Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Rainbow biscuits

These biscuits are super simple for a non baker like me. Great for a sweet treat, to take along to play group or for a rainbow party.

- 1 cup icing sugar
- half a pack of milk arrowroot biscuits (you can use the other half to make these)
- blue food colouring
- rainbow coloured candy covered choc chips (these are to die for)

- Mix one teaspoon of hot water with the icing sugar and a drop ot two of colouring. Add more water if needed.
- Spread the blue icing on a biscuit and sprinkly the choc chips.
- Repeat with the remaining biscuits.

Put the biscuits in the fridge to set the icing, and enjoy!

(In the pic I have some rainbow coconut ice, check back soon for the recipe)

More rainbow party ideas

The Southern Institute

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Rainbow jelly cups and weekly menu plan

At Chubs's rainbow birthday party I made these jelly cups. Very simple, but required forward planning; you need to start two or three days before you need them so they have time to set.

I used four packs of jelly to make about 14 cups. If I was to do it again, I would change the order of the colours so there was more contrast; I think that would have looked better.

It's quite simple to make. I put all the cups into the crisper drawer of my fridge; alternatively you could put them in big plastic container or on a tray. Anything that you can take out of the fridge and put back in again and which will catch any jelly drips is good.

Make up one pack of jelly of the colour you want to be on the bottom, according to the directions on the pack. Pour a small amount into transparent disposable cups and pop them in the fridge. The need to set completely before you add the next layer. This takes about 12 hours, and no - putting it in the freezer won't speed it up! (Freezing will cause ice crystals to form which will ruin the bonding the gelatine is trying to do, ruining your jelly in the process.)

Every 12 hours, add another layer and pop back in the fridge. On the day of the party, I just took the whole crisper drawer out and took it to the park. The jelly cups were yum!

It took about 20 minutes of active prep (five minutes four times) but with 12 hours in between, so make sure you start two or three days before hand. It only takes one premature layer to wreck the un-set one below, and there will be no rescuing the jelly cups after that!

More rainbow party ideas

Menu Plan Monday

Last week's round up:
Monday: DH to make stir fry Yes, all good
Tuesday: Steak and veggies Yes, all good
Wednesday: Bolognese from the freezer I can't remember, I think we had this...
Thursday: Chicken curry from the freezer We didn't have this but I can't remember what we had. I had tortelleni one night and Dear Husband had some frozen leftovers, perhaps it was Thursday?
Friday: Possibly out to dinner? If not scavange... I'm really rubbish at this, but I think we had stir fry?
Saturday: Possibly out to dinner? If not scavange... I remember this one! We went out to dinner and had a marvelous roast at a friend's house. A lovely evening (even if Chubs didn't sleep as we had hoped) and I really enjoyed the night. That's when we had the cake to express my thanks.
Sunday: Bolognese I was planning on taking some chicken curry to dinner but that ended up not happening, so I put the chicken in the slow cooker with a Tucan Meatball packet sauce. It's not designed for slow cookers, so I'm not sure if it will work or not.

This week's plan:
Monday: Stir fry
Tuesday: Bolognese (from freezer)
Wednesday: Tortelleni (me) and leftovers (Dear Husband)
Thursday: Slow cooker chicken curry (from freezer)
Friday: Bolognese again
Saturday: Scavenge
Sunday: Hmmm, we'll see. Something from the freezer?


Monday, 25 June 2012

Happy birthday to my breastfeeding baby

I posted about how Chubs turned one not long ago and we had a wonderful rainbow party for her. She is definitely a toddler now, not an infant. She is walking (running actually), knows a few words (Mum, Dada, ta, NanNan, stop and just this week, socks and dinosaur. I'm not kidding) and a few signs, had the most adorable pigtails and loves to dance to any music she hears. She recognises her favourite characters, will wave to puppies and people, can get off the couch or an adult bed safely and can play peekaboo. Heck, she even squirts antibacterial gel on her hands and rubs them together when we leave the petri dish that is daycare (that's my little germaphobe!). She is certainly not an infant. She's a walking, dancing, breastfeeding little girl.

It is not common to see a breastfeeding toddler. Indeed, I was first asked if she was almost weaned when Chubs was four or five months old - we hadn't even started solids yet. In Australia a little over 20% of babies are breastfed at 12 months (1) and many fully wean soon after. It is even less common to see a toddler breastfed in public. This is partly because some women find it easier to avoid the critism and just feed at home, but also practical - a toddler is not a newborn, and a toddler can be expected to wait for a feed if it's not convenient.

A toddler can also be expected to use her manners. We taught Chubs the sign language for 'milk' which she uses when she wants a feed. I much prefer her to look at me and make the sign for 'milk' (which is oh-so-cute) than to whinge and scratch at my shirt front. She is a big girl, she can use her manners. I love that when she's done she says 'ta' and pulls my shirt down to cover me up again. Of course, there's the phrase 'if they can ask for it, then they're too old for it'. Well, using that logic, Chubs has been to old since the day she was born. She 'asked' for a feed then by rooting around with her mouth, by sucking her fists and by crying. She can ask for a drink of water now by pointing at her sippy cup. She can ask for a story by picking up a book and bringing it to me - she will even swap books from my hands if she wants a different one to the one that I was trying to read to her. So using that logic, she's too old for a drink of water and a story, too. Even when she is old enough to say 'Mummy, can I have a breastfeed please?' it's not her need and desire for breastfeeding which has changed, but her cognative and language development.

So why am I still feeding her? In summary, because it is good for her, it's good for me and it's biologically normal. Nutritionally, breastmilk can provide a toddler with 31% of energy, 38% of protein, 45% of vitamin A, and 95% of vitamin C daily requirements (2). She's been a bit coldy recently and we've been trying to get her to eat some mandarins for the vitamin C but she's not been a fan. When I saw that statistic I relaxed a lot. It's a great food which is perfectly designed for her.

The immune benefits are huge - even if you ignore the nutritional and comfort benefits. If you could go to the shop and buy some sort of  'toddler immune supplement', imagine the claims they would make.
- Immune boosting properties
- Perfectly designed by a human antibody making machine
- Tailored exactly to the specific environment that you live it. Get antibodies to many of the diseases you are likely to come in contact with, both over your life time and in the short term.

Can you imagine how much of that would get sold? I can give that very substance, full of my antibodies, straight to my daughter for free, and yet I still feel the need to justify it?

The benefits of breastfeeding, of course, are more than just the properties of the milk itself. The comfort and closeness of breastfeeding is beneficial for both mother and baby, indeed the whole family (see Dear Husband's comments below.) A breastfeed can soothe a skinned knee or a shove from another kid at the playground. What's the harm in that? Many people comment on breastfeeding as shown in 'The Slap', where it was often used to avoid discipline. The problem there is not with the breastfeeding itself but the way it was used, in the same way that anything can be used as a distraction to avoid discipline. A feed to reconnect after a day apart at daycare/ work, a feed to sleep or to resettle at night or a feed after a tumble off the climbing frame at the park - a wonderful way to soothe and comfort my precious girl. There is no evidence to suggest that breastfeeding causes clinginess or emotionally needy children, indeed the opposite is often the case. She will grow out of needing to suckle for comfort, just as babies grow out of needing to suck on a dummy/ finger, needing a teddy or a blankie for comfort or needing to be swaddled at night to sleep. She will grow out of this when she is ready, or I will encourage her to wean if I'm not happy to keep feeding, but while we are both happy and both needing this connection, it will stay. Indeed, some women (such as those who have rare conditions leading to chronic under-supply like Insufficient Glandular Tissue or those who have intitated breastfeeding for an adopted baby/ child) breastfeed their child for small amounts of milk for its non nutritive benefits, and then feed the baby with a bottle for the bulk of their food requirements.

Dear Husband says that his attitude has changed. 'Now that I realise the health benefits of breastfeeding a toddler, I don't look at Chubs and think 'she's too old'. I think that we're doing the best for her health and her future by continuing and I'd rather do that for her than for her to have artificial / processed foods.' He also added about breastfeeding an older baby in general 'Some women can't and that's ok, but I think it also fosters a much more nuturing feeling in the home. It's really nice that Chubs will be playing on the floor with her toys and then she'll pop up and do the milk sign, it's a nice loving atmosphere to have'.

The World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding for two years and beyond; and not just in third world countries, either. Dr Katherine Dettwyler (an anthropologist) has extensively studied weaning ages in other animals, particuarly non-human primates. She compared the weaning age of other mammals (particuarly large body weight non human primates) against factors such as length of gestation, weight gains, teeth development and age of sexual maturity. Using these studies she has determined he natural age of weaning for humans - that is, the age at which weaning would proably occur without cultural influences - to be between two and a half and seven years of age. Many refer to breastfeeding past 12 months as 'extended breastfeeding' but I'm not a big fan of that phrase. If it's the normal timeframe that someone should feed for, then what's extended about it? That's like saying that because we can keep babies born at 25 weeks gestation alive through artificial measures, then having a pregnancy last nine months is 'extended pregnancy'. I think the phrase 'full term breastfeeding' is more appropriate.

Now it's easy to say what things would be like without cultural and societal influences, but of course we do live within a society with expections, norms and influences. For example, gorillas can wean at whatever age they want; that doesn't change the fact that Chubs goes to daycare while I'm at work, which is obviously a hurdle in our breastfeeding relationship. 'The real world' is were we live each day, so to pretend that it doesn't exist would be foolish and unhelpful. However; here's perhaps the best thing about breastfeeding a toddler - I've already done most of the hard work. Chubs is a healthy little girl who enjoys a diet of many foods and is not reliant on breastmilk for all her nutrition, indeed some days she has very little breastmilk at all. There's no rushing home for a feed any more and it's much easier to plan feeds around a glass of wine, rather than the other way around with a pumped bottle, 'just in case'. I've not left any pumped milk for her (except at her nine/ ten hour long daycare day) for months. At 12 months my milk supply is 'practically bulletproof' - I no longer need to worry about a missed feed (or two or three). Cracked nipples, leaking and engorgment are a distant memory of last winter. Yes, breastfeeding an older baby does bring some new challenges. Since six months we've faced challenges of biting (with teeth!), sore breasts from acrobatic feeding and supply drops during my periods, but the bulk of the hard work is done. Most of the benefits for a fraction of the work - woo hoo!

I will be dropping my pumping session at work from this week, which will make a HUGE difference to my stress levels during the work day. No longer will I need to pack up the breast pump the night before, charge the batteries, pack the ice packs, go through the nightmare that was trying to fit pumping sessions into an impossibly tight teaching day, take home my expressed breastmilk in the cooler, scald the milk to inactivate the lipase and put it into labelled bottles for the freezer, wash the pump parts, recharge the batteries and then pack it all up again the next day. Once I've finished up my small freezer stash, Chubs will have soy milk or cow's milk at daycare.

I have to thank a close friend and colleague for her support during my pumping journey. We're a bit tight for space and there is no free room available at my work that I can pump in; not even a store room or something like that. (I don't have my own office but share a staff room with ten other teachers.) I've been using her office to pump in for the last six months and I really am indebted to her. If it wasn't for her letting me use her office to pump, then I'm not sure what I would have done. Had it not been possible to pump at work, then worst case scenario would have been early weaning. Thankfully I was able to avoid that. It was inconvenient for her since she needs to use her office to you know - do work in, so I appreciate that she made the effort to reorganise her day so that it would be available for me as much as she could. To thank her for her support, I made this cake to express my thanks. (See what I did there :) )
I put little milk bottles on it since they don't make little breast pump lollies.
I hope you're all impressed that I made it from scratch, too!
Breastfeeding a toddler is not only good for Chubs, but it's good for me too. Breastfeeding past 12 months lowers my risk of osteoporosis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and anemia (3). In the same way that breastfeeding helped my body to recover from my (hellish) pregnancy, it is still helping my body now. I love that we have our special time together - well, most of the time I love it, sometimes it's frustrating out of my mind, but aren't most things with a toddler? It's a great tool for getting her to sleep and back to sleep - I'm sure I get more sleep because of breastfeeding than I would otherwise. If for no other reason than that it's a good idea! Mummy loves her sleep... :)

So, where to from here? Well, simply - on. Breastfeeding is beneficial and enjoyable for everyone in our family, so we will continue. Perhaps Chubs will wean soon on her own, perhaps I will encourage weaning. Perhaps something will happen which will force weaning; I don't know. There are two people in this breastfeeding relationship and we will continue while everyone is happy.

Do I think that everyone should breastfeed their toddler? Do I think that everyone should breastfeed full stop? As I've mentioned before, I'm a keen advocate for breastfeeding, I think it's an important public health issue and I obviously talk about it a lot. I feel that it is a responsible thing to speak out about unethical advertising of formula companies and to normalise breastfeeding. However, how a particular family choses to feed their child is totally their business, and none of mine. I fully respect others' choices as to how they feed their children and at what age they wean. There are as many different feeding/ weaning stories in the world as there are children and that diversity is to be celebrated. Please don't read this post as me telling others what to do. It's about me sharing our family's journey so far and the reasoning behind it. If you can take something from it which you think is worthwhile for your family, then I feel honoured. This is not an anti-formula post in the slightest, but a celebration of my precious breastfeeding relationship with my beautiful walking, dancing, breastfeeding little girl.


1 - Donath and Amir, 2000
2 - WHO/CDR/93.4
3 - Mortensen, K. Lactation Resource Centre

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Rainbow biscuits


- Half a packet of milk arrowroot biscuits
- 2 cups icing sugar
- green and blue food colouring
- 4 sour strap lollies.


1. Mix up the icing with a very small amount of water. Split into two containers and colour one green and one blue.
2. 'Paint' half of the biscuit diagonally with each colour.
3. Cut the sour straps into four equal colours. Place one length across the join between the green abd blue icing
4. Pop in the fridge and enjoy at your rainbow party!

More rainbow themed birthday party ideas here

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Rainbow birthday party for Little Miss One

We had a birthday party for our precious one year old recently. Love.

The theme was Rainbows, so I went to town with the bright colours. We really wanted it to be a realxed, fun day. I wanted things to be nice, but we weren't stressed about it. Well, the cake was a bit of a stress, but I didn't want to spend the whole day rushing about making everything 'perfect' and missing out on the perfection of my little girl.

Over the next little while I'd like to share with you what we did for the food, the decorations, the activities and the cake.

I found a pad of rainbow invitations at the cheap shop and some rainbow thank you notes, too. We had the party in the local park which is great - play equipment for all ages and a lovely big gazebo with tables and benches. It looked like we had missed out on getting a gazebo, but at the last minute one became available and we pounced - woo hoo!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Bedtime books

We've been making a conscious effort to have a more rigid/ sequential bedtime routine for Chubs, so help her wind down at the end of the day. We've tried a few times before but it's never really worked. I think it's really important to read to your children every day, but whenever I've tried before she just grabs at the book and rips the pages or crawls away and it all gets a bit awful.

We had been consideing buying Chubs a fold out foam sofa, and we did today. The great thing was she was happy to sit in it! I spent some time sitting in it 'reading' and she's reasonably happy to sit there fore a few short books now. Yay!

We've also tried to clean Chubs' teeth before but without much success. It usually involved a lot of fussing, chewing on the toothbrush and non spitting, but I think she's finally got the hang of it.

I'm so excited about having bedtime stories now, so I thought I would share what we read on this blog. Feel free to leave your reading list in the comments too!

Bedtime books 22 June

Monday: The Biggest Bed in the World by Lindsay Camp, Wombat Stew by Marcia K Vaughan and Pamela Lofts, I Love My Mum by Anna Walker and Time for Bed by Mem Fox.
Tuesday: Dear Greenpeace, There's a Whale in Emily's Pond by Simon James, Sebastian Lives in a Hat by Thelma Catterwell and Kerry Argent and Time for Bed by Mem Fox (again...)
Wednesday: I Wish I Had a Pirate Suit by Pamela Allen, When Grandma Came by Jill Paton Welsh and Sophy Williams and Time for Bed yet again
Thursday: The Biggest Bed in the World again, There's a Whale in Emily's Pond again and Time for Bed again again again!

So our bedtime routine is clean teeth (something we've been trying to do for a while but she's just been crying; I don't think she knew what was going on.). After teeth it's stories on her new special chair, then off to bed for a feed. She falls asleep on our bed, then I move her to the cot. She stays there until about 11ish then comes into our bed for the rest of the night. Getting her to sleep in the first place had been a bit of a challenge for both of us, but we're all glad that we've found something that's working.

What bedtime books did you have at your house this week?

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Toddler craft ideas I want to try

I've spent the evening looking for ideas of toddler freindly crafts. Chubs has just started to 'do' crafty things - she can stab at paper with a felt pen and has brought home a sponge painting from daycare. I've bee looking for craft ideas that she can do - obviously with my help in many cases. Here's a list of what I want to try.

I'm very exciting about doing a hand print alphabet. I don't think we'll use many of these particular pictures, but I love the idea. I want to put them all together in a frame that she can keep.

I've been thinking about something we can do for the Giggle Gallery, not sure yet but I'm thinking about a few things. Speaking of ABC Kids, Chubs loves Raa Raa (as I spoke of before) and I love the idea of doing this lion craft.

I want to make a banner for the wall that says something like 'Look what I made today' that we can put on the wall, so I can stick her painting and other crafts below it.

I've seen coffee filter butterflies in a few places, but I'm formulating a new design. Watch this space!

I want to make some Christmas bunting and some fabric paper chains for Christmas presents. I love this Christmas tree decoration idea and I think I'll do it for Christmas presents this year.

Chubs isn't quite up to this, but how great do monster feet look. I must get her Where The Wild Things Are too - she doesn't have a copy and it is a beautiful story.

I've not done any needle felting before and Chubs is probably beyone the ball-rattle phase, but this would be a good nap time project for me. It wouldn't involve getting the sewing machine and all associated paraphenalia out, which is a good thing. Speaking of nap time projects, I'm thinking of making some simple felt finger puppets for Chubs and for gifts. I promise photos!

I'm making some crayons now for a craft stall, I'll post those photos too soon.


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Steps for getting off Mummy and Daddy's bed

(From a toddler's point of view)

1a. Supposed to be going to sleep and decide to make a run for it
1b. Wake up at stupid o'clock and ignore Mummy and Daddy's pleading to go back to sleep.

2. Crawl to side of bed.
3. Lie on tummy
4. Swing legs around and push backwards
5. Keep pushing until feet reach ground, stand up tall.
6. Clap hands and look very proud of yourself.

Step 6 is essential, apparantly. Love.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Monday moments

Menu Plan Monday

It's been a while since I posted a menu plan. Let's see if we can actually sick to it this week! I got some freezer cooking done last week which is good. When I've run down I get a bit unsettled and stressed; I like to know that if I have a busy day that there is something there. If there isn't, I get more stressed on busy days, so I'm glad that I got some curries and Bolognese cooked and in the freezer.

Monday: DH to make stir fry
Tuesday: Steak and veggies
Wednesday: Bolognese from the freezer
Thursday: Chicken curry from the freezer
Friday: Possibly out to dinner? If not scavange...
Saturday: Possibly out to dinner? If not scavange...
Sunday: Bolognese

Check out what others are having this week here.

Thursday, 14 June 2012


Toes, tootsies, peggies on feet. So chubby and munchable. Where will your toes take you? What steps will you take? You will walk and dance and jump and hike. You will balance on a beam, dance the song in your heart and splash in puddles. Those precious peggies will grow, those chubby feet will stand tall. Those beautiful feet belong to a beautiful girl, a beautiful girl with beautiful feet. Step by step you will walk your journey, leaving footprints on the ground and in people's hearts. From kicks in my ribs to a heel prick test, from grabbing for nappy changes and oft slipping socks. To wobbly steps and stubbed toes. What next? Ballet shoes and nail polish, sneakers to run a race? Kicks to the back of the car seat, a stamped foot in anger? Gum boots and high heels and soccer shoes? I tip-toe from your room as your little piggies wrapped in your romper are snug in your cot, I hang too cute socks to dry on the line. I look at your precious, chubby toes as you leave yet more footprints on my heart. Tootsies will grow, booties become boots. Babies become adults, but still leave footprints on hearts.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The transit of Venus

As a science teacher, I was very excited about the transit of Venus yesterday.

I've been laughing about this joke all day!

The transit of Venus occurred on 6 June and is when Venus passes between the Earth and the sun, blocking a small part of the sun out. It's similar to a new moon, except it would of course be called a 'new Venus' and it happens much more rarely - four times about every 250 years. Students and staff of the at my school excitedly viewed the transit through a solar scope organised by one of my colleagues. Several concerned teachers actually approached the large bunch of students congregating around something, thinking that they needed to to break up a fight or something! The were pleasantly suprised to discover the scientists, engineers and astronomers of tomorrow excitedly observing an event which won’t occur again in any of our lifetimes.
The transit enabled so many relevant learning opportunites. One of my classes was alsready studying Earth and space, so the transit of Venus slotted in seamlessly and allowed for a richer, more relevant experience. It helped the students to understand about solar and lunar eclipses too. The historical significance of the transit in relation to Captain Cook and the Endeavour, the physics of a solar scope, the anatomy and physiology of the eye, polarised light, and the mathematical calculations involved by using the time of the transit to calculate distances were all discussed with various classes on the day. The planets literally do not align often for relevant and rich learning experiences like this.
Actual picture of the solar scope.
The white circle is the sun and the small black dot at the top is Venus.
This was the beginning of the transit.

The end of the transit on the live stream.

To quote a colleague's status update: Just had 200 students give up their lunch break to join me in a viewing of Venus. Standing room only!! Gives me hope that we WILL have science thinkers/problem solvers into the future.

That is definately something to be excited about.


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Pharmacy WHO breach issue update

I had a reply from the CEO of the chemist chain about the formula company branded mats on the baby scales. If you haven't been following the saga, you can catch the previous installments one, two and three. I would again like to point out that this is not an 'anti formula' or 'breast is best' post. I am not making comment on a parent's choice as to how to feed his or her child. This is about exposing the dirty advertising tricks of formula companies and about refusing to stay silent when pharmacies and formula manufacturers work together to put sales and profits ahead of infant health. For more on the advertising techniques of formula companies (which in many ways are similar to those of cigarette companies) see this link.

The reply which I received last week from the CEO of the company - if I'm getting replies from the CEO (or at least from his email account) then someone must be paying attention. To be honest I thought I would get a generic response which is sent to all the crazy people who bang on about the WHO Code.

Here's the reply I received:

Hello Bugs,

My team has raised your concerns with me in an effort to further examine the substance of your query. Please be assured that we welcome all feedback. Further, we use this feedback to review our offer and to look for alternate, improved ways of delivering a superior and personal pharmacy experience. This is in line with one of **** Chemists' guiding principles, 'there is always a better way'.

You have raised some important and valid points. Upon reading the correspondence between yourself and my team I can appreciate and understand your position. I would like to take this chance to explain to you, ours.

**** Chemists has a more than 50 year history in pharmacy. However, we recognise that history counts for very little unless we continue to offer the attentive, professional and friendly service and trusted pharmacists' advice for which we are known. We must do this in a way which exceeds the needs of our customers who both demand, and deserve to be valued. We pride ourselves on our track record for achieving these goals and our reputation for excellence in setting standards for service and contributing to a professional and dynamic pharmacy industry. In doing so we recognise that merely meeting minimum requirements is often not good enough. We strive for best-practice. I acknowledge the intentions of the World Health Organisation's International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and understand the guidelines it contains.

In particular I note section 6.8 "Equipment and materials, in addition to those referred to in Article 4.3, donated to a health care system may bear a company's name or logo, but should not refer to any proprietary product within the scope of this Code,".

The International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes does not counsel against use of formula company logos or branding per se. Some exceptions, as outlined above, are provided for within the Code, which is quite clear both in terms of its provisions and its intent. Our understanding is that use of our hygiene mats do not breach of the provisions or intent of the Code. In addition, the disposable hygiene mats provided for use through ****** Chemists' baby weigh service do not carry formula company logos, rather they carry logos for two baby clubs. On the basis of our assessment we will continue to offer free hygiene mats for the convenience of parents and carers who use the ***Chemists baby weigh service.

We do appreciate that your position appears markedly different to ours. At all times we seek to resolve any issues that may arise to the satisfaction of all concerned. As I said we encourage feedback in the spirit of, "there's always a better way," however in this case, I'm not sure that this is the case. We appreciate your position, and hope that you may be able to appreciate ours - however different the two may be.

If you have any further concerns, or if your complaint is made on the basis of another WHO Code and you would like to discuss this further please feel free to contact me on **phone number***


CEO of chemist chain

You'll notice that he skirts around the issue as to if the chemist chain plans to follow the WHO Code or not. After you get through all of the introductory lip service to going above and beyong and striving for best practice (without actually doing so), you get to the actual argument. First he defends the use of the branded mats saying that it falls within the Code (which it doesn't, see my reply below). Secondly he says that it's not really a breach since the logo is for a baby club, not the formula company. Thirdly he goes on to say that we appear to have 'markedly different' views on the matter - without actually saying how we are different. If the chemist chain is working within the WHO Code, then in what ways are our views different?

Here is my reply:

Dear CEO of chemist chain,

Thank you for your detailed reply to my email; I appreciate the time that you have taken to consider my concerns. I have responded by email rather than by phone as requested as I feel it is preferable for this conversation to be in writing for the clarity of all parties.

The section of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (the Code) that you quoted does not apply to the situation at hand.
Article 3 of the Code clearly defines a retail pharmacy as a ‘distributor’ not as a ‘health care system’, therefore sections 4.3 and 6.8 do not apply.
“"Health care system" means governmental, nongovernmental or private institutions or organizations engaged, directly or indirectly, in health care for mothers, infants and pregnant women; and nurseries or child-care institutions. It also includes health workers in private practice. For the purposes of this Code, the health care system does not include pharmacies or other established sales outlets.”

The part of the Code that is being breached by the scale sheets is Section 5.5 which states that infant formula manufacturer’s “Marketing personnel, in their business capacity, not seek direct or indirect contact of any kind with pregnant women or with mothers of infants and young children.“ Article 3 of the Code includes “information services” in its definition of marketing, therefore a baby club is marketing directly to parents and the general public. Thus the advertisement of Baby Clubs run by infant formula manufacturers is in breach of section 5.5 of the Code. By creating and using the branded scale sheets, ****** Chemists is enabling the formula company to seek direct contact with mothers of infants. As stated in the advertising material of this club mothers are encouraged to join the baby clubs if they are ‘looking for advice, reassurance or just have a question’ when they use the baby weigh service.

I quote from your email, ‘In doing so we recognise that merely meeting minimum requirements is often not good enough. We strive for best-practice.’ If this is the case, then why does *** Chemists not follow the WHO Code? In the same paragraph you said that you understand the WHO Code guidelines. If this is the case, then why have you defended the use of the branded mats under sections of the code which do not apply to pharmacies? I can only assume that the way you referred to sections 4.3 and 6.8 means that either you do not understand the WHO Code as you claimed, or that you are trying to mislead me by quoting irrelevant sections of the WHO Code.

You mention that we appear to have different positions on this issue and you have said you intended to explain to me your position. However, it is still unclear to me what your position is, specifically if **** Chemists is willing to work within the WHO Code or not. Your letter explained to me that you thought that ***** Chemists was working within the Code. If this was the case (although it is not because as I explained above the section that you quoted to me does not apply to retail pharmacies) then in what ways do we have ‘markedly different’ positions? To clarify if we have different positions or not: I believe that the WHO Code should be followed. Does **** Chemists believe that The International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes should be followed, or not? If not, then please explain why not.

Thank you again for your time in considering my email.  

As usual I will keep you posted on the outcome.


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

MCN update

I've blogged before about how we use Modern Cloth Nappies (MCNs) . We've made a few changes to our system so I thought I would update.

I now wash every day or every second day, not twice a week. Some of the nappies that we had started to delaminate on the PUL (waterproof layer). I'm not sure if this is because they were sitting around wet for several days or just because I bought cheap nappies to start with. Either way, I thought that a switch to daily or twice daily washing was in order.

I have also purchased some higher quality nappies. These new ones are still pocket ones. (Pocket MCNs have an outer layer which looks like a disposable nappy with waterproof PUL cover and snaps, and a fleecy lining. The insert goes inside the nappy/ diaper and gets pulled out for washing.) The new nappies are mostly bamboo (both the fleece lining and the inserts) with a small amount of microfibre. They are so much more absorbant than the 100% microfibre ones we already have; the microfibre ones look so cheap in comparison. In addition, the new ones have a higher quality PUL. Since they were more expensive than the first lot that we had, I really want to make sure that I look after them, hence the more frequent washing. The new ones can be pulled up; I'm looking forward to this when toilet training starts. They also have separate snaps for the legs as well as the waist which gets a closer fit and less leaks (most MCNs and all disposables only have one pair of tabs/ snaps to close to fit both the leg and the waist.)

We rarely use disposables at all now, except at night. I got some more mini wet bags too, which is perfect for a trip to the shops with one or two nappy changes.

Some of the cheaper ones I will throw out soon. I don't regret buying them. One set has lasted 12 months, another set six months. The ones which are delaminating I will get rid of, but about half of them are still in good condition. Even the ones which aren't have been used several times a week - for a rough very conservative estimate that's 100 times. They initial cost was about $5 each, so at 5c a wear (plus a tiny tiny washing cost) I'm very happy with our investment. Expensive nappies last years, but cheapies can be easily replaced. Disposables work out to about 30c each plus the huge environmental cost, so I'm happy with that.

I have purchased some more bamboo inserts, so I'm using them in the microfibre covers too for increased absorbacy. The new nappies I have are only available in plain colours (no patterns) but I would have purchased plain colours anyway. As I said before, patterned nappies look cute on their own but always seem to clash with Chubs' outfit, so I prefer to have plain colours and several double ups (eg four nappies in each of three colours rather than 12 different coloured nappies.)

I rarely use the disposable liners now, except for the first nappy of the morning (which is almost certainly a poo nappy.) TMI altert: Now Chubs is on solids - and a lot of them - her poos are generally soft but formed and roll off the nappy easily. We rarely get a newborn style poo-nami any more, so the liners really aren't needed.

Cloth nappies/ diapers are very easy for us with huge environment and financial savings. I've made a few updates but we're definately a MCN-ing household for the long haul!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...