Recommended: Cheeky Wipes

One of the things I am focusing on for January Joy and 2018 is reducing our waste so today I thought I’d share one of my favourite changes we made last year – we switched to Cheeky Wipes. I’d heard of Cheeky Wipes when Bea was still in nappies but didn’t give them a lot of thought and as I became more interested she was nearing toilet training and it didn’t seem the right time to invest. We have never branched into reusable nappies, but although I was pretty economical with the wipes when changing a nappy, it horrified me to see Pete going through multiple wipes each time or the amount that got used cleaning up after a meal for example. So I decided to take the plunge once I was thinking of moving on from cottonwool and water for Cora’s bum.

I should add here that Cora suffered with quite a sore bum when she was little and we found the best way to manage it apart from making sure her nappy was changed promptly was using cotton wool and water to clean her as even water wipes did irritate her skin, which was another factor that attracted me to cheeky wipes. If you haven’t already heard of them, cheeky wipes are essentially reusable (i.e. you wash them,) wipes, not just for bums but you can use them for faces after meals too. The ‘wipes’ are little squares of cotton, bamboo or microfibre – like flannels and you can get them in kits which come with clean and mucky boxes. Essentially you soak them in water and a little essential oil, wring them out and leave in the ‘clean’ box to use as required. Then you have a ‘dirty box’ and a mesh bag hooked inside, pre-filled with water and some oil again for freshness, where you put the used wipes to soak. When you’re ready to wash them you simply lift the bag out and throw it into the machine. They wash as normal at 30 degrees with the rest of your washing and work their way out of the bag during the cycle, ready to be soaked and scented in the clean box again – no drying required.

So here’s the nitty gritty. Do they really work? The answer is yes and I absolutely love them. We bought natural bamboo velour which have a softer smoother side and a more textured flannel side but with the softness of bamboo. Because they are textured the grip for cleaning is fantastic and even sticky or thick poo’s (Sorry, TMI!) can be easily removed with just a couple of swipes. I rarely need more than one wipe to be honest and I feel like Cora almost gets a proper wash every time she has her nappy changed which is a real bonus as she doesn’t get bathed daily because of her dry skin. In terms of cost, a full kit (with the two boxes, 25 wipes, and the oils,) comes in at about £40 but they currently have £10 off the kits and you can save any time using this link: (which as a previous customer I got sent to share with friends) Get 15% off any order over £40. We weren’t particularly heavy wipe users but it still doesn’t take long to have a cost benefit over disposables and I feel good every time I use them that I’m not adding to landfill or putting damaging waste into the water system and ultimately our waterways and sea’s.

We also invested in the hands and faces kit as we were about to embark on weaning. I love having the rainbow microfibre cloths to hand (you keep them damp in a box in just the same way and instead of having a dirty box just throw them in the washing machine ready for the next wash) especially as we do baby led weaning which is more than a little messy! They are super soft and pick up all the bits of food in every little chubby finger crease, even weetabix which gets everywhere and dries like cement! They are even still in regular use at Bea’s age so I can see them being incredible value.

You might be wondering what happens when you go out. Of course you could still use disposable wipes for convenience but we decided that if we were making the change for environmental reasons we needed to commit to it. The kits come with 2 bags to take out and about with you. You simply pop a couple of damp wipes in the fresh bag and when they’re used put them in the dirty bag which is lined with a mesh bag like the dirty box, that zips out and throws in the machine too. So it’s really not difficult to eliminate disposable wipes completely. And if you want to extend your environmental efforts Cheeky wipes now also do Cloth Sanitary Pad kits, Reusable Make-up remover kits and even toilet paper alternatives.

I’d love to know if you use Cheeky Wipes or something similar, or if you feel inspired to make the switch! I’ll happily answer any questions you’ve got too!

Rebecca x

You might also like to read:

Becoming a Mother…


Day 2

This post has been a difficult one to write, in fact I started drafting it as ‘2 weeks with Bea’ and got not much further until now. I haven’t yet written about our new arrival, other than to introduce her because it has taken me time to find the words. How to start? To put my words into context, I would never have described myself as maternal – I don’t get ‘broody’ and I would even extend that statement into my pregnancy. I had very real fears that I wouldn’t like being a mum, or that I might resent my baby for the inevitable changes that were about to take place in my life. That probably sounds like I wasn’t ready to have a baby at all, but I had come to realise (much earlier, before we tried to get pregnant) that I would probably never ‘want’ to give up complete freedom to do what I wanted, lazy beach holidays cocktail in hand swinging in a hammock, regular dinners out or last minute plans. But I knew I didn’t want to go through my life without being a parent and building a family with Pete.


First Bath time // Day 5

So it has taken me by surprise just how different I do feel, now that I have a daughter. I should have seen it coming I guess, as everyone always says they fell in love the minute they set eyes on their child, but equally, some of my more honest friends admitted that becoming a mother was a shock, not least due to the physical ordeal and that it took them days or weeks to fully bond with their baby – I suspected I may be the same. In fact the change in me when I first saw Bea was seismic. I finally found the words yesterday when I realised it was like The Big Bang, everything changed in an instant. A whole new universe began and Bea is my Sun.

Now I look back at times I have offered well meaning baby sitting duties to friends with new babies, just to give them time to sleep or shower and they have refused. Now I understand that maybe they didn’t want to be without their baby, even for a minute. I remember trying to reassure chronically fatigued friends that expressing or topping up with formula so their partner could give a bottle while they sleep wasn’t a bad option if it helped them function better. Now I know how they didn’t want anyone else to comfort their baby if they could, even at the expense of their sleep. It shocked me how primal the urge is to hold her sometimes, how much it upsets me when she cries. If I sound crazy, I feel like it at times! I fell hopelessly in love with this little person before I even saw her, the second I heard her cry.

Even now, having written what is here, words fail me. No statement is powerful enough to express how I feel about her or how content I feel with Bea in our lives. I wanted to share these thoughts not just to hear from all the other mothers what they felt in those first heady weeks of becoming a mother, but to reassure those of you who (like I did,) wonder if they will ever be ready or willing to take that unimaginable leap into motherhood.

Tell me, do my words resonate with you or remind you of how you felt? Or do they make you feel more positive about a family in your future one day?

Love
Rebecca
xo

Note: This post is not meant to patronise those of you reading who have never wanted or do not want a family in future, merely to describe how I feel and speak to those who might feel as I did weeks, months and years ago about children in my future.

The Baby Name Game

I’m 29 weeks tomorrow and starting to suddenly feel the pressure of time ticking on and things that must be done. Truth be told, although I am loving being pregnant (apart from the back pain I had early this week and kept me up all night, which has fortunately now disappeared,) I don’t really feel like I am getting much time to think about it or the baby. I’m still working just as hard and long, then when I get home there are a million house decisions to be made. As I type I can hear banging and crashing as the builders knock out the exterior kitchen wall for our bifold doors and I am hiding in the bedroom.


image via

One of the many things that we need to think about are names. It’s like there is a sequence when people ask you about your pregnancy… ‘How far along are you,’ is always first, then ‘Do you know what you are having,’ and the third question is often, ‘Have you got any names picked out?’ Of course I don’t say – made easier by the fact that we still haven’t opened the envelope, and I wouldn’t anyway, I like babies to be announced with their name, as I think it adds to the excitement, but the bottom line is, I don’t really know what we are going to call him or her.

Of course there are contenders, I have a girls name I have loved for years, unfortunately Pete doesn’t feel the same. We also have a possible boys name, which again has been on the cards for a long time, but now I’m not so sure. Boys names I find much easier… I like strong traditional names like William or Thomas, but not too proper like George or Henry. There are still a few more hipster names on the list though and with girls I love traditional old fashioned names. I have less qualms about giving a baby girl a more ‘individual’ name than a boy for some reason. Pete leans much towards the softer side of names for girls, like Emily or Sophie, but I don’t feel they are strong enough, and several of the top 50 for boys.

So what are my criteria? I really don’t have any (I’ve heard people want to incorporate family names, use biblical names, floral names, royal/traditional names,) and it’s really about something I like. I think the problem will be Pete and I agreeing on something and I don’t know how we will ever solve that! There’s is always the will it suit an older person dilemma and what will it be shortened to (- one of my favourites is shortened to a name I don’t love at all.) I also read a NY Times article a while back saying that ‘The once-simple task of coming up with a monogram for the baby blanket has evolved into a high-stakes exercise in personal “branding.” ‘ and whilst I don’t want a name that every other child also has, I wouldn’t be put off a beautiful classic name for that reason. I know plenty of Rebecca‘s but feel no less of an individual as a result.

So today I need your suggestions readers! Please let me know what you or your friends called your babies, the names you have always loved and the secret favourites. I think it’s time to gather some inspiration that I can mull over through the third trimester! I just don’t want to end up jumping at something when he or she is born because we still haven’t decided!

Thanks guys!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS. Have you heard of Nameberry? It’s a US site where you can see how the popularity of a name fared over the years (amongst other things about it,) and see if you are choosing a name that is suddenly super popular or not.

The Whole Nine months… [Part 2]

Good afternoon readers! I’m excited to share Part 2 of Becky’s pregnancy diary with you particularly as last weeks Part 1 was so popular! I’m also delighted to tell you that Becky’s pregnancy is now over – Becky had a beautiful baby girl on Sunday 14th of October – Constance Elizabeth, who weighed in at a very cute 7lbs 8oz. Mum and baby are home now and doing well – I can’t wait for a cuddle!

My heart melted when that little face landed in my inbox!

Now, lets finish the rest of Becky’s pregnancy guide.

THE KIT…

Despite the lists you may be bombarded with during your pregnancy, you don’t need a huge amount of kit before you have the baby. If, like us however, you have no idea where to start, I can thoroughly recommend a nursery advice appointment at John Lewis. Ed was sceptical when I told him we had an appointment booked. He assumed we’d leave with a list containing overpriced items we’d never use. He was pleasantly surprised.

You can use the service like a wedding list and give your list number to family and friends if they want to buy you a gift. We however used it as a two hour advice session for prams and nursery essentials and a shopping list tool for ourselves. Your list is compiled by the nursery advisor you see and you can then add or remove items from it online. You can spread the cost by purchasing items here and there but they’ll be stored for you until you arrange a one off delivery that suits you. It’s also good to watch the prices on your list before purchasing each item as John Lewis will price match any competitors’ current offers. The service is free and you get a voucher for a hot drink and piece of cake in the cafe. What’s not to like?

Your pram is likely to be the most expensive piece of kit you purchase so make sure you do your research. We went to 3 different shops to look at the different options that would suit our lifestyle. We spoke to advisors in each shop and then went home to research reviews, videos, and advice online. I then went back on my own to try collapsing, lifting and pushing each pram on our shortlist. After all, I’ll have to manage it once Ed’s back at work. The best advice we were given was to look ahead to the longer term. Think about what you might need in a year or two’s time when your baby has grown and will the pram you are purchasing for your newborn baby be able to adapt for your future needs?

PREPARATION FOR LABOUR…

There are two camps to fall into here…….Knowledge is power v. Ignorance is bliss. Early on in my pregnancy I thought I’d fall into the latter but as time has ticked on and I’ve exposed myself to more and more information I’ve found that I definitely fall into the first camp. I’ve signed up to every workshop or learning session the midwives have offered me on labour and breastfeeding. We’ve also attended NCT classes (these are often oversubscribed, so be sure to book early). Along with what I’ve learnt at yoga, I feel almost excited about my labour, as if it’s a challenge like a marathon that’s just around the corner. I don’t think you can ever be prepared for what’s ahead but with a little training, you can certainly feel a lot more confident about tackling it.

THOUGHTS FOR THE FUTURE…

It may seem a long way off but if you are planning on returning to work, you need to think about childcare early on in your pregnancy. We started looking at nurseries when I was 30 weeks and couldn’t be guaranteed the days and dates we really wanted for the end of my maternity leave. At the time, we were planning over a year ahead. It’s a very daunting prospect to choose childcare before you’ve even met your child but as we’re in the middle of the biggest baby boom since the 1950’s it’s something you just have to get on with.

MY FAVOURITE RESOURCES…

Online:

NHS choices – sign up to the parent information email to get a weekly newsletter relating to your week of pregnancy.

Gas & Air – written by a Mum and Midwife. A refreshing, down to earth, and personal insight into the labour ward and motherhood.

Mumsnet

Books:

Your Pregnancy Week by week, Lesley Regan – This has been my no nonsense pregnancy encyclopaedia. It’s got the reassurance of being like a school text book.

The Rough Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, Kaz Cooke – A humerous book giving sensible advice amongst witty diary entries following the authors own pregnancy. Split down into short sections for each week which makes for very easy bedtime reading.

Hypnobirthing, Marie Mongan – I haven’t attended hypnobirthing classes, nor did I purchase the accompanying CD. The book was recommended to me as a resource to learn relaxation, breathing and visualisation techniques to help during labour. It certainly helps to reassure you if you are frightened by the prospect of labour. It may seem a bit ‘hippie’ for some but you can learn more about hypnobirthing here. I have found it ties in very well with the breathing and relaxation techniques I’ve learnt in my yoga classes.

Babies: The Mumsnet Guide: – Another recommendation that I’ve recently purchased. I’m only just delving into it now that my pregnancy and labour books are coming to an end. Well, I’ll need something to read in hospital won’t I ?!

Apps:

What to Expect – A concise app that gives you a weekly update comparing the size of your baby to a different vegetable or fruit as well as providing you with a countdown. It’s American so take some advice with a pinch of salt but it’s a fun and easily accessible resource to have on your phone. Be warned, things start to become scary when you reach butternut squash!

I’d love to hear any of your thoughts on this or anything about your own pregnancies that may help other bump free ladies. I’ll try to check in regularly to answer your questions, but please bear with me if I don’t reply straight away!

Becky x

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