Monday, 16 May 2016

Born moves forward and moves back

It's been nearly 2 months since our Bristol store closed and along with it the business.  After 16 years of trading first in Bristol, then in Bath and then in London the closure was sad but needed to be done. We've been asked 'Why?' and as much as I'd like to give a reason, there are too many factors to mention and even if I were to list all the things that I think contributed to us needing to close, and there would be a lot, I don't think that picking over it all would do anyone any good.

So what next for Born? Yes the retail stores are all closed but the website is now available. It's just me (for now) until there is a need for more. What I am clear about is that the things that I was passionate 16 years ago when we opened our first store are the reasons why I kept the website.  So it will go back to stocking the items that I feel are useful and practical to families without compromising my ethics.  As far as ethics go we were always very strict about what we chose to sell, but I remember a few years ago when Stokke and Bugaboo brought out new buggies, thinking 'at what point did we think it was ok to charge £1,000 for a buggy' and I think that at that point even the ethical baby products manufacturers started to make me question how we market to vulnerable parents-to-be.  I also stopped going to trade shows when seeing these stadium size halls filled with plastic tat and stuff designed to prey on parents fears made me feel uncomfortable about the messages the nursery industry puts out. 

I don't believe that buying 'stuff' is a way to make us better parents, despite what the industry will have you think. I believe that we become better people and parents by sharing our experiences and trusting other people to help us. If you had been to our shops and talked to us you would have probably heard us talk about the people we work with like breastfeeding supporters, Doulas, Homeopaths, Craniosacral therapists, Chiropractors or Herbalists and sling libraries. I would much rather an expectant couple spent their £1,000 employing a Doula, attending a preparing for breastfeeding session with a trained lactation consultant and having some sessions with therapists to prepare themselves for their birth of their baby. That kind of preparation may be less tangible than a shining Bugaboo Donkey, but the peace of mind and practical tools you get for when your baby arrives is priceless. It's also not the mentality the business needed to be financially successful! If you are one of the fortunate ones who can afford the £1,000 buggy, cot and the rest then please consider donating to the Baby Bank Network the charity I helped set up last year, as your children are probably not going to be one of the 1 in 4 that will grow up in poverty in the UK.

So moving on, yes the website shop will grow to include a few more practical things that I decide are actually going to support your parenting journey, so slings, washable nappies and co-sleepers are staying, but all the non-essential stuff is going. You will see that all the 'stuff' we have left from the shop closure that is not staying is on sale on the website.  The work we have done to connect people with Practitioners is still going on with Born Together in London and I have plans to grow that, more details will follow.

In the paring down of the businesses and devoting more time to Baby Bank Network I will not have the time to post lots on social media or to write blogs, it's taken me this long to write this! So if you want to get the odd email about what I'm up to you can subscribe to this blog or my own personal one here  I will be happy to spread the word on things going on that are aligned with our values, more about which you can find out by clicking on the image above.

Love Eva

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Every Woman Deserves a Positive Birth - The Positive Birth Movement

The Positive Birth Movement is a grass roots movement, spreading positivity about childbirth via a global network of hundreds of Free Positive Birth groups, linked up by social media.

The aim of these groups is to connect women and families with local information and support so that they may make informed decisions about their birth.

We believe that every woman deserves a positive birth. We believe that a positive birth is one in which a woman has freedom of choice, access to accurate information, and feels in control, powerful and respected. We think you can birth with positivity in a hospital or at home, with or without medical intervention. You can have a positive caesarean, or a positive home water birth. Positive Birth is about approaching birth realistically, having genuine choice, and feeling empowered by your experience.

The Positive Birth Movement has groups all over the country that are free to attend, as well as a huge community on social media.

Positive Birth Hackney has been running since December 2013, and is open to anyone who wishes to discuss birth past, present and future, be it in a professional or a personal capacity (parents, parents-to-be, birth partners - male or female, midwives, doulas, antenatal instructors, birth preparation teachers, etc), in an informal setting.

We usually meet on the Second Tuesday Evening of the Month in Hackney. For further information, including location details of our next meeting, please email Elizabeth at
Additional information is posted on our Facebook page

Thursday, 18 February 2016

The Need for Supplements?

Some would argue that with a balanced diet there is no need for anyone to take supplements. In the west we eat a variety of foods that should provide for all our nutritional requirements. However there are times when the right supplements can make all the difference. Those times are pre-conceptually, during pregnancy and after birth during breastfeeding.

Pre-conceptually (which is the year before conception) it is important to prepare your body and build up stores of the right minerals for growing your baby.  Basic steps for a healthier pregnancy include reduction in alcohol consumption, and stopping smoking and taking recreational drugs, and increasing your awareness of synthetic chemicals and their impact on your health.

The basic supplements that you could take from the moment you decide you want to have a baby are:
  • Antenatal forte
  • Magnesium
  • Fish oils (if you are a vegan or vegetarian then take Udos oil)

Magnesium is a mineral so many of us are lacking in our diets. It is primarily found in green vegetables, along with calcium - however our soil is so lacking in this mineral that it one that you will probably need to supplement.  Take 1 x 100mg capsule per day pre-conceptually and then during pregnancy.  Magnesium is necessary to allow the cells to relax and get rid of their toxicity. It is a fantastic supplement to take to prevent menstrual cramps and a great alternative to reaching for the paracetamol.  

During labour magnesium can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of contractions. At the onset of labour it will help the uterus to relax and the contractions be more effective. Some have also found that Magnesium helps to get a good nights sleep.

After labour when the womb is contracting, magnesium will be your new best friend.  It will help your womb to contract back without the intense pain that some women feel is worse than labour itself.

Calcium is the one mineral you will be told you need during pregnancy to grow your baby's bones. Whilst this is true, the best place to get it is not from cows milk - despite what we are told from health professionals or the milk marketing board. Think about it, where does a cow get its calcium from to provide milk for it's calf? Grass! Green vegetables have a lot of calcium in them in a soluble form which is how our bodies like it.  Our tap water also contains a lot of calcium.  In the UK because of the chalk used in the filtration process our water is very calcium rich.  The Biocare Ante-natal formula contains the right amount of calcium for you during this time.

Lacking good Essential Fatty Acids are the reason so many of us get 'pregnancy brain' that forgetfulness that strikes most women during pregnancy and afterwards. This is because your brain is a fat rich organ that needs EFS's to work. During pregnancy and breastfeeding your baby will get its EFA's from your brains stores if you do not have enough in your diet. Breast milk is also EFA rich and so it is worth supplementing during breastfeeding too.

Biocare has a great range of the best quality supplements and they are British made too. We do not yet sell them in our store or website but you can buy direct from them and get 10% off when you use the code 5870. Call 0121 433 3727 to place and order.  A carriage free order is £25.

Good pre-conceptual and postnatal nutrition advice can be obtained from nutritional therapists such as Maria Esposito. Maria has also written a very informative article about conception and nutrition - Nutritional Fertility tips for both men and women.

Amanda Rayment of Welcome World Teas is a Master Herbalist who blends a range of wonderful herbal teas and advises clients on a one-to-one basis about the best blend for their specific needs. She can give specific advice about preconception, pregnancy and postnatal nutrition and herbs.

NB: The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Tokidoki & Kangacare Nappies - Love at First Sight!

We've fallen in love. Just in time for Valentines Day too. But ours is no ordinary love. The object of our love saves the planet. The object of our love saves us money. The object of our love will get people talking - they will fall in love too. The object of our love is undeniably cute.

Born friends, let us introduce you to the absolute sheer gorgeousness that is Tokidoki.  Tokidoki and Kangacare to be precise. For the object of our love is a nappy, but this is no ordinary nappy. 

These fabulous Limited Edition nappies and covers are a collaboration between Kangacare and cult brand Tokidoki, and feature the fantastically colourful Tokidoki Japanese-inspired prints.

Tokidoki was founded in 2003 by designer Simone Legno and his partners Pooneh Mohajer and Ivan Arnold. Since then, Tokidoki has built a worldwide cult amongst children and adults with its larger-than-life characters and designs. The brand’s cult status has fuelled high-profile collaborations with Karl Lagerfeld, LeSportsac, Onitsuka Tiger, Marvel, New Era, Hello Kitty, Fujitsu, Levi's, Smashbox cosmetics, Xbox, T-mobile, Fornarina, Skullcandy and Medicom Toy.

They currently even have a massive exhibition in Times Square, Shanghai!

Tokidoki's newest collaboration is with Kangacare who make the fabulous Rumparooz reusable cloth nappies.  The Lil Joey nappies are ideal for your newborns (when normal sized cloth nappies can swamp them a little!) and the nappy covers will fit your baby from birth to potty training and can be used with any prefold or fitted cloth nappy.

There are even matching nappies made for your child's favourite doll or teddy, so they can learn about using cloth nappies through role play. The doll nappies are made from offcuts of the real-life covers, so there's no waste!

The Tokidoki prints are in two styles - the TokiSweet with it's pastels, rainbows and donuts, and the brighter coloured TokiJoy, packed with Tokidoki characters.

Also, COMING SOON, we've got the brand new TokiSpace, with flying unicorns, smiling astronauts and happy planets...

As reusable cloth nappies become more and more user friendly, we are thrilled at the way they are becoming stylish pieces of clothing in their own right. By using cloth nappies, we are saving money, helping the environment and keeping chemicals away from our baby's delicate skin - it's time to shout louder and celebrate these facts - and these amazing Tokidoki prints do just that!

The Tokidoki prints are a limited edition, so won't be around for ever, especially with customers (and staff!) singing their praises all over the place!  So check out the range and get ready to fall in love!!

Monday, 1 February 2016

What is a Doula (and is it a fad?)

by Guest Blogger Mars Lord,

I've been a doula for over 10 years now. It's funny how it happened. A friend was having an aromatherapy party and I overheard her telling someone that she had become a doula. I was intrigued. I asked her what a doula was and she told me, 'simply put, a professional birth companion'. I'd been at the birth of my niece and the birth of a friend's son. I figured that I could do this. So I went on Michel Odent and Liliana Lammers course, Paramana Doula. Wow! Who knew how much went on within birth, the amazing physiology of it. I arrived home wanting a sixth baby, but as I put the key in the door, I remembered that my quiver was full.

Women have always supported women with birth. They may not have been called doulas, they were the birth companions, the birth keepers. One would bring practical support. Food and drink.Another would bring spiritual comfort. Another emotional support. And another would be there to help the mother catch her baby.

Women have given birth since the dawn of time and birth has changed. Now we live in a world of technology. We watch life saving measures become standard care. The pendulum has swung from woman centred care towards medicalised birth, where sometimes women are not seen as much more than vessels. Fortunately we have moved away from the days where women are chloroformed and subdued whilst they wait for doctors to return and 'deliver them' of their babies. Fathers have entered the birthing room and women no longer have their pelvises cut to help babies out. One might imagine with the modern day advances, birth would be safer for women and babies. In some ways it is. But that rise in caesarean sections needs to be looked at. How have we gone from 3% to upwards of 36% in some London hospitals? Is it really true that more than a third of women are unable to birth their babies? Have the interventions improved birth, or caused more harm than benefit? What are the studies saying? What are the women saying?

Over the ten years that I've been doulaing I have seen a rise in inductions, caesarean births and medicalised births. What I've also seen, particularly over the last few years, is the rise of midwives and obstetricians who are more woman centred in their care. I spend time talking with 3rd year midwifery students and listen to their passion and desire to be like the birth keepers of old and their desire to spend more time with women. 

We live in an amazing time of technological and scientific advance. These things don't replace our natural selves. They should complement and walk beside us. A woman asking questions and wanting the best for her body, her baby and her emotional health, these aren't bad things. Birth is about the mother, the baby, the partner, the doctors, the midwives and the doulas. The birth keepers. The baby catchers. We walk together looking at birth in all her glory. It's not about scaremongering or shaming. It's about wanting the best for each of us, and having given women the right to choose, to stop denouncing their ability to make informed decisions about what is potentially, the most amazing moments of their lives.

Mars Lord

Birth In The City (@BirthInTheCity on Instagram)

Friday, 22 January 2016

Opening the Doors for Born to Grow

This year Born celebrates 16 years in business. We started in 2000 at a time when the term 'Green Parenting' hadn't been heard of and Fairtrade and the idea of shopping ethically had yet to reach the mainstream.

We are proud to have been involved in creating awareness about these issues and will continue to take them as our bottom line when sourcing the products to sell. Thankfully there are more of these available now than ever. Sadly however, there has been an increase in items that are not only harmful to the planet and to the people making them but also to us as users.  So our discernment when it comes to curating products has become even more invaluable.

Integral to the business is sharing information about conscious parenting. This is something that I feel just as passionate about and is something to which I want to dedicate more of my time and energy.  If you've been a follower of Born you will also know that I am involved in various other projects including Mums Say No to GMOs and the Baby Bank Network, and it's these causes and a few others (like the ones in the word cloud above) that I feel need a bit more of my attention.

With all this considered, myself and the other owners of the business have decided that now would be a good time to look at bringing in a business partner(s) who are also passionate about ethical baby products and want to build on the success the business has achieved so far both in the UK and on the world wide platform.

If you think this is something you have the time and money for, or just want to invest, we would love to hear from you.

Eva, Born Co-Founder

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Parenting - Banishing the Winter Blues

by Guest Bloggers, Water Babies

Christmas is over, winter is in full force, and the warmer days of spring still feel a long way away. Here’s how Water Babies can help cheer you up.

The sun rises much later than small children, and it hides behind a blanket of cloud thicker than the duvet under which we wish we could stay! No wonder so many of us get a little down.

The ‘winter blues’ are characterised by the mild depression, lack of motivation, and low energy. Known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, it’s a recognised condition that affects adults and children. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to help pick yourself up.

Get some exercise

As though improved fitness, help with shifting a few pounds and a better metabolism weren’t enough, exercise also releases feel good hormones. Any exercise will do wonders for your health and mood, but it can be hard to fit it in when you have a baby – unless you find something you can do together.

Unlike pushing the pram on a walk, swimming is one activity where you and your little one can both get benefits. Moving through the water is a brilliant cardio-vascular and strengthening workout for adult and child. In one Water Babies class, you can burn about 300 calories, and it helps improve your baby’s sleep patterns.

Get social

Friends are a wonderful tonic to feeling low. Planning time to relax and have fun together, even just have a chat over a coffee, will help lift you. For mums, that special support you get from other mums is so important that it even has its own word – mumpathy!

There are groups across Bristol and other towns and cities that have been set up to help mums meet each other. But taking part in an activity, group or class where you bond with a group of other parents is another great way to form lasting friendships.

The social side of meeting and swimming together is something many parents love about Water Babies. Wendy, mum to Charlotte, made firm friendships in their Water Babies class. “We always go for lunch at the farm shop after swimming,” says Wendy.

But it’s not just these blossoming friendships that’s so important, it’s also the bond between parent and child. Swimming with your baby is magical. For the time you’re in the pool together, you are completely focussed on one another, skin-to-skin in warm water. Afterwards you have a sense of having accomplished something; having spent your time well.

“Our Water Babies class is one of the most fun and bonding things I’ve done with my daughter,” says Charlotte, mum to Olivia. “The creative, playful atmosphere of the class has built her confidence and now we can’t wait for our weekly splash!”

We teach Water Babies classes in warm, private pools across Bristol, Bath and North Somerset. To find out more, please call 0117 946 6919.