Wednesday, 29 July 2009

MCNs and newborns

A lot of people find nappying a newborn rather daunting, and think maybe they should wait till they're older. With my daughter, who was born weighing only 2.7kg, I found that MCNs were fine with her. Here is my guide to nappies I used for a newborn, for anyone who would like some advice on what to use.

Personally I liked fitteds and covers as the best leak protection, but AIOs were not bad either. Pictures courtesy of Darlings Down Under, The Weewuns, Cherubs Kiss, Babybeehinds, Cute Tooshies and Bubblebubs.

Kissaluvs Contours

You can get these from $14 at DDU
Not very absorbent but good enough for a newborn and quite cheap. You can use them as pocket stuffers later! I used snappis on mine but you can just lay them inside a cover.

Kissaluvs Size 0

These are fantastic nappies! They fit well, my daughter wore them till she was almost 6 months old (needed boosting then). They have a snapdown bit for the umbilical cord at birth too. I bought mine from ebay but you can get them at DDU for $22.50.

Swaddlebees OV Newborn

Great nappies and fit really well but my daughter outgrew them at about 6 weeks. Also have an umblical snap down bit. You can get these from Weewuns for $25.95. I bought mine from ebay, and I resold them on Buyforbaby so I got most of my money back from these! Great resale value.

Bubblebubs AIO

Don't need a cover so great for carers! I bought a couple from Ebay but also got some new. I used smalls and they lasted well until 8 months. I don't think I used them until she was about 2 weeks though. New ones are $27.95. Heaps of different colours and tab designs!

CK Raphaels

My husband's favourite fitted nappies. You can get a pack of 3 for $33. Used from newborn until she was about 5 months. I even managed to sell them afterwards! The velcro makes changing quick and easy.

SHP Lushies and Daysies

Haven't used these yet on a newborn but I love SHP stuff! I have a few of their night nappies and some of these. My daughter could wear them at 13 months still (and they're supposed to fit newborns!). I got mine as a bargain at $10 each but you can get bamboo ones from $16 each, discounted if you buy more.

Cute Tooshies OSFM

These side snapping nappies are so lush and soft! I bought a starter pack of these and then I got some on super special (seconds) so I have heaps! Don't have a stay dry layer so might need a fleecy liner. Buy new for $25.95 with discounts for bulk buys. They'd probably fit up to TT (and start at 1 month)

Baby beehinds Bamboo OSFM

One of the most popular fitted nappies in the Autralian market. These fit my daughter from about 1 month and will probably fit until she's toilet trained! Great value for money. Retail for $25 each but you can get bulk discounts (and you can always find heaps on ebay too!)

PUL covers

I used Bummis and Baby beehinds covers. And smalls last for ages! I did have 2 NB sizes which lasted about 2-3 months, and then smalls I used until she was almost 1.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Solar Eclipse Chasing

Ever since my husband and I went to see the Solar Eclipse in South Australia in 2002, we thought it would have been cool to go eclipse chasing to see Solar Eclipses every couple of years. We went to Turkey in 2006 to see the Solar Eclipse and that was a great holiday. The next one which we would have liked to have seen was the 2009 India/China solar eclipse which was the longest solar eclipse of the century.

This video is from Woomera, SA in 2002 (in fast forward) that I took (and had a blooper! Forgot to take the solar filter off when there was totality). Totality was short, a bit less than 30 seconds but it was low on the horizon and being in the desert, we had a fantastic cloudless sky.

This photo was taken on a beach near Side in Turkey 2006. A bit blurry but it you can get the feel of what it was like to be there! Weather was fantastic, we were very lucky that time! Side itself was packed with NASA people and lots of buses, as there was a huge party planned there. There was a temple of Apollo in Side which would have made it a really cool place to take a picture of a solar eclipse... but the crowds were unbelievable!

The beach we were at had hardly any people though everyone there was eclipse chasing, with their telescopes, cameras and Solar shades!

Our next Eclipse that we plan to go to will be in Australia again! On November 13 2012, at about 6:39am there will be totality over Northern Queensland for about 2 minutes and 4 seconds. This picture is from Hermit Eclipse.
Unfortunately it will be the wet season, with the average rainy days in Cairns for November at 10, and average cloudy days at 7.5, so we might get lucky, or we might not.

Now where should we stay? Port Douglas or Cairns? Fortunately there are a multitude of places to stay at those places, so I've put a couple down here so I can remind myself closer in the future.

Port Douglas

Sheraton Mirage Resort
My husband stayed here at a conference. They have villas for apartment style living with lots of luxury features. Prices start from $330 per night for 2 double bed in one room.

Mantra Heritage Apartments
A 2 bedroom suite goes for about $320, and looks nice and comfy with all the usual resort style features. Located on 16 Warner Street. A little pricey in my opinion though.

Cayman Villas Apartments
This looks like a more affordable place. 2 bedroom apartments go for $240 a night and they have discounts for longer stays. Located at 35 Mowbray Street.


Cairns Queenslander Apartments
Cute and tidy looking, these 2 bedroom apartments are $168 per night. Located at 268 Lake Street.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Antarctica trip

Well getting pregnant again has totally stuffed up my plans for Antarctica trip this year. I was going to go in December but since baby is due in November... I don't think so!

Guess I'll have to go next year, though I did notice on the website that this year's journey (Heritage Expeditions) is cancelled. So maybe that's a good thing for me!

I'm mainly concerned with Emperor penguins and birding, so I really like the Heritage one. Though there are some that have flights to a Emperor penguin rookery which I think is really cool, perhaps I'll make 2 trips, one to the Antarctic for Emperor penguins, and maybe one to the Subantarctic islands to see other penguins and pelagic species.

The trip I had planned was with Heritage Expeditions, a NZ company.

Overview of "In the Footsteps of Sir Douglas Mawson":

Encouraged by the success of the 1908/09 Nimrod Expedition, and in particular his successful trip to the South Magnetic Pole, Douglas Mawson planned to lead his own expedition to explore the Antarctic coastline directly south of Australia. The Australasian Antarctic Expedition sailed from Hobart on 2nd December 1911.
The Expedition made a brief stop at Macquarie Island to establish a radio base and then continued south making landfall at Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay. Unbeknown to Mawson and his men they had discovered the windiest place on the planet, renowned as the ‘home of the blizzard’. Tragedy struck the expedition when Ninnis and Mertz died. Mawson cheated death on more than one occasion and had to spend another winter because he arrived back after their relief ship had sailed. We hope for weather that will allow us to land at Cape Dennison to visit and photograph Mawson’s Hut and enjoy the beauty of this seldom visited part of Antarctica.
The French maintain a base west of Commonwealth Bay near the spot where the French Explorer Dumont d’Urville landed in January 1840.

Quark expeditions also has one that goes from Argentina to NZ, which also goes to Hobart in the future!

Here is the map of their journey:
Epic Antarctica: via the Phantom coast and Ross Sea
Expedition Summary
Day 1 Overnight Argentina
Day 2 Embarkation Day
Day 3-5 Drake Passage and South Shetland Islands.
Day 6-8 The Antarctic Peninsula
Day 9-10 The Phantom Coast.
Day 11-16 The Amundsen Sea
Day 17-18 Ross Ice Shelf.
Day 19-21 Ross Island and McMurdo Sound
Day 22-24 The Ross Sea and Cape Royds.
Day 25-28 Southern Ocean and Campbell Island
Day 29-31 Enderby Island to Lyttelton, New Zealand.

There are Quark expeditions for just Emperor penguins:

Emperor penguins: Snow Hill Island Safari

Expedition Summary
Day 1 Ushuaia
Day 2 Embarkation
Day 3-4 The Drake Passage
Day 5-7 Wildlife Viewing
Day 8-11 Antarctic Peninsula
Day 12-14 Drake Passage

You get to spend 3 days at the rookery! And hopefully get to see some Gentoo, Adelie and Chinstraps as well.

Emperors and Kings: Snow Hill and South Georgia

Expedition Summary
Day 1 Ushuaia
Day 2 Embarkation
Day 3-4 The Drake Passage
Day 5 South Shetland Islands
Day 6-8 Emperor Penguin rookery
Day 9-11 South Orkney Islands and Southern Ocean
Day 12-16 South Georgia
Day 17-18 At sea
Day 19-20 Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Day 21 Fly to Santiago to spend the night
Day 22 Home

Of course, one needs LOTS of money for these sorts of trips! We're talking minimum US$15k per person here! Can you imagine blowing the cost of a car on a holiday?

Saturday, 25 July 2009

How I wish I could be more Green

In this age of eco friendly, carbon neutral, recycle and reuse, there are so many things I wish I could be doing. Unfortunately though, when you're married your partner has to be in on them too!

I would love to install solar panels. The cost of it doesn't really worry me, but my husband refuses to buy them because they're not value for money. Sometimes I think, shouldn't we all be doing our bit for the environment? Despite the cost? Before June 2009, you could get $8000 back in rebates for installing a solar energy system under the SHCP (Solar home and communities plan). But the government dumped that and is in the process of replacing it with solar credits. Which is good because that is not means tested (the original one was). So I would love to get a 1.5kW system on my roof - but that would cost me about $16-17K. That's not including rebates. Or any money I would get from putting energy back into the grid.

At the moment this is a very energy inefficient household. We use about 21-27kWh per day, and the average house uses 16kWh. There are a number of things which contribute to this!
  • Computers - our computers are on A LOT. I love my computer. I do run 2 LCD monitors off mine and my husband has his one as well.
  • Ducted air conditioning - though we did our best to buy what we thought to be the most energy efficient on the market (Advantage Air) it still uses a lot of energy. And we spend a lot of time warming/cooling the house because of the baby, so she doesn't get too hot or cold.
  • Halogens - this house is FULL of halogen lights. They're in the bathrooms, kitchen, hallways.
I don't know much about gardening and things. I should invest in a worm farm or a compost bin, but getting my husband to put food scraps into it may be a bit of an issue! This is one area I'll be looking into later when I have more time. These are the things I'm going to investigate at a later stage:

Gee we generate lots of rubbish. I do try and recycle as much as I can, but I'm sure I could do more. I threw out a chocolate box yesterday because it didn't have the recycling symbol on it and my husband scolded me, saying "You want to be environmentally friendly? You don't even recycle!" I don't want to try to recycle things which aren't recyclable, that makes more work for the people at the recycling place!

Water recycling
It would be nice to get laundry and other grey water back into the garden. But I hardly water my garden and the raintank outside takes care of that anyway so I don't think that it's really needed at this stage. Perhaps when I get a bigger house. We already have water efficient things all through the house - shower heads, toilets, front loading washing machine.

Growing your own vegetables
Now this would probably make a tiny difference in my carbon footprint! Think of all the transport of produce I would save... and not to mention home grown stuff! At the moment I only have herb type things such as coriander, chilli, lemongrass, kaffir lime, chives. But other things I would love to plant would include basil, lemons, tomatoes and sugar snap peas!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Cloth Nappies

People often wonder why I use cloth nappies. The funny thing is people still think that cloth nappies are terry squares that you fold and pin and need lots and lots of work...

But that's not the case at all!

I can't remember how I started, but when I was pregnant with my first child, I came across reusable nappies and thought I think I'd like to give that a try. I did lots of research and read lots of articles and lots of posts in forums such as Nappycino and BubHub, and talked to my husband about it and he seemed happy to give them a try. I swore that I would do all the work for them, because I knew deep down that if it was hard work then he wouldn't be interested in it at all and go to disposables.

Why don't I want to use disposables?
Disposables are convenient, inexpensive (per nappy), and make cleanups a breeze. Why don't I want to use them? The reason that I don't want to use disposables is because I abhor the amount of rubbish that it creates. All that plastic... just thrown into landfill, sitting there for years and years. True they probably keep you drier than cloth nappies, which may help with nappy rash, but do we go around all day wearing disposable undies? Eeew NO! I love the feel of cotton undies thank you! And I'm sure babies like to wear woven material against their skin too.

What a waste of water!
I get this comment ALL the time from people! They tell me how bad I am for the environment and so on, wasting water, polluting the waterways blah blah blah! But, I look at my water bill and my family uses less than 250L a day, and that's with a small house and garden, with me and my husband and daughter and our cloth nappies! I challenge anyone to try and beat that when they do a load of nappies every second day! And I use Earth Choice laundry powder in my front loader.

Here are some facts about disposables I bet people didn't know!
  • Between USA, Australia, and the UK, we dispose of 60 million Disposable nappies a day. That’s a huge amount of wasted plastic and human excrement entering our landfills and possibly water tables. Human waste is best dealt with using sewerage systems which are built to deal with this sort of pollution.
  • Landbank Consultancy concluded that disposable diapers create 2.3 times as much water waste, use 3.5 times as much energy, use 8.3 times the non-regenerable raw materials, use 90 times the renewable raw materials and 4 to 30 times as much land for growing raw materials.
  • 1 billion trees per year are destroyed to make disposable diapers---approximately 4.5 for each baby who uses them.
  • It takes 1 cup of crude oil to make the plastic for 1 disposable diaper.
  • Disposable diapers contain chemicals that were banned in the 1980s in women's tampons, but continue to be used today to improve absorbency in children's diapers.
  • 18 billion disposable diapers are used in the U.S. each year - enough to stretch to the moon and back 9 times

Here is a link to Sydney Water's water efficient households page:

You mean cloth nappies aren't white squares?? What are they then?

Well! Where do I start!
Modern cloth nappies are what savvy cloth nappy users are using these days. These nappies are made of materials such as bamboo and hemp, which are more absorbent than cotton, and claim to have some antibacterial properties as well. And to keep baby's bot bot dry, you can line them with microfleece or suedecloth to keep a stay dry layer against their skin to avoid nappy rash and sogginess.
But of course cloth leaks through to the other side, so you can also buy special covers in pretty patterns to cover your nappies with so you don't get wet clothes OR you can get special nappies which have a PUL liner against the outside so that wetness doesnt seep through.
And to make them nice on the OUTSIDE, you can have fancy quilting cottons on the outside of the nappy, or you can have minky or fancy fleece, or you can have them embroidered with patterns or your babies' name!

Still confused? Here are some pictures of MCNs so you can see what I mean!

This was a custom order made by Kristy from Bundles of Buns for my daughter. Embroidered minky YUM! Unfortunately she doesn't do customs anymore I feel lucky I managed to nab some!

These are made by Michelle at Sustainable Hemp Products - newborn size! I have a few (not of this print but it's a gorgeous print nappy!) of her newborn ones for my next baby.

Blueberry one size pocket nappies are my favourite nappy!

For all that you could ever want to know about modern cloth nappies these links are great: