Archive for April, 2013

Real Nappy Week 2013

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Today marks the start of Real Nappy Week in the UK, which this year runs from the 15th to the 21st of April. Real Nappy Week is an annual event aiming to promote the use of real (ie not disposable) nappies. There are lots of promotional events, nappuccinos*, demonstrations and competitions run by real nappy manufacturers and retailers.

Benefits of real nappies are both financial and environmental- over the course of babyhood, it’s cheaper to use reusable nappies than disposable. Goreal.org (the real nappy information service) calculates that a starter kit with all the nappies a baby will need can cost as little as £80, and adding £1 per week for washing costs means there’s still a saving of £500 compared to branded disposable nappies. 

Environmentally, there are apparently c 3million disposable nappies thrown away every year in the UK, and 90% of those will go to landfill. A baby will use around 4,000 disposable nappies between birth and potty training, so parents can make a big reduction in the amount of nappy waste going into landfill by using cloth nappies.

* (in case you were wondering, a Nappuccino is an event where Mums and Mums-to-be can pop along for a coffee and a chat about real nappies- find out all about them, ask questions, and there’s often a cloth nappy demonstration!).

There is even a real nappy week ‘clothopoly’ game with lots of prizes- you can collect letters from various websites, unjumble the anagram to find a phrase for the main prize (worth £500), and there are lots of other prizes to enter for along the way (the total prize fund is £9,000!)

Cloth nappies can even be included in nappy cakes, one of Chiggs stockists, Hello Baby Gifts was recently asked to make a ‘nappy-less’ real nappy cake which was really well received by the parents- Nikki who runs Hello Baby Gifts says she loves coming up with new ideas when these challenges come her way!

Baby milk powder ‘rationing’ hits UK supermarkets

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

I heard a report on BBC Radio 2 lunchtime programme yesterday about the shortages of baby milk formula hitting British supermarkets.  Due to an increase in demand in China for foreign made powdered baby milk, some UK shops (Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons) have said the purchase of certain brands would be limited to two units per customer per day.

Danone, who make Aptamil and Cow & Gate baby milk powder, apparently asked for the restrictions, and said most supermarkets were introducing a restriction of two cans per customer in order to prevent some individuals from bulk-buying baby milk for “unofficial exports”. Retailers have put the same limits on sales of SMA milk, despite the makers Nestle saying there were no stock shortages.

So what is going on? Foreign-made baby formula is popular in China- worried about potentially dangerous levels of hormones and chemicals sometimes found in Chinese baby formula, go to great lengths (and are willing to pay a premium price) to buy foreign brands. Their fears are not without foundation- in 2008 a locally-manufactured formula containing the industrial chemical melamine killed six infants and caused illness in another c.300,000.

Due to the higher prices Chinese parents are willing to pay, there are big profits to be made selling foreign formula, and it seems people have been buying in bulk to (unofficially) export to China, or send over to relatives. Since the introduction of restrictions in UK supermarkets, there has also been an increase in sales as Mums have been stocking up on their favourite brand- which in turn has led to shortages on the shelves.  On a local Harrogate Mums Facebook page, ladies are reporting near empty shelves in the local Morrisons and Asda.

It seems some entrepreneurs are hoping to make a quick buck without the hassle of international shipping, and cans of baby milk are selling on eBay for twice the shop price. 

Time for a “Keep Calm and Don’t Panic Buy” government poster?!

Successful mentoring scheme for young mums in Hull to be rolled out countrywide.

Friday, April 5th, 2013

The Chiggs office is on the road for a few days, as me and Chiglet are visiting relatives in Lincolnshire for a few days, leaving Andrew in sole control of Head Office. What could go wrong, eh? Anyway, whilst watching the regional Look North news programme last night, I saw a piece about a one-to-one parenting mentor scheme that has been running in Hull.

 In a similar vein to the CANparent scheme in Middlesbrough and ‘lets stick together’  in Bristol previously mentioned on this blog, the difference with this support programme is that it is aimed at young teenage mums.

Family Nurse Partnership specialist nurses support young mums aged 19 years and under who are expecting their first baby. The teenage mums have a one/one and a half hour meeting per week with a parenting mentor, who can offer all sorts of advice; not just about child development, but also diet and even housing issues. By building a long term relationship with the young mums, nurses can help them deal with any changes and challenges they may face during the first 2 years of motherhood. The scheme has been so successful in Hull that it is due to be extended to help 5,000 more families throughout the country.

More information on the Family Nurse Partnership scheme, which has also been running in Kirklees, can be found on the website http://www.locala.org.uk/your-healthcare/family-nurse-partnership/

Look North Parent Mentor Scheme

ooh, it's Look North on the TV