Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Meat and Potatoes

As I gear up to go back to school mid-January I’ve been trying to find meals that I can prepare before I leave (evening classes) and hubby can have ready when I get home. In such an experiment I tried my very first crock pot roast—quite a feat that I’ve gotten to the ripe age of 21 before doing so when I live in The Land of Crock Pot Cooking. Anywho, Peanut loooved it.

She started off with meat first—like father like daughter. She put her new choppers to good use shredding the meat so it was easier to eat. Don’t worry if your babe doesn’t have teeth because Peanut handled Grandma’s roasts just fine by gumming it.

Mmm… potatoes. At 9 months, Peanut can handle pretty much any shape, so I cut them into cubes. Obviously if she were younger I would do sticks.

Finally, carrots. I just took baby carrots and chopped them in half. I could have kept them the size they already come in and been fine, but I was a little chop happy because I was using the neat squiggly cut thingy.

I’m slightly worried I’ve “spoiled” Peanut with how I cook her veggies. I’ve always done al dente because it’s supposed to be easier for them to handle when they’re first starting to eat—not too hard, but not too soft—and quite frankly that’s how I prefer them. The other night when we went to my mom’s for dinner and she cooked her veggies (she admits) too much, Peanut wouldn’t touch them. I guess I should just be happy that she eats vegetables at all. That’s one perk to baby-led weaning!

Peanut has started this cute thing. When she was younger, she would eat something until it got small enough that it was “trapped” in her hand, then she would drop it. Now once it gets too small she uses the other hand to push it from her hand to her mouth. It’s amazing to watch them learn!

Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Quick Snacks

I’m sure that many moms have the dilemma of trying to find quick, easy, and healthy things to feed their kiddos. With the added problem of worrying about salt content, baby-led weaning moms have an extra dilemma. Times when you need a quick snack you can just pull out of your bag, times when you’re eating something not appropriate for the babe—there will always be times when you need something for the kiddo.

My mother-in-law found these things called Baby Mum Mums which are pretty good for a quick snack. They’re not really something you can toss in the bag because they break easily, but they’re preservative free and pretty simple. Mild, few ingredients, easy to eat. I quite often use these to entertain Peanut while I’m trying to prepare our real dinner.

Cheese—with stipulations. First off, you have to decide what you’re doing with your baby and dairy. Some moms don’t give them any dairy until they’re a year old. I, personally, give her non-milk dairy. I’m not particularly concerned with allergies because we have no family history of food allergies. Though I try not to give her too much dairy because one time she had a ton of yogurt and she had an obvious stomach ache. Secondly, cheese sometimes has a pretty high salt content. So yet again, don’t give them too much. It’s great for cutting in sticks and easy for gumming.

Lunch meat. Since we don’t do iron supplements, I try to give Peanut as much iron as I can. Also be wary of the salt content on this one. I also give her tofurkey slices.

Apples. These are by far my favorite thing to give Peanut for a quick snack. I can throw them in a tupperware in the bag and they’re good to eat all day. I have an apple slicer so it’s incredibly easy for me. They’re clean. And of course there’s no salt problem. Yay fresh fruit! Considering how often she eats apples, I’m amazed I don’t have a picture of her eating one. I’ll probably come back and post one soon.

Breastfeeding and Holidays

Welcome Carnival of Breastfeeding readers! This month’s topic is taking care of yourself during the holidays. Be sure to read the other Carnival posts listed below.

Before my La Leche League meeting in November, I hadn’t even thought of the possible difficulties of breastfeeding during the holidays. Even when they mentioned that “holiday weaning” would be the topic for the meeting that day, I thought it was kind of silly. Why would my baby wean just because it’s the holidays? It’s just like any other time of year and if anything moms might have more time to be around their babies during the holidays. The information I learned in my meeting invaluable and entirely changed my perspective on breastfeeding during the holidays. I feel I am now equipped with the tools to prevent holiday weaning. Here are some of my favorite tips.

Sling, sling, sling! Of course wearing your baby is a great idea where ever you go, but during the holidays it’s especially useful. You know how it is when you’re with family and everyone wants to hold the baby and next thing you know it’s two hours later and they baby comes back to you screeeeeeeeaming bloody murder. Quite often the baby has been hungry for a while, but which ever family member that had the babe at the time thinks “Oh, I can soothe this baby. I’ve soothed my babies. No need to inform the baby’s mother.” No, you can not soothe my baby. I can’t even soothe my baby without the boobs, so don’t even try. Wearing the baby means less people take them away from you. I’ve noticed that it means less touching too which is always an advantage during cold/flu season.
Bring babe with! This kind of goes along the same line as the first one because you’ll probably wear them in a sling while you’re out. Christmas shopping with a baby in a car seat or stroller sounds awkward, bulky, and stressful. I wear Peanut in my Sleepy Wrap all the time when we go shopping. It may feel tempting to leave the kiddo with someone else while you go shop when you have to drag all the gear with you, but in a sling it’s no big deal for them to tag along. Personally, I like having my little Peanut tag along. She’s mah sidekick!
Babies make perfect guests! What do you do when you’re invited to a no-children holiday function that you really want to go to? Bring them anyway! Well, to an extent. Most of the time when the invites say no kids they really mean no kids that walk and talk and run around like idiots and break things. If you show up with a little baby in a sling they’re just going to say awwwww how cuuuute. If you’re really worried about it, call ahead and talk to the host(ess) about bringing the baby and express that you’re only showing up babe in arms. If you do need (or want) to go to a holiday party sans baby, just keep it short enough that you’re back before the next feeding.

So good luck with your babe and the breastfeeding adventure. There’s no reason you should be tricked into weaning before you’re both ready. So remember breastfeeding is all about the supply and demand. Happy holidays!

Read these other Carnival of Breastfeeding posts:

Cave Mother: A Mother’s Christmas

Mama Knows Breast: A Breastfeeding Holiday Poem

Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: Don’t Forget the Pump!

Breastfeeding 1-2-3: Breastfeeding and Dehydration

Mommy News & Views: The Holidays and Being a Breastfeeding Mom

Hobo Mama: Breastfeeding and The Holidays

The Accidental Pharmacist: Motherhood Statement

Happy Bambino: How To Take Care of Ourselves During the Holidays

Breastfeeding Mums: Breastfeeding and the Holidays

Motherwear: Taking Care of Yourself During the Holidays]

Breastfeeding Moms Unite: Taking Care of a High Needs Baby During the Holidays

Blacktating: Advice for the Holidays

Newsletter – 9 Months

Heya Peanut,

For nine months you were a little Peanut in my belly and now for nine months you’ve been a little Peanut outside of my belly. The idea of this kind of makes tears well up in Mama’s eyes, but at the same time it’s great. You’ve become such an awesome little person in this past nine months.

You finally have a tooth! I even think there’s another one on the way because you’re a crabby little butt. Though you won’t for the life of me let me actually check it out for more than the time it takes for you to squirm away, I’m happy it’s there. I know this opens a whole new can of worms, but it’ll be nice to not worry about it any more.

Five days from now will be your first Christmas. We’re not Christian, but we celebrate Christmas anyway. Yay consumerism! I know you won’t even know it’s Christmas and the best thing for you will be playing with all the wrapping paper, but it’s a fun little milestone. We even sent out Christmas cards for the first time this year!

Aren’t we so cute?

This past month has been full of excitement with music class and your first ear ache, but really all I’m feeling is this sentimental crap about how old you are. Sheesh.

Love,

Mama

Breastfeeding Prevents Death

I am very passionate about breastfeeding. Many moms do not realize the real risk you take when you chose to formula feed your baby. I know that this picture is intense. I know that it probably will cause a lot of emotion on either side of the breastfeeding argument. Sometimes you need to offend people to get your point across.

When you chose to formula feed your baby—and because breastfeeding is the biological norm, it is a choice to not do it—you take the risk of a variety of health problems in both immediately and in the future. Obviously you risk mixing the formula incorrectly. This can cause the baby to not gain weight properly or even contaminate the formula. If the formula is contaminated, the baby could get very sick or even die. This risk is incredibly high in third-world countries where they quite often do not have clean water. Even formula fed babies in developed countries have these risks. Moms are quite often not taught how to properly formula feed and even if they are it’s easy to make mistakes—especially when it’s 3am and the baby is crying. You can’t mix breast milk wrong or contaminate it.

Beyond the immediate dangers, formula feeding has many lifetime repercussions. Formula fed babies are more likely to have asthma, lower I.Q. scores, and are even more likely to be obese later in life. Moms who don’t breastfeed are more likely to get reproductive cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer.

New moms are not informed of these facts. Instead, they are bombarded with formula companies giving them coupons throughout pregnancy, free samples at the hospital, and ads in all of the parenting magazines. These formula companies have slogans that insinuate that they’re just as good as breast milk. In reality, we have yet to figure out all of the “ingredients” in breast milk so formula companies don’t even know what to copy. Of the things we know are in breast milk, there are things like antibodies and even stem cells that formula simply can not duplicate because it is not living. Even the vitamins and minerals that are in breast milk are easier for a baby to digest than the ones in formula.

Since our hospitals and politicians receive money from the formula companies they’re obviously not going to tell these new moms the truth—you are putting your child at risk by formula feeding—I decided to create this image. I hope that it will make more pregnant and new moms investigate the risks to formula feeding.

Breastfeeding is a Civil Right

This is an assignment I just turned in for my political science class on civil rights. I decided to argue that breastfeeding is a civil right because it is obviously something very important to me.

Though breastfeeding is not something that is considered to be a civil right, I believe it one day will be. Every few weeks, I read another story in the news of a women being discriminated for breastfeeding her child. Many people believe that to breastfeed is a choice, but it is truly just a natural extension of the process of giving birth.

Breastfeeding is the biologically normal way to feed an infant for the first months of its life. With that said, it is not the societal norm in the United States. In 2006, 73.9% of babies were breastfed at birth. By six months—which is the recommendation for minimum amount of time exclusively breastfeeding by both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization—the amount of babies still breastfeeding drops to 43.4%. The number of babies exclusively breastfeeding at six months is only 33.1%.

The history of breastfeeding obviously began when the first baby was born. Before the days of infant formula, if the mother died during birth or was unable to nurse her baby, the baby would be left to die or wet nursed by another lactating woman. Women were often hired as wet nurses for other women who couldn’t nurse or did not want to and could afford to pay the wet nurse. In the mid 19th century the first infant formula was produced intended to be used for babies in orphanages that would have died otherwise.

Since the introduction of commercial infant formula, the trend has shifted upwards and downwards in regards to how many women breastfeeding. There were times that formula was believed to be better than breast milk, but in the end studies have shown that breast milk is infinitely better for babies than formula—often in ways we can’t even explain.

Yet even with this obvious evidence that breast is best, women are often harassed and discriminated against for nursing their child in public. If you just google “breastfeeding in public”, you’ll find very strong opinions on both sides of the issue. Some people think that breastfeeding in public is disgusting and the mother and baby should be made to cover up, go to another room, or even bring bottles of expressed breast milk with them when they go out. Others say that it’s natural and should be done anywhere and in any matter. The law—in most states—agrees with the latter.

Even with the law on the nursing mom’s side, they are still frequently discriminated against. Just last week a mother who was nursing her baby in Target had the cops called on her in a state that nursing in public is not a crime. Mothers are often told they have to cover up at restaurants or on planes even when there are rules and laws saying they don’t.

As a nursing mom, this civil right is particularly important to me because I am faced with it daily. I personally believe that I shouldn’t need to cover up or leave where I am because I am feeding my child. Breasts are not sexual when you are feeding a child, therefore there is no reason they need to be covered. I realize that others do not feel the same, so I try to be discreet—for their sake, not mine. It is not fair that I am discriminated against for breastfeeding my child. Breastfeeding is not a choice; to not breastfeed is a choice.

Baby-led Weaning Wednesday: Illness

Sorry for the delay in my Wednesday post. I was busy mourning my friend Rachel and forgot to post yesterday.

How does your baby-led weaner handle being sick?

Peanut had her first real illness this past week. Her temperature got as high as 102.2 and we talked to a nurse on the phone twice. The nurse was pretty sure it was just an ear infection and mild enough that Peanut could handle it and she was right. Peanut is now has no fever and is back to her happy little self.

She was pretty upset during those few days of sickness though. She wanted to breastfeed constantly and pretty much didn’t want solids at all. This. Is. Normal. We just kept offering her foods and she would play with them a bit or just get angry and throw them on the floor. Sometimes she would eat a bit, but it was almost like we were back in the beginning stages of food just being a toy.

It’s also not abnormal if your baby wants to eat the same or more solids when sick. Every baby reacts differently to sickness and every baby reacts differently to each different sickness. Just make sure they get plenty of liquids (including water, which Peanut just drank up like crazy) and they should be fine.

Here are some interesting things to note about my call with the nurse and what she said about temperature. 1) Temperature does help the body fight off disease, but above 102 it isn’t really helping anymore. This was helpful to me because I wanted to know a limit on when I really should give her a fever reducer. I wanted to avoid it if at all possible and I was able to (I didn’t know this handy advice when her fever was above 102). 2) If babe has a fever over 103.5, they need to go into the doctor. 3) If babe has a fever for more than 48 hours, you should at least talk to a nurse on the phone.

Though Peanut is feeling better, she still isn’t 100% back on solids. I’m guessing it will just take her time to get back into her food routine—just like it does for her sleeping routine and her mommy not wanting to give her away routine (just joking on that last one).

Photo by mandycapes on photobucket.

Rachel

I met her when she was 13. Even with over four years age difference, we were instant friends—I’m not the type of person who makes friends easily. She was hired as a bus girl at Royal Jade, the restaurant I worked at during my senior year of high school. I “took her under my wing” and when I left to move away to go to college, she took my place as the owner’s go-to girl.

We kept in touch while I was away. I invited her to come down on multiple occasions, but without transportation of her own she was never able to make it. I frequently came to the restaurant and saw her when I was visiting my mom, but other than that we kept in touch through texting.

We talked about how she should take lots of AP classes so that she wouldn’t have to spend as much time in college (something I deeply regret not doing myself), we talked about boys she was dating, and we always made plans that never became a reality. When an opening for a waitress was open at the restaurant she made sure to tell me. I was looking for work and moving back into the area soon—not to mention I missed working there—so I took it.

In the time I was gone, she had blossomed into a teenager. At 15, she often tricked my mind into thinking she was much older. She was taking those AP and honors classes and had a nice boyfriend. I had my Peanut in my belly and she loved it. She was constantly making jokes about how I needed to make sure I had an “urban baby” and that I should name her Nastia. She gave us a plant named Nastia from the Farmers Market as a wedding gift. I ended up leaving Royal Jade again when I was 4-5 months pregnant because I couldn’t work anymore with the pregnancy.

She met Peanut a few times and just loved her. She was one of the only people that Peanut didn’t cry when she held her during her phase of no one holding her. She was so excited that I was breastfeeding and wanted to do it herself one day.

She was so beautiful that I was constantly jealous, so smart that I was sure that she was going to do great things, and so vibrant and strong willed, and responsible. I can’t come up with a single bad adjective for this girl. It is a true horror that she is gone from this world. We’ll miss you Rachel.

This photo is the only one I could find that I have of Rachel. She was one of 5 girls at my wedding

who I wasn’t related to. I feel sorry that I don’t have more photos of her.

Review: SKOY Cloths

I tend to get behind on my Google Reader—very, very behind. So in my catching up, I was reading some pretty old posts from Crunch Domestic Goddess when I stumbled upon the Ditch the Disposables Challenge. The entire time I was reading it I was thinking “Yes! Exactly what I need! I can just do one thing and it won’t be so overwhelming!” I already do things like use cloth bags at the grocery store (actually I use them where ever I shop and if I forget them I force myself to carry what I bought out of “punishment”), cloth diapers, I have a Kleen Kanteen, and really I try to do anything I can to not throw stuff away during the day. Recently though, I’ve run out of ideas. I thought this was a great challenge for me and got really excited… until I read the dates—it’s already ended.

Of course, just because I’m not part of the official challenge doesn’t mean I can’t challenge myself! So I decided to switch from paper towels to SKOY cloths. I was a bit skeptical at first because I use paper towels when something is too messy or icky for me to clean up with a dishtowel. I figured that it would get gross really quickly, but the website says that they’re machine wash- and dry-able, dishwasher safe, and you can microwave them for quick sanitizing. They also have a program where you can get 8 cloths every 3-6 months with free shipping for $11.98. That’s what I did, but I canceled the subscription immediately because I figure when I need new ones, I’ll subscribe again and know how often I need them.

When I got them, the first thing I did was hide my paper towels. I don’t want to cheat by cleaning up the really bad messes with disposables or accidentally grab disposables out of habit. I opened them up right as I was about to sit down with a big bowl of vegetarian chili and watch So You Think You Can Dance. I usually use a paper towel to cover my food, so I used a wet SKOY cloth. They tell you to get them wet before using them—quite frankly it’s difficult to do much with them when they’re not wet because they dry very hard. Chili-microwave-protection-test passed with flying colors. I was even able to use it on the bottom of the bowl afterward to carry it so I wouldn’t burn my hands (something I usually use a dishtowel for). Though on second thought, it wouldn’t really work with a plate, so I’ll have to find out something else to do there. Maybe I’ll get something like this.

I’ve been using them for a bit over a week now and I’m honestly feeling incredibly happy with them. I haven’t missed my disposable paper towels at all. The most interesting thing that they changed for me was that I use less sanitizing wipes. I bought some for cleaning up the cloth diaper cleaning area and started using them on the kitchen counters when there are things stuck or they’re really messy because they work so much better than a wet paper towel—not wet SKOY paper towels! SKOY cloths get messes off of my counter easily and then it washes right off of the cloth. I haven’t even felt the need to wash it yet because it stays so clean. Also don’t have to worry about bacteria because as long as you ring them out well, they dry quickly and thoroughly.

My only beef with them isn’t even really beef—they’re not so good for wiping off your face. We’re not really a napkin home. I used to use one paper towel to keep my food from getting all over the microwave (when cooking in the microwave, which is something I’m trying not to do so much) and then use it to wipe my face as I eat. The SKOY cloths are just kind of weird to wipe on your face. So this has made me decide that I need to get cloth napkins (or probably make them myself).

And they’re pretty too!

I’m happy that I made the switch and I think it’s something that everyone should look into. Not only are paper towels expensive and quite often not efficient for what you want to use them for, they’re hurting your planet! We all need to work to be more eco-conscious because the way we’re living isn’t sustainable. So go try them out! Worst case scenerio you don’t like them and your little experiment still cost less than a big bag of disposable paper towels at Costco.

This review was done just because I thought the product was pretty fricking awesome and wanted to give it a thumbs up. SKOY cloth hasn’t given me free stuffz and didn’t ask me to do this review. How’s that for a disclaimer!