Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Mom Who Cried Worry

I normally am not the type to be a worrier. I am usually pretty good at looking at a situation calmly and not over-reacting. I'm not saying I don't get stressed because I most certainly do, but typically there's a pretty good reason for it. I can usually look at the different angles of a situation and put my hopes on the best case scenario. Now that I'm a mom though, those rules are somewhat different, much like everything else about being a mom.

When it comes to worrying now, when it comes to my little guy, my worries are much more easily triggered. Granted, sometimes my fears are very irrational as I worry about just about anything baby - his size, weight gain, social, emotional, and behavioral development, eating habits, his health or sometimes I even get a little milestone envy.  I guess the combination of never having done this parenting thing before and the importance of getting it right when it comes to real issues fuel the sometimes "cart before the horse" thinking that I work myself into.

I once heard that worrying is about as pointless as sitting in a rocking chair. All that movement and you don't get anywhere.  Knowing this fact doesn't make it any less tempting to sit down for a rock though. 

Where is the balance? When should you brush off a concern and when should you take action? Put more simply - when do you relax and when do you react? For example, I don't want to be in denial of a real issue and only bring my child to the hospital when he's desperate for medical attention. On the other hand I do not want to be that mom that runs every time my baby has a tickle in his throat or a runny nose. I know the advice out there gives symptoms and signs to watch for when dealing with a potential concern, and encourages you to use your intuition, but sometimes my intuition is over-powered by my mother fears. I am sometimes unable to differentiate fully between the two - either that or my fear takes the driver's seat.  I suppose I will struggle with this balance so long as I am a parent - in other words the rest of my life!

Momma's Musts
  • Try to balance. I struggle with it with every issue with my child. Sometimes I let my intuition keep me clam, other times my fear wins out. Keep trying to find your balance when faced with an issue - it's not going to be an easy one!
  • Forgive yourself. If you make a bad judgement call on one extreme or the other -  for example if you bring your child to the hospital with a simple stomach bug or if you stay home too long with a high fever - remind yourself that you are doing the best you can and you are unable to know exactly what to do in every situation all the time.
  • Err on the side of caution - within reason. If you have a nagging concern or something just doesn't feel right, you'll feel worse if you ignore it and it becomes a more serious problem later. If nothing else, you gain peace of mind by having something that is persistently bothering you put to rest.
  • Don't look for things to worry about. Watch how much time you spend on "Dr. Google" or listening to worst case dramatic scenarios. True, the internet can be an invaluable resource, but sometimes those sources are not as legit as you would have hoped. They may be biased or based on limited or incorrect information. Trust only the professionals when it comes to real issues and avoid giving yourself unnecessary things to worry about.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Changing My Mind

I admit it - I am one of those moms who has said "We're NEVER doing that" or "We're ALWAYS going to do this". I see now how silly those statements sound. I'll provide some examples.

For starters - I was NEVER going to give my son a pacifier. My reasoning?  I didn't want him to be dependent on anything to help him soothe. I wanted him to be completely independent and able to self soothe. Maybe if I had kept up this absolute he may have reached this goal, but things change. When he was 4 months old, he started teething. He was desperate for things to chew or suck on - he needed things in his mouth to ease his pain and discomfort. I had several teething toys - one that vibrated and one that you could freeze. The trouble was that he was too small to hold the teethers up to his mouth long enough to provide substantial relief.  I would place one in his mouth and bring his little fingers around the handles and step back and wait. The result - only a few seconds of comfort. Then followed this screams from having had relief for a brief second and now that is horribly gone. To assist him in these times, I did sit and hold them up his mouth for a period each day but he still pulled them out, not to mention me not being able to stay there all day. 

Then one night as I was getting him ready for bed he was chewing hard on his hands and crying out in pain. I suddenly had a thought that maybe if he had something that he could actually KEEP in his mouth to chew/suck on he might feel better. Now what could such a thing look like? I wonder...I gave into my NEVERS and gave him one of the pacifiers that I had recieved as a shower gift. I've never looked back since, it was a great decision and sometimes a cold nummy is all he needs.

Another NEVER was allowing my child to sleep in our bed. At first it was a safety issue, I thought that he was too small and maybe I would roll on him or he wouldn't be able to recognize when he was too close to a blanket or pillow. I am still a firm beliver in my child having his own bed and room for sleeping but with exceptions. There have been moments when I have broken my NEVER rule. On a particularly early morning - say 5:30 am - I am just not ready to get out of bed for the day. When he wakes this early have taken to feeding him in my bed and letting him fall back asleep next to me.  I have tried the alternative of moving him to his crib, but he thinks it's time to get up for the day to play. I find that I love having him in the bed with us on weekends when we "sleep in" and hang out the three of us.

Those are just two of the many retractions I have experienced. I have learned the foolishness of my statements and am wary of saying them again in the future. The truth is I have no idea what I will do in a situation I'm presented with until I am actually IN it. I haven't worn the shoes of those times yet so how do I know how they fit? Today I may do something one way and tomorrow a completely different way. I guess my bottom line is - major parent lesson - NEVER say NEVER!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

10 Things that I Never Really Anticipated Before Becoming a Mom

Here is a list of 10 things that have happened because of becoming a mom - none of which I anticipated as being part of the mom deal.

1. Hair loss. After baby was about a month old I began to lose my hair in large clumps. I would find it all over the house - on the floor, in my bed, in the drains, in my baby's hands - everywhere.  It was an unpleasant side effect but it seems to be slowing down now and I've even got new hair growing on my forehead.

2. "Ish". Timing things with baby can be tough so when meeting someone - I always add it - "I'll be there by 3ish" because you can only approximate time with a baby. The little one is running the show and the best you can hope for is a ballpark time. This also works when someone asks you a question about the recent past - "When did you last feed baby?" again, the "ish" answer is required because memory is usually a little foggy "Ah, around 2ish??"

3. Little tiny things are so exciting. Rolling a certain way, saying "d" on the way to "dada", lifting himself up a teeny bit higher while on his belly - all is such a giant step for baby and means so much to me. I have shrieked with excitement over the tinest development and love every bit of it!

4. Children's songs and TV shows. I find myself humming and singing songs from Disney Jr. and Treehouse channels, and actually enjoying the songs and having preferences for shows. I also am critical about the "adult" parts of the shows in a funny way - such as why does Handy Manny never recieve payment for all his jobs? Haha.

5. Suddenly having no idea what's going on. This one kind of ties in with #4- I rarely catch the daily news because I never noticed the time or I just plain forgot to bother switching the channel. I have discovered that a PVR is my new best friend to allow myself to actually watch some of my own shows when I can, and also to have certain kiddie programs ready on a second's notice for a fussy baby.

6. My willingness to handle body fluids. I was the type that got grossed out by all things human - blood, vomit, poop, mucus, you name it.  Now,  when my son poops I change him willingly and as fast as I can because I don't want him to be uncomfortable. Then I analyze the poop to make sure he's having healthy movements for the right consistency and colors - I even checked out a photo album online to match the poop. The pre-mommy me would NEVER have been able to stomach that. Now it doesn't matter at all to me - spit up, puke, poop, bring it on!

7.My ability to measure - Before my son arrived I had no idea how big a baby would be at any stage. Now I can pick up a set of sleepers in a store without looking at the tag and know if it will fit my son now, or have an idea of when it did fit or will fit in the future. I am also good at judging ounces without any measuring marks- I had no idea how big an ounce was before I had my baby.

8. The value of one free hand. I have surprised myself with the range of things I can do with baby in one arm with the other hand free. I can pour, stir, open jars, move laundry, lay down blankets, eat, water plants, carry bags, - you name it.  I can also pick some things up with my toes now...haha

9. Bedtime. My bedtime has drastically changed since baby. While my little guy is a pretty good sleeper, you can never know when he is going to have a bad night. So I have taken to getting into my bed shortly after he gets into his. I don't always go tp sleep right away, sometimes I read or watch TV but I find staying up a possible waste of necessary relaxation time that I simply cannot afford.

10. How much I love cuddles. I can never get enough of those moments when my baby is in my arms and snuggling up or just sitting with me, hanging out with mom. It will never be enough!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Rush.....already....

I am going to preface this post by saying that I really enjoy Christmas and the feeling that comes along with it. I love the songs, the wrapping presents, the cookies. I love the parties, the parades, the tv specials, and the busy time between Christmas and New Years.  However, I'm just not ready for it yet.

I took my little guy out shopping this weekend and again today. I was disheartened at the craziness that has consumed the mall, and the now extremely dangerous parking lot for motorists and pedestrians alike. I spent over an hour simply arriving at the mall, doing one walk through and making a single purchase and then trying to get off the parking lot. It was absolute madness! It felt like the day before Christmas, not the month! Today I opted to try Costco as it was a Monday morning and thought it may be one of the slower days.  It reminded me of a crazy Saturday, filled to the brim and horribly congested. I arrived early and there were no shopping carts left, clogged aisles and overflowing check outs. Drivers on parking lots have less patience, horns seem to honk more frequently; in the air there's the feeling - of rushing! I know this is part of the Christmas experience every year and maybe it's just me - but it seems like it starts earlier and gets crazier every year. 

The shopping is one thing to notice, but I have heard Christmas songs already, seen lights lit up on houses, know people who are baking cookies and many who are already wrapping presents and trimming trees. I know I sound like a grinch and feel a "Ba-Hum Bug" in the air but I am really not. I love the Christmas feeling, but there is a time for that, and to me that time is just not here yet. I think we are wearing out Christmas if we start too early, taking away that simple feeling of making ourselves wait a little longer in anticipation. Maybe I'm old fashioned, or just plain conservative, but I want to wait a little bit longer before I start my typical holiday habits.  

I know this is a controversial topic and for every person out there who shares my opinion there is at least one who completely supports the opposite and loves an early start to the Christmas season.  For me personally, I just wasn't quite ready for that feeling to avoid crowds and trying to shop at "low" times just yet, I was hoping for another couple of weeks before the real craze started. Sigh. That's all.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Updates -DST and Naps

Updates on Daylight Savings Nightmares and Nap time trials as promised.

I was very concerned about my son waking up an hour early after Daylight Savings moved our clocks back an hour. I was very right, the first night he woke promptly at 4:30 am, his normal time being 5:30 am. That is an hour that where I really felt the difference and was angry at the clock gods for having set this in motion. His naps were off, he was eating his meals far too early, it was difficult at first and I couldn't help but wonder how long it was all going to last. Luckily I was fortunate and the effect was very short lived. After just a few days he began to regulate and under a week things were back to normal. Lessons I learned here were to have patience as things will work out and to also not plan an important activity the day of the clock change!

Keeping with the sleep theme, I finally experienced my Eureka! moment that I had been long overdue - he went to sleep on his own in the day! After trying several tricks and giving up time and again, finally we got the balance right and with the help of his nummy and Ocean Wonders Fisher Price Aquarium we have achieved success. He has found his nitch of a schedule of sorts - napping between 10:30 and 11 and again around 2pm. We wait until he shows the tell-tale signs of being tired - rubbing his eyes, whining, fussiness. We put him in his crib and sometimes he cries a little, but in usually 5 minutes or less he is snoozing away, kicked off with his hands tucked behind his head. It is a very sweet victory and worth the struggle it took to get there.

Momma would love to hear about your Eureka moments and sleep tricks, feel free to comment here, on my  Facebook or tweet me @hollymommablog.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Play Dates...Mommy Dates?

One of the highlights of being a new mommy - play dates. At this stage in my son's life the playdate is more a mommy date. As he gets older they get increasingly more beneficial to him though and it is great to see him with other babies. Here is my look at the positive...and negative..side of playdates.

A playdate is a time to get out of the house(or host a small group) and spend some time with mommy friends. I have found that even if a mommy and myself had nothingin common before, this no longer matters since baby arrived. There is an endless list of topics to cover. We listen to each other's stories, share each other's joys and struggles and offer suggestions. We snack and let the babies interact with each other.

We learn some new tricks of the trade for teething, sleeping, feeding and fussiness. We discuss product brands that work and ones that don't, what TV shows we prefer for our little ones to watch, and what toys are useful and fun. I feel like I have some time with people who really understand exactly where I am in life now. Playdates lead to a fantastic source of companionship and support, and it's neat to see the babies start to socialize with each other.

As with most things, there is a downside, but thankfully I don't believe it is too severe. Things to watch out for is comparing the babies beyond the norm. Of course the babies are all different and progressing at different rates and as I have said in Milestone Envy it is virtually impossible for us to avoid comparing our children against one another. The important thing to remember is to not let it get out of hand. It's okay to voice our comparisons in light conversation, as long as we don't let things get too heavy and become competitive. Another downsidesis the "keeping up the with baby joneses." There is no way that you will ever be able to have every toy or every baby gimmick that your friends have. While discovering new and useful toys and quality baby gear from others is a plus, it can get concerning when it becomes a contest. If you are trying to copy everything someone else has, it can be exhausting and never ending. It may also be necessary to tune out the mommy who appears to be constantly boasting that she has the best of everything. You are doing just fine as a mom! Your child has everything he/she needs!

Bottom line, I love playdates and like to think that my son does too, and I plan to swallow up every opportunity to attend one!

Momma's Musts
  • Join up! Find a playgroup in your local area or start one among your mommy friends. Even if you only know one other person with a baby, they may know someone else and it can snowball from there.
  • Soak it up! Listen to other's stories and relate in their experiences, and offer and welcome advice from other mommas. Sort through the advice when you are home later and decide what will actually be useful to you
  • Be wary. Try to avoid the competitive side in comparing babies and baby gear. Trust yourself with your decisions and equipment choices. Sift through advice but let your thoughts be the final word. As long as your baby has sufficient materials for healthy growth and development - relax!
  • Enjoy yourselves! The purpose of a playdate is to do just that - play!  Play with your babies and enjoy the other mommies and just let yourself have fun!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Breastfeeding - The Older Baby

I have discussed benefits and pitfalls of breastfeeding a newborn, now I relay my experiences of breastfeeding a 6 month old.

I feel very lucky to have been able to continue breastfeeding my son beyond the six month mark. Despite many close calls, I have maintained my milk supply and my love for this task, and I am happy to keep doing it for the next few months at least. Having lasted this long there have been both increased benefits and some new challenges.

The benefits of breastfeeding an older baby start with it's ease. My child has a radar for finding a latch in pitch dark better than a plane honing in on a runway. He has no trouble latching or getting a thorough feed at this stage. The feeding time is very quick and efficient, no longer have I got the worry of him falling asleep or spending a lot of time re-latching.  It is also still convienent for going out and not requiring any feeding equipment.  Blocked ducts have ceased, there are rarely any leaks, and I can wear whatever I want to bed now without worrying that I will wake up covered in milk. Basically we have found a rhythm with feeding that is nothing like the frustrations of getting breastfeeding established in the earlier days. However, there are a few new challenges that have developed.

For one thing, he is a much bigger guy now than at his newborn and earlier stages - therefore a lot stronger. He tugs on my breast sometimes while sucking, and pulls himself off abruptly, taking part of me with him. He has also taken to pinching me while feeding with his fingers..OUCH! He also has two teeth, coming up more every day. I can feel the tips of these razor sharp biters while he feeds and constantly fear a potential bite. Another new issue - he is very easily distracted now. If someone new comes in the room and talks to me, my son launches himself off and attempts to roll over in the direction of the visitors voice.  A lot of times I can't even watch TV while feeding him anymore, the noise and bright screen are things he simply can't ignore. Funny those things were recommended in the beginning while breastfeeding to help keep him awake during his feed. He is also very fond of the breast, and sometimes I worry that it will be tough to fully wean him. Sometimes when he is fussy, uncomfortable or tired he wants to nurse to pacify and it is hard to both recognize every instance of this and to avoid doing it. He can be very persuasive, haha. Another side effect of breastfeeding a slightly older baby is opinion of some. I know it is ultimately my decision, but it doesn't stop the uncomfortable feeling. I am in the company of some people who feel that six months is long enough and believe that once a baby has teeth and/or can eat solids, they no longer need to be nursed. I struggle with this one because it is my body, my baby and my choice. I am doing my best not to let this be a factor in my decision, but it is rough to tune it out.

Regardless of the new challenges, for me the benefits of breastfeeding are still the deciding factor. I have no intentions of stopping just yet, and hope that my supply maintains for as long as I wish to continue.

Momma's Musts
  • Just one today, and I'm going to repeat my above statement. It's your body, your baby and your choice. If you are among those who have managed to maintatin your milk supply and met all your previous challenges,you have the option to stop breastfeeding or to continue. It is up to you and no one else and you need to remember this main point. There is no shame in finishing up or in continuing for as long as you choose.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Milestone Envy

Like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @hollymommablog

Since I got pregnant, I have heard over and over - "Every pregnancy is different," and since the baby was born "Every baby is different." The purpose of these statements I have decided is to help you feel better when things are not going as swift for you as they "should" be according to the "normal" development guidelines. It doesn't stop the envy though.

Every milestone your child reaches is exciting. First roll over, first attempt to speak, first smile - even the first time they really look at you. These are all very exciting moments for parents. I know I can only speak for myself but in those moments not only do I feel elation and excitement ( and the need to instantly contact all my loved ones and go on and on about how great it is) but I also feel relief.  It's a feeling of "Good, he finally did that!" or "He CAN actually do that," or "He's right on schedule, developing normally." I can't help feeling it.  I try the adage that he's unique and will reach the milestones when he's ready but when he seems a little behind I am on alert. I think it's only human nature to feel this way.

Myself and my other mommy friends are constantly sharing each other's excitement for when our babies sit up or crawl or even when they finally like the food they are eating. We also share our pain when one of the babies is sick or struggling to cut a tooth. I can honestly say that I feel genuine excitement for another child achieiving a milestone, more so now than ever - I guess that is simply because I can directly relate to the situation. However, if my child is older than another child that is already rolling over and mine hasn't yet I'm a bit nervous. Another scenario is if a child a month older than my son and is now  sitting up, I tell myself that okay - he now has a month to master this skill. Again, I can't help it! I know I shouldn't be comparing my child to others but its tough!

We all want our children to be healthy and develop as they "should"  and no matter what we are told to think, we can't help worrying it if our little one is a little bit behind schedule compared to his/her baby friends. I even find myself trying to make a friend feel better if my son does something on an earlier time line such as say "mama" with things like "I'm sure she'll learn that soon," or "He just suddenly started to do it, you'll be surprised how fast it happens" or even "She has a tooth already! He doesn't have any!" as if having the tooth will compensate for lack of speaking.

The key point with all of this is - it's almost impossible not to compare your baby to others. Ultimately I am not really worried at all about his development.d I only will be if he goes an extended period behind the "norm" for reaching a particular milestone and I feel the need to consult with my doctor.  I just have these little twinges of....well...not worry or concern really - but I feel something, not sure what to call it. I guess I just don't want him to be different in a way that is behind where he should be.

Momma's Musts
  • Relax. Ah yes, I'm going to say it. Every baby is different, so try to remember this when you feel a twinge of something.
  • Celebrate others! Be truly happy for another child's progress and keep your uncertainties about your own child to yourself, at least initially, unless they become something to really be concerned about. Don't rain on anyones parade! Think of how happy you are when you child does something, it isn't nice to hear a worry from another parent stealing your thunder - at least not right away.
  • Be supportive and don't gloat. Help each other out when your children are struggling. Take time to listen and offer suggestions. We're all in the same boat! It isn't nice to constantly relay that your child is doing something that another parent's child cannot do yet.
  • Try to balance. This one is tough - trying not to under-react (?) or overreact when a child hasn't reached a milestone. Selecting that exact moment when you really should be concerned about something is the balancing act that we try to do all the time.  Like I have said before - trust your instincts, you will figure it out!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Sick Days

We've all been there. Runny nose, sore throat. Or maybe it's vomiting, and nausea. It could just a general feeling of being unwell, a day that you would normally call in sick from work.  Times when changing the channel, rolling over or walking to the bathroom is the extent of your activity. Throw in a child on a day like that and things really get interesting.

It is inevitable, as parents we are going to get sick. Common ailments such as colds or the stomach flu may plague us from time to time, and maybe we may fit into the category of requiring hospitalization or surgery from something much more serious on occasion. Our world before may have not stopped but it definitely slowed down. Now we discover that it is impossible to call in sick from this job. Another interesting phenomenon - our child is more likely to be fussy, gassy, in need of more attention, more diaper changes than usual, or just be more work than a typical day would normally require. This of course is like Murphy's law! It only makes sense that you would have a harder day than usual when you are not feeling well.

As a new momma, surprisingly I have had an array of sickness ranging from the pretty serious to the just not right days. I have caught myself wishing for just a pause button to let myself catch up on sleep or not need the help for myself or baby. I have postponed doctor visits and denied health issues.  What took me too long to realize is that they are there anyway, and thing is, the longer I waited the worse it got. I have learned to just face facts and listen to what's going on with me.The other bad side effect - the sicker I was the worse I was for my child. I had no energy for playing with him and dreaded changing and feeding times, and begged for nap times.  The funny part is once I let go and gave in and got help, it was never half as bad as Ithought it was going to be, we are designed to deal with a lot as parents!

The key is to keep your head. You are capable of a lot more than you think you are even though you aren't feeling the best. Your baby needs you no matter how you feel and will be grateful (even if they don't always show it!) for your efforts.  You are not alone here either, as I'm sure every parent has a crazy sick story when the baby or young child caused more grief than usual on top of everything. Take it in stride and take care of yourself! Your baby needs you!

Momma's Musts
  • Don't sweat it. As sick as you may feel, remind yourself that it likely a short term thing and you can do more than you think you can!
  • Just do it! Don't promise yourself that you will change that diaper in five more minutes. Do it now and then you can get back to resting sooner, and feel less guilty about it!
  • Don't worry. If you find yourself giving your baby less one on one time, its really ok! Letting your child play solo gives you some time for much needed rest. It's okay to have an off day every now and then!
  • Accept/Ask for help. If help is offered and you feel you need it, take it! If you think you are sicker than you originally thought and it might be more serious, seek medical help, ask your partner to stay home or call in a family member. Listen to your body and trust your gut!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Tell me the Tooth - and Boy Does it Hurt!

Like me on Facebook and follow me on twitter @hollymommablog

Eureka! I see a tooth! No wait - I see two teeth!

After almost three months of gritting my teeth and watching my son drool, bite, suck, chew cold teethers, and cry out in pain, finally I see something white. I actually felt it before I saw it, the sharp jagged edge that is unmistakably his first tooth. Two days later after being up EVERY hour (no exaggeration) the night before, another tooth broke the surface. He was crying out in his sleep in agony. I tried everything, rocking him to get into a deep sleep, benedryl on his gums, feeding, changing, walking, rubbing his belly, singing, shhushing, cold nummys, tylenol...ahhhhhhhh...in spite of all of this I was up most of the night anyway. It was by far the worst night I have punched since becoming a mom, even in the beginning with 3 feeds a night. At least he went back to sleep for longer than 20 minutes at a time then .

The next day out of desperation I went searching for something else to soothe his gums, what I was trying simply wasn't cutting it. Also, I NEEDED some sleep. I know it sounds selfish to think about me but the truth was that if I didn't get enough sleep I didn't give him the best care I could the next day. My lethargy made play time shorter and more laborious, and my patience was definitely thinner. It's a good thing he's so cute!

I discovered that adult benedryl was recommended, I only had ever used children's, but it apparently wasn't strong enough. I set off ready to try the stronger medicine the next night. I did have a slightly easier night, he only woke 4 times instead of every 20 minutes. Now the teeth are coming up nicely and he did manage to sleep much better. If only daylight savings hadn't happened in the middle of all of it. I guess that's all part of the tests we face as parents.

That all being said I am so excited to look into his little mouth and see the two tooth buds on his bottom gums. He is worth every time I throw my feet on the floor out from under my warm cozy sheets. It breaks my heart to know how much pain this is causing him, how I wish children could be born with their teeth!

Momma's Musts
  • Do what you have to - try every strategy that you can think of in times of struggle. You never know what might help, even if it didn't before. If nothing else it helps keep you feel like you are helping!
  • Love yourself too. It's okay to feel frustrated or discouraged, or even a little selfish when your little one is having a rough time. It's hard on you too, and you're allowed to feel their pain!
  • Love the milestones anyway, no matter the struggle that it takes to reach them. It's because they are so tough to reach that makes them seem like such a big deal!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

On Solid Ground - Introducing Food!

It's that time. 6 months old and time for a major diet change. What to give? When to give it? How to make it? How much to give? When to give something new? So many questions. Here is what I did - I trusted my instincts, plain and simple.

When : Some sources said to feed a little at every meal, another said to introduce one meal at a time adding the second and third meals after a week or more each. Yet another suggested feeding new foods only in the morning.  I took all of this and decided to try one meal a day and I first tried at 8am, around the time of his second feeding of the day. I gave the food a little before he showed signs of hunger so he wasn't starving when time came to eat. I had to tweak this a bit and found that lunch time was his best time as he hardly ate anything at that morning feed. After about a week, I started giving him another small meal at supper time - when he appeared hungry around the 5-6 feed.

What/How much : I started with Rice Cereal and chose to mix this with breastmilk. I started with a half tbsp of cereal and about 3 tbsp of lukewarm milk. I increased this amount based on his appetite. If he still welcomed the food, didn't turn his head away and appeared hungry I increased the amount a tbsp a day or so until we hit 5 tbsps. After 3 or so days we tried Oat Cereal mixed with water and he was fine here too. I added water gradually, mixing to get the right texture. We soon found out that he preferred food a little thicker than thin and runny. After another 3 more days we introduced the first meat - pureed pork. I gave him this meal at supper time. He has been a little more hesitant about the pork but it came down to trial and error for texture and timing. It's really all a guessing game.  Plan is to then add another meat (beef), and move to vegetables, and finally fruits. I will mix it up in between by giving a new cereal or introduce chicken sometime soon also.

I decided to make my own baby food. We baked, chopped and pureed the meat mixed with breastmilk. The veggies - basically the same just boiled/steamed instead of baked.  We froze the food in icecube trays overnight and then placed the frozen food cubes in ziploc bags labelled with food name and date.  I plan to alter the texture by spending by reducing the amount of liquid we add as well as how long we blend it as he gets more exposed to the food. When I feel like he can handle more lumps, lumps is what he will get!

So far things are going relatively well and I find I am eager to discover if he likes a new food. I am enjoying preparing it and like the whole process. He sits with us at our meal times and we alternate feeding him and feeding ourselves(when we can - sometimes he's so hungry that he simply can't wait for us to eat!). I will update my progress on this topic as new foods are attempted in weeks to come.

Momma's Musts :

  • Trust yourself. Start your baby on solids when you are ready and when you feel he/she is ready. Start introducing the cereal/protein/veggies in the order that you feel.
  • Listen to baby. You will know pretty quickly if baby likes the texture, is still hungry, is too full or simply just doesn't like the food. Try to alter your preparation to see if that helps, take a break from a certain food, or if all else fails, give up on a food and move on!
  • You decide. If you want to make your own food, buy baby food or mix and match do what you choose! It's your baby and you are the one feeding him/her so trust what you think!
  • Enjoy! Make meal time with baby family time! Have your little one sit with you and eat meals together as much as you can. This will get easier as he/she gets used to eating.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Baby's First Halloween

I have always loved Halloween, and now I love it even more. I feel now that with a little one in the mix I get to be a kid again, getting to experience that fun of trick-or-treating.

Ok so my little guy is too small to know what's really going on. That didn't stop us from taking our time to select his costume, dress him up several times and take him around. We have family spread from one end of the city to the other so we took an afternoon over the weekend and had him go trick-or-treating there. Then we did a select few houses from our neighborhood. Everyone was so nice, giving out baby food for him and a couple of treats for mom.  We managed to get together with a lot of his little friends for costume photo ops too...they were all sooooo cute.

I have always loved watching the trick-or-treaters come to my door, and hated missing that part when I used to go out myself when I was younger.  Last night in the midst of a ringing doorbell and a crying baby I realized that from here on out Halloween will only get more fun. When he starts to select his own costume, pick houses he wants to visit, sort through his candy, still covered in make up when he gets home. Simplicity yes, but just such a nice feeling.

We made a point of decorating with him watching us, and showing him the spooky ghosts and witches, and reading him Halloween stories. I think that while he wasn't sure exactly what was happening he knew something was different. He was so well behaved in his costume too. Costumes have certainly come a long way since I was out years ago.

Momma's Musts

  • Be a kid again! Enjoy as thoroughly as your child does these "kid" events. They are part of what life is all about.
  • Involve your little ones. They may not know what is going on or be able to do much but expose them to what you are doing and try to bring it to their level as much as you can.
  • Step away from the Candy! Do not gorge on all the left over treats or the ones that baby can't eat that you collected. Well, not all at once anyway, haha.