Posts Tagged ‘breastmilk’

Homemade Baby Food Purees

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

homemade baby food purees

When my older daughter started to eat solids, I decided I would make my own baby food purees. Making my own purees was less expensive than buying jarred baby food. She had a milk intolerance, and I read that cross contamination in baby foods was a common problem. In addition to saving money, I was happy that making my own purees allowed me to control what went into her food (and what stayed out).

Her first food was avocado.  I simply used a food processor to mash the avocado. Once the avocado was smooth, I mixed in pumped breast milk to thin it out to a very loose consistency.

After Lily ate avocado for a few days, I tried sweet potato, then butternut squash. To prepare the sweet potato, I boiled the sweet potato, then used the food processor to puree it. I used some of the cooking liquid to thin it to my desired consistency. With the butternut squash, I halved it, removed the seeds, then roasted it in a shallow pan with a little water until it was super soft. I then pureed it in the food processor, and thinned it with pumped breast milk.

I used my slow cooker to make apple sauce and pear sauce once I started Lily on fruits. I would peel, core, and chop 4 -6 of pears or apples, place them in the slow cooker, added a little water, and cooked on high for 2-3 hours. Once the apple or pears were super soft and basically falling apart, I would puree them in my food processor, again adding the cooking liquid or a little pumped breast milk to thin the puree out.

When making the purees, I made much more than Lily would eat at any one time. I used ice cube trays to freeze small portions of the purees. When I decided what I was going to try to feed Lily, I would pull out one ice cube tray portion, and carefully heat it in the microwave, adding more pumped breast milk as needed.

Although slightly more work than picking up a jar of baby food at the store, making my own purees did not require any special kitchen gadgets and did not require much cooking time or food prep. The peace of mind of making my own purees as well as the money saved more than made up for the convenience of the jarred food.

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.

My Baby Isn’t Interested in Solids

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

My baby isn't interested in solidsThere are as many methods to transition a baby to solid foods as there are baby gurus out there. Cereal first, meat first, nuts, no nuts, baby-led weaning …

No matter the method though, a child cannot live forever on breastmilk or formula alone, and there will come a day when she has her first taste of food.

What if baby isn’t interested in solids? Many people say to have your baby sit with the family during mealtimes, and he will naturally become interested in solids seeing his family eating them, too. This is exactly how things went down with my two younger boys. My oldest, however, Mr. Stubborn, was a different story.

Come six months of age, my mom group friends’ babies were all starting to chow down. There didn’t seem to be a picky eater among them (though the Internet does have a way of glossing over things, doesn’t it?). Mr. Stubborn though, was not interested. In any of it. I packed up the baby spoons and tried again in a few weeks. Nope. By eight months old, he was still growing like a weed, but was still refusing everything but breastmilk. I was exhausted providing all of the calories for a 97 percenter in weight category.

Every reluctant eater will have a different food that will finally start to turn things around. For mine, it was rice husk crackers. I know, there’s not a ton going on there, nutrient-wise, but it was an enjoyable sensory experience for him, which started him finally getting more adventurous on other foods. So don’t give up. Take a break, and keep trying a variety of foods.

Finally, if you have any concerns, make sure to bring it up with your pediatrician. It’s possible that your child may need to see a feeding therapist, particularly if she isn’t growing at a rate your pediatrician and you are happy with.

Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home mom to three boys (and desperately hoping that they don’t burn the house down someday). She and her family are enjoying living an ex-pat life overseas.



Getting through the Airport with Your Milk Stash

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

airportAir travel for some is already an arduous process before you add in traveling with pumped breast milk and breast feeding supplies like pumps and coolers. There has been a lot of news in the last few years regarding the problems that many mothers face going through airport security.

After a 2011 lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration that ended in 2014 with a payout of $75,000 to the traveling mother, TSA agents were retrained and required to follow strict standardized protocol. But just this past April, a British mom was forced to dump 500 ounces of breastmilk–enough to feed her baby for two weeks–at her gate before boarding a plane at Heathrow. Her frustrated Facebook post recounting the incident was shared more than 4,000 times.

So although it is legal to take your pump and frozen breastmilk on your flight with you–whether your baby is with you or not–the more informed you are, the better your chances of making it home with your stash intact.

Prior to Travel 
Prior to leaving, decide how you are going to store your milk. Breast milk that has been previously pumped into breast milk bags, then stored in insulated coolers, seems to be the most popular way to carry-on. A lot of moms recommend portioning the milk for feedings and making sure to leave an inch at the top of the bags for expansion that can happen at high altitudes. You’ll want to be sure that you immediately store the expressed milk from your trip in the coolers and then transfer to a freezer as soon as possible. The milk that is stored in a cooler with ice is good for 24 hours. Another good tip is to use the pumped milk from a trip first because it hasn’t been stored in a deep freezer.

Notify the TSA agent ASAP
When approaching security with your liquid gold remember to separate the breast milk from the rest of your carry-on items when it is over 3.4 ounces. Also notify the TSA officer prior to the start of your screening. Just like the formula and other liquids, the items are typically X-Rayed. The sooner the screening officer knows that you are carrying on breast milk, they can pull the cooler out and continue with liquid carry-on protocol.

Speak Up
Officers use X-ray to test for explosives and other items that are prohibited, including all liquids. If you don’t want the milk x-rayed, you must tell a TSA agent so that they can take additional screening preparations, such as enhanced pat downs and searches.  Although the FDA does stress that there is no known risk of X-Ray, if you’re concerned about the potential risks, don’t feel bad about speaking up. TSA agents should be well versed in backup methods of screenings and it is your right to refuse.

Know the Rules
It might seem like overkill, but it can be very handy to have a copy with you of all the specific policies and instructions on carrying breast milk. These policies can be found at the TSA website. Not a well-known rule, but TSA requires that your ice packs and cooler bags be x-rayed if they become slushy or melted, just as other liquid carry-ons. In addition, only passengers are technically allowed to open and close bottles. If you are worried about sterilization, or the way that your breast milk is being handled, ask for a security manager.

Tessa Wesnitzer is a mom to 2 crazy boys, a lover of snow, sleep, and seriously large iced teas.

HELP! My Baby Doesn’t Care about Food!

Monday, August 17th, 2015

When mastitis strikesBy the time my oldest son reached five or six months old, he was a giant. He was crazy long and his cheeks and arms and legs were so chubby, I could barely keep up with him (he was exclusively breastfed at the time). I was very interested in him starting to get some of his calories from solid foods by then. Unfortunately, he was not.

Some babies start watching everybody eat right away, and seem to have a keen interest in trying out the same foods. My youngest son was like that. He definitely fit pretty perfectly into the baby led weaning (BLW) camp.

But my older son was a totally different story. To be honest, he is still (at age six) still nervous about new situations, and I think that’s why he wasn’t interested in solids. He was used to breastmilk, he liked breastmilk, so why try anything new? It wasn’t broke, so he wasn’t fixing it. My husband the engineer is kind of the same way; I wonder where he gets it?

By eight months, I was barely able to spoon feed more than a couple servings of baby food to him, no matter if it was store bought or homemade. Forget BLW, he was totally not interested. It seemed to be affecting his sleep. He took a long time to be able to sleep 6 to 8 hours in a row, because I think he was hungry. My friends with babies the same age all talked about the huge variety of foods their kids were eating by then, which made me concerned (especially as a first-time mom).

If you’re in the same boat, there’s no need to despair like I did. It’s definitely worth asking about at your next pediatrician visit. There are some children that do require feeding therapy, and your doctor should be able to decide if your child would benefit from further testing. It could be just teething pain as well keeping your baby from wanting to dig in.

Continue to offer your baby a variety of foods. Eventually even the most stubborn kids, as long as there’s no underlying medical issue, will eventually discover how fun and tasty eating is. Baby Mum Mum crackers were the turning point for my son. A friend recommended the surfboard-shaped rice crackers, and he loved them. Once he discovered one food he loved, he slowly started eating other things, too.

Keep in mind, that kids, like adults, are all different. Some children are voracious eaters from the start, and some kids will always be light eaters. And if your baby is a reluctant solids eater, well, there’s one bright side: if you’re breastfeeding, being the source of almost 100 percent of an older, larger baby’s caloric intake can often mean losing the last of your baby weight.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two little boys, ages 4 and 6. She’s currently enjoying the expat life in Japan.

Tips for Treating Diaper Rash

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

When you go to change your baby’s diaper and find their bum covered with a diaper rash it can be an upsetting discovery. Often the skin looks so irritated and uncomfortable that you are eager to try anything that might provide soothing comfort to baby’s sensitive skin. Sometimes a quick slab of a quality diaper rash cream is all it takes to clear it up. However sometimes diaper rashes can be stubborn and difficult to eliminate. Those persistent and/or frequent diaper rashes often require a little extra care beyond diaper rash cream. Here are a few suggestions to try:

Nakie Time  – Let’s face it, what baby/toddler doesn’t want to be naked?!? Let them go diaper free to get fresh air and keep the irritated skin nice and dry. You’ll probably want to do nakie time when baby is unlikely to poop. So if you know baby’s pooping patterns plan accordingly for nakie time. Or watch them carefully for signs of needing to poop and rush them to the bathroom as needed (you can even do this with wee ones).  Pee is a bit trickier to time (or observe cues) so you might consider having baby on a towel or other easy to clean surface during nakie time.

BreasmilkBreastmilk really is the magical cure-all! Simply express some breastmilk and cover the affected area with it. Allow bum to air dry.

Strip Your Cloth Diapers – There might be some build up , residue, or bacteria on your cloth diapers that baby’s skin is reacting to. Doing a heavy-duty stripping can help eliminate any irritants contained in your diapers. You might consider adding a few drops of tea tree oil or grapefruit oil to your wash as both have anti-bacterial/anti-fungal properties.

Tea Tree Oil – Tea Tree Oil is a definite must-have item in your medicine cabinet because of its diverse and plentiful uses including treatment of diaper rash. All you need to do is mix a few drops in a palm sized amount of a carrier oil (such as olive oil) and apply to baby’s skin.

Change Baby More Frequently – Some babies have extra sensitive skin and need to be changed more frequently than normal.

Examine Diet – Sometimes diaper rash can be an expression of something internally disagreeing with baby (as opposed to an external topical irritant) so examining babies diet might help identify the source of the irritant. For example when oranges were in season and soooo delicious we over-indulged in their sweet juiciness and baby got a fierce diaper rash. Ouch! Sometimes new foods can irritate baby’s bum too so be aware as you introduce new foods into your baby’s diet.

Change Laundry Detergent – There are many great options to choose from when it comes to cloth diaper friendly laundry detergents. Experiment a bit to see what works best for your baby’s skin.

Revamp your Stash – This is a last-resort ‘I have tried everything and my baby’s butt is still constantly bright red’ option. Sometimes certain fibers simply don’t agree with your baby’s skin. I have a friend who battled intense and persistent diaper rashes with her son until she finally decided to sell her existing stash and invest in some new fluff. Viola, no more diaper rash!

What’s your secret weapon against stubborn diaper rash? Would love to hear some more useful tips! 🙂