How Motherhood Has Changed Me

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Once carefree and even a bit of a thrillseeker, I now settle for Netflix, a nice cup of tea (three sugars; sue me) and if I’m feeling naughty, a bar of chocolate. High octane stuff!

I am happy if I can get my first coat of nail paint on and dry without smudging and I feel extremely grateful if I can manage to get my eyebrows threaded once every two months.

Once an insatiable, irresistable sex machine – OK , that hasn’t changed! (If-I-could-just-get-this-baby-back-to-sleep-and-stop-the-dogs-barking…)

Jokes aside, motherhood has changed me twice-over, I think.

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Stepmother First

For those who don’t know, motherhood came to me in two instalments: I became a mother to my stepchildren seven years ago at the age of 22. This made me realise my strengths, my ability to love unconditionally and to empathise, with patience.

Giving Birth

Six year later, I gave birth to a lovely little brown baby in our home on our sofa. The hormones, the rush you feel within you, the overwhelming love that you feel all over your body – even eyelids – is indescribable.

Self-Reflective

What’s changed over the years in which I’ve had both of these experiences and seen my life change so much? I think, to start with, that I have become more self-reflective and learned to see my weaknesses and mistakes. I have grown the strength to acknowledge them and own them: I strive to raise children that will become kind, loving and caring grown ups and to be able to achieve that I have to try to embody that myself and walk that talk too.

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Improved Relationship With My Stepchildren

Motherhood has changed the way I interact with my stepchildren. I have a new-found empathy for their loss ( i.e estranged mum). Giving birth brings out a special instinct to care, protect and nurture your baby and I think that that has extended to my bigger two as well. I feel less of a caretaker and more real mother to them than ever.

Holy Cow!

I have always been an animal lover. There is no doubt about it. But I did not have the empathy I have for animals now. I always saw ‘Mother Cow’ as a holy cow in the Indian sense for its bounty to us, but not as a mother to a calf. Now as a breastfeeding mother, I can never consume dairy from another species and neither do I want my children to…

Relaxed Person

I used to get very agitated when things did not go my way and I used to get frustrated with my big kids when they rebelled. But since giving birth, I can see there is no reasoning with a rebelling toddler and no amount of frustration from within me achieves any peace. So I have become far more relaxed about rebellious behaviour from all my children now. I am more tolerant and I try to see the upset in them than how it upsets me.

Social Justice: Theory To Practice

Before having children, I was a silent observer and opponent of misogyny, racism, child sexual abuse, body shaming etc. Now realising how vulnerable my little ones are to the social issues that exist in our world I try to much more actively to speak up against these issues and advocate awareness of them.

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Slow Living

I love practicing life as per my child’s pace (work in progress though). This is also why I also chose to homeschool this year. That way I do not have to tear them away from their play, reading, woodwork or whatever that is keeping them engaged.

Be Kind (to yourself)

I have also become very aware of how important I am. My baby depends on me for his sustenance, now that is something! My big children depend on me for their emotional needs, their basic needs etc. I can only provide everyone with kindness if I look after myself and I am kind to myself first.

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I cannot just be carefree and go sky-diving! It is not that I have become boring, I am aware that my life has more meaning. It has meaning for the ones I have chosen to bring into this world and raise! In Motherhood, I have in many ways completely lost the me I was before it; but I have found a new me. A better version of me that is more grown up, non-judgemental, kinder and more conscious than ever before.

I like to think I still have a naughty streak left though. It’s just… “Your socks? In the top drawer!” “No I don’t know where the car keys are!” “Put that down please!” “Did someone say ‘foot massage’?”

 

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P.S: This post is a part of a Mums and Babies blog train organised by Pooja Kawatra where 41 mothers from all over the world have come together to write together. Do read her blog post on ‘How Motherhood Had Changed Me’.

IMG-20170922-WA0004Tomorrow Nayantara from Mumbai will be sharing her thoughts on motherhood. Nayantara talks about her journey “Mommying” her son babyT at MommyingbabyT. She has been blogging for over a year and loves talking about all the fun while breastfeeding, cloth diapering and babywearing lil T. She says her life changed when she saw how beautifully nature intended the whole mothering process to be. A natural mama, who tries to be as less interventional as possible when it comes to raising her son she believes in letting nature take its course.

 

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Why We Chose Cloth Nappies?

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There are many good reasons why people choose to cloth nappy their babies. Ours was essentially environmental (also, I am a sucker for cute prints).

We, as a family try to be as conscious as possible when it comes to the environment and we try to incorporate a lot of cruelty free products into our lifestyle.

Infact, the very first thing I brought for the baby was a big stash of cloth nappies. I do not like the idea of something synthetic and plastic against my babies skin. So when I knew I had an option to cloth nappy my baby, it was a no brainer that I would go that route.

When I tell people that I cloth nappy my baby, I get a lot of questions. I will try and answer as many queries as I can think of, some queries were received by people and some made up by me to make sure we cover all the basis when it comes to cloth nappy-ing.

1.  Isn’t it a lot of work, washing and drying them?

Yes it is!

Unfortunately, we have ignored the eco-system for so long that, to be honest, we cannot afford the luxury of ignoring it anymore. In order to save our planet, we will have to go that extra mile. 

Honestly, it only seems like extra work because we live in a quick fix culture. Once you get a hang of things, you start incorporating the nappy wash into your routine and before you know it, it becomes less of a hassle. 

The rewards of not using plastic based nappies to the eco-system and our babies skin is so huge that the time consumption involved in cloth nappy washing seems miniscule. 

Aren’t cloth nappies expensive?

No. My baby is 12 months old and I might have spent a total of about £250 – £300 on nappies. Now it seems a lot at first but honestly it is not even a tenth of money you would  be spending if you were using disposables.

Also, these nappies only get more absorbent with use and last for a long time which means you could potentially use it for your next baby (s).

They also hold their resell value. After selling, if you tally your money, you would have spent much less than your initial investment. 

Won’t babies feel wet? 

Yes and No. 

Most cloth nappies have a top layer of microbire which prevents babies from feeling extremely wet and protects the skin from extreme dampness.

It does feel wetter than disposables if left unchanged for a long time. But it is this damp feeling that helps toddlers potty train themselves early. Babies in disposables are much harder to potty train because it keeps them dry and comfortable for so long.

How often do you change nappies?

You don’t have to change nappies as often when they are babies unless ofcourse they are heavy wetters. But as they grow older, you need to change them ever 2-3 hours just like disposables. 

How do you clean poo-ey nappy? Isn’t that gross?

Yes, they are vile!

But when they are a newborn and are exclusively fed on milk, their poo is water soluble, so they can go in the same wash as the pee nappies. 

When they get older and start solids, that’s when things get dirty and muckier. In my experience, the easiest thing to do is to put a biodegradable nappy liner that catches all the poo. They can be disposed off easily. If you do catch some poo in the nappy, the microbire is such that you can, in most cases simply flick it in the toilet and the poo comes off, if not a bit of jet spray and job done!

How to get rid of stains?

Sun them out or let it rain! After you have washed the nappies just dry them outdoors, the sun has magical powers. Even on a grey day, it usually works. I sometimes let it get rained on and then leave them to dry as the weather settles a bit. I haven’t had to try anything else. 

Be careful what detergent you use. No liquids or bio detergents. Also, stay away from stain removers. They totally ruin the shelf life of your nappies.

Don’t they take ages to dry?

Cloth nappies come in different materials. Microbires and cotton for example don’t take very long to dry but bamboo takes longer to dry. 

They recommend not to tumble dry your nappies but if you are in a cold country like I am, I would recommend investing in an electric air-dryer. I brought mine for £30, second hand. My nappies dry overnight and it is a handy investment which you can resell easily, especially to someone who is cloth nappying.

It doesn’t sound travel friendly, does it?

It is a matter of perspective.

Cloth nappies consume some space plus they take some time to dry. You have to carry atleast two days worth of nappies which can be anything from 12 to 15 nappies.

When we travel for day trips or to a friends house, we don’t bother with cloth nappies. But if we are visiting family and they don’t mind us using their washing machine to wash dirty nappies, we carry cloth nappies. 

Handy tip: I always leave a few clean nappies home, for them to be ready to use when we arrive back just incase what I bring back is dirty and wet. 

What kind of nappies do you use?

There are so many choices but we use two types. We use all in ones and two parter. 

In two parters, you have the minky nappy and then a leakproof cover. An all – in – one is exactly what it says. It is like putting a disposable on. No cover involved. 

All in ones are less bulky and but also comparatively less absorbent. Hence, they are perfect for day time wear, easy to pack in your nappy bag and quick to change.

Whereas, a two parter is a tad bulkier but has a brilliant absorbency. They are perfect for night time wear. But I use two parter even in the day time. They are my favourite as I have a super heavy wetter.

Did you use them right from birth?

No. But that is only because my baby was very tiny at birth. He was a mere 2.5 kgs baby. Most newborn nappies fit babies that are 6 oz or 7 oz and up. There are cloth nappies for tiny babies but I knew that my baby will outgrow them as soon as my milk was established and he started gaining weight. 

Will my baby get a nappy rash?

Well unlike disposables, cloth nappies are notorious for wasting your money, that is if you have invested on an expensive nappy rash cream (not all rash cream are cloth nappy friendly by the way).

In all honesty, my baby has been wearing cloth nappies since he was 6 weeks old and I have never had any problems because unlike disposables there are no chemicals in the nappies. Having said that babies do get rashes especially if they aren’t changed often enough or due to some irritants like a new detergent or the material of the nappy even.

The only time I saw a sore bum was when he was teething. I use two things on such ocassions coconut oil or weleda nappy rash cream. Both are cloth nappy friendly and very good for rashes. But there are plenty of options out there.

How many nappies do you need?

In my opinion, 20 is a good starting point. 

I personally brought a pack of 20 nappies. Realistically, you will need about 6 to 8 changes a day.  Because my entire stash of 20 was a two parter, I then invested in another 10 all in ones. And that is personally more than enough, especially if you plan to do a wash every other day. If you plan to wash in longer intervals you will need more. 

I hope I have answered most of the common queries people may have about cloth nappies. There is honestly nothing negative to say about them, when what they do to this earth is so rewarding.

Let’s not contribute to that landfill and let our planet breathe.

……to a better and a cleaner future. Cheers!