It’s Only Natural

Steve Biddulph might know a thing or two about raising boys but frankly, Meredith Marshall knows more. As if she wouldn’t as the mother of seven boys.

“The amount of energy they exert in a day is enough to power a small city!” exclaimed Meredith. “There is certainly an art to creating the right environment for such a dynamic”.

Not surprisingly, this environmentally conscious mama is also quite the expert in baby soothing. But when Meredith started bringing natural rubber soothers, teats and teethers to Australia in 2007, her motivation was not to keep babies calm rather, it was to keep them healthy.

“I’m passionate about leading an ethical and organic lifestyle”, said Meredith, “and The Natural Rubber Soother project encapsulates this philosophy. Silicone soothers are made with petro-chemicals and are not biodegradable. For me, offering an alternative to placing a silicone product in a baby’s mouth is only natural”.

It is hard to believe that petrochemicals are allowed in such products but due to non-mandatory testing requirements of the Government, they are. Safety issues are not limited to ingredients either. In the past 18 months, there have been two recalls where a teat and the shield have come apart. In one instance, causing the teat to lodge in the baby’s mouth.

“This is why our soothers are all one moulded piece of rubber that do not come apart” explained Meredith, “and to ensure peace of mind, we have our soothers and teethers independently tested by SGS labs to comply with Australian Safety Standards”.

Meredith has even higher standards for her products. “Our manufacturing partner in Malaysia (where rubber trees are grown) pride themselves on their excellence in sustainability as well as a common respect for natural materials, quality and service.  We work closely with them to reduce our environmental impact.  For example, the carbon emissions output to fly our Natural Rubber Soothers from Malaysia to Sydney is just 2.44 tonnes”. That’s a fraction of the emissions other companies who import from Europe can produce with emission levels reaching up to 9.88 tonnes.

My family’s washing weighed in at 9.88 tonnes after Sydney’s recent rainy spell, which begs the question: How does this woman get around to anything other than caring for her small football team?

“People always ask me ‘How do you run a successful business and a large family?’ The answer is “I don’t, the whole family does!”   “My husband is the IT expert and first point of contact on the phone.  As for the boys, well, everyone plays their part to make it happen, even our youngest, Theo, he’s the 9 week old model used in our current advertising campaign”.

“Having your own business is a melting pot of emotions. One minute you are on a high ticking boxes, then the next you are faced with challenges, and they are usually financial ones – like how to grow the business with the current cash-flow.  This would be the biggest challenge I have faced, combined with managing the kids whilst I work. I am lucky though that the little guys still have afternoon sleeps!”

And Meredith is still expanding her team – she’s currently coasting through her second trimester. Clearly, motherhood suits her. “I love watching the everyday changes in each of the boys, at the moment our 14 month old has started walking, to see him crawling everywhere seven days ago to now striding around is out of this world, the look of achievement on his face is priceless”.

Favourite Sydney park? Rowland Reserve, Bayview “It is a dog friendly park on Pittwater on the Northern Beaches, we can take the whole family including the dogs to exercise”.

Charity of choice?  The Link Community Foodcare Program “It supports families in need in my local community”

Natural Rubber Soother products are found in chemists, health food store and online retailers. New mothers will also find them in their ‘Bao Bag’ (take home sample bag) given out in maternity wards.


Author: Sharon Quill

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