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No ‘Poo

4 Apr

No I’m still changing plenty of nappies per day…

I have finally chucked out the shampoo! Its weird, one day I was lathering up my hair and the next time I decided to take the plunge. Since my hair is pretty curly and prone to frizz without careful treatment, I was a bit worried, but I decided to persevere and give it a go. I am so glad it did it – my hair is all purty curly  and manageable! No more frizz!!

They say it can make your hair greasy for a while, but I must admit I haven’t really had that problem, my hair seems happy!

This is the best pic I have of it for now… This is on the second day after washing. (please note my adorable eskimo baby… this was taken last Wednesday, and it was really cold – plus the poor baby has an ear infection)

Its really easy and super cheap!! Just get baking soda (in SA that bicarbonate of soda – NOT baking powder) and apple cider vinegar.

Just mix one tablespoon baking soda with one cup of water and put in a pump acting bottle, you can use more if you have thicker/curlier/greasier hair. Then just wet your hair and apply as much of the mixture as needed to your scalp and massage it in. Rinse well.

For conditioner you can use one table spoon apple cider vinegar with one cup of water, I put it in a spray bottle and just spray onto my ends and rinse. It really softens your hair, but be careful not to use too much as it can make your hair greasy.

I hope this works out in the long run, it would be so nice to save money like that and also be green 🙂 Its really good to know I am no longer putting chemicals on my hair and face.

My next step is to make my own baby products, it seems so wrong to put any chemicals on my baby… Watch this space…

Review: Cherub Tree Nappies

11 Mar

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I started using Cherub Tree nappies when Elijah was around 6 weeks old. As you may know I am very into eco-friendly living, so cloth nappies was pretty obvious.

The awesome thing about these ones specifically is that they are one-size-fits-all – so we can use them for the whole time that he’s in nappies. They are so pretty also, in blue, black, red, yellow, lilac and white. I love how easy they are to clean and use.  They are made up of the outside waterproof cover, then 2 inners – one microfibre and one hemp. Each inner can absorb around 250ml, so they are awesomely absorbent. I would totally recommend them to moms who are keen to try cloth. At R135 each, they are on the cheaper end of cloth nappies, and still cheaper than disposables – 2.5 years of disposables costs around R15 480, and for 15 Cherubs its only R2025.  Plus considering disposables take hundreds of years to degrade… cloth is way better for the environment.

Although I have not been paid to review these nappies, I do sell them, so please contact me if you’re interested…

On Attachment Parenting

21 Feb

“Years of research have demonstrated that human babies have very positive responses to touch and holding, both physiologically and emotionally. A baby is unable to understand that she is a separate entity from her mother or primary caregiver, but her awareness of separateness will come as she matures. This appears to be a survival mechanism designed to keep baby and mother, or primary caregiver, close together. Thus, it is important that babies be held very frequently as a baby benefits from a mother or father’s warm touch, smell, and voice. It is very comforting for them to be held; therefore, they cry less.” (source)

I never thought I would hear people tell me I need to be “less attached” to my 2 month old son. I mean, he’s 2 months old, can he walk? NO. Can he talk? NO. Can he fend for himself? NO. Can he feed himself? NO. He’s a tiny person who is solely dependent on his mama and papa. I am not ashamed to admit I am a barefoot, babywearing, breastfeeding, recycling, cloth diapering, tree hugging, partial co-sleeping mama.

Today I put Elijah in his cot in his room for his nap, this was an experiment in part to see if I can hear him when I am in the bedroom and also to see if he is ok sleeping there. For the last 2 months he has been in our room. The first week or so in a carry cot on our bed, then in said carry cot next to my side of the bed, then when I hurt my back, he was in bed next to me, just like that and now he is back in the carry cot next to the bed. Its not ideal for him to be in our bed, for obvious reasons, and then also I like having the covers up high, and when he sleeps next to me I prefer to keep them off for his safety. So I am all for partial co-sleeping.

I also carry him around in a sling or a pouch when I need to have my hands free, and when we go out. The reasons for this are numerous – the quote above being part of it. He is safer and happier when I go shopping in a sling than in a pram, as I can keep an eye on him, and he can feel me and hear me. Obviously its also great because I can have my hands free to clean and cook etc. He seldom cries when I “wear” him, as he knows I will respond to him as soon as he needs something, this means he gets distressed less, and I spend less time calming him. One other great reason is, he is at eye level with people, so he feels included, and they can see him and talk to me. My son has the benefit of having a mama who is consistent, loving and responsive to his needs.

Cloth diapering is another controversial subject. I come from a family that is very eco-conscious, we have water-saving shower-heads, we used grey water for the garden, we have recycling boxes for glass, paper and plastic. My dad has a company focussed on sustainable construction and things like solar energy. Its in my blood to care for the environment, and in the process my money, which is why it wasn’t really an option to use disposables solely. Yes, for the first 2 months I did use disposables, because Elijah had stick legs, so the cloth nappies leaked bad, and we had been gifted with nappies. Now however, he fits in them, and I have found awesome ones that work like a bomb (mail me if you are interested – I am selling them too). Because he doesn’t sleep through yet, I do use disposables at night, as they are more absorbent for night and I don’t have to wake him up to change him, but as soon as he stops feeding so often at night, we’re going all cloth.

I find it interesting that I get so much opposition to my style of parenting, by being a stay at home mom, I have already shocked the system, but now being pro-attachment I seem to have blown the boat out the water completely. I just want to tell people, my son is very content, yes he does cry, no he does not sleep through yet, but he is content knowing his parents are always there for him. He will never need to feel neglected or left alone, his self-confidence will be much stronger for it. I hope I have now made my standpoint clear, and that people will stop acting like I am a loon.

Green Smoothie

7 Feb

I have been reading all over the blog world about green smoothies… The idea seemed a tad peculiar, I mean who puts spinach in a smoothie? But I tend to be open minded, so I gave it a go. Here’s what I did:

175ml yogurt, I used strawberry
1 cold banana, it was very ripe
100ml frozen applesauce, just plain cooked apples really
4 spinach leaves, chopped

Blend together, and serve cold. I used my stick blender so the spinach wasn’t super fine, but it really tasted awesome. You can’t taste the spinach at all!

I am going to try have one per day, and this is a fab way to get kids to eat/drink greens.

Chucking out the disposables

1 Feb

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This is a list of things I found on Crunchy Domestic Goddess. In my efforts to go more green I have slowly been trying to get rid of more and more disposable things and replacing them with reusable items. This is me so far…

Paper napkins to cloth napkins – we barely use napkins, but I want to sew some the minute I get time and material.
Paper towels to cloth towels – CHECK – I stopped buying paper towel so long ago… just use lappies and cloth towels now.
Tissues to handkerchiefs – this one could be hard, as I am not the main user of tissues and I think giving Chris a hanky might not go down so well… But I will with Elijah
Paper, plastic or Styrofoam plates to your kitchen plates – CHECK – stopped buying paper plates too, although I must admit when you have more people than plates, I have been knows to get some… will buy more kitchen plates…
Disposable utensils to regular silverware – CHECK – never used them, and the ones we get with take out, I wash and use again anyway.
If you order food “to go” or have food to take home from a restaurant, bring your own container rather than accepting Styrofoam or plastic – never thought of this, but will see if I remember to do this, although it seems a bit too odd, so I may concede on this one.
Inexpensive plastic “Take & Toss” sippy cups to Thermos or Camelbak bottles or the Klean Kanteen – CHECK – we have thermal mugs and sippy cups which we use when we need.
Disposable water bottles to (again) reusable bottles like Thermos, Klean Kanteen or Camelbak – CHECK – I try to use glass bottles, the only times I have plastic bottles is when I went to the shop and forgot my water.
Plastic sandwich bags or paper lunch bags to reusable containers/bags – CHECK – I reuse ziplock bags to infinity… and I give Chris his lunch in a reusable plastic container.
Plastic straws to glass or stainless steel straws – I have NO idea where to get either of those, but we never use straws except when we get take out.
Swiffers (or similar products) to a broom and dustpan or mop (or use reusable cloths like cloth diapers/terry inserts in your Swiffer) – no clue what this is, but all my cleaning equipment are reusable cloths. Some are even old tops and pants that I cut up.
Disposable dust rags to cloth rags – CHECK – as per above
Disposable diapers to cloth diapers – This is a process, as Elijah has skinny legs, so his cloth diapers leaked something nasty… I was not about to let me baby go about in leaky pants, whoever’s lap he sits on would have poo left on it. NOT COOL! So I am slowly getting into it, they are fitting better now, but I only have 6 shaped ones, and the towelling ones are difficult to fit on, will work it out still.
Disposable wipes to cloth wipes (inexpensive plain washcloths work really well) – Another process, using facecloths for wipes, but I still use wipes when we go out, and to wipe the worst poo off…
Disposable feminine products (tampons, pads) to reusables like DivaCup, MoonCup, among others. You can even make your own pads. – um… yeah… will just skip this for now…
Grocery store bags to reusable bags – CHECK – I only buy plastic when I forget my reusables, which seldom happens now.
Disposable wrapping paper or gift bags to reusable cloth gift bags – I reuse wrapping and gift bags… so I don’t see it as a total waste yet, I never buy them really.
Single-use batteries to rechargeable batteries – CHECK – we bought a charger and batteries a while back, they are awesome. The only thing is the BIG batteries can’t be charged in our charger, so we still have to buy those.

Where have you cut on disposables?

Green and Frugal Beauty Routine

31 Jan

Image source

As soon as my current hair products are finished… and they are very close to finished… I will be starting my full out frugal beauty routine. This is hard for me to do, as a self-confessed product addict, I love the smells of hair products, so going all out “no-‘poo” and full on oil cleansing will be interesting.

My main reasons are:
1) Saving money
2) Its way better for my well-being
3) Way better for the enviroment
4) I’m sort of a crunchy-boho-hippy

I will write a post with pictures when I have been doing this for a while, to show you all how well it works. I have done the oil cleansing method before, so I know it works really well.

Has anyone else tried these?

The Preggo MomiFesto

27 Sep

This is from Love-Knowledge Baby, just edited (see strike throughs) to suit me (well more or less – considering I’m going to a hospital – but I thought it was a good article):

source

“Here are my requests as a pregnant woman: Above all, support me. Respect me. Allow me my dignity, my choices, and give me the benefit of your full attention. I pledge to return these courtesies.

Support my pregnancy. Don’t voice your fears, but do encourage me to voice mine. Don’t tell me I’m too young, old, fat, skinny, rich, poor or anything else. You may tell me that I will be a great mother. You can tell me that I’m doing a great job. If you have criticisms, let them first be formed as questions and suggestions. Allow me to be in charge of my own body, my own decisions, and support my choices once I’ve made them.

Don’t tell me horror stories. Tell me joyful ones. Don’t tell me I’ll be begging for an epidural. Tell me you enjoyed yours, but that’s it. I want to hear about your experiences, and your choices, but I want to ultimately make my own. Just because you or someone you know had X, Y, or Z happen, doesn’t mean it’ll happen to me. Offer to rub my back, my shoulders, and feet. Offer to cook for me, or to take my garbage out, or to do my dishes.

Take me out to the farmer’s market for fresh produce. Cook for me, or cook with me. Take care of my older kids, if I have any. Don’t tell me I can’t eat X or Y because those alarmist fads change every year. Encourage my intuitive knowledge (especially in regards to my diet), and believe that I have my baby’s and my own best interests in mind (because assuming otherwise is insulting).

Encourage me to listen to the needs of my body and the baby within. Have faith in this natural process, and help me keep my faith in it.

Ask if I want hugs or contact. Don’t touch my body or invade my space just because you want to rub my belly. Ask first. Treat me like a physically able, healthy person . . . because I am not an invalid. Pregnant women are not weak or delicate by nature. In fact, with proper care, it is one of the strongest, physically wonderful times in our lives.

Keep inviting me out for fun things. Perhaps we won’t go bar-hopping, but I still need my friends and my social life. Ask me to go on walks, go swimming, run to the library with you, or just hang out and play games. I still want to play tabletop RPG’s. I still want to play card games or board games. I still want to watch movies and laugh until it’s hard to breathe. Keep being my friends.

Do me a favor and ask questions. I want to know what you’re curious about. I want to discuss the changes happening with me and the baby. I want to hear what you think and talk about your dreams or fears.

Love me and feel joy for me.

If I ask you to, be with me when I am in labor. If you are there for me, pay attention to my signals. Know that I might find it hard to vocalize. If you notice something is making me uncomfortable, ask me (wait until a contraction has eased) if you can help me by removing that stimulation. Be prepared to leave if I ask. Offer me comforts, but offer them one at a time, (between contractions) so that I may accept or decline with simple body language.

If you offer and I accept your touch, keep your hands firm and steady, with deeper pressure, slow and steady strokes. Quick, light touching comes across as frantic and distracting. Tell me I’m doing a good job. Avoid giving me orders, especially at the peak of a contraction when my full concentration is needed. Voice suggestions instead, and wait for me to accept. If I seem to be focusing on the pain (whimpering or making high pitched noises), tell me to think of each wave as the most interesting sensation that requires my full attention.

If a midwife or doctor wants to perform a procedure, make sure that they explain it to you along with reasons, so that you can put it into simpler language and ask me if I understand and consent. Simply translate for me, and act as my gatekeeper.

Make eye contact with me. Deep, steady eye contact is sometimes all a woman needs to get over one cresting rush of a contraction. If I want it, hold my hands and look into my eyes. Encourage me to change positions. Again, offer one suggestion at a time, and don’t rush me. Suggest that I stand, or kneel, or squat. Suggest I sway my hips while hanging onto your shoulders. Put on belly dance music and shimmy your hips for me. Tell me I can work that baby down and out. Ask if I want to dance.

If I say, “I give up! I can’t do this! NOO!” say “YES! That’s what we want to hear! When women say that, it means the baby is coming soon. You’re in transition! That’s wonderful! It won’t be much longer.”

Respect my wishes at the moment. If I didn’t want an epidural, then I decide the pain is too much . . . help me into a warm pool of water, help me move, let me try different positions, ask me to endure 5 more contractions, trying different things all the while, then when the 5 are over, ask me again. Tell me I’ve done such a beautiful job, that I’m so strong, that I handled those 5 SO WELL, and ask me if I’d like to try another 5 contractions before asking for pain relief.

Don’t remind me what I said before I went into labor. That doesn’t matter any more. That person doesn’t exist. The creature I am during labor doesn’t give a rat’s behind what the left brain thought it wanted. Do your utmost to support me, and if I ask for pain medications after all of those efforts, and all your encouragement, make sure you’re looking into my eyes as I tell you what I want. If I have to get intervention that I didn’t necessarily want in the first place, praise my efforts and my choice.

“You were in a lot of pain, and it was distracting you from your real work. Now you can rest, and you’re going to open up really wide and have this baby. You did all the hard work, and you’re making the right decision for YOU.”

Likewise, if I choose to have NO pain medications, let me labor! If I have to say no to a procedure more than once, and you ask until I give in, you’re abusing me while I’m powerless. Respect my wishes, and support the natural process of my labor. I would do the same for you. I would respect your choice FOR or AGAINST pain medications or other interventions.

So, for your own sake, and for the sake of others you will come in contact with, BE INFORMED. Do the research. Don’t accept the medlore, the myths, or anything JUST BECAUSE everyone does it that way. Look it up. Read books. Hit the internet.

For your own sake, and for every pregnant woman or new mother you’ll ever encounter, shed the burdens of the myths surrounding your OWN birth, or your mother’s births.
“Her/my hips were too narrow.”
“They needed to cut an episiotomy.”
“I/the baby was stuck, and nothing could have helped it.”
“The baby was just too big to come out the normal way.”

When I hear those stories, I ask a few questions, and the answers are almost always “No”:
Was she allowed to move freely during labor?
Was she given the support of one trained individual (doula, midwife) for the duration the labor?
Was she given any of the following options: multiple changes of position, equipment such as a birth pool, birth ball, birthing stool, a rope or sling to grasp and hang her weight from, acupressure, acupuncture, massage, encouragement to vocalize as needed, a comfort object or focus, mantra, any support person(s) requested, the ability to ask disturbing simulations to cease (even if it means banishing a specific doctor or nurse), etc.?
Did she or her attending physician or care provider consider birth a normal physiological event?
Was she allowed to progress normally, and let to push when she felt like it, and HOW she felt she should?

If I ask you to be there for me during labor and birth, give me all the benefits of an unimpeded labor and birth. Fight for my right to listen to my intuitive self and birth as I know how. Even if I doubt myself, reassure me. Have faith in my body, and know that I would do the same for you. I would do everything in my power to aid you.

Value me and my baby over hospital policy. Value me and my baby over schedules. Value us more than cultural norms. I would do the same for you. Tell me to scream and moan if you want, but guide me toward low, open moans, deep noises and grunts. Watch the tension of my mouth, and suggest things to relax it. Make me laugh, smile, or suggest I make out with my husband/partner. These things will relax my mouth and likewise relax my perineum.

Have faith that I can open wide without tearing. Know that it is a normal physical event for a baby to pass down the birth canal, twisting and wiggling and changing positions, and for my hips to widen, my perineum to dilate and efface (use the words “open” and “flower” and “bloom” and “relaxing” and “widening”) without any tearing or cutting.

When the baby is coming, let me be in an upright position or laying fully on my side. Help me avoid being flat on my back or even reclining on my back, because those positions narrow the pelvic opening. Turn the temperature up and dim the lights for me (and let me know what you’re doing as you’re doing it, and why). Shush people. I don’t want anyone to yell or scream at me at ANY point. Let it be quiet, let everyone be still. Let my baby come down, crown, and suggest I touch my emerging baby’s head. Let me feel every sensation. Catch my baby or help me catch the baby, but do everything slowly and with calm. It is not an emergency. The baby does not need to be separated from me. There’s no rush. Don’t even rush me to pick the baby up, or do anything. Again, don’t give orders.

Whatever I need to do, feel, or process . . . just let us do it. Don’t cut the cord. It’s still serving a purpose. Don’t touch the baby unless I want you to. Let me pick up my slimy baby and look at her. Let me shake and shiver and press her against my bare belly and chest. Let her take her first breath, but don’t jab things in her throat and nose. The mucus clears by itself. It really does. Wrap us in a blanket, and let me savor the moment.

Start cleaning up quietly, and only take the baby for weighing and other things when I’m ready to let her go. Take care of me, and offer a warm bath for mom and baby. Offer food, drink. Get us off to a good start with breastfeeding, and let the placenta deliver itself. Treat the blood, the cord, and the placenta with respect, and ask what I would like done with them.

Always offer more support, and if you’re no longer needed, say you’re coming back to help again soon, and depart quietly. Be available. Teach me how to latch the baby on the nipple, and talk to me about the benefits of ecological breastfeeding (including natural infertility). Teach me how to give her the benefits of skin to skin contact. Teach me how to use a sling or carrier, so I can have an easier transition into motherhood. Teach me the difference between Natural Infant Hygiene, cloth diapering, and disposable diapering. Teach me about baby sign language. Teach me the difference between family bed, co-sleeping, and crib sleeping. Teach me about the “fourth trimester”, and not to listen to people who urge me to let her cry it out.

Teach me to listen to my intuition when it comes to my health and the baby’s health. When I feel like something is wrong, go to the doctor’s and don’t take no for an answer. When I feel that something is right and good for us, let me make that decision and praise me for my assurance.

Give me resources. Give me education. GIVE ME CHOICES, and respect the choices I make. I pledge to do the same for you.”

Guess what else I did today?

29 May

978772.2030272

I joined Greenpeace, not to tie myself to trees, but to donate money to them etc. They had people in the shopping mall today so I signed up there, but you can join online.

Its a great cause, go here, and check what they do. If you want to sign up, just go here, and donate some money to the environment.

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