My Top 5 Natural Baby Products

products

My little man suffers with a mild case of Eczema, he gets a few red patches on his legs and belly, but the rest of the time his skin can get quite dry all over. One of my biggest regrets so far was not being more careful what I put on his skin from day one, but once I realised that most of the big brand names would aggravate even adult skin I immediately started looking for natural products to use on my precious little monkey.

1. Coconut Oil – I’m well and truly obsessed with Coconut Oil, it’s so good for you and your baby. We use it all around the house now, from using it on LM’s skin, to help banish my post pregnancy stretch marks and even to roast vegetables for LM’s lunch. It’s great on babies bums for bouts of nappy rash, I have mixed a few drops of lavender oil into a jar of coconut oil for his nightly massage and I’ve even rubbed coconut oil onto his gums whilst he’s teething. The best coconut oil to buy is unrefined, raw, virgin and organic.

2. Burt’s Bees Shampoo and Baby Wash – I received a Baby Bee gift set at my baby shower and instantly fell in love with the amazingly scented products. At present I just use the Shampoo and Baby Wash as a little goes a long way and it is better value than the Baby Bath in that respect. I love nothing more than snuggling my little man up in a towel and sniffing his hair after its been washed with this.

3. Weleda Calendula Baby Lotion – Until I discovered this product I was using prescription Doublebase cream on LM when he had a bad flare up of his eczema, and although it worked wonders I was reluctant to keep applying liquid paraffin onto his skin. This lotion is 100% natural and smells lovely and it works to moisturise his stubborn dry areas just as well as the prescription cream.

Calendula Body Lotion 200ml

4. Weleda Calendula Baby Bath Cream – I like putting something in LM’s bath but it became apparent that although some of the gentler bath products that were great at soothing him before bed, they also aggravated his dry skin. We tried using nothing for a while but I wanted to find a natural alternative that would also soothe him after an excitable day. This bath cream fits the bill, it feels quite oily so I know that it is moisturising him rather than drying him out. It sits on top of the water slightly, and turns the water cloudy rather than bubbles. The Calendula soothes his skin and the scent and other natural ingredients help to calm him down after exciting pre-bedtime jumperooing.

5. Waitrose Bottom Butter – This stuff smells incredible!!! And its really versatile, great for soothing and protecting from nappy rash. I’ve also used it on his dry knees and ankles and it softens them up a treat. Also many women seem to have found that it works wonders when used as a face cream, plus for under £3 its a bargain.

Which natural products do you use on your little ones? Are there any remedies that you swear by for eczema or sensitive skin?

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To Spoonfeed or Not to Spoonfeed?!?

Little Man is now nearly 6 months old! It’s going terrifyingly quickly but I’m learning quickly… as soon as you’ve got one thing figured out something else comes along! For us this is now the minefield of weaning.

After a lot of procrastination and stressing we have finally decided to do a combination of the two main methods, baby led and traditional weaning, mainly as it is going to fit into our lives easier that way, my husband works shifts and we can’t always guarantee we could eat together, we don’t always cook fresh each night and sometimes (between me and you) I’m just plain lazy if I’m on my own.

At the moment the plan is to spoon feed little man his breakfast which at the moment is mashed banana but as of next week will be porridge and then let him feed himself for lunch and dinner with occasional mashed veg if we are in a rush or at a friends house where the mess and time elements of BLW are more of an issue. I know this goes against how a lot of people do BLW but to be honest it’s going to work for us and although it’s taken me a while to accept mixing both, as long as it works for us, that is all that matters. Also I think it’s important to remember that spoon feeding and force feeding are two different things, once little man lets me know he has had enough, I stop.

I’ve struggled a lot making decisions about weaning and I’ve realised that a lot of my struggles with making a decision comes down to feelings I still have about deciding to bottle feed little man, it’s the next big decision that directly effects his health and well being and deep down I still have the guilt that many bottle feeding mamas feel about not being able to feed their baby, even though I know stopping was the right decision for us and helped me keep my sanity, so I have been over thinking it and worrying about making the wrong decision again. I also find it hasn’t helped that a lot of opinions are quite polarised so it is difficult to find advice on combining methods in a way that works for you as an individual family, it also seems BLW is a natural step on from breastfeeding, and as such much of the advice is based around a breastfeeding baby. Because of this I found the incredibly useful book Weaning Made Easy by Rana Conway, it is a non biased look at both approaches, pros and cons of each and also a guide to combining the two in a way that suits you, and although much of it is common sense I found that it made me feel less crazy for obsessing and struggling so much with the decision to combine self feeding and baby led.

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So far he seems to be enjoying both methods, he is definitely hungry so I’m glad I’m feeding him one meal so I know he’s actually getting something (I know he doesn’t need a lot but he definitely wants something), but I’m enjoying watching him discover food during lunch and dinner. We started him slightly early as he’s been sat up on his own for a few weeks and he seemed ready, so, so far he’s only had veg & fruit – banana (mashed and split in half), avocado, steamed carrots and roasted and mashed sweet potato, I think the carrots have been his favourite as they hold their shape long enough for him to have a good gum. Although I haven’t yet made a puree, I did spoon feed him some mashed sweet potato tonight, whilst also letting him go crazy with his hands on a ball of it, I think i will mash rather than puree when I do use this method so that he still has to chew the lumps and won’t just get used to swallowing, but I do plan on making some fruit purees to mix in with his porridge and eventually, yoghurt.

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I am looking forward to him turning 6 months next week and being able to branch out to meals other than veg & fruit. Stay tuned as I hope to share some of our favourite food discoveries.

Please share any favourite recipes or tips and feel free to discuss any struggles you’ve had deciding on the best way to wean your little one.

My newest obsession…..

Isaac feet

Isaac arrived on the 13th August and the last 3 weeks have been a whirlwind of getting to know him and getting to grips with this whole parenting/baby care thing. The one thing that has become clear is that nothing will ever go according to plan again, and as someone highly reliant on plans it has been a bit of a shock.

From the outset plans fell by the wayside, even 12 hours into labor when at only 2cm dilated I decided to have an epidural, which was way down on my birth plan preferences, or when 22 hours into labor and after pushing for 2 hours I let the doctor use forceps to make sure Isaac could come into the world a little quicker, even though I’d been quite adamant that no forceps or ventouse should come anywhere near me. Throughout my pregnancy I’d been quite relaxed about labor, I planned an active birth in my hospitals birth center and was looking forward to using all of the birth balls and pools and using minimal pain relief, but had been worried that when the time came I wouldn’t be able to manage my expectations should an emergency situation arise or should my pain threshold be much lower than I thought (on this point I wasn’t wrong to worry!) and I’m happy to say that although my labor was far from the one I’d hoped for, including having to mentally accept the need for a c-section during a eventually unnecessary rush to theater, when they lost Isaacs trace for 6 minutes, I don’t beat myself up for taking the epidural and for not being able to push him all the way out myself, it’s what needed to happen in order for his safe arrival and at the end of the day, that was all that mattered.

Next time one of my friends is expecting, the one piece of advice I would give them is not to fret too much about their birth plan as baby might have other ideas, and for them to certainly not beat themselves up about not being able to deliver exactly as they would like, what advice would you give to expectant mums based on your birth experience?

Bubs My Neighbor Totoro Nursery

As mentioned in a previous post, it was decided very early on that regardless of bubs gender we wanted a My Neighbor Totoro themed nursery, its one of my favourite animated movies and I loved the idea of filling the room with Totoros, toadstools and other woodland wonders.

As we rent our house (and lack artistic ability) a full wall style murial like this amazing Ghibli themed room was out of the question

We decided to use something more like this as our inspiration, using wall decals that we can easily take with us should we move.

Even though we rent, I wanted the room to be colourful so we have painted it with Dulux Melon Sorbet, originally I wanted a pale sagey green for the walls and this is slightly brighter but I love it now as its much brighter for my little one and feels like more of a childs room.

After a lot of hard work and a few lengthy projects the outcome was this:

We brought the large colour Totoro wall decal on Etsy, I made the patchwork blanket using Totoro fabric found on Spoonflower, my Gran helped to make Bub’s one of a kind Totoro Amigurumi mobile, and we painted Ikea Spice Racks with satin paint to create forward facing bookshelves.

We made the Tree shelving ourselves.

We also made the shelving unit above the changer, and we printed soot sprites on to vinyl decal paper ourselves and stuck them up in the corner of the room.

We are so happy with the outcome, its perhaps not as Totoro heavy as I’d have liked but living in the UK options are limited without paying large shipping costs from Japan, but hopefully over time we can add a few more bits and bobs that come up on Ebay or Etsy.

All the room needs now is for its new resident to make his appearance, hurry up Bub, we are so ready to meet you!!!

You can see all of my posts about creating Bub’s Totoro Nursery here!

Pinspiration Post No.3 – DIY Nursery Shelves

With the nursery painted and furniture built, it is finally taking shape which is great, but we still have a lot of finishing touches to put on and I’m not going to be able to completely relax until it is done and all ready for our little guy.

One thing became clear once all the furniture was in place and that was that we needed some shelves above the changer, there’s loads of storage in the drawers but the changer top is just big enough to hold a changing mat so I thought somewhere to keep the lotion etc to hand would be great, as well as providing a bit more space for stuffed toys and photo frames and bits and bobs to go. So I hit Pinterest and found this beautiful nursery and some gorgeous shelves that I wanted all for my own.

My husband has recently got into DIY and after building a beautiful coat rack, upcycling an old dresser and making an amazing Tree Bookcase for the nursery, he has got the bug and has been waiting for me to let him know what his next nursery project is, so I showed him this picture, and he got to work….very quickly…which is unlike him 🙂

We had some MDF offcuts left over from the wood cut for the big nursery project, this bookcase, so he got to work cutting that all down to size, and then assembled it using screws.

As I wanted to use the shelves for practical items along with decorative ones, I asked if he could just make it with two larger sections rather than 4 basket sized ones, a look I would love for our dining room but one that in this case wasn’t so practical. Once it was all assembled he applied a coat of MDF Primer, and then headed off for a week of work.

With not much work or things to do around the house this week, I decided that although those lovely little wooden hooks look great in the photo, maybe I could do something that will fit in with the Totoro/Forest theme of Bub’s room, and that’s when I decided to make him some toadstool hooks, all by myself, with no help from Pinterest!

We found some 25mm wooden handles in Wilkinsons for a bargain £2.99, I then sanded them down a little, before priming them and giving them a coat of the white paint that the rest of the shelves will be painted with.

Then I brought a tester pot of Red paint, and painted the tops of the handles red, I gave them a couple coats of this until the red was nice and even, then armed with a tiny paintbrush, I blobbed (technical term!) on some white dots and was done.

So that is my contribution to this project, back to my better halves…

A few coats of paint later, my hooks were screwed onto the shelves, and the shelf was attached to the wall using two wooden blocks that were first attached to the wall and painted the same colour as the walls:

Add a few changing essentials, some fluffly toys and our DIY shelves are complete!

Bub’s Roomate Totoro: Amigurumi Totoro Mobile

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but that doesn’t mean my obsession with preparing for Bub’s arrival has stopped, there are just several large projects all on the go at them moment, the main one being getting the nursery sorted, but I did this week manage to finally finish one element of the room, Bub’s My Neighbor Totoro Amigurumi Mobile.

I’d seen several examples of a crocheted Totoro mobile online and instantly fell in love with the idea, but not with the cost, this amazing one goes on Etsy for over £50, and when you add on the shipping to get it to the UK it was just simply too much for us to spend on a mobile.

Crochet Totoro Nursery Mobile (Made-To-Order) CustomizableDisheartened I showed it to my Gran while discussing her various knitting projects that started as soon as she found out we were expecting (she is really incredible and has knitted us so many lovely bits for Bub), after a few minutes of looking bemused while I explained exactly what Totoro was and why we wanted this rather than just say ”Winnie the Pooh” she said that if I could find her some patterns she’d happily give one a go.

I managed to find some amazing free amigurumi patterns online (listed below) and emailed them over to my Gran and sent down some wool I’d picked out, a few days later when ringing to talk her through the patterns, she informed me she was done (like I said…she’s incredible!) not only that but she’s fallen in love with amigurumi and has been out and brought a book so she can make Bub some more Japanese influenced cuddly critters. A few days later I received a box full of Totoros and foresty goodies in the post!

Finally after a few months of figuring out how to put it all together and how we would hang it over the cot, I by chance came across my old mobile in my mums loft this was the result:

I’m so chuffed with the outcome and after cleaning up my old mobile, removing the old sticker on the music box and replacing it with my own, printed onto Vinyl paper and wrapping the arm in green wool to cover up the evidence of age I couldn’t clear up with soap and sandpaper, I had the brainwave to wrap the wooden top of the mobile in wool also, up to that point they had been connected by a large crocheted ball similar to the Etsy example, I’m much happier with how it looks now, as it meant that I could hide the wool attachments, where as before the wool had simply been wrapped around the wood and looked somewhat messy.

So that’s one thing crossed of the never ending list of things to do for Bub’s room, we are getting there, slowly but surely and with only 6 weeks left we need to get a move on. I can’t wait to share the finished room with you all.

Amigurumi patterns used for mobile:

White Chibi Totoro: http://lucyravenscar.blogspot.fr/2012/04/all-totoros.html (Gran also made the smaller blue pattern, but it was too big for the mobile)

Totoro: http://www.amigurumitogo.com/2012/12/large-grey-totoro.html

All of the rest my Gran did from looking at pictures of crocheted raindrops, toadstools, trees and acorns and for the Soot Sprite I just asked her to do a black sphere similar to the colored ones she’d already done and add some eyes, there is also a marble inside of him to help counteract the weight of Totoro.

Pop Pop gets a treat??

I’ve not had much time to be too crafty this last week or so as we have made a start on Bubs nursery and I’ve been busy with visitors and work, but I did take some time out on Sunday, to enjoy some of my biggest obsession…TV.

As a massive Arrested Development fan I was incredibly excited for Sunday to finally come around so we got 15 new episodes on Netflix. My brother was visiting and our best friend came over to join in on what was planned as a 7.5 hour marathon to devour the new series in one go. So I decided to make a few show based snacks to enjoy throughout the episodes.

First up were Bluth bananas, 10c gets you nuts!:

 10c gets you nuts

Next I made this awesome Cornball recipe, that I found on The Food In My Beard; a great blog with lots of AD themed recipes, they were really yummy and we dipped them in ketchup and sour cream & chive dip, we learnt that the old saying ”every damn time!” really does apply when deep frying these, even without the Cornballer!

Every damn time!And we followed them up with Ice Cream Sandwiches….or the closest thing we could find to Ice Cream Sandwiches in the UK.

No Touching!!I wish that more of our friends loved Arrested Development so we could have made a bigger deal out of it and thrown in some Juice Boxes, Jellybeans, Mayoneggs and Hot Ham Water but unfortunately it was just the four of us. Some of the pictures on Instagram tagged #BluthParty really are amazing and some people went all out whilst welcoming our favourite family The Bluths back with open arms!

We started late due to getting bit in the nursery done and only managed 10 episodes in one go (what more do you want from me I’m 29 weeks pregnant!) but I wasn’t the only one flagging and after deciding that the episodes deserved our full attention, we awoke fresh and ready Monday morning and finished off the last 5, we all loved it and I can’t wait to watch it all over again!

Did you have a Bluth Party? Share your themed snacks and costumes!

My Neighbor Totoro Patchwork Baby Blanket

As soon as we started trying to get pregnant, it was decided that whether Boy or GIrl, our Nursery theme would be My Neighbor Totoro. It’s one of my favourite animated films and I love the idea of nature being important to my little one, so the opportunity to make a nice foresty themed Totoro nursery where Totoro could possibly be joined by a range of woodland animals, seemed perfect.

As I planned and pinned away my inspirations for Bubs room, it became apparent that being in the UK, choosing a Japanese theme may not be the most convenient and cost effective choice…however, my Gran had already crocheted an amazing Totoro mobile for us (post coming soon) and I really did love the idea, so I decided I would just have to use some workarounds.

So when I found this amazing Totoro print fabric on Spoonflower and discovered that they only charge $2 for postage to the UK, it was decided, instead of spending a lot of money importing a blanket from Japan, I was going to make him a one of a kind, patchwork Totoro blanket with my own two hands…..once I found a way to cut the fabric to size and sew the blanket seeing as it had been 12 years since I last touched a sewing machine.

I checked out Pinterest for inspiration and tutorials suitable for a beginner, my post on my inspirations can be found here and as mentioned in that post the tutorial I ended up following is this one. And also sourced the rest of my fabric:

This cute one from frumble.co.uk

Aloe

and this plain fabric from plushaddict.co.uk

One of my best friends is an avid sewer so I recruited her, along with her rotary cutter, mat and ruler and we spent an afternoon cutting all the fabrics to 5”x5” squares, then I borrowed my Nan’s ”vintage” (read super old!) sewing machine, laid out my squares in the right order, took a picture to follow and got to work following the steps of the tutorial.

           Blanket LayoutPiecing the strips together

My blanket is 5 squares by 8 squares, so about 40”x25” give or take a bit due to my inexperience at sewing seams of the same width, my squares don’t line up perfectly and sewing the strips together got messy, but I don’t care as once it was all put together, it looked great and I was super chuffed with myself, it only took me a few hours and I was eager to find some backing material so that I could finish it off.

Fabric completed

I decided to get a fleece throw from Tesco for the backing material and found one that was the perfect colour, I cut it down to size, pinned it; right sides together, to my patchwork and got to work sewing a 1/4” (ish) seam, leaving one corner open so I could turn it right way out.

All backedThen after practicing my top stitch on a blanket of less importance, I pinned the corner opening, ironed the blanket and finished the blanket up with a top stitch.

I am so happy with the way this turned out as it was my first sewing project in years, and I have developed a new obsession with patchwork blankets and next plan on turning all my old gig shirts into a rag t-shirt quilt before starting work on another blanket for bub. I have my eye on this adorable Soot Sprite print fabric, just need to find some other fabrics to go with it.

We are starting the Nursery this weekend, so stay tuned for a before/after style post and also that post about the amazing crocheted mobile that my Gran made for us…here’s a sneak peek.

Totoro & Chibi-TotoroPattern sourced here.

Patchwork Pinspiration: 5 Patchwork Quilts on Pinterest that inspired me to give it a go!

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So that My Neighbor Totoro Patchwork Baby Blanket post is coming! But in preparation I thought I would share 5 of the Patchwork Quilts I came across on Pinterest that inspired me to give it a go as my first big sewing machine project.

1. One of many beautiful patchwork quilts made by Gemma and featured on her blog. Amazing that the first one was completed by hand, I don’t think I have the patience for that, but some of the lovely details added to her blankets make me wish I did.

http://gemmaslittlebubble.wordpress.com/patchwork/

2. This gorgeous Yellow & Grey Elephant Blanket from LittleNecessities on Etsy

ORGANIC modern patchwork baby blanket- elephants and dots- ready to ship

http://www.etsy.com/listing/106044772/organic-modern-patchwork-baby-blanket

3. This bright and cosy looking blanket from KBExquisites on Etsy.

Modern Owls Patchwork Baby Crib  Blanket 32 x 32 MADE TO ORDER

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/151285072/modern-owls-patchwork-baby-crib-blanket?

4. More Elephants from GiggleSixBaby on Etsy

Custom baby bedding - Grey and Aqua 4

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/117016303/custom-baby-bedding-grey-and-aqua-4?

5. And finally the tutorial I followed for my patchwork quilt. The steps were nice and clear and the only thing I changed was using fleece for my backing rather than Minky Dots fabric, although seeing how cosy the blankets above look when made with Minky Dots I think I will treat Bub once I’ve gathered enough patchwork fabric for the next blanket I make for him.

How to make an easy baby quilt

http://crazylittleprojects.com/2013/01/easy-baby-blanket.html

What has Pinterest inspired you to give a go?