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6 months old.

we have a private blog that i am keeping note of photos, moments and stories that each year will turn into a book.

with each monthly photo, i am also writing letters to my little one. below is the letter i wrote for his six month birthday.

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happy six months sweet boy.

i know that what lies ahead of you is so great that my heart nearly bursts with anticipation for your future. there is an indescribable wonderness to your spirit. i try daily to put words around it – your daddy and i have had countless conversations on how there is just something about you – inside you – radiating out and all over us. a tangible peace. a soulful joy.

these days, i watch as you are putting together what you know of the world. at night when you are close to sleep, you run your fingertips down the palm of my hands and over the length of my fingers as i turn them over for you again and again. it has become our ritual, the familiar warmth of my body curled around yours, our hands turning over in one another’s, as you ever so slowly fall away to dream.

you are my night owl. my morning bird. wise, wondrous, magical. i could have never imagined how much you could teach me about patience, and perspective and having faith in what lies ahead.

happy six months, my baby.

the biggest love,

mama


adventures in eating.

tonight was the first time eating in his high chair. i did a facebook poll and everyone said ikea was the way to go.  so off we went and conquered.  i opted for the red wooden one over the completely plastic one.  i just fell in love with it.  did i mention it was red.  love.

on the menu was oat pancakes, strawberries, a tangerine and plain yogurt.

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for the oat pancakes here is the recipe:

 

1 cup oat flour (i made my own by simply putting raw oats in the dry vitamix container but you can buy it too)
3/4 cup almond milk
3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 egg
splash of vanilla
few shakes of cinnamon

directions:

 

mix all together
grease a non-stick pan with oil or butter
cook all the way through (especially if you use an egg)

g was definitely a fan.

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when i say blw is messy, this is the beautiful messiness that i mean.  i am learning to embrace the sticky fingers.

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baby led weaning.

baby-led weaning {blw} is the practice of trusting your baby’s innate sense of hunger, of want, of self-knowledge and of self-limitation. baby-led weaning offers parents and their children a natural, relaxed approach to the introduction of solid foods.  instead of relying on prepared, commercial baby foods or even homemade purees, mama’s and papa’s simply introduce their babies to natural, wholesome real food from the start – relying on their babies to self-regulate and lead the way.

this is why we are primarily starting solids using this method.

blw is a natural approach to solid foods and to feeding your baby in general, and it starts at the breast. when you breastfeed your child, you rely on your baby to let you know when he or she is hungry and you allow your baby to self-regulate his or her eating patterns – feeding your baby on demand.  this level of innate parent-child connection and your trust in your baby’s ability to self-regulate based on his or her own hunger is the essence and foundation of baby-led weaning.

here are some tips we have learned the past couple of weeks as we have started the blw approach:

do NOT serve small, tiny pieces of food.
serve large chunks that can be easily grasped.
make sure your baby is capable of sitting on his or her own and is well-supported.
offer your baby the same foods you’re eating so that your baby feels included in the family meal. {unless there are food allergy issues}
know that your baby may not actually eat any of the food presented; rather, baby-led weaning is about exploration.
don’t hurry or rush your baby – after all, do you like to be rushed while eating?
make sure you only offer wholesome, natural foods (no added refined salts, flours, sugars, oils).
it will be messy, be prepared and relax a bit. the more mess, the better the photos!
steer away from foods that are clearly dangerous for young persons (peanuts, chips, popcorn etc).
no honey.
talk to your baby’s health care provider about this approach to weaning.

infants who participate in blw do at times, gag and spit food out. unlike traditional solid introduction, this gag response is not viewed as negative or uncomfortable for the infant. {however, it is for this mama! he has gagged only once and he was fine. i was the nervous nelly.}  when infants bring solid foods to their own mouth, they are the ones guiding the sensory experience, starting and stopping when they are comfortable and ready.

we started with avocado. then sweet potato. after that, pretty much anything that we have in the kitchen.  he has had watermelon, hummus, pita, squash, cucumber, green peppers, carrots, strawberries, cheese, ground beef, scrambled egg yolks, tangerines, bananas, broccoli, plain baby yogurt, oatmeal and even lettuce.

here is a sample dinner. steamed carrots. broiled green peppers. a small bit of protein, below ground beef.  and a fruit.  i like the ratio of mostly vegs and a small protein and a small fruit.

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his first food, avocado.  i learned that if i leave the skin on and cut into wedges, he can handle it better.  he eats the avocado and leaves the skin.  following his lead.

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we have chosen a few spoon fed foods.  plain baby yogurt is one of them.  we are holding off on the sugar added flavors.  if we can get him to love plain, without the sugar, that would be ideal.  and so far, it is working.  he loves it.  we are also taking it slow with high allergen foods like eggs.  so below is scrambled egg yolks for him and egg whites for me.  i love making one meal for the both of us.

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sweet potatoes continue to be his favorite.

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 it is a happy, messy life right now and i love it.  he is growing and food is all over the place.  every meal our cat is on one side and the dog on the other of him.  they know what is up.  and the diapers.  oh, the diapers.  they are changing too.  

six months into this parenting thing and i have learned that moderation and balance are key.  some purees and spoon fed goodness is good but for the most part we are following his lead and believing in self feeding.  whole, real foods is our primary focus.  having fun and learning developmental skills is a plus.  so far, it is all working well.   a good bib is key to happiness.


all about cloth diapering.

cloth diapering.  my number one eye roll, head turn, questions asked mama related topic.  i thought i would start off with the reasons why cloth diapering works for us.

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  • these are not the cloth diapers our grandmothers used. no pins required.
  • there are a LOT of chemicals in traditional diapers (did you think that magic gel stuff that absorbs 100 times its weight in urine is natural? no. am i the only person horrified at the claims of 12+ hours of wear for a disposable diaper? would you want to hang out with your soiled underpants for 12+ hours?!)
  • cloth diapers save money, especially if you have more than one child. especially if you have friends that practically GIVE you their used diapers. i have read that each child costs about $2,000 to diaper and can contribute about 600,000 diapers to the landfills. you can get a couple dozen really high quality (even organic) cloth diapers for under $500 and they can last through several children if you take care of them. and if money is really tight, it is even possible to completely cloth diaper from birth to potty training for around $100.
  • cloth diapering can actually be easy! it is overwhelming at first, but you will find your routine.
  • cloth diapers are CUTE! i mean, really, really cute. colors. prints. i just got one with bicycles on it. love.
  • they actually leak much less than disposables. so far, no outfits ruined by baby poop!
  • there are a lot of brands of diapers that can fit baby from birth to potty training, so it saves space too! did i mention money savings? huge.
  • potty training is suppose to be {fingers crossed} easier because the little one can feel wetness, which leads to motivation to potty train.
  • they hold their value, so you can actually sell them when you are done with them.

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the nitty gritty. poop.  i don’t get squeamish around my little ones poop.  at this point he is mostly breastfed, about 70% to 30% of formula.  his poop goes directly into the washing machine.  no fuss, no muss.  once he starts solids, then we will put our handy diaper sprayer {easily attached to the toilet} to good use.

our set up:

we have a HUGE assortment of diapers.  this happened because all of our diapers have been given to us or bought at consignment sales.  i was overwhelmed at first because of the variety but now i love it.  i have my favorites and they seem to change depending on little mans growth that week.  we have bumGenius, fuzzibunz, kawaii baby, rumparooz, grovia, and mudpie baby.  the bumGenius are solid, my go to and probably my consistent favorite.  i am loving the kawaii baby right now but a couple weeks ago it was the rumparooz.

my husband likes the velcro best.  i like the snaps.  he does the diaper changes throughout the night {lucky lady here!} so i always make sure to have the bumGenius velcro all in ones clean and ready for him to grab at night.  i like the snaps because when we are up and moving during the day, i think the velcro can something scratch, me more than him, so i tend to favor the snaps.

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i have a kitchen size trash can next to my diaper/changing station.  i line it with wet bags/liners.  one day i was in a jam and used an old pillow case.  basically, you take the entire bag and empty it into the washing machine and throw it in there as well.  the trash can has a lid and i wash at least every two days, but mostly i wash once a day so the smell never has bothered us.

to wash: i use a 1/2 cup baking soda in a cold pre-wash cycle. i then use a natural detergent like charlie’s soap to wash on hot. i haven’t had to strip the diapers so when i do, i will post the details.  i then run another cool rinse cycle at the end to make sure all the detergent is out.  our new washing machine has a “my cycle” saved.  so i just have to push “my cycle” when i have a load of diapers and voila.  done.

i run the liners/inserts and cloth wipes through the dryer and hang the covers to extend the life of the elastic.

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about the cloth wipes. why not?! again, saves money.  you are already doing a load of diapers. i made my own but you can buy bulk cloth wipes from etsy. my solution is 1 cup distilled water + 1 tablespoon coconut oil + 1 tablespoon dr. bronner’s baby soap. i keep them in the prince lion heart cloth wipe warmer.  once a week i change out the water solution and roll my wipes.  takes 15 mins. tops.

in the diaper bag for on the go changes: i keep a small wet bag for the soiled diapers. a bag with dry cloth wipes and a small spray bottle with my cleaning solution {see above}. i wet the dry wipe and clean the bum.  throw everything in the wet bag and when i get home throw it in the wash.  done.

i was SO overwhelmed before we started cloth diapering.  it seems every one that cloth diapers has a different way of doing it.  you just have to find a way that fits your schedule and lifestyle and you will be off.

did i mention how super cute they are?!

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{one week later}

i can’t express how appreciative i am of the support you all have expressed to me over the last week.  i felt it best to share an update with a couple of my most favorite photos.  gosh, i just love this little one in ways i didn’t even know was possible.  this week i have learned a lot about myself, as a mother, and have been so proud.  that’s right.  something people don’t often express, i was/am really proud of myself.

after a really long day last wednesday of basically pushing food, all. day. long. i realized that wasn’t the way to go.  by the end of the day i realized neither of us had had one smiling moment with each other.  he was left with a tummy ache and i was just stressed.  i had a moment that evening where i looked at g and thought, “he is fine.”  literally, he is fine.  he is happy.  he is hitting his milestones developmentally.  he isn’t stressing about his weight.  i am a hot mess and worried.  i am stressing.  he is fine.  i decided to listen to him and follow his lead.  i relaxed.

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and you know what happened, i was able to start supplying 4 ounces of breast milk, instead of the 3 i had been.  i started being able to pump again.  g stopped having angry fits at the breast.  the couple of times he seemed unhappy, i just took him off and we read a book.  i distracted him long enough for him to tell me when HE was hungry.  not when I thought he should be.  once he was hungry, he would nurse beautifully.

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this past week has looked like this.  i nurse him the same number of times as before; this keeps my supply up.  then i offer him two – four ounces of breast milk, if i have it pumped, or formula.  he takes whatever he wants.  sometimes it is the full four ounces.  sometimes no interest.  on average, he takes about two supplemental ounces.  we are all happy.  and best of all, he is gaining!  last week he was 12 pounds and 8 ounces.  one week later, 13 pounds and 1 ounce.

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when they say it takes a village to raise a child, they weren’t lying.  a quick shout out to several people that have provided tools, support, education and friendship.  my thoughtful friend caitlin sent me supplemental formula with a g’s baby gift before he was born.  she included a sweet note that said, i know you are planning on breastfeeding, but i needed a little boost and i thought i would share what worked for me.  after trying the formula that the pediatrician offered {g completely rejected it!} i remembered i had caitlin’s gift up in a cabinet.  i didn’t need to leave the house to find the exact formula that g ended up loving.  i met abby through a mutual friend and stayed in touch via facebook.  she read my blog and offered SO MUCH knowledge.  she has professional experience from working at one of the local hospitals and talked me through formula and offered suggestions about supplementation.  melissa continues to be my mama rock.  i go to her for everything.  literally, we have talked about it all.  the fact that i have any confidence in my mama skills is because i know i have her number in my back pocket.  there are countless others that have offered phone calls, emails and messages of support.  i am humbled.  i am grateful.

so one week later, we are all doing great.  i wish i had the confidence a week ago that this would be where we would be.  lesson learned.  this mama needs to listen to her baby, relax more, and have the confidence that we are all doing well.


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