Posts Tagged ‘babies’

Baby-led Feeding

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Baby-led feedingPerhaps your baby shows signs of being ready for table food. Maybe he or she hit that magic age where solids are to be introduced. Perhaps you find yourself strolling down the baby aisle at the store and considering all those pouches of puree that seem to be all the craze these days.

Baby-led feeding is generally referred to as baby-led weaning because the introduction of table food is the beginning of a longer process of transitioning baby to table foods full-time. Of course this process takes many months (or even years). Weaning, then, is not a loss so much as a transition in the relationship that occurs overtime.

Numerous resources already exist if you’re looking for more information about the process, if you and your child are ready to begin baby-led weaning, and ideas for recipes and general tips to make the messy transition as simple as possible.

KellyMom is a well-known resource on breastfeeding but they don’t leave you cold when it comes time to shift. KellyMom.com offers numerous articles written by those knowledgeable in the field about weaning. Specific situations for mothers who primarily pump are also included. The website continues beyond recognizing if your child is ready to also include information about timing the weaning process, ensuring you do not move too quickly or cut out other needs your child might not have as often with decreased breastfeeding (like cuddle time or other one-on-one attention).

If you are working through your own feelings on the subject know you aren’t alone! Le Leche offers insight into a variety of feelings and thoughts that moms might need to process as the consider or are in the midst of baby-led feeding. They also offer specialty articles such as weaning twins or anxiety associated with this transition.

When it comes to the food Wholesome Baby Food at Momtastic offers a number of recipes and weekly menu ideas to help get you started or out of the “bananas and avocado again” slump. The site also includes age-specific information for weaning. Of course if you prefer holding a book to read up on the subject, several primers exist on the subject.

Simple Bites is a mommy-driven website that incorporates baby-led weaning to the table with their general interest in including the whole family around unprocessed meals. Mama Natural also speaks with similar interest and authority found mostly in personal experience and research. Both sites offer numerous ideas and recipes to help introduce anyone to the concept of BLW.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 8 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

The Best Infographics for Understanding Infants

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Being a mom is hard when your kids are fully verbal and can tell you exactly what they need, so when you meet a friend or someone in your family has just had their first, you have a whole new appreciation for how hard that stage is. Even harder than the stage is all the crappy advice you get from other people on sleeping, feeding and generally caring for an infant.

What no one ever tells you is how much you’ll realize that personality has to do with their behavior, but you won’t even realize the huge role it plays until your child is a toddler. Then you smack yourself in the forehead and go, “THAT’S why they refused to nap!” or “THAT’S why they hated the (insert world-renowned baby-soothing device that never worked on your child here)!”

The best thing you can do as a first-time mom is just understand what you’re dealing with on a biological level. There are some things that are the same from baby to baby, always, no matter what the popular wisdom of the time is. For instance, tummy size:

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This is such a brilliant visual. As a mom new to nursing, especially if you are one whose family has no personal experience with breastfeeding, you totally freak out that you aren’t making enough milk. Because if you were, why would baby want to eat ALL THE TIME? This thought is bad enough, but then it’s echoed by all your family members, and you begin to think the problem really is you. Some moms don’t make enough milk, and that’s a for-real but pretty rare condition. For most, it just feels that way because baby wants to eat so frequently. And when you see this graphic, it makes sense. If I could only fit one side-salad at a time in my stomach, but I could have as many as I wanted, I would probably be eating every hour, too.

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I remember not knowing what an early feeding cue was until my second child. No wonder breastfeeding never went smoothly with my first! As heartbreaking as it is to pick up a baby who, the the untrained eye, appears to still be sleeping, it really works out so much better to grab them before they wake up and realize they are HANGRY. That extra five minutes you have until they wake up crying? Not worth it.

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I’ll confess: I’m a crunchy mom and I never read this book! Although it may have more wonderful information, this alone was a lifesaver. The 5′s worked and they were our go-to for those all-out freak-out crying spells. My first baby did use a paci, but my other two would never take one. The pad of your finger works well for non-paci babies. Why not nurse instead? Well, if your baby is freaking out enough to need these steps, they are also likely too worked up to nurse. Calm them using this method, then try to nurse.

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Another thing that will never, ever change, no matter how much we learn about babies: the latch. I know we struggled with getting a good latch until I knew what that was and felt like. My first baby wanted to curl her lips in and it left me with bloody nipples and a baby who was losing weight fast. After meeting with a lactation consultant (Who made housecalls!) I learned to flip that lip out, and I ended up having to do it repeatedly with all three of my kids until they got the hang of latching. Without flat lips, baby just can’t get the suction right, and it leads to slurpy sounding, ineffective nursing.

I hope these infographics help you as much as they did me! Biology, man, it never goes out of fashion.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mom of three who lives and writes in Oklahoma City. 

Sensory Activities for Baby

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

sensory activities for babySo your baby is 3 months old now.  She seems to be ready to play and learn about her world.  But how do you play with a 3-month-old? Providing her with sensory activities each day helps her develop cognitively, begin to learn language, and gives you the opportunity to play with your baby. Initially, I was hesitant to start using sensory activities because activities that create a big mess are overwhelming to me. However with a little research, I discovered that with slight modifications, many everyday activities turn into sensory activities, becoming opportunities to play with your baby, build foundations for language development, and encourage exploration of her world.

The following are 10 activities I used with both my girls to address the five senses.

  1. Reading touch and feel books together (The That’s Not My… series are my girls’ favorite touch and feel books)
  2. Creating scent jars by filling empty spice jars with strong smelling objects (basil, orange, lemon, lavender, etc)
  3. Creating a ribbon box by attaching ribbons at the opening of an old box (one that is large enough for your baby to lay in/under)
  4. Allowing them to squish and play with their food once they start solids
  5. Providing toys that crinkle, make other sounds, and have many textures (Melissa and Doug’s Flip Fish was one of Juniper’s favorites from about 4 to 7 months old)
  6. Walking outside while talking to your baby about things you see, sounds you hear, and smells you smell
  7. Playing peek-a-boo and other songs that use scarfs
  8. Going to baby storytime and other age-appropriate mommy and me classes
  9. Looking at and making silly faces in mirrors
  10. Talking to your baby while grocery shopping about what color, shape, etc of the items you’re purchasing (sometimes I accidentally do this on solo shopping trips and get weird looks!).  In the produce section, I let my girls touch and smell the produce we intend to purchase as I’m talking about it.

Having your baby do sensory activities does not require a huge mess or a lot of prep before hand.  With little extra effort, you can maximize your baby’s opportunity to use their senses and learn about the world.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to two girls, a three year old and a one year old, in Denver, CO who enjoys cooking for her family, running, and hiking.

How You Know You’re Done Having Babies

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

How to Know When You're Done Having BabiesThey say that when you know you’re done having babies you know. There is a moment when you know you’re finished: the glamour has worn off, you see the rawness of motherhood. Maybe, like me, you’ve seen what the preschool years bring and can see how the babies and toddlers turn into bigger kids who are busy, loud and fun.

So here we go, my five signs you’re done having kids!

  1. You suddenly want to purge every baby item in your house. With exception to the few items you must keep for your own nostalgia, you’re ready to KonMari every single rattle, bloomer, and onesie you find. That lovely adorable first-time mom you met at the gym? You’re her new best friend with your hand-me-downs.
  2. You start to realize that the amount of laundry and chaos is not as fun as you once thought. With a newborn and toddler, the laundry, cleaning and mess was still adorable. It was signs of your budding family. You looked at the cute “My house isn’t messy, my children are making memories” memes and smiled because you loved every bit of it. Now? The bubble has burst and you see it for what it is–a chaotic disaster.
  3. It’s not a struggle to hand back the newborn. Your cousin’s sister’s newborn baby is adorable and sweet, but once she’s crying you don’t have any issue handing that little ball of angry right back to her Mama. And walking away.
  4. You enjoy the milestones a bit more. After going through a few kids myself, I find the milestones are sweeter as I know what comes next and I can see the independence brewing in my youngest. He’s suddenly capable of doing so much on his own, and It is sweet.
  5. You have moved on from the baby and toddler groups. Suddenly you no longer find the need for a toddler and baby story time group as you enjoy your own little bunch more and more. Hanging out with a bunch of babies is suddenly not as interesting.

There are days I long for a baby once more and I think back with nostalgia to the fuzzy hair and soft downy skin, and how sweet they were before they could run. But seeing how fun bigger kids can be and what they can do cures any longing for a new baby in my life. Plus, a full-night’s sleep is an incredible feeling!

Pia Watzig is a Stay at Home Mom to three crazy boys in Portland, Oregon. She enjoys knitting and attempting to keep her kids clean.

Do Babies Need to Read?

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

my baby can readI didn’t have cable TV when my kids were born, which still didn’t keep me from hearing about the amazing ‘My Baby Can Read Program’ and its infomercial from lots of well-meaning people. I needed to do it. All the other babies were learning to read, and my kid was going to be behind in pre-k if I didn’t buy it.

Of course, there are tons of programs out there being marketed to new parents. DVDs that will make your kids musical prodigies, foreign language products, alphabet and vocabulary flash cards, baby workbooks…the list is endless. Did I end up buying or being gifted some of that stuff? Yep. Did it work?

Well, according to one recent study, no. The only tangible results from baby reading programs were that the parents thought their babies were learning to read (spoiler alert: they weren’t).

Literacy is something we all want for our children, so if early videos and flashcards aren’t doing the trick, what is? (Which leads me to another question, does very early literacy automatically equate to “more” literacy? I don’t know. I’ve seen research done on preschool’s effect on later academic success, but not on children prior to preschool age.)

The advice that was probably given to our parents still holds true: if you want to foster literacy in your children, you need to read to them. Try and build a varied and rich home library. Become regulars at your local library. Let your kids see you reading. And keep reading to them.

If you have an older child in school, I have found the Scholastic book orders sent home each month to be a fairly affordable way to introduce new books into our library. Some friends for Christmas this past year did a book advent calendar, where each day the children got to open a new book. Kids can be hard on books, but thrift stores and yard sales (and Internet yard sale pages) can also be inexpensive places to source new reading material.

And honestly, if you want to buy your baby early learning materials, go for it. The NYU study cited above didn’t find that babies learned to read, but it didn’t find that it hurt their development in any way, either.

Meaghan Howard is a temporary expat and stay at home mom. She, her husband and two rambunctious boys live in Japan.