Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The One with Baby Led Weaning

Shortly after Liam's six-month appointment with the pediatrician, we started him on solid foods.  I mentioned a little about this in his 6 month and 7 month updates.

We are doing a modified baby-led weaning (BLW) method of feeding.  When Americans think of weaning, they associate the word with giving up breastfeeding.  With BLW, the weaning is used in the British sense of the word - to add complementary foods.  Considering the breastfeeding fiasco that was my life back in the spring, it's a good thing we are talking like Brits over here.

The essence of BLW is that there are no mushy baby food purees.  Babies eat real food in its "natural" form from the beginning.  Another key component is that babies feed themselves.  There are no jars of mashed foods, no airplane spoons, and no stressing over just one more bite.  Babies eat what you eat and it's a social activity meant to be enjoyed as a family.  There are several books about BLW, this being the most popular one.  I will be honest and tell you I didn't read it.  I did a lot of research online and did take the cookbook out of the library.  I need to buy the cookbook for my Nook at some point soon for some more recipe ideas.

One of the things that I know some people get super nervous about when it comes to BLW is the whole choking thing.  We have certainly had some very intense gagging incidents since Liam started eating foods (and I won't lie, there was some throw up involved once or twice), but gagging and choking are two totally different things.  A baby's gag reflex is located much farther forward on his/her tongue than an adult which helps the baby to move food forward away from the throat and avoid choking.  We watch him like a hawk while he eats and all has gone very well so far.

This is seriously the lazy mom's solution to solid foods.  I don't have to make (or buy) special baby food for L.  I don't have to spend my whole meal time trying to feed him.  I don't have to pack special foods for him when we go places (although I always make sure that I know what kind of food we will be having if we are out and tend to bring something I made along with us just so I know exactly what he is eating).

For us, this has kinda been a go with the flow experience.  Most days, we offer Liam at least one solid food during one meal.  Sometimes, we offer him more than one choice at mealtime.  Occasionally, he eats solids at more than one mealtime a day.  We also always give him his Camelbak with water during or after he eats. 

We started with sweet potato fries (just sliced into sticks and roasted in the oven until fork tender but not too soft) on a weekend afternoon.  Foods in "stick" form are best for little hands as they can only pick up things with the whole fist and haven't yet developed the pincer grasp.

We found that bibs tended to be more of a distraction at first, so Liam ate in just his diaper in the beginning.  We do use the green sprouts bibs now and they are super easy to clean up.  For this first feeding, I put down newspapers on the floor (I had no idea if it would end up super messy), but having a dog really eliminated the need for this in future feedings.  Liam and Max have become best friends since Liam started dropping his food over the side of the highchair.

Speaking of highchairs, it is essential to have one that can be easily cleaned up.  We have the Boon Flair highchair and it has been awesome so far.  It's extremely easy to clean and the orange pad is removable.  There are very few cracks and crevices for food to get stuck in and the tray liner is small enough to fit in the dishwasher.

Because you need to have an easy to clean highchair after a morning meal like this one!

At the beginning of all of this, Liam was only mildly interested in food.  He would try things but would often get distracted and want to play instead of eat.  While the whole point of BLW is to not get stressed out about food, I had moments of "OMG will my kid ever eat food?!"  In the last two weeks or so, he has definitely become more engaged in eating.  I have found since I have been on vacation that he eats better after his morning nap, as opposed to right after his first bottle.  So I'm thinking that my mom will have to take over his first meal of the day because I'll be at school by then.

At this point, Liam has tried a wide variety of foods with different tastes and textures.  I have been slightly lax on giving him a lot of veggies because we don't eat enough of them (it's a new priority in the coming year) or if we do it's in salad form (which clearly won't work for him yet).  

Liam's list of foods and how I prepared them include:
sweet potatoes (little olive oil and roasted in sticks)
butternut squash (little olive oil and roasted in sticks)
carrots (steamed; little olive oil and roasted in sticks)
cucumbers (raw in sticks)
pineapple (in sticks)
apples (sliced in quarters, skin on)
pears (sliced in quarters, skin on)
blueberries (cut in half)
turkey (from Thanksgiving)
macaroni (very little and I put it in his mouth because we were out and unprepared for a big mess!)
chicken (baked)
yogurt (frozen in fresh food feeder)
eggs (scrambled)
cheese (very small bites offered from my string cheese)
bananas (whole with skin left on as a "handle")
avocados (sliced in large pieces with skin on for ease of grasping)
banana pancakes (recipe here)
broccoli (steamed; little olive oil and roasted with stems on)
red peppers (steamed)

He is loving yogurt, apples, pears, and bananas at the moment.  Butternut squash and broccoli weren't a big hit.

I have found that preparing foods on Sunday that can easily be taken out during the week helps to make sure we have things prepped for him ahead of time and makes life less hectic when I'm working.  

A little montage of our BLW experience thus far...

Unfortunately, Liam was sick for Christmas and didn't get to enjoy our beef tenderloin and asparagus.  I am planning on doing a nice dinner on New Year's Day so hopefully he will get to indulge in whatever it is I make that day.

BLW has been a lot of fun for us and I am looking forward to continuing to introduce Liam to new foods and creating healthy eating habits from the beginning.

Here is a list of helpful websites with more info and recipes:
Another great blog post with food ideas: http://www.hellobee.com/2012/09/21/blw-the-first-few-months/

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The One with The Catch Up on Life Lately

Holy Lord, it's been forever since I've blogged.  Gotta blame that baby Jesus and His birthday...it's been flippin' nonstop over here since the beginning of December.

I'm pulling out the bullet points for this post.  More to come on most of the subjects but here's a rundown...

  • Little Mr. Man is growing like a weed.  Up to 22 pounds, 6 ounces at his flu shot appointment earlier this month.  9 month clothes are becoming a thing of the past and he is in constant motion.
  • 48 hours before the aforementioned baby Jesus' birthday, the stomach bug descended upon this house.  The jury is still out as to whether this was a case of food poisoning or whether it was a virus going around, but at least a dozen of the people we were with the Saturday before Christmas at a party ended up very sick by late Sunday afternoon.  At this point, we think it may have somehow been passed to everyone through a sick employee at the restaurant who ruined everyone's food with his/her throw-up germs.  As a result of us being sick, many of the people who we were with on Christmas Eve then ended up sick.  It was one ugly germ-spreading holiday.
  • Remember the puke and pee incident from last spring?  Well apparently that is not just something that happens to me when pregnant.  It's my new thing I guess because it happened again when I got sick last week.
  • We thought Liam avoided the grossness until the overabundance of explosive diapers began on Christmas Eve.  Thankfully, we are down to only one or two a day now.  A drastic improvement from the dozen or so on Christmas Day.
  • As a result of Christmas Puke-Fest 2013, our Christmas Day was pretty quiet.  Liam got a ton of presents, Hubs' parents visited for a while, and I somehow managed to get dinner on the table for Hubs and I in between changing diapers and doing a ridiculous amount of laundry.
 This wonderful little man stayed happy, despite not feeling great.

This was outfit #3 of the day.
  • The crib transition began over a week ago.  It has been relatively painless thus far.  We had two real incidents of crying it out (CIO) Ferber-style.  I have kinda modified Ferber's methods to fit our needs (and the amount of time I can listen to my baby cry), but things have been going well for us.
  • Baby-led weaning has been a lot of fun so far.  Liam has definitely become more interested in food and has tried a few more things.  Right now, he loves apples, pears, yogurt, and blueberries (although he hasn't had much food this week because of the stomach fiasco).
  • Liam met Santa two weeks ago at our big family Christmas party.  My dad flew up from Florida for the weekend and dressed up as Santa as a surprise.  It was great to have L's first experience with Santa be with his Gramps.
He looks a little unsure here, but he was pretty unfazed by the whole thing.
  • This vacation has been very quiet and not all that productive.  The sickness was a big part of the unproductive-ness, but it is certainly way harder to get anything done with an almost 8-month old rolling around and needing amusement (I know this is only going to get worse once he really starts moving!).
  • I did the 24 books of Christmas with Liam this year.  Each night, I read him a new Christmas book before bed.  This is definitely a tradition I will continue with him.  In the future, I plan to wrap each book up for him to open before bed.  This year, they were just displayed on his bookshelves.
  • I scaled it way down this year with the cookies.  Remember last year when I baked 28 dozen cookies at 20+ weeks pregnant and kinda hated my life a little?  Well, this year I only did like 16 dozen and it was still quite the challenge.  I had plans to make more, but then the vomit came and I decided that was a sign to quit while I was ahead.
  • We also started a new Christmas pajama tradition this year.  We each got new Christmas jammies (have you seen the Christmas Jammies video?) and the plan was to wear them to bed on Christmas Eve and have our big Christmas morning breakfast wearing them.  No surprise things didn't go according to plan.  Hubs' jammies didn't arrive on time (thanks FedEx) and no one wanted a big breakfast after being sick.  So we celebrated with our jammies and breakfast last night and this morning.
I won't even tell you how many times we set the timer on the camera to get a half-way decent picture.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed time with family and friends.  We are looking forward to an exciting 2014 continuing to watch our little guy grow.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The One with the Seven Month Update

Sorry I've been so suck-tastic at blogging lately.  I have lots to update y'all on but I just can't seem to find a minute to do it.  I'd promise to be better, but I'd probably just be blowing smoke up your asses since I probably won't be better!

Onto the monthly update...

Liam Michael you are


You are so stinkin fun right now and your personality is in full swing!  We have had such a great month with many new things.

What are your stats and what does the doctor say?
We haven't been back to see Dr. G since your six-month appointment, but Mommy is guessing you are pretty close to 21 pounds by now (about the size of our Thanksgiving turkey last week!).  You are getting longer too.  We went to the hospital two weeks ago to follow up about your head size.  During your six-month appointment, after several measurements, your head size was off the charts.  Mommy and Daddy took you for an ultrasound and we are happy to report that your head is absolutely perfect.  It's just big.  Which is no big shocker after looking at Daddy.  Mommy and Daddy saved your hospital bracelet for your baby book and we are hoping that we don't have to do any more trips to the hospital anytime soon.

What are you eating?
You are our great little eater and are still doing four 8-ounce bottles of Similac Advance formula a day and you have your 2-ounce bottle before bed every night.  We started you on solid foods about 3 weeks ago and things have been going well so far.  Mommy is going to do a whole post about BLW soon, but basically we offer you food while we are eating and you will sometimes feed yourself.  Other times you aren't really interested and that's just fine.  BLW really takes the pressure off getting you to have a certain amount of food.  If you eat, awesome.  If you don't, no big deal since you are getting all of your nutrients from formula.  So far, you have tried sweet potatoes, avocado, butternut squash, banana, eggs, broccoli, red pepper, carrots, yogurt, and cucumber.  You even tried turkey on Thanksgiving.  Banana, avocado, and yogurt are definitely your favorites.  Butternut squash and broccoli were not a hit!  Mommy gave you a little taste of her homemade tomato sauce last night and you really seemed to like that.  Pasta may be on the menu soon!

These are pictures from your very first experience with solid food (sweet potato fries):

When do you sleep and eat?
Your sleep habits have been pretty good this month, although the change out of the swaddle and into your own room has been a little bit of a challenge for you.  Mommy and Daddy moved you into your own room a few weeks ago and overall, things have been going well.  You are definitely up more during the night and tend to wake up earlier in the morning, but there haven't been any major problems.  You are usually up sometime between 5:15 and 5:45 and Mommy knows you are fully awake because you start trying to eat your feet.  Mommy heats up your bottle and feeds you in your room.  Nana usually comes in to say good morning and then we change your diaper.  Breakfast has been the meal that we eat together as a family because of Daddy's crazy work hours.  You have something to eat in your highchair while Mommy and Daddy have breakfast too.  When Mommy and Daddy leave for work, you are usually almost ready for your first short nap of the day.  You and Nana play on the floor, read books, sing songs, fold laundry, cook, or vacuum in the morning between your bottles.  You eat every 4 hours or so and usually nap between your 10:00 and 2:00 bottles.  That still tends to be your longer nap of the day.  You nap again sometime after your 2:00 bottle and sometimes need a short nap when Mommy gets home.  You have another bottle around 6:00 and are asleep by 7:15 most nights.

What do your routines look like?
You still have a pretty strict bedtime routine.  You take a bath (with toys now that you can sit up!), get into your pj's (no more swaddle at all!), have a small bottle, sing a song with Mommy, and rock for a few minutes before being put down in your Rock 'n Play in your own room.  

What size clothes and diapers are you wearing?
You still fit into your 6 month onesies, but your pants are too short.  9 month clothes are fitting you nicely now.  You are still in size 3 diapers.

What are some things you love?
Mommy has said it before, but you are such a happy baby.  This month, you are loving tags of all kinds.  You like to suck on them, rub them on your face, and play with them.  You still love to play with your burp cloth or clothes and put them over your face.  You love to sit up and look around and you are always grabbing for anything and everything.  You love your new mesh feeder with yogurt and you laugh and giggle when Max licks your hands.  Moving is one of your favorite activities.  You roll, kick, and use your arms to move all over the place.  You enjoy watching people eat and love when people talk to you.  You still really enjoy your bath and now that you have toys, it is even more fun!  You also love your frozen grape teething toy.

What are some things you don't love?
You still prefer to be with other people and get a little crabby if left in the room by yourself, even if you have toys or are in your playpen.  You don't like to be laying down for long and will often pull yourself up to sit, even when someone is trying to feed you.  Speaking of eating, you get mighty annoyed if we take your bottle away to burp you when you are really hungry.  You still don't love being on your tummy for too long.

Mom, I'm stuuuuck!

What can you do?
You amaze us with your skills every day little guy!  You are now sitting up with no assistance.  You often wiggle around and end up on your back or stomach but you very rarely fall over backwards anymore.  We did get a new rug though so your falls are a little more cushioned when they do happen!  Nana taught you to give kisses and it is just the cutest thing in the world when you lean over to us with an open mouth.  You are drinking from a straw cup and you love your Camelbak cup.  You roll both ways and can turn in a circle when you are on your stomach.  You are feeding yourself and grab anything within reach.

What are some firsts from this month?
This month, you ate your first solid foods, had your first cups of water, and celebrated your first Thanksgiving.  You also went with Mommy and Daddy to cut down your first Christmas tree.  You also took your first trip back to the hospital since you were born, had your first ultrasound outside Mommy's belly, and had your first boo-boo (see below!).

What was Mommy's Mother of the Year moment this month?
While this technically isn't Mommy's fault, she still felt pretty awful.  On the day we went to have your head ultrasound done, Mommy and Daddy took you out for breakfast after the test.  While we were there, you were chewing away on a toy so Mommy and Daddy could eat.  When Mommy looked over to you, she saw blood in your mouth!  Turns out, you bit your tongue while you were chewing on your toy.  You didn't seem too bothered by it, but Mommy hated seeing that blood in your mouth.  Luckily, it healed pretty quickly!

What are some of your nicknames?
Peanut Pie, Pita Pocket, Pumpkin, Mr. Man

What are we looking forward to in the next month?
We are going to celebrate your first Christmas this month.  Mommy is beyond excited for this!  It is by far her favorite holiday and she cannot wait to celebrate the joy of this season with you.  We are going to see lots of family, bake cookies, decorate our tree, and start some new Christmas traditions.

We took these pictures very early this morning because Mommy has a late meeting tonight and won't be home until after you go to bed.

Are we done yet Mom?

 Ooo, toes.

You are the best kid in the whole world and we love you so very much!