August 25, 2017

Car Safety: Always Check For Baby and Pets

You should never leave your child or pet in the car. There is no good excuse and even if you think you aren't going to be gone long, your child or pet could be in danger within minutes or you could get delayed and minutes can turn into hours.

The temperature outside will not match the temperature inside your car so you may think it is "cool" enough to leave your child, but it is not.
"In 10 minutes a car can heat up by 20 degrees. Even on a mild day the temperature inside a vehicle can hit 110 degrees. If a child’s body temperature reaches 107 degrees, that child will die." (source)
This tragedy is more common than you think:
"On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. In more than half of these deaths, the caregiver forgot the child was in the car." (source)
Here is the total death count since 1998 and you can see how many died per year:

"735 children left in vehicles have died of heatstroke since 1998." (source)
SOURCE

However, the sad thing is most of these were accidental: 54% were forgotten and 28% of these deaths were due to a child playing in a car unattended (source).

Right now I bet some of you are screaming "How could you forget your child?" For those who don't have kids yet, this may seem impossible, and for those who have babies, they also would probably like to believe that they could never forget their little one, but the sad truth is, if you are human, you can forget. 

Have you ever locked yourself out of your car? Forgot your wallet? Forgot your phone? Couldn't find your keys? Forgot to buy something at the store? Forgot someone's birthday or another important event? Couldn't find your glasses? Forgot to do a homework assignment or study for a test?

If you said yes to any of the above, then you can forget your child or pet. 

In most of these cases, the care giver of the child forgot because of a routine change. Aaron Gouveia writes about his close-call in this Time article. If he hadn't gone back for the shopping list, his son may not be alive to this day. 


Instead of claiming these parents are horrible people or claim they did it on purpose because how could anyone forget a child, we should change our thinking to "how do we prevent this?" If you think you could never forget your child, then the sad thing is, you are more likely to forget because you think you are immune. It's like people who don't get the flu shot because they never get the flu, and then their luck runs out and they end up sick. 

You are not immune. This could happen to you. This could happen to me. So how do we prevent ourselves from forgetting our child? It's simple. ALWAYS LOOK.

Ever since having my baby, I have gotten in the habit of checking the backseat each and every time I leave my car. It doesn't matter if I know she isn't with me, because the moment I stop, is the moment this tragedy could happen to me.

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Another tip is to put something in the backseat that is important you, that you will need. I, personally, don't like this tip because people have been known to forget their phones, wallets or purses, or whatever important item you may need so you could end up forgetting both things! 

If you usually drop your child off at childcare, have them call you if you happen to not arrive when you usually do. Parents can forget to drop off children when they are in a hurry for work and then end up heading into their work building while their child is still in the car. Having your provider call to check in with you will help eliminate this risk!

To prevent your child from getting into a car without your knowledge, always keep your car locked and keep your keys out of their reach. 

Also, if you ever see a child alone in a car, ACT! Call 911. Many states also have Good Samaritan laws that will protect you, which you can find them here


It's not just children, pets are too often forgotten as well and more likely to be purposely left in the car. Just like children, your dog, cat, or any other pet you decide to travel with, could get heatstroke and die. Cracking the window does little to nothing to prevent your car from overheating (source).

Many states actually have laws against leaving animals in a parked vehicle, which you can find here. Many of these states will also allow you to rescue the animal without penalty, but even so, always call 911 before you attempt to break into any vehicle.

It's also not just heat stroke that is a problem, but leaving your child or pet in the car in the winter is deadly as well. They could die from hypothermia. 
"Infants and young children develop hypothermia more easily than older children and adult, so there is a very real risk of hypothermia when they are left unattended in cars in cold weather." (source)
And if you leave your car running, then they run the risk of dying from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:
"Children are more susceptible to CO poisoning, and neither children nor adults can smell CO. Parents may not even notice that their children are suffering from CO poisoning until it is too late, thinking that it is just normal sleep. Better to take your child out in the most bitter winter weather than run the risk of CO poisoning." (source)
In general, just leaving your child alone in a car is dangerous as someone could kidnap them. You are basically either risking your child's life or risking the chance of ever seeing your child again every time you leave your child in the car. This more so applies to the small percentage of people who do purposely leave their kids in their vehicle.

The majority simply just forget, and live the rest of their lives feeling guilty. Like many, they probably thought they could never forget their child, only to find that they did. Let's stop shaming parents and pretending we are immune to Forgotten Baby Syndrome, and instead all do our part and LOOK before we get out of our cars.

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Sources

August 18, 2017

My 10 Baby Must Haves

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post. Any purchase you make using these links supports this site.


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!

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post. Any purchase you make using these links supports this site.

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!

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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!