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Monday, 21 March 2011

Motherhood vs friends

Over the past six months I've noticed a dramatic shift in my circle of friends. I was very surprised to find out that becoming a Mother altered the roles that girlfriends play dramatically. When I think about it in hindsight, there is no way that becoming a mother couldn't change friendships. Previous to the birth of baby Grub, my friends mainly consisted of students or people who work casually in the hospitality industry. Who live in share houses, have casual relationships, go out spontaneously after work for cocktails, a late night dinner or to see a band. I am the first of my friends to get married and start a family and at times I feel like not one of my friends understand what I'm going through. The reality of dealing with sleepless nights because of a moody baby or the adjustments you have to make in your life in order to become a wife and a Mother doesn't really hit home until your actually living it.

Late nights and late mornings
The first few months after bringing baby Grub home I felt were the worst. I was still adjusting to becoming a new Mother, having the usual breast feeding issues like latching issues and cracked, sore nipples, feeling emotional, isolated and very tired. A hug, cup of coffee and a chat with an understanding friend, would have done wonders. A few friends did visit me on occasion but if it wasn't for my family members, especially Mike, my Mum and Aunties, I think I wouldn't have coped as well as I did.

Overtired and grumpy.. me not Grub!
Finding new mummy friends as helped a lot, not only can I talk about issues I'm dealing with, I can help support other Mothers through their struggles. I'm going through the same thing as they are and that interaction tends to make me feel like I'm not on my own. Becoming a Mother has opened the door to a world of new friendships that I would not have had otherwise. Mothers that I have hardly any similarities with other than our babies are both six months, yet we can talk for hours. It’s just a case of having the confidence to get out there and find them.

Whilst its fantastic to make new mummy friends, I think its also important to maintain your old friendships to help hold on to who you were before your children came along. Its the balance between old and new friendships that helps you stay sane. I know us Mothers are busy most of the time and that the only spare time we have to ourselves is after we've put our babies to sleep after a long day. But every now and then do try to use that time to send an old friend a text saying that your thinking of them, remind yourself to send that birthday card you've been meaning to, or pick up the phone and have a quick chat. These little things will help keep the friendship alive, if the other party is willing. Remember that the overwhelming early stages of motherhood will pass quickly and if you value your friendships it will pay off to work at them through the crazy days of sleep-deprivation, endless nappies and breastfeeding.


Friday, 18 March 2011

{This moment}

Inspired by Soule MamaA single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Change 3 Things: 3 cloth diapers. One planet. Big impact.

So today I found an amazing site that supports and give tips to parents who cloth diaper their babies. They're also encouraging parents who don't, to take baby steps towards clothing their babies. They have recently started an awareness campaign called Change 3 Things, to help reduce the waste caused by disposable nappies!

How to join the movement:

1. Click 'like' on their Change 3 Things Facebook page.

2. Share the page with your Facebook, Twitter and blogger friends.

3. Make sure you change 3 cloth nappies a day.

Their goals are:
  • 100,000 parents committed to change 3 cloth diapers per day.*
  • 30-50 million pounds of prevented landfill waste.*
  • 100 million disposable diapers not purchased.*
  • $24 million of combined savings for participating families.**
Three nappies a day per baby can most certainly make a difference, in my previous blog To cloth or not to cloth? you would have read that it takes 300 year for ONE disposable to breakdown. Every nappy makes a difference.

Help change the world, one nappy at a time.

* Numbers are approximate and based on information published in the Environmental Agency's Science Report SC010018/SR2.
** Based on approximately $0.25 per disposable diaper NOT purchased by participants because they chose to change a cloth diaper instead.



Friday, 11 March 2011

Excess baggage

Since giving birth my appetite has been absolutely monstrous! Producing all of that beautiful breast milk to feed my growing baby Grub is hard work for my body. I always told that as soon as I gave birth, that all my 'baby' weight would fall right off. How wrong I was.

Wedding day 'ideal' weight

I still have 'fat days' when I can't find anything to wear because nothing sits the way it used to, not to mention how massive my boobs have gotten. I also find it hard to mentally push aside all the images and articles of celebrities that have gotten into shape two weeks after giving birth. But I always find myself asking, "Do they actually spend time with their newborns, or are they too busy working up a sweat so they can feel better about their body image? Surely they can't be eating a healthy diet!".

Giant boobs

I feel that reality is, you'll never get your body back to the way it was pre-baby, its just been through one of the toughest physical efforts it will ever have to endure. For nine months it created life, its not going to take two weeks to get it all back, give yourself time. The main thing is to eat healthy and stay active, thats all you can do. Obsessing creates more problems and solves nothing. Besides, everybody's body works differently, I have friends who within four months of giving birth have gotten back to their pre-baby weight without doing anything differently. Whilst other mothers, after a few years of giving birth to their first, have just become comfortable with their weight again.

I found this guideline of healthy eating for breastfeeding women, to help me remind myself when I feel down about eating. It makes me feel like I'm not eating enough!!

Healthy Eating Guidelines for Breastfeeding Women

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends the following servings per day:

- 5 - 7 servings from the bread, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles group.
An example of one serve is 2 slices bread; 1 medium bread roll; 1 cup of cooked rice, pasta or noodles; or 1 1/3 cups of breakfast cereal flakes.

There is an allowance of about 20 g a day for poly or monunsaturated fats and oils that can be used to spread on breads or rolls or used elsewhere in the diet.

- 7 servings from the vegetables, legumes group.
An example of one serve is 75 grams or 1/2 cup cooked vegetables; 1/2 cup cooked dried beans, peas, lentils or canned beans; 1 cup of salad vegetables; or 1 small potato.

- 5 servings of fruit. An example of one serve is 1 medium apple; 2 small pieces (150 g) of fruit (apricots, kiwi fruit, plums); 1 cup of diced fruit pieces or canned fruit; 1/2 cup of fruit juice; or 1 1/2 tablespoons of sultanas.

- 2 servings from the milk, yoghurt, cheese group.
An example of one serve is 250 ml of milk; 250 ml of soy milk; 40 grams (2 slices) of cheese; or 200 g (1 small carton) of yoghurt.

- 2 servings from the meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and legumes group.
An example of one serve is 65-100 grams cooked meat or chicken; 2 small chops; 2 slices of roast meat; 1/2 cup of cooked dried beans; 80-120 grams of fish fillet; 1/3 cup peanuts (almonds); or 2 small eggs.

Source: Australian Department of Health and Aging

Give your body time to heal, look at the miracle your body just produced!


Thursday, 10 March 2011

{This moment}

Inspired by Soule MamaA single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

To cloth or not to cloth?

I'd like to share with you the findings of my research on what to diaper my baby Grub with. I have come across mountains of information on both disposable nappies and reusable cloth nappies. This is a condensed version of the information.


Generally most disposable nappies consist of three layers, a core pad covered in a soft liner and enclosed in a waterproof casing. The liner, the part closest to baby’s skin, is made of plastic polymer polypropylene. Baby’s fluids flow down through the liner into the pulp-based pad layer and into the core. The core absorbs urine and faeces and is made out of fluff pulp originating from wood pulp, which usually comes from softwood trees such as spruce or pine and SAP, an absorbent polymer. Then finally the casing, a plastic bottom layer to prevent leakage from the nappy. All of these plastics are petroleum based.

What is in a disposable nappy?
70% - Core containing fluff pulp and absorbent material
10% - Polypropylene topsheet to protect against wetness
13% - Polyethylene backsheet to prevent leakage
7% - Other, including tapes, elastics and adhesives
Source: BBC News

Although there are no known health risks in using disposable nappies the production of disposable nappies creates a by-product called dioxin which is known to cause cancer, various diseases and other health risks. The amount of dioxin in the nappy itself isn’t enough to cause harm, but dioxin in the environment may be harmful.

A baby can go through 8,000 to 10,000 disposable nappies before becoming fully toilet trained, approximately 18 billion disposable nappies are purchased yearly in the US alone. Once they are used, roughly 95% of the 18 billion faeces and urine filled nappies enter the household rubbish stream. They ultimately end up in landfills and on average will take over 300 years to breakdown, creating an immediate public health hazard and an environmental risk of polluting underground water supplies.

A ‘green’ alternative to the standard disposable is to buy biodegradable disposable nappies. Be fore warned that there is no such thing as a 100% biodegradable nappy, most are approximately 60% biodegradable. There are some fantastic Australian companies that not only supply biodegradable nappies but are eco-conscious in the materials used, packaging and are also in support of green non-profit organisations.


Modern cloth nappies are mostly made from a natural material, mainly non organic cotton, sometimes organic cotton and more recently we are starting to see sustainable crops such as hemp or bamboo. What ever the type of crop used in cloth nappies, a few things are the same, crops must be watered (cotton more so) and most are sprayed with fertilizer and pesticides. Then they must be mechanically harvested, transported to a manufacturing plant where fibers are separated from the plant, baled and then transported again to a textile factory to be made into fabric. This fabric is then shipped to a cutting and sewing factory to be made into nappies. Then shipped again to nappy company’s warehouses for storage and then later shipped to whomever purchases their nappies. Your nappy, most likely will have come from half way around the world, using oil, even if your buying an Australian brand.

Most parents who choose to use cloths nappies full time on their babies, tend to buy around 21-26. This allows clean nappies to still be available while soiled nappies accumulate into a full wash load.  With each soiled nappy, faeces ends up being washed into a toilet and then enters the wastewater treatment cycle. Once a full load has been achieved they are washed using ordinary laundry liquid, hung out to dry in the sun or dried in a tumble dryer.  Modern cloth nappies last for more than one child in a family and apart from plastic fastenings, once they are unusable can completely decompose, because they're made from natural materials.


Further reduce the environmental impact of cloth nappies by following these guidelines:

- Lowering washing temperatures
- Use earth friendly washing detergents effective in cold water
- Stock up on nappies and wash only when you have a full load
- Refrain from using additional wash enhancers
- Air dry nappies
- Offset your electricity use with green tags
- Switch your electricity supply to a green provider
- Re-route washing machine water runoff into your garden
- Install a grey water recycling system
- Don't iron nappies!

The Environmental impact of the full life cycle of nappies per infant, per year can be summarised:

Impact Reusable nappies Disposable nappies
Energy 2532 Megajoules 8900 Megajoules
Waste water 12.4 cubic metres 28 cubic metres
Non-regenerable raw materials 25 kilograms 208 kilograms
Renewable raw materials 4 kg 361 kg
Domestic solid waste 4 kg 240 kg
Land for raw materials 1,150-6,800 hectares 29,500-32,300 hectares

No doubt parents find disposable nappies easier. All that you have to do is take the nappy off, clean baby and then put the new nappy on. No handling unwanted waste products, you just roll up the nappy, pop it in the bin and forget about it. But what is the real price for this convenience? Not only is the price in currency dearer but the environmental cost is far greater.


Monday, 7 March 2011

Are you ever really ready?

It was two days before new years eve 2009,  and we had just come back from our honeymoon. The whole time we were away I didn't feel myself at all, so I decided to do the ol' pee on a stick trick... and there it was, two lines. 'Oh dear!' was the first thing that popped into my head, 'We're not ready for this.' was the second. To say that we coped well with the news would be a flat out lie. Both Mike and I had our own plans of what the next five years of our lives were going be. I was going to go attend university and study architecture, he was going to study music at The Conservatorium. After that we had plans of backpacking throughout South East Asia. There is no way we could take a baby with us! This little baby was ruining all that we had planned. We wanted kids but why did it have to be now?

Little did we know, we were 5 weeks pregnant

Learning to accept that we were about to have a baby didn't really take place until the third trimester. People kept asking 'are you excited?', my answer was always yes but I did have to convince myself a little. I was always worried that my life was going to be overrun by housework, chores, cooking etc. and that there was never going to be time for me and the things that I wanted to accomplish in my lifetime. Resentment was growing and life as I knew it was over.

Feeling sad and pathetic

It wasn't until my father said to me, 'You can still get to where you are going, you just have to take a different route.' that I realised life wasn't over at all. Life, in fact had just begun. This was my chance to create something beautiful with the man that I love, relationships, after all are about compromise out of love.

Last prenatal visit

I began to embrace this baby with all of my heart, sometimes the love that I felt overwhelmed me. I became determined that I'm going to take on my role as a wife and a mother with 100% willingness and at the same time not loose sight of what I want as an individual. Our baby became a blessing.

Baby Grub, 2 days old


Sunday, 6 March 2011


a web site containing the writer's or group of writers' own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other Web sites.
–verb (used without object)
to maintain or add new entries to a blog.