Archive for the ‘Baby Care’ Category

Introducing Food to Baby

As a first time mom, I was so excited to begin to care for my baby culinarily.  I made a vast array of pureed baby foods for Madeline.  By the time Anson came around, I skipped the pureed foods and went straight to smooshy finger foods. I did the same with Kieryn, except that instead of a separate, special menu, she mostly got whatever smooshy, soft thing the rest of the family happened to be eating.

Theory

So, with each kid I’ve gotten progressively more casual. At this point in motherhood, I view introduction of solids as a time of exploration.  I don’t puree anything, and I rarely use a spoon.  I just give my babies a soft chunk of fruit or vegetable and let them feel, mush, and taste it themselves.

How

Because it’s such an uncivilized – uh, I mean casual – approach, I usually prefer to remove baby’s clothes. And I try to keep her confined to the high chair.

When

We start offering finger foods whenever they seem interested, usually around 6 or 7 months.  It usually takes another month or two after introducing solids for our kiddos to really start getting into eating.

 What

Here are some first foods I like to start with:

banana
avocado
beans of all kinds
cooked egg yolk
cooked carrots
steamed broccoli
baked sweet potato
blueberries
pears
mangoes
peeled grapes
ground beef
yogurt (with a spoon)
hummus (with a spoon)

. . .really almost anything soft is fair game. 🙂

Side note about the picture: It’s remarkable how few good pictures I have of Kieryn.  Baby number three gets enjoyed a TON by all the members of the family, but doesn’t get her picture taken nearly as often as the other two did.  This picture may be poorly composed and slightly blurry, but at least it gives you an idea of what her early feeding times looked like.

Multiple Exposures

One other important point on introducing foods:  Keep offering healthy foods even if it seems your baby doesn’t like them at first.  It can take multiple exposures to a food before baby embraces it.  So, if it seems baby doesn’t like broccoli, don’t fear. Acquiring a taste for it may take some time. Just keep encouraging her to try it.  One day she may decide she loves it. I’ve seen this happen again and again with my kids. 

If the sheer number of exposures to a food doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, I’ve adjusted the preparation or presentation of it.  Instead of offering the undesirable food by itself, I’ll mix it up with another food she likes.  Or instead of giving it raw, I’ll try it cooked.  Or instead if giving baby a chunk to pick up herself, I’ll offer it on the end of a spoon or fork.  (It’s amazing the things they’ll eat when it comes at the end of a shiny utensil.)  When they’re a bit older, I’ll allow them to dip the undesirable food in ketchup or salad dressing if it’ll help them eat it.

Other Resources

Here are two more good posts about this kind of casual, natural introduction to foods, one on Keeper of the Home and the other on Passionate Homemaking.

And here’s an informative, more traditional article about the topic.

Cloth Wipes

I am continually refining my efforts to better steward our finances, health, and creation.  

Early on, when I first became aware of these spheres over which I had control and realized that these were ways I could bring glory to God, I lamented that I couldn’t change everything at once.  I was weighed down by all the things I wasn’t doing “right.”

Take cloth diapering, for instance.  I tried it once for a short and busy season with my second baby and it didn’t work.  Just recently I tried again, with a different baby and a different style diaper.  It still didn’t work for me. It remains one of the glaring inconsistencies of my natural inclinations. 

But I have come to see that stewardship, like many things in life, is a process.  I don’t do everything as well as I possibly could, but I’m on a journey of improvement. So, one day I’ll try cloth diapering again.  The time just isn’t right now.

Recently, however, the time did come for me to explore the world of cloth wipes.  I knew the time was right when the idea no longer seemed like a burden or a fearsome pursuit, but a fascinating project to explore.  And so, I explored. 

Making the Wipes

I took an old flannel receiving blanket that was already stained (so I wouldn’t feel like I was “messing up” a brand new one) and folded it into a wipe-sized rectangle. Then I took scissors and cut along my folds.  I ended up with 16 (I think) cloth wipes.

After I had already cut my cloth with regular-old scissors I ran across a bit of advice to use some special kind of scissors that would limit fraying of the edges.  Mine have frayed a bit since washing them, but its nothing big so I’m okay with it.  (You can see the frays yourself in the picture above.)

Wetting the Wipes

Though I was momentarily paralyzed by my ignorance of how to “properly” wet the cloth wipes, a friend suggested that water might work.  The simplicity of the idea was shocking to me.  It’s sad how far consumerism has removed me from common sense. But alas, I digress.

I’ve since watered the wipes a couple of different ways.  I found a spray bottle and filled it with water, which I sometimes spray onto the wipe before using it.  Other times, I’ll wet the wipe with warm water right in the sink. 

There is a fancier wipe-wetting option that I may try at some point.  It’s called Angela’s Cloth Wipes “Recipe.” I saw it here, at Keeper of the Home.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 drops of lavender essential oil (or scent of your choice)
  • 2 drops Tea Tree Oil
  • 2 T baby wash

1.) Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

2.) Soak baby washcloths or other soft cloth in mixture and place in wipes holder. Do not wring out completely. The wipes holder will keep wipes moist until ready for use.

How it’s going

The cloth wipes have been working great and are definitely saving us money.

I still do keep regular wipes on hand for the car and for the occasions when Erich helps to clean up a diaper.  He prefers to stick with what he knows.  And I have to confess that for some messy diapers, I still reach for the store-bought disposable wipes if they’re handy. I’m not discouraged though.  After all, this is a journey of improvement.  😉

How to respond to your child’s fever

I just ran across a very helpful article about Johnson & Johnson’s children medicine recalls on Dr. Mercola’s site.  In it, he quotes excerpts from “Kids, Herbs, and Health: A Parent’ Guide to Natural Remedies” by Linda B. White, MD and Sunny Mavor.

Here is an excerpt from Mercola’s article:

There is a common perception that if you’re coughing, sneezing or have a low-grade fever, you must take a medication to get rid of it. In reality, coughing and sneezing are tools your body uses to get rid of viruses and irritants, and fever also helps to kill bacteria and viruses. So by taking a drug to stop these natural protections, you are actually impairing your body’s ability to fight the infection, which will result in significantly delaying the healing process.

Many of the products that were recalled are used to treat a child’s fever. But what many parents don’t realize is that a fever is actually a good thing.

Childhood fevers are in fact better than any vaccination at triggering an authentic, life-long immune response in your child’s body.

A basic fever, one due to minor bacterial or viral illness, can be an expression of the immune system working at its best. It increases both the amount of interferon(a natural antiviral and anticancer substance) in your blood, and the amount of white blood cells, which kill infected cells. Fever also impairs the replication of many bacteria and viruses.

Therefore, when you suppress your child’s fever with Tylenol or other medications, you can cause far more harm than good. In fact, animal studies have shown that when fever is blocked, survival rates from infection decline.

Home Management of Fevers:

  • Do give your child lots to drink. Fever increases fluid loss, and dehydration can drive up your child’s temperature. Kids with fever often do not feel thirsty, or by the time they do, they’re already dehydrated. So keep offering fluids.
  • Small, frequent sips are often best, especially if the child feels nauseated. If necessary, use a plastic medicine dropper to gently insert water into your child’s mouth.
  • Dress lightly or bundle? The answer depends on your children’s perception of temperature – follow her cues.If your child looks pale, shivers, or complains of feeling chilled (things that tend to happen in the early stages of fever), bundle her in breathable fabrics so that sweat will evaporate, but make sure she can easily remove the layers. If she is comfortable and her fever is low, dress her snuggly and give warm liquids to assist the body’s fever production.If she sweats and complains of heat, dress her lightly and let her throw off the covers. Older kids will take care of these needs themselves.
  • Don’t push food. People with fevers generally don’t have much appetite. Let your child determine when and what she eats. Just bear in mind that consumption of sugary foods could delay the natural immune response.

For more in-depth information about fevers, read Fever in Children – A Blessing in Disguise.

For quick reassurance about your child’s fever being normal and nothing to be worried about, read Fever in Children – 5 Facts You Must Know

For a more mainstream source on fevers, read Fever in babies: 7 things you might not know.