Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Baby-Led Feeding: Month 2

check out that pearly white!

Whoa! Little Man upped his eating game this month! We jumped from maybe eating solids once a day to THREE meals a day and 24 ounces of formula. If the amount of food he puts away is any indication of teenage years, I am in trouble!

To be honest, I have bought way more baby food this month than I ever anticipated when we decided to leap into the Baby-Led Weaning journey. I have a couple of reasons:

1) We introduced fruits this month and it is WAY harder for him to grasp---fruit is super slippery!
2) With his dairy/milk allergy thing, he can't really eat what we eat. That makes it more difficult because I can't just give him bites of whatever I make for dinner or whatever I order at a restaurant.
3) My child LOVES to be fed from a spoon. Some days he prefers it over feeding himself.

I still put pieces of fruit or veggies on his tray and he does feed himself. I have had to make them smaller because he started stuffing the whole chunk of food in his mouth and he would gag. I usually offer him banana or sweet potato or zucchini. (He eats banana and sweet potato EVERY DAY). I also found these Gerber Fruit and Veggie Melts (the only melts I could find with no dairy) and he loves to feed himself these too!

I found a brand of baby food at Walmart called Beech-Nut. It is CHEAPER than Gerber and they use Non-GMO certified foods. That's a win for me! Plus, they incorporate meats so Holt gets a little added protein. (Until he gets more teeth he can't chew up meat properly and I'm afraid he will choke). I have also bought a few Earth's Best brand baby food---a UK brand that uses organic produce.

I buy both Stage 2 and Stage 3 baby food jars and I also buy the baby food pouches made up of fruits and veggies. When I get his food ready, I add bits of sweet potato or zucchini or banana to make it more chunky and that ensures he is still practicing chewing and not just swallowing.

Example of our Daily Eating Routine:

7-7:30 AM     Holt eats an 8 oz bottle
8-8:30 AM     Holt eats breakfast---usually some kind of fruit puree with chunks of banana
9 AM             Naptime
11-11:30        Holt is up from nap and he eats lunch---veggie/meat puree with sweet potato and zucchini chunks
1-1:30 PM    Holt eats an 8 oz bottle
2ish PM        Naptime
4-5 PM         Holt eats dinner----veggie/meat puree with sweet potatoes again and sometimes some fruit for dessert
6:45-7PM    Holts eats an 8 oz bottle and then is down for bed

I have made scrambled eggs a couple mornings and he likes them ok. But they are kind of dry and he doesn't chew very well without teeth yet, so he ends up gagging quite a bit.

I did introduce peanut butter one time and he loved it! And NO allergic reactions! Once I introduce grains I'll probably spread PB on some toast and see how he likes that.

We also tried puffs and Ritz crackers this month--both were a huge hit!

This month, Holt has been introduced to lots of fruit---banana (his FAVORITE), apple, mango, strawberries, peaches, plums, kiwi, and pears. He had some diaper rash with the pear so we are holding off on that for a bit. Except for the banana, he has eaten all the above mentioned fruits from Beech-Nut and sometimes I add cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to add a little flavor.

He has also been introduced to chicken and turkey as well as rice and little star pastas (both in the baby food). These can be somewhat bland so I have been adding spices such as garlic, cumin, curry, and paprika. I do not use salt.

Green veggies have somewhat taken a backseat this month with the introduction of the sweet fruits. He will still eat them, but I typically mix them with an orange veggie like carrots or sweet potato.

One thing that I felt like was tough to find (probably more tough than usual because of his dairy allergy) was nutritious snacks. I like Plum Organics brand, but their teething biscuits have a lot of sugar. I know he is already getting sugar from fruit so I'm trying not to add too much extra on top of that. Most of the other snacks on the market for crawlers contain some form of dairy so he can't eat those right now. I did some looking around on Pinterest and have found 2 recipes for nutritious and yummy snacks! (Check out my board here to view them and some other helpful info on BLW) One was homemade teething biscuits and the other was baby food muffins. Neither one had dairy, used very few ingredients and were super easy to make--plus Holt loved them so it's a win win for this busy mama!
The recipe made around 30 mini-sized muffins

The recipe made approx. 20 teething biscuits

Goals for Month 3: 
*introduce peanut butter again
*introduce cheerios---we need to start practicing the pincher grasp
*continue to find nutritious snacks and new recipes to try
*maybe try pancakes? Depends on if he gets any more teeth or not

corn on the cob---im sure it felt good on his gums

trying out the teething biscuits

he loved pears, but they caused diaper rash

he tried a lemon at a restaurant and loved it! we will limit them though because of the wear on enamel

I"m looking forward to the next month and what new food adventures we will try---especially with more teeth!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Go Dairy-Free for Baby's Sake

2 month old Holt

After talking with several friends of mine who are also new moms, I have realized that the dairy/milk sensitivity that my child has is EXTREMELY common. I'm not sure if it's more common now than when I was a kid or if people are just more informed about it, but seriously around 7 out of 10 moms I talk with are dealing with it. 


So, I thought I would try to help any moms out there (new, not so new, or expecting) by offering the details of my experience with Holt's milk sensitivty/allergy. 

So, what made us even ask our doctor about it in the first place? From about 4 weeks--8 weeks, Holt was extremely gassy, fussy, and in lots of pain. He would wake up crying during naps and during the night, extending his legs and becoming straight as a board. He howled cried in pain. BROKE. MY. HEART. There is nothing worse as a mama than knowing your baby is hurting and you feel completely helpless. We tried gas drops, burping, sleeping on his tummy, walking, bouncing, EVERYTHING. We thought he had reflux. I really wish I had known about DoTerra essential oils and the DigestZen at the time. I think that would have really helped him with the gas pain and his upset tummy. 

Not happy that our poor little guy felt bad

OH---one tiny symptom I forgot to mention----his poop was slime. Literally. 

I knew this wasn't normal so we took in a couple specimens to our pediatrician. They tested for blood and it was negative (PTL), but they were very concerned about the consistency. At our 2 month checkup, our pediatrician told us his first inclination was that Holt had a dairy sensitivity. Basically, it just means that his little digestive system is unable to properly breakdown the protein found in milk and milk products, called casein. This results in bad gas pain and slimy poop. The good news is that he should outgrow it by the time he is 1 year old, so he won't have a milk allergy for life. Apparently this is very common in infants and is easy to correct. 

Since I was breastfeeding at the time, that meant I had to start a very strict dairy-free diet. Here is a list of all the ingredients I was not allowed to have:

(here's a list in case you can't make out everything):

artificial butter flavor
butter, butter fat, buttermilk
caseinates (ammonia, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium)
cottage cheese
half & half
hydrolysates (casein, milk protein, protein, whey, whey protein)
lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate
rennet casein
sour cream

I also did not eat any beef. BASICALLY ANYTHING FROM A COW.  Just don't eat it. 

I started looking at EVERY LABEL in the grocery store. There are milk products in so many things! There is also a website that was very helpful, www.godairyfree.org, and it shows you what menu items to order at restaurants that are dairy free. 

Once we figured all of that out, I started implementing my new diet. Our doctor also recommended "resetting" Holt's digestive system by putting him on formula for a whole week while I pumped to keep up my supply (this is because it takes a whole week for whatever you eat to get out of your milk supply). We used Enfamil Nutramigen (it is specifically designed for baby's with the milk allergy) and I could tell it made a big difference within a few days. 

That week was one of the hardest weeks of my life! I was either feeding Holt a bottle or pumping pretty much 24/7, not to mention I had to dump all the milk I pumped because it contained dairy. My husband was such a huge support and trooper because he had to feed the middle of the night bottles while I pumped. After the week was up, I went back to breastfeeding. His poop started getting slimy again. After a few days, we asked the pediatrician and he recommended doing another week of formula and pumping. AWESOME. So, we did another week and it continued to help. 

It took 6-8 weeks to completely get all the dairy out of both of our systems. Yes, you read that right. 6-8 WEEKS. Gradually over time, his poop got better and his gas got better and he returned to my happy, smiling baby. 

Going dairy-free was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It made me so thankful that I don't  have to deal with a dairy or gluten allergy all the time----I have a newfound respect for those of you that do! It was tough to completely change my lifestyle of eating (and inadvertently my husband's too :p) but I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I would STILL be doing it if I was able to breastfeed. 

So, what did I eat? 

Lots of chicken and pork. (YAY BACON!) Lots of fruit and veggies. The only bread I could eat was either Nature's Own or Sara Lee. For milk, I used Silk's Almond/Coconut milk or just Coconut Milk. For chocolate, I ordered "Enjoy Life" brand off of Amazon and it wasn't really any more expensive than a regular bag of chocolate chips! For ice cream, my brilliant husband found Banana Whip. Basically, you freeze bananas and blend them in the blender until the consistency of ice cream! Then you can add other things like peanut butter, cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate chips, sprinkles, etc. SO. GOOD. You can also have sorbet because it's basically just fruit and water. We also didn't really eat out much because it was so hard to know exactly what all the ingredients were. 

Now that I know what to expect, I am more confident with any future children that I'll be able to spot a dairy allergy sooner and be able to alter my diet efficiently. Hopefully this will allow me to breastfeed for longer next time. 

I hope this helps! If you have any questions or other advice, please contact me! 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Holt: 7 Months

Another month has come and gone---and what a month it was! Several firsts happened this month:

*Holt saw his first snow (we had 3 storm systems come through in 2 weeks)! He was real tentative and not quite sure what to think about it :)

* Holt and I traveled to Conway to stay with my parents for 5 days. It was so much fun to spend quality time with family and to see some of my best friends and introduce them to Holt! It snowed while we were there too, so we didn't get out as much as we wanted, but it was kind of nice to be stuck at home and relax. I got some great photos of our time with them:

*Holt started crawling! He crawled for the first time at my parents house---I wish I could post videos on here without YouTube or whatever you have to use, but it is so hilarious when he crawls because he gets so excited and starts snorting. Since we have been back home, he crawls some days and others he doesn't. So, we will see how mobile he becomes over the next month.

*He got his first really high fever :( Hurt this momma's heart so much! Over 2 days, he started sleeping SO MUCH. The first day, he took (3) 2 hour naps and the second day, he took a 1 hour, 2 hour, and 3 hour nap. At first I thought it was just a growth spurt or teething or both. But on the second day, he started being lethargic and after his 3 hour nap, he had a temperature of 102.3 (rectally---THAT was fun) and literally just laid on me. I stripped him down to his diaper, rubbed lavender and peppermint oils on his back, chest, and feet and gave him Tylenol. Then I called the pediatrician and they told me to keep that up and come in the next day. All of that happened about 5:30pm. Daniel got home from work and we took turns snuggling him. By 7:00pm, his fever was down to 100 and he was talking and laughing with Daniel on the floor. I was so relieved! The next morning, he was fever free, but we went to the doctor anyway and he checked out fine! I got some adorable, heart-melting photos of Daniel and Holt when he started feeling a little better:

*The biggest story this month was we officially nursed for the last time. I have been very emotional, but  I feel at peace with the decision. It has been somewhat of a slow process---really ever since December we have been supplementing and over time my supply has slowly dried up, which resulted in transitioning over to bottle feedings. At 6.5 months, I was only nursing first thing in the morning. While we were at my parent's house, over the course of about 3 mornings I noticed he really wasn't getting anything at all. At that point, I knew it was time. I cried and was emotional for several days, but on the positive side, I get to have dairy again! Cheese has never tasted so good, let me tell you! I decided I needed pizza to make myself feel better. :) 

*We also started solids this month! I am documenting our solids journey with Baby-Led Feeding. You can read the first post here and you can read all the other posts by clicking on the "baby-led feeding" label found over to the left of the screen. 

Weight: 14 lbs. 14 oz. (3rd percentile)
Height: 27 inches (50th percentile)

Favorites: *momma and daddy *the color red *eating (bottles and solids) *his crib *talking, laughing, cooing *dogs (especially Sophie and JoJo) *paci
Milestones: *sitting up---he totters every now and then, but has learned to stick his arm out and catch himself *crawling *talking with more consonant sounds--still no "mama" or "dada" though *teething--still no teeth *starting solids 

Sleep: Sleep has been a bit more challenging this month. Early in the month, he woke up 3 times a night---I think part of it was he was working on crawling, but also I think he started having nightmares because he would wake up really scared and his heart just racing. It broke my heart! He calmed down as soon as one of us picked him up and cuddled him though. After he crawled, and he has eaten more solids, he started sleeping 12 hours at night (7pm-7am)---GLORIOUS! He might wake up every now and then and talk to himself and crawl around the crib, but he always puts himself back to sleep. YAY! We have also had wonderful progress at nap time where he has consistently put himself to sleep. Somedays he takes 2 naps, sometimes 3. It just depends. 

Feeding: He has a bottle every 4 hours, so we are down to 4 feedings a day. We start the day with a 6-7 oz. bottle, the next two bottles are 6 oz., and the nighttime bottle is 8 oz. And, as mentioned above, we started solids! The first food we gave him was avocado. He has also tried: green beans, broccoli, zucchini, bell pepper, sweet potato, sweet pea puree, carrot puree, and green bean puree. He isn't much of a fan of broccoli, he likes bell pepper but more because it feels good on his gums, and he LOVES everything else. He especially likes sweet potato and zucchini. Next month, I plan to introduce fruits, peanut butter, and maybe eggs. *side note--have you seen the new research about peanut butter? If you introduce it between 4-11 months, there is an 86% drop in the chance your child could have an allergy. Of course, if an allergy runs in your family, be cautious, but doesn't that make so much sense? I always thought it was crazy to wait til 1 year to introduce certain foods and this validates it! Be sure to follow along on our BLF journey! 

And just a few more pictures to leave you with:

Our little valentine

so proud of himself for crawling

we both love when daddy is home

chubby bunny hahaha

those dimples...

just trying on daddy's shoes

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Baby-Led Feeding: 1 Month In

We are one whole month into solids and Baby-Led Feeding! Overall, it has been so fun! Very messy, but our dog loves that part ;)

We started with avocados. I cut them in half, and then half again and gave him the strips with the skin on so he could grip it better. It was hilarious to watch him explore the taste and texture and I was amazed at how quickly he figured out to pick up the piece of avocado and bring it to his mouth.

A couple days later, we tried green beans. He LOVED them---I mean, the child could put away some green beans! He did great picking up the smaller object and he actually ingested a lot of it (as evidenced by his poop--TMI I know)! 

Next, I steamed some broccoli until it was really soft and tender. He was very perplexed by this new texture and wasn't quite sure about the taste either. But he tried it! I will keep giving it to him and see if he starts liking it any better. 

When we visited my parents, he continued to eat green beans, avocado, and broccoli. I also had him try sweet pea puree which he really, really liked. I bought the organic, non-GMO baby food from Walmart--I think the brand is "Beech Nut"--and it was only 60 cents for a jar! He doesn't eat that much at a time right now so I got 4 different feedings out of 60 cents. Score! He also liked sweet pea puree combined with mashed avocado. 

Once we got back home, I started introducing orange veggies. Sweet potatoes were first and boy, he devoured them! One day, he ate an entire half of a sweet potato! I cook them in the microwave until they become very soft-- I half them, and then quarter them. I take the skins off of these because he can easily pick up the sweet potato quarters. 

He has also tried and loved roasted zucchini, carrot puree and green bean puree. The zucchini I cut into wedges and then roasted them in the oven at 400 degrees until really soft. I did not season them in any way. I left the skin on, but next time I'll take it off because I started getting worried he would choke on them. 

Here is what I have learned in the month we have been doing BLF:

1) It's very messy! I usually strip Holt down to a diaper and put the high chair in front of the fire so he doesn't get cold because food gets all over his clothes. This saves time and energy doing more laundry! However, sometimes I just put a bib on him and pray the damage isn't too bad. 
2) Some days he eats solids twice and some days he doesn't eat any and that's ok! It all depends on his mood and our schedule and that works---dont' force it!
3) They say to wait 3-5 days before introducing something new…..I didn't really do that. I waited maybe 2 days. The chances of him developing an allergy to veggies and fruits is very slim, especially since neither D or I have any food allergies. I'm still being cautious and watching him though. 
4) He has gagged a few times, but never longer than a couple of seconds. I've been so proud to watch him figure out how to chew and swallow properly! 
5) It's amazing how fast he has picked up how to feed himself

Some days he is very independent and loves to feed himself, and other days he wants me to feed him--either puree or slices of whatever is on his plate. Same thing with time---somedays he will sit in the high chair for 20 minutes and eat and play with the food; other days he doesn't even last 5 before he is screaming and ready to get down. I try to always have a sippy cup with water on his tray. He still doesn't quite get it, but I'm hoping that by at least introducing it at every meal he will get used to it and transition to a sippy cup easily. 

Goals for Month 2: 

1) Introduce fruits---bananas, pears, peaches, melons, plum, prunes
2) Continue to offer veggies and introduce some new ones--asparagus, eggplant, and squash
3) Introduce peanut butter---I have always felt that maybe if you introduce allergens at an earlier age, then the risk of developing that allergy would go down. Have you seen the recent research? I feel so validated! I saw on the news, doctors now recommend (as long as you don't have the allergy running in the family) to introduce peanut butter between 4-11 months of age because studies have shown an 86% DECREASE in developing the allergy. So, I think I will introduce it this month, under close supervision, because what a wonderful source of good fats and protein! 

I hope you're enjoying our journey of solids! Check back next month for another update and more goals!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Pressure to be Supermom

This has been on my heart for several weeks now. I hope to say the words SOMEONE needs to hear, even if it's just myself. And let me preface that this is not just a focus on moms who stay home---I know there are working moms out there who probably feel the same way. Know you are not alone! Let's stick together as a band of mothers, encouraging one another in love!

So here is what has been on my mind….

The face of a being a mom is changing. There is so much pressure!! With Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest I feel like we are bombarded with moms who have it all together. You all know what I'm talking about---the mom who's house is always sparkling and decorated impeccably; her children are always learning from some sort of activity that she made herself; her children are well-behaved and wonderful sleepers; she always has time for Bible Study and probably even teaches Sunday School or volunteers at Awanas; she has time for fitness and easily lost all of her baby weight; and she contributes financially to her family by being crafty or selling some sort of product.

Lately, I have felt like a huge failure as a wife and a mom. My house is hardly ever sparkling; I don't have the most beautifully decorated home; I have the TV on way too much; I try to stick to a nap routine for my child but he often has other plans; I definitely haven't lost all my baby weight; I don't always have time to read my Bible (and if I do, it's maybe a grand total of 10 minutes); and I am currently not contributing to my family in any financial way. I clearly DON'T have it all together.

Then God whispers to my heart through the hugs and smiles and "goo-goo-gaa-gaa's" of my baby boy; through the words of encouragement from my husband; through the hour of conversation with my other mom friends going through the same struggles. Being a mother is a true calling. I need to be confident that I am the perfect mother for Holt (because God made him especially for our family) and the perfect wife for Daniel. NO, I am not a perfect person (quite imperfect actually), but I can be the best mother and wife that God has created me to be.

It is ok that I don't have it all together. It's ok that there are days where I am so exhausted, I literally sit and lay around and watch TV with Holt; it's ok that there are other days where I am very productive; it's ok that I haven't lost the baby weight--in reality, that is a badge of honor; it's ok that I am not making money---it would probably take my paycheck to cover daycare and someone to clean our house anyway; it's ok that my relationship with God is not where I would like it to be.

This is a temporary season that I am in. One day, I'll blink, and Holt and his siblings will be all grown up and won't need me as much. THEN, I'll have a clean house (and maybe a well decorated one) and time to work and time for fitness and MAYBE I'll have it a little bit more together. And honestly, I'll probably be sad that the "time of having littles" is gone.

Until that time comes, I am going to rest in the grace that our Lord graciously provides and be the best mother I can be to Holt and any other children we are blessed with. I'll do my best to not listen to the lies Satan whispers in my ear (hard as that may be). I will do my best to wake up every single morning, grateful for mercies anew, ready to embrace a new day with my family. I will do my best to not be judgmental of other moms, but instead to shower them with love and hope and encouragement. I hope that you will do the same.

To my own SUPERmom----THANK YOU. I never knew the amount of sacrifice and love it took for you to be my mom. The long hours, no sleep, the worry of "am I doing this right?" or "did I make the right decision?", the giving of your body to grow and nurture me, the absolute UNCONDITIONAL love that you have for me. Thanks mom. I love you with all my heart.

Hug your littles momma. Because YOU are their SUPERmom.