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.

How Eskimos keep their babies warm by Mei-Ling Hopgood

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Published in 2012 this is not a new book, but it is one that recently appeared on a reading list for a baby wearing course and the name caught my attention.

As a mother of three active children, factual coursework books are hard going by the time I sit down in the evening and are more likely to send me to sleep swimming in a dream of statistics and facts.

But Mei-Ling’s book on parenting wisdom from around the world was different, she takes aspects of parenting in different cultures and looks at incorporating them into her own modern lifestyle with a light-hearted touch.

Each chapter looks at a different topic and culture including how Kenyans live without pushchairs and how the Chinese potty train early. She looks at the positive and negatives of the these customs drawing from child experts, anthropologists and parents.

“Baby wearing is no longer some warm, fuzzy trend by granola-munching parents. More and more mothers and fathers are choosing to wear slings.”

Hopgood examines the act of carrying a baby not just from a practical level but she also looks as babies as active participants in the act of carry and the stimulation carrying has on their motor neurone skills.

The chapter on potty training is fascinating even providing recipe for a gentle cleanser to use when cleaning babies bum.  She draws the readers attention to the fact that babies have started potty training later since the introduction of disposable nappies.  Potty training is getting later and later as it benefits the disposable companies.

This is a refreshingly easy, intelligent read that is both entertaining and informative.

This novel is readily available in libraries, once I return it, and on Amazon and all bookshops.

Child Protection Training

This week I attended Child Protection Training, something that I hope I never have to put into action, but interesting and important to keep up to date.

Two of the most important points of information I came away with is that if a child wishes to confide in me I should at first inform them that I would have to pass the information on.  The second point was that I shouldn’t take any pictures of suspected injuries or bruising, this is something that I think many people would consider worth doing.  However it is best left in the hand of the professionals who have the correct equipment.

The advice that you should inform the child that the information they are going to give you will be passed on also surprised me.  Surely a child may then not confide and this may be the case.  But the child still has your trust and may come back and talk to you, and you can still report that a child approached you and wanted to confide.

We all have different opinions and views but when it comes to Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Emotional Abuse and Neglect we would probably all agree that this is not acceptable and the care of the child should be central.

If you did have concerns about a child you should report it to police, and social work would rather find your concern unfounded than it not be raised at all.

There is some excellent information on Aberdeerdeenshire Council’s website about Child Protection – what to look out for and how to report your concerns.

www.girfec.aberdeenshire.org

I am sure all Council’s have similar sites – but remember if you think a child is at immediate risk you can call the police.

 

 

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!

 

 

 

Close Parent Pop-In Nappies

Pop-in_Stages We are delighted to be stocking a range of Close Parent Pop-In Nappies in both Bamboo and Minkee. The Pop-in is an all-in-one nappy system. It comes complete with a soaker and a booster popped together in a clever waterproof outer shell. They have stretchy tabs like a disposable for a soft snug fit around baby. There is a double leg gusset for extra protection against leaks and finally the new gen Pop-in has a wonderfully absorbent panel concealed within the gusset of the outershell which helps hold the wetness in the middle of the nappy so parents get that extra dry time between changes. At night our clever little night time booster will help keep them dry ensuring nothing but dream filled nights!

Pop-ins are designed to fit most babies from birth through to potty training, the maximum waist size of the Pop-in is 56-57 cm. You choose the nappy setting that most closely fits around your baby’s legs for maximum containment. Do remember…you may find that your little one quickly progresses through the size settings faster than you anticipate, they may even be on the largest setting at night by 6-8 months, but don’t panic they will soon be mobile and their body shape will then change!

To find out more about Close Parent Nappies watch this informative video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krIxhPilvQE