Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Is Junior ready for solids?

From my experience, sometimes pediatricians don't exactly agree with each other on when is the right time to start your baby on solid food. I've read somewhere between four and six months. Some Peds are a firm six months and others are a firm four months. Where does all of this leave us mommas?... Confused!

I say your baby will tell (show) you when they are ready. There are plenty of good indicators that your darling is ready for the spoon. Just keep a watchful eye for the following:

  • If your baby has been sleeping on a schedule that hasn't changed for a while then suddenly is a little off, he or she may be ready. Keep in mind that a growth spurt is not a sign that your baby is ready. Most babies go through a growth spurt between 3-4 months. Wait a few days and see if it passes. If your baby gets back on track, wait. If it lasts more than a few wekks then he or she may be ready if showing other signs as well.
  • Your baby has lost the tongue thrust reflex. This is a reflex that babies have to help prevent them from choking and to help them drink liquids efficiently. When your baby no longer pushes things out of his or her mouth with their tongue then he or she may be ready.
  • He or she has good head control and can hold their head up unassisted.
  • Showing an interest in your food. Like watching you eat or drink or staring at your plate. This sign is somewhat debatable simply because all babies are curious. They are a learning sponge so just use your best judgement.
  • Birth weight has doubled. This shows that your baby has developed a good appetite.
  • If milk is no longer satisfying. Remember that babies need formula or breast milk until the first year so do not discontinue giving your baby milk just add in some solids to satisfy their increasing appetite.
  • When your baby can show you that he or she is full. Babies are born with the ability to self regulate how much they eat. They do this so they don't over eat and to communicate "I'm full". Oh my wouldn't it be great to have this as an adult? The signs are:
    • Turning head away from bottle and or spoon
    • Locking mouth tightly shut
    • Pushing bottle or spoon away
    • Fussing when spoon or bottle is brought to mouth
Starting your baby on solids will not necessarily "help" them sleep through the night. This is a myth. Babies don't just wake up in the middle of the night because they're hungry. This usually happens because they aren't developed enough to sleep for a long stretch. Most of the time bigger babies will sleep longer because they are all caught up on weight gain, uh hum, Wyatt. Smaller babies are waking up more frequently to catch up. Putting rice cereal in your baby's bottle at an early age or when they aren't ready causes them to eat more calories that are unnecessary and increases their risk of obesity. DON'T DO IT!

Once you do start solids your baby will still need the same amount of breast milk or formula. Milk should still be the primary source of calories. A good rule is to give them 20 ounces of milk a day until the first birthday. If your baby is having trouble drinking enough offer the bottle first before the solids at each feeding session.

Overall you are going to have the best judgement of what your baby is ready for and what they are not ready for. If all else fails just give it a try and if it doesn't work try it again in a few weeks. First time parents don't really get a firm set of rules and automatic knowledge. Just learn as you go and use trial and error until you get it right, within reason.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Jars Are Overrated!

     Since Wyatt has been a little over four months I've been making his baby food. He's nearing his half year birthday and I want to bring some light onto the baby food topic. I know a lot of moms think that jarred baby food is the only way to go or some may not even know that you can make your own baby food. Its easy, very cheap and fun!
     In my opinion making your own baby food is becoming more and more popular with parents and that is a good thing. This way you know EXACTLY what is going into your peanut's tummy. Nutrition is so very important as an adult and even more so when you're a baby. There's loads of recipes out there and for the record you do not need to buy those big expensive baby food makers. A blender or a food processor works just fine and it pulls double duty in your kitchen instead of just making baby food you can use it on the rest of the family as well. Two thumbs up for me.

     I have a few recipes that I have tried and succeeded at so far. I'll share more as Wyatt's palette matures. Thus far I have made sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and butternut squash. His favorite is sweet potatoes and pumpkin. I haven't given him any carrots yet. (they don't recommend carrots until six months or older because of the nitrates) and he is getting use to the butternut squash.

Sweet Potatoes

 Sweet Potatoes: At the grocery try and pick medium sized sweet potatoes. Get them while they are in season so you can stock up for the off season. I bought two for a dollar. Wash the skins and preheat your oven to 400*. Prick with a fork all over to release the steam. Do not skip this step you will have made yourself a sweet potato bomb in your oven. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for about an hour. Let them cool and scoop out the flesh. Do not get the skins in with the flesh. Although healthy for adults it can be harmful for a baby. Put the flesh in your food processor or blender. Add water a little bit at a time and pulse add more water and pulse. Continue to do this until you have a baby food consistency. Consistency is key. At first you want your baby to have fairly runny food to make a easier transition and also to prevent choking. Once you have the right consistency spoon your baby food into a container and place in fridge. Do no more than a serving or two in the fridge at a time to prevent spoiling. Spoon the rest into ice cube trays and freeze. Once they are frozen place each cube into a freezer bag. Mark the bag and date it. Place it back into the freezer. When you're ready to feed your darling just thaw and serve. DONE! That is it. Nothing more and nothing less. Those two sweet potatoes I bought made all of what you see in the ice cube trays! Literally Wyatt's meals cost me $1. Who can argue with cheap?!?

I think this little duder cost me $2 and made four ice cube trays worth. (such a great unit of measurement!) Be sure to buy the pie pumpkin not the jack o lantern pumpkin. They don't taste as good. These are the same concept as the sweet potatoes with one or two extra steps. So I cut the top off at an angle just as if I was going to carve it. Then I cut it in half. Be careful not to cut yourself these things are a bit tough. Now once you've got your pumpkin halved, you wanna scrape out all of the seeds. There are some fibers in there that are stringy; you wanna get those too. (CHOKING HAZARD) This step might take you a bit longer.

Once you've got all your guts and strings removed place them in a glass baking dish. I rubbed them down with a little bit of butter, I mean very little, and cinnamon. Who says baby food has to be bland and tasteless? Add about an inch of water to your baking dish and place them cut side down. Bake at 400* for an hour. Scrape out the meat. Remember not to get the skin. Puree like you normally would do and freeze and label. BAM! DONE-ZO!!!!

Unfortunately I did not snap any pictures for the carrots or the butternut squash. Sorry I know I'm a bit of a slacker sometimes. I'll give you the recipes anyway. 

The butternut squash was done exactly the same way as the pumpkin minus cutting the top off. I also did not add any butter or cinnamon to them but you do what you wish. Scoop. Puree. Freeze. Label. Done.

The carrots I bought the full size ones. Peeled them and chopped them to about half inch thickness boiled them until soft and pureed them using the water I boiled them in so not to lose any nutrients. Freeze label and that is all.

I hope that helps you all. If you are nervous about making baby food its okay. Just remember its trial and error. Take pride in cooking for your baby and not letting some factory do it. 

Happy Pureeing! 


My sweet family

Products I love (so far)

So since Wyatt is nearing the five month old mark I wanted to give some feedback to some new mom’s out there who may be in need of advice. Here are some every day items that I highly recommend.

     1. Medela micro steam sterilizing bags
These bags are wonderful. You throw up to two washed and rinsed bottles in them with two ounces of water pop in microwave for a minute and a half and boom sterilized. You can also use them for pacifiers breast pump bottles and shields even the tubing that comes with a breast pump. Whats even better you get twenty, that’s 20, uses out of one bag. Ah-mazing!

     2. Avent bottles
These little things have not caused my little man any problems what so ever. They’re easy to clean and do not, I repeat DO NOT leak! I have tried a few other brands and have ended up with more milk on me and my baby than in his little tummy.

     3. Pampers diapers
From sizes NB-3 you can get these in the swaddle type. They’re extra soft, extra absorbent and have a wetness indicator down the front AND back. The non-swaddle type are just as good for when your baby is bigger (ah-hem, my giant baby weighs 20 lbs already). These diapers do not leak and stay put.

     4. Cloth diapers
They are good for more than diapering. They’re super soft for wiping baby’s face and are great for throwing over your shoulder while burping. They also come in different colors and are super affordable. And once you start feeding cereal and other foods they will save you from dirtying up all your kitchen towels and wash cloths.

     5. Lansinoh disposable nursing pads/Lansinoh Lanolin
I have been breast feeding up until about two weeks ago (which is another blog coming soon). I’ve tried other brands and they just do not compare. The motto “you get what you pay for” applies here. Bonus: They normally come with coupons and sample breast milk storage bags in the box! The Lanolin is great for soreness from breastfeeding. It also works for easier clean up on baby’s tush while they’re getting rid of the meconium.

     6. Aden & Anais muslin swaddle blankets
Normally I don’t get into fads but this is a major exception. These blankets were a blessing when we were living in Hawaii and also through the summer here in Ohio. They were just enough to keep Wyatt wrapped up but not make him sweat. Perfection!

     7. Breast milk storage bags
I used Lansinoh brand but I had a few samples of The First Years brand and I loved them but I was unable to find them in stores in my area. These bags are a necessity for breast feeding mommas. (I was exclusively pumping and couldn’t have survived without them.)
Aside from all of the other major things needed for baby. These items should definitely be on your list. I hope this helps any mommy or mommy to be.

8. Sleep sheep
Cloud b has a great line of noise machines! Wyatt sleeps like a little lamb (haha) with this little gadget. He also has the giraffe which makes different sounds than the sheep. These things are awesome. Just select a noise for your little one to fall asleep to. Using the same sound every time you put sprout down for sleep will help with sleep training too. 

Breast Pumping

Since exclusively pumping for 18 weeks I have acquired some pretty good knowledge on do’s and don’ts. Whether you’re able to nurse and pump or if you’re like me and only pump this information will come in handy to you.
What kind of pump?:I started out with a The First Years mipump. It worked great and did what I needed it to. Except I was pumping every three hours every day and after a few weeks it started to wear out. I then bit the bullet and purchased a Medela pump in style advance. This thing was well worth the money and was built in a bag which made it portable for on the go. The accessories for Medela pumps are sold at most major stores which makes replacing things, such as tubing, membranes and what have you, hassle free. The pump came with coupons and a booklet that was very informative.
Storage:Storing the breast milk is easy as long as you follow these simple guidelines.
     1. Never heat breast milk in the microwave. It creates hot spots and can burn the baby. It also kills live bacteria (good) that are essential for your little bundle of joy. There are all sorts of great bottle warmers out there. You can also warm it inside a bottle in a pot of warm water, like your momma probably did. If your baby doesn’t mind cold milk, like Wyatt, it is safe to feed straight from the fridge.
     2. Breast milk will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Putting the date and time on your storage bag is a MUST. You don’t want your baby to drink spoiled milk. Your milk will also keep in the freezer for about six months. Have a deep freeze? Breastmilk will keep in that bad boy for up to a year. Just make sure you thaw it out by putting in fridge or in a pot of warm water. NEVER MICROWAVE! Once the frozen milk is thawed use it within twenty four hours and don’t refreeze.
     3. Going somewhere? Take a cooler with freezer packs and your milk will be good for twenty four hours. Freshly pumped breast milk will keep up to six hours at room tempature.
How long to pump:When first starting out you should pump for at least thirty minutes each breast. Until your milk supply gets established. Once established you can go for longer in between pump sessions, I would go six hours, but make sure your pumping for longer like for 45-60 minutes to completely empty your breast and to keep your supply up.
Exclusively breast pumping is a huge decision and kudos to any mom who does it. I’ve been there and I know how the extra step and prep can wear on you. It is possible though. A lot of the doctors that I talked to said that it was a bad idea and gave some not so good advice about it like only pumping for ten minutes at a time and so on. I don’t criticize the doctors’ intelligence. There just hasn’t been enough research and studies done on it so if you haven’t done it you simply don’t know. I would love to help anyone who has questions about the topic. Drop me a line. You don’t have to do it alone. Bottom line, breast is best!

A Journey: Breast to Bottle to Spoon

Up until two weeks ago breast milk was all Wyatt knew. Everything was going great with the breast pumping and I had no complaints. He was getting everything he needed and happy as a lark. Then out of the blue, as always, MASTITIS! Wham-o. Urgent care here we come. I thought this time would be just like the previous two. Some I.V. fluids and a script for anti-biotics. Nope, the doc said I HAD to stop breast feeding or in my case breast pumping! Let the tears and the heartache begin. Not the F word…FORMULA. I thought, my poor baby. He was doing so good and now he’s going to be up at night crying, he will be constipated, no more giggles, no more happiness. He won’t need me anymore. WRONG!
I don’t know why I had all these terrible thoughts. Maybe I thought Wyatt was going to grab his plastic play keys, put on his booties and walk out the door cause he was going to be all grown up or something. The formula transition has been great. Other than the diaper changing (SHEW). I’m praying it continues to go well if not we will get through it. Just like every other obstacle. The Lord guides us and we move on. Wyatt still sleeps through the night. He still smiles and giggles and plays and rolls over and his eyes still twinkle when he looks at me. YAY!
Getting my milk to dry up, however, is not an easy feat. Man alive, it hurts. Cabbage compresses, nursing pads, tylenol and ibuprophen have really been the ticket. I had pain for about 4 days with the first two being the worst. Now the engorgement has passed but I’m still leaking like a sieve. Which sometimes makes me want to start pumping again so my boy can have breast milk, but that is a closed chapter in our lives. They say stopping cold turkey is not a good idea but if you do it gradually it takes soo much longer. That is just the type of gal I am though; do what you have to to get something done then its over with and you can move on!
Since I stopped breast feeding and Wyatt was almost five months old I figured it was a good time to start cereal. He loves it. We’ve done it about five times now and by the second time he was eating from the spoon like a professional. I’m so happy with the transition. They say to mix the cereal in with the breast milk, or in my case formula, gradually. We did that a few times which is so very messy; get your bibs out. Today I gave him a full serving which is four tablespoons of rice cereal in about two ounces of milk. He ate about half and was full. So I’ll give him the rest tonight for dinner. I’m really looking forward to fixing him his baby food soon. I’ll be making my own so be on the look out for recipes and tips.
Wyatt has grown so much in the past five months. It has definitely been a journey; which is no where near over. A beautiful journey at that. Being a mommy is such a blessing. Nothing could possibly compare. I could never see myself being a parent a year ago but God knows what He’s doing. I thank Him for not letting me make those types of decisions in my life.
Have a great day readers
Grow every day!