Tag: baby

My thoughts on Caesareans

I feel like this post has been a long time coming, both in terms of actually sitting down to write and also in the content itself.

I’m going to write about Caesarean sections. “Oh no” you cry, “not another mummy blog post about c-sections, we get it!”

Well, you may get it. But based on some recent observations, enough other people out there don’t and I really feel I need to express my thoughts on this matter. As I say, it’s been a long time coming. 18 months to be exact.

So I want to talk about c-sections. I want to talk about pity. I want to talk about unfulfilled expectations. I want to talk about fear. I want to talk about disappointment.

When I hear that a women who experienced a vaginal delivery pities one who hasn’t, I’m ok with that. I really feel that most of the time that projection says more about the way that woman feels about herself and how she wants to be perceived by others.

What I find harder to stomach is the implication by society as a whole that you have failed as a “mother” from the get go. Never mind the fact that you grew this little human for 9 months, if you didn’t push it out, and didn’t feel the connection to women and mothers who have done this throughout millennia… can you really count yourself among that exclusive group?

Now, I don’t know about you, but the biggest thing I’ve learnt about parenting is sacrifice. Doing what you need to to keep your child safe. Sacrificing your own wants and needs for this tiny thing that needs your love, your help, your time, your energy is what it’s all about. Was I willing to put my pride in proving that I was A WOMAN and MOTHER above the safety of my child? Absolutely not. Did my ego have to take a back seat? Yes. 100%. And it won’t be the last time it has had to do so in this parenting journey. I didn’t worry about not bonding with my child because I hadn’t pushed him out of me, I knew I’d already been a parent by making the choice that was best for him. I was so scared that he wasn’t going to be ok, I didn’t care what I needed to do to make him safe.

I went from utter fear and exhaustion to acceptance and relief in an instant.

I have never known such a sense of relief washing over me as when the delivery was taken out of my hands. The words from my obstetrician that she “didn’t want to be a hero” just for the sake of giving me my planned vaginal delivery. She just wanted it to be a safe one.

But that brings me onto the hardest part for me to wrap my head around. The shame that came with that relief. Not at the time, but afterwards.

I’m strong. I pride myself on it. I’ve got broad shoulders and wide hips. My body can do what I want it to if I put my mind to it. And my body failed me.

That aspect of having a c-section has been harder for me than any other. I said that my ego had to take a back seat, but I didn’t say I liked putting it there. I spent just the first few months saying I had made peace with my delivery, but I didn’t believe it. It took a long time for me to have faith in my body again. How ridiculous! My body, which safely housed my little man for 9 months, and fed him afterwards, felt like it had let me down because of what happened on a single day.

The need for me to get fit and strong again after pregnancy was so much more than I thought it would be. The need to be able to run faster, lift heavier, swim further stemmed from the need to feel like my body can do great things. My post-baby #bodygoals have not been about fitting into a pair of jeans again, they have been about beating pre-pregnancy PBs. I thought I would want to get pregnant again straight away but I have realised I need to relearn what my body is capable of, outside of its ability to grow a baby.

So finally, the conversation always rolls around to ‘next time’ and VBAC. I felt very obliged early on to say that of course I’d love to try for a vaginal delivery next time because “if at first you don’t succeed” and “you came so close last time!” But then I met with my obstetrician and she gave me facts and statistics. I love facts. And I love making my decisions using them. So now I proudly say that if/when (let’s face it, none of it is a given) baby number two comes along I will be having an elective c-section. And I’ve truly made peace with that now, even if some might pity me for it.

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Reusable nappies – Post 2

Reusable nappies – Post 2

In my last post I talked about how I chose which type of nappy I wanted to use and my favourite brand. That was the easy bit… now let’s discuss how they actually work in practice.

Now, I had never changed a nappy before having my own baby. I didn’t grow up with loads of babies around and was never overly baby orientated. So I went into this whole nappy thing with a mixture of what swung from blissful ignorance to the sheer terror of the unknown. To be honest, that’s how I went into the whole baby thing, and six months in it’s been amazing (I have learnt A LOT).

So nappies. As I said in my last post I didn’t start using the reusable ones until about 8 weeks whilst I was finding my feet. In that 8 week period I was blown away by how many bags of used nappies I was taking to the bin everyday, and with every bag I thought about the landfill and the amount of time nappies take to break down. Not cool. I was pleased I’d made the decision to try reusable ones but I decided to be kind to myself (always) and not beat myself up if I found it too hard. At this point I’d only bought about five nappies so the investment wasn’t so big that I felt bad if I stopped (spoiler alert: I didn’t stop, I really like using them!). 

Laundry routine

I was not too familiar with what baby poo is like so I read about how to clean the nappies and followed the advice of the nappy companies and blogs of people that were using them. 

Generally, milk fed babies poo is water soluble so you can just chuck everything in the washing machine. It also doesn’t smell too offensive, so whilst it wasn’t the best part of my day, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (although it has put me off chunky sweet potato dip for life). I kept a slide top bin next to my change table and just threw the soiled nappies in there. This was in the winter so the room was cooler and the bin didn’t smell too bad. I could get away with washing them every 2-3 days. 


I wash the nappies on the “mixed” setting of my machine at 30 degrees C. I use a natural detergent for them, but not one that contains plant oils. I did no prewashing or soaking. 


I always dry my nappies outside, but under a covered area. These octopus hanging driers have been one of my most used items, they are so convenient for nappy washing. The bamboo pads really don’t take long to dry so the whole process is not too arduous. 


If I’m feeling organised I’ll reconstruct all of the nappies and line them up beautifully so they are ready to go, but more often than not they just end up in a mixed pile of pads and covers and I make them up as I use them.


Now that my baby is on solids things have changed a little. I was dreading the poo from solids but in all honesty it’s much better to deal with than the milk poos. I use a bamboo liner in the nappy now and can just lift it out and throw the poo in the toilet. It’s much more like a play doh consistency so doesn’t go everywhere like milk poo. Too much information? Maybe, but I had no idea before having a baby and could have done with someone making it nice and clear for me! 

Also, it’s now much warmer here so I can’t leave the bin for too long. I’ve got in the habit of washing that day’s nappies just after I’ve put my baby to bed so they don’t sit in his room overnight. 

How often I change nappies

You will find with cloth nappies that you have to change them far more regularly than disposables, as they don’t have the magic water absorbing chemicals that the disposables do. I generally change his nappy every 2-3 hours, and I definitely had a few times where I left it too long and they couldn’t hold any more liquid. More regular changes means a fresher, drier bottom and I think this contributed to the fact that my son has had no nappy rash. 

I’ve been told recently that reusable nappies make it easier to potty train as your toddler knows the feeling of being uncomfortable with a slightly damp nappy and so will let you know that it needs changing. This was only anecdotal so I can’t promise anything!

When he was still waking every few hours during the night I would check and usually change his nappy but as he started to sleep longer, and stopped pooing in the night, I wanted to be able to leave him without worrying about leaks. I started to use an extra pad in them but found this didn’t work as well as I would like. So overnight he sleeps in a disposable. Remember how I said I wasn’t going to beat myself up if I could do it perfectly? Well, I decided that one disposable per day is so much better than one bin bag full per day so I’m ok with my choice. I might start trying to use the cloth ones again over night, but I switch to a disposable because he was waking due to a wet nappy rather than anything else. Changing him then woke him up more so I made the call that longer periods of uninterrupted sleep was better for both of us. 

The only other time I’ve used disposables is when we went overseas on holiday. I really admire anyone who would continue their reusable routine on a plane or whilst staying away from home, but I decided not too. After two weeks of disposables I was wooed by how convenient they are but made sure I got straight back into my reusable routine when we got home and I quickly remembered why I love using them. 

What about when you’re out?

No one wants to lug smelly nappies around with them, do they?! This was an area that I thought I would just use disposables because it would just be too much effort but it’s been fine. I always keep a couple of disposables with me just in case but in general it’s been fine. Keep a wetbag with you and empty it as soon as you get home and it’s really not as bad as you might think. I use this wet/dry bag because I can just grab it out of my big nappy bag when I need it.


Give it a go

If you’ve read this far you must be considering using cloth nappies. If you’re not sure, just get a couple to try and incorporate them into your routine, perhaps on days when you know you’ll be at home. You may find that gradually you lean towards using them more and more, but every time you use a reusable instead of a disposable is one less nappy ending up in landfill. Which is a winner. 

Reusable nappies – Post 1

Reusable nappies – Post 1

When I was pregnant I started to really think about ways to live more sustainably, with a much stronger sense of what kind of world I would want my baby to grow up. Very idealistic, I know. So much of the time we look at the bigger picture and think ‘how can I possibly change this, I’m just one person’ instead of just making small changes and spreading the word about what you’re doing. 
So here I am, doing just that. And I’m going to spread the word about the oh so glamourous topic of reusable nappies. You’re in for a wild ride, I promise… 
I started researching modern cloth nappies (MCN) during my pregnancy and found there was a lot of information out there, but much of it was based in the USA and some brands and products were hard to come by in Australia. I’ve now been using them for 5 months (I didn’t use them with a newborn, more on that below) and will never look back. 


The biggest questions I had were:

  1. What types are there are which are best?
  2. Do you just spend your life washing? And isn’t it a little bit disgusting?
  3. How many do I need? Does this work out cheaper in the long run? 
  4. Do disposable nappies have their place in a MCN routine?

In this post I’m going to focus on question 1: What types are there and which do I think are best?
There are two key things to consider when choosing a type of MCN to use:
(a) all-in-one (AIO) vs all-in-two (AI2) which made up of a liner and a cover

(b) nappies that change size as your baby grows, known as one size fits most (OSFM) vs sized nappies

All in one vs all in two

AIO

Pros: easiest to put on as soon as they are washed and dry they are ready to go – no ‘construction’ required

Cons: can take longer to dry, can be more expensive

AI2 

Pros: quick to dry as cover and pad can be separated, can reuse a cover with a new pad (I don’t do this very often so it isn’t a big selling point), can add more pads to bump up with absorbency

Cons: slightly more fiddly, some companies aren’t as cheap as they first seem because you have to buy the pads separately 

My choice: AI2 

I like the fact that you can separate the pad from the cover and they dry really quickly. My favourite design is one with a pocket that you slide the pad into, it’s the simplest and cheapest option and it works really well.


One size fits most vs sized nappies

OSFM
Pros: cheaper in the long run as you just need to buy your initial stash

Cons: can be a bit bulky on little babies, the fit might not be great to start so may get leakage

Sized

Pros: better fitting nappies

Cons: much more expensive in the long run

My choice: OSFM

Now, I didn’t use MCN until my baby was about 8 weeks because in the hazy days of having a newborn I didn’t want too much on my plate (I now think I could have coped just fine) so just used disposables at first, so I can’t comment too much on using them on very small babies. When I felt that I had got to grips with the tiny human that I was responsible for I started using some OSFM nappies and they worked really well. I didn’t like the idea of having to buy a whole new batch every time my baby outgrew them.


How to chose a brand

I started off buying a few nappies from different brands until I established which ones I liked best. 

My favourites BY FAR are by Hippybottomus, which is an Australian company. They were also the cheapest and the simplest to use! Win win! They wash well and dry really quickly. Their price includes the cover and pad. I went on to buy a total of 20 nappies from them, with a few spare pads. I still use the nappies from Itti Bitti that I bought (I have 5 in total) but I find I only reach for those once my Hippybottomus stash is depleted. 

Returning to triathlon 

So on Sunday I completed my first triathlon since having a baby six months ago. 

I’ve done them before and had time goals but this one was just about completing it; I didn’t even wear a watch. 10 minutes before the briefing I breastfed my son and had a moment of reflection on how incredible our bodies are. Cliché? Maybe. But true nonetheless. I can look at the photos of me in Lycra and obsess over the size of my thighs etc but I’m deciding not too. I’m so proud of myself for pushing my body but being kind to it at the same time, for having a goal for the end of 2016 and achieving it, and for deciding to go into 2017 being my body’s biggest cheerleader, not its biggest critic.

Advice for my newly pregnant friend

I just found out that a very good friend of mine has found out she’s pregnant. I’m only six months in to the crazy journey that is being a parent but put thought back to my pregnancy and the most important pieces of advice I could offer her. I asked my mothers group for their input and this is what we came up with:
1. Listen to your gut. You will never stop worrying but try to recognise when you really think something isn’t right and don’t be afraid to get it checked out – but not by Dr Google as you will either be fine/dying. We all looked for blood when they went to the toilet – you are definitely not alone on that one if that has become a recent obsession! Then in third trimester that turned into keeping an eye on kicks, which is super important.

2. Keep moving. You are not made of glass and can still get out of breath and sweaty*. See point 1 if you’re not sure about something but move move move.

(*This applies if you are already active. If you aren’t make sure you speak to your doctor or midwife about how to start exercising safely during pregnancy)

3. Moisturise the shit out of your upper legs, bum and tum and drink loads of water for purely vain reasons. Hydrated skin is more elastic and stretch marks will be less.

4. You don’t need as much stuff as all the baby marketing directed at you tells you. Get some items second hand (our cot was from Gumtree). It’s fairly easy to get decent second hand buggies because people often have another baby quickly and need to upgrade.

5. Enjoy it. We all agreed we felt amazing in the second trimester once the nausea/exhaustion of the first trimester had passed. The third is so exciting and terrifying in equal measures and ALL of them (including me) had times when they seriously wondered if they were ready, how they would cope but they are all doing amazing jobs. We all agreed there’s no perfect time to have a baby and (to a certain extent) there’s no bad time either. It’s so awesome to have conceived one at all. Your life will change (no shit) but not necessarily as much as you think it might.

6. Trust yourself and be kind to yourself. Always.