Our Toddler's Evening routine - what we've done (and still do!) from +-3 months

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Seeing as we now have a toddler and a newborn, I wanted to share the bedtime routine we have done with Everly since she was about 3 months old. I want to write it here so I am also able to reference it in a few months time when Aaron wakes up from is sleepy newborn slumber and starts being more wakeful. Hopefully you find this post useful/interesting, and as always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments if there is anything else you do that you find works for you and your family.

Before having Everly, I was adamant that a baby would just slot into our lives and we wouldn’t be ‘those people’ who plan their day around their little one’s naps. But alas, I have since realised, a happy baby = a happy mommy & daddy and wherever possible, we try to keep to our routine as much for their sake as for our sanity. Everly has always slept well, and slept a lot. It even got to the point where I was googling ‘can a toddler sleep too much’ because the majority of my friends seemed to have babies and toddlers that just ‘hate sleep’. And while I am going to be a bit controversial here (because I’m sure there are little ones out there that REALLY struggle to sleep) I am going to say that the majority of babies/toddlers want & need sleep, they may just need more help to actually get to (and stay!) asleep. Even at 17 months old, Everly still naps twice a day (mostly) and these two naps range from 1.5 - 2.5 hours each. She also sleeps at night on average, for 12 - 13 hours. This post isn’t meant to be an ode to how wonderful my child is (from what I can tell with my friend’s kids, Everly may be more of the exception to the rule than the norm) but I do wish at least one person had shared with me that it is possible to have a good sleeper, and that you shouldn’t feel bad about the fact that your child genuinely needs/wants lots of sleep. I think there are lots of factors that play a role in ‘creating’ a good sleeper (things like diet, routine, patience and a WHOLE lot of strong will when it comes to ‘sleep training’…I’ll share our thoughts on this in another post) but as always, each child is different and each family is different too, you need to find what works for you.

Everly Rose Newborn Photos by Roxy Hutton of CGScreative & CityGirlSearching (6 of 18).jpg

We have done the same evening & bedtime routine since Everly was about 3 months old. Before that, she just fed & slept anywhere and everywhere. From Day 2 home from the hospital, we put her in her own room, mostly because she was so noisy when she slept, that neither me or hubby could get any sleep. I LOVE the idea of co-sleeping, I just know that it wouldn’t work for our family. I am a very deep sleeper, but Farmboy isn’t, and as he is up at 4h30 every morning to go and milk the cows, co-sleeping is just not something either of us feel would work for us. Having baby/toddler in their own room, away from you so you don’t hear every single sniff and gurgle, helps a whole lot in ensuring a better sleep for mom & dad…but again, if this isn’t for you and you prefer to have baby in your room, that’s a choice completely up to you to make. This post is not a post to bash moms and dads who co-sleep etc but more about sharing what we do and what works for us.

Everly’s evening & bedtime routine

  • Supper is at 5pm.

Everly has been brought up on a low carb, no sugar way of eating right from day 1 of starting solids. If you’re South African, I guess you would say she was & is a Banting Baby (although we aren’t strict with carb counting) and if you’re not sure what Banting is, it’s basically a low carb high fat way of eating. What this means is Everly doesn’t eat any form of processed carbs (no toast/crackers/cereal/pasta etc) and no form of processed sugar (no juice/sweets/chips/cake/commercial kids snack bars etc). You would be surprised at just how much hidden sugar is in most baby food products…and while I can control what she eats, this is how we have chosen to raise her. You may be wondering what on earth I feed my child, so here are all my posts on #whateverlyeats:

I strongly believe diet plays a huge role in sleep/development/overall contentedness (and the same applies to us adults!) and it would be my first suggestion to look at your little ones diet if they are struggling with sleep.

  • Bath & bed time starts at 6pm sharp

If she’s been cranky/hasn’t had proper naps during the day we often start earlier so she’s in bed by 6pm, but very rarely is she in bed past 6h30pm.

Farmboy has always done bath time, as it’s his special time to with her. After her bath, she has her milk (I breastfed her up until 13 months - around the 3 month mark of my second pregnancy, at which time it just became too sore for me, and she got too big to be lying on me and my growing tummy) and that’s when we started her on cows milk. She gets a 150ml non spill cup of milk (it’s raw farm milk…which she has grown up on and is the same milk I used to make her homemade yoghurt which she ate from about 7/9 months old).

We started her milk in a TommeeTippee Explora Cup, and she’s still using it today. Even though this cup is probably more suited to babies than toddlers, Everly wasn’t ever weaned from breast to bottle, we went straight onto asippy/drinking cup from the breast, and so this was her water bottle, and now this is what she gets her milk in. I don’t worry about how much milk she drinks, and didn’t ever measure out exact quantities, even after I stopped breastfeeding. Reason being, she eats a LOT of dairy (mainly cheese and homemade yoghurt) and so I knew she wasn’t ever going to be calcium deficient, even if some days she would only drink a few sips of her milk at bedtime. Whatever she doesn’t drink at night, gets put back in the fridge and she gets that in the morning when she wakes up.

While Farmboy is bathing her, I get her milk ready, close the curtains and put her nightlight on (we use a beautiful pink Quartz lamp that she’s had in her room since she was born) as it gives off the warmest, softest glow. I bought her pink quartz lamp (and the white quartz lamp in Aaron’s room from StaticEnergy in Jhb).

I then lay out her pyjamas and night nappy (we use cloth nappies and the night nappy is always a rather big and bulky situation as it needs to last +-12 hours). Then I say goodnight to her, we say some prayers (when I can remember…I really want to reinforce this with her but haven’t been so great at it up till now) and I leave the room. Farmboy dries her off, puts cream/massage oil on her (we still use and LOVE Pure Beginnings Massage Oil), and then dresses her for bed. She has a dummy (which she has nicknamed ‘Nunni’ and a special sleep time soft toy, ‘Dudu’), which she only gets to have when it’s nap or bedtime.

We’ve always had a bedtime song that we have and still sing at bed time. It’s more of a lullaby that we hum, but it’s such a nice way to reinforce that it’s bedtime. When Everly would wake up often at night, one of us would always use that lullaby to calm her down and help her get back to sleep.

Once she’s dressed, it’s story time. Sometimes she will still have her milk at this point, but we take it away once we leave the room. Story time is mostly a full blown discussion of ‘what’s da’ or ‘what’s that’ as she points to each and every picture in the book. It’s the sweetest thing listening to the Daddy & Daughter chatter before bed. Once story time is done, it’s a quick kiss good night and and ‘I love you’ and then whoever is doing bedtime walks out. 9 times out of 10 she settles quickly. But since getting a video monitor a few months ago, I’ve actually seen that she isn’t always sleeping when I think she is! I don’t mind though, as long as she’s happy and quiet in her bed, I don’t really mind what she’s getting up to. I’ve watched her for over an hour just lying there, legs in the air, playing wit her DuDu and stroking her face with it…funny thing.

We also recently took the sides down of her cot (CoziCot Stijl) and turned it into the toddler bed it’s able to convert into, as we slowly transition her to the single bed in her room. It’s been about 3 weeks of her in her ‘big girl’ bed and it’s been a relatively painless process (blog post to come on that move soon). I was REALLY nervous about the whole thing, especially as she is now able to get in AND out of her bed whenever she wants to, and has free access to everything in her room, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how it’s all gone. I was most worried that her night time sleep would be disrupted by the move, but apart from one night of her falling out the bed, and her waking up slightly earlier than normal (6am instead of 7am), it’s like nothing has changed. I think it’s been such a smooth transition because of the same routine we follow every night. Even when we go away, we follow the same ‘bath, milk, pj’s, story, bed’ routine and 9 times out of 10 she goes down without a fuss. We also, as much as possible, stick to the 6pm bath & bed time routine no matter where she goes to sleep.


I weaned Everly off her last night time/early morning (it was at about 3am) feed at about 7 months. We had a couple of rough nights, but she adjusted quickly. We then went on an overseas trip to the UK, and she went back to demanding that early morning feed, which I went back to giving her during the trip as we were staying in relatively small homes with family and I didn’t want to keep everyone up. But once we got home I weaned her off that feed again and within a few days she went back to sleeping +-12 hours at night.


If you’d like me to share our sleep training ‘methods’ I’d be happy to write about them in a separate post. Hubby and I are very strict when it comes to bed and nap times, and do leave Everly to cry if it’s time to sleep and she’s up and about. This has worked extremely well for us, and I’d be happy to share what we’ve done, right from the beginning…let me know in the comments below!

I hope you’ve found this post interesting. I’d love to hear about your families routine, and what you’ve found works for you. Leave me a comment below, I always enjoy hearing from my readers.

x

What's in my hospital bag - What to pack for mommy

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The photo below shows what was in my hospital bag for when I gave birth to Everly in September 2017.

I wasn’t sure how hot or cold the hospital would be (although I was told to expect all sorts of ‘seasons’ even during my 3 day stay due to the aircon working/not working). I had Everly at Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg, and had my husband and doula present through the entire labor (it ended up being an awful long time….nearly 36 hours!) and unfortunately ended up in an emergency ceasar. I feel as though I pretty much experienced both types of births (i.e. went into labor and laboured naturally, with no pain meds and then had the recovery for an emergency caesar) and would like to share what I packed and found useful, as well as the things I will definitely be packing this second time around.

I’m now 35 weeks pregnant, and have been told it’s probably a good time to get all my bags together (you know, just in case things start happening earlier than expected). So whether you are hoping for a natural birth or planning on having an elective caesar, this post should give you a good idea of what to pack. I

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Not everything I packed last time is pictured above, as I had two separate bags, one for labor and one for my stay in the maternity ward afterwards. It helped separating everything and not having to dig around in one huge bag, and it really helped Farmboy and my Doula find things when I wasn’t able to be very coherent. I’m also going to mention afterwards what I plan on packing this time around, so you will be able to see what I actually ended up using, what I wished I had, and what I would highly recommend packing in your bag.


What I’m packing this time around:

As I’m not sure how this birth will go (I’m planning on/hoping for a natural delivery and spontaneous labor) but have learned from my first birth to be prepared for everything. Because of this I’m going to make sure to pack for both a natural & a caesarian…what you would pack isn’t very different, but if you have a natural delivery you might only spend 2 nights in hospital, whereas a caesarian is generally a 3 night stay.

You still need ALL of those maternity pads (I thought you only needed them if you had a natural delivery!) and those mesh panties WILL become your new best friend.

I am also packing two bags again, one for labor and the other for the time I spend recovering in the maternity ward.


What I’m packing in my ‘recovery’ bag:

  • Feeding bras (I actually only ended up wearing one when I had visitors, and the rest of time was far more comfy without one). My favourite ones are the soft nursing bras from H&M. I also really like their nursing tops (strappy tops that have a built in bra that you can lower the straps down to breastfeed). These tops are amazing for layering under your clothes and give your tummy more support, while also making you feel less exposed when feeding.

  • Comfy Pyjamas: last time I packed about 4 different sets of cute pyjamas, and ended up wearing the same one. I packed long night dresses that buttoned up the front, but found the buttons to be a pain to keep having to do up. This time around I am packing one ‘nice’ sleep shirt that buttons up, a soft cotton/viscose nightie (these ones from Woolies are my favourite as they are easy to pull down to feed) and this top and bottoms from PerryWinkle…see below:

  • Breast-pads: Generally your milk only comes in around day 3 or 4, and before that your body is only producing colostrum and so you don’t generally need to worry about leaks. My milk came in when I got home, and from the very beginning I had a very forceful let down. What this means is your milk pretty much comes gushing out (of both sides) as opposed to it flowing in a slower, more manageable way for baby to be able to drink nicely. Often, women with a forceful let down have problems with baby having lots of wind as they are trying to drink as fast as the milk flows and end up gulping lots of air. There are lots of things you can do for a forceful let down (different feeding positions etc) and it’s generally considered a positive problem to have. But one of the effects of having such a strong letdown was a lot of leaking, and so went through boxes and boxes of breast-pads (the Pigeon ones were my favourite disposable ones, and the Biddykins Breast Pads were my favourite washable/re-useable pads). Having to wear breast-pads was always such a pain, and the worst was forgetting to pack a stash of them when leaving the house. I always make sure to keep a whole stash in the car for those ‘just in case’ moments.

  • Breastpump & Nipple Shileds: While it isn’t advised to start pumping before your milk supply has properly established (usually around 6 weeks) I highly recommend taking a pump with you to the hospital. I had a few moments when my boobs were so full and uncomfortable, and while I didn’t really know what I was doing with the pump, it did help relieve them a little. Ideally you would want to pop baby straight onto the boob rathe than pump, but Every was placed under the lights to treat her mild case of jaundice for a couple of hours a day, and so it was during that time on our last day in hospital that I found the pump really handy. All that I was able to pump was a teeny bit of colostrum, but it did help.

    What pump you buy is a very personal choice. I didn’t want to invest in a really expensive pump as I didn’t know how my breastfeeding journey would turn out. Personally, I would recommend buying a manual pump in the beginning, and then depending on how your breastfeeding journey goes, and if you have to go back to work, then perhaps you can invest in an automatic one if you find the manual one too time consuming/frustrating. I did pump quite a bit of milk and ended up building quite a large stash of milk in my freezer that I didn’t ever end up using. I donated my frozen stash to one of the Doula’s in the area who was helping a new mommy and her very prem baby. This was so special for me.

    The reason I didn’t end up using the stash I had so lovingly built up was because I work from home and so was always around to be able to feed Everly directly. When she got older and I did leave her with Granny, she didn’t every really take to a bottle (I didn’t force this issue because I realised I didn’t really need to and while it may have been nice and convenient to have hubby feed her, I really cherished our special time together). Once baby gets older they go longer and longer between feeds, and so you do end up being able to leave them for longer periods of time without needing to worry about feeding. In these instances it was me that ended up suffering more, as my boobs adjusted to not being ‘drained’ and so I made sure to pack my pump in the car with me just in case I needed to pump for my sake. This is another bonus of having a smaller, more compact manual pump as you can pop it in your bag for emergencies. I really liked the Avent Manual pump, but have heard from loads and loads of mums that the Clicks Manual pump is just as good and about half the price. I have also heard amazing things about the teeny tiny and compact silicone breast pump (you can buy this one online from Biddykins or Faithful To Nature.

    Before having Everly, I had no idea what a nipple shield was. It just sounded like some sort of weird kinky object, but now, after using them, I would recommend them 100% and strongly recommend friends pack them in their hospital bags for just in case. While a lot of the very ‘pro breastfeeding’ groups don’t recommend the use of them (they say they can cause nipple confusion and make your breastfeeding journey harder when it comes to weaning baby off them) I just feel that if they help you continue to breastfeed (even if they require effort to wean baby later on) they are 100% worth it. Breastfeeding isn’t always easy, and doesn’t always come naturally to a lot of moms. I wrote a post on my own 13 month breastfeeding journey (click here to read it) and offer lots of tips and encouragement for new moms. I say pack a set of nipple shields in your hospital bag for just in case. You don’t have to use them by any means, but if you have them then at least you have the option if things get off to a difficult start with your little one.

  • Gown & slippers: definitely pack a comfy gown & slippers to wear while wondering around the hospital. Just bear in mind the time of the year (in Winter you might want to wear a fluffy gown and fluffy slippers vs Summer…although the hospital will be temperature controlled). As with all the clothes I packed for hospital, I washed everything in a baby friendly detergent. Newborns have such a sensitive sense of smell, their teeny little bodies haven’t had any time to adjust to their new life outside of your tummy, and so you want to try and ensure they aren’t going to get a rash/reaction to the smells on your clothes (the same goes for body washes, perfume etc). My favourite baby detergent is the W.LAB brand from Woolworths. I washed all of Everlys clothes in it until she turned a year (she only officially started crawling then and so before then her clothes didn’t really get very dirty) and after that started washing all her clothes and blankets in the same washing powder we use for everything else in our home (Ariel). You don’t have to use a baby washing detergent, it all depends on how reactive your baby’s skin is.

  • Pads & Panties: whether you have a natural or a caesarian birth, you will bleed (for up to 6 weeks postpartum) and so will need to have a stash of pads on hand. I am so thankful to my sister-in-law who told me about this, as I had no idea. Maternity pads are your best bet (the Carriwell and Dr White ones are great) and then I recommend having a smaller stash of regular pads for later on when the flow lightens up. You will be given a pack of pads to use during your hospital stay (I was also given a pack in my Dischem Baby Bag and in the Baby Bag given to me when I had Everly in hospital) but if you want to stock up, you can buy maternity pads at most pharmacies, and then Clicks and Dischem have a really good selection. You can also buy lots of the Carriwell range on Takealot. Then I have to mention the mesh panties…these bad boys will become your best friend! They are gently on your tummy (especially if you’ve had a caesarian) and are big and stretchy enough to be comfortable. They are basically designed to hold your maternity pad in place, and while they aren’t the most glamorous of things around, they are super comfy! They come in packs of two, and you can either throw them away after each use, of you can gently handwash/machine wash them and re-use. I gave them a good wash in the shower between uses and then they dried really fast as they really are just a soft mesh material.

  • Pillow, extra pillow cases, a couple of dark coloured face cloths & 3-ply toilet paper: I really, really, really loved having my own feather pillow in hospital. If you do pack your own pillow, make sure to pack an extra pillow case (it’s so nice to put a clean and fresh one on) make sure they are brightly coloured so you don’t loose it during your stay. Dark facecloths are so you can freshen up nicely in your first few showers postpartum (you won’t want to use a white facecloth during that time, trust me!) and then my absolute MUST PACK is soft toilet paper. Maybe it’s just me, but having something soft to use when on the loo felt like a HUGE luxury after my long labor. My mom was the one who thoughtfully brought me a small pack of 3 ply paper for my stay. Needless to say it’s not something I would have thought about before hand, but it makes such a difference to use that instead of the horrible and scratchy 1-ply that is usually in the hospital loos.

  • Snacks: while you will get a good 3 meals a day during your stay (as well as tea/coffee mid morning and afternoon…gosh those first few cups of tea were heaven sent!) I was hungry ALL of the time, and often just wanted something handy to snack on and drink. I really enjoyed those small juice boxes from Woolworths, home baked bran and raisin muffins, biltong, nuts and those yummy oat bars from Nature Valley. I made sure to stock up on all these things for home (we stay about 1.5 hours from the nearest grocery store) but while in hospital, it was easy for hubby to pop out and grab me snacks and drinks during my stay.

  • Comfy going home outfit: I packed one of my Cherry Melon maternity dresses to wear for the car ride home as it was loose fitting and nice & cool. Bear in mind you will (probably) still have a tummy for the next good while (I read somewhere that you still end up looking about 4-5 months pregnant after baby) and so I knew I wouldn’t want to wear anything tight. If you have had a caesarian, you will especially not want to wear anything that is tight on your scar. A dress was really comfy.

  • Toiletries & Makeup:

    • wet wipes: my absolute favorite are the Garnier Skin Active Micellar Oil Infused Cleansing Wipes as they are super soft, gently, smell amazing and leave my skin feeling wonderfully soft and moisturised) .

    • Face Cleanser, Cream & Tonic from Skin Creamery. Their all natural & organic range of facial products smell amazing, and are really gentle on the skin. I love that they contain no nasty additives and leave your skin feeling wonderful. Just what every new mom needs. I also use the Oil-Milk cleanser & Everyday cream on my body.

    • Shampoo & Conditioner

    • Concealer/BB cream, Pressed Powder, Blus, Lip balm & Mascara: just a few of my favourite makeup products so I feel a little more like myself, especially for photos during my hospital stay.


What I’m packing in my labor bag:

  • 2 Big fluffy towels: during my labor with Everly, I was in and out of the hot shower constantly. The hot water really helped with the contractions, and I really didn’t enjoy using a wet towel every time I came out the shower. The hospital did supply one towel, but I really liked having my own.

  • 2 gowns: I wore one gown while things were ‘easier’ in the beginning of labor (this is the same pink gown I had packed and used for my stay in the maternity ward), and then really liked having my fluffy gown on hand to use in between showering. It also was the only thing comfortable enough to wear that actually made me feel covered up, and at the same time was easy to take on and off when needed.

  • Slippers: I packed one pair of slippers that I had in my labor bag, and then used those same ones once I was in the maternity ward later.

  • Dark coloured face cloths: these were absolutely essential during labor, and my Doula used two for cooling me off and keeping me comfortable when things got tough later on in labor.

  • Snacks: I didn’t want to eat much while in labor, but devoured a whole bag of Woolworth’s soft gummy sweets. I also enjoyed being able to drink apple juice in the beginning, but later on only wanted to suck on ice chips and drink water. Having some of your favourite snacks and drinks on hand (this is hospital dependant and not always allowed especially if you have an elective caesar booked but pack them anyway, you’ll get to eat them afterwards in any case).

  • Music: having something to listen to when things really started heating up was essential. It helped me to stay relatively ‘out of my body’ and focus on my breathing. Make sure you pack your charger for your phone/ipod and that you have comfy headphones too.

  • Nice smelling candle: this was another MUST have for me. I had a very special candle from South Korea which I just love and always makes me feel nice and calm when lit. Some ladies prefer some essential oils for massage or their favourite hand cream.

  • Toiletries: I’ll have my toiletry bag with me during labor with everything packed as specified above. As I was in and out of the shower, it felt great to be able to put cream on every now and again, and to use face wipes as the time went on.


There you have a full run down of what’s going into my hospital bags this time around. It’s on my To Do list to make a video of the above, and if I get around to it I’ll post it below. I am also writing a post on what to pack for baby next, so keep an eye on the blog for that. I’ll link it below when it’s up.

Please feel free to leave me a comment below if you have any questions or comments, I love hearing from you! Also, let me know if I’m leaving anything out!

x

Flying Solo with a Baby - How to stay sane when Traveling by Plane with a Little One

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Everly and I have just landed after our 7th flight together. I’ve flown solo with her from Pietermaritzburg to Joburg 5 times (we flew together when she was 3 months, 6 months and now at 13 months), and she has also done an international flight to the UK at 7 months old…what a jet-setter! I think she should have her own card to be collecting air miles by now :)

I thought I’d write this post to offer some tips and advice for airplane travel with a little one, while everything is still fresh in my mind. I’m also currently 5 months pregnant, so the flight we have just done was a bit more difficult and took a bit more planning, but was still very manageable by myself. This post is more geared to shorter flights (all of the flights except for the one to UK were between 1 & 2 hours long).

I’ll also be doing a post on flying when pregnant (Farmboy and I went on ‘baby-moon’ to Italy in June last year when I was 6 months pregnant with Everly) and I have a whole load of tips for mommy’s-to-be when it comes to flying when pregnant…so tuned for that post to come soon.


  1. Use a baby carrier.

This has got to be my NUMBER 1 tip for flying with a baby. You are going to need both your hands when traveling for handing over your passports, holding your tickets, unpacking your hand-luggage when being scanned at security etc and the last thing you need to be worrying about is trying to do all of that with one.

We love our Ubuntu Baba carrier, and have used it since Everly was just a week old. Baby carriers are amazing for allowing Mum (or Dad) to get stuff done, they are world renown for their sleep induing properties, and most importantly, they allow baby to feel safe and secure at all times. I would not have been able to get through the plane airport travel without one. The Ubuntu Baba Carrier comes in two sizes (Stage 1 & Stage 2). Stage 1 is a front only carrier (so baby is carried on your front) and their Stage 2 carrier allows for both front and back carry. As I’m now well into my second pregnancy, I can no longer carry Ev on my front, but I have successfully been able to carry her on my back, while still feeling comfortable at 5 months pregnant.

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Farmboy really likes the back carry position as he finds front carrying to be very hot and sweaty. I loved carrying Everly on my front when she was little, and now that she’s bigger (and heavier!) the back carry position is much more comfortable for all of us. The above photos will give you a pretty good idea of all the things you can do with your carrier…it’s just the best invention!

Although for bigger toddlers, prams are really great too as most airlines will allow you to wheel baby right to the airplane door, where they will then take the pram from you for the flight and bring it out again once you land.

2. A Backpack nappy/baby bag is life changing

This tip is more of a general mommy tip and something I am SO glad I used right from the very beginning. I just don’t know how moms handle the shoulder stress of carrying a heavy baby bag on one arm. Having a back pack means you once again have your ‘hands-free’ to pick up baby, open doors, carry things…the list of goes on! And if you have your baby on your front in a carrier, this means you can still have your hands free as all the baby paraphernalia goes on your back! It’s heavy, but well balanced (especially when they are small).

I ordered my nappy bag from a UK based company before they became all the rage and now you can buy this exact style through loads of online retailers here in South Africa. Click here to order yours through one of my favourite cloth nappy online stores, Biddykins. You can fit A LOT of things in this backback…here’s some proof:

When packing your nappy bag for a flight, try to be as ruthless as possible. You really don’t want to be fiddling with 10 different dummies and toys while you are desperately looking for the extra sock you thought you packed. Farmboy was so strict with me, and I’m so glad looking back. You also don’t want to be carrying everything and the kitchen sink, not just for the sake of your back (or shoulder if you have a traditional shoulder carry nappy bag) but for the sake of being able to find what you need QUICKLY. The last thing you need is a screaming baby while you wade through all 10 of Ben’s favourite stuffed toys to find his dummy.


What to pack for a short plane ride with your baby (0 - about 6 months):

  • 4 x nappies

  • 2 x dummies (one clipped to baby and the other in an easy to reach pocket in your nappy bag)

  • 1 x favourite toy

  • 1 x receiving blanket (can be used to feed under/change baby in an emergency/mop up any spews/food/milk)

  • wet wipes

  • baby meds (Telement, Panado, Bum cream etc)

  • 2 x Spare set of clothes (and socks as it can be colder on the plane)

  • 2 x bibs…one on baby and one spare (if you’re like me and like to use different bibs for eating/drool then you might need more)


3. Baggage tips - Carry only one bag on the plane

Your hands are already full dealing with a little baby/toddler, and so I highly recommend packing just one bag for use on the plane. Most airlines (at least here in South Africa on domestic flights) are very relaxed when it comes to what you can pack for baby, and allow bottles with milk/formula as well as snacks to be brought on board.

Having one bag to deal with when flying makes your life so much easier, and this is also why I can’t recommend a back up nappy bag enough. I’ve even been able to fit all of Everly’s things in there, as well my wallet and phone AND my big and bulky DSLR camera.

The photo above shows my luggage for the first few domestic flights I did with Evs…the backpack was my hand luggage/baby bag for on the plane, and the big hard case was the bag I checked in. I managed to fit all of my clothes and Everly’s as well as her cloth nappies for a weeks stay. What you take with you (ie. pram/camp cot etc) will also depend on where you are going and who you are going to be staying with. I’ve always flown and stayed with family who have had spare camp cots/prams etc or have borrowed from friends for my stay. Most of the time if you bring your cart seat with you, it will be checked in under the plane (make sure to get it wrapped to prevent any damage). Prams are allowed all the way to the airline door, where staff will then pack them up and put it away for you, and bring it out again once you land.

At the time of writing this blog post, here are the checked in baggage allowances for Mango & SAA:

  • SAA: Infants are permitted 1 piece of checked baggage up to 23kg plus 1 collapsible pram or buggy and car seat, free of charge.

  • Mango: Infants have a Baggage allowance of 10 kg’s. Parents may bring on board an approved child safety seat, similar to that used in a car, but this seat will form part of your on-board baggage allowance.


4. Breastfeed/Bottle/Dummy on Take off and Landing to prevent sore ears

The first time we flew, I had the Panado at the ready, and even debated whether or not I should dose Everly before we had even boarded the plane. But once I realised the sore ears are caused by the altitude, and that if baby is sucking on something this stops their ears from popping, life gets a lot less stressful. As adults, we are able to pop our ears easily (and you probably even do it unconsciously) but little babies haven’t learned this skill yet and so need a little help.

If you’re breastfeeding your baby, life gets a whole lot easier, as you can simply pop then on the boob for take off and landing. Not only does this help them to ‘pop’ their ears, but it gives them a little extra comfort during what will probably be a bit of a stressful time. You can do the same with a bottle, and a dummy works just as well too. I have only just weaned Everly (I had planned to feed her till she self weaned) but being pregnant put a bit of a spanner in the works for us. On another note, you can definitely breastfeed while pregnant, it all just depends on you and how your body feels. I had no problems with my supply, it was more a case of things being so much more sensitive, and I decided I wanted to have a little break before becoming the resident dairy cow for our family (I made it to just under 13 months).

I breastfed Everly on all the flights up until this last one, when she just had her dummy. She had no problems with her ears.

If you are concerned that your baby’s ears might still be sore at some point, then to ease your mind just keep some Panado handy in your nappy bag.


5. Pack more nappies and spare clothes for the plane than you think you will need

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One our first flight together, Everly went through about 4 more nappies than I had planned. I also chose to use disposable nappies for the flight to make my life a little easier, but have since then just carried on using cloth nappies (click here if you’d like to find out more about cloth nappies).

Being a first time mom, first time flying and really having very little idea of what to expect, I wish I had packed at least 2 sets of extra vests and leggings, as the two nappies I had to deal with on the plane wrecked havoc with her clothes! I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say it wasn’t just her onesie that had lots of suspect green 'stains’ but my clothing too.

Also bare in mind just how teeny tiny the airplane bathroom changing tables are! Here is a photo of Everly at 3 months, only just fitting.


6. Snacks for Older babies

Snacks are a GREAT distraction and source of entertainment for little ones. I only really needed to worry about this on this last flight, as before Everly was small enough to not be needing solids on the plane journey as I was still breastfeeding her. This time around, she was just over a year, and as my child eats me out of house and home, I knew I needed to be REALLY prepared food wise.

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What snacks you pack will depend on what your little one eats and what sort of food you feed them. Everly is a Banting baby (no sugar or processed carbs…just real food) so my life is made a little harder when it comes to snacks as she doesn’t get biscuits or crackers etc. I also try not to feed her too many of those pouch meals (you never know exactly what’s in them) but I did have a Woolies pouch packed in there for emergencies. She LOVES those pouches though, and it’s what she ate a lot of when we were un the UK and traveling a lot. So they definitely have their place and are a good distraction for many babies. I have a set of re-useable pouches from PouchLove which are awesome when traveling. I filled one with frozen yoghurt (literally put yoghurt in it and popped it in the freezer over night) and filled the other with a spinach, apple & raisin puree which Everly loves. Handy to give to busy little hands.

The BEST snack (although a little on the messy side) turned out to be rice cakes! Everly pulled each and every grain of rice apart and played with it for a good 15 - 20 minutes. Oh, and also sun-dried tomatoes and drywors/biltong are good, relatively non-messy, sugar free snack ideas too.


If all else fails and your little one does have a melt down, just remember to take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that it will all be over soon.

I’m certain that your baby/toddler one will undoubtedly surprise you, and it all will all be over before you know it. On that note, make sure to snap a few photos to document the trip. This will either make wonderful memories, or remind you never to take them on a plane again ;)

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My Breastfeeding Journey + Feeding Essentials & Tips to help you in your own journey

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Breastfeeding, although a very natural thing, doesn't come naturally to a lot of moms.

It can be hard...an hourly/daily/weekly struggle that you may feel you will never get the hang of. And then suddenly, one day it's not so bad. I wanted to write this post to encourage moms to breastfeed their babies, and to seek help & support if they'e struggling. It's not something that just 'comes easy' to everyone, and there can be all sorts of reasons why it's hard (lots of these reasons can be fixed really quickly, and aren't all to do with a bad latch). I am really passionate about breastfeeding (mostly because your breastmilk is perfectly formulated by your own body, and designed to nourish your baby...giving them everything they could possibly need to grow big and strong in those first few crucial months and beyond!). I am also passionate about it because it makes life so easy...popping out a boob is SO much quicker and easier than having to worry about bottles & sterilising and temperature etc. I also do feel that formula is the cause of a lot of tummy & gut problems in babies and kids/adults later on in life...but that's a post for another day.

But, in saying all of the above, I have lots of friends who really struggled with breastfeeding/had to put their babies onto formula/chose to give formula and I just want to say, I really do understand. I don't judge. At the same time, I REALLY do feel there isn't nearly enough support for moms who want to breastfeed but end up giving up/stopping/feeling completely discouraged and it's these moms that I write this post for. I believe the breastfeeding journey starts out in pregnancy, and is greatly affected by how easy/difficult your pregnancy was, how easy/difficult the birth was, and most importantly, the support structures (friends & family, the nurses present when baby is born, the nurses who are on duty during those long and scary first nights in the hospital with a screaming newborn) and their attitudes towards breastfeeding.

So mommies & mommy-to-be's, here are a few tips, as well as bits and pieces of my own personal story that I want to share with you to help you in your own breastfeeding journey.

Breastfeeding tips what you need

  • Your diet affects your baby, not just during your pregnancy, but especially when breastfeeding. 

I think everyone knows that you need to eat healthy foods when pregnant, so your body can build a happy, healthy baby. This is especially difficult for those of us who are carb addicts (this is most definitely me...and one of the many reasons Farmboy and I follow a pretty much Banting/Low Carb High Fat way of eating). I say way of eating because we don't diet, and there are days when we will eat a pizza or order a pasta when we are out at a restaurant. But when we are home, we keep home filled with real foods (lots of veggies, locally sourced meat, eggs, lots of dairy and fruit).

My mom is an avid Tim Knoakes fan, and has also read just about every piece of literature on Banting & Low Carb High Fat. She also comes from a science background and so I trust her recommendations on food and the reasoning behind her strong convictions. I have also seen for myself the benefits of eating this way. The most important thing to take away from the idea of a Low Carb High Fat/Banting way of eating is this: no refined carbs or sugar, but real food. Get your carbs from veggies like sweet potato & butternut, fats from sources like full cream cheese & milk, almonds & meat plus eat lots of green veggies! 

Hubby and I are not strict Banters, and I am definitely not being very strict because I am breastfeeding. I eat quite a lot of things that are on the Orange list for Banters, and I definitely don't count my carbs. But I just know that what goes in, is directly feeding my baby and I believe in this way of eating. Here is a really good article on Banting & Breastfeeding that you might find interesting if you have been wanting to explore this way of eating, there is also a basic introduction to Banting below:

Breastfeeding & Banting: Is it safe to eat a LCHF diet

Introduction to Banting

Please note, I am just sharing my first experiences with this way of eating. I eat a lot of oats, add honey to sweeten food, and do eat bread (although I try to eat rye/sourdough bread as much as I can). I have never had an issue with a low milk supply...I have in fact had the opposite problem at times (I try to drink a lot of water and also really enjoy Kombucha...I am aware of the articles that caution against drinking it during pregnancy/while breastfeeding) but I was doing all of this before I was pregnant, and so it was what my body was used to & it's what helped form my baby when she was growing in my tummy. All of this has also shaped my view on solids for my baby, and it's why I don't give her any cereals or pre-package foods (when I can avoid it...while traveling overseas I bought a few of the organic, seemingly free from nasties foods to make life a little easier). And although it's not always convenient, I still make all of her food when I am at home. She is a Banting Baby and is flourishing. Here are a few blog posts on starting solids with your little one:

#EverlyStartsSolids: Our Baby Weaning Journey - The Beginning

#FromFarmToTable: Homemade Baby Food

#EverlyStartsSolids: Meal Ideas for 8+ Month olds


breastfeeding tips how to help for first time breastfeeding
  • Join the La Leche breastfeeding group on Facebook

There is so much knowledge shared on this group, and the Leaders of the group are always around to encourage and answer any and all questions you may have. I joined the group in the beginning of my pregnancy, and while it was a bit overwhelming at first (and yes, there are always 'those' people in groups like these that can be a rather overbearing and righteous) I found popping in there during nights when I couldn't sleep to be really helpful. I had ZERO idea about breastfeeding, the only thing I knew is that I wanted to do it, and planned on feeding Everly until she is at least a year old, and I am so proud of myself for still going strong 9.5 months in. If you're wanting to know what pump to buy, how to increase your supply, how to deal with a forceful let down/oversupply, how to get a good latch, different positions to suit different babies, advice on tongue ties/thrush, bottles, nipple shields, expressing, pumping for working moms...gosh the list could go on and on! I learned so much just from reading through all the posts and using the search function when I felt a bit embarrassed to ask certain questions. Just bear in mind that the group is a PRO breastfeeding group, and some people feel VERY passionately about breastfeeding being the ONLY way to feed your child. If you are having difficulty in your breastfeeding journey, keep an open mind and rather seek help from a friend/lactation consultant before giving up entirely. You have to do what you have to do, and for some women, that means formula feeding. Please don't put any pressure on yourself, you're doing the best you can. Although I do feel that breast is best, it's not always as simple as that, and I have lots of friends who really struggled in their own breastfeeding journey. 

Here is a wonderful post from my friends Kerri & Bailey, they are both real, raw and honest, and talk openly about their struggles with breastfeeding and what ended up working for them. Click here to read Kerri's story & click here to read Bailey's story. 


Breastfeeding journey tips & essentials to help breastfeed by citygirlsearching
  • Nipple Shields are your friend

Although lots of posts on the La Leche FB group talk about nipple shields being the devil, I will sing their praises from the rooftop! If they help you to successfully breastfeed your baby in those first few days & weeks, they are worth their weight in gold.

The biggest downside to them is some people have a hard time weaning baby off them. I just feel, if you're able to breastfeed successfully because they help you, then weaning baby off them is a small price to pay. Yes, they are a bit of a pain because you have to have them on you wherever you go, but I just made sure to keep a whole bunch of them all over the house/in the car/at Granny's house so they were always on hand. I used them on both sides for the first couple of weeks, and then sporadically attempted feeding without one/both. We had a few rough days where Everly would just scream because she couldn't latch properly but then suddenly I didn't need them anymore. I was at a wedding and needing to desperately feed my baby (full boobs and a screaming baby will really put you on edge!) and I didn't have a shield on hand. Hubby was nowhere to be found and so I just had to feed without one. It took a little while, but I just persevered and suddenly she was latching without it...what a wonderful feeling! 

So while you may have your reservations about that, just buy a set and pop them into your hospital bag to have just in case. I only tried the Tommee Tippee brand, so those are what I would recommend. I have also heard the Pigeon ones are great too.


Breastfeeding journey tips & essentials to help breastfeed by citygirlsearching
  • Pack a breast pump in your hospital bag

Thank you to my sister in law for this tip.

Although you might have read about how pumping is not advised in the first 6 - 8 weeks of breastfeeding, let me tell you, there are those days (or nights!) when your boobs will be rock hard, full to bursting and your baby won't be able to latch properly that you just need a little relief. It's recommended to rather hand express in the shower (here's some links on this >>>click here) but when you just need to quickly get rid of some milk, a pump is your friend. You also won't know when exactly your milk will come in (this is usually around day 3) but can be earlier/later and so having a pump on hand is useful. Another thing, you won't know how your birth is going to plan out. I was dead set on a natural birth, but ended up having an emergency c-section and so was in hospital for longer than I had planned. My milk came in while in hospital and I was so grateful to have a pump. My little girl also had to be under the UV lights for Jaundice and as your body really just goes haywire after having a baby, there were moments when I couldn't just pick her up to feed and relieve my aching boobs. A pump was a life saver.

Also, having it n your bag doesn't mean you have to use it. It's there for those 'just in case' moments.

If you're wondering what pump to buy, the best advise I was given was to buy a manual pump (I was recommend the Avent Manual Pump...but have heard the Click brand of Manual pump is amazing and just as good for a fraction of the price) and rather invest in an electric one if you need to later on. As I work from home, I am always around to feed Everly, and the few times I've been away from her, the manual pump has done the job just fine. You also don't know how your breastfeeding journey is going to pan out. If there are complications and your baby has to go into NICU and you decide it's just to much stress to pump all day and all night, a fancy electric pump might be a waste of money rather spent elsewhere.

Breastfeeding journey tips & essentials to help breastfeed by citygirlsearching
  • All Breast Pads were not created equal

I've tried just about every breast pad under the sun, and have recommendations for both disposable & re-useable/washable pads. Some of my friends said they never needed to use breast pads, but as I had such a forceful letdown (and no old told that when you have a let down, the milk comes down from BOTH sides...this may seem obvious now, but when you forget/don't have a cloth on hand, you're going to end up with a VERY unsightly wet patch on your shirt. 

Although we are an environmentally aware household, using cloth nappies (click here for more on cloth nappies) and my ultimate preference for breast pads being the washable ones, there was many a day in the first few weeks when I used disposable ones. While I highly recommend washable breast pads (and I'll share which brand gets a double thumbs up from me below) not just because they are cost effective & environmentally friendly, but also because I found them to be the most absorbent.

Here are my top recommendations:

  • Disposables: Pigeon (I've gone through SO many of the big boxes and they are not only budget friendly, but they work well).

  • Re-useable/Washable: Biddykins Washable Resuseable Pads

I'm still using breastpads today, nearly 10 months down the line, although I just use one a day, and move it over to the other side when feeding. It helps me remember which side to start with next!  Although this has definitely been easier since Everly started feeding from just one side at around 6 months old. I had never heard of that being a thing, and was worried she wouldn't be getting enough milk, but she clearly is not milk deprived (she still has the cutest fat rolls everywhere) and she would have complained about being hungry long ago if that was the case. Feeding from one side a feed just makes everything easier (and faster!).


Another myth busted...big boobs don't necessarily mean lots of milk. I certainly don't have the biggest bust around, and have always had lots of milk. So don't let the fact that you have small boobs make you think you won't be able to breastfeed.


My Breastfeeding Schedule

I also thought I'd share my breastfeeding 'schedule' with you, as I always was on the hunt for info on how long to wait before feeds in the beginning, and also to work out what worked for other moms. I hope you find this helpful:

  • Newborn: I pretty much fed on demand, but this for Everly was roughly every 3 hours. After bedtime (which was between 5 & 6 pm), she woke 2-3 times for night feeds right from the very beginning (so usually around 10pm, 1am & around 4am.) She would wake at 6/7am and that's when we would start the day.

  • Around 3 months she dropped one of her night feeds, waking up around 11pm & then 3-4am. I was still feeding every 3 - hours during the day. Her morning wakeup time was still 7am.

  • Around 4-5 months I started stretching Everly to 4 hour feeds during the day, and she also dropped her 11pm feed, waking just once at night, some time between 3 - 5 am. Her wakeup time was still 7am.

  • At around 6 months, after we had been started solids, I went back to a 3ish hourly day feed schedule, as I found this worked best for me with making sure she wasn't too full/too hungry when it was time for solids. She also started stretching her night feed, going from 6pm bedtime to one night feed between 3 - 5am. By 7 months I had weaned her off her night feed, and she was going from 6pm - 6/7am. I didn't know this, but at about 5/6 months old, babies are physically able to stretch the whole night without a feed. This doesn't mean that all babies will though, and many wake for comfort. In fact, it seems that babies who sleep through (and through being 10 - 12 hours are the exception to the rule as I think most of us first time moms are really just winging this whole parenthood thing and figuring it out one day at a time). I found this to be very reassuring, as I was always worried she was waking up after 6 months because she was hungry, but once I realised it was more for comfort, then it became my choice to either feed her, or go into her room and settle her and soothe her back to sleep without a feed. We went through about 3 nights of very little sleep as she cried and really complained about dropping that feed, but then by the fourth night she didn't wake at all.

  • At around 7.5 months we went overseas to the UK for 3 weeks, and she started waking up at around 3am again, and I just went back to feeding her at that time because we were traveling with family and I didn't want to keep the whole house up with her protests. I was very worried about weaning her off it when we got home, but it only took 2 night of protesting before she started sleeping through again.

 

From 8 months to where I am now, Everly feeds 4 times in 24 hours. Here is the rough schedule we are on now:

  • 7am wake up, breastfeed

  • 08h30 nap

  • 10h00 wake up, breastfeed

  • 11am breakfast (solids)

  • 12h00 nap

  • 14h00 wake up, breastfeed

  • 15h00 lunch (solids)

  • 16h00 nap (although she has just about dropped this nap and is fighting it hard!)

  • 16h45/17h00 supper (solids)

  • 18h00 bath, story, breastfeed, bed

I've tried to always follow a wake up, feed, play, nap routine so that she didn't ever get dependant on being breastfed to sleep (although, as with everything, there have been times when I've been at my wits end and just nursed her and popped her down). It also takes a bit of time to get into a routine, especially when introducing solids, and then of course realising that every baby is different. 

Everly has always needed/loved her sleep. Some kids her age (9.5 months) have 3 hours of awake time between naps. Ev is literally a crying wreck by the 2 hour mark, and her first awake time of the day is never longer than 1.5 hours. Some babies refuse to sleep any sooner, you just have to figure out what works best for you, and to learn your babies sleep cues. I had lots of people tell me that I forced Everly to sleep too much, but I always said if she didn't want to sleep she wouldn't sleep. While we do follow a little bit of the cry it out method, I don't leave her crying in her cot for hours on end. But I can tell when she's just fighting her nap, and usually will put herself to sleep within 10 minutes of being put down. Even though those 10 minutes may be filled with an awful lot of protesting and winging.

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But as is always the case with these little humans, the moment you feel like you've got the routine waxed, they go and shake things up (with teething, a growth spurt, a sore tummy, learning a new skill that they suddenly want to pracice at every opporunity they get) and then you start all over again figuring them out. We did and do still have nights when she wakes up (sometimes multiple times) and we have no idea why. We always leave her for at least 5 minutes once we hear her wake up, and 90% of the time she puts herself back to sleep. The other 10% of the time it's hubby or I going in to do bum pats, pop the dummy back in, and gently coax her back to sleep.

At the end of the day, you have to figure out what works best for you, for your baby, and for your family. Everly has been in her own room since day 1, and I have chosen to get up and go to her for feeds/nappy changes rather than have her in our room. But every family is different, just as every parenting/birthing/breastfeeding journey is unique.

So there you have it, lots and lots of what's worked for me, with a few tips thrown into the mix. If you have any other questions you'd like me to write about, please feel free to leave me a comment below. 

Here are all my posts so far on this wonderful journey to being and becoming a mommy:

#EverlyStartsSolids - Meal Ideas for 8+ month olds

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Everly has now been eating solids for about nearly 4 months now, and we are really having a lot of fun together. We didn't take things slow in the beginning (click here to read more about the first few days of solids) but she has developed a VERY healthy appetite and is incredible adventurous with her tastes. Sometimes I'm at a loss as to what to give her (I'm not the biggest cook around and really don't enjoy cooking as much as Farmboy does) and then I scrounge around in the fridge, grab the first thing I see thinking she will turn her nose up, and lo and behold, she devours the entire tub of said 'weird and wacky' food item. This happened this morning actually, I grabbed some double cream greek yoghurt and gave it to her as is (usually I add cinnamon/pear/apple/nut butter to it but alas, nothing on hand today) and she gobbled it up. I can't even bear to eat yoghurt plain...yuck! But she really went to town on it, her dairy farmer Dad would be proud!

Now, a lightbulb went off my head the other day when I realised, 'hey, who says we have to eat eggs for breakfast and meat for dinner!' and now I play around with giving Everly traditional 'breakfast' style meals at supper time, and vice versa. It all depends on how I'm feeling, whether I have time to make up new meals in that moment,  or whether Everly is up to being adventurous (this is pretty much most of the time).

**NB I am not a Pediatrician, or a dietitian or any other form of the 'tion' family, so please use your mommy guy when it comes to food for your little ones. We also have no family history of allergies, and both Farmboy and I loosely follow a LowCarb/HighFat or Banting lifestyle and so Everly eats accordingly. If you are feeling nervous about giving your little one something I mention below, rather chat to your Doctor/Paed. I'm simply sharing what I do and what my little girl has loved eating. We follow the school of thought that encourages the introduction of ALL food groups before the age of one (this includes all allergenic foods from fish to peanuts to eggs). The only exception to this is raw honey. As for cow’s milk, I give Everly full-cream dairy yogurt (preferably homemade), cream cheese, cottage cheese, yellow cheese etc. Please listen to your mommy gut, and if your family has a history of allergies speak to your paed about introducing allergens.

Also, some days Everly refuses to eat more than a sprinkle of the specially prepared meals I offer her, and other days she devours the whole bowl and demands more. I try to listen to her and not force her to eat things she doesn't want to eat. I try and remind myself that these are little humans we are dealing with, and I often have days when I don't feel like eating oats, or eggs or tuna...they are entitled to feel the same :)

Some of these ideas are for foods that your little one can feed themselves with (loosely based on the Baby Weaning method) and others are for the more traditional spoon feeding method. We've done a mixture of the two approaches to weaning, and it's going very well so far. I have also been feeding Everly more of our left overs, which makes life SO much easier. I have included a few of these ideas too, that you can make for the whole family, and then feed to baby the next day.

I was going to put these ideas under Breakfast/Lunch/Supper headings, but then realised there really is no reason to box your baby into meal types. I've given each of these things to Everly at all sorts of weird and wonderful times of the day and she hasn't complained once. So go wild! And let me know in the comments if there is something you love making for your little one, and what their favourite meals are.

  • Butternut Omelette (mix a few cubes of pureed or steamed/roast butternut with an egg and fry in a pan with lots of butter/coconut oil)

  • Broccoli Omelette (mix some steamed broccoli florets with an egg and fry in a pan with lots of butter/coconut oil)

  • Tuna Omelette (same as above but using tinned tuna...aim for tuna in brine/olive oil).

  • Berry Yoghurt (mix some frozen berries with full cream/Greek yoghurt...bonus points for using homemade yoghurt...recipe to come soon!)

  • Apple/Pear Oats with Cinnamon (cook up some steel cut oats with breastmilk/formula and add some

  • Sardines (as in...a tin of sardines! These are an AMAZING food for babies, and full of omega rich fatty acids! I feed Everly these straight from the tin, sometimes mixing them with whatever veg I have on hand. Be sure to buy sardines in oil, not sauce & don’t buy a boneless ones – remember you want the calcium from the bones - these are super soft so you don't need to worry about your little one choking. Try buy the olive oil rather than soybean oil. Make sure to check the ingredients for added preservatives, some tinned sardines do have added salt, so just rinse them off before mushing (click here for an awesome post by BabyJakesMom on why Sardines are the ultimate brain food for your baby).

  • Veggie mash & Chicken/Beef Stock (I always make sure to have lots of cubes of frozen chicken stock to add to veggies etc. It's so easy and will make all those healthy veggies that aren't always so tasty, so go down a treat. Make your own batch of stock so you ensure your little one isn't getting any of those nasty preservatives...recipe to follow soon).

  • Lemon Butter Grilled Hake with Steamed Brocolli, Cauiflower & Cous Cous (this one is a family meal that can easily be mashed up for baby's next meal. Grill hake fillets in the oven with butter & lemon, serve with steamed veg & cous cous).

  • Veggie Mash & Cream Cheese (choose a mixture of veg and add a scoop of full fat cream cheese)

  • Berry Beetroot (steam beetroot and add a mixture of berries...frozen berries from Woolies work well! This can be served mixed with yoghurt too).

  • Liver Pate (another EXCELLENT brain food for little ones! Buy fresh and gently fry in butter, then mash together with cream cheese. It's delicious on it's own, or added to veggie mash).

Try and offer your little one water in a sippy/straw cup with every meal. They may not actually drink anything (those cups sure do make for fun chew toys it seems) but it is important to get them in the habit of drinking water. It's also good for their little tummies to help avoid/deal with constipation issues that often follow when transitioning to solids.


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When I mention cubes, I mean ice tray cubes of pre-made steamed baby food you've previously made and frozen

>>>click here for a full post on how I make and store fruit & veg, especially in the first few weeks and months of weaning. I love my TommeeTippee Steamer Blender machine which helps save time when it comes to meal prep.

 


Happy cooking!

x

Day 6 of the 2018 Flats & Handwashing Nappy Challenge - What Worked for me & what hasn't

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Hello again and welcome to Day 6 of the 2018 Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival.  

It's day 6 of the 7 day challenge, during which I will be using only flats and covers as nappies, and I will be handwashing them to get them clean. No modern cloth nappies, no washing machines & no tumble dryers. Am I crazy? Probably! But I am up for the challenge and I can't wait to bring you along with me through my blog and Instagram.

You can scroll through my previous cloth nappy posts here:


For those of you wondering what on earth the flats challenge is all about, here is some more info for you:

Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry founded the Flats and Handwashing Challenge eight years ago as a way to bring awareness that cloth diapers are a valid option for families in need, struggling to provide diapers for their baby. 

"Our aim is not to say that every poor family facing the supremely difficult choice of buying diapers or food should use cloth diapers. That would be short-sighted of us to think it's an answer for every family. The flats challenge is a way to show that for families willing and able, babies can be diapered for less than $100 or even $50 and without owning a washing machine. It is a viable option for families who are in homes without washing machines and an effective one." ~Kim Rosas, Dirty Diaper Laundry

What's worked and what hasn't

Today's blogging prompt is all about what has worked for me, and what hasn't worked during the past 6 days of this challenge.

First of all I have to be honest and say I've found this to be an incredibly challenging challenge! I also feel rather chuffed with myself for making it this far, as I'm really not sure where I found the time to hand wash anything while having a baby to look after.

As I don't have a huge amount of flats, I ended up having to wash every day. How I made this work was to wash in the afternoon during Everly's nap, so that I could get the nappies out into the sun for the last few hours of afternoon sunshine. This meant that they ended up being dry late morning the next day. What also worked really well was to hang the flats over two of the washing lines on the clothes horse, so that the air could circulate nicely and the flat got the most amount of 'wind' drying possible.

I also ended up washing the nappies in the bath instead of a bucket. I found the bucket just didn't give me enough space to really agitate the nappies even with the plunger, and I ended up making a huge mess. With the bath I could really get stuck in with the plunger, and I was able to see what I was doing better than in a bucket.

I really loved having hemp flats for this challenge. I do own cotton flats which are really nice and thirsty (ie they absorb really well) but they do tend to be bulkier than hemp. With hemp, you are able to get a really nice trim fit, and I found using two flats (one folded in origami fold and the other in a pad fold in the wet zone...click here to read more about how I fold my flats) worked really well for my medium wetter.

I am really looking forward to the end of this challenge! Not because I want to stop using flats (in fact I have fallen back in love with flats after this week!) but rather because I have missed my washing machine sooooo much! I don't think I was able to get my flats as clean as my machine is able to, and I just really struggled to find the time to wash her nappies while still doing the other million and one things I need to get done in a day. So, I think if I had no washing machine, using cloth nappies would still be possible, and would be a very real option, you just would need to have a good stash of flats. And to make it budget friendly (because hemp, although it's the nicest fabric to use, it's also the most expensive) towelling nappies would be the ultimate solution...as well as using old cotton t-shirts!

So there you have it, my thoughts on the last 6 days of only using flats and covers, and hand washing my nappies! My arms are looking quite nice and toned from all the plunging, but I am definitely looking forward to using my washing machine again on Monday!

Day 5 of the 2018 Flats & Handwashing Nappy Challenge - My favourite waterproof nappy covers

#FlatsChallenge Handwashing Cloth Nappies South Africa Waterproof Covers CityGirlSearching Blog-01.png

Hello again and welcome to Day 5 of the 2018 Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival.  

It's day 5 of the 7 day challenge, during which I will be using only flats and covers as nappies, and I will be handwashing them to get them clean. No modern cloth nappies, no washing machines & no tumble dryers. Am I crazy? Probably! But I am up for the challenge and I can't wait to bring you along with me through my blog and Instagram.

You can scroll through my previous cloth nappy posts here:


For those of you wondering what on earth the flats challenge is all about, here is some more info for you:

Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry founded the Flats and Handwashing Challenge eight years ago as a way to bring awareness that cloth diapers are a valid option for families in need, struggling to provide diapers for their baby. 

"Our aim is not to say that every poor family facing the supremely difficult choice of buying diapers or food should use cloth diapers. That would be short-sighted of us to think it's an answer for every family. The flats challenge is a way to show that for families willing and able, babies can be diapered for less than $100 or even $50 and without owning a washing machine. It is a viable option for families who are in homes without washing machines and an effective one." ~Kim Rosas, Dirty Diaper Laundry

My favourite waterproof (& leakproof!) nappy covers

Today's is an open topic for the those of us taking part in the annual #FlatsChallenge, and so I wanted to share with you my favourite covers. If you're using pockets or all-in-ones, you won't need to worry about covers as those nappies have a waterproof cover built into them.But if you are wanting to use fitteds/hybrids or flats, you're going to need a cover to go over the nappy to ensure it's waterpoof.

I've tried all sorts of covers in my cloth nappy journey so far...Little Lambs Wraps, Buttons Diaper Covers & Biddykins Covers:

But my absolute favourite waterproof covers have got to be my Blueberry Coveralls (now called Capri's).

They have really soft double gussets (which have never let me down) even when my little girl was newborn. I was able to use these covers from the very beginning, because they are so adjustable. They are made of a very soft waterproof fabric, and are very gently on baby's delicate skin. I use these every night (I have 3 of them that I ordered online from FillYourPants in the UK and have them brought over for me by family members).

While I find the Buttons Diapers have nicer looking prints in real life (the prints pictured online aren't a true refection of what they look like in the flesh) I just find the Blueberry covers to be incredible soft and gentle. And because they are big (but can be adjusted by their snaps to fit smaller babies) they fit really well over big and bulky night nappies.

Here are the three prints I have. I tried to be gender neutral so I can use these on my next baby(ies) but I just couldn't resist the kitten print:

Do you have a favourtie cover you find yourself reaching for over and over? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!


Day 4 of the 2018 Flats & Handwashing Nappy Challenge - Share your wash routine

2018 #FlatsChallenge Handwashing Cloth Nappies Wash Routine CityGirlSearching Blog-01.png

Hello again and welcome to Day 4 of the 2018 Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival.  

It's day 4 of the 7 day challenge, during which I will be using only flats and covers as nappies, and I will be handwashing them to get them clean. No modern cloth nappies, no washing machines & no tumble dryers. Am I crazy? Probably! But I am up for the challenge and I can't wait to bring you along with me through my blog and Instagram.

You can scroll through my previous cloth nappy posts here:


For those of you wondering what on earth the flats challenge is all about, here is some more info for you:

Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry founded the Flats and Handwashing Challenge eight years ago as a way to bring awareness that cloth diapers are a valid option for families in need, struggling to provide diapers for their baby. 

"Our aim is not to say that every poor family facing the supremely difficult choice of buying diapers or food should use cloth diapers. That would be short-sighted of us to think it's an answer for every family. The flats challenge is a way to show that for families willing and able, babies can be diapered for less than $100 or even $50 and without owning a washing machine. It is a viable option for families who are in homes without washing machines and an effective one." ~Kim Rosas, Dirty Diaper Laundry

Share your wash routine

Today's prompt is all about sharing the way I wash my flats. If you'd like to see what my wash routine is on a normal day (ie when I'm not handwashing like I am during this challenge and I am instead, using a washing machine...then click the image below)

But, the point of this challenge is to show people how cloth nappies can be used on a very tight budget. And so, I have been washing my nappies during this challenge, by hand. I've learned a thing or two about hand washing nappies, and I will share these useful tidbits with you at the end of this post, in the hopes that I can save you some frustration.

My Handwashing Routine for Washing Flats & Covers

1. Rinse all nappies and covers in hot water (you can use your baby's left over bath water/put the nappies on the floor in your shower while you take a shower). I find the hot water is especially important when washing night nappies as it helps to get ride of the ammonia build up from long wearing night nappies. I use either my hands or a plunger. Drain the nappies.

2. Add water (I use warm water) & detergent to your bucket/bath and let the nappies soak for a few minutes. 

3. I give my covers a very quick wash in the detergent and then rinse them and put them aside to be hung up.

3. Get to work with your plunger on the rest of the nappies! Plunge about 100 times to make sure the nappies are well agitated.

4. Drain the nappies, and fill again with warm/cold water. Plunge for another 50 or so times. I found this took my ages to do because I used too much detergent the first time and my nappies were soooo soapy. You are basically now rinsing the nappies to get rid of all the detergent. I find it helps to hand rinse each one.

5. Drain & wring out each flat.

6. Shake and shape the flat while wet, before hanging up to dry. Don't hang your hemp flats up by the corners as they tend to loose their shape quite easily. I hang mine in half, over the washing line.

1. Don't overdo the washing powder!

A little really does a long way, and unless you feel like rinsing flats till the cows come home (a very REAL scenario for me!) then I suggest using a little less rather a little more.

2. Wash at night

We had terrible weather on Monday, and by the time I actually got a chance to wash and hang up my flats (and even though flats are very quick drying compared to modern day cloth) they took forever to dry! I even resorted to bringing them inside in the afternoon and they took all night to finally dry. I also very nearly ran out of flats because too many were in the wash. I changed my tactics and did my second load that night, giving them the night and the next day to dry....thankfully we had lots of sun the next day. I also recommend washing at night once baby(ies) have gone to sleep so you can actually get the washing done without needing to tend to baby. My little girl was SO good playing by herself for the first 10 minutes, and then had a full blown meltdown leaving me with half washed nappies and it taking me twice as long to get the job done. 

3. Use (fleece) liners to save yourself the trouble of having to deal with too much poo!

Fleece liners are amazing, and poo literally just slides right off them (well, the more solidy poo that comes when baby is eating solids...I don't think much can really help the messyness of newborn poo!). You also save your nappies from needing stains to be scrubbed from the, as your basically just dealing with wee nappies...oh the joys!

4. Wash your nappies in the bath.

Even though the pictures above show me washing nappies in a bucket, I have since changed my routine to washing in a bath. I found a bucket just too small to work with, but if you are washing just one or two nappies (or if you have lots of time to do one nappy at a time) then a bucket will work well. 

5. Wear gloves!

This tip is just as much to protect your hands from the harsh chemicals in washing powder as it is to keep your hands clean and dry when dealing with dirty nappies.


Here's my little girl, sitting pretty in her origami folded flat nappy and Buttons cover...

2018 flats challenge cloth nappies south africa citygirlsearching blogger

Day 3 of the 2018 Flats & Handwashing Nappy Challenge - Share your favourite flat fold

Hello again and welcome to Day 3 of the 2018 Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival.  

It's day 3 of the 7 day challenge, during which I will be using only flats and covers as nappies, and I will be handwashing them to get them clean. No modern cloth nappies, no washing machines & no tumble dryers. Am I crazy? Probably! But I am up for the challenge and I can't wait to bring you along with me through my blog and Instagram.

You can scroll through my previous cloth nappy posts here:


For those of you wondering what on earth the flats challenge is all about, here is some more info for you:

Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry founded the Flats and Handwashing Challenge eight years ago as a way to bring awareness that cloth diapers are a valid option for families in need, struggling to provide diapers for their baby. 

"Our aim is not to say that every poor family facing the supremely difficult choice of buying diapers or food should use cloth diapers. That would be short-sighted of us to think it's an answer for every family. The flats challenge is a way to show that for families willing and able, babies can be diapered for less than $100 or even $50 and without owning a washing machine. It is a viable option for families who are in homes without washing machines and an effective one." ~Kim Rosas, Dirty Diaper Laundry

Share your favourite flat fold

Today's prompt is all about sharing the different flat folds you can get.

The beauty of a flat nappy, is that there are so many different folds you can do.

Some folds put more layers in the front/back and are therefore better suited to boys, and others to girls. Some folds are bulkier, and others are quicker to do. I only really know how to do the origami fold (pictured below) and so this is my favourite fold. Oh, I just realised a padfold is a type of fold too. Padfolding is literally folding your flat to make a pad. I use a smaller flat padfolded to boost the wetzone of my origami fold, which you can see below (red flat is in origami fold and white flat is pad folded):

Origami fold for flats cloth nappies south africa.jpg
Origami fold on baby flats challenge cloth nappies south africa

The fluffy white piece of fabric folded next to the flat is a fleece liner, which goes on top of the middle part of the nappy and creates a stay-dry layer for baby. It also makes it very easy to remove the poo from the nappy. I've found fleece liners invaluable during this challenge (most poops just slide right off the fleece meaning washing nappies later is much easier because your only really dealing with wet nappies which come clean with lots of soaking and rinsing. It's as easy as fold the dirty fleece liner and plop the poop straight into the toilet. Fleece liners are also very easy to wash and dry very, very quickly. 

You can buy disposable/biodegradable liners,but even though those liners say they are flushable and biodegradable, they definitely will clog up your toilet system, so using fleece liners is definitely the better way to go. They are also REALLY cheap and you can make them yourself at home. Just cut up an old fleece blanket (or buy some fleece fabric from a fabric store) and your good to go. No sewing required!

Here's a quick and easy step by step breakdown of the origaimi fold by Gypsy Hippie Mamma:

origami-fold cloth flat nappies.jpg

The above may look a little complicated, but I promise you it's really easy once you practice a few times. You can even fold up all your flats in once go and store them in a pile to save time when it comes to putting the nappies on later.

And now here's my little girl, sitting pretty in her origami folded flat nappy and Buttons cover...

2018 flats challenge cloth nappies south africa citygirlsearching blogger

Day 2 of the 2018 Flats & Handwashing Nappy Challenge - What's in your stash & how much did it cost?

Hello again and welcome to Day 2 of the 2018 Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival.  

It's day 2 of the 7 day challenge, during which I will be using only flats and covers as nappies, and I will be handwashing them to get them clean. No modern cloth nappies, no washing machines & no tumble dryers. Am I crazy? Probably! But I am up for the challenge and I can't wait to bring you along with me through my blog and Instagram.

You can scroll through my previous cloth nappy posts here:


For those of you wondering what on earth the flats challenge is all about, here is some more info for you:

Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry founded the Flats and Handwashing Challenge eight years ago as a way to bring awareness that cloth diapers are a valid option for families in need, struggling to provide diapers for their baby. 

"Our aim is not to say that every poor family facing the supremely difficult choice of buying diapers or food should use cloth diapers. That would be short-sighted of us to think it's an answer for every family. The flats challenge is a way to show that for families willing and able, babies can be diapered for less than $100 or even $50 and without owning a washing machine. It is a viable option for families who are in homes without washing machines and an effective one." ~Kim Rosas, Dirty Diaper Laundry

2018 Flats Handwashing Challenge Cloth Nappies South Africa

What’s in your stash & how much did it cost?

Here's a breakdown of what is in my stash for this challenge, as well as a breakdown of what each item cost:

  • 5 x Sugabums purple Hemp Flats: R50 each (I bought these pre-loved) = R250
  • 5 x Fluff & Stuff red Hemp Flats: R70 each = R350
  • 4 x Biddykins white Newborn Hemp Flats: R60 each = R240
  • 3 x Pokkelokkie blue Newborn Hemp flats: R75 each =R225
  • Snappies: R13 for a pack of two at Pep 
  • 3 x ButtonsDiapers Covers: R300 (I bought two of the preloved and the other from Smitten Baby Boutique)
  • 1 x BottomsOn Hemp Flat: gifted by BottomsOn
  • 1 x BottomsOn Windpro Softshell Cover: gifted by BottomsOn 
  • 3 x Blueberry Coveralls Covers: R230 each (bought these overseas) =R690
  • 1 x Little Lamb Bombproof Cover: R130
  • Bucket: R60
  • Plunger: R35 (thank you to my friends Sophie & Cam for the gift!!)
  • 10 large homemade flats I bought pre-loved for R500 (these are my emergency stash incase the current grey and wet weather means my nappies don't dry in time!) 
  • 10 x Fleece liners: R50
  • Ariel Washing Powder: +- 200g for this challenge R6 (R60 for 2kg's)

Grand Total: R2362 (+ R500 emergency stash = R2862)

I handwashed the first load of nappies this morning (and learned a few hard lessons which I'll be sharing later this week) and it looks like the weather is not going to be on my side. I've had to move the nappies inside in the hopes that it's warmer in here than it is outside! Holding thumbs they dry by this afternoon, as I'm running out of flats!

I'll be back again tomorrow!

x

Day 1 of the 2018 Flats & Handwashing Nappy Challenge - Why are you taking the Flats and Handwashing Challenge?

2018 Flats Handwashing Nappy Challenge South Africa CityGirlSearching Blogger Mommy Blogger Cloth Nappies-01.png

Hello again and welcome to Day 1 of the 2018 Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival.  

Today marks the start of the 7 day challenge, during which I will be using only flats and covers as nappies, and I will be handwashing them to get them clean. No modern cloth nappies, no washing machines & no tumble dryers. Am I crazy? Probably! But I am up for the challenge and I can't wait to bring you along with me through my blog and Instagram.

You can scroll through my previous cloth nappy posts here:


For those of you wondering what on earth the flats challenge is all about, here is some more info for you:

Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry founded the Flats and Handwashing Challenge eight years ago as a way to bring awareness that cloth diapers are a valid option for families in need, struggling to provide diapers for their baby. 

"Our aim is not to say that every poor family facing the supremely difficult choice of buying diapers or food should use cloth diapers. That would be short-sighted of us to think it's an answer for every family. The flats challenge is a way to show that for families willing and able, babies can be diapered for less than $100 or even $50 and without owning a washing machine. It is a viable option for families who are in homes without washing machines and an effective one." ~Kim Rosas, Dirty Diaper Laundry

Why are you taking the Flats and Handwashing Challenge?

When I first started using cloth nappies on my little girl (she was born on the 5th September 2017) so a little over 8 months ago, I did extensive research...which meant I basically spent hours and hours trawling through the awesome South African Cloth Nappy Users Facebook group (click here to go check it out) during those sleepless nights during my pregnancy.

The vast majority of people recommended flats & covers for newborns, because you are able to fold the flats so that they PROPERLY contain all those runny newborn poosplosions. Plus you're able to get a nice tight fit on those teeny tiny legs, unlike the other nappies which work better once baby is a bit older. I took their advice and started putting together a varied stash of nappies (another great tip is to buy a few different kinds of nappies from different sellers so that you can work out which ones suit you and your baby best).

Click below to read my post all about cloth nappies and newborn babies.

As I enjoy a challenge, I knew that I wasn't scared of the whole 'folding' thing, and, again, because I enjoy a challenge, I set about making my own flat nappies (with the help of my mom!) because I wanted to show people that cloth nappies really don't have to be expensive. You can make it work on a very tight budget, it just takes a bit more time and effort.

As Everly has gotten bigger, I've been able to use all the other types of nappies as they now fit her nicely...All-In-Ones, pockets, All-In-Two's, Hybrids, Fitteds. These nappies are much more like the disposable nappy design, and so I've gotten a bit lazy, and find myself reaching for them over and over again, and neglecting my stash of flats. 

And so, this challenge couldn't have come at a better time. I have a stash of flats that I loved using, but that have been relegated to the back of the cupboard lately, and so I am determined to bring them back and fall back in love with them...that's the idea, and I'll be sharing how I feel about them at the end of the challenge.  

2018 Flats Handwashing Nappy Challenge South Africa

{2018} 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Cloth Nappy Challenge

#FlatsChallenge Annual Flats & Handwashing Cloth Nappy Challenge South Africa Cloth Diaper Challenge CityGirlSearching Blog-01.png

Hello, my name is Roxy and I'm a cloth nappy mommy!

My little girl, Everly Rose, is just over 8 months old, and from the day we brought her home from the hospital, we have been using cloth nappies (or cloth diapers for my US friends).

There are lots of reasons why I decided to go the cloth nappy route:

  • The Environment: living out on a farm means there is very limited access to proper waste disposal. Everything gets burned or buried, and considering a disposable nappy takes 200 to 500 years to decompose (eeeeek!) you can imagine just how bad that is for our environment
  • The Challenge: I love a challenge, and felt even more determined to do cloth nappies full time after a number of people rolled their eyes at my decision, saying 'we'll see how long that lasts'. Haha, call me stubborn, but I was determined to prove them wrong, and here we are, 8 months later and still going strong!
  • Cost Effectiveness: cloth nappies, because they are re-useable, cloth nappies can and will save you money. Of course, this does depend on just how cloth crazy you get when it comes to the prints and designs you can buy. Also, if you use your cloth on more than one baby, the savings are huge! And even when you factor in the cost of washing nappies in your washing machine (electricity, water, washing powder etc) you can and should still be saving when it comes to nappies. 
  • Cuteness: cloth bums are just soooo cute! There are some incredible designs and prints out there, and it's no secret that cloth nappies can become very addictive. I laughed when I first heard someone say this, but let me tell you, it IS addictive!
Everly Rose 6 Months (3 of 19).jpg

Here are some of the other blog posts I've written on cloth nappies:


Tomorrow marks the start of the annual Flats & Handwashing Cloth Nappy Challenge hosted by Jenny over at Cloth Diaper Revival.

For seven days I will be using just flats & Covers, and handwashing them to get them clean. No modern cloth diapers, no washing machines and no tumbledryers. Just simple, affordable cloth diapering!

Although Jenny is based in the US, there are a number of us here in South Africa (like Marisa & Gerda over at Hippie Safari) who are taking part in this fun challenge.


For those of you wondering what on earth the flats challenge is all about, here is some more info for you:

Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry founded the Flats and Handwashing Challenge eight years ago as a way to bring awareness that cloth diapers are a valid option for families in need, struggling to provide diapers for their baby. 

"Our aim is not to say that every poor family facing the supremely difficult choice of buying diapers or food should use cloth diapers. That would be short-sighted of us to think it's an answer for every family. The flats challenge is a way to show that for families willing and able, babies can be diapered for less than $100 or even $50 and without owning a washing machine. It is a viable option for families who are in homes without washing machines and an effective one." ~Kim Rosas, Dirty Diaper Laundry

Why Flats?

  • Flat cloth nappies are inexpensive. They are the most affordable nappy option, selling for around R50 - R80 depending in the type of fabric when bought new or they can be DIY-ed for free using almost any excess material (receiving blankets, t-shirts, old onesies, terry towels etc.) found in your home.
  • Flat cloth nappies are easy to care for. With only one layer of fabric, flats are easy to handwash and quick to dry! Even the smallest stash of flat cloth nappies work well as they only take a few hours to dry in the warm sun or overnight indoors.
  • Flat cloth nappies are easily accessible. Flats can be found in your local online cloth nappy store (my favourite being Pokkelokkie 's selection of hemp flats). A DIY project to create your own flats stash can be completed in minutes using materials found around your home.

While modern cloth nappies, like pockets and all-in-ones, are excellent diapering options, the simplicity of flats is something to fall in love with. I have quite the varied cloth nappy stash, but from the newborn stage, I've always been a fan of flats. I started by making my own flats out of cut-up receiving blankets, and then slowly started adding hemp flats to my stash. Here are some photos of newborn Everly wearing a hemp flat (left) and a homemade recieving blanket flat on the right.

I also own a number of cotton flats, but I have to say that hemp are the trimmest, and are definitely the quickest to dry. I also love using two hemp flats folded together for night time, and they last a full 12 hours without any leaks!

It's my hope that this challenge inspires you to give flat nappies a try, and that it shows families out there that flats and handwashing are viable, affordable, full time solutions for diapering your baby. And if flats aren't for you (maybe you find the idea of folding too daunting) that maybe you are still up for giving modern day cloth nappies a try for your little one.


IMG_0057.jpg

 

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Rules

Materials Allowed

  • Any flat cloth nappy, store bought or handmade. A flat is defined as 1 single layer of material for easier handwashing and drying
  • One nighttime diaper of your choice, although it is preferred that you make flats work for nights. This nappy must be handwashed
  • Doublers (not inserts meant to be absorbent enough to stand alone) if absolutely necessary
  • Nappy Sprayer
  • Wet bags/Pails
  • Handmade washing machine, such as a camp style washer
  • Non-electric portable washing machine 
  • Waterproof covers, store bought or handmade
  • Detergents, store bought or handmade
  • Snappi, Boingo, or diaper pins
  • Pocket diapers stuffed with FLAT DIAPERS
  • Fleece liners, store bought or handmade
  • Iron to expedite drying or sterilizing diapers
32349309_1800264696698815_2738843568838803456_o.jpg

Materials NOT Allowed

  • Washing machine or dryer
  • Pockets with inserts other than flats, AIOs, Fitteds, Prefolds, AI2s, etc.
  • Flushable liners

Rules for Everyone

  • You cannot use your washer/dryer.
  • If something comes up and you must make an exception, you must disclose this in the Conclusion Survey or on your blog if you are a blogger.
  • There is no limit on the number or flats/covers you can use. However, a reasonable amount is preferred (no more than enough for a day or two of cloth diapering).
flats and handwashing challenge 8th ann.png

If you'd like to follow along on social media, you can find all the posts related to the challenge under the #flatschallenge and #bringingflatsback hashtags. I'm going to attempt to blog everyday during this challenge, and will be sharing with you how I'm finding it as well as any tips and things I learn along the way. Armed with some snappies, a bucket and a plunger, I'm quite excited (but also nervous!) to start tomorrow!

See you soon!

x

#FromFarmToTable - Homemade Baby food in Collaboration with Tommee Tippee

#FromFarmToTable Homemade Baby Food with Tommee Tippee -01-01.png

If you've been following me for a little while now, you might have seen my previous posts here on the blog and on Instagram where I’ve been sharing the beginning of our #EverlyStartsSolids journey.  My little girl is now 6 months old, and we are well into the swing of things when it comes to weaning her onto real food. I'm so excited to share this post with you, showing you how easy it is to make your own baby food, ensuring you avoid all those nasty additives and preservatives that are in store bought purees.

Although we are using fresh veggies from our own little veggie garden, you can still make delicious and nutritious meals for your little ones using store bought fruit & veg. 

EverlyStartsSolids from Farm to Table Starting Solids with a Baby (27 of 117).jpg

Our veggie garden goes through a lot of ups and downs. Sometimes it looks amazing and is bountiful, and other times I spend my life picking off the millions of snails that find their way onto anything and everything that grows. Plus there's the constant battle with the weeds. But even though it takes a bit of work, there's nothing quite like the feeling of picking your own homegrown vegetables, and eating them fresh from the garden.

Having our own veggie garden has also inspired me to make all my own first meals for Everly. We live out in the middle of nowhere, and so it's pretty much impossible to pop to the shops and stock up on ingredients. But I'm really not going to complain, when these are the views we look out on every day...

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Today I want to share with you one of the recipes from Meg Faure's Weaning Sense recipe book. This is her Rainbow Veg Mash, and is a really lovely 'base' to start with, and then to add other more exciting flavours to once your little one is used to it. So far I've added chicken stock, liver and cream cheese to it, and Everly has loved it! The recipe makes about three baby cup fulls which you can freeze easily for future use.

I've really been liking the Tommee Tippee Explora Freezer pots for freezing, as they have a very clever rubber base that allows you to ‘pop’ out the frozen food easily. They are also dishwasher, microwave & steriliser safe, although I prefer to heat up Everly’s food using hot water as I’m not a huge fan of the microwave. I also love the Essentials food pots (the pink see-through pots pictured below with the pinks lids) for storing left over food, and particularly for heating up her meals. They stack beautifully, taking up less space in your freezer, and are ideal for traveling too. Also, as they are see-through, you can easily tell what food is inside. This is particularly helpful if you are like me, and like to make & freeze in bulk. You can tell at a quick glance whether it’s butternut or beetroot, and grab what you need.

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When it comes to actually steaming & blending baby food, I can't get over just how easy it is to do with the Steamer Blender machine from Tommee Tippee. I was sent over one to try, and at first I thought it to be a bit of an extravagance. I mean, can't you just use a pot and then transfer everything to another bowl and blend using a hand blender or blending machine? Well, read on friends!

Now, while you can just use any old pot you have at home to steam and then blend with another device, the Steamer Blender just makes things sooooooo easy. It's as simple as; chop veggies, pop into the jug, press some buttons and voila, a perfectly steamed & blended meal…ready to be eaten (or frozen for later).

When steaming veggies, it's really easy to forget that a lot of the goodness stays behind in the water. With this machine, the water stays in the jug, and then is used to blend the mixture. This way, all the goodness goes right back into the meal. And if you are already past the first few weeks of starting solids with your little one, you'll be happy to know that you can set the amount of 'blending' you'd like. You can make really smooth purees for the beginning stages of your solid food journey, or you can leave it chunkier as baby progresses to more textured food. Or you can skip the blending stage altogether…there are so many different options. I have to say this gadget really does make life simpler.

I've even been known to whip up a good couple of batches of sweet potato mash for Farmboy and myself, so believe me when I say you really will get a lot of use out of the Steamer Blender, even as baby gets older.

I have been freezing extra 'single' food into ice trays (ice cubes are the perfect size for Everly's first meals as she isn't eating that much just yet). Then I go shopping in the freezer, picking out a few ice cube combinations and then pop them into a cup to defrost. You can also take the frozen cubes out the night before and put them in the fridge to defrost overnight if you're the sort of person who remembers to do that. I always plan on doing that and then forget!

Another huge bonus when it comes to the Steamer Blender machine is how easy it is to clean. I know not everyone is as crazy about doing the dishes as I am (for realsies, I genuinely find doing the dishes to be relaxing and FAR prefer it to cooking!). So for those moms or dads out there who despise doing the dishes, this piece of tech is going to change your life! There aren't a million and one pots and pans and spoons. It's one jug that is easy to rinse clean, and then can be popped into the dishwasher if you're feeling really lazy. Otherwise it's a quick rinse in hot soapy water and then you're good to go!

Want to see the steamer blender in action? We made a fun little video showcasing our meal prep and would love to share it with you. You’ll also be able to see our menagerie of animals, in particular, #AmberTheGinger & #ShadowTheJindo. 

We hope you enjoyed the little glimpse into our lives here on the family dairy farm. I've got lots more video ideas (including a few on cloth nappies!) which I'm going to be putting up on my youtube channel soon. Let me know in the comments below if there's anything in particular you'd like me to make a video about. 

I post a lot of behind the scenes photos & videos over on Instagram Stories, so make sure you're following me over there too. Please do drop me a message and say hi, I love making new friends! 

Interested in finding our more about other Tommee Tippee products? The brand is very active on Facebook and have just launched their South African Instagram Account for you to connect with them and ask any questions you might have.

This post is sponsored by Tommee Tippee but all thoughts & views are honest and my own. 

My Cloth Nappy Wash Routine - A How to Guide to Washing Cloth Nappies

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I think 'the washing' is one of the biggest things that puts people off even trying out cloth nappies. I know when I first heard about cloth nappies, my first thought was 'you want me to willingly put poo into my washing machine?!' I really thought the process would be difficult, or time consuming, or just plain old gross...but the reality is, it really just takes an extra 5 minutes of your day once you get into a god routine.

Please do bear in mind that it does take a bit of time to figure out what works best for you and your cloth. Your routine will depend on your water (we have hard boerhole water here on the farm), the kind of nappies you have (I have a good mix of flats & covers, pockets and snap in ones), and the type of machine & detergent you use. The South African Cloth Nappy Facebook group is a wonderful place to troubleshoot and ask for advice. 

And for my Cape Town friends, I have loads and loads of water saving tips that are allowing moms to carry on using their cloth, even in the current water crisis.

Make sure you keep reading to find out more!

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The basics of washing cloth nappies: 

(I'll post my routine down below too)

  • If you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby (ie you aren't feeding formula or solids) then you baby's poo is water-soluble and the poo nappies can go straight into the machine without needing a rinse. This is a personal preference...you may want to rinse them all before hand, as I do now. Although, I didn't for the first four months or so. This first rinse can be done in your machine, or in a bucket/bath before you put them in the machine. Once you start solids (or are feeding formula) you need to rinse the poo nappies to make sure your washing machine doesn't get clogged.

  • Once babies are bigger and eating solids, you can use install a Bidet sprayer/use the shower head on your bath (or even a garden spray bottle) to remove most of the poo before washing. Alternatively, use liners** (flushable/disposable/fleece liners) to catch most of the grossness before rinsing or putting into the machine

  • You need to use a loooonnnnng cycle (so there is lots of agitation i.e. the nappies get rubbed against each other long enough to get thoroughly clean). This is usually the cotton cycle on your washing machine. FYI just because the cycle is long, doesn't mean it uses up more water than the other cycles in your machine.

  • Temperature: Most nappies are safe at 40 Celsius, but make sure to check with the brand/seller before hand. Some nappies can be washed at a higher temperature. I have been washing all of mine at 40C and haven't had any problems. A few loads have even gone through a 60C cycle a few times by accident and all survived.

  • Washing machine should be 3/4 full (you can bulk up a load with towels...even dedicating a particular set of old towels as your nappy towels)

  • No softener should ever be used (this includes washing powders that are '2in1')

  • All Washing Powder/Detergent without softeners are safe to use with cloth (always follow the recommended dosage...a good tip is to follow the amount suggested for 'heavily soiled'). I use Ariel powder, and use Ariel liquid for our clothes and towels.

  • Technically, it's recommended to do a wash and 2 rinses: ie a pre-rinse in the machine, then a long wash cycle, and then a final rinse. See my routine below for how I've adapted this slightly.

  • I have started tumble-drying my nappies (on low heat) and found this just makes my life SO much easier. And the nappies come out super soft (in the case of my hemp flats and cotton/bamboo fitteds). Most people I have spoken to warned against tumble drying nappies as they said extensive heat could damage the natural fibres (ie the hemp/bamboo). If you have pockets, these generally dry very quickly and you wouldn't need to tumble dry.


How often should you wash your nappies?

I wash every day. Why?**

  1. Because I don't have a HUGE stash of nappies,

  2. I don't like dirty nappies sticking around

  3. I love doing laundry...haha call me crazy!) but you can wash as often as you like. Most moms I know wash every 2 - 3 days.

**Everly is now using less nappies than she was when I first wrote this post, and now I wash every second day. Although since having Aaron (I actually do the odd wash every day when he has gone through loads more nappies than usual).

Bear in mind drying time. Hemp nappies take a lot longer to dry than microfibre or cotton.

If you live in a humid area, your nappies will probably take longer to dry. This is also a big reason I chose to use flats and covers for the first few months. They dry SUPER fast. Some nappies can be popped in the tumble dryer to speed up the drying process (just make sure to read your labels/ask the seller about tumble driers). Also note that nappies with a plastic/waterproof cover & covers shouldn't be exposed to the sun. These can either be dried in the shade (most covers dry within an hour or so) or turned inside out so the PVC (plastic part) is not exposed to the sun.


What about those horrid stains?

You won't even believe it, but the majority of nappy stains will disappear in the sun! For any stubborn stains that aren't removed by the sun, you can rub them with a green sunlight bar before washing (the sunlight soap bars are cloth safe) or rub after washing and pop into the machine again. I've yet to need to do this, as the magic of the sun has taken care of all my stains so far (it is particularly effective for breastmilk stains...so pop your damp burp cloths into the sun for instant whitening & bleaching!).

Here's some proof:

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If you've still got stains, then a good rub with the green sunlight bar, and popping the item back in the machine should take care it.


My wash routine:

Up until 5 months (i.e. before I started solids), this was my routine for Everly's nappies:

I'd wash every morning:

1. Off the bum & into the nappy bin:

All nappies go straight into the nappy bin till the next morning (will do a blog post on what I use for a nappy bin soon).

2. Quick Rinse:

After her first morning nappy change, I put all the dirty nappies straight into a bucket of hot water for a quick rinse (this is especially important for night nappies that will be on your baby for longer than the recommended 2-3 hours during the day, as they will be full of wee/ammonia and need a warm rinse to make sure you don't get any stinky nappies...the warm water breaks down the ammonia crystals). You can skip this step and add a pre-rinse to your washing machine cycle. This does use more water so if you're wanting to cut down water usage, a bucket of water works just as well. Some moms rinse their nappies in their baby's bath water. I bath Evy at night and like to wash in the morning so that didn't work for me.

**I have since gone back to doing a quick wash cycle/pre-rinse on the machine, without any detergent, as my pre-rinse. I now only hand rinse night nappies in hot water, and then these also get added to the quick wash cycle with the other nappies.

3. Set Washing Machine:

Cotton cycle on the machine (about 2.5 hours) with an added rinse (40 degrees C with the recommended amount of detergent  for a very dirty load). I have done a few 60C washes as pictured below and haven't had any problems.  I also wash Evy's burp clothes (I use the old school white towelling nappies...BEST ones are the Glodina Baby towels which you can buy at Baby City...the ones from Pep and even the ones from Woolies aren't nearly as durable). It's also important for your washing machine load to be 3/4 full so that the dirty nappies get enough agitation. I often throw in our towels to bulk up the load. Another idea is to have two or so old towels that you dedicate to your 'nappy load' so you always throw them in your machine with the nappies. 

4. Hang nappies up to dry/pop into tumbled dryer

Hang up nappies in the sun to dry(soft fabric side up in the case of pocket nappies & all-in-one's...PVC/plastic side of nappies down). I hang my pail liners (the washable PVC bags I use inside my nappy bin and my covers in the shade as the sun can delaminate them and cause tearing.

I have just found out that it's possible to tumble dry your nappies on low. This works especially well for hemp flats and cotton/bamboo/microfibre inserts. This isn't always recommended by retailers, but if you live somewhere where it takes forever for your nappies to dry (or you just like the feeling of very soft nappies) then it's possible to tumble dry them on low. You can also iron hemp flats to make them nice and soft again, or line dry them and then pop them in the tumble dryer for 10 mins or so on hot.

That's the basic just of washing your cloth nappies. If you're having issues with anything at all, the South African Cloth Nappy Users Facebook Group is amazing! Head on over there and ask the friendly community your questions, there is always someone on hand to help. 

A few extra notes:

  • Stinky nappies? Could be from a variety of reasons ie. an ammonia build up and your washing routine needs to be adjusted or you might need to do a strip (with bleach to 'strip' your nappies of any detergent buildup etc. Don't freak out about the bleach...click here for more info on stripping your nappies.) 

  • Bought some pre-loved nappies? Give them a good hot wash and then strip them (follow the link above to find out more about stripping them)

  • Hemp & Bamboo nappies need to be 'prepped' before they reach optimal absorption. This usually means they need to be washed 8 - 10 times before they become really absorbent. Instead of wasting water washing them multiple times, simply start using them and keep in mind they might leak a little in the first week or so of use.

Water Saving Tips

  • Instead of pre-rinsing in machine, rinse in the old bath water or the floor of the shower while you shower (use your feet to stamp on the nappies to really give them a good rinse). You can catch grey water*from the shower by placing buckets in the shower. Alternatively you can transfer your bathwater to buckets. The easiest option is to use the bucket & plunger method (see below) to rinse nappies in grey water. When you are done rinsing your nappies, this water can be reused again to flush your toilets. Alternatively, you can pour the water into your top loader to do a rinse in the machine.

  • Catch the grey-water from the washing machine outlet and re-use it the toilet/to water your plants/to rinse your next load of nappies

  • Consider replacing your washing machine if you have an older model. Older models, especially top loaders tend to use a LOT of water to wash. Newer HE models and especially front loaders are much more water friendly. Other options to consider are a twin-tub or Sputnik. 

  • If you are using a nappy sprayer, consider hooking it up to a grey water system. Remember the rubber gloves if you are using the bucket method! Spraying one nappy uses approximately the same amount of water as flushing a toilet. 

  • Hand washing often uses a lot less water than machine washing. Hand washing doesn't have to be difficult either - the bucket and plunger method is very effective and quite straight forward to use. You can do a spin cycle in the machine afterwards to skip wringing out by hand and speed up drying time.

Handwashing - Bucket & Plunger Method

For flats & Covers

  1. Place flats and covers in a bucket of cold water Make sure the flats and covers are completely submerged in water.

  2. Using a plunger, plunge the nappies 50 times to get rid of the urine.

  3. Drain the water and remove the covers.

  4. Fill the bucket with your flats in, with warm water (just enough to cover your nappies).

  5. Add about 100ml Sunlight Gel (you can make this yourself...blog post to come) for about 12-14 flats and plunge 100 times. You can also use your regular powder/hand washing detergent.

  6. Empty the bucket and fill it again with cold water.

  7. Plunge another 50 times to ensure all the soap has been rinsed out.

  8. Drain and wring out our flats.

  9. Shake to get excess water off and hang to dry on the line.

For your covers: Give them a quick wash a little soap/detergent and water, rinse, towel dry and then hang to dry.

*There have been a few queries as to whether grey water (water coming from domestic equipment other than toilets eg washing machines, baths, sinks etc)  or black water (water from toilets ie. water that has come into contact with fecal matter) is safe for re-use in gardens. You would need to use 100% biodegradable and ph neutral detergents to make full and proper use of your grey water in your garden. But, reusing the water from your washing machine to flush your toilet would be a very good use of that water. As with most things, use your common sense and do your research if you are very concerned. The main idea here is to try and save as much water as possible, and re-use where you can.

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**Please note, although certain brands of liners say Flushable/Biodegradable, please don't ever actually flush them down the toilet! All they end up doing is clogging the toilets and causing lots of problems down the line. I would advice using biodegradable liners, as these are much more environmentally friendly, and you can just rest easy knowing that even though they are going into the refuse, they will break down easily. If you really want to go the extra step, rather use fleece liners (literally just pieces of fleece fabric that you can make yourself, that you just rinse off and wash along with your nappies...these dry super fast and rinse very easily!). Here is a photo of my selection of liners (fleece & biodegradable):

Poo literally slides right off the fleece, so using these when your onto solids makes SUCH a difference when doing the washing. These fleece liners also give a stay dry effect, so if your little one is sensitive to wetness (like mine) using these liners really helps keep their bums dry.


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Although it may see like an awful load of work, you will quickly get into your own routine. Washing Everly's nappies only takes me an extra 5 minutes of time in my morning to rinse and place them in the machine, an then another few minutes to hang them up.

Do you have any other tips for washing your nappies? Does this post make you feel more confident to give cloth nappies a try? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

#EverlyStartsSolids - our baby weaning journey...the beginning

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Starting solids is scary for some, and exciting for others. I must say, I was so excited at first, and now that I am a little more experienced (i.e. I've had to deal with all the extra work that goes into it) I do wish I had hung in there and waited until she was actually 6 months old. Something else than can happen when you start introducing food too quickly (and too much of it) is that baby gets full quicker, therefore drinking less milk, and therefore there is a good chance your milk supply will start to get less and less. I plan on breastfeeding for at least a year, and so as soon as I started getting a bit too caught up in the whole 'she needs 3 meals a day' mentality, I realised I needed to take a step back and make sure that my milk is still her number one food source.

When to start Solids

I started introducing solids when Everly had just turned 5 months old. After consulting good old google, and all of the baby books collecting dust on my shelf, I thought it to be a good time. She was displaying most of the 'ready' signs (sitting up, reaching for our food, showing a lot of interest in food, the tongue thrust reflex disappearing etc), and to be honest, I was SO EXCITED to move on to the next baby chapter. If following a more traditional approach to weaning (ie making puree's and spoon feeding, most recommendations are to start somewhere between 4 & 6 months).

On that note...there are SO many different opinions on when to start solids, and just as many differing ideas on how to go about it. While I always thought I would be following the 'baby led weaning' approach, I also wanted to try my hand at making my own puree and so decided to go ahead with a bit of a mixed approach.  Also, as I started before 6 months (baby led weaning advises waiting until baby is 6 months old or even older) this meant I could really get stuck into preparing 'meals' For Everly. 

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Meals is such a loose term, as most babies barely touch the food they are given for the first few days/weeks. But this is okay, after all, when starting out, all you are wanting to do is expose baby to as many different textures and tastes as possible.

Your milk/formula still makes up the bulk of their nutrition.

Farmboy and I have also followed a Banting/low carb high fat way of eating for the last couple of years (although we are far less strict with this now!) and so have chosen to avoid rice cereal as a starter food. Instead, after reading Tim Noakes' Raising Superheroes / Super Food for Super Children (thanks mom), The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care (again, thanks mom) and this blog post, I decided to start with egg yolk as a first food. It wasn't the only thing I gave my little girl, she also had some pre-chewed up apple and pear, as well as some raw carrot thrown into the mix. She absolutely loved the egg yolk the first two times I have it to her, and subsequently hasn't been too impressed with it. I am going to keep trying as egg yolks are jam packed with essential nutrients important for the development of the brain (the are full of choline, good cholesterol and iron!).

*NB Raising Superheroes is not a Banting cookbook; it doesn’t offer no-carb eating for kids. It does, however, advocate low-sugar, low-refined-carb, real food eating.

*NB Raising Superheroes is not a Banting cookbook; it doesn’t offer no-carb eating for kids. It does, however, advocate low-sugar, low-refined-carb, real food eating.

But, as I have learned, you really can't/shouldn't force a baby to eat something they don't want to. But, it is important to keep trying as some babies take something like 10 attempts at trying a food before they realise they actually like it.

Somewhere along the way, Evy had a few good pukes (who knows whether this had to do with the egg I had given her, a stomach bug that had been making the rounds or just from me giving her too much for her little tummy to handle), and so I decided to slow things right down, give her a break from solids, and go back to basics. This is where I found the Weaning Sense book by Meg Faure to be really useful. It's got a great guide and meal plan for starting solids, which really does help to get your mind around the whole solids thing. 

#EverlyStartsSolids Weaning Baby 5 months start solids

We are only really a month into the whole solids thing, and so I wanted to write this blog post and share with you all my mindset behind starting when I did, and to share what it's been like so far.

A few things I've learned in the past month:

  • ALWAYS have a cloth on hand as well as a bib...the food really does go EVERYWHERE

  • Use a transparent bowl/cup/container...babies like to see what they are eating

  • Experiment with temperature...it seems that my baby prefers cold food to warm food (weird, I know!)

  • Don't take your own judgement of flavour into account. Mixing avo and pear sounds really gross to me, but babies don't know any better. Also, try to expose your baby to as many different (age appropriate) foods so they don't become fussy eaters (like their parents!)

  • If you'd also like to avoid rice cereal, but aren't brave enough to attempt egg yolk, oats make a very good first food and from then on a good base food to add other things to.

  • You don't need to spend a fortune on goodies and gadgets to help you prepare meals...I very nearly spent over R600 on a couple of fancy ice-trays until my mom found these pretty pastel ones from Plastic Land. On the other hand, there are some gadgets that are amazing, and I would highly recommend purchasing (blog post to come soon). At the end of the day, if you like to have matching ice trays in a variety of co-ordinating colours, do it! If it makes the whole food prep thing more enjoyable for you, then I say go for it.

  • I do wish I had waited till she was 6 months before starting (mostly because breastfeeding is just so convenient when it comes to 'meal' time...and whipping out a boob is far easier than preparing/packing/heating up a meal. It's also less mess, less dishes and overall no worrying about whether they've eaten enough. Although I do wish I had given myself another month of convenience, I have had a lot of fun so far with experimenting with foods and seeing what her little taste buds to when exposed to a whole new world of tastes and textures


Equipment I found useful for the first few days/weeks:

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  • Spoons (I've been using the Munchikin range which I bought at Mr Price Home). The tips change colour to white when the food is hot

  • A mesh baggy thingy (also from Munchikin and also bought at Mr Price Home) which is great for putting pieces of food in to suck on

  • Ice-trays from Plastic Land to freeze freshly prepared food in

  • Clear zip lock bags to store the food from the ice trays in (these takes up a lot less space in the freezer)

  • Avent cups (I bought these on Takealot and mainly use them for freezing breastmilk as they also fit my breastpump...but they work a charm for serving food too!)

  • Bumbo seat (I plan on buying one of those white plastic high chairs from Game when she gets too big for the bumbo...which won't be far off because, well...#thunderthighs haha)


On a side note, it's very easy to get REALLY caught up in the whole solids thing, especially when it comes to their very first taste of something other than milk. But, at the end of the day, you aren't going to 'ruin' your baby if you don't give them the most perfect/organic/made from unicorn tears meal...so take it easy on yourself and have fun with it! 

The best piece of advice I've come across so far for introducing solids is

'Food before One is just for Fun'

and that little rhyme has helped me not get too caught up in the whole thing, especially when Everly refuses to eat anything solid for 2 days and then has a bad night and I get all in a tizz thinking that it's because she's 'starving' due to not having eaten all the fancy food I prepared her. And while we are on the topic, be prepared for the disappointment when your little one isn't as taken with your freshly prepared dish, preferring to chew on the wet face cloth you've placed beside her to help keep some sort of order in the chaos.

So that's where we are right now in the journey to solids.

Do you have any advice for us? Anything that helped you or any great products (or any nice recipes) you'd like to share? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Early misty farm mornings || Life on a dairy farm

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After a particularly bad night (or rather a week of a lot less sleep than usual) I'm going through my photos and reminding myself of all the things I have to be thankful for. And at the top of the list, living in such a beautiful place...even when the whether is grey and cold.

Here are a few photographs from an early morning adventure to feed the calves with Dad. Most mornings, after Evy wakes up and I feed and change her, we walk down to the dairy office to see what Dad is up to. On this particular morning we caught him just in time to hop in the bakkie and go with to feed the calves. What a fun adveture for little Everly.

Everly had so much excitement, she promptly passed out halfway through. I'm treasuring these rare moments of her falling asleep in my arms. She used to easily fall asleep with me holding her, no matter where we were. But now that she's bigger and more alert as to what's going on, it rarely happens anymore.

I'm not sure where the last 6 months have gone to, it's sort of passed in a blur and yet in those hard moments, time has dragged on. It really is true when they say 'The nights are long but the years are so very short' and so I'm going to keep reminding myself to pick up my camera and keep capturing the every day moments so I can look back on them and remember.