Friday, April 30, 2010

It's a New Pediatrician Kind of Day.

Today was our first appointment with our new pediatrician, and we were so much happier with this doctor!

The biggest note on the appointment? I am no longer being told it is imperative Gabe has solids and meat by 6 months!! The new doc said G is clearly thriving, and while solids are a good idea to ready a baby for real eating at around age one, theoretically, he would be FINE on breastmilk alone. Thank goodness.

And then there's Gabe's size.
20 lb. 2 oz., 27.5 in.
My son is very big.
His weight and height are both in the 90% range-- matching percentiles is a good thing.

You may think I would be serious on the day of my 6 month shots...

...but I'm all smiles!

(Yes, Gabe is wearing the new Blackbird print Thirsties Duo Wrap with the new Snap Closure. I'm in LOVE.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Imagine all the diapers...

I've always loved the song "Imagine" - John Lennon, and tonight I am happily imagining a world without the below being buried in our earth. But unfortunately, there are lots of diapers being buried.

Cloth Diapers "In Real Life"

As proud and happy I am to be a Cloth-Diapering Mama, I haven't perfected the art of time and diaper management so that disposables never come out of our home. The above picture is from last weekend-- so, no, we haven't dismantled the Diaper Genie just yet, though it was the first time it was emptied since early February (that sounds gross, but I assure you no scents were permeating from it).

We are planning on taking the DG apart this weekend, though. While we do use a disposable here-and-there-very-rare, at this point we might not fill up a DG again until the end of the year. Not exaggerating. We're getting closer and closer to managing and mastering cloth.

But here are some cases of disposable use for thought.

1. We miscalculated how many diapers we needed while out, and all we have to use is that disposable stuck at the bottom of the diaper bag "just in case." (We've sort of gotten away from this by now-- you get used to using more space in the diaper bag for unused and used diapers).

2. Gabe has a truly bad diaper rash so much so that I am afraid we will destroy the cloth with butt cream/paste/vaseline (This situation has only occurred once, and I recently started lining his diapers with fleece for ultra protection).

3. Somehow all of Gabe's night-friendly diapers are dirty when he is headed to bed (This, too, has only happened once. We finally have the right number of diapers/ I am now good at knowing when diaper laundry needs to be finished so as to avoid this situation again.)

4. Gabe is at the babysitter's while I work. I spend approximately 15 hours away from Gabe due to employment. My Mom watches him during one shift, and she happily uses cloth-- she's a big fan of BG 3.0s, and whenever people make any sort of face or weird comment regarding our cloth choices, she is the first to be ultra supportive of our cloth diapering (Thanks, Mommy.).
...So Gabe spends about 9.75 hours away from family per week. And he heads to the sitter in a pocket diaper, but with his current peanut butter poop/rolling and rocking EVERYWHERE craziness, I really am not comfortable asking the babysitter to keep him in cloth while she cares for him. So he does wear disposables with her... probably about 5 or 6 per week tops. It makes me cringe, but that's just reality of life situations. I can only hope that if and when we are blessed with our next babies that I can be with them pretty much always (in a healthy way) and no disposables will come out of our home.

And for awhile we were still using disposable wipes (which easily slipped into the DG), but we are on a full-time cloth wipe regimen now. We have changed our system just slightly, and I will be posting an update about it soon.

So, lovely readers, what are your cloth diaper pitfall situations? Am I just a fool to have had the issues above? Tell me true!

And while we're on the subject, here's another diaper issue at hand.

Overnight Weekend Travel

We are currently brainstorming our cloth diapering tactic for a trip we are taking at the end of May. I will be writing a very nice post about this trip later, but for now, I will just give some basic deets and our "math problem."

-We are leaving here around 12:45 p.m. Friday.
-Including pitstops to nurse and change diapers, it should take us 7-8 hrs to reach our destination.
-We will be staying in a lodge Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening.
-We will be returning home on Monday morning, again taking a 7-8 hr trip to reach home.

There is no laundry available to us at the lodge that I am interested in doing while on this trip. You'll totally understand why when I elaborate later.

So, what to do?
I'm thinking of doing pockets while driving, the Flip System Covers with Flip Disposable Inserts during the day, and then using pockets at night. I am fairly certain we have enough diapers for this to work. What I'm concerned about?
-We've never used the Flip System Disposable Inserts before. We usually use prefolds under Flip covers.
-We only have 3 Flips covers. We have 3 Econobums covers and 3 Thirsties Duo Wraps. ...So, that is probably enough to get us through, but will Econobums and Duo Wraps work with Flip Disposable Inserts? I don't know.

We will be heading to Vermont on vacation this summer, and we do have access to laundry in the home being rented up there. So, I'm happy to know we won't have to do this sort of hybrid system often.

Please leave comments with suggestions about weekend travel!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Very Merry Unbirthday

Oh, hi.

My name is Gabriel. And I am six months old today.
(It's about time you all got to see my face.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Homemade Babyfood Play by Play

Gabriel has now tried rice cereal, avocado, pears, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes. And today we made the first batch o' apples for him to try later this week. Here's the play by play...
Babe Gabe's First Apples

3 Organic Golden Delicious Apples (OR Roma, Braeburn, Red Delicious)
3/4 cup water (approximate)
Small Pot
Steamer basket

1. Pare apples and chop into small cubes. Perfect, equal-sized cubes are not necessary.

2. Pour 3/4 cup water into small pot and place steaming basket in pot. The water need not overflow much into the basket. Adjust amount of water as needed.

3. Place apples into steaming basket and turn range heat to med-high.
4. Let apples steam/ cook in boiling water until very tender and can be mashed easily with fork.

5. Scoop steamed and tender apples and pour into blender.

6. Add small amount of leftover water from steaming (You can use breast milk to thin baby food, but this water retains some of the apple nutrients lost while cooking. I used breast milk to thin sweet potatoes and avocados, but not the apples).

7. Blend until smooth, adding more leftover water to adjust desired consistency as needed (the older the baby, the more textured and chunky it can be).

8. Pour into ice cube tray (3 apples makes just about 1 full tray), cool, and freeze in tray.

9. When frozen, pop out frozen cubes and store in desired container (Right now, we are storing food in breast milk sanitized freezer bags, and the dates on these bags are not the dates he tried these foods-- we do follow the 4 day rule).

To thaw (quickly):
Take out 1-2 cubes depending on desired serving and place in baby's bowl (Right now, we just use one cube). Heat water in tea kettle and pour into ceramic bowl. Place baby's bowl in ceramic bowl and allow hot water to melt cube. Turn cube over and break in half as thawing to speed process.

Great Resources for Homemade Baby Food Recipes

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Food Inc. Virtual Potluck

Tomorrow night, April 21, 2010, PBS is premiering Food Inc. on national television. In the Philly/SJ region, it's on WHYY at 10 p.m. I invite all A Mom Writing readers to watch and send me letters (amomwriting@gmail.com) on what you think about America's food industry. I'll feature the letters in a Virtual Potluck (of ideas) post later this month.

Let's wax intellectual on food!

Mamacado, Babycado, Avocado, Mmm...

Solids have started, and they're actually a blast (We're doing homemade organics-- his cereals are all by Earth's Best- no GMOs). Gabe's not a fan of cereal, but enjoyed avocado. And this Sunday he was shocked by pears (both in taste and in his backed up just-starting-solids system-- if your babe has some issues going #2 when he or she starts solids, start the pears!).

This morning he had a mix of the bartletts with his rice, and he was much more willing to eat the cereal. Tomorrow we are doing oatmeal, and then he'll break into the stash of sweet potatoes I made this past weekend. Stay tuned for a step by step post on making apples.

But in the meantime, here's a meal from late last week... both mine and Gabe's.

...Mama 'Cado

Baby 'Cado...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Snuggle Up and Plant a Tree: Greenzys Review & Giveaway (Ends Earth Day)

Hi, everyone. I think I'm in love. With Greenzys.

And because of that love and my love for TREES, A Mom Writing is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day with a Greenzys review and giveaway...

Greenzys (by Kids Preferred) is a brand relatively new to the kiddo market, offering green living plush animal character toys with a literary basis. Say What? Yes, this brand published a story about taking care of our earth, and then they turned the characters from the story into adorable, eco-friendly, green-colored stuffed animals.

But what makes Greenzys truly special is that they not only inform children about the earth's issues, they function in an eco-friendly fashion. That is, they produce their products in "socially-responsible factories from soy fibers and nontoxic dyes with packaging made from recycled paperboard."

And what's more? Greenzys has paired up with the Arbor Day Foundation. For every toy purchased, a tree is planted. What is sweet about this, too, is that each toy comes with a code you enter into the Greenzys website. It asks for your child's name, and a printable certificate is created to commemorate your little one's tree (we didn't print Gabe's-- we just saved the pdf version-- using paper to signify a tree being planted seemed counter-intuitive).
So what about Greenzys makes me swoon?
I love that the plush animals are based on characters from a book. I'm a children's lit fanatic (I was admitted to a very good school in NYC to pursue an MFA in children's lit, but I didn't go because of the money), and it warms my heart when a company doesn't just dive into the image of fun, but gives that fun a contextual place. These characters come to life not only with the imagination, but on the page. A toy company promoting reading? Fab.

I also love how absolutely cuddly the Greenzys are. Peat the Penguin is a nice size-- about the size of your average baby doll, but with plenty of fluff-- and he is just so very soft to the touch. He's a sweet shade of green-- not bright enough to be kelly, not dark enough to be hunter, not light enough to be mint-- a very muted and comforting tone.

The only negative thing I have to say about Peat is that his tummy is covered by a huge earth heart (this I love) with the brand Greenzys sprawled across it (this I do not). It just isn't my aesthetic preference to see a big word across a plush toy's belly. But it does not detract from Peat's overall cute, snuggliness, and it certainly has not kept Gabriel from yelling talking to him with curious eyes and a huge smile.

Probably my favorite thing about this toy is that it is teachable in so many ways. You can read the book to your kids, they can read it to you, you can use that moment to explain environmental issues facing our planet; it is a perfect door for a teachable moment-- you can say to your kids, "This is why we go green." (Just think, you can answer them thoroughly when they ask, "Why?")

These toys also can offer a personal feeling of accomplishment to a child. Seeing that certificate pop up on the computer screen will definitely allow kids to feel proud. They can say to themselves (or be told): I chose this toy, and because of that choice, a tree will be planted. I made an eco-friendly choice.
All in all, it is not easy to find a company that talks the talk and walks the walk of eco-friendly. And a toy that goes beyond the practice of green, but also educates through literature and ecology? I'm not sure that sort of lightning often strikes in the toy industry.

So where can you buy Greenzys? Head to FAO Schwartz to purchase your Greenzys today.

Lucky for A Mom Writing readers,
You have a chance to win your own

The mandatory entry:
Head to the Greenzys website and tell me which character you would love for your little one.

Want more entries? Do any or all of these.

2. Publicly follow my blog (right sidebar) and comment. If you already, follow, make sure to comment!

3. Vist the Arbor Day Foundation website and comment about something you learned there.

4. Follow @amomwriting and/or @TheGreenzys on Twitter and comment for one (1) additional entry each.

5. Tweet about the giveaway, including @amomwriting and @TheGreenzys, and comment.
(You can tweet and comment once per day.)

6. Blog about the giveaway including a link to amomwriting and comment with the permalink to your entry for two (2) extra entries, leaving two separate comments.

7. Vote for A Mom Writing on Top Mommy Blogs here and comment. (1 entry per vote, 1 vote per day)

8. Vote for A Mom Writing on Top Baby Blogs here and comment. (1 entry per vote, 1 vote per day)

Make sure to leave your e-mail in your mandatory entry if it is not in your profile so that I may contact you if you win. The contest will end at 11:59 p.m. EST on Earth Day-- April 22, 2010.

A Mom Writing did not receive monetary compensation for this entry.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Easter Edible

Champage Cupcakes with Sweet Champagne Buttercream Icing

Try the recipe from Gimme Some Oven here. The cake is light, bubbly deliciousness, and the frosting is a tarty, posh dollop o' sugar. It was my first experience with a pastry bag so not every cupcake looked so lovely... but at a family brunch, taste is what matters, and between the cake, icing, and crystals, I was approved.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Not so Solid on Solids.

I'm supposed to be excited about starting solids with Gabe, I think.

But I'm not. Because the world of solids seems so confusing to me right now.

I know we're starting with organic rice cereal and organic oatmeal. My plan is to head into homemade "yellows" after that-- pears, carrots, sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados-- because they are supposed to be easiest to digest. And with G being a reflux sufferer, I'm not putting anything that isn't noted to be easy for digestion into his belly for awhile.

But here's what I'm not so sure about. When do we start? Gabe is interested in foods now, is an independent sitter, and is sporting two little teeth. They say to wait until 6 months, and you all know I am a huge breastfeeding advocate, but I think my baby is starting to hint he wants to try new things. Isn't 'natural' parenting about listening to your baby? I want him to get optimum nutrition and bonding from me, but I also want my baby's signals heeded.

And then, we've only got 17 days to go until we hit six months of exclusive breastfeeding. It's so beautiful to see that goal, my original "if all goes well, I'll breastfeed at least until" goal coming to fruition.

To wait 17 days or not to wait 17 days?

And after cereal, what next? And how exactly do I make all of these foods? I really like the concept of baby-led solids/ baby-led weaning, but when is the whole Gabe eats what we eat concept safe for him?

I'm reading and researching, debating internally and with family, friends, and whoever will listen to me ramble about all of this. I know plenty of answers to the questions above, but I feel like I need to make some sort of plan or map that will float in the background while Gabe shows me what he wants and is capable of eating.

So that's where I am tonight-- home, dryer finally fixed (and wow, our laundry piled up like whoa even though I went to my parents' twice.), Phillies game on our little television (I'll post about our mini-vision sometime soon), nursing our fussy, tired baby, wondering if tomorrow will be the day we feed Gabe his first cereal.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Media Spotlight: Milk Banking

How much do I LOVE this USA Today article (by Trevor Hughes) on milk banking and donating milk?

Enough, that even though my landlord gave me a little 'tude and is failing to schedule timely maintenance calls for me, I am still smiling. (But seriously, landlords out there, take care of your tenants. They pay your bills.)

Image from USA Today, by Frank Pompa
Source: Human Milk Banking Association of North America

It's great to see milk banking getting some media exposure. It's great to see the ounces donated per year on the rise. It's not great that the ounces needed are not nearly being met. It motivates me to repeat donating.

And when I consider repeating my donation, I see why it is so hard to hit the needed ounces-- I'm now working part-time+, and the milk I pump generally needs to go to my baby. There are a million and one booby traps for breastfeeding Mommies, and while work isn't trapping me from breastfeeding, it might just trap me from donating again right now.

But for now, instead of sighing about my wishes to donate again (210 oz. went out in March), I'm just going to revel in the exposure of milk banking with some favorite quotes from the article...

Actress Alysia Reiner: "Donating milk 'is simply an area so many women don't know about,' she says. 'They say 'What, a milk bank? No way.' "

Mandy Belfort, a neonatologist at Children's Hospital Boston: "There's also some evidence that preterm babies who receive breast milk have better developmental outcomes than babies that receive formula... In New England, we are starting to talk more and more about using donor milk more routinely."

Consider milk donation.
Visit http://hmbana.org today!

Monday, April 5, 2010

D is for Breastfeeding.

A new study just made the news on CNN. A whole lotta numbers. The ones I found the most interesting?

-14% of mothers exclusively breastfeed for the American Academy of Pediatrics first six months.

-"Bartick refers to a 2007 CDC survey of hospitals and birthing centers, which scored each facility to determine how well it complied with recommendations meant to encourage women to breastfeed... According to that survey, Bartick says, "U.S. hospitals scored a 63 - that's a D.""

Something I agreed with?
"He believes the mothers and grandmothers of new moms also need to be educated about the benefits of breastfeeding because for their generations, feeding their babies formula was the norm."

What I'd add?
Let's not just get Moms, hospitals, and Grandmoms on board with breastfeeding-- Daddies need the education, too.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Yummi Bears Organics Review & Giveaway (Closes 4/9)


Never was that so impressed to me as when I got pregnant with Gabe. Nutrition matters. And whether your bean is in the womb or on the soccer field, it's a huge responsibility making sure he or she is getting all the nutrients needed to grow up healthy and strong.

So, you look into vitamins, and most of the vits for the kiddies are full of high fructose corn syrup. For the mommies who remain unconvinced by the commercials claiming hfcs "is just like sugar," for the mommies who want their children to eat organic, non-GMO foods, and for the mommies who have little ones with nut allergies, celiac-disease, or other common intolerances, Yummi Bears Organics are a great nutritional option.

Because they are deceivingly delicious. I sampled the Multivitamin, Immunity Shield, and Bone Builder varieties. My husband tried them, a handful of my little cousins tried them, and so did many other grown-up family members. The taste test results were truly positive.

My husband and I could tell immediately which fruit was used to flavor which vitamins. How often does something apple or strawberry-flavored truly taste like apples or strawberries?

When my reluctant-to-try-new-foods 5-year-old cousin (who has celiac disease) was handed a Yummi Bears Organics, my aunt said, "It's like a gummy bear." The response after trying? "Mom, this IS a gummy bear." Duh, Mom, right? Well, these bears aren't of the candy variety, cuz. But the joke is not on my cousin, because Yummi Bears Organics are doing much more for her budding body than candy.

I'm not advocating this, but I love that you could tell your kids they're "allowed" to have three or six bears (serving depends on the variety) as a treat, and they'd be getting vitamins without ever knowing the difference.

They've got lots of nutrients, but not so much of the fake stuff. Their flavoring and coloring are from vegetable juices, such as black carrots, rather than dyes like Red No. 5. They're also pectin-based rather than gelatin, making them vegetarian-friendly. And when it comes to Genetically-Modified Ingredients, they're made with tapioca syrup-- escaping any suspicion of iffy so-called non-GMO corn syrups.

Did everybody like them? Nope. I have to be honest! My 8-year-old not-so-sweet-toothed cousin was not a fan. "They're too sweet," he remarked. So, if you've got a kid who would rather eat the apples and loads o' spinach to get their vitamins, stick with the produce.

And that sweet sweetness is the only real complaint I have about Yummi Bears Organics and every other gummi vitamin out there-- When the first ingredient is listed as something sugar-related (in YBO case, organic evaporated cane juice), as a parent, you think, what am I really feeding my kid here?

But when you look at the overall nutrition, the sugar doesn't seem too frightening when you consider the nutritional gains. Out of 3 Multivitamins, you're getting 4 g sugar and 20 calories, but you're also getting 100% or more daily value of Vitamin A, B6, B12, and Folic Acid, as well as 50% or more daily value of Vitamins C and D3. The Multivitamin is not a good source of Calcium or Iron, but that's why Yummi Bears offers a plethora of vitamin types. Many of them are safe to mix and match.

So, overall?
Organic, non-GMO, non-allergen vitamins with authentic fruit flavor. As an all-about-natural Mommy, I'd definitely give these a shot if I were you.

You can give them a try!
Win Yummi Bears Organics on A Mom Writing!

The Mandatory Entry

Visit Yummi Bears Organics and look at the vitamin varieties.
Comment: Which one would you like your little one(s) to try?

Want more entries? Do any or all of these things...

2. Publicly follow my blog (right sidebar) and comment. If you already, follow, make sure to comment!

3. Follow @amomwriting on Twitter and comment for one (1) additional entry each.

4. Tweet about the giveaway, including @amomwriting, and comment.

5. Blog about the giveaway including a link to amomwriting and comment with the permalink to your entry for two (2) extra entries, leaving two separate comments.

6. Vote for A Mom Writing on Top Mommy Blogs here and comment. (1 entry per vote, 1 vote per day)

7. Vote for A Mom Writing on Top Baby Blogs here and comment. (1 entry per vote, 1 vote per day)

Make sure to include your e-mail address in your mandatory entry (if it is not in your profile) so that I have a means of contacting you if you win! The winner will be chosen by random.org on Friday, April 9, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. EST. I will then notify the winner by e-mail; the winner has 48 hours to respond before another winner is picked. Thank you to Yummi Bears Organics for this opportunity!

Contact me at amomwriting@gmail.com

A Mom Writing did not receive monetary compensation for this entry.

Weighting it Out.

I'm down 50 pounds since Gabe was born, and I'm back to pre-pregnancy weight. I'm certainly not shaped the same, and I have a lot more weight to lose, but I am so, so happy.

Me: 1
Evil fatness issues: 0


And I lost it just in time for my Mom-Mom's legendary Easter Brunch, which is chock full of things that will gain me 20 pounds in 1 meal.

I'm bringing champagne cupcakes. Expect an Erin's Edibles post soon!