Monthly Archives: February 2011

She Says… WINNER and looking for a new daycare

First things first — we have a winner from the Boogie Wipes giveaway! According to random number generator, the winner is #8, Casey. Thanks to everyone who entered! Casey, I’ll email you to get your mailing address.

In other news, I drove out to our new house again yesterday to scope out and visit a new daycare. As soon as we put in the offer on the house I began Googling daycares in the area, because I signed up for daycare while 18 weeks pregnant and my unborn baby STILL did not get the start date he wanted. So I don’t know how people just up and move and find spots in daycares. My mind went into overdrive — maybe they don’t! Maybe we’ll need to get a nanny (which will make working from home really hard, and will probably be more expensive), or I’ll have to take a leave of absence from my job, or we’ll have to continue driving an hour in traffic to our old daycare every morning…

Alas, I really didn’t need to worry so much. Apparently there are more spots to be had out in the ‘burbs, and though several of the daycares I called were full (in the infant rooms, at least), several had spots available. So I picked the one I liked best based on their website and a personal recommendation or two, and set up a tour.

The biggest bonus of this place? It’s walking distance from the new house. That’s right, we may be moving to the ‘burbs and still be walking distance from the town center, the library, the post office, the commuter rail stop, the elementary school AND daycare. That’s truly awesome. In my wildest dreams, I didn’t think that was going to be possible.

The first thing that struck me when I walked in was that it was NOT Kindercare. I adore our current daycare, which is a Kindercare center. I love the wide hallways and glass windows on all the rooms. I love the lined up cubbies and the cribs that line the walls and the tiny tables and chairs in the bigger kids’ rooms. Aesthetics are incredibly important to me, and when I walk into Kindercare every morning, I love how neat and tidy and clean it is. This new daycare had a very different vibe. It is set up in a old mansion, so the rooms are smaller and a little darker and everything seemed a little mismatched and unorganized. That said, they had all the accoutrements necessary for happy, healthy childcare, the kids looked truly happy and the teachers all seemed extremely warm and inviting. I’ve got to say, though, I was put off by the things that were different from our Kindercare.

I was expecting to put money down on the spot; to love the new place as much as I had loved Kindercare when we first went there. I felt sort of ambivalent about it, though, so I kept my checkbook in my purse and took the information home with me to think about it.

As I was leaving I saw a mom putting her baby in a carseat and I asked her what she thought of the place. She said, hands down, it was the best. possible. place. she could have sent her kids. She has a 3 year old and a 6 month old, and she said the teachers are outstanding and the place as a whole is a really great community.

Perhaps I should get over my comparisons to Kindercare and sign the papers. It sounds fantastic. The kids learn Spanish and American Sign Language every day, are exposed to things like Mandarin and yoga and Zumba a few times a month, and they have visiting groups like puppeteers and scientists. Sounds awesome, right?

On the way home as tears pricked my eyes as I thought about switching daycares, I realized that I think I’m going to find something wrong with every daycare other than my current daycare. I just love them. And it IS going to be hard to switch Owen to somewhere new, but they will get to know him and love him the same way that our current daycare has.

It’s just a matter of time.

She Says… 7 Months

My sweet little man,

How in the world are you 7 months old already?! You have passed the halfway point in your first year. Time is practically flying by.

Here’s a little secret: Daddy and I feel like we’ve won the baby lottery with you. You are pretty much perfect. You have such a cheerful, laid back, silly personality. It’s amazing to me just how much of your personality we can already see, even after just a few months. But you certainly are your own little tiny person now. You are hilarious. You make faces and laugh this adorable little belly laugh. All we have to do is sit next to you and make a sound at you and you laugh like we are the best comedians in the world. Your teachers at daycare notice it too — the notes about your day often say things like “Owen had a very silly day. He laughed and laughed.” I love to watch other peoples’ faces as you come into a room, because they can’t help but smile. You have this constantly amazed/entertained face, which, combined with your “excited hands” hovering in mid-air, makes the people around you erupt with joy.

I hope you never lose that content, easy spirit. It will serve you well. The ability to bounce back and continue to laugh even after things don’t go your way is one of the most important skills I can teach you.

You still eat like a champ. Sometimes I wonder where you put all the food that you eat, since you’re still a little guy compared to others your age. You put back 30+ ounces of formula and 3 bowls of food a day. You’ve tried lots of new foods this past month; Mama’s getting bolder in experimenting with new flavors and textures. You have a new favorite food! In the very beginning it was avocado (your 1st food), then it was peas, and now it is, hands down, CHICKEN. Daddy and I make roasted chicken and vegetables about once a week for dinner. A week or two ago I threw an extra chicken breast in the pan for you, seasoning and all. I blended it up with some of the yummy pan juices for you to try. You kicked your legs and your little eyes danced. You LOVE chicken. I’ve also started adding turmeric, garlic, cinnamon and other spices to your dishes sometimes, and you seem to really enjoy the new flavors. A kid after my own heart!

I love making food for you and creating new combos of food for you to try. In nearly 3 months of eating solid food, you’ve never once rejected a food (except yogurt in the very beginning, which was no doubt a big shock, because it was fresh out of the ‘fridge and you’re used to warm food)! I’m so proud of you.

In fact, I think you may be a budding chef. My Kitchenaid mixer is next to your high chair, and you’ve gotten into the habit of reaching out for it as we lift you up from your chair. We’ve named it “Mmmmmister Mmmmmmixer” to practice an “mmm” sound. You happily gaze at the shiny silver bowl and grab the red ceramic base with your chubby hands. I’ve even let you sit on the counter next to it and you happily play with the bowl with one hand and open and shut the toaster with the other hand. It’s the cutest thing. I would be VERY pleased to raise a chef!

A chef or a circus performer. You are a total daredevil and squeal with delight when we toss you up in the air and throw you around. Mama’s gonna need to get bigger muscles if we’re going to continue to toss you around like that!

You’re rolling and scooting and exploring. It’s amazing to watch you problem solve as you figure out how to get your little body over to a certain toy or (more often) cell phone or tv remote. You’re so, so close to crawling, but you still haven’t figured out how to rock up on your knees to get yourself moving. You’ll get there. And I have a feeling that once you do, I’m not going to be able to do anything except chase after you. So I’m not rushing this milestone :)

You’re still sleeping like a little angel as well. 12 hours at night and naps have shifted to a 2 hour morning nap and a 1 hour afternoon nap. When I come in your room to wake you up, you are often rolling from side to side, sucking on your sleep sack and staring at your mobile.

You and Schnitzel have started to create a beautiful friendship over the last few weeks. He has a special growling sound he does only when he’s playing with you, and he loves to bring toys and lay them on top of you, hoping you’ll play tug-of-war with him. Someday, my little darling, you’ll  be big enough to play with him. As much as I look forward to that day, I cherish these last few days of you as my tiny one who needs my help to do just about everything. You’re growing so quickly and I just want to stop time and soak you all up.

I love you, my little prince. I love spending every day with you, and I look forward to the next time I get to see your sweet smile.

Love,
Mama

She Says… Boogers x 2 and GIVEAWAY

When Owen first started daycare a few weeks ago I blogged about how disgusting the kids were with boogers streaking down their faces. People kept telling me how the first year or two (or three) of daycare are rough, and that Owen would have a constant cold. They joked about how our whole family would go through it, and just when we thought we were getting over an illness, another one would come along. Hardy har har. I guess I believed them, but I also had a bit of an invincibility syndrome. I thought, “They’re probably right, but I’m sure it won’t be that bad” or “That won’t happen to us; I almost never get sick”.

Ummm, I was wrong. They were right. ‘Nuff said.

After his first week there, Owen came down with his first illness. It hit him pretty hard, but he [mostly] recovered after some meds and a week of extra cuddles. Shortly after that I got a stuffy nose and a cough for a few days. Since then I’ve been feeling ok, but never really shook the snotty nose and sinus pressure. Over the last few days Owen seemed to be getting worse rather than better (he, too, never entirely shook the congestion). And then I started getting worse rather than better. Now we’re quite a pair — both of us full of snot and sneezing like we’re in a cartoon and someone is tickling our noses with a feather.

Enter:

Boogie Wipes are saline wipes that dissolve dried boogers off of little noses without creating dry, chapped skin like tissues. Read: They are magic if your kid is a little booger breeder like Owen. They are made with natural saline and are alcohol, phthalate and paraben free. And for kids who are tissue-phobic, they even come in fun scents like grape and menthol.

The Boogie Moms (Boogie Wipes creators and “mompreneurs”) were kind enough to send me some samples to test out on Owen’s chapped, little nose. I whipped them out as soon as I received them. Verdict: THEY ARE AWESOME. The dried boogers literally dissolve and wipe away, and Owen didn’t even squirm and whip his head around like he does when I use a tissue or burp cloth. I’ll be honest, the grape scent is a bit too, uhh, grapey for my taste. But maybe a 4 year old would differ with me. The unscented, menthol flavor and “Achooz” (Boogie Wipes for adults) are much better, in my opinion!

They are currently sponsoring a cute campaign called Save the Sleeve, which is a fun, interactive way to teach kids about healthy ways to deal with boogers (like not wiping them on their hands or sleeve). Owen’s a bit young for this, but older kids would totally dig it!

Side note: The Boogie Moms are an awesome example of moms who had a great idea and turned it into a successful business. Very inspiring ladies! You can read about them here.

Don’t you wish you had some Boogie Wipes too? It’s February, and it’s been a LONG winter, so I’m guessing the answer is yes. Here’s your chance! The Boogie Moms have offered to send 2 packs of 30-count wipes to a lucky This Place is Now a Home reader. That’s a lot of boogies, my friends.

Here’s what you need to do to enter the giveaway:

1. Show the Boogie Moms some love: Like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, join the Save the Sleeve campaign, and/or join the Boogie Bunch.

2. Leave me a comment telling me who in your family needs the boogie wipes and why.

3. Share the good news! If you’re on Twitter, use the button below to tweet about this giveaway. If you have a blog, link back to this post. Leave me another comment letting me know you’ve spread the word.

At the end of the day on Thursday, February 24th we’ll pick a winner (didja catch that boogie reference?!).

She Says… BFFs

A dog is a boy’s best friend, right? Well it took a few months, but I think Schnitzel is finally growing into that title.

Now when Schnitzel and I go in to wake Owen up from a nap or in the morning, you wouldn’t even know I was in the room. Owen locks eyes with Schnitzel and sticks his chubby fingers against the side of his crib so Schnitzel can sniff them and give them a lick. Owen’s gummy grin opens up and he just stares and smiles. When we’re playing on the floor in Owen’s room, Schnitzel will go downstairs and grab a toy, and then come up and nestle himself right next to Owen as he chews away, dropping the toy on Owen every once in awhile trying to entice him to play tug-of-war. Owen practices connecting his rolls and new skill of scooting to maneuver himself closer to Schnitzel so he can get a nice handful of his soft fur.

Schnitzel has always been a laid back dog, but his patience with Owen is practically angelic. He lets Owen roll into him and grab his feet and his whiskers, and pays him back with endless licks all over his face and ears and neck and head (and hands and feet and tummy and arms and on and on and on). He also has this playful growl that we call his “Owen voice” that he only uses when playing with Owen. It makes Owen smile and open his mouth and Schnitzel does his best to get his tongue in there reallyfast before I can intervene.

Wanna see? I took this video a week or two ago, before Owen learned how to roll over from back to tummy. Warning: Mommy Cam alert. This is not Benjamin’s beautiful camerawork. It’s long, unedited, and I almost drop the camera pulling a dog toy out of Owen’s mouth. But you get the idea :)

Since we spend so much time playing with Schnitzel during the day, I also spend a lot of time saying things like, “That’s the DOGGIE. DOG. DOGGIE. Doggies say WOOF WOOF”, which Owen finds hilarious. I am going to place a bet now that Owen’s first word is dog, or some derivative thereof, and not Mama. THAT’S a best friend.

She Says… Determined

A week or two ago, Owen learned how to roll from his back to his tummy. Previous to that he rolled from tummy to back quite easily, in both directions; but on his back he was kind of like a turtle. A happy turtle, but he wasn’t going anywhere fast. His arms and legs never stopped moving with his signature wiggles, and he would even grab his feet and roll over to each side to look at toys, but he just couldn’t figure out how to finish the roll. Anyway, he finally figured it out. And I even caught the 2nd one on video (so Daddy could see, since he was out of town). But alas, I haven’t had the time to UPLOAD said video, so you’ll have to wait until I can publish a new set of “Mama Cam” videos from the last few weeks to see the cuteness.

So now that he’s figured it out, he’s a rolling machine. He cranes his neck and rolls his body around, grabbing at toys and giggling his little face off. Playtime now consists of him sitting and playing for a minute or two, then launching himself forwards so he face plants on the floor, then connecting rolls and turning around in circles on his tummy until he can grab everything within his armspan. It’s totally adorable.

However, I think this newfound skill has made him acutely aware of something he canNOT do. Crawl. Now that he spends so much time on his tummy, he stretches his arms and legs out (doing little baby “supermans” like Jillian Michaels does on my workout videos) and uses every muscle in his body to try to crawl, but nothing happens. The last few days he has gotten very frustrated while pushing his torso up off the floor, and it seems as though he wants nothing more than to be able to MOVE rather than just push up and fall down. Last night during our post-daycare play hour he was getting so frustrated he was straining and fussing while on his stomach. I helped him roll over to his back since he seemed like he was stuck on his tummy. He smiled for a minute, cooed, and then immediately rolled back to his tummy and kept right on fussing.

I am pretty sure he is going to stay on his tummy (and fuss) until he learns how to crawl. He seems pretty darn determined.

In the meantime, watching him try to figure it out is at the same time hilarious and painful. It’s easy enough for me to see what he’s doing wrong (he needs to get up on his knees, or master the army crawl with his arms), but it’s absolutely baffling his little brain. I guess this is the first of many times in his life when I’ll have to let him struggle it out to learn an important lesson.

Any bets on how long it will take him to learn how to crawl? How long did it take your baby to get from scooting and doing pushups to crawling? Any way I can help him figure it out?

She Says… Pangs

This morning the weatherwoman called for a balmy 40 degree day, so I was practically giddy about walking Owen and Schnitzel to daycare. 40 degrees is so much warmer than it has been around here! Apparently I forgot that “warmer than the last few months” does not actually mean warm. I still needed gloves. But it’s an improvment.

As we walked to daycare and Schnitzel stopped to sniff all of his favorite spots, I began to think about how different things will be in a few months when we move. We’ll still be able to walk most places (thank goodness!), so it probably won’t be that different, but we will need to find new routes and meet new friends and make a different routine. Schnitzel knows the way to daycare. He knows the walk we normally take. He turns into our street  before I do. He knows which people passing him by have dog treats for him, and the temperaments of all the neighborhood dogs. He knows which street lamps have the best scents. He adores our dog walker.

And although the rest of us can prepare to leave this house and look forward to moving into another one, Schnitzel cannot. One day he will be walking his normal path, and the next day we’ll be somewhere totally different. And I wonder if he’ll be sad. We’ll find a new groomer and new dog parks and new street lamps to sniff, but I wonder if he’ll miss this place. He’s been here since he was 8 weeks old, a tiny little puppy who wriggled in our arms and could barely walk down our street without getting tired. Everyone knows him, from the guy who sells hot dogs from his cart in the summer to the other dog owners who have little dog parties in the evenings letting their dogs off leash. Sometimes we’ll be walking down the street and I’ll hear someone yell, “Schnitzel!” from their car. I don’t even know who it is, but they say hi to Schnitzel.

This morning on our walk we saw no less than 4 people who stopped to pat him, give him a treat, chat with me for a moment. He waited patiently outside of daycare while I dropped Owen off, and pranced home, just like every other day.

I felt a little pang of guilt for taking him away from his happy home. And a little pang of sadness about leaving all the relationships we’ve built here. I know it will be an amazing opportunity to grow our family and create new memories, but it’s still a little sad to leave. Thank goodness we have until May so we can enjoy the beginning of spring here.

She Says… Mom Ears

Moms have a number of different superpowers that seem to bubble up to the surface once they have a baby:

  • Mom touch (the gentle hug that makes booboos go away and stops tears)
  • Mom eyes-in-the-back-of-her-head (the ones that catch the little munchkins, and husbands, stealing cookies or picking bites out of the food she’s cooking for dinner)
  • Mom strength (that can lift a car or run faster than a train to save her baby)
  • Mom brain (that may not be able to remember what day it is or if she brushed her hair this morning, but somehow still remembers to pack lunches and find lost mittens and bake cookies for her child’s kindergarten class)
  • Mom sense (the ability to know if her baby has a fever with the quick touch of her hand, the feeling that there’s going to be a poopsplosion right before she gets in the car so she waits it out, the feeling of understanding every little pout and sad face)

Over the last few weeks I think I’ve developed a new one: Mom ears. When Owen was teeny tiny, I would leave the monitor on full blast so that I could hear every little creak and breath and finger wiggle. Since he started sleeping through the night a few months ago, I slowly turned the monitor down, night by night, so that I wasn’t waking up every time he stirred. He is very good at putting himself back to sleep if he wakes during the night, so Benjamin and I give him the opportunity to practice this important skill by not going to him when he cries (to a point — if he cries for awhile and the sound of his cry is escalating or sounds different than normal, you better believe we’re in there in a heartbeat).

Once we hit that point of letting him fuss it out at night, there was nothing helpful about me waking up every time he made a noise just to listen to him cry and make sure he settled down. So a week or two ago I did something I had never done before: I turned the monitor OFF. It felt quiet. Too quiet. I felt guilty that I wouldn’t hear him, but Benjamin reminded me that if we’re not going in there anyway, what’s the point of us all not sleeping? And since I did that, something amazing happened. It’s like my ears have tuned into the exact sound of his cry. I can sleep through Benjamin coming home from a work trip and brushing his teeth and climbing into bed, but when Owen is crying, my eyes pop open like someone just smacked me across the face. It’s not that his cry is loud (though his room is right next to ours in a converted attic space), it’s that my body reacts so strongly to the sound of his voice. One night I even woke up and was listening to him fuss when Benjamin woke up too. He said, “What’s wrong?” I said, “Owen’s crying”. And he could barely hear him!

An interesting study was done that showed that men are more likely to be woken up by crickets chirping or a dripping faucet than a baby crying. A baby crying didn’t even make the top ten for men. For women, it’s #1. Dripping faucet is #2, which I really don’t understand. When was the last time you woke up to water dripping? Anyway, I digress.

Certainly there is something biological that accounts for my mom ears! What are your mom superpowers?

She Says… This Place Will Be a Home

What a whirlwind weekend. If you follow me on Twitter you know that Benjamin and I did something very exciting yesterday — we bought a house! Well, technically we haven’t bought it yet; but we put an offer on a house, it was accepted, and we are schedule to close in May. We’re excited. And stunned. And in a little bit of shock.

How did this happen? Let’s  back up a few weeks.

Around the beginning of the year Benjamin and I started looking at houses. We currently live in half of a two-family house in a happenin’ little area just a short T ride away from Boston. It’s very urban, and we’ve loved the convenience of being able to take the T/walk everywhere (well, I do; Benjamin still seems to drive everywhere… but that’s another topic entirely). Anyway, now that Owen is in the picture we felt ready to take the plunge and head away from the city in hopes of a bigger house with a bigger yard and better schools. The latter was kind of the driving force behind the move, though our cramped quarters and dealing with the crazy amounts of snow this winter with no garage added to the equation. We knew exactly what we wanted in a house… the only problem was being able to afford it in a city that has easy access to Boston via the commuter rail.

We scoured the listings and went out a few times with a realtor to see our top choices. It became very clear very quickly that we just couldn’t afford what we wanted. And we were being very picky. Since there’s really no immediate reason we need to move, we were prepared to sit and wait for the perfect house to come along, no matter how long it took (although we really didn’t want to spend another winter in the city without a garage!).

Little did we know, it wasn’t going to take very long.

This past Sunday morning, Benjamin saw this house listed. It had been on the market for 1 day. It had every. single. thing. we had on our “must have” list, and nearly all of the things on our “nice to have” list. It was in one of our top choice towns (great schools! cute/active town center! easy access to Boston!). And the best part? It was WALKING DISTANCE to the adorable town center, the commuter rail stop, and the elementary school. I didn’t actually know all of those things would be possible in the ‘burbs, but apparently they are. Not to mention the fact that the house is only a few years old, so it’s updated and beautiful and has space organized just as we need it. The ONLY problem… it was above our price range. Only just above our price range, though, so after a little argument (Benjamin saying we shouldn’t even see it, me saying I was willing to stretch us a little to have a house this perfect), we decided to see it.

It was even better in person than in the pictures (which is NOT always the case when house shopping — believe me!). It’s just… perfect for us. We were practically giddy when we left. We had to have it.

We stressed and giggled and imagined our lives there, and then called our realtor to put an offer together. After a long deliberation with the seller, they accepted (mere minutes before our offer was going to expire). We close in May.

Wow. That happened fast.

She Says… Cheeks-Be-Gone

I wrote a few weeks ago about how Owen was dealing with some overly rosy cheeks. At that point I didn’t really know if the redness and irritation were just normal “winter cheeks”, and, thus, unavoidable in this ridiculously snowy and freezing Boston winter, or something more. I asked everyone I came into contact with — moms, daycare teachers, the doctor, and everyone had a different answer. General consensus was that it looked like eczema, but the cause could have been any number of things (cold weather, food allergy, cow’s milk protein sensitivity, contact allergy, virus, fever/heat rash, bad habit of scratching the cheeks while sleeping, etc.).

I tested several theories like food allergies by restricting foods for a few weeks at a time and saw no change. We kept him inside for a few days at a time to see if it was going for walks outside that was causing the irritation. No change. The level of redness/itchiness varied from day to day, but was pretty constant. If I remember correctly, it started back in late November (right when the weather got particularly frigid, which is why I didn’t do anything about it for so long), so I’m fairly certain it’s not a virus or a passing bug. It was clearly bothering Owen because he would wake up every morning with bloody scratches down his cheeks and inside his ears, despite putting socks on his hands and slathering him in Aquaphor/vaseline before bed. The scratching inside the ears made me think maybe it was an ear infection, but we’ve been to the doctor three times in the last 3 weeks, treated for an ear infection once, did a full course of Amoxicillin, and then checked again and pronounced “all clear”.

After a few days of looking better, I woke up to this poor little sight.


There are no other signs of eczema on his body. He has some raised bumps on his arms and legs, but they are not dry like his face, and they are not red or irritated. I have some of these little bumps too, so I think they are unrelated to the face thing. Sigh. Poor little peanut. Even though we (still!) don’t exactly know the cause, we are still doing our best to treat the eczema.

After a few weeks of trial and error, I’ve found some things that have worked wonders on his skin:

  • not using soap in the bath (or only every few days and only on his body, not his face)
  • adding a few drops of jojoba oil to the bath for moisture
  • slathering his face in Hydrolatum (available over the counter, but you have to ask for it at the pharmacy), like a thick, creamy, white version of vaseline/petroleum jelly, as soon as he gets out of the bath and after every diaper change
  • using over the counter (1%) hydrocortisone on the worst days, but used sparingly, since from what I’ve read, it can thin the skin
  • keeping his nail extremely short, like, clipping them every. single. day.
  • pinning his hands down when he drinks a bottle (I hate doing this, but he has a habit of scratching his face while he drinks, and sometimes without even knowing he will make himself bleed)
  • using a humidifier as much as possible (every night, and often when we play in his nursery) and NOT using a little space heater I had been using on very cold nights

After almost a week of the above treatments, his skin looks FABULOUS. There are still little patches of redness, but no more itching and no more bleeding. Thank goodness! If it doesn’t go away entirely once the weather warms, I am going to investigate a milk sensitivity (since his formula is milk-based and that is a relatively common issue with babies). For now, though, I’d rather not rock the boat with his eating since we have a great routine going, and we’ve made it through a rocky period with his reflux/tongue tie/nursing issues.

Anything else you have tried that you recommend for treating ultra sensitive, eczema-prone skin?

She Says… Baby Food is Good Food!

I have written before about how I love to cook and eat great food. Over the last few months I have forayed into something new in the kitchen — making baby food. Even before Owen started eating food, I thought a lot about my own food philosophy and how I hope to cultivate a happy, healthy relationship with food for him. This blog post on the topic turned controversial, though in rereading it I’m not entirely sure why, because I still stand by what I wrote. I guarantee that, down the road, there will be days when Owen will refuse “the healthy stuff”, but the bottom line is that if you don’t feed kids crap, they won’t eat crap. Period. And at least for now, I’m still in charge of what goes in his mouth! Although we won’t always be perfect, I think it’s still worth doing my very best to strive for a diet of mostly natural, whole foods and whole grains, with limited added sweeteners and processing. I’m not crazy about everything being organic (though when he moves into meat and dairy, I might be more inclined to stick to organic and hormone-free), rather, my focus is on eating pure, whole foods without additives.

In an effort to introduce him to the BEST flavors and textures out there, and to be sure that there’s nothing but food in his food, I make my own baby food. (Side note: Please do not leave me lots of nasty comments and emails about how I am judging people who do not make their own baby food. I am not. I’m talking about ME, not YOU). I was prepared for it to be a chore; a chore I was willing to do, but a chore nonetheless. But it’s not! It’s so easy and… I daresay… fun!

There are lots of cookbooks out there about cooking for your child. At this point we’re doing all purees, and haven’t added anything like spices, so there’s really no cookbook needed. However, I have found the So Easy Baby Food line of products to be incredibly helpful. My sister (a mother of two who also makes most of her baby food) sent me the So Easy Baby Food book and two of the lidded ice cube trays for freezing.

Essentially the steps to making your own baby food are to:

  • Chop up the veggies (frozen or fresh) into small chunks
  • Steam/bake/boil until they are mushy (I like steaming to keep as many nutrients as possible in the food and not in the cooking liquid)
  • Puree (I like to use a food processor for  big batches and tough stuff, like peas, or an immersion blender for smaller batches or easy-to-puree things like sweet potatoes)
  • Pour into the trays and freeze
  • Pop them out and move them to a labeled ziploc and use the trays for the next batch of food

Since Owen started eating solids at 4 months he has had: avocado, peas, green beans, sweet potato, butternut squash, spinach, apples, bananas, prunes, white beans and yogurt. All of those have been homemade except the prunes (that seems like WAY too much work!). And rice and oats (from a box). One time we tried jarred carrots, but he didn’t seem to love them, and once I tasted them I knew why. Yuck! No more carrots for us until he can eat them (steamed) as a finger food, I think. Also, the white beans may not have been the smartest choice. He was ok for a few days and then had crazy amount of gas/burps. I can’t be SURE it was from the beans, but I think we’re going to put the beans on hold for another month or two.

I never really subscribed to the “eat one and only one food for several days at a time” philosophy. I started with one food, and then built from there, adding only one food at a time so I could easily figure out the cause if he had a reaction to the new food, but instead of separating foods I continually mix them together. I figure this gives him a little different flavor with every bite and every concoction we put together. He seems to dig it! Today I sent him off to daycare with a bowl of apples, bananas and oats, and a bowl of sweet potato, green beans and rice. Not a bad day of eats. When he comes home he’ll get one more bowl, probably something like spinach and yogurt or something like that.

I’m always looking for new things to add to his repertoire. What other foods have your babies tried?