A game changer, star jar rewards and eco nappies …..



So its been a few weeks and I’ve been desperate to write again after the response from my previous post. Theres nothing more encouraging and motivating than people reaching out to say they appreciate you for sharing something for whatever reason, and the reasons were varied so i was beyond chuffed needless to say. Its always a risk baring your soul for people to read, but as I said in the last post I’ve always been happy to share if i think it might help someone feel less alone and more ‘normal’ I’ve also always been a lover of keeping a diary and thats kind of what these little extracts are also so when theres things going on its cathartic to write it down, i find anyways.

The day little baby Mars turned 6 months old happened to fall on the very same day one of my closest and dearest friends was to be married, now this was to be a wedding without babies and or children present which left me with a few months of anxiety over leaving her for the first time and all that that entails. The main reasons being that we never had success leaving Luna and we don’t actually have childcare options (bar the token few occasions we can steal my mum from her day job and evening job thats unpaid visiting my Nan who is in a home for people with alziemers and dementia), being that Mum was also invited to the wedding and I knew would love to attend I felt added guilt on top of the mum guilt for having to call upon her in our time of need.

Mars is and always has been exclusively BF… she takes a dummy but up until this time had never had a bottle. I’d expressed a lot in the early days but mainly due to the trouble shooting with the one silly big boob!!! so I had never even expressed and given it to her from a bottle. When I came to get all the old gear out from previously on dawsons creek when luna was teeny, the freezer bags etc and began to express in and around the other million and one things going on in any one 24 hours the law of the sod paid a visit and I was only able to get roughly 1.5oz off at any one time… this was between feeds and after every feed!!!!!
For those of us in the know I don’t need to explain how utterly soul destroying this news was, there was a week where I barely left the house bar the school run, the house was even more of a mess than usual, cleaning was at best the essentials and no more because between expressing, sterilising and actually feeding plus be present for the actual baby and Luna there was little time for anything else. Somewhere along this timeline of tedium I discovered (no doubt amidst the haze of a 3am amazon basket filling sash) the  tommy tippee express and go pouches and warmer. Quite literally it was a game changer right there and then!! Now I know this isn’t brand new out on the market but I hadn’t heard of it before and was so sure it was the answer to my prayers without still having tied Mars on the bottle!! the main reason being I thought with the pathetic amount I was getting off this would help keep every last drop in tact for her feeds with no transference needed and the secondly how easy for my mum to have to follow the simplest of instructions with speed and ease using milk from either freezer or fridge!?!? WIN WIN.. of course I immediately told everyone I know who would find this useful. Not only a game changer but quite an inexpensive one to be honest, for the starter kit including adaptors that transform pretty much any make and model of pump you’re looking at around £56..  which to my mind in my time of need wasn’t a big spend!
Back to my slow climb in the task of building up a store of feeds.. i literally didn’t have enough to ‘try’ her on a bottle prior to the day and tbh I thought its unlikely she will take it from me anywho so i’ll leave it to the day when it will be mum and she won’t be looking at me thinking what are you doing mother you crazy woman get this bottle out of my face and back to my usual thank you very much!!
The week running up to the big day we also tried some weaning onto pureed food (mashed banana and then banana and avocado, this as was the same with a friend who’s baby girl is days older and happened to work a little wonder for the expressing because it left a window of opportunity to express another feed that was now where the puree was being consumed (sorry if I’m confusing anyone here) said friend had been having the same painful gruelling issues of no getting much milk off as me and had what sapped to share the delight of this finding… little did she know my admin is shocking at best and the storage had maxed out on my phone booting me off whatsapp for a while, oh the drama! but anyway here we both were with more milk to pump (as humiliating a job as it is, serves a bloody good purpose doesn’t it) and feeling a little less stressed about how it might go on the day. I’ll add here this was also largely due to my sister again stepping in with the voice of calm when I was having a sleep deprived panic of how the day would pan out in terms of a plan logistically.
I’m fairly confident that its not just me and that when you find when you are in the fog that claims you when you’re sleep deprived the smallest of things can seem overwhelmingly difficult. All i needed was the voice or text of reason over whatsapp one night that said right this is it… timings, feeds, lists, plan action GO!!
We were extremely lucky to be staying at our other bestie’s abode (happens to be the brother of the groom conveniently) and being situated only half an hour at best from the venue meant I could time things right so that I could feed Mars on the day at 12pm just before we left for the church, leaving mum with more milk for a longer time scale and better chance at success haha!
Pardon the pun but I really feel like the planets aligned and it all went like clockwork, we managed to be there for 10 hours and not miss a thing which was always my worry. There was three of us at the wedding ‘pumping in the bridal suit’ and it was nice to not be the only one feeling like a cow and watching the clock or the unmistakable feeling of a boob that needs to be emptied!! as grotesque as that last statement is, tis true. All in all a much more positive experience of leaving our baby than the first and only (for a long time) time we left our eldest as a baby… cut to me changing out of heals and into trainers at a mess function ready for the sprint when Mum called to say I think you need to come home! As i’ve said before they are different babies and I’m a different person for the fact that they are different, yea i’m still neurotic about some things but thats just mum life isn’t it. The main crux here though is if you’re breast feeding, needing to leave your baby and haven’t heard about the TT express and go… have a little butchers.

In other news over the last few weeks I derived a plan, spontaneously one evening (that cap’n happened to be out, for some reason I find these things easier when solo parenting don’t ask me why that makes zero sense I realise) to help Luna go off to sleep and stay in her own bed. I’ve always been a fan of a reward chart and such like, Luna is a child who responds amazingly to the visual and responsibility of not only achieving the tasks set but then ticking the boxes down towards the reward. So, this time I thought i’d switch it up and we’d make a ‘star jar’ … the house happens to still be littered with star paraphernalia left over from her bday bash and we have ball mason jars in abundance thanks to my neighbour, so wha la the star jar was born. trying to get both children to sleep at the same time in different rooms this one particular night the idea came like a lightning bolt on a whim when I needed some angle to use other than ‘you should go to bed fine you’re a big girl now’ and all that other bollox that gets thrown around.

I’m not saying I’m not guilty of shaming, sometimes its quite literally unavoidable because its not overt and we’re all human but I do take a particular interest in child physiology, you know seen as I own two I figure its quite important, and being that the two are 3.5 years apart in age I choose wisely with my words as often as I can muster not to play the age old, ‘she can do this so you should too’ card. Its 2017 and I think we can do better than that no? i hope so. I try so. So anyways what i went for was a trip to smyths toys at the end of the 10 star jar rainbow… every quick and easy bedtime with no getting into mummy and daddy’s bed at random times of the small hours … you guessed it, gets a star in the jar sports fans!!

She happens to love smyths for the very literal but amazing reason that they don’t sell food, her words. verbatim (i do love my childs imagination, it keeps me amused for days)
The other mildly amusing fact about this reward is that we have to venture back there at some point regardless as she has only spent half her birthday money from uncle steve that he so kindly put on a gift card for smyths…. the land of plenty (unless you’re after food that is) so you might say everyones a winner. you might, unless you’d been in smiths with her a month and a bit ago when she wanted three of the most expensive things in the shop… I cant say anything about this though because this is quite literally me as a child. If you’re doing something, you’re doing it, right!? if we ever set foot into toys our us as kids, where ‘theres millions of debris all under one roof’ (thats what 7 year old me thought the ad jingle words were because my dad used to call our mess, debris, and ‘geoffrey’ for anyone who doesn’t know, rhymes with debris!) then I would undoubtedly find the most expensive, gadgety toy they had to offer. Not on purpose you understand just because I was drawn to the biggest most gadgety stuff. At the same time however again a trait i fully recognise in my young self, she happens to also be a lover of little collectable things so after a bit of a heated debate about santa being able to do us a better deal with his close pals at amazon prime i swerved the attention to the vast array of ‘surprise toys’ the eco warrior in me does scream inside at all the plastic tac thats churned out every second wrapped in yet more plastic and sent to every 4 yr old you tube sensation to film themselves opening while being watched by every other influential 4 yr old the world over but i don’t believe anyone can tell me their kids toys are all made from 100% sustainable wood only… i know theres an answer to this problem but like all problems its fuelled by money. i try my very best to save our planet wherever i can and as a parent i think this doubles up more than 2 fold because your’e naturally (or should be )more aware of saving or salvaging what there is for future generations and also because you’re output is greater… producing off spring makes this unavoidable… more packaging on ‘stuff’ we need so much ‘stuff’ as parents don’t we.

By chance this going off somewhat on a tangent has lead me to share that for 6 months I’ve been using a particular nappy brand that happen to be doing just that… trying to give the planet a break whilst also managing to leave the house… it still amazes me how people can successfully use cloth nappies in this day and age. Hats off to those people, but my choice was the brand kit and kin who not only are an eco nappy (biodegradable disposable) they offer a monthly bundle with 25% discount and free delivery which actually makes them less than pampers which i know is the market leader disposable, especially for newborns even though they contain a lot of chemicals. I tried a few other eco friendly nappies but kit and kin really did shine out from the rest, not only did i feel better about the damage I was contributing to the environment being lessened, they were a great fit, never leaked, didn’t have a strange smell like some of the corn based ones and were a lovely little company that felt real and personable. Whenever I emailed to change an order I got a speedy reply from a ‘real’ person not just an automated out of office template. I did stop my monthly order last month and only because when we started using less per month they were backing up so I wasn’t getting through them quick enough but actually I think I am going to place another order as I miss the reliability of knowing they’ll be here every month on a set day and not having to do two trips round aldi if its a day when i can only carry a basket with the kids.
I already had the nappies ready for when I came out of hospital and i went into hospital with another eco brand that some friends had bought for me. One of the memories I have of the recovery ward and that person who rushes round to try and get money out of shocked and knackered new parents in hospital… yep you know the one, the bounty bint’ we shall name her , armed with a skanky white (with added stains) pillow, a light reflecting dish and an f off camera upon asking me which brand of nappy I was planning to use, while taking my details to spam the shit out of my email account, looked at me dumb founded with my response of Naty nature and kit and kin. Not heard of them I asked a little bemused as her given profession you’d think she would have been familiar with all the brands on the market… but nope. Another reason why I am sharing this with you now, if theres one or two people that give an eco nappy a go that doesn’t take hundreds of years to biodegrade then it was worth the waffle surely? I think so.

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