An Exciting Announcement

Life has been pretty busy the last few weeks, and I’ve been unable to blog as often as I would have liked to.

Today however Mummy, Gracie and I are happy to announce that we are expecting a second baby. Currently 19 weeks along, we are expecting our little girl, Margo, in the middle of October.

Things have been a little rough for Mummy, so we’ve had to look at our diets and try and take things easve been a little rough for Mummy, so we’ve had to look at our diets and try and take things easy.

This obviously was a bit of a shock, and while we never planned for two under two, we couldn’t be more excited

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. 

Teething is the worst 

Haven’t posted in a while. Things have been pretty busy, Mummy was on half term and we decided to spend time with each other, and our family. This invold us jumping on a train back to Kent. 

Since I’ve last posted Gracie has had two teeth cut through, and it looks like 3 & 4 are rapidly approaching. It’s been nothing short of exhausting, and I just desperately hope we’ll get a reprieve once these have cut through.

Here’s hoping we return to a semu-regular posting schedule. 

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

Baby Box Review

We love absolutely everything scandibaby (Scandinavian Baby) here. This love goes beyond the love of neutral pastel pallets, and animal prints. One of the ideas practiced in Scandinavia and Finland is that of the Baby Box, a rigid cardboard box with a mattress on the bottom that functions as a tiny cot for newborns.

The Baby Box Company

While there are many companies that sell these sorts of things, we eventually settled on the one offered by The Baby Box Company. They offered several boxes in different price ranges, while the boxes were all the same, what differed was the items that came in addition to the box.

The Classic Box

We purchased the classic box which came with the following items:

  • The box in a fun fox pattern
  • The mattress
  • A waterproof cover and fitted sheet
  • A muslin and wash cloth
  • A sleeping bag
  • A pair of socks and scratch mittens
  • An oral thermometer
  • A newborn cap
  • A £25 gift voucher for their store

When we purchased the box it came to just under £80 plus shipping from the US. While we cannot remember how long it took to ship, it did take a little while so its worth investing in early.

We used a shaped swaddle when Gracie was a newborn, and used the sleeping bag later

What we liked:

There is something very reassuring about using the baby box. Knowing that you are using a product that is given out to parents in Finland, and something that’s been trialled in Scotland filled us with confidence. The box itself feels well made and strong, and is extremely flexible in where you can put it in your house. The mattress fit snuggly, and seemed in line softness-wise as other baby products.

Ultimately the best selling point of the box is the links to reduced levels of SIDS. The box provides a baby with somewhere safe to sleep, supposedly up to five or six months. We certainly think that the box helped Gracie settle in to a routine, and gave us peace of mind.

What we didn’t like:

We liked the products that were also included in the box, however they are the sort of basic items that most parents quickly gain a surplus of and they get lost in the mix. Likewise a £25 gift voucher is great, but at the time we purchased the box there was very little that we wanted to buy, although after a cursory glance at their store page this has since changed.

The other issue we faced was how quickly she seemed to outgrow it. Since birth Gracie has hovered around the 90th percentile, and she enjoys the ability to move her arms around in her sleep. As a result she was soon knocking her hands on the side of box which was disturbing her sleep.

In conclusion…

The Baby Box Company classic box is a fantastic product that ultimately didn’t seem to work for us. Whether this is down to Gracie’s growth rate, or the fact that we have dogs that meant it limited the locations we could use the box we’re not sure. It does mean however that for the price we would be hesitant to recommend the product as it is no small amount of money for a product that ultimately might not be suitable for everyone’s circumstances.

Regardless of this, should we end up having a second baby we would certainly use this box again.

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).