Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pumpkin Apple

With Fall in full swing my family is getting geared up for pumpkin season! We love everything pumpkin! Pumpkin pancakes pumpkin muffins, pumpkin eggnog, pumpkin ice cream, just straight pureed pumpkin! It gets a bit pumpkin-y around here in the fall. I wanted share this with our new little one. 

Now you have the option of pureeing your own pumpkin, which would follow the same directions as my Butternut Squash recipe. Or you can take advantage of the low cost canned variety. It's already precooked and has had all the work done for you. We buy LOTS of cans of pumpkin and go for the organic-nothing added-stuff. So you want the can that has nothing additional added. 

After giving her the first tastes of pumpkin (which were a big hit!) I decided it would be fun to start giving her flavor combos. Aside from purees on toast or mixed in plain oatmeal there hasn't been a lot of combos in her world. So I made this! We buy unsweetened applesauce a lot so this saves me a lot of work too! But if you want you can make applesauce yourself on the stove or in a crockpot! 


Pumpkin Apple Baby Food

1 serving

1 1/2 TBSP Pumpkin Puree
1 1/2 TBSP Unsweetened Applesauce 
Sprinkle of Cinnamon 


That's it! Super simple. If you do it yourself in a large batch this is what I would consider a Level 1 serving of baby food. You can of course make big batches and put them into containers to save, freeze them in ice cube trays, or whatever system you have in place for keeping your baby food! I love the glass jars and since most people use commercial baby food you can typically get your friends to give you their empty jars! If not they are available for sale on Amazon. Keep in mind that unless you know how to vacuum seal them, the ones in the jars should be kept in the fridge and are good for a few days. So I would recommend freezing in cube trays whatever you're not going to use within the next few days. 

Happy Eating! 

Feeding Clarissa (Almost 7 months old)

When faced with the choices in how to feed our new little one I was doing a lot of research. With my first I had followed all the guidelines with purees, rice cereals to start, and all of that. I was hypervigilent. This time I was feeling more relaxed and was very interested in Baby Led Weaning. Ultimately, we ended up going with a mix of purees and finger foods. I was corrected when saying that I was doing a combo of BLW and Purees (apparently you can't do that). So I'm making purees and offering finger foods. 

Here's what she's had so far: 

  • Avocado Slices (this was her first food) 
  • Avocado Puree (she loves it on toast -- I simply tossed it in the baby bullet and used formula to thin to desired consistency) 
  • Applesauce (Unsweetened, with cinnamon. We buy the organic unsweetened, no gunk added, stuff for Monkey so I just scooped 2-3TBSP out of the big jar we have.) 
  • Toast Sticks (with pureed peach. We didn't want her getting the extra sugar from jelly or jam. So we just pureed some fresh fruit for her toast) 
  • Butternut Squash
  • Whole Slices of Peach
  • String Cheese (she mostly sucked on it, but seemed really interested when I was packing Monkey's Lunches and was the appropriate size to hold, so I let her try it)
  • Banana (Both whole and pureed) 
  • Pancake Pieces
  • Smashed Blueberries
  • Baked Potato (no skin, plain)
  • Steamed Cauliflower
  • Steamed Broccoli
  • Apple Slices (She didn't get anything off it, but loved chewing it. I think it felt good on her gums)
  • Pureed Peas
  • Pureed Pumpkin w/ Cinnamon
  • Pureed Pumpkin Apple w/ Cinnamon
  • Oatmeal w/ Pureed Banana (She LOVED this. I gave her half the banana whole, and pureed the other half and mixed it with some old fashioned oats I had milled down). 
  • Oatmeal w/ Applesauce (Just mix a tablespoon or so into your plain old fashioned oats)
So that's where we are at! Clarissa will be seven months on October 6th (just 8 days away!) and we're doing great with food. So far we're keeping her primarily with fruits and veggies. 

Upcoming food?
  • Eggs (Hard boiled yolks and scrambled) 
  • Plain yogurt (eventually with fruit/veggie purees mixed in)
  • Steamed Carrots 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sampling the goods!

There comes a time when each of our babies reaches one of those milestones in their life that can change their lives forever. When they start eating food! Some moms choose to wait and do breastmilk or formula only for longer, some moms choose to start at four months, and others wait till the generally prescribed six months. Whatever you choose feeding your baby new foods can be a fantastic experience for you both!

With Monkey I chose to go the very conventional route. I started with very runny rice cereal first then moved on to veggie purees from the store, then fruits, then mixed those with rice cereal, and added in finger foods later. This go round I decided to throw those ideas out the window and try something else! 

This is Clarissa.

As you can see she's bright and happy and ready to go! At nearly six months I decided that since I can barely keep her hands out of my food, she could sit up unassisted, and had been getting hungrier than usual that it would be a good time to start her with food. If you're wondering if your baby is ready to eat, go ahead and check out these signs of food readiness

As I mentioned before, with Clarissa I wanted to try a new way of feeding. Her first step outside of food had been her mouthing things I was eating such as a peach. But, now that she was ready for her own food I had to do some thinking. 

What has Clarissa eaten? 

  • Homemade Pureed Butternut Squash
  • Smashed Blueberries 
  • Applesauce with cinnamon 
  • Toast sticks topped with pureed peach
  • Whole slices of peach
  • Mum-mum rice husk crackers. 

I'm leaning more towards the side of letting her eat real foods than just the jarred stuff. I was a bit worried since this was a way that I hadn't traveled before. So far she's loving it! I'm reading more and more about Baby Led Weaning and may cut puree altogether. Either way I'm looking forward to this adventure with Clarissa in her eating! 

Upcoming foods?

Steamed Cauliflower is next on my radar! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Butternut Squash

Clarissa is now 5 1/2 months and sitting up fairly well with limited assistance. She's also continuously trying to steal our foods from plates, bowls, forks, and even our mouths. We figured it was time to let her start having her own baby foods. Especially since she was getting hungrier and hungrier these days.

Her first food was technically Avocado. Super easy to puree and she loved it. We didn't move on much from there but while doing our grocery shopping this month I decided that we could give a butternut squash a go!

From start to finish the process took about 30-45 minutes. This includes cutting, peeling, boiling, portioning, etc..Not bad in my book!

Stage 1 Butternut Squash
1 Butternut Squash (about 1 lb) -- Mine was 1.28lbs.
4 oz of Formula for thinning and to help the blender puree the squash (you can use breast milk or water. Whichever you prefer).

1. Peel and cut the squash into cubes that are roughly the same size
2. Steam 10-12 minutes. (I poked with a fork an when it easily slid in I knew they were ready).
3. Let cool a bit
4. Add squash to the blender (I use a baby bullet) and use formula as needed to thin and blend.
5. Then portion and freeze


Clarissa gobbled it down! We didn't even lose any baby food to the face or clothes. Butternut Squash was a hit! So that'll be the only baby food we give her until I run out of the portions. Speaking of portions, I would love to give you the cost break down I did out of my own curiousity.


3.92 gets me a 4-pack of stage one squash from Gerber at my local store (with Monkey I bought all store bought purees) these packages are each 2 oz servings.

3.76 got me 1 butternut squash that weighed 1.28lbs. I made 23 (1oz) servings of baby food.

I didn't feel like starting out she really needed a full 2 oz serving. She gets the 1oz and then a 4oz bottle instead of a 6-8oz bottle. This seems to fill her up nicely. I can easily add more baby food later, but once you've contaminated the 2oz you can't really do much.

If I were to package it in 2oz portions (like the store bought) I would have gotten about 11-12 servings. So for about the same price I got about 3x the baby food!! 

It blew my mind.

Happy Eating!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why I gave up breast feeding for a day: And don't regret it

We started out exclusively breast feeding. We had to start pumping when Clarissa turned out to not be eating enough and got dehydrated (ultimately needing an IV at the ER). I had to start pumping everything to bottle feed her so we could see measurably how much she was getting to eat. We found quickly that she was still hungry after eating the little bit I could pump and started to supplement.

Breast feeding is natural. That's what we all know and hear on a regular basis. What I didn't realize when I got so excited and set on breast feeding my second child is that it doesn't come naturally. Not to everyone. It's hard, hard work! It's tiring, frustrating, difficult, and a huge learning experience. That's not to say it doesn't have benefits and its beautiful moments too, but, by the time Clarissa was 2 1/2 weeks old I was dreading breast feeding and pumping. It was painful, I wasn't getting much, and it was just so frustrating!

I loved my baby but I found myself getting mad at her when she wouldn't latch properly or stay on the breast for more than a couple minutes and then we'd have to struggle to get back on. I was mad at myself that she'd still be hungry after we'd spend a literal hour breastfeeding and then we'd have to just make some formula anyway. I was literally crying at the pump. Soon I realized that my feelings were getting worse and I was starting to really resent the whole process, I was getting depressed, and would give up and just bottle feed her more and more regularly. Soon my exclusively breast fed baby became a breast fed and supplemented baby and my dismay... was a formula fed baby getting supplemented with breast milk.

I gave up. Completely, all the way, for one day (in actuality it was maybe 14-18 hours).

I sat aside the pump and I didn't put Clarissa to breast for a day. I didn't think about my milk, about how much was getting or wasn't getting made, I didn't worry about how much it was going to hurt latching her on, I didn't worry about how awkward and difficult holding a nipple shield on while trying to hold your breast (I'm very large chested and have to hold my breast the entire feeding to keep from smothering Clarissa) and help her get latched. I didn't feel anxious, stressed, or cry at all during a feeding.

I enjoyed extra sleep! I didn't have to spend a bunch of time at breast and then on the pump to try to fall asleep and get about an hour of sleep before the baby was up again wanting to eat. That's not counting when the cluster feeds popped up! I don't know about all of you, but the only let downs I was getting had nothing to do with my milk getting to baby.

Now, this is exactly what I was told NOT to do. That it would only make things worse and that what I needed to do was trudge through. I was sick of hearing I just needed to keep at it... or getting a million suggestions of things I had already tried. I had to decide what was best for me and my family. Me being anxious, depressed, resentful, and angry about breast feeding wasn't helping any of us. Neither was me being exhausted! It wasn't fair to my husband who had to put up with me, my older daughter who was getting the short end of the stick with my bad mood and sleep deprivation, or baby who was likely also sensing my frustrations.

Then we came back around. I reintroduced Clarissa to the breast and started pumping again. My first pump after break was the biggest I've had (nearly 3oz) and since then has gone back down to about where it was before (about 1-1 1/2 oz). The nice thing, I don't feel so horribly upset about it anymore! I regrouped and refreshed on my day off. I had to accept that if I never got more than an ounce at a pumping well that was one less ounce of formula. I picked up some mother's milk tea and drink it about 3 times a day in hot apple cider to cover the awful black licorice taste and smell. I try to make sure I drink plenty of water and that I eat foods that the lactation consultant said could better milk supply. I'm still a little disappointed that my supply hasn't met demand but it does seem to be improving! Pumping allows me to set aside a bottle (even if it's not a full feeding worth) so her father can feed her for a little bit before I try breast feeding, giving me a tad more sleep and hopefully a little less formula every time and fingers crossed eventually will be off the formula all together!

Here's the takeaway:

  • I am NOT saying that taking time off breast feeding is a good idea for everyone and every situation. As I mentioned before I was actually warned not to take the break but decided that ultimately I really needed to. Please do not take my experience as actual advice, only you can decide what is best for your family. There are other ways to help yourself through the tough time (I'll share a few things that have been really helpful with my breast feeding at the end). 
  • Try not to feel bad if you aren't making enough, are struggling with latch or other problems, or if breast feeding isn't coming naturally to you! Every woman is different and there is definitely a learning curve that can take several weeks for both you and baby to work through. You're a rockstar! Reach out for support from your partner, friends, family, or even professionals. Lactation consultants or supports might be available at the hospital you delivered at, through your local WIC program, or La Leche League. There may even be breast feeding groups on Facebook for moms in your area!
  • Acknowledge the feelings you're having. Feelings like stress, anxiety, anger, frustration, sadness, and resentment are all legit and might be prohibiting progress. I was warned that those feelings could be keeping me from getting a good milk supply and that baby could also be feeling what I am, making our jobs more difficult. You're not a bad person if you aren't finding breastfeeding to be what you imagined. It's not always joyous and beautiful for us all and you're not alone in feeling that way.
  • Here's what helps me: watching my baby breastfeed, deep breathing during breast feeds or pumpings, making a list of all the reasons why I wanted to breast feed and referring back to it if I feel discouraged, writing down my feelings (journal style) it can be really therapeutic getting it all out, hot showers, drinking my hot apple cider/mother's milk tea mix during a feeding, cuddling with my husband and sharing my frustrations, and having skin to skin cuddles with my baby. 
What are your experiences with breastfeeding? What works for you to help through the tough times?