Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Feed that baby!

Warning: mama post. May be boring to those who are not responsible for feeding small humans.

Probably one of the single biggest responsibilities I juggle every day is what to feed baby girl. I think its been one of the most consuming elements of motherhood thus far. Thankfully, as she gets older, it’s becoming less consuming and easier. Along the way, I have relied on a lot of advice from friends and our doctor. Tonight, I thought I’d put some snippets of what I’ve found most helpful as we’ve journeyed through the world of baby food.

First off, I’ll start with formula. I’ll be quick. We weren’t planning to switch to formula when we did, but it happened, and we had to deal. I did a lot of research on formula and what all goes into it. You wouldn’t believe some of the things that make it in there. So, I knew we had to be careful. After weighing our options, we decided to go with organic formula distributed by PBM Nutritionals. (In our case, we use “Comforts for Baby Organic” from Kroger) ((It is the same price as nonorganic)) Not all organic formulas are indeed completely organic and/or the best option. So, that’s why after reading through and comparing the different organic brands we went with PBM. I will say that after we switched baby to formula, it was like our girl turned a corner. I think she finally felt full, something I worried often that she wasn’t when nursing. She has been happy with the switch. Now we are almost DONE with formula! Horray! I’ll link the site here that I found most helpful when making our formula choice.

Now for the fun part, food! We started introducing solids at 4 months, beginning with applesauce. We stuck to the 4-day introduction “rule” where you introduce a food for four days to make sure baby doesn’t have a reaction to it. In that four-day span, you don’t introduce anything else new to make sure you’d be able to pinpoint what the reaction was to should one occur. I am no expert in what foods should be introduced when. I relied heavily on my doctor’s advice and tips from friends. I personally really like this site linked here. It gives a good breakdown of foods by age and also offers some recipes for blends when baby is old enough. We did strictly purees through about 6 months and then started introducing finger foods. Now, at 11 months, we are doing mostly finger foods and only using a puree for greens. For some reason, baby girl won’t take greens in their solid form. To this point, I have made the majority of the food. As she’s gotten older, we have started to incorporate more pre-bought snack foods and puree pouches.

So, here are my favorite baby food products, because baby “stuff” just makes it more fun.

The NUMBER ONE item you must have if you're making your own baby food is a Beaba Baby Cook. Listen people, I tried to be cheap. I tried to just buy a "single serve" blender, thinking it would do the same thing. Oh, how wrong I was. My mother-in-law bought us the Baby Cook and it changed the way I made baby food. It is infinitely more easy. And- it requires far less cleanup than doing it any other way- trust me, I know. So the Baby Cook both steams the food and blends the food you are preparing. (no more steamer basket, no more pans on the stove, no more blender….) It's a one stop shop. It is worth the investment. 

Now you have to have a place to store all that yummy food you make. I have loved the Nuk silicone freezer trays. I don't think you necessarily have to buy the Nuk brand, but I would make sure you get silicone. (this was a tip from my good friend Amanda) It makes it easy to pop out just one block of food at a time for when you need it. 

As far as high chairs go, we had to make a choice. At the time we started feeding solids, we were living in a small apartment. We didn't really have the room for a big, bulky high chair. So, we opted for the Fisher Price Space Saver chair. It fits on top of one of your existing dining chairs. We have loved it. It is really easy to clean, and it super portable. So, if we are traveling, we can take it with us! It comes in different prints so you can probably find one to match your decor if you're into that.

Little Green Pouches have been awesome. The store-bought pouches are pretty pricy, so we wanted to find an alternative. Now, we still occasionally use the store-bought ones, especially if we're out and about or for me if "it's just been one of those days and I can not put another ounce of energy into filling up my own pouch". Ok so, after reading some reviews, my sitter and I actually landed on these pouches. They zip from the top to prevent spillage, and they are super easy to fill and clean (dishwasher safe!). You can stick whatever food you've pureed in there. I will sometimes make smoothies and put that in. I even put just plain applesauce sometimes. They're great!

So, there's my take on getting your baby fed. It's been time-consuming to make my own food and think through what's nutritionally best, but so worth it. Baby girl turns one in less than a month, stay tuned for reflections on a year! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

It's in the Timing

I don’t know a lot about being patient- it’s not really my strong suit. I do have patience, but it is prayed-for patience. I pray for it and then God gives me many opportunities every day to be patient. Some days I’m successful, other days not so much. The dictionary definition of patient goes something like this: quietly and steadily persevering with fortitude and calm, and without complaint, anger, or the like. I like the words steadily and calm from that definition. Sometimes while waiting, it is hard to be steady and calm. Many times, for me, I find it especially hard to exhibit steadiness and calmness when trusting in the timing of things for baby girl. Here’s just a quick list of things I have stressed about recently as far as timing is concerned: when do we start formula? when should she start eating solid food? when should we go from three naps to just two? she’s not rolling over, shouldn’t she be rolling over? when should we break free of the swaddle? is it time to move to a four-hour feeding schedule? she’s still not crawling, is that ok? is it ok for her to sleep with a blanket overnight now? And- the list could go on, and on…and on. Perhaps you are a mama and you have stressed/are stressing about the timing of similar things. Perhaps you have your own list and are worried about getting the timing of these things right. Perhaps you are more of a “go with the flow” kind of person, in which case, you can stop reading.

You see, here’s where the problem starts- we are worried about when WE should make decisions regarding timing, when, in reality, we should be worried about when HE is going to time things. Something that has been on my heart, friends, is the Lord’s timing and do we trust it? My sweet girl teaches me time and time again that I am not in control of timing and that I must continue to be steadily patient and remain calm. All of those things I listed above? Holly did them exactly when was right for her. I probably worried about most of those things for weeks before she was ready, and then just one day, she was ready. She knew her timing. She didn’t stress and the Lord made her ready, well, when she was ready. I continue to be taught about the Lord, His goodness, and His perfect timing through that precious girl. He has given her to me, at exactly the right time, to teach me exactly what I’m supposed to be learning.

I love this verse from Habakkuk: “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. (2:3)” You see in the midst of chaos and turmoil, the Lord told Habakkuk to wait and trust in His timing. People have been steadily and calmly waiting for a long time, and we must do the same. What are you waiting for? Stay steady. What timing are you trying to control? Be calm. The Lord has perfect timing, let us rest in that. And, let us be encouraged by this, because this, friends, this is good: “For I am going to do something in your days, that you would not believe, even if you were told.” Habakkuk 1:5

And I’ll leave it at that.