A Wonderful Wednesday

Gosh what a busy day we’ve had! To kick the day off there looks like their might be an end to our teething in sight, as the first of the top two teeth has finally cut through the the gums. Gracie has handled the whole thing like a trooper as usually, but it cannot be pleasant to go through that.

This morning we had our appointment with the health visitor, it was time for Gracie’s 9 month review and we are pleased to say that everything is going very well. She continues to be a large baby sitting above the 90th percentile in weight and height. The health visitor was happy with how Gracie was developing both in movement and speech. We knew that things were going okay, but it is always nice to have someone else to confirm this too.

The health visitor also gave us a book bag, along with two books, as well as a toothbrush and toothpaste. We knew that we would receive these bits, but it is great that there is system in place that provides these sorts of essentials to babies.

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This afternoon we did something very exciting, we took Gracie to the beach for the first time! She loved it, for nearly an hour she crawled around on the sand leaving great rings behind her. She progressively covered her self in sand, until she was completely caked. We also went paddling with her for the first time, taking her walking in the shallow water. Surprisingly the water was lovely and warm, and she had great fun kicking and splashing her feet.

In short it was a very busy, but wonderful Wednesday.

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Baby’s first trip to A&E

Hey guys! Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately things here at the Reusable Family have been pretty hectic the last few weeks.

Firstly we’ve popped our vegan month on hold for the time being. It’s something we are definitely passionate about, but as those of you who follow us on Instagram may be aware, we’ve had a health issue arise that forced our hand a little. I’m sure we could work around it but for the time being we wanted to work with what we know works.

We also had our first A&E trip with Gracie last week. Most likely triggered by a viral infection, she threw up everywhere, was painfully hot, and at times unresponsive. By the time we got to the hospital she was on the mend, and was quickly back to her usual self. One of the things we needed to do was catch a urine sample, which is an absolute pain to do. I missed two pees before we finally caught one. After three hours we were discharged, exhausted but happy that Gracie was okay. The next day she was back to her usual self. 

I’m heading back to work tomorrow which seems odd to even think about. We’ll all just have to see how things go. 

Alva Nappy Review

We are reviewing all the different brands of Cloth Nappies that we use. Our previous reviews are:

And you can see a post giving a broad overview of our stash here.

So let’s get this said right at the beginning, a lot of people don’t like Alva Nappies. This is because they are made in China, now while some people may object to this, there is certainly an up front cost to reusable nappies and that does have go be considered.

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Nothing is quite as dapper as a cloud with a moustache

We got our first Alva nappy after we won an online competition. We’d seen the lower price tag and the fact they only come with a single insert and had been put off by that. However these nappies have become a staple of our stash.

What we liked…

First of all we were impressed by the quality of these nappies. They feel well made, the poppers are sturdy, but un-pop at the right amount of force meaning that you’re not just tugging on them hopping that the fabric doesn’t rip.

The soft fabric that sits against your baby’s skin is also extremely soft, and quickly pulls any moisture away from the baby leaving them feeling relatively dry to the touch when the nappy is removed. The pockets of the nappies are also a decent size, and while the insert that comes with the nappy is certainly enough for short periods, there is plenty of room in the nappy to add additional inserts for ensure that the nappy can be worn for longer, and without fear of leaks. Alva nappies are also easily adjustable for your baby’s size, using poppers to make the nappy bigger or smaller, allowing you to find the perfect fit.

Perhaps one of the best things about Alva nappies however is their eye catching and beautiful designs. One of the many benefits of reusable nappies is that they can look extremely attractive, and Alva nappies certainly embrace this fact. The sheer quantity of designs means you are sure to find something that you like.

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Owls, foxes, feathers, dinosaurs and wolves! You are sure to find a design for you

What we didn’t like…

So as we mentioned above, Alva nappies are produced in China which we know might put some people off of purchasing these nappies.

The real drawback however is that these nappies only come with a single insert. And while this is plenty for short periods of wear, we don’t feel that it really gives you the peace of mind that you’d want from a nappy. We are fortunate that we have a number of spare inserts in our stash, others just starting their collection won’t have such convenience.

The white fabric is also a little prone to staining, while these does not effect the quality of the nappy, it can be touch unsightly. That said, we found that successive washes removed the stains with ease, and the use of napisan (or something similar, we use Bio D Nappy Fresh).

Conclusion…

It says a lot that of the nappies we’ve purchased for Gracie, the one nappy that we ensured that we had on hand was the single Alva nappy that we randomly had. Since that I have purposely purchased more Alva nappies for pad out our collection and provide us with more tolerance when it comes to washing and drying our nappies. More than this we intend to purchase more Alva  simply because we love the designs, trust the quality, and find that, simply put, they fit Gracie extremely well.

If you are just starting out along the road of reusable nappies, then perhaps these are not a great place to start, but if you have a collection, or are looking for a few statement pieces then I couldn’t recommend them highly enough! However I would suggest a purchase of additional inserts (especially charcoal ones that fit these well).

 

My Changing Bag Essentials

Do you ever look at another parent’s changing bag and wonder at what marvellous things that they surely contain. Well here is your chance to have a sneaky look in what I’ve got in my bag! And unlike most people, I decided to forgo the typical messenger style bag, opting for a backpack. This allows me to wear the baby on the front, while also comfortably carrying the changing bag.

So without further ado, these are the things I carry about in my bag!

The Essentials

Changing Mat

I really doubt that there is a single changing bag on the market that doesn’t come with some sort of changing mat. These tend to be thin, lightweight and waterproof, so obviously the first thing I did was take that out and put in my own, soft, not waterproof, and rather chunky.

Personally I love the Close Pop-In Change & Go which is wonderfully soft and warm for Gracie. The whole thing rolls up nicely and fits neatly into one of the stretchy pockets in the back of the bag. It even has a handy pocket that will hold your reusable wipes, or nappy sacks if that’s your jam.

Nappy Wet Bags

If you are using reusable nappies then at some point you are going to be out and about and your baby is going to need a change, and while you can easily throw away disposables you cannot do that for cloth nappies.

I rock a couple of Tots Bots Waterproof Nappy Bags. These things are excellent, they can be folded down so when not in use they take up practically no space, they hold roughly three or four nappies, and once your done just tip the contents out, turn them inside out and shove them in the pail along with your dirty nappies. Eventually you can toss them in the wash together and then they are ready to be used again.

Reusable Nappies

While I am happy to use any nappies from my stash, there are certainly a few that I prefer to pack in the bag. I typically pack a Close Pop-In Nappy, an Alva Pocket Nappy or a Smartie Pants Pocket Nappy. I favour these because they fasten tightly, and I don’t usually have leakage problem with these nappies.

Reusable Wipes

If you are using reusable nappies, then you might as well use reusable wipes. Once used they go in the wash with the nappies. I use Cheeky Wipes, just grab them out of the wet box, and pop them in the waterproof travel bag your good to go.

The Little Bits

  • I also pack small bottle of hand sanitizer just in case my hands get mucky
  • A small Sophie la Girafe teething toy
  • Muslins
  • Emergency wet-wipes & nappy sacks
  • Change of Clothes
  • Milton Wipes just in case she throws her dummy on the floor

The Extra Stuff

Typically these bits are for me, and get thrown into the bag if I have enough room!

  • My Tablet
    • If I know I am going to be out for a while, or if I am going to go to a coffee shop etc. I pack my tablet just in case I can get in some blogging/writing
  • Glass Bottle/Coffee Cup
    • In my attempts to be green I have started packing my reusable coffee cup in case I get desperate for caffeine, and I pack myself a drink in my glass bottle
  • A reusable shopping bag
    • Just in case I need to pick up some bits or bobs, plus one of the main reasons I go into town is to the visit the butchers or green grocers

The Travel System Set-Up

I’m just bring over some pre-birth posts from an old site. Feel free to have a look at how we set everything up!

With baby Gracie getting ever closer, I thought it would be fun to go through our current Set-Ups. We will look at the Nursery, Travel System (pram), Cloth Nappies, Changing Bag, and Baby Toys. Once Gracie has arrived we’ll do a look back and see just how under-prepared we really were.

We had a good idea of what we were looking for when we started researching prams, pushchairs, and car seats. Preferably we wanted something that was an “all-in-one” system, that is to say something that we could use for a significant length of time, and something which was compatible with each other.

With that in mind we settled on the Cosatto Giggle 2 travel system. Firstly, we just love the Cosatto designs, they are brightly coloured and look good/sturdy. We decided on the Funfair colour scheme because we thought it looked bright, but gender neutral just in case we have another baby, and I am a sucker for greys and isometric patterns. I also quite liked the use of brushed metal, especially on the little cot as it gives the impression that it strong and protective.

The Cosatto offers an adjustable handle that means that it is comfortable for both Ruthie and I to push, effectively meaning that I won’t be bent over using the pram. When we’ve been practising using the Giggle 2 we’ve found it easy to use, it glides around without issue, and the option to lock the front wheel in place seems like a useful addition, although I couldn’t tell you when it would be useful…

So let’s talk about ease of use! Neither Ruthie or I currently drive, which means we needed something that was easy to put up and down for when we decide to brave public transport. Before settling on this, we had practised with another brand and it putting it up/down was a complicated affair. That ins’t the case with the Giggle 2, the pram pops off and then with a press of a button it collapses neatly down, perfect for busses and trains.

The final reason we got the Giggle 2 is because it came with a car seat as well (yes, we don’t drive at the moment but we are hoping to change that soon). That means it was a great price for everything we needed. It also came with a rather fetching changing bag (one of two that we’ve got prepped and ready go for when Gracie decides to arrive).

The Nursery Set-Up

I’m just bring over some pre-birth posts from an old site. Feel free to have a look at how we set everything up!

With baby Gracie getting ever closer, I thought it would be fun to go through our current Set-Ups. We will look at the Nursery, Travel System (pram), Cloth Nappies, Changing Bag, and Baby Toys. Once Gracie has arrived we’ll do a look back and see just how under-prepared we really were.

 

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We wanted a nice, light coloured room in a sort of Scandinavian style. As we started the nursery before we knew the gender we stuck with gender neutral colours, specifically going with light blue, white, and grey, as well as allowing for natural wood tones.

Not having a particularly large house we tried to be as conservative with our space as possible, making sure that we got our cot, changing table, and wardrobe in, and fitting anything in around those.

The first thing we bought was our Baby Box from the Baby Box Company. We knew that as long as we had then whatever else happened our little girl would have somewhere to sleep. Originally we were planning to move the box around the house as we needed it but since then someone from our church kindly donated a Moses basket which has been set up downstairs, so the Baby Box is now sitting in the cot.

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The cot, changing table, and shelves are from Ikea. Reasonably priced and sturdy, we didn’t fancy breaking the bank on these items. That said I am very happy about their appearance and think they suit the rooms colour. What I particularly like is that the changing table has lots of little hooks and trays to (hopefully) make the changing experience easier. We opted to use  the bottom shelf to display our Cloth Nappies. We’d toyed with the idea of placing them away but actually preferred the idea of being able to select what nappy you wanted, especially as our nappy stash is made up of different brands.

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We spent a little more on the wardrobe. From the moment Mummy spotted it she knew that we had to have it for the nursery. By Mama & Papas, it is from the Lawson range which blends together white and wood in the perfect rustic combination. Like with the changing table, what we liked about the clothes rail is that we are able to see of the different outfits that we could put on Gracie. We spend so much time, and energy (and money) on picking out clothes for our baby, we just wanted to be able to see them. The flat bottom of the rail also gives you space for more storage, lots of people opt to use it for blankets, or shoes, but we decided that it was better suited for the small army of soft toys (shout out to Lotso, Rex, Elmer and Stitch).

So with the big set-pieces out of the way, we decided to pick up bits and bobs as we found them. As mentioned above we purchased our shelves from Ikea, and they have been perfect for displaying books and soft toys.

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We also found a lovely small set of house-shaped shelves in a shop called The Range. These were absolutely perfect for filling in some empty wall space that we had above the changing table. We filled one with our Disney Tsum-Tsum collection, and the other houses Boris the Bear (I have been told the rainbow llama cannot live on-top of the house and he has since been moved).

Wanting to inject a little more colour into the room, I picked up lovely thick rug from Flying Tiger Copenhagen (which is sort of like Ikea, but for tat, and it has to be one of my favourite shops). As you can see from the picture below we also swapped out the cots handles for some brightly colour animals, also from Tiger.

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Our new baby clothes haul

So at a little over three months old, our baby girl weighed in at a sizable 16lb (or 7.2kg if you are like me). Her 3 to 6 month clothes hasn’t fit in quite a while so we’ve had to buy lots of 6 to 9.

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As much as we try to buy our clothes from organic sources, sometimes time, and money, have limited us. Sometimes we end up buying standard clothes to bulk out our collections, especially when she’s outgrowing her clothes so quickly.

We picked up these long-sleeved vests from Sainsbury’s for £8 or £9. Technically from their boys range, we thought those colours complimented the rest of her clothes, and we saw no reason for it to be gendered. We adore that mustard/yellow colour on her, and find that it pairs well with most of her leggings. Mummy has also been pushing me to put her in some more monochrome clothes, so the black and white, and grey vests will start that off well.

We also recieved a knitted care package from Gracie’s GG.

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We got a lovely collection of headbands for Gracie, as well as a rainbow coloured knitted hoodie that just perfect for her to wear in her pram, or in the sling.