Adventures in Positive Parenting – The 411

As we get closer to the magical age of TWO… the dreaded TWO aka Terrible Twos, I find myself becoming anxious.

I have been working on “positive parenting” and have fallen off the wagon twice. It was then that I realized all I learned about positive parenting was indeed true. I do not want to spank or pop my child and she is a stubborn one who intentionally locks in and gives you back what you give her. Imagine that ! A stubborn child… I wonder where she gets that?

She does not like loud noise and fussing frightens her so I get down on her level, in her face, and talk to her and explain what she is doing, that it is not acceptable and I help her correct it.

It is A LOT of work to do this and you end up repeating yourself a million times ! In some things, she now tells you the rule before she is about to do something… like “just eyes, no fingers.”

As an only parent, it makes it so much harder because I am the only one with her every day all day. I have to balance being a disciplinarian with being her loving, supportive Mommy. I remind myself that I am merely here to guide this child through life and help her become her best self and not here to mold her into who I want her to be. I am here to encourage her strengths and find ways to help her cope with and move beyond any weaknesses.

My baby is headstrong and very determined to do things her way. She has a temper and a half when she can not have her way.

I am now watching for triggers to help avoid meltdowns. She normally falls out with me about my cellphone or my mom’s iPads. She would watch YouTube until all devices are dead if she could.

Now that summer is over, after our trip to the UK, we will be homeschooling using A Beka and Your Child Can Read programs. I am taking away use of technology and encouraging consistent use of books, crayons and pencils. I purchased a car seat contraption that slides over her and is a desk. I think once we get into a more structured routine, she will be more engaged in creating versus watching educational videos on YouTube.

I would love to hear from other Moms who use positive parenting in lieu of spanking.

I grew up getting spankings. It was effective and my mom is all for spankings but I do believe that I can achieve the same level of discipline without hurting, shaming, and beating a child into submission.

Prayers Please !

Advertisements

Nineteen Months Old Today- The 411

My sweet girl is 19 months old today ! Where does time go?

She is as busy as ever and a ball of bubbly energy.

She is starting terrible twos already and her new favorite phrase is “no no no !”

My baby’s latest obsession is READING ! She is constantly shoving books under our noses to read to her ! We have started the Baby Can Read program and the challenge is getting her to sit for extended periods. We will continue until I get her conditioned to sitting. She had no problem sitting at preschool but at home with Mommy, it is different.

We are planning her 2nd birthday bash. The theme will be Tea for 2 ! We are taking her to London for 6 days and we will have high tea at the Ritz for her birthday. My mom, and a few of our friends are supposed to be going. I am putting the travel plans together now.

We are excited to do this with her. I decided against doing a birthday party for her annually because people always RSVP and do not show up. I would rather plan trips and make photo albums for her with all of memories to view when she is older.

This summer, we plan to take her to Costa Rica, Dubai, and hopefully can get to Tampa to Busch Gardens Africa before it gets hot.

We are looking for a lake house to purchase in Florida before Fall so that we can move there as our Winter residence because it is consistently warmer. It has been extremely cold the past few years during Fall and Winter and we have spent quite a bit of time in FL this year and fell in love with it.

Until next post….

Baby Led Weaning – The 411

Image result for baby led weaning

What is baby led weaning (BLW)? (From Mamanatural)

First coined by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett in their book Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods, Baby-led weaning is an approach to introducing solid food where baby is allowed and encouraged to self-feed solid finger foods instead of receiving purées via spoon. For those of us in the US, baby led feeding may be a better term as BLW is not about weaning babies off breastmilk or formula, but is weaning them onto solids. (Although, anytime we introduce food, we are in a sense starting the weaning process, as baby will naturally start to decline her breast milk consumption. But with BLW, the baby is in charge.) BLW babies:

  • Are encouraged to join the family at mealtime and self-feed appropriate finger foods.
  • Choose what, how much, and how quickly to eat.
  • Are given the freedom to explore new tastes and textures without the pressure to eat a set amount or a specific food.
  • Continue to nurse (or receive a bottle) just as often. Solids are to compliment milk, and baby is trusted to know when to increase solid feedings and decrease milk (usually later in the first year).

When is baby ready?

Experts agree that solids should be delayed until the middle of the first year of life. This is when baby’s digestive system is mature. Some babies may seem ready at 5 ½ months, while others may not be ready until 8 months of age. It’s important to take into account ALL readiness signs for each individual child. As always, consult your child’s pediatrician if you are unsure or have questions. Signs of readiness include:

  • Baby can sit up well without support.
  • Baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex (automatically pushing solids out of mouth with tongue).
  • Baby has developed the fine motor skills to self feed. Development of a pincer grasp (baby picks up food between thumb and forefinger, not palm and fingers) typically happens at around 6 months, but sometimes as late at 1 year.
  • Baby is willing to chew, even if he has few or no teeth.
  • Baby shows interest in participating at mealtime, and may try to grab food from your plate and put it in his mouth.

What are the benefits of baby led feeding?

It’s easier

  • Purées are time consuming. It’s much easier to adjust what the adults are eating to suit baby instead of having to get out the blender or potato masher.
  • BLW babies aren’t pressured into eating. They are trusted to know when, what, and how much they need to eat. Therefore, there is less stress and everyone can enjoy mealtime. (No more airplane spoons 🙂 )
  • Babies feed themselves, so you can eat at the same time! Baby led weaning gives moms the chance to relax and eat themselves.

Baby develops good eating habits

  • Baby (continues to) learn self regulation, which may set the child up for a healthier BMI in the future according to this study.
  • Self selection of food has even been shown to increase weight in underweight babies, therefore supporting a healthy weight in most babies.
  • Since BLW babies experience a wide range of healthy foods early on, they may be more likely to continue to enjoy those foods later in life.

It’s educational

  • Babies learn to safely handle food (they learn to chew THEN swallow)
  • Babies learn to manage different textures, tastes, sizes, and shapes of food.
  • Babies get lots of hand eye and fine motor practice by learning to grasp food and move it to their mouth.
  • Babies learn best by observing and copying. Eating meals together (and eating similar foods) gives her many opportunities to learn about food.

How to get started with baby led weaning?

The great thing about baby led weaning is that you really don’t need much to get started. The first thing you need is a safe place for baby to sit. A highchair is a great choice, but a parents lap is just as good (remember, baby should be able to sit up unassisted at this point). The next thing you need is healthy, appropriate finger foods (covered below). A BLW baby is offered a variety of healthy whole finger foods (as well as a small amount of water) to choose from and explore. Follow your baby’s cues. Begin offering solids once a day, and gradually increase as the child shows he wants or needs more. Baby-led weaning families are encouraged to make family mealtime a habit. One reason is that baby learns best by observation and imitation. When everyone eats together and eats the same food, baby feels included, and mealtime is a fun experience rather than a battle. If eating meals together doesn’t work for your family, consider eating a snack while baby has his meal.

What foods can I feed my baby?

Baby’s first foods should be a selection of fresh fruits, soft cooked vegetables, healthy carbohydrates, and fats. Think soft and easy to gum and swallow. When given a variety to choose from, baby will naturally choose the foods that meet her nutritional needs.

Baby led weaning BLW finger foods carrots apple Mama Natural

Baby Led Weaning First Foods

Some great first finger foods for baby are:

  • Avocados
  • Banana
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Soft cooked apples
  • Soft cooked carrots, green beans, zucchini, and beets
  • Very ripe peaches and pears, plums, and melon
  • Pumpkin
  • Green beans with the skins removed
  • Egg yolk
  • Meat or poultry
  • Liver
  • Slices of sprouted bread, cooked pasta, brown rice (Some decide to wait until molars come through before introducing grains. Wheat is recommended to be avoided until later in the first year.)

Baby Led Weaning foods to avoid:

Some of these are common sense (popcorn for baby?!) but some good reminders when practicing baby led weaning.

  • High choking risk foods like: grapes, cherry/grape tomatoes, nuts, whole hot dogs. (You can find a full list here.)
  • Allergic foods like: gluten, egg whites, nuts (peanuts), seafood, and citrus, especially if you have family history of sensitivity
  • Added table salt* or sugar
  • Unhealthy and processed foods like: chips, popcorn, sugar-containing foods, breakfast cereals, gum, and hard candy.
  • Honey
  • Stimulants: like chocolate or sugar

* Small amounts of high mineral sea salt can be added with the approval of physician

Baby Led Weaning Safety

There are obvious safety concerns with introducing solids to your baby. Assuming that baby has shown signs of readiness and can sit up unassisted, it’s then important for parents to be vigilant and never leave baby alone when eating. It’s equally important that only baby put food into her own mouth.

Won’t my baby choke?

Choking is a real concern with any supplemental feeding, which is why close supervision is necessary. That said, there needs to be a distinction between gagging – which is a safety mechanism that safeguards against choking by bringing large pieces of food forward to be chewed – and real choking. As baby grows, the place in her mouth that triggers the gag reflex moves further back towards the throat. According to Rapley, this is one reason why baby led weaning is valuable, because baby learns to chew and swallow when this reflex is still very close to the front of the mouth. Of course, for all parents, understanding the signs of choking and knowing how to respond is very important. Here is online education… but better yet, contact your local hospital or community center to find classes.

Will my baby get enough to eat?

Breastmilk (or formula) will make up the majority of baby’s nutrition from 6-12 months of age. The main purpose of solids in the first year is to introduce baby to new tastes and textures while teaching her to chew and swallow food. If baby is gaining normally and thriving, then she is getting enough to eat. Baby-led solid feeding trusts that baby knows when she is hungry, when she is full, and what she needs to meet her nutritional needs. If she is struggling with low weight, you can certainly add in some smoothies, purées, or extra fats like avocado and butter. That’s the beauty of baby led weaning. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Work with your physician to determine what is best.

Will my baby get enough iron without iron-fortified baby cereal?

Yes, if she is breastfed. The iron in breastmilk is absorbed at a percentage of 50-70% while the iron in iron-fortified cereal is absorbed at a rate of 4-10%.  According to Kellymom.com, “Healthy, full-term infants who are breastfed exclusively for periods of 6-9 months have been shown to maintain normal hemoglobin values and normal iron stores.”Breast milk is actually a perfectly sufficient source of iron.”

I would add letting your child’s umbilical cord pulse and wait to clamp for at least 3 minutes after birth helps tremendously since the baby gets 1/3 of his blood supply back! It also probably helps if a breastfeeding mama consumes her placenta and eats red meat a few times a week to replenish her stores.

Formula fed babies may also get enough iron from iron rich finger foods such as:

  • Meat & poultry (especially beef and liver)
  • Winter squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Sea vegetables
  • Greens
  • Beans
  • Egg yolks

If there is a concern about baby’s iron level, have it tested before supplementing.

Tips for BLW (baby-led weaning)

SaveMama NaturalBaby-led weaning allows and encourages baby to self-feed solid finger foods instead of receiving purées via spoon. Here’s how and why to practice it.39115Mama NaturalMama Natural ☝ Blog Posts
  • Hunger can create an unhappy experience for everyone. Be sure to nurse or bottle feed baby up to an hour before offering solids so that his tummy isn’t empty.
  • Forget about expectations and let it be a learning experience. Baby probably won’t eat much at first, and that’s ok!
  • Realize that it may be a slow process. Babies can take a longer time when they’re in charge. As they get the hang of it, feeding time will be quicker.
  • It will be messy. Many parents find a naked baby is easiest to clean up afterwards.
  • Don’t serve small pieces of food but instead serve pieces of food large enough for baby to grasp easily. Some families find cutting food with a crinkle cutter or rolling pieces of food in oat flour can make pieces easier for baby to hold.
  • If food can be smashed between your finger and thumb, it’s probably appropriate for baby.
  • Don’t put more than a few pieces of food on the highchair tray or table at once, so baby won’t get overwhelmed (or have as much to throw!)

Progress Not Perfection

Keep in mind that you can always do a hybrid approach to feeding. Super soft foods like avocado and sweet potato might be better served with a spoon. Let your child play and try to feed herself using the utensil. You’d be surprised just how well she can imitate you! Some moms let baby gnaw on soft pear slices, but prefer to spoon feed foods like puréed meat or bone broth. I know some parents who make smoothies, which a baby can drink through a straw if the family is on the go. Just know that you can experiment with feeding approaches that work best for your family and lifestyle. (Although it’s best to probably stick with a few set routines so your baby doesn’t get confused.)

Ten Weeks Post Partum – The 411


Friday marked 10 weeks since I gave birth to the most perfect creature God every created.  My baby girl is growing by leaps and bounds.  She is now over 11 pounds !  She is truly my little chunk munk.  Her cheeks look inflated and she has tons of fat rolls.  I am constantly cleaning dust bunnies out of her fat rolls on her neck, legs, and under her arms.

At 10 weeks, my baby now laughs, giggles and smiles.  She also attempts to talk back when you are  talking to her… she coos and smiles !

The baby is still sleeping most of the day and night.  She awakes in 4-5 hour stretches to eat and get a diaper change.  She usually stays awake for no more than an hour or she goes right back to sleep after her tummy is full.  She drinks on average 3 oz of milk at a time.  She is still drinking breast milk and supplementing with Earth’s Best Organic Sensitivity Formula.  Because I had more clogged ducts, she has been drinking more formula this week than breast milk because my supply dropped and I didn’t take Motilium while the ducts were clogged because it causes worse pain.  It was my fault because I got busy and did not pump and then went to bed after pumping once and slept all night until the baby woke up at 5 am.  I woke up to pain !

My mom watched a bunch of Youtube videos and figured out how to assemble her Stokke Xplory stroller with the carrycot attachment.  It has been a bit cool except 2 days so I have not taken her out on the beach for a walk yet.  I went out yesterday for a quick jog and froze !

I have started back cooking and baking now that we are back at the condo and I have my kitchen stocked with all the gadgets I love.

Seven Weeks Postpartum- The 411

photoshoot-at-7-weeks

My gorgeous girl (and I know no parent should ever boast about this type of thing, but I am completely objective !  lol)  is 7 weeks old.  This past week was a bit challenging due to a bit of colic.  I called her doctor and demanded to change her formula I am supplementing with to Earth’s Best Organic Sensitivity Formula and it has made ALL the difference !  The baby’s poop is normal now.  There is not a lot of trapped gas anymore and the baby is letting them rip ! (embarrassingly so !)

I am still exclusively pumping and I have not gotten another clogged duct (knock on wood) and I am pumping on average 5 to 7 ounces per pump.   I am still taking Motilium and will continue to do so. I am not yet sure how long I plan to continue pumping but I am hoping to continue until she is at least six months old.  Once we start her on homemade, organic food, I will more than likely stop pumping and only give her the Earth’s Best formula until she weans to organic whole milk.

Baby girl had her first professional photo shoot for a local photography studio this week.  Above is a sneak peek !

Mommy News:

My incision is completely closed now and it you can not even tell that I was cut open !  I am amazed at Dr. P’s work !  I wish she had suctioned the excess fat out and pulled that skin down then I would be A OKAY !  lol

I am feeling terrific and am down 54 pounds. I look great and am pleased with my body except my ass is gone!  Oh well… squats are on the menu now 🙂

Grandmomma / My Momma News:

My mother is doing a lot better.  She is still hooked up to wound vac and hopefully will be getting it off in the morning at the surgeon appointment.  We are headed to NYC on Monday so that I can vote and then the baby and I have doctor appointments this week too.  I have to check my post office box and then get a slice of pizza.  My mom was a bit sick for the past week so I took her to her PCP.  He determined that the infection was not 100% gone and he started giving her injection antibiotics.  She went back today for more blood work and she is now in the clear.

How your baby’s growing

Your baby’s brain is expanding in size and complexity. It will grow about 5 centimeters during the first three months.

You may notice short periods of time when your newborn is quiet and alert. This is prime time for learning. Use these calm intervals to get better acquainted with your baby – talk to her, sing to her, describe the pictures on the walls. She may not be able to add to your conversation just yet, but she’s absorbing language.

New textures, sights, and sounds are all learning opportunities. Even bath time becomes a laboratory for understanding the world around her.

Reaching out

Your baby’s hands should be mostly open now — ready to reach out to the world. In the early days of your baby’s life, grabbing was mostly automatic and instinctual and she couldn’t let go if she wanted to. Although she can’t really grab objects just yet, she can hold things placed in her hands. And, once she wraps her hands around something, she might not let go so easily. She’ll also begin to try and bat at objects, so keep potentially dangerous objects far from your little one’s reach. This means not holding hot liquids or sharp objects while you’re holding her.

Learning begins now

You may notice short periods of time when your newborn is quiet and alert. This is prime time for learning: Your baby’s brain will grow about 5 centimeters during her first three months!

Use these calm intervals to get better acquainted with your baby — talk to her, sing to her, describe the pictures on the walls. She may not be able to add to your conversation just yet, but she’s learning nonetheless.

New textures for her hands to feel and new sights and sounds (all in moderation) are all learning opportunities. Even bath time becomes a laboratory for understanding life.

Eyes can track objects

With both eyes now able to follow things consistently and well, your baby can track a moving object much better, something she may have been able to do for only brief periods since birth.

The stores are packed with developmental toys, but you’ll do just as well with everyday objects. Pass a rattle or a bright plastic ladle horizontally in front of her. Then try moving it up and down. This should attract your baby’s attention, though she probably won’t be able to smoothly follow things vertically for another three months and diagonally for another six months.

You can also play eyes-to-eyes by moving very close to her face and slowly nodding your head from side to side. Often her eyes will lock onto yours.

Remember, your baby is an individual

All babies are unique and meet milestones at their own pace. Developmental guidelines simply show what your baby has the potential to accomplish — if not right now, then soon. If your baby was premature, keep in mind that kids born early usually need a bit more time to meet their milestones. If you have any questions at all about your baby’s development, ask your healthcare provider.

Thirty Five Weeks – The 411

Whole honeydew melon with stem in green bowl on green table

How my baby’s growing

The baby doesn’t have much room to maneuver now that she’s over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (about the size of a honeydew melon). Because it’s so snug in your womb, she isn’t likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times she kicks should remain about the same. Her kidneys are fully developed now, and her liver can process some waste products. Most of her basic physical development is now complete. She’ll spend the next few weeks putting on weight.

How Mommy’s life’s changing

Your uterus – which was entirely tucked away inside your pelvis when you conceived – now reaches up under your rib cage. If you could peek inside your womb, you’d see that there’s more baby than amniotic fluid in there now. Your ballooning uterus is crowding your other internal organs, too, which is why you probably have to pee more often and may be dealing with heartburn and other gastrointestinal distress. If you’re not grappling with these annoyances, you’re one of the lucky few.

From here on out, you’ll start seeing your doctor or midwife every week. Sometime between now and 37 weeks, she’ll do a vaginal and rectal culture to check for bacterium called group B streptococcum (GBS). (Don’t worry – the swab is the size of a regular cotton swab, and it won’t hurt.) GBS is usually harmless in adults, but if you have it and pass it on to your baby during birth, it can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia, meningitis, or a blood infection. Because 10 to 30 percent of pregnant women have the bacteria and don’t know it, it’s vital to be screened. (The bacteria come and go on their own – that’s why you weren’t screened earlier in pregnancy.) If you’re a GBS carrier, you’ll get IV antibiotics during labor, which will greatly reduce your baby’s risk of infection.

This is also a good time to create a birth plan. Using our form will help you focus on specifics – like who’ll be present, what pain management techniques you want to try, and where you want your baby to stay after you deliver. It will give you a starting point to discuss your preferences with your medical team. Childbirth is unpredictable, and chances are you won’t follow your plan to the letter, but thinking about your choices ahead of time – and sharing your preferences with your doctor or midwife – should take some of the anxiety out of the process.

Learn about: Arriving at the hospital

How can I prepare for my arrival at the hospital?

Long before you go into labor, you and your partner should map out the most direct route to the hospital or birth center. Find out where to park, keeping in mind that you’ll be leaving your car for at least 24 hours. Ask the hospital staff where you should enter if you arrive after-hours. Most hospitals offer tours of the obstetrical floor at designated times. Taking advantage of these tours will give you a chance to do a dry run before the big day.

BABY STATS:

How Far Along?

35 weeks !

How Big Is The Little One?

My baby is the size of a honeydew melon and she weighs 4lb 3 oz

Total Weight Gain / Loss?

Although I lost 27 pounds my first trimester, I have only gained a total of 13 pounds. Since I was in the hospital for two days and given 3-4 bags of fluids, I can not do an accurate weight reading this week.

Maternity Clothes?

I am wearing the same maternity clothing:  jeans, capris, oversized tees, maternity tees, body con dresses, sundresses, and a few of my baggy dresses from pre-pregnancy.

Sleep?

I have been sleeping well.  It was hard to sleep the two days I was in the hospital because of the monitors and the unfamiliar noises.

Best Moment of the Week?

The best moment I had this week was the relief of knowing the bleeding was not an issue of my baby and that the baby and I both were fine and also hearing of the excitement of the little gifts I sent to my sister-friend’s children.  One child has been sick and the older toddler helped to care for the other.  I was so tickled to hear how much they enjoyed the little tokens.   Now I am gearing up for my mother’s reconstructive surgery tomorrow.  She will be in the hospital for a few days.  I am just praying all remains stable with me and my little munchkin and that my mom’s surgery goes smoothly.

Symptoms?

I have an external hemorrhoid which has not gone back down.  Some mornings, I awake a bit queasy and my skin is often overly sensitive and itchy. I take children’s liquid Benedryl and it helps tremendously.  This week, I seem to be burping a lot.

Food Cravings?

I still have no appetite so I do not crave anything in particular.

Food Aversions?

None

Gender?

Girl !,

Labor Signs?

I experienced contractions after a vaginal exam in the hospital.  They discovered that I was very dehydrated and after 2 bags of fluids, the contractions stopped.

What I Miss?

Nothing at the moment except being at the beach.

What I Am Looking Forward To?

Seeing my baby and holding her.

Bump?

My little soccer ball is still nice and round.

Navel In/Out?

In

Baby Purchases?

This week, my baby’s 4Moms Breeze Play yard in Grey arrived at Target.  I had giftcards from my shower and Sunday was Run Target day with 10% off, coupled with my 15% off completion coupon, I ordered the play yard so that I could maximize the discounts on the $300 large ticket item. I ended up getting $90 off ! I also ordered a Milk Snob carseat cover to match the baby’s Kate Spade baby bag.