HOT: Real Nappies

After my two week trial of cloth nappies with the Nappy Library, I decided that yes I wanted to continue using cloth nappies but maybe not with all the brands that I’d trialled.

While I was trying to decide which brands to buy, an email popped up from Real Nappies, a cloth nappy company based in New Zealand. I encountered Real Nappies at the Melbourne Pregnancy, Babies & Children’s Expo and signed up for their newsletter (probably because they had a prize draw going) but hadn’t really paid much attention to their products before.

This time, they had a special deal through Spreadadeal, a group buying website which specialises in babies and kids products. A Top Up Nappy Pack, normally $46, was selling for a limited time for $27.60. At that price, I thought it was worth giving the nappies a go, especially considering reuseable nappies normally retail for around $20-$30 each.

I bought two packs (plus $8.50 postage) and they arrived surprisingly quickly via courier. As I opened the boxes, I was dismayed to discover that the nappies were not all-in-one reuseables like I was used to, but consisted of plastic-coated nappy covers with velcro tabs and thick cloth rectangles that I had to fold myself. It seemed like a lot more extra work.

As I’d already committed to the purchase, I decided to give them a go anyway. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that folding the nappies was not much work at all and took no more time than all the snapping you had to do with all-in-ones and their different inserts. Three folds and you’re done! I just folded them with NKOTB on the mat during her play time and popped them into her change table drawer ready to use.

It is also very easy during a change. I simply place the prefolded nappies into an insert, wrap the insert around the  waist and legs and pressed the velcro down. Just like a disposable nappy.

The dirty nappy I put into a bucket in the laundry and when the bucket is full (every 2-3 days) I bundle them into a 6 minute rinse cycle followed by a normal quick wash with other clothes using Ecostore laundry powder (I don’t soak them or using the whitener).

What I really like about these nappies, compared the others I’ve tried, is how absorbent they are. It’s much easier to tell whether NKOTB has a wet nappy with a reuseable nappy and when I remove the insert the outer cover stays dry. The only time I have to change to cover is if she’s soiled the cover as well, but even then we’ve had very few leaks – I’d say no more than a disposable nappy.

I also like how soft the cotton is and I imagine it’s more comfortable for NKOTB’s skin than petroleum-based plastic (have you ever tried wearing plastic underpants?). Not to mention I think that reuseable nappies are better for the environment and more economical than disposables. Anecdotally parents say that kids using reuseable nappies toilet train faster as well because they can feel when their nappy is full.

At the moment I still use disposables when we go out for convenience and at night because I don’t change a nappy for a long period (can be up t0 12 hours). However, I like Real Nappies so much I’ve bought two packs of Night Time Booster Pads (four pads in total) for extra night-time absorbency. A twin pack of pads costs $9.25 ($5 flat rate shipping) and fit all sizes of nappies, so I think it’s a worthwhile investment now.

Week 16: Hands up, baby hands up!

One of the most enjoying and satisfying aspects about being a stay-at-home mum is being able to watch a little person learn new things about themselves and the world around them every day.

This week NKOTB has discovered that her hands are attached to her arms! And that fingers, knuckles and whole fists (plus bits of clothing that she can grab onto) are really great for sucking – they’re like readily available toys attached to the end of your limbs!

I’ve never given NKOTB a dummy – a decision not based on any rigorous scientific research, more a vague sense that it’s not really a desirable thing to do and because my mum also never gave me one. Nevertheless, NKOTB has really taken to her new favourite hobby and you can see tell that she’s using her fingers to explore the caverns of her mouth. I imagine the next step of putting everything she finds in her mouth will come soon enough (mental note: must vacuum the floors more frequently).

She’s still not rolling over but I’ve given up worrying about it or being too rigorous with her much-hated tummy time training. As one of the mothers in my mothers group said, she’s not going to spend her whole life on her back. Good point :-)

Another development I’ve noticed is that she’s become really scared of strangers (add that to the increasing list of things she’s afraid of). I’m sure it’s just a phase but whereas once she’d be happy being cuddled by anyone, now she wails even if another person looks at or talks to her closely. Whenever she goes to mothers group she will just stare silently and will only smile and gurgle if I put my face in front of hers and effectively block out her view of other people.

Her sleep patterns are still a bit all over the place – sometimes once a night, sometimes twice a night, sometimes not a peep all night. Thankfully during the day she’s still reasonably reliable with her long sleeps, which gives me enough time to run the household, the business and blog. She’s been on a couple of day outings recently and behaved impeccably though Murphy’s Law has ensured that the evenings where we’ve had a babysitter she’s been unsettled whereas she’d normally just sleep soundly.

Today she’s off for her 4 month immunisation so I’m expecting a bit more unsettledness. I’ve got the Baby Panadol ready and am praying that she lets me sleep a bit better than last night as I feel like a sniffling zombie today.


HOT: The Art of the Brick, Federation Square, Melbourne

For a grown woman, I get inordinately excited by Lego. Witness me lining up whilst 8 months pregnant to get into Brickvention, Australia’s premier Lego fan convention.

So as quickly as you can say ‘Lego Technic’ I hit the purchase button for tickets to The Art of the Brick, an exhibition of large-scale Lego sculptures by Lego artist Nathan Sawaya. His work is being shown in Australia for the first time atFederation Square.

As a lawyer myself, I love that Nathan used be a New York attorney and now works with Lego for a living. What an inspiring career trajectory!

As ticket entries are timed and there are only a limited number sold for the morning or afternoon session, the gallery space is pretty quiet and uncrowded. It’s the best way to appreciate the scale, beauty and craft of Sawaya’s work. Not only is it awesome seeing large objects built with tiny bricks (make sure you watch the time lapse video of Sawaya building a full sized human form), Sawaya’s ability to create organic and fluid shapes with something made of corners and right angles, plus give humanity to little pieces of plastic, is quite stunning.

My two favourite pieces spanned both categories – the imposing dinosaur skeleton which could be at home in any natural history museum and the extremely lifelike blue man in a chair. Just because his works are made with toys doesn’t make them any artistic or inspiring – Lego merely replaces clay or marble or steel as a creative material.

While Nathan is American, the exhibition does have a local flavour. The Melbourne Lego users group have built Iconic Melbourne, which features landmark Melbourne buildings such as the Queen Victoria Market and Eureka Tower.

As you leave on the ground floor, make sure you visit the Lego shop and place your “brick in the wall” to help build a mosaic featuring a famous Melbourne icon (it’s pretty easy to guess what it might be by now). Measuring 4.5 meters wide by 2.2 meters high, the mosaic will be made up of 168,000 Lego bricks and weigh 350kg.

To cap off a fabulous visit we scored the last of only 100 Sort and Store Lego heads (the gallery store is the only stockist in Australia). Basically it’s a plastic carry case which stores 1000 Lego pieces and contains an interior sieve so you can gently shake the head and separate the big pieces from the small pieces. It has a carry handle so that you can BYO Lego to play dates! Really RM and I are just suckers for Lego paraphernalia.

The Art of the Brick is only on for a limited time from 2 June to 2 August and tickets are expected to sell out. Get in quick!

HOT: The Mum Test

I don’t usually read forwarded emails containing jokes, but the title of ‘The Mum Test’ caught my attention. It was funny enough that I thought I’d share it with all you Mums out there. And apologies in advance to the Dads reading this post :–)


I was out walking with my 4-year-old daughter. She picked up something off of the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and I asked her not to do that.

‘Why?’ my daughter asked. ‘Because it’s been on the ground; you don’t know where it’s been, it’s
dirty, And probably has germs,’ I replied.

At this point, my daughter looked at me with total admiration and asked ‘Mum, how do you know all this stuff? You are so smart.’ I was thinking quickly and replied, ‘All mums know this stuff. It’s on the Mum Test. You have to know it, or they don’t let you be a Mum.’

We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was evidently pondering this new information.
‘Oh….I get it!’ she beamed, ‘So if you don’t pass the test you have to be the dad.’ ‘Exactly,’ I replied with a big smile on my face.

When you’re finished laughing, send this to a Mum.

NOT: Tummy Time

Putting a baby on its tummy is important so that they can develop their neck muscles, learn to push up and sit up and eventually crawl.

NKOTB hates tummy time. Other babies in my mothers groups are pretty happy on their tummy, doing aeroplane arms and kicking in delight and even bending so far back in a boat pose that they could be in a yoga textbook.

On the other hand, NKOTB wails every time she is put on her tummy. It’s not even a brief period of happiness and then tiredness, it’s ‘What are you doing? I HATE this! Get me off!’. I’ve tried putting my face down next to hers, encouraging her and singing to her, to no avail. I’ve tried putting her on my tummy but all she does is kick her little legs into my (still separated) tummy and slide herself down to my chin, making it uncomfortable for her and I. Face-down football hold in the air; her chest resting across my lap; flipping her over during her nappy change – zero points.

I am going to have to perservere though. ‘Experts find that babies who don’t spend time face-down often have some delays in their development of motor skills.’ Even though NKOTB’s neck has been pretty strong from day 1, she’s unable to prop herself up on her forearms at this stage. I know it’s not a competition but I don’t want her to be the last baby amongst her friends to push up or sit up!

Week 15: Dressing Up

Before NKOTB was born, a friend gave me a suitcase load of baby clothes. As I sorted through the onesies, dresses, pants, socks and hats, I vowed that I would not be buying NKOTB any clothes – she had more than she needed and already her clothing collection took up several drawers.

Well….frankly having a little baby girl to dress is just much too much fun! I refuse to put her in bunny ears or reindeer antlers or footy colours, so dressing up NKOTB means decking her out in secondhand designer purchases from eBay and international chic from her grandparents’ travels.

My current favourite is this colourful outfit from French label Grain de Ble. The French really know how to make stylish kids clothes. Really, have you ever seen an unfashionable French child?

I know NKOTB wouldn’t care if she was dressed in brown sackcloth so this vanity this entirely mine. I admit it! I am one of those mums who likes dressing her baby as a mini-me (and basks in the compliments my baby receives on her cute wardrobe).

As for NKOTB at Week 15 – now that she’s older she seems to be sleeping less during the day. But it’s hard to tell how much less sleep she should be getting so I have been keeping a keen eye on her tired signs. She also seems to realise that she needs less sleep now and has been more difficult  to settle every time, fighting sleep even when clearly she’s yawning, rubbing her eyes or jerking her limbs about. I’ve been learning to be more hard-hearted about putting her to bed as soon as she even has a hint of tiredness and in the afternoons I’ve instigated ‘Mummy-Baby Exercise Hour’ where I take her in the Ergobaby to encourage her to catnap using the motion of me walking. This gets me out for some much-needed exercise and helps delay her evening feed to 6-630pm so that Tim can get home to give her a bath and she stretches out her sleep for longer during the night.

Her 4 month checkup is due soon and I’m a little apprehensive about her weight again. She’s clearly getting longer but is still in newborn nappies so I suspect she hasn’t gained that much weight. Also she hasn’t managed to turn yet nor really reached out to grab things, so I had a moment of irrational panic this morning when I thought that maybe she was intellectually handicapped in some way and I just didn’t know it yet. GAH!

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