Monday, May 23, 2011

Pampers factory: a trip to remember

Last week, I had the pleasure of being invited to visit the Pampers factory in Manchester and meet the experts from the Pampers Parenting panel.

It was a very busy day that started very, very early (4.30 am anyone?). Mr Foodie had been very kind and taken the day off to look after the girls and he even got up to make me a fresh pot of coffee! At the airport, I met Sandra from and Chris, the lovely PR from Fleishman Hillard.

Due to a misplaced boarding pass, Chris and I took a mad dash through Terminal 2 to make it onto the plane on time. If you saw a pregnant woman running through the terminal with her belt in her hand and her trousers falling off closely followed by another lady running in her socks carrying her shoes, well, that was us! The exercise certainly woke me up at that early hour and really is not that different from running after a toddler who doesn't want to put her shoes and coat on!

We arrived in Manchester and had breakfast while we waited for Barbara from who was arriving on a later flight. As we were early and the event wasn't due to start for another couple of hours, we went to the Trafford Centre for a spot of shopping (or window licking as we call it in french!).

We finally arrived at the Pampers factory for the event. There I had the pleasure of meeting fellow mummy bloggers SimplyHayley, Mummysbusyworld, Simone and Wendy. We all gathered in the conference room for an informal meet and greet along with the Experts from the Pampers  Village Parenting Panel, and representatives from Pampers. The experts were very interested in the mummy bloggers, on how and why we blog, where we get our inspiration from, how we started etc.

The Plant Manager then gave us a presentation on the brand and the plant which celebrated its 75th birthday a couple of years ago. We then received a presentation on what goes into a nappy and how it works to keep your baby dry for up to 12 hours! We had great fun ripping nappies apart to see the various layers of material they are made of (which, despite having nappies at hand everyday for the past 2 years, funnily never really occurred to me before!). Did you know that the absorbent gel thingy (I believe it's called polymer) is the same thing that goes into sanitary towels as well as the bottom of prepackaged meat? Well, I didn't, but it does make sense when you think about it. Another interesting thing is that all Pampers nappies across the world are designed and manufactured the same way and that a pack of size 5 Pampers in Ireland is the exact same product as a size 5 in Japan or the US. The only thing is that some sizes wouldn't exist in some countries (Pampers size 7 or 8 are available in North America!).

Everybody listening to the presentation.
Over lunch, we had the chance to mingle and talk to the experts. I had a great chat with Mary Steen-Greaves, the expert midwife on the Parenting Panel. We talked about the differences in prenatal care in the UK and Ireland (which are a world apart), premature birth, breech babies, c-sections and breastfeeding vs bottle feeding. She was the most approachable midwife I ever spoke too and I very much liked her philosophy that 'a happy mummy is a happy baby' and 'you have to do what works for you'. I also talked to Dr Maggie Redshaw, the development expert, about bilingualism. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to talk to the other experts:
- Dr Gillian Lockwood, the fertility expert.
- Laura Williams, the fitness and nutrition expert
- Dr David Atherton, the skin expert.
- Denise Knowles, the relationship expert
- Nicola Cairncross, the money expert and Wendy Dean, the sleep expert.

We were then given highly fashionable (not) safety shoes and hi-vis vests and went on a tour of the plant and witnessed how the production works, from raw material to finished product. Most of it is handled by very fast and very impressive machines, and quality checks are performed at every single stage of the production. Unfortunately, us Irish bloggers had to leave before the end of the tour because we had a plane to catch and didn't get to see the warehouse and shipping part of the process.

During the tour.

I got home about 6pm that same evening and I have to say the house was still standing, the girls were in one piece, and dinner was on its way too (not that I ever doubted it would be otherwise)! I had such a wonderful time that Mr Foodie could hardly put in a word edge ways as I was telling him all about the day. So thank you P&G, Pampers, Fleishman Hillard and everybody else that made the day so memorable!

Disqus for Foodie Mummy