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An Aussie Mum's Guide To Eco Friendly Babies

An Aussie Mum's Guide To Eco Friendly Babies: March 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Winner Announced!

Congrats to our lucky winner of the Evohe Repair Intensive giveaway.  She will be using it on her acne-prone skin caused by Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a condition that causes poor skin integrity, among other things.  Good luck, make sure you let us know if it works!

In other news, my favourite international blog, will be featuring an article written by yours truly!  I can't wait to see it and will let you know when it's posted so you can check it out.

If you ever want to see a particular topic covered, or if you have something you'd like to share make sure you let me know! Just post a comment or throw an email to

Otherwise, enjoy your weekend- Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Have You Done Today?

It's an easy question- I've gone shopping, went for a walk, changed/fed/played with the baby... but what have I really DONE?  Have I changed the world?  Made a difference?   Those things are all so hard....

Or are they?  In this world of technological advancement, we can make a difference without getting out of our chairs.

  • 'Like' a charity page on Facebook to help spread awareness
  • Donate online  
  • Email a company who uses unethical manufacturing practises or harms the environment.  
  • Contact your state MP about improving your local area. 
  • Champion a local cause or create your own.  My daughter and I are discussing how to make her school more environmentally aware, through things like the nude food policy- more on that later!  
  • Research ways to live more sustainably and reduce your carbon footprint.  
  • Learn- you can sign up to newsletters and follow topics or websites so you can be more informed about the world around you.  
  • Find a charity- use the amazing resource in front of you (your computer) to find a charitable organization that reflects your passions and beliefs, and promote them where you can- use Facebook and other social networks, email friends to raise awareness and research ways to get involved with the work they do.  You might even find yourself inspired to hold a fund raising event!

You never know- sometimes the smallest thing can make its way around the world and make the biggest difference!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Smelly Situation

As eco-friendly as I have tried to be, I have only ever used cloth nappies part time.  I bought some Biobaby nappies when Little Man was born, only to find they didn't quite fit.  They sat around for a month and though I ended up using them as much as I could, I didn't have enough to use them ALL the time.

As they were a 0-6 month sizing, he's now very close to growing out of them.  I am building my stash of cloth nappies and I am determined to go full time very soon.  Let's face it, MCN's are EXPENSIVE but they are worth it (financially and environmentally) in the long run.  Plus they are so darn cute!

The biggest hurdle I'm finding is the range.  Not that I can't find something to fit my needs- far from it! There are way too many MCN's to choose from!  The selection is mind boggling so I thought I'd share what I have learned so far.

1. Material
MCN's come in a variety of fabrics, from organic hemp, bamboo, wool and cotton to synthetic cloth like micro-fibre.  You can get a combination of natural and synthetic inners- if your nappy comes with a natural lining and a micro-fibre absorber, you can usually replace this with bamboo or hemp. Natural fabric is important to have against the skin to prevent nappy rash- bamboo is particularly good because of its soft texture and its moisture-wicking  and anti-bacterial properties.  Hemp is another sustainable fabric with great absorbency that is becoming widely seen in MCN's.  Make sure fabrics are unbleached and organic- you certainly don't want chemicals and pesticides against this very sensitive area!

Some nappies are lined with waterproof Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) to stop leaks- this material is petrochemical based, non-biodegradable and heat sensitive.  Wool outers are an alternative to these (if lanolin coated they are waterproof, super absorbent and eco-friendly)

2. Sizing and Styles
My Biobaby nappies and many others come in a 0-6 month size, or 6 month +.  I found this a bit of an issue- they were a little big to use on a new born, and at just 5 months Little Man has pretty much grown out of them.  I now have some one-size nappies- these have clips at various intervals so you can change not only the waist size, but the length.  I know a few people who have used these since birth with success, and they grow quite a way so you should be able to use them right through to toilet training- these would definitely be my preference!

You can also get a selection of colours, and extra features like gussets to prevent poo-splosions, though  have never had a leakage problem with a properly fitted nappy yet.  Some nappies are 'all in one', meaning you don't need a nappy cover and only add extra absorbency as needed..  Others are designed to have a wool or waterproof cover over the top.  Another popular option is 'pocket' nappies, meaning you insert a cloth pad or two into the nappy to absorb the wetness.  You can customise these to suit- many nappies come with two (one longer, one short) so you can add a layer for heavy wetting/night time use.  I would avoid the liners that need to be folded down when bub is smaller- these create a LOT of bulk at the end when you double up.  They are fine from about 6 months though.  You can always buy a few different boosters and liners in various brands, fabrics and sizes to see what fits and works best for you, as these usually sell for $5-10, and usually fit in the majority of branded nappies.

Of course there are the old fashioned square nappies- very cheap, eco-friendly and easy to use once you get the hang of folding (which I never did).  These usually work better with a nappy cover; I believe you can now get covers that hold the towelling in a rectangle shape for easy use :)

Natures Child have a great article on choosing cloth nappies, and the benefits over disposables.

3. Price
MCN's start at about $17 and go up to $40- you can get some really cheap versions from China but I would avoid these.

It's a huge outlay- if I could go back in time I'd buy 1-2 MCN's of various brands each week of my pregnancy, and build up a supply that way.  You can get discounts on bulk buys (usually over $150-$300) but make sure this is the nappy you want!  Soem websites offer deals on 'mixed packs', letting you sample a few different brands.  I really recommend looking at a few brands before settling on one or two.

A really novel idea is EcoCubs Nappy Library, a one month hire service that lets you sample a range of nappies for $25/week.  The hire pack not only comes with the nappies, but wet bags and detergent so you have everything you need to get started!

There is nothing wrong with second hand nappies- they can still be expensive but can also save you a ton of money.  It's a great way to trial brands or build your stash without paying a fortune.  To 'strip wash' pre-loved nappies, run through the washing machine once or twice (continue until any trace of suds is gone) at a hot wash (up to 60 degrees) then line dry- the sunlight will kill any bacteria and gently whiten your whites.  You can also get MCN specific detergents- see below.

4. Extra Bits
I'd really advise that you get either a hose that attaches to the toilet for washing poo nappies, or biodegradable, flushable liners.  I use the liners- you just flush them which means the poo goes straight down the loo.  It's more hygienic and also will protect the nappy if you use any form of bum cream (these can reduce the absorbency of the nappies, and leave oily stains).

Rockin Green is a cloth-nappy-specific detergent.  There are no nasties, but also no oils than will put a film over the cloth and reduce absorbency.  They do a range of yummy scents and also have products like nappy pail deodoriser (these can get a bit stinky as you don't soak cloth nappies, you only dry store until you wash them).  More on this awesome brand soon.

Above all, READ THE DIRECTIONS!  Most cloth nappies are not to be soaked, and you need to use a fairly specific type of detergent to make sure your nappies are as absorbent as possible.  Most nappies need to be washed a couple of times before use for this reason.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What sounds like a Seal at 3am?

The blog started out strong but I have been slack the last two weeks or so- first the mastitis, then an earlier than expected increase in hours at work, now my bubba is sick!  Despite best attempts at keeping his immune system up, Little Man has succumbed to that oh so common children's ailment, Croup.

It started as a persistent runny nose that I confess I should have paid more attention to (homoeopathic Nat Mur is excellent for runny nose).  Last night the dreaded croupy cough (the one that sounds like a seal) set in and Little Man's breathing sounded like he was slurping a milkshake through a straw.  I found out today Brauer have a new Runny Nose Relief for 6 months + so we are using that, a chest rub and saline in the nose.  Probiotics in his top up bottles to boost immunity and I am taking Fusion Cold Flu Cough, so that it passes through the milk to help him fight this off.  We are also using steam to settle the cough which so far, is pretty mild.  I also grabbed a snot sucker- AKA a Nasal Aspirator- to help clean his nostrils.  I was a bit hesitant at first but it doesn't seem to do more than clean out the immediate nostril area.  No risk of brain removal!

In other news, I attended the Northside Good Buy Baby Markets- a great place to pick up gently used kids stuff.  I managed to finally get a Sophie!  Fort hose that don't know, Sophie is a Giraffe.  A Magic Giraffe.  Her magic powers include calming fussy babies, soothing sore gums and squeaking.  She is made from natural rubber, by the same traditional methods used when she was first made 50 years ago.  The squeaker keeps little ones entertained and the soft rubber is great for chewing, squeaking, licking, throwing, cuddling and chewing some more.  Little Man is already a fan!

We also picked up some gently used MCN's.  I am slowly building my supply.  Having used (and mostly enjoyed) the Biobaby 0-6m I am looking to get a selection of one size nappies to try.  I am almost finished an article about MCN's, and will follow up on it when I have tried more brands!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


In 10 days I'll be giving away an Evohe Repair Intensive cream to one lucky winner.  Worth $45.90 it's my absolute favourite first aid/skin care product.  I mentioned it back in the Lotions and Potions post, for treating nappy rash.

All you have to do is email me at (please note the CORRECTED email address!!). and tell me what your family will use this for.  Emails must be in by midnight 23/3/2011.  The lucky winner will be announced a few days later!

Good luck!

Breastfeeding- the later months

Just when you think you've nailed it...
I really, truly thought that after I'd gotten past the latching on issues, the initial 8 hour feeding sessions, the sore, cracked nipples and the crazy onset of lactation, I had it sorted.  "This is easy" I thought, "All smooth sailing from here."

Yeah, right!

Just before my precious babies 5 month anniversary, I came down with mastitis.  It started as a blocked duct- I took some silica (excellent for any kind of blockage) and went to a product training at work, than onto a friends for morning tea.  I really should have stayed at home...

At 11am I thought I felt a little funny.  By 11.40 I could barely move.  I had full blown mastitis and I was rudely informed as to how sick this can actually make you.  I had no idea! 

I managed to clear the infection in about 48 hours.  Unfortunately, my milk supply which had already been struggling a little went kaput.

For those who are unlucky enough to suffer Mastitis, low milk supply or both, here are some great suggestions:

Blocked Duct:
  • Warm showers or heat compresses
  • Massage the blocked duct
  • Silica (Blackmores S79 is the fastest to absorb)- it's great for all blockages
  • Lots of water
  • Feed as often as you can
  • Rest up heaps- if you get run down, this is when it turns into mastitis

  • Keep using all the recommendations for Blocked ducts
  • Soemthing to boost immune system- Olive leaf extract, Chinese herbs (I used Fusion Cold Flu Cough), Garlic (low dose or it will affect the taste of milk.  If you eat it anyway you can use a higher dose as bub will be used to the taste)
  • Try not to take things like panadol that lower body temp, unless your temp gets really high.  A rise in temperature helps your body to fight infection
Low Milk Supply:
This is my feed-express schedule, worked out with help from my nurse.  I asked to keep to a 4 hour feeding plan as more than that and bub starts to snack feed.  You can feed 2 hourly instead of expressing if your baby will still take a full feed, but still try to express within 30 minutes of finishing a feed

7am Wake up, Breastfeed until empty.  Top up with expressed breast milk (EBM) until full.  Express after feed.  
8am Offer solid food (he has about 2 tbsp)
9am Express
11am Breastfeed, EBM, Express
12pm Solids
1pm Express
3pm Breastfeed, EBM, Express
4.30pm Breastfeed (top up for night time)
6.30 Breastfeed, EBM, put bubba to bed
Express again just before I go to bed- which might be as early as 8pm!

Natural Galactagogues:
A Galactagogue is a substance that increases lactation)
  • Blessed Thistle- the number one for increasing milk
  • Fenugreek- better known as a galactagogue but may cause wind pain in baby. Dill and Aniseed will do the same.  Also used as a digestive tonic or for hayfever/inflammed or irritated mucous membranes
  • Shatavari- improes lactation and helps hormone balance.  Nourishing and toning for reproductive system and may help libido
  • Nettle- can be taken as a tea to boost milk supply and replenish teh blood- a really good one for just after the birth
  • Marshmallow- rather than increase the quantity, marshmallow will increase the quality and nutrition of breastmilk
  • Folic Acid and Vitamin A are also essential for producing adequate milk.
  • Brewers Yeast is a great food product for boosting lactation.  Try baking cookies or muffins with some brewers yeast added.
  • A diet low in protein, fat, carbs or overall calories may affect milk supply and quality- you can take fatty acid supplements like Fish oil, Flaxseed oil, Chia seeds and add protein powder to foods or drinks to increase this if you need to.
  • You also need to drink 2L or more of water a day.  You can include non-caffeinated herbal teas in this amount.
  • Plenty of rest, minimise stress.  Ok, easier said than done with a hungry baby! 
You can also call the Australian Breastfeeding Association on 1800 686 2 686 for help and advice or checkout their website here

Lastly- Talk to your partner, explain why this is so important and get as much help as you can!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Woolworths investigates Australia’s sustainable palm oil | Australian Food News

Palm Oil- an ingredient in many food and skin care products- has a huge impact on the environment. The mass deforestation that occurs to harvest it leaves Orangutans without homes and onthe endagered list. Although there is still debate about the ethicality of 'sustainable' palm oil (as the certification is done by those with ties to the palm oil industry), the fact that Woolworths has bought this to our attention has got to be a step in the right direction. I'll do a more in-depth post on palm oil soon!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Blog to Peruse

Accidental Earth Mother

This is a great blog full of natural cleaning and gardening tips, using products that are cheap and readily available, and safe for your family and the environment! Kept interesting with smatterings of Megs life adventures and some other bits and pieces, it really is worth a look.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Very Veggie

Produce prices have been hit by the recent disasters, but there are things you can do to ensure your family has a healthy meal on the table without breaking the bank. Here's an article with some tips from the Courier Mail:
Big fruit and vegetable buying guide | Courier Mail

You can also shop at local markets- because many of these feature local growers you are cutting down on carbon emissions, ensuring your fruit and veg is super fresh and supporting local growers. Try to buy what's in season and don't just stick to a rigid list- try new fruit and veg to save money and spice up your dinner!

Have you thought about a veggie garden? If you find the concept a bit daunting, start with one or two veggies that you use a lot, like tomato and lettuce. Both can be grown in pots so are great for small yards or balconies. Growing your own food is a great activity for kids- not only is it fun, it teaches them that food doesn't originate in the supermarket, and tending for the plants give them a taste of responsibility. The satisfaction they feel when finally able to pick a tomato or run out and get some lettuce leaves for a sandwich is unsurpassable and may even encourage picky eaters to try some new foods!

Here are some links to help grow your won Fruit and Veg:
Better Homes and Gardens- Kitchen Garden video

This is a great little movie that reveals the true story about modern consumerism.  It's making a splash and is even being shown in many American schools.  I would hope it makes it's way to Aussie schools as well, it's definitely worth watching!!!