Green Family

    Winging it: A first time Mums’ experience of breastfeeding all the way into toddlerhood (and beyond?)

    I had no plans when it came to breastfeeding (or motherhood) other than I knew this was fundamental to my concept of, and if I’m honest, my own expectations of motherhood. I knew if I could, that I would absolutely breastfeed.

    At first I didn’t find breastfeeding easy, although this was generated entirely by my own self doubt. I found in the very early days, that I would question how will my milk be enough to sustain this tiny little life I was now 100% responsible for?

    At first I didn’t find breastfeeding easy, although this was generated entirely by my own self doubt.

    It would be several months into motherhood, before I felt reassured that my milk was in fact enough as I watched as my little Bean thrived and grew to be quite chubby! It’s a super satisfying feeling to look at your baby during the first 6 months (before weaning) and think they’re surviving on their mum alone! #respect to mother nature.

    As the Bean has now reached toddlerhood and is still being breastfed (my son is now 29 months) I have been told this means I am among a tiny minority of mother’s who continue feeding their baby’s beyond 1 year. To be specific, it is estimated that only 1% of  mother’s go on to feed their babies into toddlerhood!

    As we have reached this point ourselves,  I thought I would take the time to reflect and jot down a few things and share them here in my blog. I don’t intend to relay stats and facts though, it is more a bunch of random musings on being a long-time breastfeeding Mum to my son.


    Firstly, I have found breastfeeding on the whole, pretty easy and very practical. I soon discovered that I produced a lot of milk (squirting in his face kind of volumes!) and I have never ever, EVER felt uncomfortable feeding my son whenever he needed to be fed. Be this on the train, the plane, the tube, bus, you name it, I have probably, like the majority of breastfeeding Mums, fed him there.  Fundamentally, when we become mother’s we realise the true purpose of our breasts, which we should essentially be proud of.

    In 29 months, I have only encountered one incident that made me feel a bit blue. The incident occurred in a cafe in Bristol.  A couple (in their 60s) seemed horrified by me feeding my son. They huffed and puffed and said a few crass things, but thankfully I was reassured by another couple on another table, who said it’s the “most natural thing you can do”. That was definitely a memorable experience. Overall I mostly felt that it was a shame that people can have these reactions to something that most of us feel is just beautiful and it shows they’re disconnected with nature.

    The Perks:

    Another benefit of breastfeeding that I have learnt is it’s convenience. If like me you are a touch disorganised (at times)  I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed the convenience of having Bean’s food on the go, where ever we go. I always point this out to Mum’s unsure about which option to choose, breast of formula. I cannot imagine waking in the middle of the night to make up a bottle of milk under such tiredness. Breastfeeding the Bean meant all I did was roll onto my side and he’d latch on. Breastfeeding is also an excellent opportunity to become a tele-addict or if you are already, to catch up with your series and box-sets!

    Nutritious peace of mind:

    Secondly, I love all the wonderful nutrients found in mothers milk, that nature literally tailors to your baby’s own specific needs. No matter what the mum eats, the milk will still be the most nutritious thing your baby could consume, even if mum lives on fast food.  Therefore, breast milk ensures you can provide a genuinely pure and safe diet that you trust, to offer your baby (are you listening NESTLE!). In a world where food seems to have lost its identity, in which we seem to rely heavily on ‘foods’ that have been processed (that we sadly see at the norm), I am truly glad I have been able to breastfeed my son for this long length of time. And even more so considering he is not the best eater- at least he is still having a bit of milk!

    Breastfeeding also keeps the mum healthier- honestly, I have hardly had anything more than a cold since my son was born. Additionally, when we breastfeed our body releases Oxycontin, the feel good hormone connected with love and happiness- which I will talk a bit more about later.

    ZZZZZZZZZZ….(morning feed) 

    Third, if it means you get an extra couple of hours in the morning, I am game for the morning feed. Now that my son is hitting two and a half, I wonder whether we should drop this part of our ‘routine’.  Nearly every morning around 6AM he wakes me, says “booby“, has a drink, then falls back to sleep until a super civilised 9AM-woohoo! Am I addicted to these lies ins? Probably! But don’t worry, I am finally starting to see his interest in booby declining (albeit very slowly)  and I guess we are gearing up to gently ‘wean’  each other off the booby.

    Working and breast feeding toddler hood can work: 

    While I have no set time frame for feeding initially, I did read a report by the World Health Organisation, recommending mother’s breastfeed their baby up until they’re 2-years old. I know it sounds ambitious in a very fast paced world, one in which mother’s are expected to return to work within a year, but I can vouch for this and say you can work part or full time and continue to breastfeed. You will just have to feed according to your new routine.

    How to get him out of the ‘habit’ of having booby:

    Possibly what I have been thinking about a lot recently is how will I wean the Bean off the boob? This conundrum is one I am still unsure about how to answer? Basically let’s just say, the boob is his COMFORTER, which means I am his comforter.

    Of course sometimes I can get claustrophobic and wish he’d taken to a bottle or enjoyed his soother, but he didn’t and also, the times that I do end up feeling like this, there is generally some other outside pressure that most of us working parents will know. This is just part of modern life.

    Luckily, I treat breastfeeding as down time, a time where I sit still, and often do a bit of research. To this end, is has been an incredible benefit, as in this time (2+years) I managed to do the prep for ingreens, my small business!

    Weaning the Bean off the boob does worry me at times, not deeply, but I do wonder how it’ll happen. And yet like most of this parenting malarkey, it’ll probably just happen organically without much intervention.

    I have left him with his grandparents over night on more than a few occasions, and he’s been fine, in fact he slept until 9AM the last time this happens, which did get me thinking if the smell of my milk is keeping him awake?

    The final thing I think about when the breastfeeding journey of ours finally ends is, will I miss the Oxytocin?

     It plays a role in social bonding, sexual reproduction in both sexes, and during and after childbirth.[4] Oxytocin is released into the bloodstream as a hormone in response to stretching of the cervix and uterus during labor and with stimulation of the nipples from breastfeeding.[5] This helps with birth, bonding with the baby, and milk production. Source: Wikipedia 

    I mean this is a seriously beneficial hormone that academics and researchers think could actually ward off post-natal depression (some even citing not breastfeeding as a major contributing factor in developing PND in the first place, but this is another debate, for another time).

    I do wonder if I will feel depressed or less balanced, as I have felt very happy since becoming a mother and have only ever known motherhood as a breast feeder. I was not always this balanced, I used to experience extreme mood swings around the time of the month. Although I do have to say that giving up dairy (I was already a non-meat eater) seems to have balanced me out in this regard a LOT!

    As with everything else on this journey of motherhood, I am going with the flow, trying to stay true to myself, follow my gut, be guided by my son’s needs and remember that nature should come second to none.

     

    Green Earth Green Eats/Health

    Who Gives A Crap?

    When you are invested in leading as low to zero waste life as is possible, it’s impossible for everyday waste to go unnoticed anymore, and this goes for essentials* like toilet roll. Up until fairly recently, I was buying Ecoleaf toilet paper who use a biodegradable wrap. In recent weeks though I have been presented with so much negative press and doubt cast over bio-plastic’s true sustainability, I am unsure if we should have so much faith in it. With this in mind,  I decided to invest in the only loo roll company I know to deliver to your door and without any plastic! They also have a moral center, I am talking about, Who Gives  Crap.

    Who Gives a Crap produce forest friendly loo roll because it’s all recycled, unlike most toilet paper sold, which comes from trees grown for the very purpose of becoming loo roll- bonkers!

    Who Gives a Crap started life in Australia in 2012 by friends Simon, Jehan and Danny who recongnised that in addition to all the toilet jokes and banter that would inevitably ensue, they felt that their idea could make a real positive impact to the  2.3 billion people, (that’s 40% of the global population) who do not have access to a toilet. This also means around 289,000 children under 5 die every year from diarrheaol disease caused by poor water and sanitation.

    That’s almost 800 children per day, or one child every two minutes.

    When you put it like that, jokes about owning a toilet paper company don’t sounds quite as funny. It was shocking to read such stats in 2017. We really are so insanely privileged in this country to have clean water and public toilets, toilets on trains, in parks and in bus and train stations, in a generally acceptable condition and often free. It’s a convenience we absolutely expect and have probably found ourselves aghast when such isn’t to be found, although this is definitely a rare thing.

    To live in world that has such disparity is really unfair and to find a company actively challenging this means that you can buy plastic free loo roll whole actively supporting a great cause.

    That’s because Who Gives  a Crap donate 50% of their profits to Wateraid.

    WE’RE DETERMINED TO PROVE THAT TOILET PAPER IS ABOUT MORE THAN JUST WIPING BUMS. WE MAKE ALL OF OUR PRODUCTS WITH ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY MATERIALS, AND WE DONATE 50% OF OUR PROFITS TO HELP BUILD TOILETS FOR THOSE IN NEED.

    Their impact to date:

    $1,175,000

    Total amount we’ve donated to date to help fund hygiene and sanitation projects.

    50,586 TREES

    We’ve saved a load of trees by making our products from bamboo and recycled paper.

    98 MILLION LITRES

    That’s the water we’ve saved by making our products with eco friendly materials.

    5,922 TONNES

    These are the greenhouse gas emissions avoided by making our products with more sustainable materials

    It’s shit that children in this day and age are still dying from a lack of basic hygiene. But it’s good that Who Gives a Crap are addressing this. I received a bit a criticisms that it;s shipped from China and not a British company. I hear you. Yet, there doesn’t seem to be a loo roll company that does such immensely good work addressing a very pressing issue. Eco Leaf are fine, and possibly cheaper (although WGAC rolls are HUGE!) but Who Gives a Crap support a great cause, WaterAid, uses recycled paper and packaging and it’s looks so pretty to. And there’s not a whiff of plastic in sight.

     

     

    In Green's Shop

    In Green’s: my online plastic free shop

    I have been busy working away at my online platform In Green’s, hence why my last blog post was quite some time ago. In Green’s is a place where we can buy everyday essentials in their reusable form and nothing (bar the lids of the essential oil) is made from plastic. My motto it:

    be plastic free. be green. be happy.

    It would be difficult to pin point exactly when I conceived the idea for a plastic free shop. I started toying with the idea with the formation of this blog in 2011. At the time it was a hazy plan for the future.

    Urika moment!

    When I fell pregnant in 2015 with my son (he’s now a very bossy 2-year old!) while I was working as a digital marketing coordinator for an e-Commerce site, a role in which I got to be very creative and also gained a lot insight into the world of managing an online shop I decided the time could be nigh…? Being pregnant with an idea in hand that could potentially mean a better work-life balance (more autonomy at least, perhaps not a huge amount of extra time given what I have already found), and all the while I would be doing something I am fiercely passionate about- raising awareness of a less wasteful and as plastic-free as possible, lifestyle- all seemed to make a lot of good green sense to me.

    As time went on, and as I would breastfeed for hours at a time, horizontal and only my phone for company, I set about ‘sourcing’ ideas for the items I would off you. Fortuitously, the time I spent breastfeeding afforded me a LOT of research hours, that might otherwise have felt cumbersome or neglectful if I were doing it while my baby was busy being awake. In time my idea grew firmer and I my curation for my future shop grew more vivid and real, and I began to set out a strong criteria for the products I would sell.   They needed to replace a mainstream equivalent, in a positive way. They also need to be one or all of the following:

    • robust
    • reusable
    • compostable
    • repurposable
    • recyclable
    • made locally or made in UK or made ethically
    • organic
    • and never ever made from plastic

    Curating my shop:

    I went about ‘sourcing’ the products. This process felt really natural and a lot came about accidentally. I was already living as #zerowaste as I possibly could in Bristol, and had already been living without plastic 95% of the time for a long while. Therefore,  I looked around at all the purchases I had made to adapt my own life to a life with less plastic and waste and this was the beginning.

    Instagram has played a huge role planning for this  project of mine, as there are so many determined and inspiring zerowaste accounts that inspire us as they share how  they live their daily life by treading very lightly on our planet. There are so many accounts that have been invaluable in sourcing the products I have.

    Selecting essentials:

    I knew that water bottles, cutlery and cotton and reusable produce bags needed to be core product on my site if it was going to try to serve the purpose I intend it to: to replace the most wasteful, unnecessary and pollutant forms of plastic, those that are commonly found in beach clean-ups. I also knew that solid soaps, shampoos and other ‘essentials’ needed to be there in a natural form to eliminate yet more ubiquitous plastic we have grown accustomed to and see are normal. Therefore these products needed to be:

    • natural
    • chemical free
    • SLS free
    • Cruelty Free
    • Palm oil free

    My objective is also to help customer reduce their exposure to hidden nasties, and unwittingly become victim to pseudo science- products that generally contain, albeit small amounts of harmful chemicals! Like What? Like deodorants with aluminum or home cleaners with chemicals that have side-effects that have been connected with carcinogens and some found in the breast tissue of women suffering breast-cancer…the list is endless and it’s not intended to scare-monger, but to highlight the dangers the modern world poses to our personal health, as well as the health of our planet, including her eco-systems.

    Snail slow, no money:

    Because I haven’t taken out a loan or borrowed any money, this has obviously effected what I was able to buy, and also how quickly it could get off the ground. I started buying products way back in Feb of this year, ones that could not perish, like my bamboo straws, and from here gradually my stock grew, as did work on my website.

    I decided after much actual confusion to go with WooCommerce as I am really familiar with WordPress CMS and didn’t know much about the other options such as Shopify.

    I also have a shop on Etsy and Ebay!

    If you are interested in taking a peak, please visit my website: www.ingreens.co.uk

    If you have any thoughts about my project please do get in touch, it’s always great to hear your feedback no matter how you feel, it’s all good!

     

     

     

    Green Eats/Health

    Broadway Vegan Market

    What could be more appropriate than visiting a much-talked about food market on a sunny Saturday in London…? There’s been much hype about this new addition to the foodie scene and no doubt it’ll only get more visitors as the news keeps spreading. I’m talking about London’s first weekly celebration of vegan foods: the Broadway Vegan Market.

    Every Saturday between 10AM and 4PM in the grounds of London fields primary school is a little #vegan market. The weekly vegan market offers a really impressive variety of plant-based food ranging from junk food, to Thai and Indian curries, to jack-fruit stuffed burritos, to Vietnamese inspired salads, to handmade cashew cheeses, plant-based chocolates, donuts-about 20-varieties! scones, cream cakes and more…

    I opted for the Korean BBQ Banh Mi baguette from Eat Chay Club, see picture below that I got from Instagram. Filled with BBQ mock chicken with loads of salads, coriander and sauce.  It was heavenly and I am so cuffed I chose this option.

    My comrades opted for:

    • a BIG V LONDON burger which had a really good taste and included extras such as pickles, burger cheese and sauce
    • a curry from  The Spice Box which included three different curries and a slice of seaweed!
    • a Mexican inspired jack-fruit burrito which I didn’t try but was assured was delicious and was described as “sweet and salty!”

    I really wanted to try  Dough Society London  donuts, but they’d sold out by 1.30PM!! (I was informed more were on their way, but by then we’d made our way to Edgar’s and were enjoying a cocktail. Edgar’s on Broadway incidentally offer a vegan menu too. Veganism and vegan options are certainly on the rise.

    Next time I visit, I will probably try the buckwheat pancakes as they also looked really tasty and healthy. And I will make sure I manage to bag at least one Dough society London before everyone else.

     

     

    Green Eats/Health IN THE GREEN NEWS

    Bulk Market, London

    Lots of naked fruit, veg, bread and cake ready for customer’s to take home without the need for plastic or unnecessary packaging

    Bulk Market is a pop-up set up by Ingrid Caldironi,  in Dalston, London. In her own words, Ingrid says she’s:

    Not a hippie, or treehugger, I’ve never been a hardcore green. Like many others, I used to believe that stuff gets recycled, and there was no other way of living without creating a lot of waste. After reading about a 20-something girl from NY with years of rubbish fitting in a jar, she decided to go zero waste. But companies don’t make it easy for people to avoid waste. Bulk Market® was born to fix this. – Source: bulkmarket.co.uk

    The shop is small and looks a bit like a bakery from the outside. Inside however, it’s got a contemporary industrial feel with exposed bolts and pipes. There are shelves housing minimalist household products, dispensers for oil and jars full of loose teas and spices. You could probably do all your shopping here, with their healthy legumes and nuts and treats like loose white and dark chocolate buttons- although be warned, gravity takes hold when using the upright dispensers and I left with a £5 bag of chocolate buttons  (worse things could happen, right!!)

    Bulk Market was introduced to the vibrant Kingsland Road in the summer and has been a real buzz with mindful Londoner’s and zerowaster’s all over the country, as well as served as a wake-up call for those who’d yet to reflec on our wasteful habits that causes so much plastic pollution and other waste.

    The shop has been written about in numerous publications and newspapers. I guess it’s novel: imagine a supermarket without any packaging? The mind boggles! But in reality this should be the future: lots of small local shops providing nutritious locally sourced items that are #naked, ie, package free.

    A lot of people come back to me and say “what a faff, I haven’t got time to shop like that,” when I relay my own dreams of opening a package free shop. I see where people with this mindset are coming from. I’m busy too and there are some weeks I don’t manage to buy as many naked food items as I would like, yet it is really quite simple, it just involves a period of adapting and crucially an abundance of bulk shops like Bulk Market in every city, town and village in the UK. It’s not a pipe dream, it’s happening already! If they are numerous it will be convenient, at the moment I know that making a special journey to your local bulk shop can be time-consuming for busy people, which is why they need to be akin to all the ‘locals’ and ‘express’s’ we see on every street corner!

    Zerowaste: Refuse, reuse, repair, recycle, rot

    The shop is literally a mecca for those leading or aspiring to lead a zerowaste lifestyle. And while many will furrow their brow if you mention ‘zerowaste’ in conversation, the movement is building up a loyal and committed following in the UK. Around the world, unpackaged shops have been growing for a while, our German cousins have Unpackaged and there are numerous other examples of bulk and package-free shopping across Europe, in Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada. Sometimes it feels we were a bit late to join the party, but at least we’re getting on board now. Because, there is clearly an enlightened bunch of people, all from different walks of life, uniting together gloabally to tackle our human consumption and wast problem, because we all recognise the rate at which we are producing waste is not sustainable nor kind to our planet.

    Unpackaged shopping: back to basic (or a return to the pre-plastic era)

    Shopping in npackaged shops basically involves being prepared with your produce bags and jars in toe. It is akin to taking your bags for life, you just need a few extra things to put what is normally in plastic in your own REUSABLE bags and containers.

    A beautiful display. Just take your reusable bottle for refilling and pots for the spices.

    If you live in London I cannot recommend a visit to Bulk Market enough. It is a refreshing look at what is hopefully the future of food shopping in the UK 🙂

     

     

    Green Beauty Green Earth Green Homes and Interiors

    Save the planet one safety razor at a time

    The other day someon asked me about my razor. They assumed that safety razors where more dangerous than the plastic disposable kind we have grown accustomed to, the PLASTIC kind. I said it wasn’t, that they’re simple to assemble and showed her. Then I decided that perhaps others were on the fence, unsure whether to #DITCHTHEIRDISPOSABLES and reach for the reusable. This video above demonstrates just how SIMPLE it is. Plus don’t you think they’re just so gorgeous?

    Five reasons you need to switch to a reusable razor: 

    1. They’re reusable-it’s a no brainer #reuserevolution
    2. A safety razor will save you money in the long run
    3. They’re completely recyclable
    4. They’re very stylish
    5. It is estimated that in the US alone, 2Billion disposable razors are thrown away every year- which is a lot of plastic in landfill or our waterway