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I never meant to breast feed a toddler…

Image copyright http://www.breastfeeding-magazine.com/breastfeeding-older-children.html
Image copyright http://www.breastfeeding-magazine.com/breastfeeding-older-children.html

I never meant to breast feed a toddler. I started breastfeeding a baby, my third baby at that.

My first, I weaned at 13 months, because I knew I wanted to get pregnant again, and being a sufferer of hyperemesis gravidarum, I didn’t want to be nursing and pregnant at the same time, so I dropped a feed at a time from 12 months, by 13 months we were down to mornings and nights only, and then we stopped. It was relatively painless, he was already sleeping through the night and, after a few days, stopped expecting to be nursed in the morning.

My second weaned herself at 12 months, or so it seemed. I went away with work and missed two bedtimes (she too was only feeding twice a day and sleeping through by then). The night after I got back, I sat down to feed her as normal and she turned her nose up at it. In fact, she screamed, until I got a bottle of milk out of the fridge, which she took from me and downed. Oh well, I thought, if that’s what she wants, it means I don’t have to “wean” her and never offered again.

My third, well, my third is my third. He is a wonderful little boy, but as a baby he was such hard work! He didn’t sleep for more than 2 hours at a time, and the only thing that would settle him was breastfeeding. He turned 1, and the thought of weaning went through my head. But if I weaned him, how much sleep would we get, if I couldn’t just roll over, give him some milk and go back to sleep, what would my nights be like? I envisioned nights of walking the hallway trying to persuade him to go back to sleep, spending most of the night awake, and then having school runs and work and a preschooler and a home to deal with in my waking hours. So I continued.

Time past. His wakings got less frequent. He stopped feeding to sleep (in fact most nights he prefers a cup of cow’s milk before bed, like his big brother and sister). But time has past, and the little boy who likes some milk in the morning, before his breakfast in not a baby. He is 18 months. He is walking, not quite talking, climbing and growing.

I never meant to nurse a toddler. But I nursed the baby I had and I parented him the way he needed me to. I never meant to nurse a toddler, but my baby grew and still needed me.

How long will I nurse him for? I don’t know. Probably not much longer – he doesn’t seem to need me to, so we’ll see.

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Surviving summer with a baby, the green way!

I love summer. I adore summer. It would be fair to say I am a solar-powered person. In summer my energy levels are higher, my mood is better and my skin looks healthier.

However, summer with young children can be a bit of a balancing act between making the most of the good weather, and keeping your children safe and healthy.

We’ll start with the obvious – sunscreen. It is of course important to protect delicate skin from the effects of UV radiation, but it can be tricky to find a sunscreen that is not full of synthetic chemicals. There are a couple on the market though, including this one from Carribean Blue which uses natural Zinc Oxide to shield from the sun’s rays.

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Hot and bothered children often find it difficult to settle at night too. One thing I have found that can help is to cool them down before bed. After a lukewarm bath, smother them in something Aloe Vera based. Aloe Vera is naturally cooling, and moisturising, so can help replace some of the moisture lost in the heat and leaving their skin feeling cool and refreshed. A great aloe based aftersun is this one with lavender and peppermint to soothe and cool, and its in spray form, so if some is a little sore, you don’t need to touch! Image

Finally, there is the insect and stinging nettle problem! We spend as much of our summer out of doors as possible, but this invariably leads to someone having a run in with a midge or a stinging nettle at some point. This summers big find is this after bite spray. Again it has cooling aloe vera, along with eucalyptus, clove and tea tree oils. It takes the sting out. I used it tonight after 3 lots of nettle stings weeding the garden and it really works. There is a matching insect repellent too!

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Have a happy summer everyone and stay safe in the sun!

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Nappies

Nap Nap Voucher Competition

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So, who would like £10 to spend on a nappy of your choice? Well, read ahead and you could win one!

Grow Up Green has just started accepting the Nap Nap voucher, which, if you haven’t heard, is a fantastic gift voucher scheme for cloth nappies. It can be exchanged a variety of retailers, but only for cloth nappies or wraps. More details can found here

To redeem a Nap Nap Voucher on Grow Up Green, click on “add note to seller” at check out and enter your voucher number. You will then receive a refund for the amount of your voucher, once the voucher number has been verified. Alternatively, you can email your order and voucher number to info@growupgreen.co.uk and you will be sent an invoice for the cost of your order less the value of your voucher. Simples!

To celebrate this new partnership, I have a £10 Nap Nap voucher to give away!

To enter, just comment below, saying what you love about cloth nappies. You can also gain extra entries by tweeting “I want to win a @napnaphq cloth nappy voucher with @growupgreen #win #clothnappies”

Entries must be earned by Monday 8th July at 8pm.

Good luck!

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recycle

The art of refilling…

I used to hate it when a bottle of hand soap or multipurpose cleaner ran out. Although the bottles are easy to recycle, the tops, the bits that pump the soap are not. I used to feel guilty everytime I put one in the bin, as I hate waste! I particularly hate plastic waste as it doesn’t biodegrade.

Then one day I had an epiphany. Refill the bottles! It wasn’t rocket science, quite obvious when you think about it, but there you have it.

My first foray was not overly successful. I ordered a refill bottle of my favourite multipurpose cleaner from my wholesaler. Only, I hadn’t read the description properly. Thinking I was ordering 5 litres of Ecover multi-surface cleaner, imagine my surprise when 15 litres turned up! Now imagine trying to tip a bottle big enough to hold 15 litres to pour one litre into my existing bottle. AND I had to order a special tap to do it.

I made a mess, and I have enough multipurpose cleaner to last a couple of years I think!

Imagine my relief then when I found these little bottles of cleaning product, add to an existing bottle and top up with water and you’re good to go. Eco2life are a greener choice in cleaning products for your home and available in multipurpose cleaner, floor cleaner, glass cleaner and bath and shower, you need never throw a cleaner bottle away again.bathroomrefilldisp_1(1)

My favourite find though is this Lavender and Geranium Handwash. Vegan, BUAV approved and paraben free, it is green and gorgeous smelling. You can buy a pump action bottle of it, but I just bought the refill. It came in a little pouch, with a sticker for you to put on the bottle you are using so you know what’s in it. It’s also available in Aloe and Tea Tree.lavenderhwbotdisp_1

 

So what about you? Do you refill, or just throw out?

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Nappies

How do you get them dry?

There are many questions a parent, new to cloth, asks when I present cloth nappies for the first time. One of them is almost always “how do you get them dry?”

A discredited Environment Agency report written in 2005, claimed that washable nappies were worse for the environment than disposables due to the laundering costs. The report was discredited as the calculations assumed real nappy users were washing half-loads at 90 degrees and tumble drying every wash, which of course we don’t do.

Sensible laundering of your nappies is not only better for the environment (reducing your carbon footprint compared to disposables by 45%), but also prolongs the life of your nappies.

So, how do you get them dry? Well obviously line drying is by far the best! Not only does it use no additional energy, but sunlight is a wonder-cure for any staining, bringing your nappies back to a bright white! Not only that, but they smell great too!

However, we live in the UK and days we can get a load of nappies dry on an outdoor line are few and far between it feels.

Obviously using airers is the next best way to get your nappies dry, but in seasons where your heating isn’t on, it can take a while. I have to admit that I partially cheat. I hang the washing up in the morning, and anything that isn’t dry when the next load comes out the following day goes in the tumble drier to finish off. Not great, but better than tumbling a full load.

If getting things dry is an issue for you, for example if you don’t have a tumble drier or space to dry indoors or out, then carefully choosing your nappies can help.

Bamboo, whilst absolutely fabulous for nappies in many ways, can take forever to dry. Cotton has a tendancy to go crispy if dried on the radiator. The best solution for fast drying is micro-fibre.

There are many microfibre nappies on the market, all with their respective merits. I personally love Bumgenius for a quick change out and about, but you can’t beat a Bambinex teddy for quick drying. I kid you not that they dry in an hour or so inside! I’ve recently added them to the trial kits for those for whom speed of drying is of most importance!

So what about you? Any tips for getting nappies dry?teddy_nappies_colourssmall

 

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Uncategorised

The problem of packaging

This week I received a copy of my favourite magazine in the post. It came with a free gift. It also came with an inordinate amount of unnecessary packaging.

First there was the folder:

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Inside the folder was a box:

 

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Inside the box was……

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A travel size mascara!

Seriously?!?! It’s not even like it was fragile.

Did it make me want to go out and buy a Chanel mascara? No, it made me appalled that so many resources were wasted to promote a product. A free mascara stuck to the front of the magazine would have been fine, even the box would have been tolerable, but the giant folder? All in high gloss card that is hard to recycle.

Many companies still haven’t learnt to keep their packaging to a minimum to save resources. Even cloth nappy companies can be guilty – one of my suppliers sends their nappies individually wrapped in plastic packaging, inside a plastic bag, inside a cardboard box!

As a consumer, you can influence how a company packages it’s products. Vote with your purse and choose products that are packaged more responsibly. Buy refills where possible (this is a great way to get household products cheaper to – check out these Eco2life refills ). And if you want to be really radical – post unwanted packaging back to the company who produced it, with a letter explaining why 😉

 

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Uncategorised

4 meals from a pack of mince…

After the popularity of my blog post the four meal chicken, I decided to follow it up with another cost saving tip, this time with a 500g pack of beef mince.

Ok, so buy your mince, take it home and split the pack in 2. Put half in the freezer for another time.

With the 250g you have got, make a pasta sauce. Use onion, whatever veg you like (I use courgette, pepper and mushrooms), garlic, a couple of tins of tomatoes, a handful of mixed herbs, a dash of worcestershire sauce and a teaspoon of mustard ( you can make yours with whichever herbs and spices you like!). Add a good handful of red lentils and simmer for a good while until the lentils are soft. If you cook them long enough you can’t really see the lentils, so veggie resistant hubbies need never know 😉

This pasta sauce will do twice for my family if I add enough veg/lentils. I serve half with spaghetti and freeze the other half.

The following week defrost the half pack of mince you haven’t used. Make it into the filling for cottage pie. This time I bulk with mushrooms and chopped carrot, onion, handful of herbs and beef stock from a cube (I thicken the gravy with a spoon of gravy granules if necessary). To bulk it out you can either add a can of baked beans or a good handful of porridge oats if you prefer. This works really well made in a slow cooker if you have one!

Make a cottage pie with half the filling. With the other half, you can either make another pie and freeze it, or just freeze the filling with the other half.

The following week, defrost the pasta sauce you haven’t used. You can either use it with spaghetti again or make it into a lasagne.

The fourth week, defrost the cottage pie filling. Either make another cottage pie or mince and dumplings or mince and tatties!

So, you’ve had spaghetti bolognese, cottage pie, lasagne and mince and dumplings, all from a pack of mince that has cost £3 ish, and a few quid more on veg!

Categories
Nappies

Another Real Nappy Week over…

Phew, what a week! Real Nappy Week is a blast, but it’s everything about my “job” condensed into one week of manic activity. Here’s just an overview of what went on:

3 Nappuccinos around the region, 1 stall at a baby event,  1 dropping off of a trial kit and explaining everything there is to know about cloth nappies to a new dad, 1 Great Cloth Diaper Change event (didn’t quite make the 25 needed to count towards the total, but a really good fun had by all who attended!!), lots of dealing with enquiries by email, social media, and phone, processing orders, taking trial kit bookings and going to the post office.

My Northumberland agent also had 4 visits to baby groups around her region, making sales, taking trial kit bookings and delivering trial kits (and helping me with the Great Cloth Diaper Change events.

A selection of goodies from the website went to Billy to be included in the Great Cloth Nappy Hunt.

What about you? Get up to anything fun during Real Nappy Week?

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Guest blog Nappies

Guest Blog

Guest Blog

To mark Real Nappy Week, Mummy Blogger, Hannah at Mum’s Days, took one of our trial kits and put it through it’s paces.

Here are her thoughts on the trial she did for Real Nappy Week!

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Raffle prizes for the Great Cloth Diaper Change

So, just over a week to the big event, and lots of lovely raffle prizes are arriving from our lovely supporters. Proceeds from the raffle will be split between helping us cover the cost of the event and Tiny Lives (the charity that raises funds for our local neo-natal unit).

So, in no particular order, I have in my possession:
1 x gift pack from Bambooty Real Nappies, including 2 nappies, coordinating Tshirt and a cuddly toy
1 x 1.5l Violets Laundry Liquid from Home Scents
1 x Blueberry Onesize,Minky from Grow Up Green
1 x WAHMIES wet bag with a selection of organic baby toiletries from Grow Up Green
1 x Baby gift set from Bare Bodycare organic toiletries
1 x address book, from Sparkle Sandart
1 x voucher for Pushy Mothers
2 x nappies and on pair of baby legs from  Tiny Nippers nappies

On it’s way:
1 x 1 months hire of a sling of your choice from Sunderland Sling Library
1 x one to one sling consultation with the North of Tyne Sling Library
1 x Breastfeeding necklace from Mamablessings
2 x gift certificate for Temple Spa pamper packages
something special from Phoenix cards
something special from Jamie at Home
1 x hand cut design from Embellish Paper cuts
Something from Sue Brind Neals Yard Organics
A full body massage from Jude Soames of Newcastle Pregnancy and Baby Centre

If I’ve forgotten anyone, let me know!

Tickets are £1 a strip and will be available at the event at the Crisis Skylight Cafe Newcastle on 20th April at 10am-11.30am as part of the Great Cloth Nappy Change event

If you can’t make the event – you can email me at aggie@growupgreen.co.uk and reserve some tickets, paying by BACS or cheque!

Good luck everyone

And thank you – to our wonderful supporters!