Friday, May 29, 2009

Feeding Gear

Let the fun begin!

Here is some gear that I've rounded up - I'll let you know how we like it as we go. Yes, I know that feeding your baby cereal could be as simple as food on your finger in your lap, but where is the fun in that? Just doing my part to stimulate the economy!

Inglesina Fast Chair - I originally had the Chicco chair, but the arms were too long for my counter (and I figured this out 6 months after I bought it and couldn't return it to Babies r'Us - check yours sooner!). Phil and Teds has a similar chair, but you can't remove the seat for washing.
Baby Cubes - lots of people just use ice cube trays, but I think this will work well for daycare - no transfer of frozen cubes and fewer containers to wash.
Boon Squirt - again, couldn't you just use a regular spoon? Sure, but I've read that this works well for daycare (just load and send) and especially when eating out and on-the-go!
Tiny Diner placemat
Kipiis Clips
Tilty Cup
(Also, check out the Zrecs Sippy Cup Showdown - pretty useful!)

Here are some baby food websites that I've found to be helpful.

Wholesome Baby Food
Nurture Baby - great checklist for baby nutrition (you know I love lists!)
Baby Food 101
Environmental Working Group Guide to Pesticides
Environmental Working Group Shopping Guide to Pesticides - List

I also have the Cooking for Baby cookbook that looks great. I've read that the Top 100 Baby Purees by Annabel Karmel, The Petit Appetit by Lisa Barnes and Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron are also good.

As for kitchen tools, I am really going to try to not buy anything else! A fork and some elbow grease will work well when she can eat a little chunkier food. For now, I think we'll use a steamer basket in a pot on the stove or roasting in the oven. I already have an immersion blender that I use all the time. I've also heard the Magic Bullet works well - don't several of you have that thing collecting dust somewhere? I know we do!

My goal is to do a lot of shopping at the farmer's market this summer for local, organic produce. Frozen fruits and vegetables are also good if the fresh stuff is expensive or not in season. Finally, a good rule of thumb is to freeze food only once in each "state" - so you can freeze raw chicken, thaw and cook it and freeze it again. You cannot defrost raw chicken and re-freeze it without cooking it. If you mix breastmilk with food purees you need to use fresh milk, not milk that has already been frozen if you plan to freeze the food in cubes.

So, once again, any suggestions for 300+ ounces of frozen breastmilk?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cutting your losses

R.I.P. cute green and white polka dot outfit.

We officially lost the first outfit today due to an explosion of massive proportions. I think that is pretty good at 6 months. We have a few white onesies with stains that I can see, but this was the first disaster.

I got the dirty clothes out of the plastic sack from daycare, lay them out on the sink to rinse, took a whif and thought, NOOOOO.

Also, I learned about the one drawback of the Medela Freestyle Pump today. If you forget it at home, it apparently doesn't work.


(Side note: I read a helpful hint about getting protein stains (formula / breastmilk) out of baby clothes - soak in Oxyclean and lay outside in the sunlight, especially for white clothes. Protein stains can apparently show up later - like after packing away baby clothes for the next baby. And, why do they even make white baby clothes?)

Monday, May 25, 2009


I was just passing along some tips to a friend who is pondering her baby registry and I thought it might be helpful to hear about how I went about the process ...

And it is a process.

As you can imagine, I had about 82 pieces of paper of all sizes piled in various places around the house with baby items I had to have.

Our little Gal was a bit of a surprise, but in retrospect, I still probably had a touch of the baby fever. I am a big fan of the internets and I read a LOT of blogs. I read some baby/parenting blogs before I was even pregnant, but I also read a lot of random blogs and design blogs and baby items would pop up from time to time. I just kept a running list by my computer. Now I do a similar thing with a Word document on my laptop. It is helpful for those items for bigger kids that I don't want to forget about.

So, when it came time to register, I had a list of items to consider. I still did TONS of research anywhere I could. Consumer Reports was really helpful for the safety items, car seat and stroller in particular. I read lots of reviews on the Babies r' Us website and on Amazon. True, you don't know anything about the people who write these reviews, but I still think you can get the general idea. I just learned about ZRecs and have found some helpful things there, too.

I also searched for registries of my friends who were pregnant or recently had a baby. It was a good cheat sheet to start with and I, of course, also emailed lots of questions to lots of people.

I chose to register only at Babies r' Us and a local baby store that had our baby furniture. I printed off the Must Have list and made notes at home about what I wanted in an effort to streamline the actual registering process. I, of course, picked several items that were only available online, which will be more or less of an issue depending where you live in relation to your friends and family.

Take someone with you when you register. My mom and I went during the day on a week day, which is KEY. Avoid Babies r' Us on the weekend at all costs!

Save ALL gift receipts! Babies r'Us has some ridiculous return policies and I have been stuck more than once. How you are supposed to know in advance that your baby won't use or won't like an item when they are 6 months old is beyond me. Also, if you get multiples of the same item (like baby bottles), don't open and wash all of them until you know your baby likes them.

If you are lucky enough to have wonderful friends and family like we do, you will get an embarrassing number of darling baby gifts. Like when you get married, it is so humbling that the special people in your life are SO nice. Truly, nice beyond belief.

The Girl was gifted with a number of burp cloths, bibs, blankets, bitty baby clothes and socks! I have loved every bit of it and find that I gravitate toward similar things when I buy baby gifts for other people. My point is this - don't register for these things!

Also, if you are smarter than me, you might find a way to assess what size baby clothes you get and trade some in for bigger sizes if needed. I can barely get every 0-6 month outfit on the Girl before she outgrows it, but the 6-12 month pile is tiny in comparison. (With grandparents close by, however, she won't go naked ...)

At 6 months, some of my everyday necessities are: sleep sack, pacifiers, changing pad, Lilly Padz, Medela Freestyle Pump, Medela bottles, Green to Grow bottles, Bumpy Name labels, bottle drying rack, dishwasher basket, milk storage bags, milk organizer, baby bathtub, Boppy, car mirror.

Bottom line, you will register for more than you need, and you will need many more things after your baby arrives. Use common sense - if it seems ridiculous, it probably is. There is a fine line between baby innovation and parent suckering. Also, think about how many outlets you have in your nursery and how many items you choose that need to be plugged in!

And, remember, one of the best things about being pregnant is that all of your nice friends will visit Babies r'Us to get goodies for your baby so YOU don't have to go!

Friday, May 22, 2009

A sad day, my friends

The Great Breastmilk Purge of 2009.

300 ounces.

I hope my Girl knows how much I love her because of all the kisses, cuddles and I-love-yous, but if there is any doubt, I'll show her this picture.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Random Thoughts: 6 months

Moving into week 24 (5 1/2 months, not 6 - again, bad math!) ...

Life is good!

Our Girl is happy and rested and on the brink of starting solids, which sounds fun, but I'm sure I'll miss the simplicity of just nursing.

I feel like our life is back to normal. Not the old normal, mind you, but a new normal that is really nice.

Only a few pounds of babyweight still linger, which I am very thankful for. Things certainly are not in the places they used to be, but I just didn't know what to expect and have been pleasantly surprised.

I had really hoped to breastfeed/pump for the first 6 months, and now that we are there, I don't really see any reason to stop. It is easy, inexpensive, and nice cuddle time. I already have wisps of sadness when I watch her nurse and realize that it won't last forever.

Pumping is still going well and it's a lot better to only pump twice at work. I haven't had any problems with my supply. I have noticed that the total amount I pump during the day is slowly decreasing (at a high of 21oz. at work, now more like 17oz.), but I still pump more during the day than she needs for bottles. I think it is probably due to drinking less fluids at work and being more active.

Just one more thing on sleeping (yeah, right!) ... This is a little chart that my very wise friend sent me and it's great for reference. (Seriously, she is on my speed dial for Mommy S.O.S.!)

How much sleep does your child really need? Use these guidelines:

1 week old: 16.5 total hours, including 4 naps

1 month: 15.5 total hours, including 3 naps

3 months: 15 total hours, including 3 naps

6 months: 14.25 total hours, including 2 naps

9 months: 14 total hours, including 2 naps

1 year: 13.75 total hours, including 2 naps

18 months: 13.5 total hours, including 1 nap

Age 2: 13 total hours, including 1 nap

Age 3: 12 total hours, including 1 nap

Age 4: 11.5 total hours, with no naps

Ages 5 to 9: 10-11 total hours, with no naps

Ages 10 to 15: 9-10 total hours, with no naps

Source: Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems (Simon & Schuster)by Richard Ferber, MD

I've been thinking quite a bit about our morning wake time of 6:00am. I picked that time WAY back when we were first implementing sleep training. I thought that was the time we would need when I went back to work. It works fine for us, but 6:00am is pretty early on those days at home and weekends. (Believe me, as a former night owl, it is shocking to me that 7:00am sounds like heaven!). My point is this: Some kids are probably just early risers and we may have one of those. It is all we can do to hold her off to 6:00am, but she is still sleeping at least 11 hours, so we can't complain. If I could do it over, I might have thought more creatively about how we could have gotten out of the house with a later wake time. I don't think there is any going back at this point!

Exersaucers are a god-send! Girly loves to be upright (she is nosy) and it keeps her entertained forEVER. As a side note, there is something about being in an exersaucer that induces pooping - beware!

Finally, check out The Soft Landing. It is a great website, started by a nurse, with all kinds of safe feeding items for baby. I have been using it as reference for a while now (good blog, and VIDEOS of items in use - genius!) and just realized that they are located in the Kansas City area! They are a web-only business, but for those of you who are local, you can order on their website and pick-up in Olathe to save shipping. Love supporting those local businesses!

Now, off to work on my order .... baby feeding supplies here we come!
(Any advice?)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Carpe Diem

It's really more like "Seize the opportunity", but I don't know Latin.

I know I've spent a ridiculous amount of time talking about our Gal's schedule. She's on it. She's off it. We're changing it. Blah, blah, blah.

I did something totally out of character this week and just went with it.

I was planning to move to the 4 hour schedule this weekend. My smart friend told me to just do it already - rip that band-aid off! But, nooo, how could I do that? In the middle of the week? I had a plan, you know.

Best laid plans ...

We were a little off schedule yesterday: Girly slept in (till 6:30, SOO not my prior definition of sleeping in). And then she took a great nap and I didn't want to wake her just yet. And then she took another great nap! And before I knew it, she was almost on the new schedule. I decided to just go with it - see if I could hold her off until 6:00 to eat and go to bed.

So many variables, you know! Eating later, only 4 feedings, 7oz instead of 6oz, earliest bedtime yet. Yikes! It is enough to push an OCD-mother over the edge. I perseverated about what to do when she woke up early because she was hungry.

You know what? IT WAS FINE. She even slept longer than ever before and was a perfectly delightful girl this morning. Instead of coming home with a color-coded potential new schedule from her daycare teacher, I got a glowing phone call about how well she did today.

I learned that we often underestimate our children. Given the opportunity, they will usually rise to the challenge!

(I also learned that Mr. Medela and I are relaxing our relationship. Feeding/pumping 4 times a day is SUPER).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hi, My Name is Molly and I'm an Addict

Addicted to THE LOG, that is.

It is like a security blanket. Or an accessory brain. Or crack.

I confess that I have an embarrassing number of sheets of paper detailing the Girl's every feeding, diaper and amount of sleep for a ridiculously long time.

It was critical to keep track of all of this for the first few days, weeks even, but months? I just keep doing it and I can't stop! I see those sideways glances from my husband, like "Still? You're doing it still?" He just chalks it up to a "mom thing" and avoids the conversation.

I'll blame the lactation consultant at the hospital. They sent me home with the form and innocently told me to keep track of her feedings. That piece of paper should have a disclaimer on the top: "Warning! Highly addictive!"

Some background may be helpful here ... I am the kind of person who likes to make lists just so I can cross things off. I re-copy grocery lists so they are easy to read and organized. I copy the same appointments into no less than 4 calendars just in case. Say it with me ... A-N-A-L! Give me a form to fill out and a good ink pen and I am a happy girl. You can imagine my delight at finding a form that needed to be filled out so many times a day!

It is kind of cute to look back at all of the sheets of paper. (Yes, I've kept them. I'm telling you - addicted.) The first day home from the hospital, the sheet was perfect. Perfect handwriting. Each notation in it's own slot. Military time! Within about 37 hours you can see that everything is just scribbled wherever it fits and military time is quite challenging to keep track of with no sleep, so forget that.

Initially I truly found it helpful to keep track of how long she fed and how much sleep we were getting and when I took my pain meds. Your doctor will ask about wet and dirty diapers and it is helpful to have a record. Fortunately, our Girl never had trouble growing, but it would be helpful for that, as well. (Also, it is helpful to have the phone number to your lactation consultant at the top of the sheet so you don't have to dig around trying to find it when you need to call them. And, call early in the morning and leave a message and they will often call you back before they start rounds for the day.)

I just kept going, though. It allowed me to put a tiny part of my brain on paper so I didn't have to remember, "Left or Right?" When we started Cry It Out, I made notes about how long she cried so I could see our progress. It is so easy to forget what happens just a few days prior. When we made schedule changes, I kept good notes about bottles and naps and total amounts of sleep so I could try to problem solve if needed. She only has dirty diapers every few days now, so I can look at the log and see when I might expect a blow out. You know, useful stuff!

I felt (a little) vindicated yesterday when the Chronicles of a Babywise Mom blog wrote about keeping a log in the "good times", not only when you are making a change (she advocates keeping a log when you are dropping feedings or changing naps - you can see why I love her). If you don't know the typical pattern, it is hard to problem solve.

So, we'll try to make the switch to the 4 hour schedule this weekend. You can bet I'll be using my log to keep track of every.little.thing.

After we accomplish that? Who knows ...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My daughter can read!

That has to be the explanation.

It is clear that she wriggled her way over to my laptop, checked out the blog, and read all about my efforts to get her on schedule.

And she laughed that great baby laugh.

"Ha, Mom! You think you know me? Think again!"

This time I was prepared for change, I just wasn't prepared for the when. Already? Didn't we just do this?

When your daycare teachers start to comment on needing a new nap schedule and they make jokes like, "See, she's telling you she doesn't like her schedule!", I guess it is time to give in.

I'm hesitant because it is the change to the FOUR HOUR SCHEDULE. This is 4 feedings. This is 2 naps. This is BIG. (Well, big in my exciting world of over-analyzing your 5-month-old). I do feel like it is significant - she will likely (!) be on this schedule for about the next 6 months and I don't want to rush it.

She isn't showing me the signs I am looking for that indicate I need to make the switch. She isn't sleeping through her feedings (rather, it is the opposite - she is up early and needs to be entertained before it is time to eat), and she isn't acting uninterested in eating (again, the opposite - she acts like she has never seen food before).

On the flip side, she has been taking 3-4 short naps and she really does need to move to 2 better naps. It is more restful for her and will make my life easier being home only twice a day instead of four times a day. Plus, her teachers will like me again.

I initially thought I would mess with her schedule to keep 5 feedings and 3 naps, but the math just doesn't work with a 6am wake time and a 7pm bedtime and a 430pm pick up at daycare. Not to mention that at 6 months she really should be at 2 naps and that is only a few weeks away.

I decided to take advantage of the Memorial Day holiday to move to the 4 hour schedule. She'll be home with me for 5 days in a row and I think we can set the stage pretty well. Between now and then I'll move her feedings around and try to get 2 good naps and 1 catnap in the afternoons. We'll end up with feedings at 6a, 10a, 2p and 6p. Lots of kids do well with 12 hours of sleep at night, but if she goes to bed at 630, her Dad will never see her. So, I think she'll eat and have a bath and be in bed at 7pm.

Who wouldn't like that?

After her 6 month check-up we will start to add solids, so don't worry, I'll still have something to hyper focus on.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Note to Self #2

If you find yourself running ahead of time and feel proud of yourself for getting out of the house on time ... Don't.


Think through what you just did.

Did you forget something?

Yesterday morning, I left the house 5 minutes early, which is unusual on the days when my cleaning lady comes and I am racing around to get things ready for her.

I felt pretty good!

Until, that is, I realized at 11:01am that I forgot to put any make-up on.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Baby Wrangling

Dressing a baby is a skill. It takes practice. I've got it down now, but at the beginning? Wow.

My husband still curses me in the morning when I lay out the "difficult" outfits.

A few tips that work for our daughter ...

Snaps and buttons are better than zippers. Most sleepers have a zipper front, which is easy in the middle of the night, but they "creep". The zipper front balloons out and needs to be tucked in just so when swaddling or nursing. Also, along those lines, I don't really like shirts and onesies with those crossover things on the shoulders. They always seem to stretch and grow through the day, so she ends up with her shoulder out or showing lots of cleavage. Snaps and buttons by the neck are better for us.

I find that Gerber stuff runs really small. Our daughter is very average sized (with short legs) and she barely fits in the 12 months onesies at 5 months. It does mean, however, that Gerber stuff can be really great for newborns because most other clothes will just be too big.

You can spend a FORTUNE on children's clothing, and I might in another life as Mrs. Surplus Income, but it is just too wasteful now for outfits she will only wear once or twice. I really like Carter's stuff for PJ's and everyday daycare clothes - washes and wears well and is inexpensive. You can generally catch great sales at Macy's or Kohl's. (And for the expectant mothers out there - their stuff is sized 3 months or 6 months or whatever, not 0-3 and 3-6 like most clothes. Totally confusing to me as I washed and put away clothes in those last few preggo weeks. Which pile? WHICH PILE?).

Every company has different sizes and obviously all of it will fit your child better or worse depending on their growth parameters. I find this to be a great annoyance, but I guess it shouldn't surprise me because it is pretty much the same when I shop for myself.

Here are some of my favorite kid's clothes - please add your comments below with your favorites!

* Hanna Andersson: A good friend of mine gets PJ's here for her boys and they are so cute.

* Mini Boden: Our nieces are always delightfully dressed and their stylish Mom finds good stuff here.

* Gap Kids / Baby Gap: I like their basics and Brennan's favorites. Their skinny leggings are especially good for our Girl because she has short legs and few pants fit her. They are also great for under dresses when it isn't warm enough for bloomers.

* Zutano: I really like their fun, colorful prints. And, I don't think their clothes ever have writing on them, which is sometimes hard to find.

* Tea: Again, great patterns without words. Not too grown up or too babyish. Plus, each collection is designed to mix and match. The Little House in the Creekwood Shops has a nice selection.

* Robeez: These are great little shoes and we are just starting to fit in the 0-6 month size.

* Trumpette Socks: This is probably the one baby clothing item that we have washed and worn the most. I love, love these socks - they are hard to kick off and SOOO cute!

As for clothing rotation ... our Girl has an embarrassing amount of darling clothes and it just kills me to find something in her closet that she hasn't worn and can barely fit into. She has a small closet in her room and a dresser. I loved hanging every itty bitty piece of clothing before she was born, and then promptly forgot about all of it because I was only digging in her drawers for PJ's and onesies.

I try now to peek in her closet once a week or so to see if there is anything that needs to be washed that she might fit into, then it goes into the clothing rotation in her drawer. Anything that is too small moves right to a storage box (and keep that storage box somewhere close to baby's room until it is full, otherwise you'll never make it to the basement to put the stuff away). Making it Lovely is a cute design blog. The writer just had a baby and she has a good way for labeling your boxes. Even better, share those boxes with your friends who have younger babies.

On the bright side, it is now a lot more fun to dress your baby than yourself!