Thursday, September 29, 2011

Letting Go...

(otherwise known as Here's Where It Gets Messy)

I am a pretty clean person.  No my house is not spotless.  I have twins and a life and as a friend once told me "happy kids are more important than a clean house".  So if you saw my house you would know my kids are happy.  But just the same I try to keep my girls pretty clean.  I don't like them covered in food at the end of a meal and I don't want to bath or change them two or three times a day.  But today I gave in and decided it is more important for them to learn to feed themselves than it is for me to try to keep them spotless (I was failing at it anyway haha).  Kendall is my neat eater and only ended up with food all over her mouth and hands.  Seren on the other in her hair and eyebrows as well as her mouth and hands.  We had cheerios, bananas and cottage cheese by the way.  They had fun and you know did I.  Maybe next time I'll just make messy meal time right before bath time and strip them down to their diapers first.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Constipation Cure Serum

I'm pretty sure that solids added to our constipation issues.  And I'm quite positive that finger foods have added to it even more.  Maybe I'm making it up in my head.  But Kendall has always had bowel issues and she was improving when the introduction of solids brought it back and then came the finger foods and she seems even worse off.  We give her an ounce of prune juice with her morning and evening bottles.  I try to give them some water or apple juice during the day.  And still she cries when she has to get it out and I feel so bad for her. She even had the smallest amount of blood the last time I tried to help her go (holding her thighs up to her tummy).  So...we're back to prune puree or what I'm starting to call our constipation cure serum.

Prune Puree
I buy the semi-dry prunes in the canister at Walmart.  I throw it in my blender and put enough water to just cover the prunes.  Then I puree until it is lump free.  Then I probably add about another cup of water.  I puree it until it's a semi-runny puree (like yogurt).  Then instead of pouring into ice cube trays I just put it in one big tupperware.  When I'm ready to dish some out I use a metal spoon to scoop it (somewhat like ice cream) and then heat it up in the microwave.

We're going to try prune puree for breakfast and prune juice with bedtime bottle and see where we stand.  Then if it's runny we will just go to puree.  We will also be bringing this up again with our pediatrician at their 9 month appointment on the 30th.

Update:  The prune puree and prune juice were a little too much combined.  I have her at a little less than a tablespoon of prune puree for breakfast and the last two days have been going well so this might be the spot for us.  They say to try things for a few days before adjusting usually.

**From my college Biomed courses (human biology and physiology).  When our body gets ready to excrete waste the last amounts of water are absorbed from the waste through the colon.  So when a person (or baby) holds in waste (or has a "slower" gut) and doesn't rid their body of it when the sensation occurs then it leads to additional water or moisture being wicked out therefore causing harder stool**  So although Kendall's stool isn't necessarily like adult constipation it is pretty firm.  I really believe that she hurts when she does go that she gets anxious about the next time and so she holds it in and it gets more firm and adds to the problem.  So we will be working on getting it super soft or even runny again for a while until (hopefully) she doesn't hold it in anymore.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Finger Fooding It

I recently posted about finger foods and the cues to know when your child is ready for finger foods and what foods you might try.  But I thought it would be appropriate to post about the finger foods we have been enjoying trying out.

Cereal Puffs
-yep I'm a sucker.  The girls first exposure to a "finger food" was Cheerios so this seemed like the next logical step.  Plus they reportedly dissolve quickly in their mouth so I felt like it was a safer bet for the nervous mom I was (or am).  The girls loved them and loved feeding themselves but due to expense we have since gone back to Cheerios (more for the money and they still love them).

-simply toasted bread and then broke it into very small bite size pieces.  They loved this one too.  Also when the mango didn't really turn out I used the food mill to mash it up and then spread it on the toast.  The mango toast was also a hit.

Scrambled Eggs
-Thoroughly cooked scrambled eggs and split into small bites.  This was not a hit.  Perhaps it would be more popular next time.

- I used frozen mango (the type used for smoothies) that we had in our freezer.  They reheated nicely but were difficult for the girls to pick up.  This would probably be a no-go at this time.

-I cut them into 1/4 and then sliced them.  They had an easier time grasping these but they were still slippery.  They also seemed to enjoy them.

Cheddar Cheese
-I cut up small bite size pieces (similar in size to a cheerio) and then served them on their trays.  They didn't seem to know what to do with it at first.  Then Seren went after it and enjoyed it.  Kendall took her time and chewed each piece for quite a while.

Cottage Cheese
-I gave them a couple tablespoons of large curd cottage cheese.  They weren't sure how to pick it up but seemed to catch on and get it into their mouths.  I thought it was interesting that when first introduced to cottage cheese (that had been through the food mill) they did not like it.  This time they really liked it.  Maybe texture is a big role player at this age as well.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Foods to Try - 8-10 months

Foods I want to try within this range:
-scrambled eggs as a finger food
-blueberries (again?)
-grapes (cut up - with teeth?)
-cheese (cottage cheese, colby, jack and cheddar)

HOLY COW!! Can we say that is A LOT to get through.  It looks like they can have most things I have ever thought of giving them...minus the forbidden list (honey, certain dairy, nuts, raw eggs, etc)

As we enjoyed some watermelon over the weekend I was thinking...watermelon for baby?  I gave them some and they enjoyed it.

Notes on what I read:  Melons can generally be given from 8 months of age on.  Some believe it can be introduced earlier.  Some babies will develop a rash but from what I was reading this is more likely due to acidity of the melon (never thought of them as acidic myself) and not due to an allergy.  As always use caution just the same and consult your pediatrician prior to any concerning food choices or reactions.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Incredible Edible Egg

Scrambled Eggs
We started off the morning with some scrambled eggs.  I made sure they were fully cooked (no runny or "shiny" egg) and also made sure to cut them into small pieces with the spatula.  Then I let them cool a little and served them to the girls.

Kendall - 3 stars (not so much a like or hate but she's been under the weather so giving her a 3)
Seren - 4 stars (but she had trouble grabbing or stuffing too much in her mouth and then gagging)

*always keep an eye on your child when giving them finger food (especially unfamiliar ones).  Also I think it's best to take an infant CPR class before even starting finger foods and refresher courses too.  I'm thinking of doing another refresher myself.  Most hospitals offer community classes on CPR for free or a small fee.

Update:  I asked about eggs at our 9 month appointment.  I had read that eggs should be cooked fully and I had read that only yolk should be given.  Well per my pediatrician egg whites should not be given until after age one due to risk of egg allergy.  They can be cooked into other items but alone eggs white whether fully cooked or runny should not be given at all.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Combination 2.0

Just a list of some new combinations we've tried and how they have gone over.

Broccoli, Beans and Ham (2 cubes broccoli, 1 cube beans and 1 oz ham)
Seren - 3 stars
Kendall - 3 stars

Butternut Squash and Broccoli (3 cubes squash and 1 broccoli)
Seren - 4 stars
Kendall - 3 stars

Carrots and Parsnips (2 cubes carrot and 2 cubes parsnips)
Seren - 4 stars
Kendall - 4 stars

Yams, Beans and Ham (2 cubes ham, 1 cube beans and 1/2 oz ham)
Seren - 4+ stars
Kendall - 4+ stars
*they LOVED this...they were whining and wiggling for more

Yams and Beans (2 cubes of each)
Seren - 4 stars
Kendall - 4 stars

Mango and Blueberry (2 cubes mango and 1 cube blueberry)
Seren - 3 stars
Kendall - 3 stars

*to be continued......(keep in mind my mixing ratio is for two kiddos so you can shrink it down)

Saturday, September 10, 2011


So I finally got around to making the beans that sat on my shelf.  I tried to make one type first and after following the directions on the bag (ie cooking 1 1/2 hours is all) decided this was not the way to go (that pot of beans went in the trash).  The next attempt I decided to cook the beans on low for hours (estimating 8 hours) but not sure.  This finally seemed to cook the beans to a tender state that could be pureed.  I added about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt because I figured beans would be very bland.  In the future I wouldn't do this.  They didn't need it.

Cooking Beans -general direction-
1 1/2 to 2 cups beans
The package said to spread them out and remove foreign particles so I spread them out and looked for anything unusual but found nothing (but I'm sure it's a safe measure).  Next, I submerged them in water, covering and then an extra inch.  I put this on my stove with a lid and cooked it on low for most of the morning and afternoon.  I think I finally got around to pureeing them in my large blender that evening when they were soft.  They tasted salty to me but my husband said they just tasted like beans to him (maybe it's just the red bean flavor I'm not familiar with).

Cook/Prep Time:  8 hours / 5 minutes to prep and 5-10 minutes to puree
Servings:  40 oz (2 1/2 ice cube trays)
Cost:  $1.25 (estimate)
Notes:  I was tempted to go with canned beans but after reading Wholesome Baby Food's advice determined as always that "fresh is best".

Kendall - 4 stars (red beans)
Seren - 3 stars (red beans)

*black beans are my favorite so we'll see how they like those a few days from now*

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I have meaning to introduce more protein to my girls since they turned 8 months.  We introduced chicken back around 7 months (I think) and this has gone over better recently now that the texture isn't such a problem to them.  Now that the chicken has been polished off I thought we should add another meat into the mix.

From my reading on making ham for baby food it states that it should be "natural" ham...I'm assuming this means ham that isn't cured (extra salt) and isn't lunch meat or some other processed type ham.  I purchased a small smoked ham and cooked it in the oven for lunch/dinner the other night.  It was the type that came with a honey/spice glaze.  I waited until the ham was cooked according to directions, sliced off what I planned on making into baby food and then added the glaze to the rest of the ham for our adult enjoyment.

With the ham that I cut off I removed most of the rind and fatty edges.  I broke it into smaller pieces and then tossed it into my small power blender with some water and blended away.  I blended it until it was mostly puree but this did leave some smaller texture also.  I then used GladWare 4-Ounce Containers to package the ham and freeze it.
Cook/Prep Time:  50 minutes cooking / 5-10 minute prep
Serving:  six 4 oz containers (24 oz)
Cost: approximately $15 for 5 lb ham (I used about 1 to 1 1/2 lb on the baby food ; $3 or $4)
Notes:  I would probably try to freeze these in ice cubes trays in the future as the frozen 4 oz block of ham is hard to break apart and I would like more control over how much ham I use.

Kendall - 3 stars
Seren - 4 stars

Hammy Yams

I mixed 3 cubes of yams with about 1 oz of ham.  Tossed it in the microwave and heated until it was piping hot and then allowed it to cool down before feeding.  The girls liked this combination.  I plan to use ham as a mix in for the most part at this time.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Baby Food Mill and Cottage Cheese

So I made my first Food Mill purchase.  I went with the Green Sprouts Baby Food Mill.  It was cheap and I didn't want to invest money in something I didn't see using for a long time and from reviews it supposedly ground into bigger textures.  Also it had a deeper bowl and so I figured I could feed both girls with one grinding (I hope) based on this.  No other real logic to it than that.  Side note:  Can I just say how much I am loving my free Amazon Mom subscription (no marketing intended really).  But I love get two months free prime shipping and then when you purchase from Amazon Mom you can add on months to this benefit (one additional month for every $25 you spend) and it's free two-day shipping on any Amazon Prime item (not just baby stuff)...nice!
Green Sprouts Baby Food Mill, Green
Green Sprouts Baby Food Mill (BPA free and "green" friendly)
Anyway back to the Food Mill.  I received it in the mail yesterday and was excited to try it out.  So I washed it and decided to throw some cottage cheese into it.  I loaded it wrong (yes I skipped reading the directions) so I then started over and voila milled cottage cheese.  What did the girls think of it?  Kendall liked it and swallowed most of her few spoon fulls and Seren...well not so much.  She gave me the look of "what is this putrid thing you put in my mouth?" and spit most of it out.  Oh well...maybe next time.

Cottage Cheese 
I only did a few tablespoons/ounces and milled it through.  Then just used a baby spoon to feed them right from the bowl.

Serving:  3 tablespoons (approx 3 ounces)
Prep/Cook Time: 2 minutes (super easy)
Price:  approx $4 for a 3 lb tub at my bulk store and I love cottage cheese so it's basically always on hand in our house.

Kendall - 3 stars
Seren - 1 star

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Sippy Cup

Bottle Weaning and Sippy Cups.  The age to start you baby on a sippy cup is dependent on the child.  It is recommended to wait until at least 6 months.  There are many types of sippy cups.  Some are free-flow style and some have a valve so that the child has to suck or bite on it.  Others may have spill resistant design.  Which style you chose is up to you and ultimately up to your child liking it or not.  We went with a spill resistant style at first.  Then a style that had slits which required minimal sucking.  We also introduced the sippy cup to our twins very soon after 6 months of age.  I figured it was best to introduce it early on so they didn't get attached to their bottles for drinking and also they were showing interest in drinking out of our cups as well.
Munchkin 2 Pack Mighty Grip Spill-Proof Cup, 10 Ounce, Colors Vary Vary
 We started with something like this
The First Years Take & Toss With Removable Handles, Pack, Colors May Vary, 7 Ounce
...then moved on to something like this.  However our twins don't seem to have a preference so we still switch it up quite a bit so they don't get settled into one or the other. 

I have also read and heard from family that it's best to keep formula in bottles and juice, water and other liquids in the sippy cup.  That way the child associate the bottle with other liquids besides formula and doesn't expect formula when given a sippy.  Also, when the time comes to drop the formula you simply drop the bottle all together and go to the sippy cup (probably a free-flow style at this point but it probably doesn't matter).  I've also read that if you want to give the child formula in the sippy that it is best to introduce the sippy with formula first and then other liquids.  It's really all trial and error I'm sure.

Tips to introducing a sippy cup:
-Wait until a time when your child is rested and in a good mood.  Introducing a sippy cup to a child who is tired, hungry or thirsty may lead to frustration and tears (for both parties).
-Be prepared to try different types of cups.  Don't give up if your child doesn't like the first style you offer them.
-If you are using the valve type and your child has difficulty try removing the valve.  Be aware that this makes the liquid flow fairly quick and your child might need help.
-Demonstrate (without actually drinking from) how the sippy cup is used and making appreciate sounds or slurping sounds to clue your child into the purpose of the cup if they don't seem to understand what is inside.

Water down juice to reduce the sweetness factor and also offer water frequently in the cup so there isn't an expectation for juice.  Don't offer or send a child to bed with a sippy or bottle as formula and juice can cause tooth decay.


I am definitely not an expert here as I've never even gotten through weaning one child yet.  My only knowledge is from what I've read, what I believe and of course experienced parents who have done this a number of times.

Weaning is the process of introducing an infant to what will eventually be it's adult diet.  "Starting solids" is also a common phrase.  It is also the process of increasing the solid intake and lessening the breast milk or formula intake.  It does not mean taking away the formula or breast milk from baby's diet.  Many mother's breast feed until close to two years old (some even longer).  Typically a formula fed baby is switched over to milk at one year.  I always thought this was supposed to be whole milk but recently read that if a child is predisposed to obesity or overweight for their size already that 2% milk can be given (I'm sure this would be determined by your doctor).  Some parents also chose to go with soy milk or other types of milk.  This should also be discussed with your doctor in case supplements are needed to provide full nutrition.  Do not cut out breast milk or formula with the introduction of solids.  As my doctor put it when I asked about when it was appropriate to replace a meal fully with solids...formula (or breast milk) is important for your baby because it provides the full nutrition they need whereas solids are only providing bits and pieces at this point.

From a handout my pediatrician gave me:  Infants 0-4 months should have 5-10 feedings a day (16-32 oz).  Infants 6 months of age should have 4-7 feedings a day (24-40 oz).  Infants 6-8 months should have 3-5 feedings a day (24-31 oz).  Infants 8-10 months should get 3-4 feedings a day (16-32 oz).  Infants 10-12 months should have 3-4 feedings a day (16-24 oz).  A feeding is breast milk or formula and does not include the amount of solids your child is eating.  For more information on solids and amounts to give refer to your doctor.  This is simply a guideline I was given and is not meant to substitute medical advice.

Baby Led Weaning.  Many parents also practice or use baby led weaning.  I hadn't heard of this until I started reading up on solids.  Basically it is allowing your baby the opportunity to express interest in the food you are eating and to not introduce solids or food before this point.  Some parents just start offering the same food that they are eating (probably pureed or put through a food mill for texture depending on the age of the child).  This would also include age appropriate food that isn't at a high risk for allergens.

Finger Foods

Never underestimate your kids.  And I guess never underestimate their desire to do things.  Their desire to move.  Their desire to talk.  Their desire to connect.  Their desire to feed themselves.

I wasn't planning on introducing any finger foods until around 10 months.  I had read that introducing them too early can lead to frustration for baby with self-feeding and a negative impact in the long run for self-feeding.  But then we went to Florida and my mom broke out the Cheerios for them.  And what happened?  They LOVED them.  We broke them in halves and thirds at first to prevent choking and then by the end of the week we were giving them whole cheerios.

When we returned home I got out the baby cereal puffs that I had purchased and let them try these.  They couldn't get enough of them.  Then today I put one into Kendall's fingers and she quickly put it to her mouth.  She missed the target once or twice but quickly learned to pick them up and stuff them in her mouth (one at a time mind you).  Seren also caught on quickly, although she would often fist her's and had some issue getting it into her mouth from there but not for long.  So after several minutes of my husband and I playing with them and teaching them to pick them up I moved them to their high chairs, put the tray with a few puffs in front of them and viola.  They were feeding themselves.  And having a ball with it.  Seren was giggling and smiling and Kendall was going for puff after puff (swallowing in between) and whining when she ran out.  I guess I was wrong on my timing for starting finger foods.  We definitely will move into the bigger and harder to eat stuff with caution for choking but I think they love being able to do something for themselves finally.

Finger foods can be introduced (from what I've read) around 8 to 10 months of age.  It really depends on the child and their coordination.  A lot of the factory finger foods will label these for as "crawler" stage.  The most important thing of course is the pincer grasp (food between thumb and forefinger).  Other big indicators it's okay to try finger foods include:  ability to sit upright without support, ability to crawl and making a chewing motion.  I have also heard that having teeth can be an indicator although neither of my dears have any teeth yet and they have done just fine with these.  Obviously with chunkier food or foods that require biting teeth would be important.  Like everything else it's on a child-to-child basis so only you really know when your child might be ready.