25 April 2016

10 reasons why I love reusable nappies

Little 3 has been wearing reusable nappies for over a year, I can now safely say we have tested them fully right through from breastfeeding and weaning and into toddlerhood. There are a great many reasons to give cloth a go and these are my top 10 reasons why I love reuseable nappies.

1. No chemicals on Little 3's bottom - This was one of the main reasons for switching to reusables with Little 3. Most of the disposable brands (apart from a few of the eco ones which generally contain something like wood pulp) are filled with chemicals, absorbing gels and strange things with long names! Little's 1 and 2 wore disposable nappies and got a lot of nappy rash at times. Since Little 3 was born he has only had a sore bottom once due to teething. I definitely think wearing natural breathable fibres next to his bottom is better for his skin, I only wish we had used them with the girls too.  

2. You never run out - There are always nappies in the house, I never have to run to the shops for nappies in the rain or lug great big packs of nappies home on the pushchair. As long as I keep on top of the nappy wash, which is only every third day, I will never have to go shopping for nappies.

3. The cost saving- Yes it did cost me around £450 to buy my nappies from birth until now but if you wanted to buy secondhand you could spent half that. But put it this way, I have worked out that in Little 3's first year we changed around 2250 nappies, add in a couple of packs of wipes a week (we use washable ones so saving there too) and this works out at nearly £600 for the year. We have already saved and every month until potty training we are now saving around £35 a month give or take a couple of £ for washing the nappies. When we are done we can sell on our nappies too.

4. They don't smell - You know that smell from disposables, the chemical one when your child has had a wee, you just do not get that from natural fibres. Reusable nappies are also brilliant at containing the other kind of nappy smell.

5. No poonami's - Reusable nappies are elasticated all the way around the back and the legs, this leads to no leaks, they really are far superior for containment, no up the back jobs in our house ever!

6. They are environmentally friendly - 2250 nappies we didn't send to landfill this past year - enough said!

7. Cute designs - There are so many gorgeous prints available, I love choosing which nappy to put on Little 3 and to see him crawling around in nappies like these, you have to admit he looks pretty cute.

8. The washing line - There is no better satisfaction than a line of nappies drying outside in the sun.

9. They are a conversation starter - The number of good comments I have had in baby changing rooms about Little 3's nappies is unreal. I have stopped and chatted to several mums about nappies in the past and even managed to get a couple of friends to try them. 

10. Shopping for new nappies - okay so shopping for nappies doesn't thrill you that much but with reusables there are always new prints and designs being released from somewhere, waiting to see what the new ones are going to be and deciding which ones to buy when you are building your stash can be fun.

#MaternityMondays 25th April

Welcome to #MaternityMondays 25th April

We have a new walker here at Loving Life with Little Ones. Little 3 started walking this past week, so far we have counted 8 steps but he is able to stop and steady himself now rather than just falling to his knees between attempts, life is about to get a whole lot more interesting with three of them running around!!

This week I hosted and was moved by a poem written by ‘Bread’ called Heartbeats are simple powerful things. It made me think back to being pregnant with Little 3 and all the issues we had with his heart during the pregnancy, I would lie in bed at night for hours thinking about his heart and listening to my own hoping that all would be okay, thankfully he is now fit and well.

And Congratulations to Laura Honeybee who shared her 13 weeks pregnancy announcement with us. I remember the pure exhaustion of the early days when I was expecting number 3, there is no let up with 2 children running around and it is even tougher when you feel so sick! I hope you feel brighter soon. 

As usual #MaternityMondays is for all your pregnancy, baby, toddler and maternity themed posts, please grab our new badge from my sidebar and comment on the hosts post and as many of the others as you can as linkys can only work if we support each other. If you tweet about the link up please tag me in @lifelittleones and use the hashtag #MaternityMondays and I'll retweet as many as I can.

See you next week x

20 April 2016

One year in cloth..our nappy journey so far..

This week it is real nappy week #RNW16 and seeing as Little 3 has worn cloth nappies for over a year now we thought we would share with you our first year in cloth, what didn't work for us and what cloth nappies we love too.

Little 3 has been wearing cloth nappies since the day after he came out from hospital so he was 9 days old when he wore his first cloth nappy, we started with pocket nappies first in Newborn size and then in the adjustable 'birth to potty' size. I wrote about our first experiences of using cloth here.

First cloth nappy ever at 9 days old

We started off with easy to use pocket nappies recommended to us by a friend, there were loads of different brands and prices too so we stocked up on a few of the cheaper branded ones and a few of the more expensive ones I had read good things about. We had 5 differnt ones in the end in our stash.

Nothing like a line of cloth drying on a sunny day
And then once we had got the hang of cloth nappies in the day we started using them at night. For night time we used a dual layer bamboo nappy and waterproof wrap combination as this is much more absorbent than a pocket nappy which requires changing every 2-3 hours, however they are bulkier hence why we only used them at night, Little 3 would easily go 12 hours in one of these.

First night nappy combo

We carried on happily until Little 3 hit the 5 month mark and we began to get leaks, only wee leaks mind you, it is rare in cloth to have the other kind of leak as cloth nappies are elasticated all round, unlike disposables. Little 3 was taking in vast quantities of milk at this age, shortly before we started weaning, and this liquid diet meant a lot of wee! I turned to the internet for help and found that this can be a common problem around this stage.

Being a boy Little 3 wees all at the front of his nappy, the front of the nappy would be soaked and the back bone dry, he also tends to do huge wees all at once flooding the nappy. After turning to the internet and nappy sites for help I found out that one of the inserts we were using (we were using a microfibre and bamboo combo) could be to blame. Microfibre inserts, although they absorb quickly, can also act like a sponge as they do not hold the wee as well as others. Little 3 was sitting up by now and so this seemed to be what was happening, they call it compression leaks, and so I bought some hemp inserts that can hold a great deal of liquid and experimented with combinations of inserts finding one to suit us. I ended up ditching microfibre all together and we were then using a bamboo/hemp combo. This worked well for us for another month or so when we started getting leaks again, the night nappies were also leaking sometimes too. I do not know what was causing the leaks but it could have been Little 3's changing shape, perhaps he was between the settings on the nappy rise and they were too tight on one but a little loose on another (this is why it is a good idea to have a stash made up on different brands as one may work better than another at different times).

I got very despondent and considered giving up but I love using cloth nappies and Little 3 gets sore the instant he is put in a chemical filled disposable now, I presume it is because he is not used to them so I had to find something else. I asked more questions and bought a couple of Close parent pop in nappies as I was told they are good for heavy wetters. I didn't want to spend more money on cloth nappies so just got a couple to try and the extra booster for night time too.

A pop in nappy

This was back in September when Little 3 was 7 months old and he is still wearing them now at 13 months old with no leaks. Pop-in's are brilliant, totally bombproof and super thirsty too. They are a kind of nappy hybrid, there is an outer shell and a soaker and booster so not a pocket nappy or all in one and not a 2 parter either, somewhere in the middle. I love the easy to use velcro fitting and the double leg gusset is a great feature (so no seeping like we were experiencing with the pocket nappies), plus there are some gorgeous designs too, they have just bought out some new prints and I'd just love to have them.

I love Pop in's and wish we had found them earlier, over the last few months I have sold on all the nappies that were no longer working for us and replaced most of my nappy stash with pop ins. We use them in the day time and get 3-4 hours out of them (it was 2 hours max in a pocket nappy before) and they go all night (often 13 hours) with the added night time booster too.  

Recently we were asked to test out the new Totsbots easyfit star nappy and so we now have a few of those in our stash too, they are super slim, comfy and absorbent and we do not get the issue with them that we had with our previous all-in-ones at all thanks to the fact they are bamboo and the new and improved anti leak features. 

The easyfit star

We seem to have finally found a couple of brands of nappy that suit Little 3 after trying half a dozen others. I am glad that I only bought a few of each nappy first to see if they were the right ones for us and I was able to sell the unsuccessful ones on and replace them with others so I am not too much out of pocket however, the saving from using cloth is still big compared to using disposables.

If I have one piece of advice to you (that I wasn't told before I ventured into reusable nappies) it is to do your research, and only get a few of several different types of nappy, that way you can see what you like, what fits your child and test them all out before stocking up on anything. There are some nappy libraries around where you can hire trial kits with lots of different brands/types of nappy in them when you are starting out and some retailers sell sets of popular brands as starter kits which can be a good starting point too.

There is one kind of nappy that I have heard good things about and I would really like to try and that is a nappy called gNappies, they are a kind of eco disposable with an outer cotton pant and a snap in pouch that can have either a fluff pulp (no nasty chemicals) disposable insert you can compost (wet ones only) or throw away or I can use my redundant bamboo and hemp cloth inserts inside too and be totally reuseable with them. I think these look really great.

Image courtesy of Gnappies UK

Whilst our current nappies are great and work well for us they are bulky to carry around in the change bag particularly on a day out where you might need to take 5 or 6, carting a bag of wet nappies around the zoo on a hot day is not the greatest thing I can think off.

I think gNappies would be a fab option for my change bag and trips nanny's house or on holiday (where I have resorted to disposables in the past- eco ones though) as you only need to change the inserts and wipe out the pouch between changes or snap in a clean pouch if it is dirty, no need to change the whole nappy each time. Plus they cut down on washing too, always a bonus with 3 children! 

N.B This was NOT a sponsored post, all the products mentioned are ones we own and use/used. We did review the Totsbots stars previously though.

18 April 2016

Warm and dry with a Trespass coat

When we were recently contacted by Trespass to see if we would like to review one of their products it was an easy decision, 'Yes, please'. We have bought several Trespass items in the past and both myself and Little 2 currently wear their coats and like them. Out of all the items they sell from kids coats to camping gear we decided to chose a coat for Little 1, having gotten a lot taller over the winter she was in need of a new jacket to keep her warm and dry.

We opted for the Skydive girls 3 in 1 jacket in Damson colour  (It was £49.99 but is now down to £27.99). I have had a 3 in 1 jacket before but the Little ones haven't, and with Little 1 having outgrown her winter coat and nearly outgrown her lightweight waterproof as well, this coat ticked both boxes.

The outer material of this coat is waterproof to 3000mm, it is windproof and has taped seams for added weather protection. The coat has a hood that can be hidden away in the fold away pocket and 2 zipped pockets as well as a draw cord hem. Unzip the inner fleece from the coat and you have a stand alone raincoat for those spring showers and a lightweight 240gsm fleece jacket with elasticated cuffs and zipped pockets for those chilly spring mornings, zip the two back up together and you have a versatile jacket suitable for rain, wind and the cold weather.

The 3 in 1 jacket appealed to me as I am never really quite sure what the good old British weather is going to do, take the day we road tested our coat for example...

Off we went to a family farm park, when we left home it was sunny but it is only April and I thought we might just need an extra layer to keep the chills away so in went some jumpers. Showers were forecast for the day so in went the waterproofs too. What did Little 1 need? In went this coat and nothing else, I knew she would be covered come what may... 

When we arrived it was blooming freezing as we were on a hill and it was raining, Little 1 was glad of her 3 in 1 jacket all zipped in together which kept her warm and toasty, it did keep the wind off too. A little later the wind had dropped and after competing against Little 2 in an obstacle course Little 1 was feeling rather warm in her cosy coat, as it was still raining a little we removed the inner fleece and continued with our day. Later on as the sun was going down and the wind picking up, tired and weary after a day out, Little 1 wore the fleece on it's own to snuggle up in the car on the way home. I love how adaptable this coat can be according to the weather situation. 

It will be great for her to take to school too, sometimes it is cold in the mornings on the walk to school but warmer by playtime, Little 1 will be able to zip out the inner jacket so she isn't too hot running around and still have a light jacket to wear if it is raining. 

We bought Little 1 who is 6 and a half her coat in age 7/8 as she had all but outgrown her 5/6 one, the sizing of the coat is very generous and we did have to roll back the sleeves so that she didn't get them filthy at the farm!! After a growth spurt over the summer this coat will fit her well for next winter. I like the fact that this brand of coat come up longer in the length than some, keeping her back and bottom warm too.

The fleece that zips out is surprisingly warm on its own as well, Little 1 wore it on a trip to feed the ducks, it fits nicely and again is a nice long length and has zipped pockets too so that she doesn't lose her gloves, lip balm or whatever she has decided to collect at school! We like the 3 in 1 coats from trespass, I can see us buying more in the future.

N.B We received this coat for the purposes of this review, all views and opinions are our own honest thoughts.

#MaternityMondays 18th April

Welcome to #Maternity Mondays 18th April 

This week is #realnappyweek so there will be some cloth nappy posts to come on Loving Life with Little Ones shortly... Have you thought of using reusable nappies for your little one, we use them with Little 3 and I would never go back to disposables now!

Emma hosted last week and her favourites from the link up were..

'The Trainee Mum's post Style thing about maternity clothes which spoke about the lack of affordable maternity clothing to follow a store's fashion line. I felt the same so am wondering if we should start a petition.

Also linking up last week was the lovely lovely Karen at That Lancashire Lass who is half way through her pregnancy. Do pay them both a visit.'

As usual #MaternityMondays is for all your pregnancy, baby, toddler and maternity themed posts, please grab our badge from my sidebar and comment on the hosts post and as many of the others as you can as linkys can only work if we support each other. If you tweet about the link up please tag me in @lifelittleones and use the hashtag #MaternityMondays and I'll retweet as many as I can.

See you next week x

11 April 2016

A little girl and a year of changes

I have been thinking about Little 2 a lot lately, she may have just turned four but in my mind she has been four for a long time. There have been big changes in her life this past year and I am only now getting the time to reflect on this and how they may have affected her.

Shortly after her third birthday she became a big sister as we welcomed Little 3 into our family. There was a lot of stress around the end of my pregnancy with him having his heart problem and not being sure if he would be okay during the birth, then my 8 day stay in hospital when he was born too. With all that toing and froing, being looked after by grandparents while I was sent for monitoring and when Daddy was visiting and then suddenly thrust into life as a big sister Little 2 had to grow up a bit, not that we ever treated her as a baby as she was far too independent and clever for that but she suddenly didn't have all my time anymore. 

Before Little 3 we did a lot together, hours of playing, cooking, crafting and messy play just the two of us when Little 1 was at school, it was our time and having been a stay at home mum since she was born it had always been that way when her elder sister had been at preschool and later big school (we did all those things with her when she was home too mind you).

Little 3 wasn't the easiest small baby, when he was tiny he screamed if he wasn't being fed, he had reflux and he was up much of the night, I was tired, worn out and fed up and this went on for months and months. I didn't want to do messy play or cooking, most of the time I couldn't as there was a baby attached to my chest or over my shoulder anyway. We got on with it, Little 2 was happy but I feel that she missed out for a while. It is only recently that Little 3 has finally started napping properly and sleeping at night, that he is much less tired and becoming a little happy cheeky, fun toddler and as a concequence I am a little less exhausted and I am ready to get back to the fun we had before.

I wonder what it has done to the relationship between Little 2 and I. I have been the one who had always been with her, as a stay at home mum and with Daddy working full time, there is just something there, an underwritten unspoken connection between the two of us, nothing needs to be said, it can't be seen but something joins us together, it is a totally different bond than with Little 1 and 3. It is hard to describe and it doesn't mean I love any of them any differently.

In recent weeks Little 2 has not wanted to play with me so much, she has begun playing with her little brother more now that he is becoming a toddler, she has become a little more like her big sister, telling jokes, growing in confidence and gaining a louder presence within our family. I have been thinking about her lately and about her starting school in September as she is not nearly as grown up as her sister was when she started. Little 1 was practically 5 and really ready for the challenges of school, Little 2 will be 4 and a half and I do not think she will be as ready as her big sister was. 

There have been a lot of changes in our house in the past year and with Little 1 being more outgoing and out at school much of the time I think they have had much less of an effect on her than her little sister. I have not had as much one on one time with Little 2 as I once did now that Little 3 is around too and I feel guilty about that. I am making up for it now though, we have been doing crafting and baking again and I am going to make sure that we do lots of lovely things with the little ones before Little 2 starts school. 

Parenting is hard and finding a balance is even harder, I can only hope we are doing the right thing by all our children to help them on their journey through life, as long as they are happy then we are too.

#MaternityMondays 11th April

Welcome to #Maternity Mondays 11th April

We had a great turnout last week so please continue to spread the word. We love our little community here, it is great to see some new faces and read some new blogs too.

Emma's favourites from were 'Lillyringlet's piece about the 12 week scan. I remember how exciting it was. I had early scans due to previous losses and the 12 week scans always filled me with hope.' 

'I also really enjoyed Loving Life with Little Ones' review of cloth nappies. I have never tried them but this post has made me think. They do look much cuter than disposables.' 

As usual #MaternityMondays is for all your pregnancy, baby, toddler and maternity themed posts, please grab our badge from my sidebar and comment on the hosts post and as many of the others as you can as linkys can only work if we support each other. If you tweet about the link up please tag me in @lifelittleones and use the hashtag #MaternityMondays and I'll retweet as many as I can.

See you next week x

7 April 2016

Toddler tantrums- they are starting

Things have been getting a little interesting around here lately, Little 3 has begun to have mini tantrums and I can not help but giggle! He is not far off 13 months old and definitely trying to get his feelings and frustrations heard now. We have been having the stiff-as-a-board when I have been putting him in the pushchair for a couple of months but he gives in after a second or two as he knows I am going to wrestle him into his straps anyway, it is more a 'No, I don't want to, oh alright then' kind of manoeuvre and he doesn't kick up much of a fuss, he has never done it in the car seat though.

Tantrums- me?!

The first proper hint of tantrums started a few days ago when Little 3 wanted picking up. I had raw chicken on my hands from cooking tea so as he crawled to me I stepped over him to get to the sink to wash them, at that point he put his head on the floor between his hands in the crawling position and got cross, had a good shout and then a little cry at the end for a note of sympathy. He has done it several times since then always head down onto the floor with a shout, it really makes me want to giggle. He only does it for a few seconds and then gives up and starts to cry, he may only be little but he is already starting to get frustrated.

We have had a few other cross moments too where he has been in the highchair and his food isn't coming fast enough or he wants to get out of the pushchair when he throws his head back and shouts or clenches his fists beside his ears and has a little growl and shake kind of move. I understand that he is frustrated but I can not help but smile, after all it is pretty cute to see my little baby boy doing this! He has been shouting 'get down' which sounds a lot like 'geh dan' when he has finished his dinner or when he wants to get out of the pushchair for a week or two now. Having learnt this phrase, it usually means that he is released before he gets cross unless of course I leave him there for a moment so that I can finish unpacking the shopping without his 'help'.

Let me out NOW!
Having been through toddler tantrums with the other two, although neither of them really had much of a tantrum phase anyway, I know it lasts just a relatively short time and as his language and expression develop he will be able to communicate his wants and needs better without the need for getting overly cross. So for now I am taking the time to listen to what he is trying to tell me (his language is improving daily and he really is trying to tell me things) and read his body language as well as talk to him so that he knows what is coming and hopefully that way we can avoid a few major meltdowns. My little 3 is growing up.

4 April 2016

Gorgeous bamboo baby clothing- review

If you are anything like me when your baby is born you want to snuggle up closely with them knowing that they are warm and comfortable and wearing lovely soft fabrics that don't irritate their delicate skin.

For truly baby soft clothing made from ethically sourced bamboo, look no further than 
Bambini And Me. Their lovely new affordable collection in adorable designs are made from heavenly fabrics that are not only sumptuous, but also ensure maximum comfort for your little one. The eco friendly range, full of quirky prints, includes pieces for babies from 0-18 months and includes rompers, bodysuits, sleeping bags, leather shoes, blankets, swaddles and more.

Bambini and Me generously sent Little 3 some of their new collection to test out and it is fair to say it is all utterly gorgeous. The products arrived in lovely organza bags with a little tag and tied with a ribbon, they would make lovely gifts.

We received a Bamboo Snuggle Blanket £28 that I immediately fell in love with, the elephant design is just beautiful and it looks lovely and stylish. The blanket is made from 75% bamboo and 25% cotton, one side is super soft and the other has a snuggly fleecy feel to it. The blanket is a generous size at 100 x 76 cm and perfect for reaching down to Little 3's toes and keeping them snug and warm in the pushchair or covered up while napping too. The blanket is light and yet warm at the same time to keep away the chills on those cool spring days and Little 3 loves cosying up to it too.

Check out the brilliant over-sized towel £40 as well, at 120 x 120 cm it is much bigger than any of the other baby towels that we have and that Little 3 is fast getting too big for, this one is even big enough to wrap the girls in from head to toe as well. I love the hood and little pockets on the corners, it really is great for wrapping him up and taking him to his room to get dressed. Again it is really super soft and absorbent too and I can see it lasting him for a long time as he wont get too long for it anytime soon.

Big enough for a 6 year old
Little 3 also received a set of Bamboo Washcloths £15, these are beautifully soft made from 100% Bamboo (rayon) and have become a firm favourite in our house at bath time, with 6 in the pack and three colours (purple, yellow and green) each of the Little ones has claimed two as their own. And despite being used and washed repeatedly they have retained their shape and remained super soft. 

With Little 3 crawling and cruising he is not quite ready for proper shoes but these leather shoes £14 are perfect for him right now, they keep his toes toasty when we are out and about and he has been wearing them like slippers at home too. 

Made from 100% premium leather they do not restrict his feet at all and are soft and flexible for getting around in, he usually doesn't even notice he is wearing them. With an elasticated piece over the top of the foot and flexible sides they are easy to slip on but no matter how hard Little 3 has tried he has been unable to remove them which makes them a winner for me and they come in several cute designs to choose from.

Bambini and Me have been kind enough to allow me to offer to you one of their beautiful bamboo swaddles, I have three to give away in the colour of your choice, all you have to do is enter via the rafflecopter below.

The bamboo swaddle worth £15 is a large 120 x 120 cm 100% bamboo lightweight blanket perfect for swaddling your baby, using as a changing mat cover, or an oversized burp cloth amongst other things. There are 5 designs to choose from grey, crystal blue, lemon, blossom and aqua.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

N.B We were gifted the items in this post for the purpose of reviewing them but all opinions are our own honest thoughts.