Natural Parenting

Natural pregnancy, birth, and parenting: healthy, happy and ecological ideas from a mother's personal experience.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My unplanned freebirth! The Dad's story...


(also featured in Halstead and Sudbury NCT newsletter Summer 08)
I almost had to deliver our son, Oscar the first time round. I remember the midwife taking me through what to do on the phone, and seeing the water bag, thinking what was this lychee looking object coming out, trying to ask the midwife on the phone what it was but in my panic forgetting the word for this strange looking fruit thing. Ten minutes later the midwife turned up burst the bag and Oscar popped out. Since then we have joked about going solo for the next baby. I payed attention to what the midwife was doing and was thinking.... I could use those Ikea bag sealers to clamp up the umbilical cord... and so on...
I think it’s called ‘The Bradley Method’ or ‘Husband-Coached Childbirth’, a technique of unassisted delivery buy the Dad.,,465r-2,00.html

Holly started feeling gentle contractions during the day, she took Oscar out to Jumping Gym and pottered around the house taking it easy, hoovering the house AGAIN! Around 4pm our friend Heather came round, we where all hanging out in our bedroom, (chosen birth location). I started gently massaging Holly’s lower back. Holly was still talking and not zoning out yet.

There was a thunder storm and triple rainbow an hour before the birth which we were excited about as Oscar had decided he wanted to call the baby Rainbow already. Oscar wanted heather to take him out, we thought she would be good entertainment for him, we wanted him to stay at home during the labour, we didn’t want to exclude him. They went out for walk on the meadows.

The contractions were 20 minutes apart.We laid out a shower curtain and sheets on the floor in case it got messy, hit shuffle on the hot tub soul playlist on the ipod. All felt pretty relaxed.

Contractions still around 20 minutes apart... (I was taking Holly’s word for this). Started getting the camera ready wondering if a time lapse film would be a good idea! Holly went to the toilet, I started timing the contractions. 4 minutes apart.... shall I call the midwife? No lets keep timing waiting for them to get more regular.

If you are wondering why we didn’t call the mid wife a few hours ago, we had a funny experience with Oscar. The midwives were not that comfortable with a home birth, they where looking for problems throughout the last stages of the pregnancy, making Holly have scans every other week. So we thought to keep things stress free we would tell them at the last moment. The Halstead Midwives are not that far away, we didn’t want someone hanging around making Holly nervous - we had switched to the Halstead midwives - they are not shocked by home birth.

So one minute Holly is walking around the house the next on all fours screaming
“time to call the midwife”, we get into a conversation about where we live “it’s Sandal, The Street...” “what’s the house number, no house number”.....and so on... I don’t really have time for this debate. “Is it serious”, Holly lets out an rabid scream, I hold the phone to the direction of crazy woman noise “I’ve got to go now I think I can see a head”.

It was a head, a purple shriveled head, totally still almost lifeless which was pretty scary, not breathing, but I guess she was still breathing through the umbilical cord, no time to think about this, need to get this baby out, over as soon as possible.

Holly still had her track suit bottoms on, I tried to get them off, more swear words, ok lets try it with them on. “Come on Holly push”.... mistake never tell someone in intense labour to push probably the most stupid thing to say..... I can’t really remember what happened next,... it all went into a blur... she just seemed to slide out still totally still and seemingly lifeless, I held her (saw that she was a girl), then prune girl started to move and breath.

What now? Holly bent forwards, couldn’t see anything, I was holding Rainbow, the cord felt pretty tight, Holly didn’t want me to pull it, had some weird logistical moment, where Holly tried to shuffle round to look, in the end I had to crawl under her leg, surreal game of twister.

Midwife turned up about 30 minutes later and did the technical work, getting the placenta out, stitching up the wound - that's the hard work.... its quite easy catching a baby like Rainbow she seemed to decide when to come out, impulsive girl, oh dear....


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Natural remedies for all the family

Many minor ailments can be simply relieved and cured at home, my family have been using these remedies ever since I can remember. It is advisable to research remedies for yourself, or ask your local health food shop for advice if you are unsure. The majority of natural remedies are very gentle and perfect for taking care of your family health.

Burns: break off piece of aloe vera and apply gel to burn; apply lavender essential oil for quick healing.

Colds: olbas/eucalyptus oil at night in a plug-in vaporiser or on bedding; finely chop garlic, cover with honey for a few hours, consume small teaspoonfuls; honey (soothing, but not recommended for under 2’s), lemon (high in vitamin c) cyder vinegar (cleansing), ginger (stimulating) all in hot water.
Prevention of colds/immunity: elderberry liquid remedy and echinacea for immunity; vitamins/minerals; Aborigines of Australia have used eucalyptus for thousands of years to help fight colds/flu (the oil is also antiseptic and antibacterial).

Colic: protective acidophilus powder/capsules; chamomilla powder/tablets.

Constipation: increase liquids; orange juice; prunes soaked/cooked or in porridge; prune juice; tummy massage; pysllium husks; camomile tea; whole meal food/roughage.

Cough: thyme tea (just pick and infuse).

Conjunctivitis: breast milk is commonly used for this in babies worldwide; bathe eye with boiled water/camomile tea.

Cuts and wounds: garlic (antiseptic), onion (antibacterial), apply either to small cuts to keep clean/germ-free; apply lavender essential oil for quick healing.

Earache: onion poultice (boil onion, wrap whilst hot into tea-towels, lay on it); warm olive oil, prick a garlic clove, leave to soak in oil, pour into ear, plug with cotton wool.

Fever: homeopathic belladonna; elderflower; peppermint; nettle tea.

Headaches: Peppermint, rosemary, and sage teas help to relieve.

Hay fever: local honey.

Insect bites: apply 1 teaspoon baking soda mixed with water or vinegar to sting; rub neat lavender oil onto affected area; bee sting, neutralise with bicarb of soda; wasp sting, neutralise with lemon or vinegar.

Insomnia: camomile tea; few drops of lavender in the bath.

Nappy rash: Air babies bum (outside in the sun if possible); poo and wee together cause more upset; use fleece liner with cloth nappies; rinse babies bum under tap after change; wash baby in diluted camomile tea and a drop of lavender/tea tree oil; chamomilla and camomile tea apparently neutralise the acidic urine from teething; natural non-petroleum creams are available; calendula cream; zinc and castor oil cream (it can be used as sun block too).

Nits: Neem oil/shampoo; aromatherapy; tea tree oil/shampoo along with a nit comb.

Rashes/chicken pox/eczema: porridge oats in a tied sock/camomile tea bags in the bath really sooth; neem oil for eczema; calendula cream; comfrey cream; avoid chemical soaps/products; frequent washing (especially with soaps/products) of newborns not recommend.

Shock: arnica.

Teething: chamomilla; camomile tea; chewing on licorice root.

Tummy upsets: acidophilus powder (also in live bio yogurt); porridge; camomile tea; fresh lemon/lime mixed with water; ginger tea or root; black tea.

Vomiting and diarrhea: glass of water with 1 part salt/2 parts sugar prevents dehydration; cinnamon and coriander; porridge.

Most of these remedies you will already have at home, can be sourced at your local health food shop, online or at some chemists/supermarkets.

There are alternative treatments available for most conditions, including childhood illnesses such as chicken pox, and homeopathic alternatives to childhood vaccines are available.

Natural Baby by Janet Balaskas (includes excellent tips on natural care for newborns, breast feeding/bottle feeding, co-sleeping, slings etc).

Websites:, homeopathic kits from this website have a wide range of remedies that are great for dealing with everyday illness, problems or emergencies in the family.

(as published in Halstead/Sudbury NCT newsletter winter 07)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Homebirth & Sarah's amazing homebirth story

Firstly my own homebirth...

The problems with the doctors/midwives started when they measaured my tummy and it appeared to small and I was sent for numerous scans which I really didn't want to have but felt I had to. They scanned and said my baby had a large head and small body and suggested inducing asap and possible caesarian, [I thought god this is why there are so many caesarians] you can imagine the dilemma, obviously I didn't want to endanger my baby, but I felt instinctively soooooo strongly that there was nothing wrong with him and that the doctors just wanted to cover their backs and didn't want even a 1% chance of any risk. Even though I went overdue I stuck to my guns and had Oscar Solomon problem free in the peace of our home, he was 6Ibs which they considered small/wanted me to go to hospital but again I insisted he was healthy as the same weight as all the 'first babies' in our family so was not worried at all. From then on there were no problems and the midwives were as proud as I was in the end!

I had a lucky and wonderful birth without any intervention to Oscar, who is now two, hopefully the first of many! He was 9 days over due which was causing me a lot of stress as I felt under pressure from the midwives' 11day induction deadline, which I was going to totally ignore anyway, of fear of having to go into hospital at all let alone have a caesarian. I was taking homeopathic Caulophyllum 200 pills and doing reflexology on my hands and feet after a consultation with local practitioner Emma Dalton which I swear helped make induce the labour and make it a speedy and straight forward process, along with yoga breathing/positions. I started feeling funny period type pains in the evening and just carried on to have dinner with my family as a distraction, actually being in total denial about being in labour! Started having regular tightening around my lower tummy and back and having to grip onto things, after having a 'show', then thought I'm gonna get this little bugger out and started doing gentle jogging around the garden and on the trampoline to my families horror! When I started to feel like pushing we went home to 'sleep and play cards' for what we thought would be the next 12 hours... I got stuck kneeling over the bed on some cushions upstairs with very regular/strong contractions and attempted to write them down with increasingly crazy writing. I told Simon he needed to get that tens machine on me quick, he was still trying to have that sleep I'd told he be able to have, and he started filling up the inflated birthing pool with water. Simon tried to drag me down to the pool in the living room with resistance from me as I didn't want to move a millimeter or be touched at all, I kneeled clamping myself to a very uncomfortable wooden box with handy gripping holes and didn't move til Oscar was born, refusing any cushioning under my face. The tens machine and breathing were an excellent distraction and control throughout, helping with the back pain. Oscar's head started to appear after a few hours but to Simon's horror looked like the inside of a lychee fruit as he was still in the water bag which had not broken. The midwives were calming and instructing him over the phone. After the arrival of the two midwives, they popped Oscar's water bag and he burst out with a big push. We never made it into the birthing pool, it's a paddling pool now!

I wanted to keep him attached to me for as long as possible via the umbilical cord as I'd heard this continued to give your baby maximum nutrition from you up to the last second. He started to get cold and my legs were shaking so they cut the umbilical cord and I delivered the placenta naturally tried our first breast feed. I refused the offer of the vitamin k injection and the wish from the midwives to take him to hospital as he was small, I thought after all that and it all being so wonderful, just because he is not on the percentile chart thing, no way. They made sure he was getting enough milk and gave me a few stitches before leaving and all three of us snuggled in bed together in a little blissful bubble, keeping tiny Oscar warm. Breastfeeding was very painful for the first two weeks but eased after that, I think to do with bad positioning and generally hormonal tender nipples. I took Arnica 200 homeopathic remedy afterwards for bruising and healing. We did not was Oscar for over a week wanted to keep the birthing liquid on him as we'd read it was very beneficial to the baby. We buried the placenta in the garden under a peach tree after forgetting it for a couple of days!

My homebirth was the most perfect and wonderful experience but I really had to fight for it against all convention and doctors/midwives/paranoia. I feel strongly that all mothers especially first time mothers should not be put off like that even more so as most of us are vulnerable/sensitive/paranoid when pregnant for the first time. I'm lucky that I have very strong beliefs on the subject that fueled my determination, and with the total support of my family and friends, along with being born at home myself, I was not scared at all and totally believed in myself and my body. Not without having to go through a lot of stress/guilt/upset as a result of doctors/midwives wanting to cover their backs and not feeling confident in homebirths. The midwives said they could not promise they would come out if they did not have enough staff, but I was so stubborn I wouldn't have left the house unless it was an emergency anyway! The hospital is only ever about 30 mins away - which is the same amount of time it would take them to prepare theatre anyway, in Holland most women have homebirths [as it is their policy to] without any problems. There is no reason why you shouldn't have a homebirth if there are no complications with your pregnancy. You may have to fight for it though if you have a team of midwives who are not keen for whatever reason. But it is your right as a pregnant woman to choose. I only know one other mum in the UK who has had a first time homebirth and that was my sister! I really want to promote it and help other women to feel empowered again. Women should be able to make choice with confidence and believe in their own powerful bodies.

The Vitamin K injection offered after birth, you can get hold of Vitamin K in vitamin pill form from Health Food Shops if you do not want to have the injection, you do not have to have it.
The Homeopathic Birthing Kit is invaluable pre/during/post birth for you, your baby and your partner. Available from some Health Stores and, about £30.
Caulophyllum 200: A homeopathic remedy used by many women giving birth to help speed up labour. Everyone I know who has used this has had a speedy birth.
Available from homeopaths, health food shops, or who sell homeopathic 'birthing kits' for all birthing issues and problems.
Arnica 200: This is widely used homeopathic remedy for shock and repair, much needed during and after birth.
Rescue remedy: Always useful for the mother and birthing partners at any time during the birth.

A helpful website:
Excellent books: New Active Birth by Janet Balaskas for birthing positions and preparation etc and Natural Baby by Janet Balaskas for care of newborn etc

The placenta being buried!

See this article below on FREEBIRHTING, giving birth alone without any professional help!!!,,2075395,00.html

Here is Sarah's story...

The birth was the most intense and amazing experience
of my life. She was 7 days overdue. Eric was getting
restless and bought 10 baby chicks to quell his desire
to nurture something! But now we'll have yummy eggs
in September.
I really wanted to give birth on april 2nd because it
was the night of the FULL PINK MOON, I willed myself
into having some contractions, but they petered out
and it wasn't until 12.20am Sat 7th April that I woke
up and needed to poo which I knew was the beginning
beecuase I never need to poo int he middle of the
night. When I went to the toilet I had a "bloody
show" (not sure what its called in ENgland) and then
started to have contractions every 6 minutes. They
were quite intense, but I could breathe through them,
then after an hour they shifted to every 3 minutes, so
Eric called the midwife. At this point I began to
make low primitive whale sounding noises. I have no
idea where those noises came from. They were the only
sound I could make that helped. Eric was amaxing and
was applying accupressure to various points to help
the pain. Claudette arrived and then my contractions
went back to 5 mins apart. So she went to bed in
Olivias room, (olivia was at her moms) and told us to
wake her up when they got closer together again.

At about 4.ooam I started to get in the shower every
time I had a contraction, I did this for about 11
hours! I just had the shower running permanently, I
was experiencing really intensely painful back labour.
She was slightly back to back and her amniotic sack
stayed intact and was pressing on my spine. It was
soooooo painful. I couldn't have anybody touch me
after a while, it just made the pain worse. When I
was about 8 cm dilated Claudette said we should fill
the birthing tub. She hadn't wanted me to get in
before because it can slow the labour down. This part
was hell, because I had to stop using the shower so we
could fill the tub. My contractions were so much
harder to bear without water. I remember wailing that
"i couldn't do it on dry land"! I resorted to being on
my hands and knees making giant sweeping circular
motions on the bed with my right arm?!
Finally the birthing tub was filled (in living room,
best view out of window).
I jumped in and it was such an amazing relief. If you
have any more babies absolutely include the idea of a
birthing pool as pain relief. Even if you don't want
to have the baby under water, the pool is amazing.
Its got to be deep though. A bath tub wouldn't work
nearly as well.
I was in the pool for about 20 minutes when claudette
checked the babies heart with her doppler and got
really concerned because its rate had dropped really
dramatically. She made me get out of the pool so that
we could find a position that the rate would improve.
Unfortunately the only position that the heart
improved was me lying on my back. Which was the last
position I wanted to be in. Nothing in me wanted to
be in that postion. At that point I got the urge to
push, claudette and paula (2nd midwife, just arrived)
said to go ahead. I really wanted to stand up or be
in the pool, but they didn't want to risk losing the
good heart tones we had got on my back (because even
these heart tones were still quite slow) So I pushed
for about half an hour, little Ginger was crowning and
then my midwife started to get really concerned
because the heart rate was dropping again. Everybody
was yelling "come on Sarah get your baby out!" It got
quite dramatic. Then claudette said if I didn't get
it out in the next push she would have to do an
episiotomy. I pushed soooooooooooo hard! I worked so
hard like I've never worked in my life, Ginger's
waters finally broke and exploded with such force!
The midwives were covered, it was all over the wallls.
Quite amazing. But still she wouldn'dt come out so I
told Claudette to do the episiotomy. I was ready to
cut off my arm just to have her safe.

Claudette cut me (it barely felt like anything
compared to contractions), and I pushed and out she
popped at 5.05pm (almost 18 hours ) She went so pink
and yelled and it was soooo amazing. I could,'t
believe this little baby had come out of my body.
Poor Eric, he was sweating and so relieved that
everything was ok. I think in some ways it was more
stressful for him, because I just knew that little
Ginger was going to be ok.

The next few weeks are a hazy bubble. I was in a lot
of pain initially from the swelling and the stitches.
(I had about 12) Ginger slept a lot so it made things
quite easy in the baby department. I only looked at
my stitches for the first time last week because I was
afraid to see a mutilated frankenstein fanny. But
actually now the swelling has gone down it doesn't
look too bad. I took lots of baths in comfrey,
rosemary and lavender. And would make cups of comfrey
tea and put the tea bag directly on my wound. I took
2 different kinds of arnica and capsules of bee
propolis. Alll on claudettes advice. I feel quite
healed, the stiches won't dissolve for another couple
of weeks though. Looking forward for some fun beneath
the sheets, but a little aprehensive about ever
inserting anything in my fanny ever again!

THe episiotomy was quite a shock, I'd prepared myself
that I might have to have a c section if anything were
to go wrong, but I knew Claudette was against
episiotomy's so I didn't even consider it. I was only
the third one she had done in 1200 births! I felt
almost like I had been assaulted, but now only a month
later I feel absolutely ok about everything. Its
birth, there is no way of knowing what is going to
happen. My friend who had baby the week before me,
experienced exactly the same kind of labour, her
baby's heart tones began to drop at about 8 cm, so
they wisked her off for a cesarean because she was at
the hospital. The cesarean is such a major operation,
her recovery period is much more extensive than mine.
I'm so glad that I just had the episiotomy to recover

We discovered after Ginger was born that a little
blood clot had formed at the base of her umbilical
cord which claudette believes to be the reason why her
heart rate dropped.

So that's the full story. Not quite the homebirth I
had planned, but you can't control birth. I've been
learning a lot of life lessons in the last 4 weeks!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Use Mooncups!


Mooncups are essential for every woman of the future....

Mooncups are the best invention after baby slings and cloth nappies, I can't believe how clever they are.

I didn't even think that alternatives to the tampon existed! I started to use one when I got my periods back after my son's birth at about 14 months [quite late apparently maybe due to on demand breast feeding?] Tampons are as bad for the environment as disposable nappies really, maybe on a smaller scale.

They last forever, cost what a few months of disposable tampon/pad use would cost, easy to use, discreet, contain no bleach and chemicals that are found in tampons/pads, more hygienic, eco friendly - nothing going into the landfill or blocking the drains, you feel proud to use them for all of the above reasons.

You'll never have to worry about forgetting it like you would a tampon or worry about carrying it around - its always there, you just have to wash it! If in a public loo you can take a small bottle of water into the cubicle to wash it. They need to be boiled once a month.

Also I previously suffered from thrush and have not had any sign or a recurrence since using the mooncup!

I can't believe we weren't encouraged to use the mooncup from our early teens, it would mean a massive percentage of women would now be using them without even thinking about it.

Most girls find the idea of the mooncup unappealing initially, but if you think about it, you must have felt like that at the thought of first using a tampon! They do take a month to get used to them, I found it hard to relax enough to take it out and also to position it correctly but don't even think about it now. Also you need to cut the pointed end off to your comfort. They never leak as long as you empty them as regularly as you need to, and as long as they are positioned correctly. You won't believe how little blood you actually loose!

There are two different sizes depending on whether you have had a baby or not! It is suitable for women who suffer with allergies. I've swam, biked and done yoga with my Mooncup and not even noticed it!

To purchase for £18.99 or find out more about mooncups and to read testimonials, visit: (If you use this special link to reach the website and order one from them straight after using this link I will earn 20%!)

Mooncups are also available at most health food stores and chemists.

If you suffer from heavy periods or prefer to use pads you should try washable sanitary pads too:

Please please pass the mooncup mesage onto every woman you know, it is so amazing and important.

I'll be discussing 'no toilet paper' soon so watch out!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Cloth nappies

They are cheaper in the long run and can be used for all your children, no risk of chemicals against your babies skin, no risk of the nappy causing heat as it is thought that disposables do, the baby knows when he/she is wet and is therefore aware ready for the no nappy stage, all you need to do is get into the habit early on and it is no more hassle than anything else!

There are pre-fold nappies (I used Cotton Bottoms) which are a tea towel sized piece of double thickness cotton that is folded up within the plastic wrap, this is the only cloth nappy that is loose within the wrap. The cheapest option is the original terry towelling, a simple piece of towelling that dries really easily and can be used with a nappy nippa, a plastic clip instead of the old fashioned pin. Shaped nappies like for example Tots Bots which take longer to dry but fit really nicely and don't seem to leak as easily, easy to use when you are out or if other people are changing the nappy. All these nappies need plastic wraps over the top. There are also All In Ones with have the plastic wrap included in the nappy but they don't last as long apparently. You need most nappies in two or three different sizes.

Most nappies are made with bleached cotton, but some are available in unbleached cotton, hemp, fleece or bamboo which is more absorbent and ecological due to the harvesting methods. Towelling seems to be the most absorbent type of cotton. Fleece nappies don't really seem to work that well to me. Nappies can be fastened with poppers, nippas or Velcro which is the quickest to use but some babies do go through a phase or trying to undo the Velcro and maybe it is not so hardy in the long term.

You need around 25 cloth nappies and around half the amount of plastic wraps. You can use anything from 4 to 10 nappies in 24hrs, you will change a newborn baby a lot more that older babies. The cloth nappies will cost around £200 depending on which ones you buy, and will last all your children until they are out of nappies.

I have been advised by the Suffolk Real Nappy Network that for someone who is new to cloth nappies it is best try some different ones out, and to mix and match to start off with. Motherease wraps seem to be most popular too.

I found that the pre-folds were quite wide and hard between the babies legs which worried me sometimes (although I'm sure I had no need to!) and sometimes meant it was harder for them to move around. I think towelling is softer and more flexible and less bulky between the legs.

You may need to dress your baby in slightly larger clothes when using cloth nappies as they are larger than disposables!

NAPPY ACCESSORIES (all you need are the nappies/wraps and a bucket but the following helps)
Fleece liners for night to wick away the moisture - easy to flick poo off into toilet
Boosters or flannels on top of cloth nappy for nigh time
Fleece wipes/flannel or biodegradable wipes (I just wash Oscar's bum under the tap for as he won't lie down)
Cotton wool for newborns
Rubber gloves to save cracking skin which seems to happen after birth
A bucket with a lid, you might want another small bucket too to separate nappies/wraps wet/dry etc
Tea tree oil or eco friendly nappy sanitiser or bicarb (buy in bulk from chemist or market) or white vinegar (buy in bulk from cheap supermarket) or lemon
A wipe clean nappy bag/sandwich bag or old plastic bags when out
A piece of cloth/towel as a changing mat, or non pvc changing mats are available
Flushable paper liners (these can also be washed and re-used!), only needed once the poo is not liquid anymore if you think you need them as well as fleece liners

WHERE TO PURCHASE NEW AND 2ND HAND NAPPIES - I found Tots Bots for good prices some are Velcro some need a nippa - they have local reps in every area who can show you nappies and give advise - 2nd hand available

NCT nearly new sales
Waitrose and Boots
Find more information in Green Parent or Juno magazine
You can get £30 real nappy money back from your local council
It is cheapest to buy second hand or a bulk deal via the internet

Poo changes with age, newborn is liquid yellow/stains more, and it gets thicker and more smelly when on solid food
Nappies will need washing 2 to 3 times a week
Soak dirty nappies in bucket with tea tree etc for no more than 3 days, scrape poo into toilet after changing, wring out and pour dirty water from bucket into toilet before washing
Wash with natural soap flakes (buy from Waitrose/health food shop/internet) and eco balls (you can buy these cheaply as 're-fills' without the 'ball', just use with a net and plastic bag clip)
Or if you want to use washing powder use Ecover non-bio, and if you really want white nappies you can use Ecover bleach and softener
You can wash nappies at the more ecological temperature of 40 and perhaps at 60 now and again for really bad ones or just to give them a good wash occasionally
The wraps do not need to be washed as often as the nappy
Laundry services are available too!
DRYING: outside on the washing line is best, sun is a natural bleach and whitens the nappies within a few hours, in winter you may need to dry them inside too on a clothes horse, radiator, tumble drier (I have a tumble drier but hardly ever need to use it)

Air your babies bum outside in the sun is the best thing you can do
Change the nappy often and straight after pooing
Poo and wee together are worse
Use the fleece liner more often
Rinse your babies bum under the tap after each change
Wash the nappies at 60
Wash your baby in chamomile and lavender/tea tree oil
You could use the occasional disposable nappy to dry out the skin
Chamomila homeopathic remedy and chamomile tea help with the discomfort and apparently neutralise the acidic urine from teething
Teething and some foods can affect nappy rash
There are natural non-petroleum creams available, calendula cream is brilliant and very gentle, zinc and castor oil cream is natural and very cheap from somewhere like boots (it can be used as sun block too)

70% biodegradable Nature Babycare nappies are available in Waitrose and other shops - German Moltex 100% biodegradable compostable nappies, slightly more expensive
These nappies can be composted, we have tried composting them in a small bin in our garden and they seem to gradually be going down but there are only a few, a wormery is more efficient if you use a lot

WEBLINKS - they offer real nappies to try for £5

Click on comment below from my friend Clare for some more first hand detailed advice on cloth nappies: -

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Baby-wearing and the best slings

Carrying my son in a sling most of the time until around 6 months old made my life a lot easier and still does, I had two hands to carry on with whatever I was doing, he didn't cry as I was right next to him, I could walk round town and breastfeed him at the same time, we could go out anywhere until late at night, with him happily asleep against our bodies. As long as you have a good supportive wrap around type sling, and you wear it really tight it does not feel heavy, it just makes bending down harder and you have to do chores more slowly, but its worth it if your baby is happy and doesn't cry and need picking up constantly, and it feels so lovely having your baby next to you, imagine how heavenly it feels to them. My son has shown that he is very confident and independent since being able to move around so that proves to me that it does not make babies more clingy as some people speculate, quite the opposite.

I wish I had known the information below about slings below before I had given birth to Oscar, so thought I'd pass it on, I would not recommend the conventional carriers/slings from shops like Mothercare that just strap on as they are not very supportive at all, make your back hurt very quickly and worst of all put most people off carrying their baby which is such a shame.

Great website with reviews and information about slings and the benefits, you need to register to get the good information:

A website with linked information on slings and there is a forum where you can chat with other baby wearing parents and meet up with local groups to try out/check out each others slings! You need to register on this one too:

BABASLING: This is a side strap sling, so is very quick and easy to use which is advantageous with a wriggly crawling or toddling baby. My partner also uses this one a lot due to it being quicker and easier to use than a wrap. It is handy as the active baby can sit on your hip whilst supported by the sling and watch you cooking or going about your business, and for nipping round town etc. It can also be used for tiny babies in the hammock position and on your back too which is why I bought it in the first place. It is great for breast feeding even older/larger baby in public as they are hidden and snug lying in the sling and can fall asleep, and it takes the weight a bit for you. The disadvantage is that I find it hard to use this sling for more the 45 minutes at a time due to the weight being on one shoulder. It costs about £40.

I consider the wrap style slings below to the most superior in terms of not giving you a bad back and versatility, they are a very long piece of fabric:

HUGABUB SLING: This is the wrap style sling I carried Oscar in for the first 6 months of his life, it was totally comfortable for my back [I had had back pain in pregnancy] and as long as I wore it correctly/tightly [your baby will be less heavy if tied closely to your body] I did not notice his weight at all, it does take a few minutes to put on each time, you need to re tie it now and again to keep it tight but would naturally take the baby out now and again anyway. Once you have wrapped the sling around you you need to flatten and spread out the cloth across your shoulders and hips to spread the weight. It does take a bit of practice and patience to get it right. This disadvantage of this sling is that is is made of stretchy cotton jersey material so is hard to use after your baby is 6 months old as stretches too much with their weight. It costs about £40.

DIDYMOS SLING: This is the wrap around sling and am now going to invest in, after trying many others, for Oscar and my future babies. The same advice applies as with the Hugabub above. This sling is very high quality, strong, non stretchy and worth the extra money, it has excellent reviews. You can use this to wear your baby/toddler on your back too which is a great advantage if you can get used to it, as easier to do things with your hands. It costs about £60 but worth the extra.

There are lots of websites out there to find information about the above slings and others, and to find 2nd hand slings too, may be the easiest, although I know most parents like to hang onto their slings!
Some more great advice and slings on offer:

The following is the best article I have ever read about the practical every day side of baby-wearing. There are some other interesting books more on the theory of carrying your baby, I think everyone should read this inspiring book who is having a baby even though it may appear quite extreme initially: The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff. You can find second hand slings on ebay and more reviews online.


Annalisa Barbieri
Saturday October 14, 2006
The Guardian

I'm expecting my second baby in December and really want to sling him/her. I did the pushchair thing the first time and from what I've heard and read, slinging a baby makes lots of things so much easier so am really keen to "baby-wear" this time!
Miranda Dunn, Derbyshire

I can't recommend baby-wearing enough. I only wish I had discovered it earlier than I did. We had a Wilkinet, £36.50, from birth, that was fab (, 0800 1383400) but it took me ages to work out I could also use it indoors and get on with things while carrying my baby, which is what they love, so they're more contented and cry less. My daughter was four months old before I discovered ring slings and even older before I discovered mei tais - traditional Asian carriers - and all the others out there.

Article continues
There are a few studies that show that babies who are slung (I use the word as a generic for all baby-wearing) cry far less. This is because babies are programmed to want to be close (no, it doesn't spoil them, quite the reverse) to a parent. But also we're all busy and have lives, so carrying a baby for any length of time is hard work. A good sling frees up your hands, distributes the weight over your back and shoulders and also holds the baby in a position that's good for their developing spines (avoid baby carriers that hold babies with their entire legs dangling and so put all the pressure on their lower back). A few things to remember: the closer your baby is slung to you, the lighter he will feel; you may get addicted and start a collection of slings; what works for one person may not work for another - I cannot stress this enough - so try a few out before you buy.

A great way to do this is through, which is a website dedicated to meeting other sling-wearers in your area to get information and try out their slings (as in the ones they own; it's not a shop). The other thing to remember is that slings take a bit of getting used to - there is a learning curve. Don't let this put you off, because like all good things, it's worth it.

Luckily, slings are mostly sold by parents who know their product and can advise in detail. It's not like going to a department store and being sold a pram by a 20-year-old who's never given birth, let alone been on a bus with a child and so will sell you a 15kg travel system.

In your shoes I would look at a wrap initially - these are literally great lengths of material that you wrap round you in a variety of ways and knot to fasten (yes they are safe if you follow the instructions). The beauty of them is that they are really comfortable, you can keep them on but pop baby in and out. Stretchy wraps such as the Moby, from £29.50 (from SaSa Slings, Little Possums or Baby-Bean) or Kari-Me, £41 (Little Possums) are easier as they have "give"; not-so-stretchy ones such as the Ellaroo Wrap, from £45 (Baby Bean, Little Possums, SaSa Slings) or Calin Bleu ones, from £27.50 (, 0845 862 0073) are more supportive when baby gets heavier.

Ring slings are great because they're so easy - you literally shove baby in there and pull it to fit. The rings act as a tensioner, but not everyone gets on with them as they put all the weight on one shoulder and I found back carries difficult in them, but many mothers swear by their ring slings. Look at Zolowear (, 020-8810 6973), which makes great ring slings in cotton (around £55) or silk - the latter aren't cheap at around £100 but they are extremely beautiful and the UK rep is a mine of information.

One of the best-selling mei tais is the Kozy (, which you can only get from the makers in the US for about £40. It is supremely comfortable, and is suitable from birth (but takes confidence with a newborn).

A superb carrier for babies from six months (you can use from birth with the newborn insert, £12) is the Ergo, from £39.50 (, 01253 896290); this is very probably the carrier I hear most parents rave about more than any other. It's a soft-framed carrier, a bit like a rucksack, and I still carry my three-year-old daughter round in it for long stretches. I find it a godsend in the morning (at home) when she wants my attention but I have loads of things to do; she happily plays cars on the back of my head whilst I sort the day out. Two final things: baby's trousers can get pushed up in a sling, so invest in some fabulous baby-legs (like leg-warmers) to keep them warm, £6.50 from SaSa Slings. And is a superb site for all sling information including those studies I talked about., 01535 644800;, 01454 850446;, 01702 477234.

Contact Personal Shopper, The Guardian, 119 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3ER or email:
Link to article >>

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Vaccinations - IT IS YOUR CHOICE

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE YOUR BABY VACCINATIONS, it is your choice, vaccinations are not compulsory! (I feel that I have to write this in capitals as most parents are whisked so quickly after birth into the doctor's surgery before they have time to think about it)

I was just going to take my son Oscar down to the doctors with all the other babies at 8 weeks to have his multiple jabs. But then I thought, hang on a minute, why am I about to allow this to happen to this pure little body, just accepting the doctors little piece of paper I got through the post, without even researching the pros and cons. Then I started researching and bought lots of books about vaccinating children. After reading and researching on the internet and talking to homeopaths I do not want to vaccinate Oscar at all, and I would not even consider it until he was 2 years old when he has established his own immune system. I did not take this decision lightly and agonised over it for months and still think about it.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE, you do not have to take your baby for jabs in the UK at the recommended 8 weeks old or at all if you do not want to. There is no rush, take your time, you can have them when ever you want or some are available separately via private GP's. You can do whatever you want, it is such an important decision that I cannot believe parents are not more readily encouraged to take their time to make informed decisions about injecting their babies with a cocktail of substances. We are worrying about whether our baby is eating an organic banana but we should be worrying about the antibiotics and other substances that are carried in the vaccines.

THERE ARE HOMEOPATHIC ALTERNATIVES. Which involve your child just taking drops which don't have all the carrier substances included in the conventional injections. Our homeopath recommended to give Oscar Tetnus (because we live in a rural area) and Polio (because some children of a certain age still carry the live vaccine which could potentially be passed on in a swimming pool) when he is older.

You can make up your own mind and work out which vaccines you may want for your child at the age you decide is best. As far as I can work out the doctors just offer all in one jabs, but seem to be flexible with the age you have them. They will try and push you into having them at the 8 week stage though for their own convenience and financial benefit.

FURTHER READING, I found the following references useful, some are more balanced than others:

Vaccinations, a thoughtful parent's guide by Aviva Jill Romm

The Vaccination Bible, The Real Risks They Don't Tell You About All The Major Vaccines edited by Lynne McTaggart (A What Doctors Don't Tell You publication)

Vaccinations Yes or No?, Helping you decide by Will and Lara Sussman

Homeopathic Alternatives to Immunisation, a guide for travellers and parents looking for an alternative to being immunised by Susan Curtis.
This is a really useful guide with homeopathic alternatives that you could have handy and administer yourself.

Informed Parent website
Provides information for parents who are looking into the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations.


Home birth is definitely recommended by me, I'm so glad I managed to give birth to my first son at home without any stress or interventions, it meant I could go at my own pace. I didn't have to worry about time at all or car journeys to hospital or negotiating with hospital staff about the status of the birth. I'm positive that this along with yoga and caulophyllum tablets meant that I had a very short and straight forward labour of 5 hours. Luckily I had the support of family and friends around me which made a real difference to my confidence and in resisting the pressure to go hospital, especially as my mum and sister both had all their children at home.

The Vitamin K injection offered after birth, you can get hold of Vitamin K in vitamin pill form from Health Food Shops if you do not want to have the injection, you do not have to have it.

The Homeopathic Birthing Kit is invaluable pre/during/post birth for you, your baby and your partner. Available from some Health Stores and, about £30.

I wouldn't be without the following remedies in birth:

Caulophyllum 200:
A homeopathic remedy used by many women giving birth to help speed up labour
Everyone I know who has used this has had a speedy birth.
Available from homeopaths, health food shops, or who sell homeopathic 'birthing kits' for all birthing issues and problems

Arnica 200:
This is widely used homeopathic remedy for shock and repair, much needed during and after birth

Rescue remedy:
Always useful for the mother and birthing partners at any time during the birth

Caulophyllum 200 - homeopathic remedy that lots of pregnant women use to bring on/speed up labour, most have reported just that after taking it, building up from one pill a day to one an hour!
Clary Sage oil - couple of drops in the bath, this is meant to be very powerful!
Raspberry leaf tea prepares the womb for labour, making labour easier
And the more common methods: eat pineapple, drink champagne, have sex, eat curry, bumpy car journey, long walks etc


Taking acidopholis pills seem to prevent colic in babies, again take it yourself and they get it via your milk, have worked with everyone I know who has done this

Drinking fennel tea promotes flow of breast milk


If I became pregnant again, I wouldn't be without the following tips and potions (all available from health food stores/quality supermarkets/internet):

Solgar multi vitamin for pregnancy, they are huge and expensive but jam packed full of high level high quality vitamins including folic acid.
Camomile tea to keep calm.
Fish oils in capsule form, eat oily fish.
Rescue remedy for times of stress.
Lots of water, figs and prunes for constipation.
Lecithin granules are meant to be good for the hormones, can be eaten with your cereal.

The following contain high levels of iron which really helps in pregnancy for you and the baby:
Nettle tea (loose is better, very high in iron, tastes a bit like and earthy green tea)
Floradix liquid (much superior to iron tablets which cause constipation, couldn't have done without it)
Apricots (very high in iron)
Porridge oats

High in calcium (you don't necessarily need to drink lots of milk):
Nettle tea
Sesame seeds

Raspberry leaf tea is a popular potion to take during the last 4 months of pregnancy to prepare the muscles for birth, I think it definitely makes a difference.

Morning sickness: Camomile tea, ginger

Conventional tea and coffee limit your absorption of iron.

Creams, so much is absorbed through your skin, I avoided using any commercial cream including ones that appeared to be chemical free as they still had things in them that I didn't trust, read the labels, I just oiled my skin with almond oil, you can also use olive oil or other oils, but any oil that I associated with cooking just make me feel sick!

Yoga, made all the difference to my strength/flexibility and ability to concentrate and keep calm in pregnancy and birth.

NCT, join the National Childbirth Trust and go to their antenatal classes to be really informed and feel totally ready for birth and the hospital environment if that is where you are giving birth, and you make friends! They also support home-birth and breastfeeding.

Recommended reading (all can be found on
Amazon books website cheaply) and websites:

Baby Centre website
Great online guide for looking up any questions you have about anything at all

The Complete Book of Pregnancy & Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger
This a great manual to pregnancy which leaves you feeling really informed and strong about the birth, or any book by the NCT [National Childbirth Trust] too

Natural Baby by Janet Balaskas
A brilliant guide that I used every day for tips on newborns health

Holistic Herbal for Mother and Baby by Kitty Campion
Some good remedies that you wouldn’t find anywhere else, might find yourself mixing up strange potions

New Active Birth by Janet Balaskas
Brilliant advice on preparation and positions for birth which is very important

The Family Guide to Homeopathy by Dr Andrew Lockie
Detailed guide to homeopathic remedies for every problem

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Thomas Bartram
I would never be without this herbal reference guide to everything, very detailed