Moving On!

Moving Day!

Moving Day!

Moving from the house that we have lived in for 10- years was always going to bring up lots of emotions.

When we moved to this house we were a family of four and we leave a family of five. This was our family home for 10 years.

The four walls have seen laughter and tears, they have witnessed so many occasions and events. ,

I started The Nappy Laundry Company here almost 10 years ago, a small business, laundering nappies and like my family it has grown and changed.

I no longer launder nappies but retail and give advice on cloth nappies and sling. I am now the longest running sling and cloth nappy consultant in the Aberdeen and the shire. I have welcomed many mums and new babies through the doors, helping them on their parenting journey.

Stonehaven is still be my home and my base, and I will still be advising and retailing nappies and slings. But my new home is closer to the town and I have more space for the additional service I have offer – baby massage.

With boxes gradually getting up packed and the stress of the move subsiding – I am loving our new home.

So as one door closes another opens and I look forward to welcoming lots of new mums to my new home and helping them at the start of their parenting journey.

Bonded Beginnings

Babywearing peer supporter Lois Benvie talks about how using a sling helped to keep baby close after her planned c-section.

Cuddles, Convenience, Connection

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Birth plans are mythical creatures; they dwell in dreams and love to disappoint us. I didn’t have one the first time I gave birth. I didn’t think c-sections made any space for them. All I wanted for my second c-section was my baby close, touching me or my husband, at ALL times. Two hours after birth my baby was taken to NICU; he couldn’t have felt further away.

No-one tells you how to bond with a baby you can’t even cuddle when you want to or when he needs you to. I had felt an immediate, profound, all-consuming connection to my first born on his birth day. Towards my second born I felt distance and guilt.

But once we argued him out of NICU (another less uplifting story), we wrapped him and felt better. My husband ‘wore’ him first. His keenness to wrap was uncharacteristic; he felt the same painful distance. And the photo I took of him cuddling his newborn in a sling was an instant hit on our local babywearing fb page, an affirmation of his love for his new child and an acknowledgement of the power of keeping children close in slings.

The wrapping continued. I carried him safely around the ward and hospital and he never bothered my scar. Having him high and instantly kissable was much better than a cumbersome pregnancy belly. It was physically comfortable and mentally a huge comfort. I could pee without setting him down, traipse back and forth to the room where my pumping equipment was sterilised and my breast milk was stored (more fun stories) and escape the heat and claustrophobia of my curtained cell. Midwives gave me positive comments and other mums were curious. I felt in control, finally.

From there our connection grew. I could smell his skin and it was intoxicating. I could give him the skin to skin contact we both wanted and had been denied so soon after birth. He was always settled, feeling my heartbeat and maintaining body temperature. I could also reconnect with my toddler. Mummy was home and had two free hands for most of the time. I couldn’t shower in a wrap (or pump, annoyingly) but I could brush my teeth, dress my toddler, do dishes and laundry, pay bills, hoover, play duplo, walk the dog – you get the picture.

Babywearing is beautiful, practical, and to me, essential. It is the way to find the eye of the tornado. It helped me when I felt helpless and seven months later we rarely get through a day without using a sling. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Do I need a sling?

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Do I need a baby sling?

“I have everything I need for when my baby arrives. A pram, moses basket, bouncy chair, baby gym, so I won’t need a sling.”

This is something I often hear when I am out and about at events for expectant parents and of course it is true – you don’t need a sling or carrier of any type.

As a first time mum I had little knowledge of what I needed or where to shop, I was blinkered to the big stores and the fancy prams – guided by their glossy catalogues and must have lists. And 13 years ago the lists didn’t include baby carriers.

So when I discovered babywearing I didn’t look back and wanted local mums to have access to babywearing sooner.  This is why I trained as a babywearing peer supporter and consultant and started retailing  a range of carriers that were not easily available on the high street.  I now offer sling lends, consultation and sling meets to help other mums discover the joy of babywearing

But don’t just take my word for it! Do I need a sling? I decided to put this question to a group of local babywearers to find out how they would reply and I got an amazing response.

Here is the real reason why slings are amazing – from real mums.

“A sling is a godsend for those times when baby needs cuddles but you have to cook, wash up etc. Or if you are out on a walk and the pathway isn’t suitable for a buggy. With a sling you can go wherever your mind takes you and you’re not restricted with finding a parking space, pushing a buggy through crowds/along bumpy pathways.” – Cheryl

“If you’re out and need to catch a bus, you won’t need the hassle of folding down the pram / waiting for the next bus if baby is in a sling!” – Jenna

“No more bumping prams up and down stairs. No more sizing up if your pram will fit through a gap. No more struggling with storing a pram in the car or a packed hallway.” -Claire

“Baby might be happy enough in a bouncy seat at times, but other times (leaps, illness, grouchy days) they will have none of it and the carrier will then be a godsend so you can get some stuff done whilst also soothing baby.” – Kirsty

“A sling is amazing when they’ve fallen asleep on you (in the sling) and you can just pop a hat on them and go out you don’t have to disturb them. Makes life soo much easier if you have a fussy baby too!” – Hannah

“Slings are also great if you already have other children as you can go for a walk or to the park and still have two hands free!” – Lyndsay

“It hides your post baby belly! 😉 Or alternatively it lets you work on that belly by letting you access a greater variety of walks that are inaccessible with a Pram.” – Isla

“Using a sling means you can use the escalator rather than waiting for the lift.” – Kirsty E

“If you have a baby with reflux/colic/allergies and they just want to be held all the time, it’s irreplaceable” – Stacey

“Travelling! No buggies on flights, sling all the way!” – Lisa

“All you need is a sling! ” – Rachel

“It’s so nice to have both hands free when shopping so you can carry a basket and not get buggy rage in narrow aisles!” – Helen

“A sling is so amazing. In the first few weeks you can feel quite overwhelmed and very restricted (in amongst more positive feelings of course) but a sling will give you back some freedom.” – Jill

I think the answer is clear – you don’t need a sling, but if you have one it makes life with a baby a lot simpler.

Thanks to all the mums at Aberdeenshire Babywearers for there contributions – too numerous all to get mentioned.  Remember babywearing is not just for mums.  Grandparents, dads and care givers can all join the fun

New Online Babywearing Course Launched

The Nappy Laundry Company is delighted to launch it’s first every online babywearing course.

Expecting a baby or have a newborn at home, this gives you the opportunity to learn about babywearing from the comfort of your armchair.

The Introduction to Babywearing Course covers everything that would be covered in a workshop.  You find out about the benefits of babywearing, safety and position as well as the different types of slings available.

SAVE 20% as an introductory offer!
Sign up now for just £16 and get started.

Winter Whiff

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During the cold winter months I have noticed an increase in the problem of whiffy smelling cloth nappies.

Across social media mums plea for help to rid their nappies of the troublesome odour.  Advice came flooding in and includes strip washing or trying a bouquet of detergents.

This got me thinking, why is there this increase in this honky horror?  So with no scientific evidence and no kitchen sink science experiment I’ve come to the conclusion that it is winter itself that is the cause of the whiff epidemic sweeping country.

Cold, damp, wet and short days are all typical of the British winter, making drying cloth nappies more challenging.

We use pulleys, airing cupboards, clothes horses, tumble dryers and even radiators (against all advice – of course).  Any method to get those nappies dry during this damp season.

These methods might work, although they often leave slightly crispy nappies –  but could they be the cause of the offending stink

Drying indoors means fresh air isn’t circulating around the individual fibres, the fibres lie dormant drying slowly and trapping in nasty odours.  What about tumble driers?  Yes a tumble drier circulates the air but it isn’t fresh air and the driers themselves can smell dank.

So how do we solve these winter wiffs?  RAIN is the answer,  natures best fabric softener and deodoriser, and it’s abundant in the winter, especially in my home – Scotland.

To banish those nasty niffs – just hang your cloth nappies, cloth wipes, inserts and liners in the rain and forget about them if possible for 24-48 hours.  Then dry as normal.

To optimise you odour elimination you can also try adding and extra rise cycle, freshen your washing machine with a cup of white vinegar or try a washing machine cleaner such as Little Violets Washing Machine Cleaner.

For more advice on washing your nappies visit the http://www.uknappynetwork.org/washing-guide.html

Singapore Sling

Ali came to The Nappy Laundry Company for a sling consultation while on holiday is Scotland, she had a large framed carrier that was heavy and uncomfortable, so she borrowed a Tula for her trip to Islay.

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Ali’s Story

We live in Singapore where the buggy living is easy…smooth pavements and very little park land…and even if we stumble across a treasured patch of green there is, inevitably, a concrete path carved through it…or a board walk at the very least.

 

The Singapore climate makes Babywearing a little tricky…being stuck close to a little bundle of heat in 33 degrees with 98% humidity is not that appealing! But in Scotland it, literally, saved the holiday!

 

Having not been home to Scotland with a small person I’m tow for five years it came as a surprise to me just how often a buggy was infeasible…woodland walks, beach walks, boat journeys! It seemed that I was going to have to Babywear! And I am so thankful that I did. It made the whole holiday much much easier…not to mention it kept both me and bub cosy on those Scottish ‘Summer’ days! I hadn’t realised what I’d been missing (what we’d both been missing, really). I loved having her close and she loved snuggling in during nap time and getting to see the sights when she was awake at a level above people’s knees! She was much more actively engaged in her surroundings than when in the buggy and it was easier for us to communicate too. I’m now a total Babywearing convert…even back in sweaty Singapore!

 

Ali borrowed a Standard Tula, as part of a sling library trial.The Nappy Laundry Company will be expanding to include a sling library service in the New Year.

Breastfeeding Bubble

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This week it was widely reported on the local news that Aberdeen cafes and restaurants are signing the Aberdeen Breastfeeding Welcome scheme….great news for nursing mums, but why is this still necessary in 2016?

In 2005 I had my first baby, the same year a  law was passed in Scotland: You have the right to breastfeed or bottle feed a child in public until a child is 24 months old under Scottish law. In addition you cannot be discriminated against for breastfeeding a child in public up to the age of 26 weeks. This is the law under the Equality Act which applies throughout the UK.

So  I was free to feed anywhere.

If I am honest it had never occurred to me that anyone would disapprove of breastfeeding in public. So in this blissful bubble of naivety our breastfeeding journey began.  Like many it didn’t go smoothly to start, and I found it much easier to get topless on the sofa at home with a large bar of chocolate and the TV remote – no new law was going to allow this in the local café.

Once we got the feeding, while fully-clothed, mastered – I was ready to rejoin the world and feed in public – I was nervous and lacked confidence, but other people’s opinion hadn’t crossed my mind.  My main worry was that baby would come unlatched and I’d end up like a milk fountain squirting innocent passers-by – I’d like to reassure you this never happened!

One of the reasons I loved breastfeeding was the lack of equipment. I just needed me, my boobs and baby. So once I’d fed a couple of times in public I was happy and comfortable, I breastfed all three of my cherubs. I breast fed in art galleries, public transport, cafes, and the cinema, I never once heard a negative comment, only encouragement.

So it came as a bit of a shock when just a year ago, my happy breastfeeding bubble was burst. My children were all well and truly weaned and I was attending child protection training. A few scenarios were given to get the group discussing issues and perceptions, one of these scenarios was a lady breastfeeding in public.

Expecting this topic to be dealt with quickly, I was taken aback when two ladies said that they didn’t feel it was necessary for mums to be feeding in public and they should wait and do it in the privacy of their own home. BUBBLE BURST.

Mums need to be seen breastfeeding in public, we need to bring up a generation for who this is the norm and perhaps we won’t need to be talking about this 12 years from now.

This new scheme that will see local business display a welcome breastfeeding stickers can only be positive in helping new mum gain confidence to feed out and about.  But remember if they don’t have a sticker you can still feed you toot and maybe suggest they join the scheme.

Breastfeeding support has also improved leaps and bounds in the last 12 years so don’t hesitate to ask  your health visitor for information on your local breastfeeding groups.

 

 

 

 

 

Hypnobirthing Taster

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When I had my first child over 12 years ago I was unaware of hypnobirthing, with my second I had a great pregnancy yoga teacher who introduced me to relaxation techniques which really helped during the birth and labour. With my third I once again used these techniques with success, but as life got in the way, I didn’t take them further.

So when I was invited along to Jade Gordon’s August Hypnobirthing Taster Session in the Aberdeen Wellbeing Centre, I jumped at the chance.

I was invited to do a short tea break demonstration on babywearing, but had the privilege of sitting in with the expectant mums to find out more about hypnobirthing.

Jade started the session with introductions, explaining that hypnobirthing was about self-hypnosis, not the entertainment style hypnosis often depicted on television, we then got comfortable and Jade led us into the first session.

With eyes closed, Jade’s relaxing voice led us through a visualisation focusing my mind and I felt the worries disappear. As she led us back to the room she then spoke about the fear of birth that has become embedded in our culture. She spoke about how hypnobirthing can help us take control of these fears and turn them into a positive.

Following the tea break and my demonstration, once again Jade led us through a longer relaxation session. I was taken aback by just how relaxed I had become managing to shut out the occasional noises and immerse myself completely in Jade’s words.

When for the final time she brought me back to the room. I felt a relaxation and peace I hadn’t experienced in sometime.

To be able to use these techniques during labour and birth must be truly empowering. After the session I could really see just how hypnobirthing puts the control back in the hands of the mother which can only be a positive.

I slept so well after the session, I am now hoping that Jade might consider doing session for busy and stressed out mothers!

To find out more visit Jade’s website Aberdeen Hypnobirthing

The next Aberdeen Hypnobirthing Taster Sessions at the Aberdeen Wellbeing Centre are on 6th Oct and 3rd Nov.  Book now at Aberdeen Hypnobirthing.  A taster session cost just £20 and lasts and hour and a half.

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Summer Slingin’

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I am going to talk heat, summer, sunshine and babywearing. I do realise that as I have now committed those glorious words to print, I may have jinxed yet another Scottish summer!

As residents of Scotland weather is something we are obsessed with, it is ever changeable and often raises a lot of questions in the babywearing community, but as the sun has shown its face we are talking babywearing under the Scottish sun.

How should I dress my baby in the heat? Will my baby overheat? Will I get too hot? Will baby be safer in a pram? Should I be using a specific type of carrier in the heat? These are all examples of the questions that get asked regularly.

The first thing to remember is that babywearing happens on a daily basis in some of the hottest continents in the world: Asia, Africa and South America. Mums babywear in the humidity of Florida and Singapore. So bab wearing in Falkirk and Stonehaven shouldn’t be too much of a worry if you take the correct precautions and use some commonsense.

Will baby be safer in a pram? A pram and sling are just as safe as each other if used correctly and remember if you are out for a family day in the sun you may end up carrying babes in arms, this is easier if you have a sling.  Also in a sling you can easily stroll barefoot in the sand or walk the dogs in the woods.

Will the caregiver get too hot? Yes, you will get hot – the sun is out and you are carrying a baby. But remember to dress accordingly. A light vest top and sun lotion is all you may need. If you are brave enough a bikini top maybe enough although sometimes a muslin between your tummy and baby can help with the sticky sweatiness – just make sure this is nowhere near baby’s mouth.

Perhaps the most important thing is how to dress baby in a sling. You need to think of your sling as layers of clothing and then dress baby accordingly. So for example if you are using a stretchy wrap, baby will have three layers of sling, so baby in just a vest or even just a nappy may be appropriate in hot weather. A soft structured carrier tends to have airflow at the sides and many brands now have lighter carrier options that include mesh panels. So again, depending on how hot it is, perhaps just a vest or light layer of clothing. Woven and ring slings can be worn with just one layer, so again just a light layer of clothing. If you are regularly in the heat, you may consider looking at a lighter weave and fabrics such as linen.

If your tot is old enough and has good head control a back carry can be a coolor option providing you both with some relief from the heat. You may find changing from front to back may also help give you a chance to get air dry if you are perspiring.

No matter what sling or carrier you use in the sunshine the most important thing is to ensure you and little one have ample sun cream, especially on the limbs that are not covered by the carrier or clothing. Also ensure baby’s head is covered with a light sun hat, and seek out the shade when you can. Hydration is a must if you are breastfeeding make sure you are taking on plenty of fluids, if baby is taking a sippy cup offer water at regular intervals.

Don’t forget this is Scotland and when the sun decides to disappear behind a cloud or the evening draws in it can be cold. So if you are planning to be out for the day make sure you have extra layers for when temperatures dip.

The sun is shining. Carry those babies and have fun – before I am writing a blog on babywearing and snowsuits!

Real Nappy Week – Make A Change

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Real Nappy Week 2016

18th-24th April

Celebrating Change

The theme of the 20th Real Nappy Week is change and it has really got me thinking about the change from cloth to disposable and the journey back to cloth.

I was a cloth-bummed child of the 70s, my mum washed in a twin-tub and line dried all our nappies, as her mother had before her. So from then there was a quiet revolution and out went the cloth and in came the paper, plastic and macrogels. Hydrogels are a new material allowing nappies to hold even more urine.

The 70s was a time of great change for women. Many were going back to work after having children. There was more opportunity for women in the workplace and there was greater mobility, so young families often didn’t have the support of an extended family.

It was in this atmosphere of change that the disposable nappy first took hold. Mums didn’t want to be perceived as being chained to the kitchen sink, and this was a product of convenience. As demand grew, prices fell. With big brands producing disposables, marketing budgets were huge and by the 1980’s, in an era of excess, the disposable nappy had eclipsed cloth.

The change from cloth to disposable had been seamless, but in the early 90s, as we left behind the throw-away attitude of the 80s, a new era was dawning. The environment dominated the media, and from this families started to think about the future of their children.

Cloth nappies quickly evolved to cater for the growing market and the terries and nappy pins were soon to be joined by funky coloured nappies that fastened with applix and poppers.   Most households had washers and dryers – white goods our parents and grandparents would have given anything to own when they were scrubbing nappies by hand!

So why change?

By using cloth nappies families can make huge savings of anywhere from £100 -£1000 and the more children you have in cloth the bigger the saving.

By choosing cloth over single use nappies families could make up to a 40% carbon saving.

Currently UK families send 355,000 tons of single use nappies to landfill each year, costing local authorities and tax payers, £32 million a year.

Something has to change!

What to change?

Changing Habits: We have become accustom to buying and binning, we need to change our mindset. Buy, reuse, recycle!

Changing Lives: Cloth is comfortable, dry and cushioned making for a happy baby and by reducing landfill you are making for a happier future for everyone.

Changing Futures: Change a habit of a generation and spread the word!

The Nappy Laundry Company will have discounts on cloth throughout Real Nappy Week 2016.