August 18, 2017

My 10 Baby Must Haves

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Here are my 10 must have items for babies, besides the obvious clothes and diapers!


1. Burp Cloths - Baby will spit up a lot in the first few months and we were always running out of these! We ended up using blankets as back ups a lot. You can find some cute unisex ones here.

2. Bouncer - This was a must have for the first 3 months when our baby wasn't much of a mover yet as it allowed us to not have to hold and carry her around all the time. She loved napping the bouncer as well!

3. Bassinet or Pack N' Play - We got this Bassinet off of Amazon because it had a cover to prevent the cats from getting in. We stopped using the cover after a couple months when it became obvious the cats had no interest. The downside is the Bassinet only can be used up to 10 lbs or up until baby starts rolling, whichever comes first. That's when a Pack N' Play comes in handy, but our room was not big enough for a Pack N' Play so we just moved her to the crib at that point. You can get netting for your Pack N' Play as well to prevent your pets from getting into baby's sleep area.

4. Receiving Blankets - Our baby was born in December, so these were a must as you are not supposed to use snow suits with a car seat, so blankets are the best way to keep baby warm while traveling! They also are great for swaddling in the first month.

5. Pacifiers - Pacifiers are recommended to help prevent SIDs while the baby is sleeping, but they also save your sanity. If breastfeeding, it is usually recommended to wait a couple weeks before introducing the pacifier. However, don't wait too long or your baby may reject them all together and you will end up a human pacifier.

You should get different brands as baby can be picky. I remember someone telling me to get the same brand as the bottle, but our baby had no problem with the bottles, but she did not like the pacifiers. We ended up with Avent bottles and MAM pacifiers. I had tried some Munchkin Latch pacifiers as well, but she did no like those either.

6. Play Gym - Our baby loved tummy time and when she started rolling, this became our must have. It was goodbye bouncer, hello play gym!

7. Play Yard - We have 2 cats and a dog, so this was a must for us as we needed a way that would allow baby to play on the ground, but keep the pets away. Our dog is super friendly, but she is a little dog trapped in a big dog body, so does not know that her size is an issue! She tramples the cats all the time and loves to jump in our laps (she's 50 lbs!)! Also, a lot of baby toys look like pet toys, so we didn't want the dog or cats running off with the baby's toys! This was the play yard we ended up getting and it's great!

8. Bottles & Bottle Brush - The same with pacifiers, you may want to to get a few different bottles as baby can be picky! If breastfeeding, you will probably want to look for something that resembles the breast as much as possible.

You will also need a bottle brush to clean your bottles. I love the Munchkin Latch bottle brush as it comes with a smaller brush which is perfect for cleaning the inside of bottle nipples where sometimes formula can get caked onto the sides!

9. Drying Rack - You will need some place to air dry bottles. I highly recommend this Munchkin drying rack as it is easy to clean (can be thrown in the dishwasher!), and can easily be taken apart and put back together.

10. Grooming Kit - You will need baby nail clippers (or scissors if you prefer), a brush, and a bulb syringe (to suction out boogers). We got a brush and syringe from the hospital but had to get our own clippers. You can get away with baby mittens in the beginning, but at some point, you will have to clip your baby's nails!

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August 11, 2017

How We Started Solids + Recipes!

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When it came time to think about starting solids, we discovered that this was a very opinionated topic. Some people will say you can't start solids until 6 months as they claim a baby's gut isn't ready for solids till then. However, our pediatrician told us we could start as soon as 4 months if we wanted.

Also, some people will say you should skip purees altogether and instead do baby led weaning, also known as BLW. In my opinion, this is just a strange fad as technically all babies will eventually eat on their own. I don't see how starting with a spoon will prevent this, but the choice is yours! There are some downsides to BLW, but a major one is getting baby introduced to peanut butter as it has to be in a watered down form or babies can choke on it as peanut butter is too thick on its own.

In the end how you feed your baby is your choice. I highly recommend reading Child of Mine by Ellyn Satter for tips on how to feed your baby.

Anyway, here is how we chose to introduce solids to our baby girl, and you can find my recipes at the bottom!

How We Introduced Our Baby To Solids

At Elsa's 4 month pediatric appointment, her pediatrician mentioned it was okay to start solids if we wanted or we could wait longer. Since she was already drooling and showed a great interest in us while we were eating, we chose to give it a go, but after a few days, it was obvious she was not as ready as we had thought and so we put solids on the back burner.

We attempted solids again once Elsa had turned 6 months and this time she was more willing. We started with baby oatmeal, greatly watered down with formula, and introduced it to her once a day. After a week or so, we used less formula and made thicker oatmeal so it would have a more similar texture to pureed baby food. We did that for another week and moved on to adding peanut butter.

Introducing Peanut Butter

The NIH recently updated their guidelines and now recommend introducing peanut butter as soon as possible (source). Our pediatrician gave us the okay to do peanut butter and strawberries but said to wait till baby is older to introduce eggs as it will be easier for her to chew a scrambled egg when she has teeth.

Since peanut butter has to be watered down, she recommended just mixing a tiny amount with the baby oatmeal, which is what we did after a few weeks of just doing plain oatmeal. When I say a tiny amount, I mean tiny! A little bit of peanut butter goes a long way! Elsa loved it right away. 

Do not start peanut butter or other allergy foods until you have gotten your pediatrician's approval!

Always monitor your child after introducing allergy foods to see if they develop any reactions. See a doctor right away if you notice any reactions, which could be as mild as rashes or as extreme as not breathing.

I highly recommend picking a day you know your urgent care is open when starting allergy foods, just incase your baby does have a bad reaction. 


Introducing Prunes

Once we got the peanut butter down after a week, it was time to try something else. We chose prunes because our pediatrician recommended it for constipation which can happen once baby starts solids. Elsa didn't have any problems, but we figured it would be a good idea to get her used to the taste in case she did! 

She would not have it. I tried everything from mixing it with her oatmeal to warming it. I even tried the "trick" method where I offered her the peanut butter flavored oatmeal, which she liked, and then offered her the prunes, but that did not work either. After a week of trying to get her to take the prunes, we decided to move onto something completely different, pureed pumpkin, which she loved!  

Introducing Strawberries

After a week of pumpkins, we decided it was time to try the other allergy food, strawberries. We started with an organic store bought fruit mix. The first couple of days, she did not like it. I tried warming it, and after that she loved it. We did that for a week before I finally got around to making my own pureed strawberry baby food!

She loved the pureed strawberries! I had also pureed bananas and we have just started alternating the banana and strawberry purees, both of which she loves! 

I know many will say you shouldn't start with fruit because it is sweet, but we wanted to get strawberries in as soon as possible in order to prevent future allergies. Bananas just happen to be really easy to puree and I really wanted to make my own baby food. You can find my recipes below!

Do not start strawberries or other allergy foods until you have gotten your pediatrician's approval!

Always monitor your child after introducing allergy foods to see if they develop any reactions. See a doctor right away if you notice any reactions, which could be as mild as rashes or as extreme as not breathing.

I highly recommend picking a day you know your urgent care is open when starting allergy foods, just in case your baby does have a bad reaction. 


My Recipes

For making my own food I did a lot of looking around on the internet for recipes and tips, to discover that there are many out there, some super simple, some more complicated, and you can easily tweak them to fit your needs! Here are my two easy recipes.

Pureed Strawberries

I had some extra strawberry puree, so I just
froze them in my Ball Mason jars!
Makes ~28 Cubes

You Will Need:
  • Blender or food processor
  • 2 lbs of ripe strawberries
  • 4 oz of formula, breast milk, or water (I used formula)
  • Icecube trays or jars
  • Freezer bags
  1. Wash the strawberries, cut out the core, and then throw them in the blender. (We have a Ninja blender and love it!) You can cut the strawberries in half to make them fit easier.

    There are mixed opinions on sites as to whether you should cut off the outer layer to remove the seeds. I chose to just leave it, less work for me, and my baby had no problem with the texture. Your baby's poop, however, will be very seedy!
  2. Pour in the formula, breast milk, or water and blend!
  3. Once the mixture is how you like it, pour into icecube trays and then freeze. Once frozen you can pop them out and put them in a plastic freezer bag. You can also pour them directly into jars and freeze them that way as well. My favorite is the Ball Mason 4oz Jars.
See more notes at bottom of post.

Pureed Bananas

Makes ~28 Cubes

You Will Need:
  • Blender or food processor
  • 6 ripe bananas
  • 8 oz of formula, breast milk, or water (I used formula)
  • Icecube trays or jars
  • Freezer bags
  1. Peel bananas and put in blender. You can cut them up to make them fit better or mash them down with a fork.
  2. Pour in the formula, breast milk, or water and blend!
  3. Once the mixture is how you like it, pour into icecube trays and then freeze. Once frozen you can pop them out and put them in a plastic freezer bag. You can also pour them directly into jars and freeze them that way as well.

    We have these icecube trays, and they work, but I would highly recommend getting some silicone ones to make it easier to pop out the frozen baby food! I just bought three of these Zoku trays from Target on clearance, so can't wait to try them out! The nice thing about them is they come with a plastic outer layer so you don't have to worry about silicone bending on you when putting the liquids in the freezer!
See notes below.

Notes: If following my recipes, the mixture will be more on the watery side, so if you want it thicker use less formula or try adding baby oatmeal. I just started with a more liquid version because our baby takes it better that way, but we will work our way up to a thicker mixture.

According to Huggies website, baby food can keep up to 6 weeks in the freezer, after that it should be thrown out (source). Wholesome Baby Food, however, says it can last up to 6 months in the freezer but recommends using it by 3 months (source). The important thing, I think, is just don't make too much at once and the faster you use it, the better.

You can either defrost it by putting it in the fridge, but do not leave it in the fridge for longer than 72 hours according to Wholesome Baby Food's website, or by microwaving it. Just make sure to stir it well afterward and test the temperature yourself before giving it to baby!

Do not refreeze! Do not put any leftover baby food back in the fridge, once the spoon touches baby's mouth and then back into the food, it is now a breeding ground for bacteria. If you don't believe your baby will eat it all, portion it out into another bowl first!

My freezer batch! Don't worry, I later put the banana cubes in a plastic bag as well!

July 28, 2017

A Letter to My Daughter at 6 Months

Dear Elsa,

You are now almost 7 months old! I cannot believe how much you have grown in such a short period of time! The journey to parenthood has not been easy, but I would not change it for the world. I love you so much my Little Moon.

It took us 9 long months to conceive you, and even then you were our little miracle. I was about to start fertility meds as I was diagnosed with PCOS, which makes it more difficult to get pregnant, but two days before I was going to pick up the medication, I got a positive pregnancy test, three to be exact as I just could not believe the first one. I immediately called your daddy to the bathroom to double check that I was not seeing lines, and he saw them too! We were very excited!

It would not be until another 9 months that we would get to meet you, and though your birth was the most pain I have ever experienced in my life, you were worth it.

You arrived on Christmas Eve of 2016, 1 week and 1 day before your due date of January 1. You were the cutest baby I have ever seen and so tiny! Your dad and I loved you the moment we saw you. Your daddy even shed a few tears, something he hardly ever does (he didn’t even cry at our wedding!).

We struggled with breastfeeding and you ended up losing too much weight, so we had to supplement formula. I just could not produce enough breast milk, whether it was due to a poor latch at the beginning, my PCOS, my anxiety, or a combination of it all. It became stressful as it was hard to know just how much milk you were getting. The stress got to me, so after 3 months we decided to switch to formula only. It was the best decision we made and I wish I had done so sooner so I could have enjoyed our time together in those early months more. Your health greatly improved, which eased my anxiety, and thus, my health improved.

You were a strong little baby, already lifting your head up after birth. You weren’t even 3 months old when you started rolling from tummy to back! Around 3 months you discovered how to roll back to tummy and have not stopped! It is only a matter of time now before you start crawling! You love to scooch, roll, and turn to get around your play area. You can sit with support, but still struggle a bit on your own, but you are getting there!

We had attempted solids when you were around 4 months old, but you just were not ready then, despite the amount of interest you showed in us eating and the amount of drool, so we stopped and tried again when you turned 6 months.

At 6 months you were ready and already wanted to feed yourself. You love to steal the spoon and chew on it. Your favorite foods so far are oatmeal mixed with peanut butter and pureed pumpkin. You are not a fan of pureed prunes so we will have to work on that one again later. You also started teething at this time and have made bed time a bit more difficult, but luckily you still sleep through the night for the most part.

You are quite the talker and were since the day you were born. You were already making adorable sounds when they laid you on my chest right after your birth, something your daddy and I didn’t expect, and I am so glad our Doula was able to film it. Now you love to squeal, yell, babble, and make spitting sounds. You have also started giggling and laughing more, which is my favorite sound in the whole world.

Your current goal is to try and fit everything into your mouth, so I have had to put reading to you on hold, which was something I used to love doing with you, but I don’t want your books to get ruined from your chewing and drooling!

I love watching you learn and grow, but at the same time, I wish you could just stop and stay this little so I can protect you from this harsh and cruel world. I want you to know that I will always be there for you, if not in person, then in spirit.

I love you very, very much Little Moon, always have and always will.

Love,
Your mother, Diana


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July 18, 2017

Motorishy Backseat Car Organizer Giveaway

Sponsored By: Motorishy

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

Co-Hosted By: InezbyDesign

**10 Winner Giveaway** 

Each winner will receive a Backseat Car Organizer ($34.87 RV) A total giveaway value of $384.70!!

Open To US and must be 18+ to enter
Giveaway Dates ~ 7/18 12:01 AM EST through 8/8 11:59PM EST

Good luck everyone! Remember you can subscribe to Before and After Baby's newsletter to be the first to know about the latest posts and giveaways!

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