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Showing posts with label Baby Books. Show all posts

If you want to be a know it all in your mom's group click here

Sometime towards the end of your pregnancy it may occur to you that soon you will be sent home from the hospital with an infant.  More disturbingly, you will, in fact, be the adult in that relationship and be asked to make all sorts of decisions you don't feel like you have any business making.

Cue panic.

So here is what you do - breathe deeply and buy yourself a copy of Baby 411.  This book is seriously most of what you need to get through the first year.  I read this book in my last month of pregnancy and have been using it as a reference continuously with both children ever since.  It has answers to all of the questions that will be discussed ad nauseum in your new mom's group (you should find yourself a new mom's group).  Questions like:

  1. "What's that on my child's head?" (answer: cradle cap).  
  2. "What's that burning sensation in my breast when I nurse?" (answer: thrush).
  3. "When can I give my baby his first bath?" (answer: when the umbilical cord falls off).
  4. "When will I be able to sleep in again?" (ahaha... trick question)
But in all seriousness, it has great discussions of many different topics such as developmental milestones, building and teaching your child healthy sleep habits, how to introduce solid foods, when to call your doctor and when to head to the ER etc.  The thing that makes this book such a convenient reference is that the information is organized by topic (ex. sleep chapter, solid food chapter, etc.) as opposed to by age.  Since babies are all different (thrush can strike any time!), organizing the book this way makes it much easier to quickly find the section you're looking for while your baby is screaming in your ear.  Additionally, when a medical problem is discussed there is always a clear chart that tells you which things are a true emergency and which ones are a "wait and see" situation.  Not only that, but every recommendation sites its source, so if you are inclined to dig through the actual literature on allergy prevention or autism early detection you know exactly where to start.

Furthermore, the sleep chapter has an incredibly concise description of the current science on baby sleep as well as full reviews of the most popular sleep books.  This chapter was so comprehensive (yet short and easy to read) that we were able to get our daughter through all her sleep hiccups without having to do further reading (score!).

The information presented in this book is clear, the answers easy to understand, and further books are recommended for topics that need more in depth coverage than what they can facilitate.  If you're only going to read one book about babies (and you should read at least one), this is the one.

Do I need a baby food maker to make baby food?

No!  There... shortest post evah!!  Just kidding, obviously I'm going to ramble on for a lot more words than that.

Confession: we never bought baby food because I am a freak who is a little (ok A LOT) obsessed with food.  I was SO EXCITED to introduce solids to our baby because I was totally psyched to let her in on all the fun things she'd be enjoying for the rest of her life (joke was on me because now she is a really picky eater as a toddler... sigh).  And so, when she was around 5 months old I started majorly lusting after all the adorable baby food making systems.  I'm sure you've seen them all too... the BEABA Classic, the BEABA Pro, the Magic Bullet Baby System, the Baby Brezza, the Nutribaby Zen food processor, and I'm sure a dozen others.

Then, my husband talked me down to earth.  All of these things consisted of 2 parts - a way to steam veggies and a way to blend them - that's all.  "But! But!" I protested, "the easy cleaning! we can keep using it post baby!"  Then, after just a minute of thinking, we realized that we could simply upgrade our steaming/blending abilities and not be restricted to the small volumes afforded by the baby food makers.  Now, having fed a child all the way through to toddler-hood, I'm here to tell you that babies also just don't eat purees for that long. Not only that, but there are lots of "real people" foods you can feed them. All the more reasons that investing in a system is a total waste of money and space.

That said, we did buy a little bit of new kitchen gear to satisfy my lust.  And so, without further ado, here is the fully complete set of things you need to make your own baby food.
  1. 1. A way to steam things, though frankly you possibly don't even need this.  Many "baby" foods (sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, pears, etc.) can also be baked in the oven you already surely own.  However, it is the most convenient way to prepare spinach, peas, and zucchini.  So if you're looking to upgrade your game here, I recommend the OXO Good Grips Silicone Steamer.  It stores small and works great.  And if you don't have some already, you may want to grab some Silicone Gripper Tongs while you're at it.

  2. 2.  A way to blend things.  Here I cannot recommend the Breville Control Grip Immersion Blender enough.  I've always loved making blended soups and this thing has changed my life (I previously owned a $30 Cuisinart, it was fine, but not true love).  You don't need a fancy blender to make baby food.  Frankly a fork will probably do, but sometimes mama deserves something nice, right?  

  3. 3. A way to preserve the food.  Lots of people simply use ice cube trays, but getting the food out of them can be a pain. Here I really recommend the Mumi&Bubi Baby Food Freezer Storage Trays.  The food really does slide right out of these guys.  The set comes with 2 trays so you fill 1 tray with the puree (or purees) of your choice and freeze.  The next day you can pop all the cubes of baby food out and into a quart sized Ziploc bag (don't forget to label and date the bag so you're not guessing as to its content a month later).  Then just throw the tray into your dishwasher.  This way you can rotate one tray in the freezer and one in the wash.

  4. 4. A way to know what the hell it is you're doing.  Ok so this one you really REALLY don't need.  However, if you're like me and want someone to spell out for you how to introduce solids to your baby, how to prepare and preserve food for maximal freshness and appealingness (it's totally a word, shut up), and assuage your neurosis, you can buy a baby cook book.  I really enjoyed The Wholesome Baby Food Guide: Over 150 Easy, Delicious, and Healthy Recipes from Purees to Solids.  If you're less neurotic than me, then the solid foods chapter in Baby 411 will almost certainly do the trick.  (Hint: you don't need to start with boring rice cereal - that's really old advice.  You can pretty much start with whatever you want.  We started with sweet potatoes.)
And now you are fully prepared to go off on your own culinary adventure, whether it be in your kitchen, the grocery store baby food aisle, or some combination of the two. 


Sleep like a baby? You mean terribly?

Anyone who's ever used the expression "sleep like a baby" has clearly never met a baby.  Human newborns, due to a quirk of biology, are all born premature compared to other mammals.  In particular, when it comes to sleep, newborns have underdeveloped nervous systems which is why they have trouble settling themselves.   For a more in depth discussion of this check out the sleep chapter of Baby 411. However that is not the topic of this post.  The topic of this post is how to set up a great sleep environment for your child to help stack the odds of everyone in the house getting some shut eye. 

Black out curtains

Once you've read up on sleep, you'll notice that almost everyone recommends that the room where the baby sleeps be dark.  Often this means acquiring some black out curtains.  However, most people have the baby sleep in the same room as themselves for at least the first 6 weeks if not longer (this is both for SIDS prevention reasons and convenience of night time feedings).   As such, you've probably already acquired whatever curtains you're using for your room.  You may not want to mess with the decor of your room to accommodate its temporary occupant. Likewise, you may have found the perfect cute curtains for your children's room, only to realize they do nothing to shield the room from any light (cough cough... I may or may not have done this...).  Have no fear, this is not a trade off you have to make. You just need to get yourself some Thermalogic Ultimate Window Liners. The great thing about these guys is that they get attached behind your existing curtains. This means you get to keep your decor and have a pitch black room - score!  Additionally, if you've had to get some for your room, you can use the same set for the kid's room once you're ready for them to be on their own.

White noise

Turning on white noise for the baby is another super common (and excellent) recommendation. Not only will this help mask the sound of you shuffling around your apartment while the baby sleeps (and any street noise as well) , but it will also help build some sleep associations for him or her to signal that it's time for sleeping.  For this many people use things like the Sleep Sheep or myBaby SoundSpa.  We, on the other hand, have decided to go in another direction.  We've taken an old, no longer used, cell phone and downloaded a white noise app on it (we use the airplane noise setting but there are many options).  We prefer this solution for a number of reasons.

  1. 1.  You don't have to buy anything new - woot!

  2. 2.  Cell phones are much easier to pack than sleep sheep. (If you're going to stay at someone's house you may not have to pack anything at all if they have an old phone lying around).

  3. 3.  If you forget to pack the spare old phone you normally use for the kids, it's easily replaced with your cell phone. Sure it sucks to have to give it up for the night, probably starting at 7pm (most children's bedtime), but it sucks a lot less than no one sleeping.

  4. 4.  You can also use the old cell phone to play music to your baby (any music you want, not just whatever, if anything, came with the thing you bought). We've found for some reason that our second child naps better with lullabies playing than white noise (though we still use the white noise at night).  This was a trivial accommodation to make using the phone.
And one more bonus suggestion. If your old phone's speakers aren't great, you can always hook it up to a speaker in the kid's room.  We found an adorable GOgroove Portable Stereo Speaker Panda (other animals available) that we've been using for the past 2+ years when we're home (on the road we just use the phone as is).

Good luck, and may the sleep gods be on your side!