Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Our journey to find the right modern cloth nappy (MCN) style

I found trying to figure out what style of modern cloth nappy (MCN) to use on Turtle a bit of a nightmare. There were so many choices and so few places to see, touch and try options that I stressed a lot about where to start. As mentioned in why I like to use cloth nappies I was pretty committed to using cloth or else I might have just given up. Since MCN are not cheap to buy upfront it feels like a big commitment. I was also very sleep deprived when I was looking to buy them, which made the experience so much more fun.

Photo Source: Owl Baby

Sixteen months on and I guess I am pretty much a veteran MCN mum now. I have tried quite a few different styles of nappy, figured out pretty much all of the jargon associated with them (that was possibly the hardest part!), joined "buy and sell MCN" Facebook groups and bought and sold nappies through them, and through Gumtree.

Here are some of the things that I struggled with and learned. I hope it helps anyone who is in the same boat that I was in. Remember, however, that every baby is different and you might really like a style that another parent doesn't find works for them ("working" of course meaning, "contains pee and excrement" and fits nicely). So in the end it is a bit of trial and error until you find what works for you.  

As soon as I started looking in the stores for reusable nappies I realised that my original expectation of using white terry towel cloth nappies was a bit outdated. I remember my mum using cloth nappies with my younger sister, 12 years my junior.  Mum used a stork nappy service that took all the dirty ones away each week and left clean new ones ready to go. I could find no reference to nappy services when I researched it online in Perth.  

I could only find disposable nappies in the baby stores and struggled to find pilchers or plastic pants to cover the folded terry towel style of nappy. There were also no nappy pins in stores. I felt like I kept coming across barriers to using the basic white terry towel option that I thought was the only option available. Little did I know.

After doing some research I realised a whole new world of modern cloth nappies or MCN was available.  The problem was that barely any baby stores sold them and I couldn't understand what the differences in styles were. I didn't know whether the nappy needed a pitcher style cover or if it was designed to contain the "business" itself.

I went to the Perth Baby Expo specifically to look at a few different styles of MCN. I fully expected the Expo to be the most awful experience of my life - I make a point of never going to those kinds of events. I'm not the best shopper at any time and I was way out of my comfort zone looking at nappies at the Expo. I struggled to tell the styles apart except for the outer covers and whether they had a million snap buttons on the front or velcro. I honestly had no idea where to start with choosing a style and how to be confident if it would last. I also didn't know how to tell if the nappy needed an outer cover or not.

In the end I decided to just jump in and buy some nappies online through Gumtree and see how it went.  I was just starting to buy the odd nappy style to try (which, with a 6 week old baby was quite difficult to do - driving to various places across the metro area) when one of the mums in my mums group told me she was selling some MCN.  She offered to lend me some to try (bless her heart!). I tried a few styles and immediately decided that having a separate outer layer and nappy was way too bulky for Turtle.  I also started to see that each brand offered various different styles (separate nappy and pitcher, an all in one, different designs). This didn't simplify things but it made me more confident about what was available.

I saw a bulk lot of cheap pouch nappies on Gumtree at around this time. I had tried one of the same brand that was bought secondhand but it was practically brand new and worked well for Turtle. I decided to buy the bulk lot and hoped that they might last for all of Turtle's nappy wearing days. My friend from mums group was also using them at night because they were quite absorbent. I was sure I was onto a winner. They lasted pretty well for about 3 months and then Turtle outgrew the small size and was into the mediums. I'm still not sure if it was because the medium size was more worn or if Turtle started wetting more at this age (6 months old) but the nappies just weren't coping. I cut my losses and started looking for other styles.

We stuck with the all in one design (rather than a separate nappy with a pilcher) and tried a few styles before deciding what fitted Turtles frame. She is long and varies between being thin and filling out as most babies do. We bought some sized nappies (mediums and large) to see if the fit was good for her. We also tried some one size nappies with press studs to change the fit as Turtle grew.  We decided that the one size nappies are the way to go for us - they can accommodate in-between sizes and we don't need to keep buying and selling as Turtle grows. Another bonus is that if we have another baby we can use this set from birth until potty training.

The style we chose was mainly selected because it was compact (not too bulky), easy to use, simple and reasonably priced. We have a full set of the one size nappy (24 of them) and we use them all of the time that we are at home except for at nights.  We have been using disposables at nighttime since Turtle was 6 months old. I am still in the process of selling the sized nappies (mental note: I must get that done!). 

Buying secondhand has made our MCN much cheaper. This has also allowed us to try a lot of different styles too. If you are buying secondhand make sure you go to the website of the nappy company you're interested in and check out the specifications for size and design. 

I am not sure that we have saved money in comparison to using disposables. There are some really cheap disposable nappies and they do tend to last longer than cloth, which you have to change every 2-4 hours.

The purpose of using cloth for us wasn't to spend less. It was to waste less. On that front I think that we have been successful. I also like that Turtle is starting to notice us cleaning out her nappies since we are taking responsibility for them. I believe cloth is meant to help with potty training too, so that is a bonus.

What was your MCN journey like? How did you decide what style of nappy to use?

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Liebster Award Nominee

I'm quite chuffed about being nominated for a Liebster Award by Christiane and Jens from sowearehome. Their blog has gorgeous photos that really complement their posts about finding and being home. I encourage you to check it out! Thanks so much for the nomination guys!

I will admit that I hadn't heard of the Leibster Award prior to reading my nomination. That made it even more exciting for me. I have needed a couple of weeks to get my response together. It was good fun reading through blogs to find my nominees. I learned more about blogging at the same time. Technology is (ahem) definitely not my strongest point so exposure to different sites is always helpful.

Photo source

Liebster Award Protocols:

1) Thank the person who nominated you

2) Answer the 11 questions they asked

3) Nominate another 11 bloggers for the award (they must have less than 200 followers) and ask them 11 questions

Responses to the 11 questions from sowearehome:

1. Who are you?
Lizzing Lightly. A 34 year old wife and mum. A big environmentalist who strives to learn about, and try, new things to reduce my impact on the environment. I love spending time with people but also enjoy time to myself doing yoga, cooking, creating stuff, reading and (more recently) writing.

2. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I was an unruly teenager who left home for the first time at 15 years of age.

3. What do you blog about and why?
Living sustainably to reduce my families impact on the environment through gardening, food, responsible purchasing, and various other things. I chose the broad theme of sustainability because it is becoming increasingly important as more people live in cities and the environment becomes more removed from our daily lives. I believe humans are in control of so much of what happens to our environment. The more we change our behaviour and think about the environment, the better or more healthy our environment will be.

4. What is the story behind your blog name?
Lizzing Lightly is a play on living lightly, which is about stepping lightly on the earth.

5. What is something you have been loving lately?
Blog: learning more about decluttering my home.
Personal: spending time with my family.

6. What are you currently listening to? (favourite music)
Perth local AM radio to try and find out what is going on in the world! Otherwise a Play School CD in the car. Music has definitely taken a back seat in my life at the moment.

7. Where would you want to travel next?
I would love to travel to the UK, Paris and Amsterdam next but since that is not logistically possible at the moment we are going to Bali for a short trip instead. I am looking forward to relaxing and learning about the Balinese culture.

8. What is your favourite food and would you mind sharing (a link to) the recipe?
I have too many favourites so I will share this link to my (slowly) growing list of vegetarian recipes. This includes lentil burgers and ricotta and kale sausage rolls.

9. What has been your biggest challenge?
Blog: Finding time to work on it.
Personal: Keeping focused on what is important to me. I am easily caught up in new ideas and thus can sometimes be easily distracted.

10. What makes you smile?
My family, my pets, my friends, chocolate and a cup of tea at the end of the day, a romcom, witty and unusual moments of brilliance (from me or others).

11. What is HOME for you?
Home is where I can relax, slow down and enjoy the important things in my life. Often that is in my house and garden but sometimes it is at the local park, at the beach or on a fun outing with family or friends.

I nominate the following blogs (I think you are all eligible!):

My questions:

1. Who are you?

2. What do you blog about and why?

3. What is the story behind your blog name?

4. What is your favourite post you have written so far?

5. What is the best thing you have discovered about yourself through blogging?

6. What is the most significant technological discovery you have made since you started blogging?

7. What is something you have been loving lately?

8. Where would you like to travel next?

9. What is your favourite recipe and would you mind sharing (a link to) it?

10. Do you consider yourself someone who cares about the environment? Why?

11. Can you share a creative project that you are working on or have been working on lately (big or small!)

If you accept this nomination it would be great if you could post a link to your response below.


Lizzing Lightly

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Crafting eye pillows for special people in your life: A tribute for World Ovarian Cancer Day

Although I made these eye pillows late last year I held off on writing this post since I gave one in our family's Kris Kringle and I didn't want to blow my cover. Sadly I am sharing it because the recipient of my secret gift has passed away. My aunt was quite sick with ovarian cancer at Christmas. I don't think any of us realised just how sick she was though. She died within 2 months. Since she was only 49 it has been a stark reminder to us all that life is fleeting and you can't know what might be around the corner.

My gorgeous aunt at our wedding 2011
I love eye pillows and thought that it was an appropriate gift for my aunt while she was having chemotherapy. I discovered them during rest time (shavasana) in yoga and found they help me to relax and unwind. I liked the idea of making an eye pillow since it would be more personal. We also had a $20 limit for our gifts so it helped me to come in under budget while still being able to give other things as part of the gift.

Since my sewing skills are rather lacking, however, I was a bit hesitant about how it would go. Luckily a friend had recently made herself one, although she used a sewing machine. She encouraged me to do it and said it would be easy. Now that's my kind of project!

I went to the fabric store to buy some silk. That's right, I went straight to the silk. The eye pillows I had previously used in yoga class were silk and I loved the feel of the cold soft fabric on my eyes. Once I started looking I realised that the silk could have been spun by child labour for all I knew. I didn't feel comfortable buying new fabric either. Surely there was a more ethical way to make my gift?

The local op shops were my next step to see if they had any silk items that I could upcycle for my project. I was in luck! I found the most beautiful fabric in a dress that cost about $25 from memory (note: since I could make multiple eye pillows I decided that adhered to the Kris Kringle rules). I was sad to cut it up but the style didn't suit me at all. Then I was set to start. I am glad I chose silk because, apart from being lovely on, the silk ended up being very easy to sew.

I cut the fabric in a long rectangle of 10 x 25cm to make sure there would be room for my rather unskilled sewing errors. Then I hand sewed three and a half of the sides, turned it inside out and filled it with linseeds. I was careful not to overfill it since it wouldn't feel as nice or shape as nicely to the face. I also added some dried lavender from the garden for a slight scent to aid with relaxation. I only added about 2 teaspoons of lavender so that it wasn't too strong but some blogs recommend adding much more. After filling it, I sewed the last part up and it was done. I made an extra eye pillow for myself at the same time.

I have been very happy with the mine, despite it being a tad wonky. I use it after every yoga practice during shavasana. I encourage you to give it a go - give one to someone special in your life and keep one for yourself.

This Friday is World Ovarian Cancer Day. Learn the facts about ovarian cancer and share them with at least 5 people to try and raise awareness of ovarian cancer amongst women everywhere. To find out more about ovarian cancer and the symptoms follow this link to Ovarian Cancer Australia's website. 

My aunt was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in late 2013 and died in February 2015. She stopped work immediately after her diagnosis and had two prolonged chemotherapy treatments. It has been a terrible loss to our family, particularly for her older siblings. My mum and uncle. May she rest in peace and be lovingly remembered always.