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.

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.

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!

Why I am still called The Nappy Laundry.

logoIn January this year I took the decision to close the nappy laundry side of my business after 8 years.

Over the 8 years I have enabled families across the North-east to use cloth nappies.  Some families used the service from birth to potty training for one child, some for multiple children and some used the service to get them through difficult or busy period in their lives. But as access to cloth nappies has increased and they have become easier to use and launder the demand for the service decreased.

So there it is: The Nappy Laundry Company no longer offers laundry services.

Many people have asked me if I am keeping my name and the answer is YES!  The Nappy Laundry has been around for 8 years and has become a recognised name.  We still offer cloth nappies that you launder and a range of fantastic laundry products.

Over two years ago I successfully branched out into babywearing products.  For the past two years The Nappy Laundry Company has been the only business in the North-east to offer a wide range of carriers and consultancy.  As this market has expanded I have recently been joined by a number of other consultants in Aberdeen as well as a the NCT sling library.  These are exciting times for babywearing and I hope this new explosion of services will raise interest and in turn help raise the profile of The Nappy Laundry Company’s baby carrying consultancy services.

My logo for The Nappy Laundry shows a baby in a sling so I decided that I would keep both my logo and name. It’s an exciting time in cloth nappies and babywearing and I look forward to continuing to help new parents on their journey.

I hope you can join me too.

Confessions of a Cloth Convert

Gayna Sandeman

Photo by Justine Fox

Reusable nappies??? Are you crazy?? All that poop in my washing machine, hanging drying for days in winter, massive terry towelling affairs with jabby safety pins…. I think not! Is what I said before the birth of baby number one. I’m not some hippy dippy earth mamma! Is what I said before the birth of baby number one.

Fast forward 4 years later and I’m pregnant for baby number two. In the intervening years I had become self employed teaching TinyTalk baby signing classes. I had met so many fabulous mammas who had been singing the praises of some things I may have (hang my head in shame) previously thought were a bit ‘out there’. So during my pregnancy I started to research cloth nappies and baby wearing.

Now I use the term ‘researching’ very loosely. A quick search on line for cloth nappies left me completely overwhelmed with all the varieties and not to mention the associated lingo and abbreviations; WAHM, AIO, DS, AI2!!! I mean OMG, WTF? So plan b was to check out The Nappy Laundry Company. I knew Nicole who runs it but even so I was suspicious she’d jump on my naivety and give me the hard sell. So I employed my friend as a decoy! She distracted Nicole with some nappy questions whilst I perused the stall. It only took two minutes to realise Nicole is not your hard sell kind of woman and is very knowledgeable and dedicated to finding a product that works for you! Phew!

So why did I want to try cloth? There are a number of reasons people use reusable nappies they’re good for your bank account, good for the environment, good for your baby, convenient, easy and stylish. So what tempted me? Bank account all the way! I am reasonably environmentally friendly but my motivation is always to spend as little money as possible so I can afford to work less and spend more time with my children. As the parent of a new baby you will change about 5,500 nappies in the two to three years before your child toilet trains! In their first six weeks, your baby will churn through about 500 nappies alone! That’s a whole lot of wonga, being covered in pee and poo and being sent to landfill to break down some four hundred years later!

Of course cloth nappies are very different to the bulky terry napkins first around in the 1920’s. They are lightweight, adjustable, easy to wash and dry, with various fastenings that are not a big jabby safety pin! So where to start? I wanted one that was most user friendly. This being my second child I know how exhausted I can be at night so didn’t want anything too fiddly. I therefore opted to try the all in one. All in Ones- the name says it all-  are a one piece system shaped like a disposable with a built in waterproofing layer, absorbent inner and a stay dry liner that does not require separate fasteners. It is the most user friendly reusable nappy on the market but also the most expensive style.

I decided to try the all in one from Tots Bots. Having spoken to Nicole and looked on some of the online forums I felt it was a dependable brand. The hunt then began for the best deals. I bought 6 from Tesco’s when they were on offer, then I bought a job lot of 15 from an online retailer (who were offering them for less than Tots Bots themselves – it always pays to shop around!) 18 of them were plain white and 3 coloured ones. I see the appeal of all these beautiful character or themed nappies but having a boy I don’t really see the point of beautiful nappies that will only be seen by me especially as we live in Scotland so even in summer I’ll probably have the nappy covered up for fear of hypothermia!

I must confess to panicking a bit when they arrived but a quick look at the video clips on Tots Bots website soon taught me how to use them.

When my baby arrived I decided to use disposable for the first couple of weeks, I know economically it made sense to use cloth but who needs all that washing when you’re adjusting to life as a new mum, especially when your baby is oozing the equivalent of the grossest melted chocolate in the world!

It took a wee bit of practise to get the nappies on well. The nappies I bought had poppers to adjust depth of nappy (as they grow with baby until toddler) and width. The ones from Tesco have Velcro fastening at the waist which I find much easier than the poppers but if you don’t fold the Velcro back on itself when washing they can attach to the nappies and make them prematurely bobbly. The next decision was disposable or washable liner. The liner is an extra piece of material to lay inside the nappy to catch the poop so you can shake it straight into the toilet. This decision was solved immediately for me as the disposable liners seem to bunch up in the nappy so aren’t as efficient.

My son is 3 months old now. I wash the nappies every other day so must have washed them already 30 times at least. Comparing the price of disposables on special offer from the supermarket tells me that by the time my son is 6 months old I will be saving money up until my son is potty trained (at least £475) and of course I won’t have added 5500 nappies to landfill.

And I have, of course, busted all the myths I believed before I used cloth! There is no residual poop in my washing machine, they dry on the radiators super quick, they don’t leak. But even better than saving money and helping the environment, for the first time ever my Mother In Law was impressed at one of my parenting decisions and that is priceless! Truly priceless!

Toddler class Monday 1-2pm The Venue, Laurencekirk. Baby classes. Tuesday at,The Venue,  Laurencekirk,  Thursday Borrowfield Community Centre Montrose both 10.30 -11.30 am. Call 07946328267, email gaynas@tinytalk.co.uk website http://www.tinytalk.co.uk/gaynas

 

 

 

 

 

Bags of change

On the 20th October Scotland introduced a 5p charge on single use carrier bags in an attempt to reduce waste.  A great initiative and one which is already in use in Wales and Northern Ireland and after just a month many retailers are reporting a 90% drop in carrier bag use – great news for the environment.

I have always used my own bags but there was always an occasion where I were rushing out the house and left the bags behind.  On a family holiday in North Wales  I came across the Welsh version of this scheme.  After a couple of days of forgetting the much needed bags and being subjected to the 5p bag charge I soon got in the swing of it and made sure I always had a bag with me.

It was with great zeal that I welcomed the Scottish scheme and so far I have managed not to be charged for a bag, and I am now on the look out for that perfect and versatile tote.

So you can imagine my confusion and consternation when on a recent visit to England the shop keepers where handing out bags to every shopper no questions, no charge – it was like some great giveaway.

With Scottish scheme in place for a month now plastic bags are already becoming a rarity something to be kept, treasured and reused – in comparison south of the border it was a polythene free for all.

The shock I felt being handed my goods in plastic bags really got me thinking about how this small change to daily life had been so quickly  absorbed to become second nature, something that you don’t question, it is just makes sense.

The statistic speak for themselves Scotland alone used a staggering 800 million single-use bags each year. And each year, council litter collectors picked up at least 7.4 million bags from our streets and surroundings.

England are due to introduce the scheme in 2015 and make the UK a nations free from the purge of the plastic bag.

With Christmas fast approaching householders with small children will be subjected to the excess of packaging as their little ones open their gifts to be met with layers of cardboard, plastic and metal ties. – perhaps in the future we may see this blight reduced.

But for just now lets welcome the bag charge and remember to pack your own reusable bag before you leave the house!

If you have found the perfect reusable bag I’d love to know as my search continues.

 

 

Bambooty Insight

_MG_5830Bambooty nappies are a relative newcomer to the cloth nappy market in the UK but since there arrival they have taken the market by storm, thanks in no small part to their enthusiastic distributors Ailsa and Steve Vincent.

Bambooty nappies are beautifully constructed nappies made from the best materials that combine comfort, absorbency and easy care qualities with style and affordability. The “Easy”  luxury range are All-In-One nappies while the BASICS range is an economy 2 part system.

The Nappy Laundry Company are delighted to welcome Bambooty on board, stocking the gorgeous new prints in “The Easy” range.

With Bambooty en route to  the Granite City of Aberdeen for the Scottish Kids Show this weekend we thought it would be a great time to get to know more about the lady behind the brand in the UK – Ailsa Vincent.

Did you use cloth on your family?  Tell us about your cloth journey.

Yes… But there wasn’t much of  a choice in the 70s! However I was already environmentally aware and broke so cloth it was. Nowadays I know I would have ended up running a nappy library!  I have a grand daughter aged 18 months and I did all the nappy washing for 6 months to test the nappies and understand all the care issues. Our Grandson arrives in July so here we go again!

What led you to the Bambooty brand and what do you love about it?

The enthusiasm, ingenuity and professionalism of Amelia, the designer and MD of Bambooty. I first met her when she was a gap student and I was a teacher! It is a privilege to introduce new parents to these fabulous nappies knowing they will enjoy using them, how much money they will save and so reducing the unsustainable amount of rubbish disposable nappies create.

Bambooty have lots of gorgeous prints do you have a personal favourite?

Ooooh so difficult! Ladybird Garden, Safari and the new Fishies…but the Stripes range is just timeless!

What cloth nappy accessory would you not be without?

Anytime Anywhere Changing Mats roll-up-and-go but they are so much more! They drape beautifully so are perfect burp protectors, one side beautiful patterned PUL to protect Dad’s clothes yet super soft, absorbent bamboo velour for baby to snuggle against. I keep them around the house and one in the car so I can always reach one for changing, nappy free play, or even substitute umbrella!

You work as a husband and wife team, how do you manage to balance work and home life?

Two children, two jobs and major DIY projects have taught us to work as a team! Division of labour works for us. Steve is the packhorse – picking, packing, posting and lugging round exhibition stands. Our storeroom is a testament to his ingenuity and DIY skills! I do the customer service, quality control and tidying up! Work life balance? Interesting…sometimes, like Real Nappy Week, it is manic so we work 24/7. The rest of the time if it rains we work, if it is sunny we play in the garden. Current projects? Steve is building a Summer House out of pallets. I am a potter gardener….coiling big pots for the patio!

What is the best bit about your job?

Working with young parents as they pick their way through mountains of information, building their family lives, precious memories and traditions. My motto is “Keep it simple!”

You are coming to Aberdeen this weekend for the Scottish Kids Show.  Will you get a chance to see the city and if so what are you hoping to visit?

No surprise with a name like Ailsa! My family came from Galloway and I have never been so far north on the East Coast. So I am looking forward to enjoying the scenery on the journey, the old town of Aberdeen and we are staying with friends – so warm hospitality!

The Scottish Kids Show 2014 is being held at the AECC on 28-29 June.  Bambooty will have a stand so pop along and say hello!