Baby crawling

Kids, Cloth Nappies and Food On The Floor

Blog about my kids, my day, my business, my love of food and the mess that is made when it all collides!

Free Tickets to The Baby & Toddler Show in Sydney

Cotton Bottom - Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cotton Bottom Cloth Nappies at The Baby & Toddler Show

We are very excited to be taking Cotton Bottom to The Baby & Toddler Show in Sydney this year.  It was something that we weren't sure about doing as we have only just taken over this business (and have four young children who are not yet at school) but have taken the leap, thrown ourselves into the planning and are well on our way to being prepared for the massive weekend in October.

A little bit about the show ...

At The Baby & Toddler Show, you’ll find everything you need to get ready for your new arrival and guide you through the early weeks and years of parenting.  There are over 200 exhibitors with products on display and for sale, parenting experts offering advice on a range of topics, and entertainment for the whole family.  LIVE shows include performances from Play Along with Sam (Sam Moran, ex Wiggle) and the chance to meet Dora the Explorer! 

You can find 10 Great Reasons to visit the show here!

Cotton Bottom at The Baby & Toddler Show

The show is held from Friday 11 – Sunday 13 October 2013 at Halls 1 & 2, Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour.  The Sydney Exhibition Centre is located in Sydney’s Darling Harbour near the CBD.  The building is adjacent to Cockle Bay, Tumbalong Park and the Harbourside Shopping Centre.  It is open daily from 9.30am – 4.00pm.

You can find Cotton Bottom at stall G45 and we will be taking our range of modern cloth nappies, nappy accessories, swim nappies, training pants, aden + anais muslin swaddles and security blankets, skincare products and Sinchies Reusable Food Pouches.


Cotton Bottom at The Baby & Toddler Show

(photo courtesy of Little Ladybird)


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New vs Old - Cloth Nappies vs Disposables

Cotton Bottom - Monday, September 02, 2013

On Father's Day we spent a lovely day with some deaRouse Hill House and Farm - Cotton Bottom Kidsr friends of ours at Rouse Hill House and Farm, a living museum in North West Sydney.  Founded in 1813, Rouse Hill House & Farm expresses the hopes and dreams of six generations of family life in rural New South Wales from early colonization to the late 1900s.  We were able to tour the farm to experience the old house with its time-warped rooms, the ancient garden, the old school house,  machinery and rusting vehicles, feed the chooks and cows and the kids got to use an old water pump (they loved this).  Anyway, the day was great but got me thinking about how things are different now and how many convenient options we have when it comes to raising our children.

Obviously my interest lies in nappies, specifically cloth nappies, but things have changed in so many ways other than that.  Simply put we can choose the disposable nappy option and our children's nappy needs are taken care of but it is costly and this cost compounds the more children that you have and the longer they are in nappies.  Put simply, disposable nappy use over a three year period for one child will cost approximately $3000 (brand dependent) and this doesn't include, wipes or nappy bags.

Cloth nappies have changed a lot over time.  Moving from terry squares (which are still available to use) with plastic covers to fitted, absorbent, slim line cloth nappies that rarely leak and come in a range of brands, styles and cute designs.  Looking at the upper cost end for cloth, putting a bub in cloth for 3 years including an allowance for reusable wipes, water and electricity would cost a maximum of $1200.  This is a simple saving of $1800.  Making this an even more attractive option, some of these nappies could be used for subsequent children hence saving you more money and there is a massive market for second hand cloth nappies at the moment also.

So there are definite positive options for using cloth nappies.  This is assuming that you are happy to do an extra load of washing every couple of days (or everyday in my case but I do have twins) and that you can stomach putting the solid waste into a toilet rather than wrapping up in a disposable (although the recommendation for using disposables is still to remove solid waste, not that I have ever known anyone to do this).  It is not for everyone but is a definite option for people who are Cotton Bottom Cloth Nappies BBH Bamboo Fittedlooking at the cost as well as environmental and health benefits of using cloth.

I currently use a number of different types of nappies on my twins some of which we stock and others which we do not.  I began using cloth with my second child, Miss M and had a relatively large stash of ittis, a brand recommended by a friend.  They are an AIO, fairly thick and slow drying nappy but are simple to use.  I also bought some Baby Chilli nappies made by an Australian WAHM which are also an AIO, a little more slimliCotton Bottom Cloth Nappies Grovia Hybrid Modflowerne than the itti but still slow drying.  I was also given the most exquisite Fluffy Bubs pocket nappy which I loved.  I was a creature of habit with cloth the first time around.  I was very unaware of the options and variety out there and I also think that there are a lot more choices 3 years on.

So left over from that stash I had one itti, one Baby Chilli and one Fluffy bubs.  To that I have added Grovia Hybrid Shells and Organic Cotton Soaker PadsClose Pop-Ins with bCotton Bottom Cloth Nappies Tots Bots Bamboozle Stretchoth bamboo and minkee inners, some Mini LaLa pocket nappy covers (now discontinued) with really cheap Swaddlebees Pocket Nappy inserts (currently on clearance sale as we only have a few left and no longer have pockets), Tots Bots Easyfits in Velcro and Snaps, Tots Bots Bamboozles Stretch, Thirsties DUO AI2, Baby BeeHinds Bamboo Fitted, Baby Beehinds Bamboo Foldups and Baby BeeHinds Covers.  So you can not say that I haven't tried a range of nappies.

Now do keep in mind that we do have twins so need a lot of nappies to have them in cloth fulltimCotton Bottom Cloth Nappies Natures Child Bio Linerse but have definitely got a good variety and thought you might like to know my thoughts.   

My favourite is the Tots Bots Easyfit V3.  It is a quick drying nappy which is probably the most disposable-like cloth nappy as it is not bulky.  I am a velcro fan for most nappies although I do prefer the snaps on GroVia.  Some information about some of the brands we sell.  GroVia hybrid shells are a well constructed, well fitting nappy but GroVia Soaker Pads are slower drying than other options as they are double layered (as are Cotton Bottom Cloth Nappies Tots Bots EasyfitSwaddlebees inserts), Close Pop-Ins are not as 'neat' to put on due to their layered system but they are quick drying and the night booster option I've found great.  Thirsties Duo are easy to use and are a very simple looking nappy, Bamboozle stretch and BBH Bamboo fitted are very absorbent but need covers.

Other cloth options that I have not tried are terry squares with a cover and prefolds with a cover.  I have heard that these are a popular option for newborns and are also a cheaper option for those who want to use cloth but don't have the upfront cash!  We do stock some different brands of prefolds and are waiting for the Cotton Bottom Cloth Nappies Close Pop-InGroVia bamboo ones to become available again. 

If you are considering cloth the one thing that I would highly recommend is using a liner.  My preference is a fleece liner but there are many biodegradable/flushable options available if you would prefer to just flush the liner down the toilet.  I prefer fleece as it takes the moisture away from bub, stays in place better and is washable, as if you are washing nappies, washing liners is no extra work (and while you're at it why not try washable baby wipes).Cotton Bottom Cloth Nappies Thirsties DUO AI2

This might not have been the most exciting post but I hope that it has provided a bit of insight into using cloth, the range out there and that it is not as daunting as it might seem.  If you have any questions about using cloth, what you need or what might suit you best either fill out a contact us form on the website or email me at info@cottonbottom.com.au.

Close Pop-In Review at Cotton Bottom Cloth Nappies

Cotton Bottom - Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cloth Nappies Close Pop-In

Having a baby is expensive but having twins doubles that and nappies are certainly no exception.  We have successfully transitioned our twins into fulltime day cloth nappy bubs with hubby being an active nappy changer (and actually a spruker for cloth nappies when we are out and about) as well as a nappy hanger-outerer of an evening (this I'm certain he is not quite as passionate about)!  BUT we have trialled a few night options and until recently have found nothing that we have been happy with due to leakage and bulk.  When I took over this business we had the Close Pop-In cloth nappies and although they were not my favourite day time nappy there was nothing at all wrong with them but I began reading about their use as a night time nappy and with the use of the relatively slimline night booster, how reliable they were.  I was intrigued so contacted our supplier and organized some to trial!Cloth Nappies Close Pop-In

The Close Pop-In nappy for normal day time use is in three parts.  Essentially the shell, the soaker pad and a booster which all snap together.  The inners are available in either minkee or bamboo, the minkee being beautifully soft on one side and super quick drying and the bamboo being slightly slower drying (although in this weather I've found them not slow to dry) yet reportedly significantly more absorbent.  For night use the regular booster is wrapped in a bamboo night booster and that is it.

I have tried minkee during the day but both types for night use.  I was certainly dubiousCloth Nappies Close Pop-In as although the nappy is bulkier in its nighttime form, the actual night booster is not thick whatsoever.  I tried one minkee with night booster and one bamboo with night booster on each of my bubs.  These were new nappies with only one prewash which also made me skeptical as to whether or not it would work.  My bubs are 15 months old, have a small bottle before bed of an evening and then another around 5am after which they sleep for another hour or so.  Both my husband and I were both surprised when on night one both bubs were dry in the morning, the nappies were incredibly full and heavy but no leaks! 

We have been using these cloth nappies at night now for over a week and we have hadCloth Nappies Close Pop-In Night Booster one wet bub at wake up (and this was our heavier wetting bub) and one other leak after the other was not changed before breakfast, hence sat in her saturated nappy which clearly couldn't contain its contents with her weight sitting on it.  We have also successfully experienced wet nappies that have also been soiled during the morning wake up period! 

Positives - can be used for day and night, quick drying as they come apart (I really don't think that there is an issue with drying time for the bamboo as it is still significantly quicker than a regular AIO), cute designs and colours.Cloth Nappies Close Pop-In

Negatives - initial cost (but works out so much cheaper than disposables in the long term), three piece system (but foolproof really)!

Check out an independent review of the Close Pop-In by "Rock A Buy Baby Reviews" by clicking here.

If you are into cloth nappies or want a OSFM nappy that is designed for bubs approximately 3-16kgs that can be used both day and night the Close Pop-In is definitely worth a try.  They are definitely a nappy that I wouldn't want to be without, for regular day use, if I needed a nappy that would last a 'little bit longer' than a regular cloth nappy or for night time use with the night booster!  Check them out here.  

Sinchies Are Not Cloth Nappies

Cotton Bottom - Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sinchies Cotton Bottom Cloth NappiesSo I should be cleaning the bathroom, or doing laundry or tidying up the spread of toys and other stuff that have made their way from the front door to the back but instead I am writing this to share with you how Sinchies made their way onto a site specializing in cloth nappies.  I suppose in a number of ways it is an attempt to grab a larger audience for the site, one who has grown out of cloth nappies and is looking for something more but also I just love these products!

Since my twins were born it has been the hardest 15 months of my life.  Things were so unbelievably hectic at the start with the constant rounds of feeding, changing, rocking to sleep all a while trying to look after a 4 and 2 year old as well and adding in the mix Master I having to go back in and out of special care for a few weeks, how were we supposed to sustain this?  I had support from family and friends and we have made it this far and things are starting to settle which is such a relief for everyone :)Sinchies Cotton Bottom Cloth Nappies

Anyway we have had a lot of trouble with Master I from the start.  He was always a very unsettled baby and seemed so uncomfortable most of the time (very much actually like Master E but worse).  We tried to tackle the ideas of colic, reflux, constipation, and then after my sister saw an allergist with her daughter we started researching the idea of food.

This coupled with an allergic reaction to egg at about 9 months of age made us look very carefully at his diet in an attempt to see what made a difference.  At one point upon advice of an allergist, Master I was on a diet that was NOT to include egg, dairy, soy and for a while wheat ... certainly very challenging.  He took it all in his stride and shoveled in everything we gave him but meals consisted mainly of fruit, vege and meat with some grains like buckwheat and quinoa!  Recently he was tested and came back with a confirmed allergy to egg white and egg yolk and we are working with cows milk intolerance which we are to challenge in a month or so.  Background done, now to the Sinchies part.

Being a mum of four young kids, time is of the essence and I was finding it necessary to have some handy snack packs in the cupboard for when we went out which was often as we had soccer training and game, swimming lessons, daycare drop offs and pick ups and hungry kids!!  As Master I's diet was so restricted there was relatively few store bought packaged items which he could eat so I generally stocked up on organic squeezy packs of pureed fruit.  Think one per day times two for twins and I was looking at 14 squeezy packs per week on average.  This was a hugely expensive exercise when these packs, if not on special, were around $1.80 per pack!!).

So when birthday time came around and the twins didn't really need anything my sister suggested Sinchies as she had been using their pouches for a little while with her son and I was interested in giving them a try.

 

They are a plastic pouch with a ziplock at the top and a spout on the side.  They are BPA, Phthalate and PVC free and freezer and dishwasher safe.  They are super easy to fill with a funnel (or the top cut off an empty soft drink bottle if you don't have one) and are easily cleaned with a bottle brush!Sinchies Cotton Bottom Cloth Nappies

 

I used them for snacks, initially just pureed fruits and now make my own yoghurts (sometime with fruit puree through) or this morning my babies got banana, berry and chia smoothies (recipe below).  Yum!!  Now I use them for a range of things ...

So I had to add Sinchies to my range.  They are good for the environment, cost effective and you know what your child is eating (which is especially important when you are tackling food allergies and intolerances)!  They are available in 80mL (coming soon), 140mL, 200mL and 1 litre pouches.

They have a range of other uses that you can see on the picture here too.  Basically if it is liquid, you can use a Sinchies.

Sinchies Cotton Bottom Cloth Nappies

If you have any questions about Sinchies please send me an email to info@cottonbottom.com.au or fill out a Contact Us Form via the website.

Recipe - Banana, Berry and Chia Smoothies

Blend half a banana, a handful of berries, a teaspoon or so of chia seeds and one cup of yoghurt (I used plain yoghurt for my daughter and almond milk yoghurt for my son).  You may need to add a bit of warm water if the consistency is too thick or the berries are frozen!!  Fill your Sinchies, breakfast is served.  Simple as that!!

 

How It All Began ...

Cotton Bottom - Monday, August 12, 2013

This part of the story has only begun very recently, a Mum of FOUR kids, the eldest being only five years old taking on an online store in an effort to contribute to the family income (we hope) but also to do something for me, something I haven't done for a very long time.  Crazy, perhaps yes, but this year has dealt us a few unexpected twists which have sent emotions in all directions imaginable. 

At the beginning of the year my husband was offered a job in a location that we had wanted to try for a very long time, probably since our first child, Master E was born a little over 5 years ago.  It was an opportunity close to my family and in a location that could potentially have offered us a lifestyle that we couldn't knock back.  So we packed up our little family (at that stage the kids were almost, 5, 3 and 1 year old twins) and headed off on the new adventure.  The rental property took longer than expected to be ready and in the end we only served out two months of a 12 month lease before we were told that the job was being made redundant and that my husband would no longer have a position with the company.  What to do? Cry, yes lots of tears over the days that followed.  Living in a beautiful location, close to family but four kids and no work.  It was not going to work for us as much as we wanted it to.  So only four months after moving out of the big smoke we packed our four little cherubs up and moved them back, only this time to another rental as our home has tenants until next year.  Three house this year and another move looming when the new year comes, that's madness enough in itself.

Thankfully my husband was able to find a new job pretty quickly, began as a temp position and today he has become a permanent staff member of an iconic brand, certainly takes a bit of pressure off.  But new job close to home has meant a significant pay cut, no daycare spots for the two littlest has meant I can't go back to work (and daycare for four is ridiculously expensive anyway so I probably would have been working for $15 a day if that) and hence I have been trying to think of a way to try and make it all work.

And then I got an email about this opportunity, read it, pondered it for 30 seconds and deleted the email.  But it kept niggling at me so I fished the email out of the trash can and started emailing questions to the owners.  When I told my husband, he was interested but it being a company that sells cloth nappies, nappy accessories, gifts and skincare for babies and children and now some other exciting products, he was obviously not as excited as if say I was considering buying a mountain biking venture.  In saying that he is supportive and once we went over details and numbers and what it would take to happen he said I could make an offer!  I did and we waited and were told after a day or so that we were not successful :( Another party had made a higher offer that they were going to pursue.  But as you know we did get the business, that other offer fell through and we took that as a sign and grabbed the opportunity.

So now, in amongst naps, CLOTH nappy changes and cleaning up the never ending spread of food on the floor, I get on the computer, talk with suppliers, pack orders and regularly visit the post office with my double pram LOADED with packages (perhaps not always loaded, but I am thinking super positive) and two bike riding children following along. 

Am I tired? Yes! But that is no different to before I started this.  I have found a new lease on life and have become a person again as I can take my mum hat off for a few hours each night and dig my teeth into something for me.  This business will become what I make of it and hopefully I will be rewarded by what I put into it in so many ways!

So that is how Cotton Bottom began for us, I love having my babies in cloth nappies and testing out all the brands that we stock, most of which I had not used when I had Miss M in cloth nappies back when she needed them.  There are so many accessories and brands to choose from and I am striving to source quality products in cloth nappies but also the other products we stock.  I am so excited to have added Sinchies Reusable Food Pouches to our range and will write more about them, their benefits and what drove me to use them in the first place next time.

Master I and Miss A have just woken up and are squawking at me from their room so until next time ...