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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Washing a nappy or two

With so many different nappies/diapers out there knowing how to wash them can be confusing. One company will tell you one thing while another will advise against it. So to make it a little easier on you all I am going to give a breakdown of what all the different companies recommend in a handy table.

* The Bumgenius website advises a wash temperature of no more than 40°C/140°F however when you convert the 140°F into Celsius it comes to 60°C not 40°C. However it gives the correct temperature conversion in the warranty section of their customer care page.
** The Fuzzibunz website advises to use only 1/4 amount of detergent if using regular supermarket detergents not the ones specially formulated for cloth nappies. 

I have this theory over the using less than the recommended amount of washing detergent. I think as it is recommended to do approx 15 nappies per load that comes to about 1/2-3/4 of a full load for the average washing machine. Therefore as the load is not a full one the water level will be less so less detergent is needed. 1/2 a load needs 1/2 the amount of detergent. Personally I don't see how using 1/4 the amount of detergent on a full load of nappies would get them clean enough. I like the advice from Bum Genius "Use enough detergent to get your cloth diapers clean."

Most companies also recommend their own brand of detergent and/or recommend an alternative supermarket brand one. But then there is also detergents out there such as Rock 'n' Green that has been formulated especially for cloth nappies. Here in New Zealand one of the recommended supermarket brand detergents is Earthwise, preferably liquid.

Most if not all companies advise when washing nappies to avoid the following: bleach, baking soda, whiteners, vinegar, fabric softeners and enzymes. 

For me personally I have the following wash routine:
  1. cold rinse, water level on high. If son has been teething or I feel nappies need it I do two cold rinses.
  2. Cold wash, med-high water level 3/4 to a full scoop of Earthwise powder on the "super clean" cycle of my machine. 
  3. Line dry if possible otherwise on a clothes horse/airer by the fireplace inside. We don't own a dryer.
  4. I do a warm wash approximately once a month for that little extra clean.
I did do a kinda strip wash once in Rock 'n' Green Classic Rock as my son was teething really bad and his nappies/diapers stank of ammonia. It got rid of the smell for approximately two months so I reviewed my wash routine. I changed my wash routine to use more detergent, an extra rinse if real bad and regular warm washes. Since making the changes I have had no issues with my nappies being super smelly. Yes they do occasionally smell when my son is teething, but I have come to realise that that is just something that happens and do an extra deep wash to make sure they are super clean.

How do you wash your nappies/diapers?
Do you use special detergent?
Please feel free to comment below with your wash routine and check out my Facebook and Instagram pages(links at top right of post).

All washing details listed in the table above come from the following wesites:
AppleCheeks
BabyBehinds
BestBottom
BubbleBubs
BumGenius
FuzziBunz

Grovia
Pop-In - Close Parent
RealNappies
Rumparooz
Thirsties
TotsBots




Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Lets talk nappy covers

At the beginning I didn't bother with nappies that needed covers such as fitted or prefolds. It wasn't until my son was about 4 months and my stash was dangerously low that I gave in and purchased some prefolds and covers. Since then prefolds have almost become my favourite type of nappy.



When my son was a newborn I had a Real Nappies prefold and Snug wrap. It was this combination that put me off prefolds. Of the four different covers I have tried these are my least favourite. Yes they held in newborn poop explosions, and were a snug fit but I found I couldn't get a nice fit on my son so never got anymore. Unlike the other covers in this review they are the only ones to not have a double gusset and it is only the elasticated leg that holds the mess in around the legs. While I never had a leak when I used them I prefer double gussets. I also found that to get the right sort of snug fit there were often red marks left.

The cover is a thick pul and does come in a small range of bright colours. They only have velcro closure which I liked when my son was little but now I do prefer snaps. They are also sized so as your child grows you need to purchase more, you can sell them on once you no longer have a need so can recover some of the cost. In total there are 4 sizes, Newborn 2.5-6kg, Infant, 5-9 kg, Crawler 8-14kg and Toddler 14-18+ kg.

Overall this is my least favourite cover due to it's lack of double gussets, and the fact that the cover is a bit more stiff than my other covers. Unfortunately no picture is available as I passed this nappy cover on after my son grew out of it.

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These next covers would have to be one of my favourites and if I could get more from a New Zealand stockist I would. Yes I could get them online direct from America but like to support local, plus it saves on bank fees.


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Thirsties Duo Wraps are available in both snap and velcro closure. I opted for snaps over velcro, I think the shop I got them from only had snaps. They come in two sizes, 3-8 kg(6-18 lbs) and 8-18kg(18-40 lbs). Both sizes have snap down rises with 3 settings for a greater fit. The velcro has recently been upgraded and will now last longer. If you opt for snap closure each shell will have two snaps on each wing snapping onto a single row of snaps across the front.

Size one on largest waist and rise settings

The shells are a breathable laminate that can be wiped clean between uses if not soiled. They are are a thinner fabric and very flexible. They have double gussets on the legs which hold in mess. I am yet to have a leak and my son is known for his explosions. They also have an elasticated tummy for greater containment and a better fit.

Overall I highly recommend these covers. My son is currently 8.5kg and is still fitting in the size one, only just however.


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Gen-Y Universal..... I purchased one of these when I couldn't get the next size up Thirsties Duo Wrap in snap closure. I opted for the Gen-Y over other covers after doing some research. I liked the pocket type features as it meant that if I used the prefold pad folded there would soft fabric against his skin and not the laminated part like there would be with covers such as the Best Bottom ones. The pocket like feature also means that I can use other inserts in the cover without them moving about, but for the time being it is just a prefold snappi'd into place.
9 months 8.4 kg

The Gen-Y Universal covers come in two sizes, small 2.7kg -8.2kg(6-18lbs) and large 8.2kg-17.5kg(18-38lbs). I have only purchased the size large covers so am unsure how the small compares in size. In reality I should have gotten a small to begin with but with my son almost too big for his Thirsties Duo covers I opted to go for a large. He is only now just starting to fit it at 8.4kg, he is a long lean baby however so is on the small size weight wise.

9 months 8.4kg
When I first tried the cover he gaped at the legs and I did have one containment fail where his poop went up out the back and all over me when I was holding him. Not the most pleasant thing to clean up. I waited a couple of weeks before putting it on him again and now we have no issues. The legs holes while being generous fit him nicely and the waist is easy to adjust.

I like the soft elastics used on the tummy, back and legs and am yet to have any red marks. They hug the legs and waist yet are nice and soft on the skin. Being a side snap closure also means that I can get a better fit around the waist and legs compared to other nappies/covers, though it took a little bit of trial and error to get the hang of the side snap system.


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The second cover I purchased to replace my Thirsties once too small is a Rumparooz OSFM and am currently unimpressed.
I like the double gussets but hate the fit over prefolds. For some reason I just can't get it to sit right and look right, no leaks though. I find that there is just too much excess fabric for it to look nice especially in the front. I only use it if I have to, but am determined to keep going and maybe when he is larger it will fit my son better. I also have some fitted nappies that are waiting to have the leg elastics replaced so will see how the cover works over them. I think it will work better with the fitteds than the prefolds.

As you can see from the two pictures above this cover has a very odd fit with excess fabric in the front. I did try and reduce the rise setting so that it was smaller but the legs were then too tight and I couldn't get a good waist fitting. So far over prefolds the fit just doesn't work.
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So if I am to order the 4 covers mentioned in order of preference they would be: Thirsties, Gen-Y, and last in a tie Rumparooz and Real Nappies Snug Wrap.

What is your favourite cover?

Disclaimer: The reviews mentioned in this post are my personal opinion and preference. No all covers suit all babies and its all about trial and error.

The nappy covers listed above can be purchased in New Zealand from the following websites:
Nappy Heaven  - Gen-Y Universal
Tweedle  -Rumparooz Cover
Real Nappies - Real Nappies Sung Wrap
Mothers Instinct - Thirsties Duo Wrap Velcro closure only

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

More than milk, introducing solids to your baby

Today's topic: Introducing solids into your baby's diet.

There are two main ways to do this, purees or baby-led weaning, which is sometimes referred to as a current trend in feeding your baby. However there are other ways I'm sure, but here in New Zealand those are the only two that I know of.

We strive to have independent children, we want them to make their own decisions and figure out the world for themselves. We could wrap them in cotton wool and molly-coddle them until they are ready to leave home, that way they will always be our "baby". When do they ever stop being our baby? We know from our own experiences that allowing babies and children to experience things in their own time, form their own opinions and make their own decisions creates independence and confidence. When did society strip the independence and choice when it comes to babies and solids.

I have my own opinions about this whole introducing solids debate and I will try and voice it here, I will not however favour one method over another.

Introducing solids in most countries is recommended to begin when your baby is around the 6 month mark but no earlier than 4 months. This is due to a baby's digestive track not being mature enough to cope with anything but breast milk or infant formula. Here in New Zealand the Ministry of Health have the following view on when to introduce new foods:
"Babies should be exclusively breastfed (have breast-milk only) until they’re ready for – and need – extra food. This will be when they’re around six months old." New Zealand Ministry of Health Website

I realise that that statement doesn't mention formula feeding and I could not find anywhere in the introducing solid section any mention of formula being the main food. When looking at a second website I found the following reference on the Healthed website:

"Breast milk (or infant formula) gives babies all the nutrients they need up to around 6 months old. From 6 months babies start to need food as it provides extra sources of nutrients, such as iron. Also, babies have usually grown and developed enough to start eating solid food. Breast milk (or infant formula) is still very important."

Here in New Zealand the Ministry of Health advises that babies be around 6 months of age before introducing solids. I have scoured both their website and the Healthed site and could not find anywhere reference to 4 months being the minimum age. For that information you have to go onto the Plunket site.

Both the World Health Organisation and UNICEF advise that babies should be breastfed exclusively until 6 months and continue to be breastfed for up to two years plus. They also advise that complementary foods be introduced from 6 months onwards.

Adequate nutrition during infancy is essential for lifelong health and wellbeing. Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods, while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or more. - World Health Organisation

After reading multiple websites and publications I have found that all agree on the following things:
  • Breastfeeding is considered to be the best form of nutrition for babies with formula being used when breastfeeding is not possible.
  • Solids or complementary food should be introduced at about 6 months. The reason why it is "about" 6 months is that some babies are developmentally before and some after 6 months. 
  • Solid/complementary foods should be offered in a form that is suitable for your babies development. 
Now that the age of starting foods is clarified lets talk texture.

Here in New Zealand the recommended way to introduce solids is to start with purees, then mashed, then lumpy and finally finger and table foods. So what that basically breaks down to is smooth and runny, then thick and mashed and finally minced and lumpy.

 After reading the publications put out by the World Health Organisation, UNICEF website, Gerber.com, forbaby.co.nz, among many others my understanding is that purees or "stage one" is for babies in the 4-6 month age range as they have yet to develop the skills to chew and swallow thicker chunkier foods. Yet once they reach 6 months and older and have developed the chewing/swallowing skills to handle thicker mashes and textured food is fine and so on from there.

Originally before I started to read up on it all I wondered where the puree/mash/lump/fingerfood approach came from. I had assumed that it was just some outdated approach to solids that no one really questions these days. I think this could partly be because I read Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley before fully reading up about infant feeding. I now stand corrected. The World Health Organisation guidelines follow the mashed food route.

Now onto baby led weaning.

This approach to introducing solids is based around giving your baby the food to feed themselves in whole form not purees. The food however does have to be at a state/softness that it turns to mash when baby gums it, so basically the food just before you put it in the blender or attack with the potato masher. It is all about giving your child the control and independence over food.

One of the primary concerns with baby led weaning is that as your child is controlling what goes in their mouth you cannot measure how much they ingest and whether it is enough. But as with the puree method you as the parent give the food and can therefore ensure that what they are eating is healthy and full of essential nutrients.

I myself can see the benefits of both the puree/mash route and baby led weaning. Puree/mash is what is recommended by most health care professionals.

I started to write this post when I was first reading up and looking into feeding methods before starting my son on solid foods. He is now 9 months old and eating amazingly. The route I followed was in no way conventional and I did not just go with one method.

I waited until he was about 5 and half months old before introducing solids. He was showing all the classic signs at about 4 and a half months but I had decided that I wanted to start him as close to 6 months as possible. At 5 and a half months he was holding his head up really well, could sit supported and would keep food in his mouth. The true indicator however was when he grabbed a piece of pizza crust off my plate at dinner one night and proceeded to gnaw on it actually ingesting some in the process.

I did not start with the cereals but with a piece of plum. He loved holding it, sucking on it and exploring it. From there I introduced pureed apple among other foods. I did not stick to the finger foods of baby led weaning or just purees, I mixed and matched dependent on what I was comfortable with as a parent. Now at nine months my son will quite happily feed himself and quite efficiently too. But then he will also eat off a spoon with no arguments or issues.

I have always allowed him to be in control no matter what he is eating and right from the word go, if he wanted to hold the spoon to put it in his own mouth then so be it. By letting him take control of the spoon it meant that I didn't have to battle him to get the food into his mouth or play tricks to get him to open his mouth for the spoon. He learnt early on how to turn the spoon over once it was in his mouth to suck or lick the contents off that way none was wasted. In the early days there was a lot of mess as he got the hang of holding the spoon, but there was also a lot of mess when I gave him finger foods.

There is no hard and fast rule about the methods to which we should introduce solids to our babies diets. It is up to the parents and what they feel is right for them and their baby. Some babies prefer the baby led weaning approach while other prefer the puree method each baby is different. I do feel that as a parent you should do a bit of reading before starting so that you can know make an informed choice.

Listed below are links to the sites and publications that I read and explored while writing this so please browse through them and see if any are helpful for you and your baby. Please note any listed as WHO is for the World Health Organisation

Watties ForBaby Website
Gerber.com
UK NHS pamphlet found on the UNICEF website
Babyledweaning.com
New Zealand Ministry of Health


World Health Organisation links

Disclaimer: I am just a stay at home mum with no prior qualifications so have voiced my opinion and understanding on all the information I read. I am in no way a health professional and advise to talk to your health care professional before starting your baby on solids.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

A cloth nappy or two and a review...


I did originally have this post written out, but since I was in process of being completed the information no longer applies. So here goes for the rewrite of a nappy/diaper review.


itti bitti


Itti Bitti
I opted to try the sized D'Lish snap-in-one(SIO) and the all-in-one(AIO) rather than the OSFM Tutto. Overall I would have to say I like them and would recommend them to others, I did however choose for myself not to buy the next size up once my son grew out of the mediums I had purchased. My pros and cons are:


Medium All-in-One 3months
All-in-One
Medium Snap-in-one 3months
Snap-in-One
Pros
Cons
Pros
Cons
Slim fitting
Low absorbency
Slim fitting
Inserts slow drying
sized to reduce bulk known with OSFM
sized so more to be purchased when outgrown
sized to reduce bulk known with OSFM
sized so more to be purchased when outgrown
Low rise and fits
well under pants
can be hard to get good fit around the waist with single row snaps
Low rise, narrow in crotch and fits well under pants
can be hard to get good fit around the waist with single row snaps
Soft minky outer
low rise
Soft minky outer

Narrow in the crotch
Very slow drying
ability to snap in a booster

Ability to snap in a booster

can reuse shell if wet only

 

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3 months old
Grovia
I only have a Grovia hybrid and I love it, I would love to own more of these. These are one of my more favourite nappies.

I have both the stay-dry hemp snap in insert and the organic cotton one. I cannot say which one I prefer but when comparing the two it is like this:



 Another good feature of the Grovia hybrid is that if the insert is just wet you can reuse the shell. They also have the option of purchasing biosoakers which are disposable inserts, a great option if you are going away on holiday.

Snap closure
Hook & Loop closure
 I prefer the hook & loop closure over the snaps, purely as I couldn't get a good fit with the snaps and it sat funny around the waist. It may be different once my son is older but for now I only have hook and loop. I didn't start using the one I purchased while pregnant until my son was about 3-4 months old and was on the second smallest rise setting. Due to the size of the insert I feel that it would cause quite a bit of bulk on a small newborn.



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Real Nappies
In my last review I spoke about how I didn't like them on my son as a newborn and that I wouldn't buy them again. I did actually buy a few of the next size up. My reasoning however is as follows:


  • They will be good for around the house
  • Can be used in pocket nappies as inserts
  • Couldn't afford to buy multiples of other brands. For a total of $54 I got 6 prefold Real Nappies and two Thirsties Duo covers. When you compare that to one Tots Bots Easy fit, plain not patterned for $38 they are a bargain.

Initially when they arrived I did think that maybe I was crazy choosing these but have since changed my tune and purchased the next size up yet again. Having a Snappi or two has helped and finally getting the hang of putting on the prefold and cover without too much fluffing around has helped. They are really absorbent which I love. I do prefer to use them as a prefold and not an insert as I find that they are very bulky in pocket nappies. Yet when I use it as a folded nappy they are nice and trim and my son doesn't get a "bum shelf".


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I do hope these few reviews have come in handy and please check out my other posts for more nappy reviews. Watch out for my review on covers coming out soon.

The nappies listed above can be purchased in New Zealand from the following websites:
Nappy Heaven  - Itti Bitti, Grovia, Real Nappies
Cheeky Cherubs   - Itti Bitti, Grovia
Tweedle  - Grovia

You can also find them from other online store in New Zealand, but those are the ones that I have personally shopped at for nappies.


Thursday, 2 January 2014

I really was supermum this morning....

For the past few posts I have been talking about being supermum. This morning that actually happened and I was a supermum. To do this with a young baby is sometimes impossible, but today I did it. I did the following:
Fed, changed and put darling son down for a nap.
I put one load of washing in the machine and hung it out, and now have a second load in the machine.
Scrubbed the shower clean, though I haven't worked out how to remove what I am guessing is calcium deposits on the glass shower door.
Scrubbed the bathroom sink until it was truly white again.
Oh and cleaned the toilet.
Cleaned up the dishes in the kitchen minus the few that wouldn't fit in the dishwasher.
Ate breakfast before noon.
Looked at nappy patterns as thinking of making a bamboo fitted nappy and see how that goes at night/day. Will let you know how that works.
Oh and maybe one of the most important things have a shower including washing my hair.

I feel like I actually accomplished something and am a better housewife than before. A teething baby can put a damper on things some days, though I shouldn't really use my darling son as an excuse.

When was the last time you felt like a superparent?

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays everyone...

Christmas can be one of the most stressful holidays of the year no matter what country you are in. And our house is no different.

It is 11pm on Christmas eve and I am making rum balls and cake-pops for tomorrows family dinner. Have never made either before, well the first attempt at cake-pops was a total flop so I am not counting it. Decided after following the rum ball recipe to the t that I am crazy to be doing this.

Dip your filling balls in chocolate... Hmm that doesn't work the filling just melts when you dunk it in the warm chocolate. Decided on putting the chocolate in a zip-lock bag and snipping a corner then pouring it over the filling balls. They look a total mess, but it works. Tastes nice either way.

I do in a way wish that I had decided on something simple like my Berry and Vanilla Cake but I wanted to do something special since it is Christmas. I have learnt that I should practice first, not make a recipe that I have never done before.

Ok it is now midnight, well 8 minutes off midnight so time for bed...

p.s, photos of my unpretty rum balls to come.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

It's ok Darling I'm Supermum - Part Three


It's ok darling I will put the cat out at 4.30am when she wakes me after trying to get you up, but only after I wait 5 minutes for her to eat the biscuits that she turned her nose up a dinner, then crawl under the table to pull her out after I open the backdoor and she turns and runs back inside.

It's ok darling I don't need to eat breakfast until lunch time, you eat yours at the normal time.

It's ok darling I will prepare and cook a full roast dinner, even though I have asked multiple times, including when you got up today to help with prepping the veges.

It's ok darling I will feed the baby while trying to eat breakfast.

It's ok darling I will feed the baby while watching the ideal cooking time for the roast disappear into the past.

It's ok darling I will change the nappy that you mentioned was starting to smell slightly.

It's ok darling I will change that same dirty nappy that I asked you to change while I had a shower.

It's ok darling I will hang out your freshly washed work clothes.

It's ok darling I will calm the crying baby.

It's ok darling I will hold a sleeping baby while I do everything because he wont sleep during the day unless in my arms, no matter what I try.

It's ok darling you just dig the base for the wood shed, even though it is summer and we don't have any wood yet. I understand it needed to be done today.

It's ok darling I'm Supermum you know.

Note: I understand darling that feeding the baby is a little hard for you since he is exclusively breastfed. But when I ask you to help with dinner, just peeling the veggies is all, that you will actually help me.