Thursday, March 23, 2017

How to Introduce Water + Munchkin Miracle 360 Training Cup Review

As Little One grew older and we started baby led weaning, I did a lot of reading about when it was time for more than just breast milk. When do you introduce water and what about other liquids.

These's no real clear cut answer and she certainly wasn't interested in water when she first started solids. Water was actually the first thing I saw her grimace at when she tried it. She absolutely hated it.

If you're exclusively breastfeeding or pumping, you might be wondering how to introduce other liquids. Here are my tips:

1. Ask other people. We asked the pediatrician, other moms and I even took to my baby led weaning group on Facebook. Everyone had different answers and everyone's babies responded differently. This helped me realize that she'll figure it out on her own timeline.

2. Keep offering it. Like I said, Little One hated water when she first tried it and really didn't have any interest. But we kept offering and offering until she started to like it.

3. Try different cups and ways of offering it. My husband and I both carry Nalgene bottles around the house as our source of water. They're bright and colorful and Little One has always been fascinated by them. When she wasn't exactly thrilled with water at first, I let her try drinking from my Nalgene. It went absolutely everyone but she loved it. We've now settled on the Munchkin Miracle 360 cup (review below) but we had to get her interested in water before.

4. Keep their size in mind. I always get worried that she hasn't drank enough water but my husband reminds me that she's small and doesn't need to drink too much to be hydrated.

5. Keep nursing. Babies get a lot of their hydration from breast milk so they're usually pretty well hydrated.

6. Always have the cup around. Now when we're playing in her room or other places, I just put the cup on the floor so she can grab when she's thirsty. She's going for it more and more.

Like I mentioned in #3, we tried a few different cups and methods of giving her water. She started out drinking from my Nalgene then a small Nalgene bottle for kids. The issue here in that I always had to hold the bottles and the water always went everywhere.

We've now settled on the Munchkin Miracle 360 cup and here's why.

-Can hold it her self. This helps her gain independence and truly learn how to drink on her own.

-Keeps the water in. This cup is more or less spill proof. When she really throws, a little bit of water can get out but not usually enough to even clean up.

-Easy to transition to regular cup. Since there isn't a spout or straw, she'll be used to drinking water the way she would out of a cup.

-Once they get the hang of it, easy to drink from.

-Dishwasher safe and easy to clean. It comes apart easily and all pieces are dishwasher safe.

We love this cup and did a lot of research to find. It fits well with baby led weaning because the concept is similar. Instead of having to training on a sippy cup and then a real cup, you use this cup and the transition is smoother.

The one caveat I have about this cup is that it does take a little while longer for babies to get. If you stick with it, you child will definitely learn to use it well. Just don't expect it to be immediate. Little One put every part of this cup in her mouth trying to learn to use it at first but after a couple of days, she got the hang of it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

10 Ways I'm Rocking Motherhood

I jumped at the chance to participate in the Rocking Motherhood Challenge (thanks for the nomination Elizabeth at Worth Writing for).

Look, motherhood is hard. That's no secret. There's so many thankless days, sleepless nights and 10 million other things. I'm just at the beginning of this journey and it's already so easy to lose sight of the things I do well.

I see it with so many of my fellow new moms too. It's easy to get caught up in the things you didn't get done today or a messy house and think you're not totally rocking things. 

This challenge is encouraging all moms to take a minute and see all of the ways you're rocking motherhood. So here's my list, I'd love to read your lists. 

To keep this amazing ball of energy rolling, I'm shouting out to these four bloggers so we can all read the 10 way they're rocking motherhood.

10 Ways I'm Rocking Motherhood

1. Adjusting to sleep - I could not function with less than 8 hours of sleep before Little One but I'm totally adjusted now.

2. I've stuck it out with nursing - It's not always easy but Little One and I still have a great nursing relationship at 11 months.

3. Little One is starting to be socialized - Having both parents working at home is great for Little One but also made socializing her the right way super important. She's now totally happy and excited when playing with others.

4. We stay in touch with family - Our family is very spread out but I'm mostly good about keeping in touch, sharing pictures and keeping them involved in Little One's life.

5. We haven't lost sight of our marriage. 

6. I'm learning not to sweat the small stuff. This makes me so much more present and aware during family time.

7. We play, a lot. Little One gets tons of time with me and we play a lot. 

8. I haven't become a helicopter parent and am keeping worrying to a minimum. This is not how I pictured myself as a mom but I've been able to stay pretty even keel.

9. I'm working hard to continue working or staying at hone. The flexibility of working for myself and working at home is so great for Little One and our family. It's hard work but I'm determined to stick with it.

10. We're doing it our own way. I read the blogs, talk to other moms, go on Pinterest and get the mom guilt. I feel like we're doing this or that wrong. But at the end of the day,  we're doing it our way. We're doing what's right for our family, no matter what others say or think.

How are you rocking motherhood? Leave a comment!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

9 Baby Led Weaning Challenges & Tips to Overcome Them

We're still going strong on baby led weaning. There have been a few bumps in the road but generally, Little One has loved or liked everything she's tried. Her favorite food seems to be sweet potatoes (and cheerios). We had a our first (and hopefully only) allergic reaction, which is a post for another day.

Here are some of the challenges we've run into with BLW and tips for overcoming them.

1. Waste - We hate wasting food, we're pretty diligent about it. This is a huge baby led weaning challenge. Frequently, Little One either doesn't finish all the food or throws a bunch on the ground.

Solution: Do your best to try and catch everything and put it back on the plate. Also, don't put too much on their tray at once, less temptation to throw things around.

2. Choking & Gagging - Your Little One will gag and they might even choke. This is a whole new process for them, getting use to the texture, figuring out how much to eat at once and other challenges all have to be worked out.

Solution: Don't let the gagging bother you too much and don't let choking stop you from BLW. Just keep trying it, they'll learn.

3. Mess - Little One loves to mush banana or sweet potatoes in her hands. She also drops things on her belly all the time. It gets messy and that's part of the fun they're having.

Solution: Don't feed them in your favorite clothes. Little One is usually in just a diaper for her meals. It's not worth ruining a onesie, shirt or dress over. And she hates bibs.

4. Patience - Meal time can take FOREVER with Little One. Giving her small portions at at time so we don't waste too much food and letting her work things out on her own takes times. Have patience and plan for longer meal times.

Solution: Play music, color or do something at the table with your baby while they continue to eat. Little One usually eats better with company so sometimes I fold the laundry or enjoy another cup of coffee while she munches.

5. Creativity - We are super guilty of getting into dinner ruts. It's so easy to just make the same things over and over again. And we also realized that many of our meals are not necessarily baby shape friendly.

Solution: Plan ahead and look for meals that would be great for baby too. There are more meals out there than you could ever cook in your lifetime so try chicken different ways or something new with your veggies.

6. Explaining it to others - I hear this one all the time from my mom friends or in my BLW Facebook group. Either dad, grandparents, day care or strangers think BLW is crazy. Most of them haven't heard of it and some people are really against it. It might sound odd to them or they might not even get it at all.

Solution: Stay strong, do you what's best for you and your baby. Also, show them what it's all about. Nothing gets people on board quicker than watching your baby chow down on their favorite foods.

7. Phases - Little One goes through so many phases. A phases can be brought on from a growth spurt, weird sleeping patterns or who knows what. A phase can really throw off the BLW process, baby might not want to eat or their favorite food might change.

Solution: Don't give up. Try feeding at a different time or different foods. And remember, phases pass and they'll be back to your happy eater before you know it.

8. Teething - Teething affects everything and BLW is no different. If Little One is really teething, she generally doesn't want to eat much.

Solution: This is when I tend to give her stuff like yogurt, sweet potatoes or other really soft things.

9. Timing - The principle behind baby led weaning is that your baby eats what you eat. However, feeding a baby who's not hungry will lead to a lot of unsuccessful attempts. They might not always be hungry or even awake at your meal times.

Solution: Plan for their meals. Feed them when they're hungry and sit with them while they eat. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Put the Baby DOWN!

This isn't a post about not shaking your baby or walking away when you're frustrated, you ladies (and gentleman) are smart enough to know that.

I talk to mom friends all the time who haven't gone to the bathroom, had anything to eat or even drank any water all day long. They're the ones constantly talking about only being able to drink cold coffee and not showering for 5 days.

I have to say it: PUT THE BABY DOWN.

Go pee. Get something to eat. Reheat your coffee.

Easier said than done, I know. And I get trapped in the must hold baby loop some days myself. But it's good for you and it's good for your baby.

Why it's good for baby:

Your baby always comes first, I'm with you on that. So let's talk about why it's important for baby.

-Independence - These are the times when they're able to learn some independence and start to solve problems for themselves. All very positive things.

-Learning - They learn a lot. I watch when Little One plays on her own (as I drink my hot coffee) and I can see her little gears turning.

-Entertaining themselves - Baby will learn to entertain themselves and play on their own. Super valuable skills as they grow up.

-Patience - Little by little I see Little One get more patience. Don't get me wrong, she still wants what she wants when she wants it. But she can usually hold out a few seconds for me to pee first.

-Explore - They'll learn to explore, try new things and new toys. I love that Little One is trying different ways to do things.

Why it's good for you:

Who really wants to be around someone who doesn't shower for 5 days? Let alone someone that does it on regularly basis. In all seriousness, there are some important reasons to put the baby down.

-Refresh - You're in charge of protecting, loving and growing a little one. You need to be at your best whenever possible. 10 minutes of not holding her so you can drink a hot cup of coffee or brush your teeth and wash your face, might be just the refresh you need.

-Get stuff done - If you're overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that's constantly left undone, it can be distracting and stressful. Not two things you really want to be all the time. So fold the laundry, unload/load the dishwasher. You just need to be put baby down to do it.

-Your health - You have to eat and drink. Period. No excuses. You also have to use the bathroom and brush your teeth, you just have to do these things.

-Independence - When you're drinking your hot coffee or folding the laundry, remember that you're your own person too and not just mom. It might be the best job and your favorite part of everyday but it's not the only thing. Take the time to remind yourself of that.

-Let go & relax - You'll see that they're ok without you. You won't be far and you've made sure that they're safe, fed, changed and have everything they need. Baby will be ok.

But how?

Now that you know why it's important, here are some tips to actually do it.

-Create a safe space - We use our pack-n-play with plenty of baby toys.

-Toys - Don't put them down with nothing to do, it won't last long without distractions.

-New things - We try to introduce new things frequently.  This amps up Little One's curiosity and can give us a much needed break.

-Give them space to roam

-Use food. We call raisins "Briasins", a combination of bribe and raisin.

-Use the time wisely. Have a plan before you put baby down and spring into action once they're settled. You might only get 10 minutes but you can get a lot done in that time if you're focused.

-Make sure they're well-fed.

-Work it into your routine. For instance, in the mornings I nurse Little One and then put her right in the pack-n-play. She's used the routine and might even look forward to this playtime.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

9 Things that Have Changed Since Becoming a Mom

Becoming a mom, or a dad, is definitely life changing. As we're coming up on Little One's 11 month, I took some time to reflect on exactly what had changed in my life.

1. I need less sleep. All of my life I have been a minimum of 8 hours girl. I couldn't function on less and often got sick if I didn't get that much sleep. Well, that's all gone. If I get 6 hours, it's a miracle.

2. I have less patience for drama. I still lend an ear to my friends who are going through a hard time but any one trying to cause drama over something small is out of here. Who has time for it?

3. I'm not as picky about food. Being sleep deprived, unsure of your schedule and often too side tracked to worry about your own meals means that you're open to eating whatever you have around. Luckily, my husband cooks but I now have more important things to worry about than no liking mayo on my burger.

4. I'm, somehow, more laid back. I thought I would be the first one to be a helicopter mom. I'm usually very type A. However, I've learned that Little One will be ok. I haven't been that mom that's constantly call the pediatrician or googling things.

5. I feel empowered. How would you not? You grew a little life inside of you, you gave birth and you've been nurturing that little life and help it grow. I've taken this empowerment into things like my work, clients and standing up for myself. Because honestly, if I can do all of those things that I mentioned, I can do anything.

6. I find all kids cute, even crying one. Admittedly, crying kids in restaurant used to drive me crazy. But now they're all cute, all of them.

7. I'm more creative. I never thought of myself as creative but I find I can turn anything into a game, toy or song these days.

8. I'm more determined. Becoming a mom has made finding a way to continue to be self-employed, have a flexible schedule and be able to spend time with my family more important than ever. I'm not will to be a workaholic and I know I don't have to be to provide for my family.

9. Lastly, it's forcing me to come out of my shell. I'm usually pretty open and sociable once I know people but meeting new people can be tricky. Helping little one becoming more well-adapted means that I've had to do the same.

Monday, March 6, 2017

7 Small Things I'm Learning to Just Accept

 A lot of us let the little things bother us. I'm guilty of it more than I'd like to admit.

Whether it's your husband, clutter, other people's rude comments or whatever your pet peeve is, stressing over this stuff can distract us from the truly important things in life.

When I became a mom, I no longer had as much time to notice or care about these small things. Here's the list of things we should all learn to let go of, including myself.

1. Other people's annoying habits. Unless they're harming you or your family, you can't control them so don't get stressed about them.

2. Everything being perfectly in order. Little One seems to hate things being in their place so I'm learning to just accept that everything can't be perfectly tidy all the time.

3. Little comments. How many times have you fumed over a comment from a stranger at the grocery store or restaurant? Something innocent like "Oh, where's her hat? She must be so cold."

4. Being a little bit late. Being late gives me serious anxiety but when you're no longer in control of your own schedule, you just have to accept a little bit of tardiness. Whether it's dinner being later than you planned or getting out the door a little bit later, it's all going to be OK.

5. Things not going exactly as planned. I can't tell you how many times I sit down excited to write a post like this and Little One decides nap time is over at the exact same moment. If I get stressed about it than I'm missing out on enjoying time with her.

6. Forgetting small things. A few weeks ago, I made my grocery list and burritos were on the menu (a staple in our house). I forgot to get the tortillas at the store. Something like this would have eaten away at me for the rest of the day. But honestly, we don't need the extra calories and carbs. Burrito bowls for us!

7. Things that are out of your control. This is a huge pill to swallow. But when something like my phone or internet are not working, what good does it do to stress out about it? I can't fix it.

Take my word for it, I haven't mastered accepting all of these yet. I'm far from it. This list is something to aspire to but even writing it reminded me of how important it is to work on.

What little things are you learning to accept?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

What's the Best Parenting Advice You've Ever Gotten?

At my first MOPS meeting, yes the one mentioned here, we played an ice breaker. This was much less painful that the ice breakers you might remember from college or internships. We passed around a bowl with several questions in it, every lady took a question, read it out loud and answered it.

I loved the question I got and thought I'd share my answer.

The question: What's the best parenting advice you've ever received?

This might make people laugh a little bit. I'm sure we've received some TERRIBLE advice. I'm talking about the relative that tells you to put whiskey on a teething baby's gums. Or you might receive the same advice over and over. Cue: "sleep when the baby sleeps."

But I knew exactly what my answer would be. The head pediatrician in town came to talk to our birthing class one night and I thought his advice was the best.

"Use your common sense."

How's that for simple and straightforward? When you're running on little sleep, tasked with keeping a tiny, helpless human alive and a fever strikes, common sense can go right out the window. 

But it's absolutely true. If something seems bad, out of the ordinary or like it needs immediate attention, it probably does. 

Now, to a first time mom, everything seems like that. But when I stopped to think about it, do I call the doctor when I have a little fever? 

I try to remind myself of this advice every day and hope to never forget it.

What's the best parenting advice you've ever received?