paediatricians seemed a little surprised that it hadn't. Little 3 was given a check over at birth and during our hospital stay lots of different people listened to his heart, including a series of students who hadn't heard an irregular one before! There were no immediate concerns and so Little 3 and I were allowed to stay together on the ward while we waited for an ECG to see what was going on but the machine was broken so we would have to stay in until the Monday when it would be fixed, but in the end staying in was a good thing as that was when his chest infection was picked up.

Little 3 had his ECG which recorded his irregular heart rate and showed us that it was something to do with impulses from the brain causing it and we would need some follow up appointments to keep an eye on it, we were thankful it is not serious and doesn't currently need any intervention. The doctors still think it will improve and hopefully settle over time.

We have an appointment at the hospital in May so watch this space. It hasn't seemed to have affected him though, he is growing well and still scrummy! (he isn't always asleep either!)

9 April 2015

Fun on the farm for Easter

With the Easter holidays in full swing and Daddy busy having a go at tiling our new downstairs bathroom I knew we needed to get the girls out of the house for the day to give him some space from his 'helpers'. Nanny came over and we decided to take the girls out to some Easter activities at an organic food farm not far away.

It was a bit grey and chilly even though it looked bright so I was glad I had forced the girls to wear jumpers under their coats and grabbed their hats too otherwise they would have been freezing.

When we arrived we went on the trail find the giant painted eggs and looked at the animals along the way. Little 2 was not keen on the goats with horns and Little 1 was intrigued by the emus. I didn't take any pictures here as I was busy navigating the rocky terrain and puddles with the pushchair!

As it was cold we headed to the marquee to see what was going on, it was a shame to see that a few of the advertised activities, like the chocolate lolly making, were not happening especially as it was Easter Saturday but the Little ones did not notice. We were also a bit disappointed at the cost of the activities, £3 for a simple painted face, with two children to pay for it could have been ridiculously expensive, but my girls know they can not have everything they want so we decided what we were going to do and had some fun.

They played on the tractor, had photos taken in various funny face stands and admired the little chicks in the warmth strutting about under the lights.

It was then nearing lunchtime and we were all a bit chilly so we treated ourselves to chips smothered in sauce and hot chocolates eaten on bales of hay! It was lovely to see the girls enjoying themselves and tucking in.

After lunch the girls wanted to paint a ceramic Easter ornament, they each chose a hanging egg and set to work, there was lots of dipping and dabbing going on, they painted one side and left them to dry, then we went back a little later and cheekily asked to paint the other side too but the lady didn't mind. They are now hanging from our mantlepiece with our other Easter creations.

We then headed for the giant inflatable slides and I said they could chose one to go on, they opted for the slide. Having been on a very similar one at various birthday parties I knew they liked it or so I thought, tokens bought and handed over they jumped on, Little 2 had one slide and then declared that it was too fast and wanted to get off and Little 1 had 5 slides because she was 5 and wanted to get off too, what about the other 8 minutes I had paid for grr!

Lastly before we left for home was stayed to watch a puppet show, the girls got involved shouting out loud and joining in. Little 1 put up her hand to go up the front and held a pig puppet for the song of 'old mcdonald' (I haven't included the picture of her doing that as there were other children in it). It was lovely to see how confident she has become since starting school, back in the summer you would have had to force her up there!!

We had a good day out and the girls had fun even though it was cold and a little disappointing. There was chocolate to eat on the way home too which is always a plus from the girls point of view!

6 April 2015

The Little ones go on an easter egg hunt

Every year there is a free Easter Egg Hunt run by our parish council in a little nature reserve not too far from our home, we have been taking the Little ones for the past few years and this year was no exception.

It was a lovely sunny spring morning so we donned on the wellies and went in search of some chocolate. It is very popular with local families and rather than hunt for eggs you have to hunt for the 12 bunnies hidden around the paths and write their names on a little form, when you have found them all you can exchange your form for an Easter egg.

There are golden eggs to find too, the lucky ones who do find them can exchange for large Easter egg prizes but they are notoriously difficult to find we have never managed to find one!

The Little ones were keen to set off and look for bunnies, they went running around the paths and in and out the bushes.

There was lots of bunny spotting and this year Little 1 enjoyed writing the names of the bunnies onto her form by herself.

The girls each chose a chocolate bunny as their prize, they were very good and didn't want to eat it right away, infact they haven't even asked about them since they put them under the buggy while walking home!

There was a colouring competition and a guess the name of the rabbit competition too.

And what did Little 3 do while we were searching for bunnies, well he enjoyed a good long snooze in the pushchair taking in the spring sunshine.

2 April 2015

An extended hospital stay with a poorly sick baby.

My last post about the birth of Little 3 (here if you missed it) ended with me saying that Little 3 was born with meconium (a babies first poo) in his waters, this often happens if they are distressed in the womb as they are being born. We don't know what caused it but it could have been the speed of his birth or the fact that he was a week late and just needed to be born.

Due to the fact that meconium can cause breathing problems if it had been inhaled during the birth process we were immediately put on 24 hour observation to keep an eye out for any possible problems developing, this meant every 2 hours Little 3 had his temperature taken, heart rate and respiration rate monitored and recorded, so we would be staying in hospital. 

Settled in on the ward

Over the course of the following day after completing 24 problem free hours of monitoring Little 3 developed jaundice, you can see in the picture below he went rather yellow and quite puffed up too. (Both the girls had jaundice and had to undergo phototherapy for it so I was expecting it to happen really). Blood tests were taken to see if he needed to go under the lights and thankfully he was just under the level so we kept him near the window and hoped for the best. We continued to stay in hospital as we were waiting for an ECG machine to be fixed the next day to check Little 3's irregular heartbeat before going home. (post to follow)

On the second day in hospital, a temperature check showed Little 3 was a bit warm, he had been cuddled up on Daddy who is rather hot blooded so we stripped him down a little bit and they said they'd check him again in an hour, that check was fine. Later on though I felt he was quite warm so I called the midwife to check him, he had a temperature. The doctors were called and bloods were taken to check for infection.

His blood results showed some sort of infection so he was taken down to the NICU to be given intravenous antibiotics straight away while they tried to work out what it was. He had a cannula put in his hand, a chest x-ray and a more blood tests, our poor boy. 

Feeling better with a sly cheeky smile!

 The x-ray showed he had a chest infection, more than likely due to the meconium, so it was decided he would have 5 days of antibiotics and regular bloods to check they were working. He was well enough to come back up on the ward with me and just go down twice a day for his medicine though thankfully. We were going to be in hospital a while longer then.

After 48 hours he looked a lot better, his jaundice was clearing, he seemed brighter, no longer had a temperature and feeding was going well, he had lost a lot of weight but was gaining it back. Little 3 was finally given the all clear and allowed home a whole week after his birth aged 7 days, I had been in hospital 8 days and was desperate to spend some time with my girls who I had missed terribly and for a good nights rest in my own bed.

What a week it had been.