Thursday, September 26, 2013

Registry/newborn list

When it came time to register for Ethan, I was completely overwhelmed. We made the mistake of going to Babies R Us first thinking, well they have everything. Well, they do. Including a ton of things you don't need that they'll try to convince you that you do.

Anyway, here are some of our most used things within the first few months.

-receiving blankets. Get a lot of these. We used them to give him a light cover in his bouncer/swing/carseat, used as burp clothes, used for small spills, great for laying on the ground when out and about, small enough for traveling, etc.

-Baby carrier. There are tons of options. The most popular is probably the Ergo since it's the most widely carried in store. I recommended going to a store that has tons of options that you can try on if you can find one. We did this and it was the best way to see what we liked. After reading a ton of blogs and watching youtube clips, we thought we'd want the Beco or Ergo. After trying them all on though, we went with the Boba 3G.

If you're in the DFW area, check out Nappy Shoppe. We had to drive an hour from Justin, but it was completely worth the drive for the selection they had. Their prices were great and the staff was very helpful and friendly. You can also buy online if you know what you're wanting.

Reasons we chose Boba: It was the most comfortable and natural fit for both of us. It didn't require a newborn insert (the bottom folds up for newborns). It has a nice shade for his head in the sun as you can see here and also has a strap to snap your purse on you. It comes with foot straps for when your kid is older. The straps are super easy to adjust, this is important for nursing in it since you can lower the waist and loosen the shoulders quickly. It comes in some super cute patterns (although we kept it simple with black and grey since we'd both be using it). Overall, the way it felt while wearing baby was our biggest consideration.

 Ergo was our 2nd fave and we've since gotten one 2nd hand to keep in our car for the times we forget to grab the Boba. We def prefer the Boba over it though.

We also have a ring sling which is another great option. I was gifted this by one of my friends and I love it. It's great for short trips or doing things around the house. It's quicker to get him in and out of it which makes it best for quick outings. It doesn't have as much support for your back though so I don't recommend it for long outings or major housework.

-a breast pump if you plan to breastfeed. I originally only got a manual thinking that would be enough, but I was lucky enough to win a double electric one. So glad I did because it was much easier. Also, check with your insurance, they may cover either a rental of one or a new one. Most should, but they may not be very familiar with it so it may take a few calls to get someone that does. We ended up with the
   --you'll also want some bottles, but all babies like different ones so try a few before stocking up. Also freezer storage bags (note: don't buy the BRU brand ones, about 1/2 of them leaked and there was a LOT of wasted milk which SUCKS)

-handsfree pump bra. You will look absolutely ridiculous in this, but it makes it easier to double pump. I'd just read or play games on the ipad while pumping. This is the one I bought.  
I mean seriously?! Doesn't this thing look ridiculous?! The things you'll do for your baby...

-baby monitor. Again, tons of options so think about what works best for your family. I have a (slightly irrational) fear of SIDS so I went with the Angel Care since it will alert you if there is no movement. Warning though, you may end up with lots of false alarms that scare the crap out of you, show you how quickly you can run after just being woken up, and make it hard to go back to sleep. This usually happens because he ends up in the corners of the crib and the sensor pad isn't big enough. I still would rather have it though.

 --For travel or for when he's asleep somewhere that's not the crib, I use the Baby Monitor app on my iPhone/iPad. It's got video and sound, you just leave one facing baby and keep the other with you.

-2-3 Swaddlers. Sure, you could use blankets for this, but in the middle of the night when you need to either change the baby or want to get some quick skin to skin time for nursing, you will LOVE the velcro these have.  So easy, just pop baby in the bottom and wrap/velcro. They also are easy to get  them snug as a bug and foolproof for dad.

-A playmat. Tummy time is important for babies from day 1. I love the colors on this one. It also had the little pillow to prop him up with. It folds up fairly easily so it doesn't always have to be in the middle of the room

-a diaper rash cream. I chose this one from Motherlove because it's also a thrush cream in case that becomes an issue. We haven't dealt with diaper rash yet, but it gets rave reviews. The few times he's had a little redness, I dab a bit on and it goes right away.

-bouncer or swing. In the first few months, this will be a great way to keep the little one comfy and close to you. We were gifted this from our registry. I liked that it was neutral and didn't take up a lot of space. We also bought a swing used for $10.

-A good cleaner. Let's just say I'm surprised by how well baby OxiClean got out some of the stains that happened. Esp the ones on the swing and bouncer which both had a way of making the baby have a blowout. Luckily the fabric on both was easily removable to toss in the wash.

-Boppy. Great way to get baby positioned good for nursing. This thing will practically be attached to you in the beginning.

-Obviously you'll need a carseat and stroller, but I recommend going and testing a ton out rather going on someone's opinion. What works for one person, may not work for another. We ended up going with the Graco FastAction Fold travel system mostly because it's easy to open/close. The carseat only goes to 22lbs, but we figured he'd outgrow the length before that (which he did). We've upgraded to the Evenflo Symphony for his convertible seat. It was a great price through Amazon and Costco and it has higher weight limits than many others in it's price range. Plus, it looks great. We also bought a used BOB stroller for jogging. You don't really NEED 2 strollers, but for us, the BOB is not good for travel/errands because it doesn't fold or turn well, but the Graco isn't great for sidewalks and can't be used for running.

Things we didn't bother registering for: Clothes: Most people will buy you cute outfits anyway and stuff changes so often that the things you register for may not even be available anymore. Exersaucer/jumper: You won't be using these until around 4-6 months so no need to have them taking up space before then. High chair: Again, won't be using this until around 4-6 months. Diapers: You'll probably get some small packages even if you don't register for them. However, if you care about a specific brand, then I would. Toys/teethers: People will usually buy cute ones as an add on to their gift or they will buy ones their kids liked. Books: Same as above, people like to give their faves or faves they read to their kids. It's fun to see what you'll get!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Baby Led Weaning part 2 "First foods"

One of the hardest things for me when starting was figuring out the best way to prep his food. For the most part with BLW you can just give them what you eat. But, when first starting out, I obviously wanted things to be softer for him than what we would eat. So I'll add in how I prepped some of the food.

Warning about BLW: it is VERY messy. This is not an option if you are afraid of a huge mess. You will be giving LO a lot more baths probably and cleaning their high chair often. If you have a dog, they'll be a huge fan of this since plenty ends up on the floor.

MiniMinch's first food ended up by accident. A few days before his 6 month appt, he grabbed a green pepper off his dad's plate while we were at lunch and put it into his mouth. We decided, well, let's just go ahead and let him try it. He gummed at it and seemed to like it so we went to the counter and asked for a few more.

Since he did so good with that, we went out and bought some sweet potatoes. I washed and peeled them, then cut them into wedges about 2in in length. Then I used a little olive oil and popped them in the oven at 350 for about 30 min. Then let them cool.

Next up was banana. I know some people cut half the skin off and leave the other half so they can hold on to it better, but yeah, I just kept breaking the banana. So I gave up. This was WAY slippery for him. Later attempts I ended up coating with cheerio crumbs. I crushed a whole bunch and kept them in tupperware for coating slippery foods. I also found that after you cut a piece, if you stick your finger down the middle, it'll split into 3 smaller pieces which make the perfect size.

 One of the great things about BLW is that it's soo easy when you go out to eat to just give them something you have. Of course, make sure it's not something prepared with lots of salt since babies can't have much. When we went out for BBQ, he was pretty fussy, probably because he wanted some food too. So, I pulled some peppers off my kabob and gave them to him. He went to town on it and it was hilarious to see people's reaction. The next table over was like "OMG is he eating a pepper?!". Yes, yes he is.

Avocado-again, covered it in cheerios so he could hold it better. Licked his fingers clean.

Some people who do BLW are anti all purees. My feeling is that as long as he's feeding himself, it's still BLW. So, we'll occasionally give him a Spouts organic pouch. Again, messy as can be, but fun.

Pears: 1st day I cut them up and baked them with some cinnamon. 2nd day I cut off the top and took 2 bites out of it and gave it to him whole. He loved sucking on it. 


Some other things we've tried and he liked: cinnamon apples (I peeled, cut them into wedges, then put some butter in a pan and cooked them til soft), a little mashed potato from our dinner, some small pieces of shredded chicken at a restaurant, tomato slice from my sandwich, guacamole, scrambled eggs, some baby snack items (banana mum mums and cheese puff things), asparagus, cantaloupe, and yellow pepper. Those are the only things I can think of off hand. The only things he didn't like were cantaloupe and yellow pepper, but he didn't really try them either. I think he was just in a cranky mood and tired so I'll try them again later. I've heard to try things 3 times before deciding he doesn't like it.

Once he gets the pincher grasp we'll be able to try smaller things like corn and peas. And depending on how he keeps doing, we may try some ground beef and steak. I wanted to make sure he's doing good with the chewing before that. But he's come such a long way in the last few weeks. Our pedi said he can eat pretty much anything we do except for honey and whole milk. Always check with yours first of course and consider family history of allergies. We also don't use salt for his food, but other seasonings are ok.

So, while we have had tons of people wondering what we're doing, I'm so so happy that we chose this route. He is having a blast eating all kinds of different foods and he gets to be included in the meals. It's awesome to see him enjoying it and learning. Yes, it's messy, but it's worth it to us. The time cleaning him is less than the time to make separate food for him.

Baby Led Weaning Part 1

 *Part 1 is mostly about what BLW is and our experience in starting it. Part 2 will be foods he's had, how we've prepared them, and pics/videos. :) *

When my LO was around 5 months old, I started researching starting solids since we planned to start at 6 months. I decided I wanted to try my hand at making my own baby food. I figured it can't be that hard right?! Just blend some stuff up and call it a day. So, that was my plan and I started looking at different storage options.

Right before I was ready to buy a few things, I randomly came across a FB friend's post about Baby Led Weaning. I decided to click and it sounded really interesting. Ethan had been interested in food since around 3.5 months. He was already reaching out and trying to grab the food on our plates. So BLW seemed like it would be great for him. He is the type that wants to do things himself already and loves to explore.

At first, I was concerned about the term "weaning", but it doesn't mean you are weaning your kid off breastmilk/formula, it just means you are supplementing with food. The idea is that you give your baby regular foods that are prepared in a way that they are able to eat it. You don't spoon feed them, you let them decide what they want and how much. It makes it easier in a way since you no longer have to worry about pureeing, storing, and making special food for baby. Plus, you can all enjoy eating together as a family, because no one is having to spoon feed while the other eats.

So, after reading the first article, I went online and read a TON of other articles and blogs about it. Then discussed with the hubby to get his opinion on it. Then I read a whole lot more. Honestly, I probably read more than I needed to, but I knew we'd probably get a lot of questions and concerns about it and I wanted to be prepared. The biggest one we hear is about gagging. Yes, he has gagged on things before. But, luckily I knew that it's normal and good that he does. It means he knows that the piece is too big and he either moves it back to the front of his mouth to chew it more or he spits it out. Even knowing it's normal though, it is still scary! The first few times we kinda questioned if we should keep going with this or go the "usual" route, but luckily we kept with it. So far he hasn't choked on anything *knock on wood*. We did take an infant CPR class though so that we were prepared to know what to do if it ever happened. This is something you should do no matter how you decide to feed though since gagging/choking can happen even with purees. After the class I definitely felt more confident and less scared.

The first few weeks of BLW, your baby probably won't actually eat anything or very little. It's more about them learning how to get the food to their mouths, how to chew, how to move it around, etc And exploring different tastes. Since for the first year they get most of their nutrients from breast milk/formula, it's not a big deal if they don't eat a lot at first. I'm not gonna lie, I did worry that he wasn't eating anything at the beginning. What can I say, I'm a first time mom and worry about tons of things! lol I constantly reminded myself that "food before one is just for fun". But now that we're almost a month into it, he's eating a good amount to far.

One of the best things about BLW is watching him learn how to do things on his own. He'd instantly grab the food at the beginning so he knew what to do and he'd usually get it to his mouth or close to it. He doesn't have the pincher grasp yet since he's only 6 months, so foods are usually cut around 2in in length so he can grab on and still have food to put in his mouth while holding it in his first. Yesterday he finally opened his first and went for more. It was so cool to watch him really think about what he wanted and then do it.

Stay tuned for part 2 which will be picture heavy!
Images by Freepik