Friday, January 28, 2011

Birth Art for Baby Girl

Well, hi! It's been a little while-- things as always have been quite busy.

But I have such exciting news! I have switched to a midwife for the remainder of this pregnancy and birth of our baby GIRL. Cheers! We are feeling very blessed to have our second on the way, and we think it is very special that we will have one boy and one girl in our little, growing family.

And our midwife is amazing. She is unlike any other medical professional I have ever met... in such a good way. She sat with us, talked with us, listened to us-- as a couple, as birth partners, as husband and wife, not as 'patient and spouse.' And her answers were never condescending. She didn't roll her eyes at things we said that seemed off (I have no idea if she thought anything we said was weird, which is quite a difference from one particularly rude doctor we encountered at my old OB practice-- that OB rolled her eyes when I acted concerned about being strapped to a bed while laboring naturally, and she flat out laughed while I asked about natural birth classes saying she had never even heard of Bradley. She was joking, right?).

Our new midwife is encouraging and positive-- she didn't focus on what COULD happen negatively, but how to go about making the birth of our daughter a positive experience. And she encouraged both my husband and myself to explore birth art (after she mentioned that we should read Birthing from Within and I said I read it in three days). I might not be an artiste, but I explored art as a student and considered a college career in art so using birth art to explore our feelings about labor is actually quite exciting to me. My husband is having a hard time embracing it because he thinks he can't do it, but he, despite his initial snickers at the thought of birth art way back when, is being supportive, open, and very curious about my use of birth art.

Above is my first piece of birth art done in crayon.
I am laboring in water, supported by my husband. I am warm colors because my body is using and producing strong energy while my husband is in cool colors to keep things calm. There is a tree budding around us because we feel connected to nature, but it also represents our growing family tree. The heart represents our son, Gabriel. The abstract sphere emerging into the tree trunk is our daughter. Around my crayon sketch I have written some phrases that speak to me about birth (some of the phrases are very hypnobirthy).

And then there's waterbirth. Something I never had really considered and then I saw a video. It was so peaceful. Everything was so calm and gentle for both Mom and baby. I read about the benefits-- such as reduced risk of tearing, natural pain coping techniques, and a soft transition for the baby leaving the womb. I read about the risks... which are honestly very low when waterbirth is practiced safely. With my midwife, the baby's numbers need to look great for me to get in or stay in the tub for pushing. And if everything looks good, waterbirth is something we are strongly considering.

What's great about my midwife is that she has done a lot of waterbirths. She is actually on babycenter.com's waterbirth video. And the hospital where I am delivering is waterbirth friendly with a tub equipped for birth in one of the suites.

So we're excited, we're curious, we're a little nervous, but above all, we are now at peace because we have taken the experience in the birth of our daughter into our hands and made it something for us to experience as a family. It's no longer about the medical stuff-- that stuff is important, and our baby's safety and health is our number one priority-- but we are not looking at birth in terms of "going to the doctor" anymore.

And that, is birth art in itself.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet (Giveaway ends 1/11/11)

UPDATE 1/13/11
Winner was selected by random number generator, and has been contacted. Thanks to all who entered!

Well, happy new year all! It has been a lovely start to 2011 already for our little family, and to celebrate, I have some fun for you all with a review and giveaway of The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet by Karin Knight and Tina Ruggiero.

Scroll to the bottom of this page for a sample recipe from the book.
Yes, the recipes include nutrition information. Hot.

So I will just remind you all I love making homemade baby food. It saves money, it's healthier for your child, and it is actually a good time. Obviously, I was ecstatic when I was asked to review this cookbook of homemade baby food recipes.

And I have to say, this book brings it. It's full (as in over 200) of recipes for babies of all ages. In fact, the book is broken up into "chapters" based on baby's age, complete with helpful hints to go along with each stage of food. The book answers a lot of questions parents ask in a short first chapter (Should I Go Organic or Not?), and it serves as a great compass in the ways of homemade food.

What I particularly love about this book is the great variety of recipes in it. I have been making my son's food from the start, and there were ideas in here that sound delicious that I had not thought of (and I was skeptical that nothing in this book would sound new to me). Sure, there are how-to recipes on simple purees, but there are also great ideas for using food in baby-friendly ways (like a strawberry omelette or green beans in cream cheese and yogurt).

These recipes are simple enough to make, but they are inventive so that your babies will enjoy them, and I firmly believe that getting kids to try a variety of foods at a young age will help them to have a more developed and adventurous kid palate. I know it could happen, but I am trying desperately not to have that kid who will not eat anything at the party just because he hates all food. And honestly, I know this book has opened new doors for me involving what I prepare for my son.

One other thing I just wanted to note is that this book is helpful in getting you into new foods for your little one. We are not a huge tofu-eating family so I am sort of intimidated when it comes to preparing it, and this book is totally unassuming of your experience with varied foods-- I felt good that I didn't need to be a vegetarian James Beard winner to know what to do with the tofu mentioned in this book because it points out what is what so that you can successfully prepare the right tofu (or whatever!) product for your kid.

The book is priced at $19.99 and was published in November 2010 so it's a hot new item out there in the baby market. And if you want to make your baby's food, I would buy this book as your go-to-- it really did impress me, and I was not paid to say that. It's hefty and worth the purchase.

And you can win a copy of The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet!
*Include your e-mail in every comment so I can contact you if you win!*

Option #1: Follow this blog (on the left hand side) and leave a comment.

Option #2: Follow @amomwriting on Twitter and leave a comment.

Option #3: Visit
the book's website here: http://www.homemadebabyfood.net/ and tell me something you learned there.

Option #4: Tweet about this giveaway, including a link to this blog post (http://su.pr/1wFGTe), the title of the book, & @amomwriting. (as much as twice per day) Comment for each tweet.

Bon Appetit!

This giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on January 11, 2011. All entries without an e-mail address included are disqualified.

I was given a copy of the book to review, but was not paid for opinions or this giveaway event. These opinions are mine and mine alone.

Excerpted with permission...

7 months: Orange You Cute Carrot and Sweet Potato

Baby carrots can also be cut into thin strips (julienned) and microwaved, steamed, or simmered until very soft and served as finger food. When cooked or served with a little unsalted butter, the fat helps the body absorb the carrots’ vitamin A.

4 baby carrots
1⁄4 cup (60 g) peeled, cubed, and cooked sweet potato
3 tablespoons (45 ml) water

Microwave Method:
Cut the carrots lengthwise, then in half, and place in a small glass bowl with the cooked sweet potato and water. Cover and microwave on high 2 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then purée in a blender or mash with a fork. Use apple juice, breast milk, or formula if needed to achieve desired consistency.

Yield: 4 baby servings, 2 tablespoons (30 g) each

Each serving contains: 12.8 calories; 0.0 g total fat; 0.0 g saturated fat; 0.0 mg cholesterol; 7.1 mg sodium; 3.0 g carbo-hydrates; 0.5 g dietary fiber; 0.3 g protein; 5.0 mg calcium; 0.1 mg iron; 3009.2 IU vitamin A; and 2.1 mg vitamin C.

--The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet, 2010. Knight & Ruggiero.