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Bon appétit, bébé! {How and When to Feed Baby}

In last week’s introduction to this series (Bon appétit, bébé!), I shared some of the questions I am most frequently asked with regards to feeding babies. So, I’ll begin by letting you in on the little journey I have been on for…oh, about 15 months now.

making real food

Once upon a time, when the babies were two months old…

I began dreaming of the day when their nourishment was not dependent entirely upon me. This was mainly due to the immense challenges I faced with breastfeeding all three babies and supply issues (you can read our journey on breastfeeding here). I read somewhere that babies often begin cereal at four months old so I figured I’d better get on this if I’m going to do it right! …Right? I began doing some research and talked with my pediatrician who encouraged me to wait until around six months. I was disappointed but was willing to wait – what harm could there be in waiting?

And so I did more research. (Seriously, how do you do mommyhood and not do research? This mom thing is confusing!)

I discovered two major things:

  1. Babies don’t need solid foods for the first year of their lives.
  2. Cereal (aka, grain) is empty, nutrition-less and potentially harmful for babies at this point!

We’ll discuss the second point next time. But the more I read, searched and asked questions, the more I realized that babies really will tell you when they want to start food – and it’s very rare for this to happen before six months (though we all tend to think our baby is the exception, right? =).

Maybe you’ve heard the saying “food before one is just for fun.” It’s really true! Babies get everything they need from breastmilk (even if the baby is on formula, the bulk of his nutrition is coming from the bottle). The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization even recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life (or bottle-fed for all my mommy friends who aren’t able to breastfeed <3).

Signs of Readinessfirst meal

So how, then, do you know when your baby is ready?! Great question! Here are the current recommendations:

  • The baby can hold her head up and can sit unassisted. This is very important because there is much less likelihood that the baby will be able to handle and control the eating process safely.
  • The tongue-thrust reflex has disappeared. If this reflex is still present, the baby will be unable to swallow foods and could potentially choke. This reflex is God-given to protect the baby from choking hazards and usually disappears between 4-6 months.
  • The baby is able to chew. Yep. This most likely will mean a delay in the eating-adventures… again, probably after the six month mark.
  • The baby has a decent “pincer” grasp. Can the baby pick up small objects or food with his thumb and forefinger? Or is she still trying to pick items up with her fingers and the palm of her hand?
  • The baby tries to eat food off your plate. It is actually not uncommon for the baby to watch your every move at a mealtime. But, remember, the baby is curious about everything and may not be showing actual signs of readiness for eating.

All of the above should be in place prior to beginning solids. In some cases this will mean readiness before six months, but in most cases it will mean the baby is not ready till after their half-birthday. (I know a few one year olds who showed no interest in food!)

Not Signs of Readiness

Some signs that do not (alone) indicate when babies are ready for solids include:

  • The baby is waking up more during the night. There is no proof that feeding the baby solids will enable him to sleep better (or longer) during the night. The baby is simply not yet consuming enough solids (ever fed a baby and watched how most of the food ended up everywhere except in the baby’s tummy? =). The baby may simply be going through a growth spurt (which will end, mama!) and need some extra time breastfeeding.
  • The baby has reached X amount of weight (sometimes it’s recommended by the time he’s doubled his birth weight). This is especially untrue for babies born prematurely! If I had followed this recommendation, my 3 lbs. 12 oz. babies would have been eating solids at six weeks old!!! Even for infants born full-term, though, this recommendation makes no sense. KellyMom states, “It’s the maturity of the digestive tract and baby’s developmental readiness that makes the difference, not baby’s weight.
  • The baby is too small. Nope. Solid foods are quite inferior to the calories found in the same amount of breastmilk! Food simply cannot compare to the quality of nutrients she is receiving from breastmilk…even into the toddler stage!
  • The baby needs more iron than is found in breastmilk. Possibly. An easy way to determine this is through the blood test done at most pediatricians’ offices around six months. If the baby is, in fact, iron deficient, there are wonderfully iron-rich foods that can be given to the baby. But most breastfed babies do not have low levels of iron until well past the six month mark!

At this point in my research, I knew I did not want to start the babies on solids until they were exhibiting the signs of readiness above. They were about seven months old when I finally gave in and introduced solids. Little did I know what lay in store for me: babies eating solids = mess!

Baby-led Weaning or Purees?

A yummy lunch with Granny!

A yummy lunch with Granny!

If you’re unfamiliar with baby-led weaning (BLW), it simply means “letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning.” (BabyLedWeaning.com) I would encourage you to check this method out to determine if it is for you and your baby.

I, however, chose to do mostly pureed foods with elements of baby-led weaning (which actually works gloriously, in my opinion! =). And there were several reasons that went into my decision to begin with pureed foods. Our schedule was such that we didn’t eat meals at the same time that the babies did so I would have ended up preparing food twice anyway. And we were in a season where David and I weren’t eating the way I prefer we eat because of…well, having three babies to care for! I wanted them to eat better than we were (no Kraft macaroni for them! =) And, because there were three, I wanted to know exactly what they were eating – to watch for any adverse reactions by spoon-feeding them. So for me it ended up being easier to puree foods for a while.

What I didn’t do was follow a recipe book. I took one look at them and decided that was not for me – no combining broccoli and apple to sneak the broccoli in. (More on this next time!) So I just usually “mushed up” something in bulk for the babies. The time spent preparing foods really wasn’t bad, either. I could make a serious amount of food in a very little amount of time. (I promise I’ll show you how!) And with none of this peeling stuff! Nope. If I could eat the peel, the babies could, too! (Of course I modified how the food arrived to them for safety, but that was way easier than peeling, say, an apple for applesauce!)

So, what did they eat? Well, stop on by next week and we’ll chat about that… ‘cause it’s a very long list!

The poll on making babyfood is currently still open: :nom, nom, nom:

Sources: KellyMom, Wholesome Baby Food

Note: Always check with your pediatrician and do your own research to determine what is best for you and your baby.

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Mother’s Day Is…

Mother’s Day Is…

Like you, I was hit by a tsunami of “I love my mother” posts on all the social media sites. It was precious seeing everyone’s baby pictures, all of the “you’re the best mother in the world” declarations, etc. And I loved seeing all the women honored – women who have sacrificed bodies, careers and unending hours of time to produce and care for and love their children.

However, I found myself tossed by different emotions and thoughts. It seems to me that Mother’s Day is actually very similar to every other day before it and after it! (Bear with me here – I have only celebrated a few Mother’s Days, ok? I’m new at this. =) I mean, right? Would you agree that Mother’s Day is:

Breakfast with my three fave M&Ms ever!

Breakfast with my three fave M&Ms ever!

wiping snotty noses.
taking a nap.
picking up sticky, spilling sippy cups out of a puddle of milk on the floor.
having lunch made for you.
breaking up a fight…again.
waking sleepy children from naptime.
giving consequences for disobedience.
getting snuggles.
planning meals for the day.
a sweet card.
midnight-waking babies.
a frozen ice-cream yumminess treat.
changing diapers.
a day to worship with others.
a day to need grace, patience and mercy.
a reminder of blessings.

Mother’s Day isn’t just the pictures of flowers and coffee-retreats, the esteeming and adoring posts or the happy children racing to do our every beck and call. No, Mother’s Day is oftentimes just like any other day: a day to cherish the good, the bad and the ugly. A day to fulfill the calling given us by the One Who helps us each step of the way. A day to appropriate the much-needed grace and to enjoy the tidbits of a break or the sloppy kisses at the encouragement of a husband.

Mother’s Day is over. Until next year. But every day in between I have the opportunity to be encouraged, honored and loved. In a million different ways, if I’ll look for them.

Ohmysoul, I love their sticky, cranky, smiley, giggling faces!

Ohmysoul, I love their sticky, cranky, smiley, giggling faces!

My sweet girl!

My sweet girl!

Baby Girl can whistle. Oh, yes she can!

Baby Girl can whistle. Oh, yes she can!

The babies began passing out the cards to the mommies.

The babies began passing out the cards to the mommies.

Baby Girl took her job very seriously. =)

Baby Girl took her job very seriously. =)

Apparently Noah is confused...

Apparently Noah is confused…

Who knows? =)

Who knows? =)

Oh, how I love the three who made me a mommy!

Oh, how I love the three who made me a mommy!

How do you see your children honoring you on this Ordinary Day?

 

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Meet the Boss – the Babies’ MFM

ultrasound-doctorRecently I got to visit my MFM with the babies!! If you’ve ever had a high-risk pregnancy, I’m sure you understand my excitement. Right? Have you visited yours post-birth? =)

If you haven’t been high-risk, an MFM stands for maternal-fetal medicine specialist (or neonatologist, or perinatologist). These men and women walk us through our pregnancies more closely than our OBs! We see them on a weekly basis sometimes. They make life-saving decisions about our babies and even us! They become much more than a white coat. They watch our babies grow, literally, weekly, and celebrate all the milestones with us – halfway for triplets, halfway for singleton pregnancy, viability, term for triplets, etc.

Dr. Al-malt is the man who (with my OB team) kept my babies safe and sound in their womb-home for nearly 33 weeks! He made the call on the need for the cerclage. He did more than a dozen ultrasounds on the four of us – tracking soooooooooo many things and watching for a thousand more. He never even breathed the word “reduction” to us. I whined and made promises to him that I’d be good and stay in bed at home so I didn’t need to go on bed-rest in the hospital. And he called it that my labor wouldn’t be stopped and that my babies would be born that day instead of the two weeks from then we were shooting for (read the birth story here).

And he’s like a proud Grandpa with the babies. =) This is Dr. AL-Malt.

So precious! The babies were not quite three months old here. =)

Three babies, three grown-ups!

Our recent visit at 19 months! Such a difference, huh?

He hadn’t seen us in almost a year and a half but knew exactly who we were. He pulled out his phone and asked his staff to take pictures. Ok, Dr. A, whatever you want….you’re the boss! ❤

Do you ever go back to visit the doctor/midwife who delivered your baby? Did they become part of your family?

Photo Credit

 
 

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A Great Big {Hug}!

Just a little note to say “thank you” to everyone who voted for us in the recent Circle of Moms contest! We placed 10th out of 58 bloggers! Circle of Moms holds an interview with each Top 25 winner and then shares it on their profile. You can read mine here: Top 25 Moms of Multiples – an interview.

Thanks again! And happy Thursday! =)

 
 

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Bon appétit, bébé! {overview}

One of the topics I receive questions about most frequently (besides “are they natural?” =) has to do with how I made baby food for the babies. Now, I’ve only been feeding the triplets for about a year, but during that year I have made a lot of baby food. A lot. And, if you know me, I’ve done more than a little research on this region of parenting – nutritional aspects, cost analyses, time efficiency, product reviews, etc. So, I am happy to finally be able to share my efforts and experiences with you!

making real food

Some of the most frequent questions I hear from you are:

  • When did you first give solids to the babies and what did you give them?
  • How did you decide what to give them?
  • How did you keep them from being picky eaters?
  • Did you do baby-led weaning or puréed baby foods?

You asked, I’ll answer. =) Additionally, over the next several weeks I’ll be tackling the following topics, as well. Topics like:

  • Organic vs. non-organic
  • Cereal – why it’s not so good for Baby
  • Baby against mommy – how to deal with a picky eater
  • To season or not to season – is salt really bad for babies?
  • Coconut oil – what’s the big deal?
  • The egg question
  • The only equipment you really need (skip the Baby Brezza!)

And of course I’ll share a meal plan, shopping list, baby-friendly recipes…and how to prepare two weeks’ worth of food in two hours. That’s right. Two weeks’ worth or 45 meals…in two hours.

So join us each Wednesday as we dive into the world of feeding Baby…real food.

Did I miss anything? What would you like to see discussed?

 

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A Little Bitty Garden

Garden

Maybe someday my garden will actually look like this!!!

That’s what I have now! I actually am really excited and feel so super grown-up! I have always hated anything to do with yard-work, much preferring to be in the house accomplishing something. I guess I just hate bugs and dirt and…the unknown?

But now with three little mouths to feed (that really can eat more than I do!), I am desperately looking for ways I can decrease our costs while still serving up wholesome, real foods. So, I turn to the world of gardening. Did you know it’s far more difficult than planting something in some dirt and watering every day??? There’s a whole science to it. Ok, so I really did know that, but I didn’t know as much of the science as I know now…and there’s a lot to learn.

Last  year I attempted tomatoes. No good. Snails got every single one. Or the birds. Or the deer that roam in our neighborhood. (Yes, neighborhood. We also have several black bears, racoons and lots of other wildlife!) This year I’m attempting just a few things: lettuce and spinach and tomatoes (suuuuckerrrr) and some herbs. I really don’t see how the costs will decrease, though, unless I grow massive quantities (and am successful, obviously!) since the darn start-up costs were tremendous!!! These little seeds want better nutrient-dense soil than our little Florida dirt has to offer. Great. So I bought soil. Dirt. I actually paid money for dirt:

“I’m sorry, you said the DIRT is how much?!?!”

But such are the sacrifices of a gardener. Or so I hear. So this lettuce better grow. And I’m talking it better grow lots. Or I’ll have one unhappy Farmer McGregor…and I won’t be so thrilled, either! So, anyone got any tips or tricks for me? Great websites or books (preferably with pictures and one sentence per page =)? I’m not afraid to beg: pleeeeeeeeeeeease help me!

Oh, and don’t laugh at me. Or my little garden. Stopit! I can hear you!!! =)

Grow, little seeds, grow!!!....I said GROW!

Grow, little seeds, grow!!!….I said GROW!

A load of pot. Kidding.

Cilantro!

Cilantro!

The very expensive dirt.

The very expensive dirt.

Did you know that you have three more opportunities to vote before the Top 25 Moms of Multiples contest closes? Three days. Three votes. Three babies. It’s SUPER easy – click the button and scroll down till you see Growing Up Triplets and vote for us…once a day, till May 8 at 4pm!!! Thank you!!

photo credit: Distant Hill via photopin cc

 

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Babe In A Mug

Recently my hubby said he was surprised I hadn’t picked up on the “baby in a mug” craze going around. I said, “what’s baby in a mug?” He was even more surprised to learn I hadn’t seen this yet. So he told me to Google it. I did. And ohmygoodness, sooooo cute and so fun! So, of course I had to do it. Heehee! And why stop with one baby? Let’s get TRIPLETS in a mug!!! So, without further ado, here is our snapshot of #babeinamug:

Triplet Mugging

This was obviously a very large mug. Kidding. It’s actually the mug we got from our honeymoon. :sigh: Now I need to go reheat my babies…er, coffee!

And you wanted to vote for us below, right? Cause you haven’t yet today? See, I knew there was a reason I was including this button. =) Thanks so much for the love!

 

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