Getting Started: Homemade Baby Food

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.32.53 PMLast night I posted this picture of my latest creation (steamed and pureed broccoli) for my little man’s breakfast and it prompted a lot of questions about my baby food making process. I’ve found it to be a pretty easy process so far (once I figured out his schedule with both bottles and baby food) and so I haven’t found the need to buy baby food yet which has saved us a ton of money in the long run. Besides, don’t you wonder what they put in those baby food jars which make them last so long? I think I’ll stick to giving our baby pure nutrition and simple ingredients for now. So to get started I usually make and introduce 1-2 new food items a week (depending on how much I have in the freezer and what I have going on that week). Last week was blueberries. This week we are introducing broccoli! Here’s a quick look at everything I use to make baby food:

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.34.16 PMBAEBA Babycook Pro:

Ok so yes, you can use your Vitamix or a regular blender or food processor however most everything I read about making your own baby food encouraged steaming instead of boiling the food to preserve the nutrients. Baking is also another good option but who has time to preheat and use your oven every night? Also when making small quantities it just seems simpler in my opinion for clean up and for blending to just have one small machine that does it all instead of steaming in a basket and then transferring to a large, oversized Vitamix. It took a little convincing to explain to my husband why I “needed” this but now he is 100% on board and we both love it!

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.34.26 PMSage Spoonfuls Cookbook

I don’t know how I would have even started without this gem! This “cookbook” goes through the order of solids (yes, there are certain foods appropriate by age for your baby), how long they need to be steamed, if you need to buy organic or if fresh or frozen is ok. It also talks about the health benefits of each different food as well.  I literally use this book for every new food I introduce to our little guy. If you don’t want to buy a book I’ve also heard a ton of great things about the Wholesome Baby Food website. It also lists the age appropriate for each food as well.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.34.34 PMOxo Tot Baby Blocks Storage Containers – 2 oz

For food storage I recommend these Oxo Tot containers. They are freezer and dishwasher safe. I like them better than ice cube trays because I can grab one for daycare and go and not have to defrost or pop out food and move it to different containers. I can literally store and feed from these plastic containers. Perfect.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.52.53 PMMunchkin White Hot Safety Spoon

Ok so yes I do realize that you should be able to judge how   hot or cold your baby’s food is without a spoon that turns white when it gets too hot.. but why guess… why wonder. These spoons are just another added safety net in protecting my baby and helping make life just a little easier.

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.58.42 PMBumkins Waterproof Starter Bib 

We introduced waterproof bibs when we started feeding solids instead of using the cute cloth Aden + Anais cloth bibs I use when giving our baby a bottle. These bibs are waterproof and make clean up a breeze. I simply run them under the sink after mealtime and then hang to drive. They require little fuss, which I love, and still have lots of cute patterns.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 7.00.57 AMCulturelle Priobiotics for Kids

About a month after we started solids our little guy had constant boopy diapers (about 6-8 a day) and developed a horrible diaper rash. Our pediatrician recommended giving him a probiotic once/day to help his body process the foods he was eating. This particular probiotic helps to “support a child’s health by fostering the proper balance between good bacteria and the non-beneficial bacteria that resides in the gastorintestinal tract…it alleviates occasional digestive distress while supporting a child’s natural defenses.” This particular type comes in the form of a solid which we mix half of a packet a day in with some of his cold fruit.

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Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster.

Last but not least is our high chair. Our kitchen is probably average size but it doesn’t really have a great corner or a lot of extra space for a large or bulky high chair. We have a small, round table with 4 wooden chairs in our kitchen and we decided early on to designate one of these chairs for our little man’s “high chair.” I’ve loved this seat. It’s a great space saver, its plastic (which comes in handy for so many reasons), and its portable. If you have extra guests and need the seat you can just unclick the two straps and voila! no more high chair. We’ve also taken this to the grandparents house and to restaurants. Portable, functional and pretty darn attractive- I’d say that’s a win!

Convertible Car Seats

Our little man turned 8 months yesterday and is at about 8 lb 8oz. While we still have time for him to continue to use his infant carseat, we’ve begun the process of researching convertible car seats. And when it comes to buying any large baby products I often refer back to one of my favorite “new parent books” Baby Bargains

Since our copy was a hand me down from a friend and is outdated by a couple years I’m thankful for the Baby Bargains blog and website. Here is what they say is everything you need to know about convertible carseats.

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Making Baby’s First Christmas Presents

IMG_1151Tis the season to be jolly, to decorate, to cook, to bake, to shop and to find that perfect gift for the new grandparents as your baby’s first Christmas is just around the corner. So I’m sure all of you have seen the Pearhead brand baby hand/foot print ornaments in the store. I actually received one as a shower gift back in March so I’m pretty certain they are available year round and not just around Christmas. I decided since it is our little man’s first Christmas what better stocking stuffer for the grandparents than a hand or foot print ornament marking their one and only grandson’s first Christmas.

Overall the ornament making process isn’t too difficult, you take the material out of its wrapping, knead it for about 2-3minutes, wet baby’s hand or foot and press it in. Voila! Instant Christmas gift. Sounds pretty easy right? Well overall it was except I do have a couple suggestions if you plan to do this:

  1. This is not a one-man job- you definitely need your hubby’s help on this one to hold your baby while you press his hand or foot flat into the material (or vice versa).
  2. The ornament is pretty big, ideal if your baby is older like mine and has “big” hands or feet, however if you have a newborn you may want to use a cup instead to cut out the round ornament around the handprint.
  3. This takes DAYS to dry and harden… even up to a week. I thought of this last minute and ordered it via Amazon Prime thinking we would get it done in plenty of time for Christmas. Here we are days later and its still not dry yet.. so grandma might be getting this an an unwrapped gift with a special note to let it dry before packing it away for next year.
  4. Make sure to write the date on the back and wrap it up securely to adorn your tree for years to come! 🙂

3 Month Clothes Don’t Fit 3 Month Olds

IMG_2068One thing I’ve learned as a new mom is that its tempting to buy clothes in advance for your little one but its probably best to wait to do so. Having a 10 week old who is in the 50th percentile for height and weight I was surprised that at 2.5 months not only did his 3 month clothes barely fit him but that the 6 month clothes fit him perfectly and everyone I talked to had experienced the same thing. Most 2.5-3 month olds (in my opinion) are in fact not wearing 3 month clothes but 6 month.. and thats the case for pretty much every brand out there.  In addition to the sizing being completely off I’ve also learned that like my own clothing I definitely favor some brands over others.. Here is my review on everything you need to know when purchasing baby clothes:

CARTERS

  • PRO: Mostly cute, good quality at pretty good prices. They are always having a sale and there always seems to be a surplus of coupons available for their clothing.
  • CON: Their clothes are EVERYWHERE. Which can be a good thing- easy access, however it also means pretty much every other kid out there is wearing the exact same clothes and if you want your kid to have his or her own unique style, and look different than all the other kids at daycare, then Carters isn’t the place for you. Another downside to Carters is their designs. They’ve gotten better and started offering stripes and solids and even plaid in their onesies and collar shirts. They are getting better, however I can’t tell you the number of clothes I returned that had some sort of large animal on the bottom and across the front. Sorry Carters- I do not want my son to look like a large crab. Its not cute.  In short, they have a lot of great stuff to get you started but I definitely wouldn’t stock your child’s full wardrobe with their clothing.

CHICO

  • PRO: This is Target’s brand of clothing. Good quality at good prices and some cute designs/patterns for your little one.
  • CON: Not a huge selection- especially for babies. Target.com has a much larger selection than in the store so figure out what size you need and then order online. If you have a Target Red Card you’ll get 5% off your order and free shipping. Can’t beat that.

GAP

  • PRO: Much better quality clothing than all the others at slightly higher prices. Thick cotton and cuter designs for your little man to give him the preppy look you desire. Sizing runs slightly larger than the other brands. In my experience more money = more and higher quality fabric when it comes to baby clothes.
  • CON: Higher priced then some of the other brands but Gap Outlet is a great alternative.

GERBER

  • PRO: Cheap prices.
  • CON: Their clothes are very thin and poor quality and the patterns and styles really aren’t that cute. Stereotypical: “you get what you pay for.”

KOALA

  • PRO: Good prices, cute designs and pretty good quality.
  • CON: Runs VERY small. If you buy 6 month in ever other brand you need 9 month in Koala. Sizing is way off.

OSH KOSH

  • PRO: Similar to Carters (and part of the same company). Good quality at good prices, especially if you visit them at an outlet. They seem to have more of the “preppy” look and stay away from the large animal prints that Carters is known for.
  • CON: Small selection, even in their own stores the pickings seem slim.

Baby Registry Must Haves

Recently a friend of mine was about to go register for the first time and as a brand new mom she asked me what my favorite items and “must haves” were for myself and for our new baby.. This is definitely not everything you “need” or should register for but a general list of all of my favorite things (from birth to 3 months) in alphabetical order.

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4moms mamaRoo Plush Infant Seat

This is our “downstairs” bouncy seat (you need 1 on each floor). We love the different sounds and movement options. It’s great at soothing our little one. This is less mobile than others- its not super heavy but not super light either. We just leave it in one corner in a room downstairs and don’t move it much. We also bought the infant insert for this and used it the first 10 weeks or so.

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 1.24.48 PM aden + anais® Small/Medium Easy Swaddle™ 

We used one of these every night until our son was about 10 weeks old. It is so soft and I love the snaps. It makes swaddling really easy. We have three and rotated them pretty regularly.

 

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aden® by aden + anais® 4-Pack Muslin Swaddle 

We have two packs of these blankets and I honestly could use more if my husband would let me. These are the perfect blankets for wrapping your little one up during the day or for on the go. So soft and lightweight and they have so many adorable patterns. I use these for everything.

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 2.00.09 PM aden + anais® Rayon From Bamboo Fiber Snap Bib

Can you tell I love this brand!? Soft bibs, cute prints and colors and it snaps on the side/front to make putting it on and off your wiggly baby much easier!

 

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AVENT Classic Natural Feeding 5-Pack Bottles

We have 2 sets of the 4 ounce and 2 sets of the 9 ounce bottles and could probably use more. Each bottle has 4 parts so not too much to clean (bottle, nipple, ring, top).  I’ve been really happy with these.

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 4.10.57 PMBaby Connect (Activity Logger)

App to log diaper changes and feedings- definitely need this info for dr appointments (they ask how many wet diapers, dirty diapers and feedings). There is also a timer feature when you are nursing which is very helpful.

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Baby Jogger City Mini GT Single Stroller

I absolutely love our stroller. It is so smooth and easy to use. I can lift it with one hand (helpful when baby is in the other hand). Great for outdoors as well. Get it on sale or amazon to save $$. Totally worth it. (There is a easy to use Britax carseat adaptor for this stroller when your baby its still little).

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Baby Trend Snap N Go FX Universal Infant Car Seat Carrier Stroller

Finally a snap n go that fits the Britax car seats. This is the newer (2014) Baby Trend model (available at Babies R Us). It’s super convenient to have a light weight stroller option for quick in and out trips instead of lugging around the “big” stroller. Also great if little one is asleep in his carseat. Just snap him in and go!

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Bath Wrap

You certainly don’t need this “Nursery Critter Wrap” by Pottery Barn Kids but you’ll want it 🙂 Who doesn’t want to have cute pics of their baby wrapped in a cuddly animal towel. We have the lion and elephant.. ADORABLE! 🙂 (If you opt against the animal towel you still need regular hooded towels for your baby)

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Bedding

I love cute bedding for your nursery! This set is from Pottery Barn Kids. You need 2-3 sheets. The rest is pretty optional. The bed skirt looks good now but once you drop the crib mattress down as baby gets older you can’t use it anymore. In the beginning you can’t use the bumper until the baby can move and roll on its own. Quilt looks cute but again isn’t really necessary or used.. So up to you.

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Boon Lawn Countertop Drying Rack

I love this drying rack! Air gets under bottle and pump parts easily. I love how big this is so we can dry many at a time (and trust me- there are lots of bottles and pump parts to dry). You can also buy a “stem” or “flower” as well to add to your lawn for hanging bottle parts as well.

 

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Boppy® Waterproof Changing Pad Liners

We have 2 packs of these to protect the changing pad. These get changed out a lot due to messes and accidents so makes it easier and cheaper to have a lot of these and fewer of the nicer fabric changing pad covers. I like these because they don’t curl up at the ends like some other brands.

 

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Breastshield w/ Valve and Membrane for Medela Breast Pumps

If you don’t fit the “standard” size breastshield that comes with the pumps then you’ll need to order a different size. This made a world of difference for me when pumping- and its only one piece so less hassle with the washing as opposed to the two piece breastshield that comes with the pump. I’ve ordered 3 sets of these because I love them so much.

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Britax Back Seat Mirror

So you can see your baby and relieve any concerns that he is actually completely fine when you are on the road.. this one is shatterproof so shouldn’t be a problem if you were actually in an accident.

 

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Fisher-Price® My Little Snugapuppy Deluxe Bouncer

Our “upstairs” bouncer.. yes you need 1 for each floor.. or some sort of option for each floor to put your baby in. This one vibrates which our boy loves and plays music. I love that this is lightweight and easy to move around from room to room.

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 3.10.33 PM HoMedics® SoundSpa® Sound Machine

You need a good sound machine with white noise. This really helps set the tone for sleeping at night as well as for nap time. We even travel with this.

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 3.47.43 PMLansinoh Brand Items

Lanolin Topical Breast Cream – helps heal your nipples. You need this… especially in the beginning. Trust me.

Disposable Nursing Pads – for WHEN (not if) you leak. I mainly use these at night, especially now that my little one is sleeping through the night. That way you stay dry until morning.

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 3.52.53 PMSoothies Gel Pads – expensive but so worth it those first few weeks when you are getting the hang of everything and your nipples are so sore. Really helps soothe and give relief.

Breast Milk Storage Bags – my favorite bags! Softer plastic, easy to open, location to write notes (dates, ounces, etc). Love these bags.

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Mamas & Papas Classic Carrier

I thought I would just use this for hikes (which we do) but I’ve also discovered that this really comes in handy for trips to the grocery store and for shopping. It’s great when you can’t or don’t want to use the stroller but your little one is still too little to sit up in the grocery cart on his own.

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Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump – The Metro Bag

I’ve been SO happy with this pump. It comes with a cooler too & I really like that the pump comes out of the bag. I use it with one of the Medela hands free bras. Perfect if you’re going to be pumping a lot. My insurance completely reimbursed me for this. So save your receipt and call your   insurance company.

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Medela Quick Clean Breastmilk Removal Soap

Probably a first time parent item but we use this daily for cleaning bottles and pump parts in a bowl in our sink. Then we drop everything in the dishwasher for a good cleaning about once a week.

 

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Moms on Call

GREAT reference book for getting your baby on a schedule for feedings and eventually sleeping through the night. It also included tips on swaddling, bathing, illnesses, etc. This is a great resource and super easy read.

 

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Motorola MBP43-2 3.5″ Color Video Monitor with Pan/Tilt/Zoom

You definitely will want a good video monitor. I like this one because it has two cameras so we can view him at multiple angles when he’s laying in his crib. It also tells you the temperature and zooms in and out and moves back and forth and there is two way communication. Pretty cool.

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My Brest Friend Fireworks Original Nursing Pillow

I hate the name but I LOVE this pillow. It works so much better than the boppy for nursing. It stays in place and fits more snug against your body (esp when you still have a post-baby bump) so the baby stays in place. I literally use this with every feeding I find it so helpful.

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Nursing Cover

Doesn’t matter where you get this – they are all pretty similar- but get a cute nursing cover so you have the option to be among people if you choose to 🙂 I keep one in my diaper bag and one in my pump bag at work. I like this one from Pottery Barn Kids because it is longer and wider than others I’ve tried.

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 3.12.06 PMSkip Hop Alphabet Zoo Activity Gym

Play gym for tummy time and just play/awake time. Each animal has a different feature; either a rattle, crinkle, mirror or some sort of other sound to entertain and engage your little one.

 

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The First Years Breastflow Milk Storage Organizer

We got something similar to this as a gift and its awesome (not sure if its the same brand or not). Its an easy way to store your milk in bags in the freezer. It compresses them to make them freeze flat. Highly recommend this.

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Washcloth Set by Circo®

 We got these washcloths as a gift- they are super thin and small so not helpful as a washcloth but they are helpful in covering our little man’s body part so he doesn’t projectile pee on us when we change his diaper. The pee pee tepees are cute but not very functional (they fall off when your baby wiggles around) – I like using these or using a burp cloth better since they are bigger and stay in place..

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WubbaNub™ Pacifier

Our boy won’t use anything else. We have 3 of these (1 for upstairs, 1 for downstairs, 1 for the diaper bag/daycare). Avent also makes the same pacifier without the animals on them. We have a couple of those as well however now that he is older (3 months) he likes to hold on to the animal while he sucks on the paci.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 3.51.17 PM     Tommee Tippee Travel Bottle and Food Warmer

  Great for heating bottles on the go. The thermos keeps water  HOT for hours!