Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Monday Monday

I mentioned in Luca's 7 month post that he's gotten much better at sitting up, so I thought it might be time to try out the shopping cart seat. Luca usually loves coming grocery shopping with me, so yesterday I figured he would be entertained enough for me to make a full trip to the store. 

What a fun time we had looking at all of the lights....

and eating rice cakes in our cart....
It's exhausting shopping with mommy!
When we got home we still had about an hour before bath time, so we hung out on the porch with the doggy and ate a peach.
We love to lounge while we eat.

Not the most exciting Monday in the world, but it's my life:) Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Baby Led Weaning- our experience

Solids are super intimidating- at least they were for me. I wanted to share our experience with baby led weaning so that if there's another mom out there just as nervous as I was hopefully you can breathe a sigh of relief that it'll all be ok...
26 weeks and starting solids!

My hesitations...
When we first started thinking about giving Luca solids, I wasn't 100% sure which direction we were going to take. We thought he had started to teethe pretty early around 3-4 months, but when 6 months rolled around and there were still no pearly whites I wondered if I was making the right decision to start him on solids and skip the purees. I started doing some research and discovered that the baby led weaning (or BLW) approach doesn't require teeth at all and many babies do just fine by gumming their food to chew.
But this wasn't the only thing that kept me coming back to considering purees- at Luca's four month pediatrician visit, our Dr. recommended I start Luca on rice cereal- something I knew from the very beginning we would skip. I'm usually pretty straight forward with my health care providers, but I froze and nodded that we would follow his instructions, fully knowing that I wouldn't. So I left feeling guilty that I hadn't asked him why he would recommend against the revised guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization and UNICEF, all of which recommend exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months of life. I never said anything to him, but I stuck with my instincts and around six months we started baby led weaning, and it worked for us.
That's not the only guilt I felt- everyone around me seemed to be doing or recommending either purees or rice cereal. We were having some terrible sleepless nights, and so many people recommended just a tablespoon of rice cereal to improve his sleep. I'm not sure if it was just the 4 month sleep regression but I didn't end up doing rice cereal and Luca's sleep did eventually improve. I honestly think that every baby is different, though, and I certainly am not judging or trying to offend anyone who chooses to introduce solids earlier than 6 months at ALL, I just chose not to with Luca.

My encouragement...
Baby led weaning is quickly becoming a household name among the mom groups I know. I belong to the December 2011 baby board on babycenter, and BLW is all over the boards- positive pictures and experiences from all different perspectives. Some chose to do a combination of purees and BLW, and others dove right into the hands-on approach of BLW. Like I said, every baby is different, so it was so nice to see what works for some doesn't work for others.

Baby Led Weaning enthusiasts claim the following advantages and benefits of BLW:
- at six months babies are developmentally capable of feeding themselves proper food, and the puree phase can thus be skipped all together
 - With a puree, babies learn to swallow first and then chew, which works fine until they meet a lump. With BLW, the babies learn to chew first and swallowing might come some time later. Learning to chew effectively makes it more likely that babies will get all the nutrients they need, and it may help with digestion of these early foods.
- Because babies are learning to chew, they are developing facial muscles that can improve speech at an earlier age, and most develop the gag reflex earlier as well. The gag reflex changes location as a baby develops- it begins in the middle of the tongue and gradually moves to the back, allowing for bigger pieces of food to be swallowed. So gagging is normal and to be expected during BLW. This was something I had to get used to!
- BLW promotes early encouragement of the pincer grasp (using the thumb and index finger to grasp small items). This can improve hand-eye coordination and dexterity at an earlier age.
- babies learn at an early age to enjoy and trust food. BLW babies are usually interested in trying new foods, and many claim they rarely become ‘picky’ eaters or suspicious of food as toddlers perhaps because they are allowed to use their instincts to decide what to eat and what to leave. Allowing babies to choose what to eat from a range of nutritious foods, to eat at their own pace, and to decide when they’ve had enough helps them to develop natural appetite control. This may be an important part of preventing food conflicts and obesity when they are older. Made sense to me! I actually asked my friend who has her doctorate in psychology and works with eating disorders if there were any studies regarding BLW and eating disorders and she wasn't sure. I couldn't find any, so if anyone does let me know!
- BLW promotes "family meal time", meaning that baby eats what the family eats- less stress and no purees! This is what I love love about it- I'm a working mom, and I'm tired when I get home. The last thing I want to do is have to steam, puree and then clean my food processor. Call me lazy, but BLW gets an A+ in the "minimal effort" category!

I'm sure I could go on about the other claimed benefits, but the last reason is really all I needed to start!

So, what is BLW? It's basically just allowing the baby to feed him or herself – there’s no spoon feeding and no purees. The baby usually sits with the rest of the family at mealtimes, and joins in when they are ready. Parents are encouraged to offer food in sizes and shapes that baby can handle and they feeds themselves with their fingers, choosing what to eat, how much and how quickly. Babies continue to get almost all of their necessary nourishment from breastmilk or formula for the first year.
Our BLW experience...
Luca still nurses on demand when I'm home and on the weekends, and during the week he gets a bottle of pumped milk every 3-4 hours (although the four hour thing is very new- up until 7 months he was eating every 2.5-3 hours). One thing that I had to keep telling myself was the phrase "food before 1 is just for fun"- whenever I was unsure of myself or stressing out that Luca wasn't swallowing anything, I would picture my friend E @ Oh!Apostrophe over my shoulder saying "you're doing great, mama... remember- food before 1 is just for fun!". Everyone should have a friend like this:)

I should mention that we didn't exactly start with Luca eating what we eat for dinner. We actually started with easy finger foods- mostly fruit and vegetables. Our first food was sweet potatoes- Luca watched as mommy cut up the pieces into easy-to-hold finger shapes, and then I steamed them.

Luca "eating" for the first time!

Not so sure about sweet potato at first, but this is fun!

As Luca has improved with his eating, we're getting more adventurous. Still, it's not usually the "family meal experience" BLW embraces and encourages. Because I am home before my husband and dinner is not usually made before Luca goes to bed, I've been saving leftovers from the night before and letting Luca eat what he wants. If there's one thing that Luca can't stand though is when people eat in front of him when he isn't eating. There's no right or wrong in BLW- just do what works and is convenient for you!
What we used....
Before starting the process, I read Baby-Led Weaning (Rapley, Murkett) and the Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook. Both were helpful, but honestly the cookbook touched on the essential basics of BLW explained in the guide book. If you're going to get one, start with the cookbook.

I try to feed Luca organic food when I'm able, so the first few weeks when we were doing single produce items, this was pretty easy.

BLW is messy!! Luca tries to eat his bibs so I don't always use one, but sometimes you really need a bib with BLW. We found the bibs with a pocket to catch food were the best- we use the Baby Bjorn soft bib.

Do you need a highchair? Not necessarily. We ate without a tray for the first month or so, but I've started encouraging Luca to pick up his food on the tray rather than rely on me to hand it to him. So no you don't necessarily need one to start, but eventually you'll want a tray or a highchair that can reach to the table.

What to expect...
- We had and still have good days and bad days. Sometimes Luca doesn't want to eat- he just wants to nurse, and that's ok. The next day he might go crazy for brocolli. Expect that just as you and I don't always have an appetite, babies sometimes feel the same way. Try not to get discouraged about how much your baby is swallowing. Eventually (I'm told around 10 months to a year), he'll really start to swallow and eat to "eat" not just for fun. This is still hard for me- sometimes I swear Luca swallows literally nothing, and I just have to remember he will eventually. Remember? "Food before one is just for fun!"
- Expect a mess! It sometimes takes forever for Luca to eat, and food will be everywhere. This is normal and part of baby exploring food! It's actually kind of fun, and I know our dog loves BLW!
- solids aren't always digested, so expect to see some of what baby ate in his poop. The first broccoli diaper was an absolute mess for us!
- Gagging is normal, and it's different than choking. When babies gag it means they're learning to swallow and how to manipulate food with their tongue. This is a good thing! It's hard to watch Luca gag sometimes, but he always either swallows or spits out the piece of food. I try to let him figure it out.
gagging a little.. it's ok mom!

 What should I feed my baby?

It's totally up to you! That's the best part about BLW. You don't really need to meal plan- there's always something baby can eat! The baby led weaning cookbook does have some suggestions, but here are some of the foods Luca has explored.

First time eating corn on the cob- fourth of July in Colorado!

Broccoli is good.. mmm!

 Cucumber with hummus
Avocado and carrots!

Steak! He sucked and sucked on this chunk of steak.
Chicken! My boy loves meat.
I can't eat any more in front of Luca without him wanting a bite. He loves tortillas!

Rice, corn and chicken
Luca loves loves plums and pears, and we've also tried bananas, spaghetti, squash, apples, applesauce, oatmeal, and many others! We've started to re-introduce the spoon. In the beginning he just wanted to feed himself, which ended up with him frustrated. Now he's better coordinated and can *sometimes get food from the spoon into his mouth- what a big boy:)

So that's our experience with BLW. It's been working so far, but I know it's not for every baby or parent! Any other BLW success stories?

Monday, July 16, 2012

7 months!

Dear Luca,
I cannot believe you're seven months old already. You're closer to a year old than you are to when you were just born, and that seems crazy to me. You're changing every day, and your daddy and I love watching you grow and explore the world around you.
You've started to really sit up and look around with those big eyes we love so much. Ceiling fans and lights are still big hits, but you really love to listen and watch people talk. There are times when I think I can almost feel you absorbing the environment around you.

You're such a sweet little boy, and you love to give hugs- which I obviously love. This morning you fell asleep in mommy's arms like you used to when you were a baby. It made me miss the days when I could snuggle all day with you, but it also made me appreciate how much you've changed.

We had your first airplane trip and visit to Colorado over the fourth of July, and you were amazing! Even though you didn't sleep much, you were still a pretty happy baby.

You're still loving your feet, and any chance you get they are in your mouth! We're having a hard time keeping up with the amount of teething toys you play with- there's always something in your mouth!

It's getting harder and harder to get a good picture with you, because you get distracted easily...
This month you discovered that you like to eat your monthly onesie stickers- so much for a good photo!
Baby boy, you are the light of my life. Whenever I'm having a rough day, your smile brings me back to reality and I realize that life isn't so hard when you're around.

Love, your mama

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Luca's baptism!

We've been out of town for a bit, and life has of course been crazy so it's been a while since I posted! We took our first trip with Luca to Colorado over the week of the fourth of July, and even though nobody got any sleep, we had a great time. I'll be reviewing some of our essential travel items, but I wanted to share his baptism photos.

We had plans to have Luca baptized in my hometown at my church, and my brother and sister-in-law had their baby a few weeks ago so we were able to have them baptized together! It was such a special time, and I'm so glad to see my Godson be baptized.

We arrived to Colorado pretty late at night (we had an overnight flight), and the next morning we drove to the mountains. When we got to my moms, it was already time for bed so we went about our normal routine doing bath time before bed. My mom has a shower, so we gave Luca a "cowboy bath" in the sink, and he loved it. Seriously this kid couldn't be cuter.

That night my brother and his family joined us for home made spaghetti and meatballs- there's still nothing like mom's spaghetti when you're home.

We woke up to a gorgeous sunny, dry (which is amazing if you're coming from a humid climate) day. My mom's place is on the creek, and we woke up to sounds of the water rushing by. I miss home so much just thinking about it. It was the perfect start to Luca's baptism day.

We belong to a very laid back Colorado Lutheran church, where it's ok to wear jeans to service and everyone knows your name. We had hub's family baptism gown, but it seemed a bit formal (and tight- Luca is being baptized a little older than his daddy was!) and my family gown but again it was formal and faded. I started looking around for a proper christening outfit for a baby boy, and I found white tuxedos and silk gowns- not really the feel I had in mind for Luca's special day. I found the perfect little outfit at Baby Gap- white linen pants and a button up shirt. Simply adorable.

The drive to the church- we're tired but seriously fighting a nap!
Ready to go...
But someone fell asleep!
Cousins- Luca 30 weeks and his cousin only 2 weeks old!
We woke up just as he was being handed to Pastor Jason.

My god-daughter and new god-son! Love them both so much.

Our family..
After the baptism, my mom and a friend arranged a little party where friends could meet the two babies- it was SO nice to see some familiar faces and it reminded me of how little things can change when you're from a small town.

With my mom and Luca
My little man- although this trip was hard on him, he was such a trooper!

So Luca is now a baptized boy! Back to reality for me- vacations are fun, but sleep is better ;)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Busy bee

edit: not sure why this never posted, but this was from a few weeks ago!

It's been so long since I've posted! Life gets so crazy sometimes between work and Luca. Lately we've been heating up around here and summer seems to be in full swing. Next week Luca will be baptized with his new cousin! We're really looking forward to that.
I do have a post coming up about Luca starting solids with the BLW method, but in the meantime I'll share some of my favorite photos from the past few weeks.

Playing with daddy. It's so much fun playing with Luca now that he can be tossed around a little! He loves to have kisses on his belly and he loves to play flying baby.  

We're not always smiles though- sometimes we get very serious about Mommy's kisses.
We've been spending a lot more time outside when the weather isn't too hot. We just got a baby pool, and I can't wait for Luca to play in it- he loves the water!

Every week I take Luca's picture so I can watch him grow. It's so fun to see all of them in series.
Week 24
 They love each other so much! Luca has started to pet Max, and Max loves to be close to Luca. It's so cute.
 Week 25:

And week 26: the first week of solids! Luca was so into solids in the beginning, and it was so cute to see him get excited to explore food. These days it's hot and cold- some days he wants to eat, and other days he wants nothing to do with solids.

Luca has been doing a lot of work on his abs lately- every time I turn around he's like this:
 And on Luca's six month birthday, Daddy brought home some sunflowers for me because I always call Luca my sunshine.
 Another view of the sit-ups. Luca is very serious about his workouts.
 Pretty good form, too if you ask me.

Oh man that's a photo overload- it's just been so long! So excited for the summer to finally be here!