Letting go, or holding tight

We dismantled our giant family bed last month, and moved Emerson’s toddler bed to the corner of our room. I realize that that milestone is something that probably occurs within the first few months, if not weeks, of most children’s lives in this country. And it’s probably a bit farther than the corner of their parent’s bedroom. But, I think the act of letting go of our children, while wanting to hold on, transcends parenting philosophies and styles.

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Emerson slept mostly on my chest, skin to skin, for the first few months of her life. She then moved to my side, in our bed, pressed as closely to my body as possible at all times. At eighteen months we fashioned one mega family bed by removing one side of her crib and attaching it to my side of the bed. She slept with two limbs in our bed, two limbs in her own for months. Slowly, I taught her to remain completely in her own crib all night…. but still just inches from my body. At two and half, we made her bed a separate sleeping area, at a different height, but still next to our bed. And I thought we might remain this way until she left for college.

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Through all of these (painfully slow) baby steps toward someday sleeping independently, in her own room, I have cherished the closeness, appreciated the positive affect it’s had on my child, felt at peace watching her sleep, and, quite honestly, reveled in the fact that I never had to get out of bed to attend to her in the middle of the night. But, I have also longed for space, and wondered how long she would go on needing me like this if I didn’t (gently) ask her to take these baby steps. I’ve been frustrated, and at times, resentful. I have flip flopped between snuggling up to her while she sleeps, and wishing I had the freedom to sleep in hotel, by myself, for a week. Or maybe just have my room back.

But, every time I have thought about moving Emerson away from my bedside…really considered it as a reality….I’ve wanted to weep and keep her there forever.

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Yet, it can’t stay like this forever. While both sides of this party (me, and Emerson) are hesitant to move on, we both need and want that, at some point. We both cling, while pushing away. We both need to allow the string connecting our hearts to lengthen, and stretch, so we both can grow….and Emerson can grow away from me.

So, we experimented while on vacation a couple months ago. We put Emerson in her own bed in our hotel room. I thought, for sure, there would be tears, and she would end up sleeping in our bed….even closer than before. But, she was pumped. She couldn’t believe it was a bed, just for her. She climbed right in, and she slept there happily all night. I woke up, feeling nervous, a lot…while she slept. But, then I woke up in the morning feeling freeing than I have since I conceived her four years ago. And happy/sad in knowing she was growing up.

When we got home, we moved her bed to her own corner and set up a little “room” within our room. I really didn’t want to, but I did…for her. I’ve been able to move on with my life a bit since making that change. But, in that freedom, I feel that tug at my heart that all moms know—the tug of letting go. The tug of knowing she will move down the hall, and then to a college dorm, and who knows…across the country, or even the world. And I have to let her go. I’m so proud of her as she journeys outward. My heart swells knowing she is so confident and strong and adventurous, all of which I am sure will take her to so many places where I cannot go with her…because, this is her life. This is her adventure. This is her world to discover, just like I did.

And that is motherhood. Whether it’s a bed, or sending them to kindergarten, or watching them get married, it’s all the same. It’s a feeling we can’t escape, and it makes it all so, so, so worth it….but always comes with a few tears.

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Changes and gains after night weaning

I’ve shared some night weaning tips, my seven-day plan, and my seven-day night weaning journal this week. But, what happened after the night weaning? How did our lives change? Personally, I was very curious to see how this would change our lives. Here are some things that happened as a result of introducing a new nighttime routine….

1. Sleeping through the night. Obviously, this is one of the main reasons for night weaning, but it doesn’t always happen. I was super worried that I would take away my child’s only source of comfort/sleep aid and she’d continue to wake at night and require more work (i.e. even less sleep) because providing alternative comfort feels a lot more exhausting to me than a quick nursing session while partially asleep. But, within days we were inching very closely toward STTN and on the seventh day it happened. Hallelujah! I’m still waiting for ME to STTN, but that may never happen now that I am a mama bear.

2. My milk did not dry up. I was also worried that this would happen, and I wasn’t done with nursing. I still wanted that connection and nutritional source to be available to my child during the day. Well, after three days of some serious engorgement when I woke after a night of not nursing, my milk supply shifted. I produce more during the daytime now and Emerson seems to still be getting a sufficient amount of milk.

3. Less nighttime clinginess. While the immediate reaction to night weaning was for Emerson to cling very tightly to me, and lie on top of me with her cheek against my cheek ALL NIGHT, what happened in the weeks after night weaning is that she got better and better at self-soothing (and continues to today). She was able to finally experience that I can be there for her without nursing and she became more and more relaxed and comfortable with independent sleeping (though we do still co-sleep). It now feels possible to teach her to sleep in her own bed when I feel ready for that.

4. I am no longer on nap and bedtime duty. It felt like the world’s greatest miracle that my child could (happily) go twelve hours without nursing and STTN, but it got even better recently! All of the self-soothing practice, and realizing that she can let go of me while sleeping and everything will be okay has resulted in Emerson being able to put herself to sleep! I mean, wow. That is the best. I have spent an average of one full hour every night, and a half hour at nap time, every single day of her life just patting, nursing, singing, bouncing, and lying next to my girl hoping and praying (and sometimes cursing in my head) that she would fall asleep. She just had so much anxiety wrapped up in the whole sleeping process. Now, we nurse while reading bedtime stories, I put her in her crib (attached to our bed), talk to her a little and leave the room. My life just improved times a million.

5. I feel like my old self again. Well, a slightly different version of my old self, that is. What I mean is that my old energy level, enthusiasm for life, ability to be productive, and way I take care of myself has been restored. I am happier and feel healthier. When you are sleep-deprived you know it doesn’t feel too pleasant, but once you start to get some rest you truly realize all the areas of your life that were really affected.

What happened during our seven days of night weaning

So, I’ve shared some night weaning tips, and the plan I created and used to night wean Emerson. But, what exactly happened during those seven days? Here is the journal I kept to share just that with you all…

Day One-

We put Emerson to bed as usual, with the exception of the quick talk we had with her reminding her that the num nums were going to sleep tonight so she would have to wait until the morning to nurse again (remember, we chose a 11-6 sleep window). Emerson only nursed once before 11:00. Then she woke up A LOT. There was some upset—whimpering and crying each time she woke up, but only for maybe 30 seconds at a time (not hours and hours like I anticipated). The first time she woke up and was told she couldn’t nurse was the hardest, but the whole protest didn’t go on for more than 5-10 minutes. She asked to nurse a few times throughout the night, but seemed to really get that the num nums were sleeping and easily accepted other forms of comfort.

The hard part—she was sleeping in 15-minute intervals (yes, really) most of the night once she realized we were serious so I got a total of THREE HOURS of sleep. It was like that I-know-the-alarm-is-going-to-go-off-any-minute-so-I-can’t-fall-back-asleep syndrome (Emerson being the constant alarm clock, that is). I was up comforting her and just really wanting to get through this difficult first night being as supportive as I could. And it seemed like she was ok, but understandably nervous about the change and had to constantly wake up to check and see if num nums were awake yet.

Since I was awake the whole night, I watched the clock until it hit 6:00, at which point I turned on the light and yelled out “we made it!” At which point, Emerson nursed like it was her last meal. Wow. And I was just as relieved as her on account of the engorgement. I will say, my breasts had grown several cup sizes overnight…haven’t seen them look like that since Em was a newborn.

I feel like hell today, but am in the best mood I’ve been in in so long because not only did we get through it, but Emerson was so loving and happy when she woke up! She was ok. Totally ok. The first thing she said was “I love you so much, mama! You’re so sweet!” and she proceeded to kiss and hug me repeatedly. I am now filled with the hope of a more normal life.

Day Two-

Em woke up just once before 11:00 again. After that she did really well most of the night! Not to be premature, but it really feels like she was up “studying” all night the first night—really trying to understand this new routine. And after that 12-hour study she just got it. That’s her personality, though. She practices things intensely until she masters them.

She did not cry at all until early morning. Every time before then she just woke up, flopped around while grunting/whimpering, then dozed off again on her own by snuggling up to me. She still woke up a lot—every half hour to hour—and woke me every time with all the movement, but such big progress.

After 4:00 things were rough. She was hungry. She tried to go back to sleep but just could not stay asleep because her tummy was rumbling. She accepted some water in lieu of milk. She cried and was pretty unhappy, but we made it to 6:00.

Day Three-

Emerson didn’t nap yesterday (what? why?! you haven’t slept in days child!) so she passed out at 6:45 last night. I was sure we’d all sleep for like seven hours without interruption given all the sleep deprivation and lack of napping, but instead we were up a billion times to nurse before 11:00. I felt like she finally caught on that this small window of opportunity to nurse (before 11) existed, and because she hadn’t eaten enough food during the day she used it to tank up. It was kind of tortuous after two nights of such little sleep to not be able to go to sleep early. How is she managing to sleep so little and be up all night? Ahh!

After 11:00, she woke up pretty regularly, on the hour, but with little upset. Just a snuggle and she was out. We once again had trouble with the early morning hunger. I think this two-hour window is going to be tricky to change on account of that, and just because she’s always struggled with the early morning hours, but I think we’ll get it done eventually. The progress she’s made during the rest of her twelve hours in bed is enormous, and there is progress here too (4-6), it’s just at a much slower rate.

Day Four-

She skipped her nap AGAIN, which was miserable because I needed to sleep so badly. She was, of course, really tired but would not sleep. I think it was nerves. When she needs extra reassurance from me she often skips her naps, because it means extra time with me.

We had a very cranky afternoon. She kept trying to fall asleep on the couch. She literally fell over asleep while I was reading to her several times! But, it was too late in the day to let her stay asleep. To top off this exhausting day, she fought bedtime and was an overtired crazy person. We got dad involved and she passed out by 7:30.

Then the miracle happened. She nursed just once before 11:00 at 9:30. Then she woke up just once more at 2:30. Other than that She slept all night…it was glorious! She still had trouble with the 5-6 stretch (I guess it’s better than 4-6), which I really hate, but it’s more manageable if I am sleeping relatively well the rest of the night.

Day Five-

She napped, but fought bedtime again. I’m not sure if this is an emotional reaction to the process. She spent some time away from me during the day so that could be it. I always notice she wakes up more at night when we aren’t as connected during the day, and I’d think that phenomenon would be exaggerated right now given we are weaning.

Anyway, she woke once before 11:00. After that she woke pretty consistently and frequently, but was very good at settling herself with minimal to no fuss. 5-6:00 was once again hellacious. She cried and fussed and refused water. This time she just woke up fully and sat in bed waiting for 6:00. Her new thing is asking us to turn on the light…because that means num nums will wake up. Clever girl.

Day Six-

For the first time she didn’t wake at all before 11:00. It was 11:24 when she woke up, and I was worried she would be hungry and pissed off because she had missed her nursing window, but she just went back to sleep quietly! Since we’ve had so much trouble making it to 6:00 am even with an extra feeding before 11:00 pm, I assumed she’d be up even earlier in the morning or just really angry that the restaurant was closed, but no. She slept just fine. AND she made progress. She was still restless and tossed and turned, but for the first time she did not fuss or cry all night. AND she actually fell back asleep in the morning and slept PAST 6:00, and right through the alarm going off, rather than jumping me like an animal ready to devour her kill at 6 on the dot.

Day Seven-

It happened…she slept through the night! Wohoo! Not the lame “five hours of consecutive sleep” kind of sleeping through the night—the whole darn night!! She did wake at 9:00 for a 30 second feed, but then she slept until about 5:30. She sometimes rustled around when transitioning between sleep cycles, but never actually woke up. This is huge! She is getting it! She’s really learning how to sleep on her own.

On another note, though—she has been sleeping cheek-to-cheek with me—the two of us curled up into one ball of intertwined limbs—throughout the night weaning process. This actually began shortly after I taught her to fall asleep without nursing two months ago, but she’s gotten even more on-top-of-me in the past week (as if it’s even possible to get closer). She was previously a relatively independent sleeper as far as giving me plenty of personal space. Back then I could move her into her crib (which is attached to our bed), and she would move herself back there after each night feed.

So, I have been a little concerned about suddenly sleeping like cats, on top of one another, all night. I have been wondering if this is what I have to put up with in exchange for some sleep. But, last night there was some progress here so I am feeling hopeful that it’s all part of the process and she is just getting comfortable with our new arrangement.

I will also point out that last night Em slept through the night…but I did not. Pre-child I slept through hurricanes and cars backfiring, but I now have to retrain myself to sleep through the night. I’ve read that this is not only normal, but it may take me a few weeks to actually feel the full effects of sleeping after not sleeping for two years. That’s a lot of sleep deprivation to make up for! Well, yesterday was the first day I felt different. It was the only day since my child has been born that I didn’t at some point during the day wonder how I was going to keep going. Yay!

Also, the morning nursing session (once we hit 6:00) has shortened. Throughout night weaning it has been an hour-long session of nervous feeding and comfort sucking, but I can tell she’s getting used to the whole routine because she’s shortening it every day.

Bonus…the day after we learned to sleep through the night…

Day Eight-

I wanted to put this down, because last night we were able to test this new routine in the face of our worst enemy: teething. I was nervous about teething, developmental milestones, and illness, because previous to night weaning Emerson would wake about every half hour all night when going through any of the above. She heavily relied on nursing to comfort her through those challenges. So, what the heck would happen if she didn’t have that source of comfort??

Well, Emerson started cutting two molars yesterday and was in serious pain and cranky all day. But, I am happy to report this did not prevent her from sleeping through the night again! She did wake before 11:00 a couple of times, but I’d rather deal with two times at the beginning of the night and then sleeping through. There was also minimal to no restlessness from 5-6:00. ALSO, I was able to move her into her crib for the beginning portion of the night for the first time in months so we continued to move forward even in the face of an obstacle (teething pain). Progress is bring made!

She seems very comfortable and actually happy with the new nighttime routine (maybe because she’s getting a better quality of sleep?). And the day time has changed so much already! She likes the new improved (rested!) mama. She is a bit reluctant to be away from me right now (I hear a lot of “I want mama “), but she is happy.

If you found this helpful, check out my 5 tips for night weaning and my night weaning plan. Come back tomorrow to see what surprises and bonuses were gained after we night weaned.

 

Ch-ch-change

We are in the midst of many huge transitions right now. It seems like every area of our life was turned upside down a couple of months ago, and we’ve been slowly putting the pieces back together, creating a new life. It feels like so much to get into here, but the two biggest changes would have to be #1 my decision to night wean Emerson, and #2 our decision to sell our house and move back to our home state. Those two things alone feel enormously monumental.

First, the night weaning. I’m telling you, people, I feel like a totally new person. I had planned on nursing Emerson on demand, night and day, until she chose to wean herself. I felt so passionate and so good about that decision. But, I came to a point in my mothering where this decision was doing more harm than good for all those involved. It’s moments like those that we have to open our minds, do some serious reflecting and change what once felt like immoveable beliefs.

In my quest for a new way to approach nighttime parenting, I came across a lot of useful information, different perspectives, and ultimately found a way to forge my own path. I will be sharing all of that in a week-long series about night weaning, in the hopes that it reaches other mothers who, like me, are desperate to find a way to gently teach their child a new nighttime routine (that doesn’t involve crying-it-out) while finally getting some much needed and deserved sleep!

Second, moving. Oh, moving. I have such a conflicted relationship with this topic. I have lived in 16 different homes, five temporary living situations, three states and two countries in my life. And I have never hesitated in moving to any one of them (outside of my childhood). Never hesitated to change states, establish a new life, reinvent myself, or become part of a new community. Then I had a child and all of that changed.

I want things to stay the same for my child. I want her to have a home she can always come back to. Unfortunately, that home cannot be here. We have been living an unsustainable life for quite some time, and things kind of reached a boiling point a couple months back. Everything began to crumble around us, waking us up to the reality that change was necessary. Vital to our survival, really. As my man Pablo Picasso once said, “every act of creation is first an act of destruction.” I think about that quote constantly, and have all my life, feeling hyper aware of the fact that I am always creating or destroying.

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So, we are moving. Something I was unwilling to consider as an actual possibility for quite some time now. But, so very cosmically, once the decision became apparent and we latched onto it with excitement instead of fear, everything began to change. There is a completely new life right within our reach, and I can see it so clearly now.

I will be so sad to leave this house…the first home we owned…where our child was born, and her placenta was buried beneath a tree…the place where we became a family. It will be hard to leave, and hard to make Emerson leave. But, I know in my heart that this place was a stepping stone, not a future. Looking back, I feel that I came here to birth my baby. There was no other place, no other way, with no other people that that was meant to happen. And we came here to grow, up and out.

Now it’s time to settle into a forever (or semi-long time, because that’s the best my restless soul can muster).

Allergen-free lunches for toddlers

**All meals, products and recipes in this post are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free, and peanut-free.

In our house, we avoid gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and peanuts while being incredibly health-conscious at the same time. It is challenging, to say the least. But, even more challenging is catering to those demands with a toddler mouth to feed.

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Since I am always on the look-out for new meals and foods to offer my little one, I figure there must be plenty of people out there looking for the same. So, here are the most popular lunches in our current rotation…

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Brown rice pasta in fun kid shapes with shredded vegan “cheese,” avocados, organic applesauce.

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Grilled “cheese” made with sorghum bread, vegan cheese slices, and coconut spread. Peas, frozen blueberries.

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Hummus mixed with mashed avocado, brown rice sesame crackers, vegan cheese slices, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower (aka-snow puffs).

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Eggs scrambled with shredded mozzarella “cheese,” sorghum toast with coconut spread, peas, strawberry coconut milk yogurt.

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Quinoa dressed with a splash of olive oil and sweet potato.

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Quinoa with green lentils (spice as desired).

Super Simple Pumpkin Soup with Fun Shaped Pasta
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Ingredients:
2 tbsp Earth Balance Coconut Spread
2 tbsp finely diced onion
2 cups canned (I recommend BPA-free boxed) Pumpkin Puree
4 cups low-sodium Chicken (or veggie) broth
2 tbsp organic, no sugar added applesauce
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 cup noodles
Directions:
-In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt “butter.” Add onion and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
-Add pumpkin puree, broth, apple sacue, allspice, and thyme and bring to a boil.
-Add noodles and cook just until tender, according to package directions. Let cool slightly before serving.
To store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Some allergen-free kitchen staples (follow links below):
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365 Organic Quinoa

It gets to be hard

If you are a mother, it’s pretty safe to assume that you have had someone (or 97857472 someones) imply that some difficulty you are experiencing with your child is in someway your fault. If you would, perhaps, adopt this person’s technique or philosophy on the topic, things would be easier for you….because you would be doing it the “right” way.

But, I am here to say that regardless of your decisions it still gets to be hard for you. Because, it is hard.

There are a lot of problem solvers out there, which can be difficult from the perspective of a mother. Mothers are constantly experiencing challenging realities. Sometimes we want advice and testimonials, sometimes we are looking to change the way we are doing something because we feel it’s not working. But, sometimes, we are just venting and saying what is true for us. Sometimes, we truly believe in and are committed to our parenting choices, regardless of how hard they are, and do not want to change them even if they appear impractical/wrong/needlessly tedious/unconventional to others.

This is something I have experienced a lot of as a mother. I have never really made conventional decisions or lived in a mainstream way. Not as a rebellion, but because it’s just me. So, naturally, parenting hasn’t been much different and, as a result, I have endured a torrent of strong opinions of disapproval, questioning and sometimes just utter outrage about what I’m doing.

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I have been co-sleeping and nursing my child through the night (and her naps) for twenty-one months. She is very rarely alone in bed, as I’ve grown accustomed to going to sleep with her at night—a practice that I have felt very strongly against altering at all. I carried my baby in a carrier or sling almost all day, straight through all of her naps, for the first year of her life. I use cloth diapers, nurse in public, didn’t let anyone else hold my baby if she was crying as an infant, question medical advice, and feed her vegan “cheese” slices. Just to name a few things.

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But, here’s the thing. Those are my choices. And I refuse to believe that I need to change beliefs that feel right down into the core of me…to ignore my intuition or not give my child what I feel she needs or shape her existence according to my values. A lot of my choices are challenging—sometimes I do not want a toddler undressing me and sucking on my breast, sometimes I dream of sleeping through the night, sometimes I want to just shove an ice cream cone full of dairy, sugar and gluten in my child’s mouth, sometimes I long to spend less time parenting and more time being an individual or wife. And even still, given all of that, my struggle as a mother, my exhaustion, and my existence is valid. I am allowed to say “this is hard” without any suggestion that I maybe do things differently. As if I would no longer be able to say or feel “this is hard” if I were parenting another way.

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While my unconventional choices provide a nice example of all this, the point is that it gets to be hard for you, too. Your mothering reality is valid. If you struggled for years to get pregnant, you still get to say it’s hard and you are losing your mind some days when you finally have a baby in your arms. If you go back to work by choice and miss your child like crazy all the time, that gets to be hard for you. You can bottle feed and whine about how annoying it is to pump or expensive it is to buy formula. You can insist on being a stay-at-home mom and still feel like it’s valid to walk into a room by yourself, close the door, and do some primal screaming because, in a moment, you wish you were a million miles away. You can devote yourself to baby wearing and complain of an aching back. You can have a natural birth and say it hurt. You can refuse to buy commercial baby food, but hate making it yourself. You can refuse to let your baby cry-it-out and still be upset about the lack of sleep in your life.

They are your choices, so own them, sisters. Love and light!

 

Everything changes…

One of the amazing things about parenting (and honestly, one of a few truths that keeps me from completely losing my sanity) is the fact that things change. So often there seems to be a behavior or set of circumstances that feel like they will never end. For instance, the fact that Emerson has refused to sleep, or be put to sleep, by anyone but me since she was four-months-old. It happened abruptly one evening as my husband tried putting her down for the night and she was like, no…absolutely not…this is NOT happening. And she has remained that way regardless of what we try. So, I have been her one and only sleep inducer—day and night—for almost two years. Sometimes it’s sweet and flattering. Sometimes it’s just extremely annoying and frustrating.

But then. Today. My husband suggested he try to take a nap with Emerson because he was tired. I laughed and wished him luck. That’s never going to happen- WHY are you even suggesting this, buddy? I sat here, on my computer, hurriedly trying to devour as much of the internet as possible in what I expected to be a short fifeteen minutes of listening to Emerson cry and fight with Alex….followed by the sound of defeated footsteps pounding their way down the staircase and a cranky toddler being placed on my lap. But, there was silence. For a long while. And so I creeped upstairs to make sure everyone was still alive and found this (sorry for the poor photo, but it was pitch black in there)…Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 2.17.12 PM

No explanation. No begging and pleading. No crying. No throwing of baby dolls across the room or diapers being pulled off and put on my pillow in protest. No mommy with her head between her knees in the corner of the room asking the Universe to just HELP. Nope. Just a sleeping child next to a sleeping husband after two years of feeling such a heavy weight of responsibility. Just like that.

It’s moments like these that make it possible to keep going. It’s moment like these that give me hope and remind me that it won’t always be so hard….that my child will eventually be ready to accomplish just about anything.

Did you know: feeding spinach to babies

Like most parents, I wanted to give my child the best nutritional start possible when she began eating solid foods. I committed myself to making all of her baby food from scratch with organic ingredients. I mostly used a baby food machine to do so, which perfectly steamed, blended and heated/defrosted her meals.

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When it came to the foods I was preparing, I followed the recommendations for which “safe” foods to introduce at each stage. But somehow, what I discovered about spinach I found by accident and had never read (or heard) anywhere else. I had been making spinach puree, which my baby loved, and wanted to find some good recipes for mixing it with other fruits and vegetables. That is when I stumbled upon the dangers of feeing spinach to babies (or anyone, really).

First, it is important not to introduce spinach to an infant younger than eight to ten months of age (some sources say six to seven months, but others say it’s safest to wait a bit longer). Spinach is an oxalate and a nitrate food (follow the links for more information). Diets high in oxalates should be avoided even though the foods they are found in are often nutritional powerhouses. As far as nitrates, babies don’t develop the stomach acid necessary to deal with them until about six months- with babies three months and younger being at the highest risk for nitrate poisoning.

I thought I was doing something good by preparing all my baby foods at home, but because of the above concerns it turns out that, in some instances (such as spinach), commercially made baby food is actually safer.

If you do choose to prepare spinach at home, here’s what you need to know: it’s important to store and prepare it properly in order to ensure it is safe for your child. Nitrate levels can rise in the leaves if improperly stored in your refrigerator. Make sure to put it in the crisper and do not let it get moist or wet. Even when properly stored, you need to check the leaves before cooking. You know those icky leaves you sometimes notice mixed in with your good spinach? The leaves that are wilted, wet looking or have water droplets collecting on them? Those are actually dangerous and should not be eaten. Make sure to remove them before cooking the rest of the “good leaves.”

It’s also important when making spinach for your baby that you do NOT use the water used to steam the leaves to make the puree. With many fruits and vegetables you actually want to use that water so as not to lose vital nutrients, but with spinach you should add fresh water to the steamed leaves to make the puree.

So, there you have it. I had no idea this super nutritious green had so many secrets! Did you?

The fantasy world of a mother

I can remember (just barely) a time when the word “fantasy” elicited a list of things like coconut oil massages on a tropical island, an unlimited shopping spree, or an evening involving a lot of lace, feathers and sweat. But—and I’m not exaggerating at all here—my fantasy world has morphed into something like this…

Sitting in a coffee shop, alone, drinking a hot coffee at a time when I am not trying to get pregnant, currently pregnant, or nursing a child. No one is going to cry or stay awake all night or vomit or cause an allergy. No. This caffeine is going to do nothing but make me feel amazing (and guilt-free). Then I have a second cup…all while no one talks to me.

Working out in an actual gym—not in my living room with an infant or toddler climbing all over me or ripping my boob out of my sports bra as I try to do crunches. Not outside with a small person strapped to my back or chest. In a gym. Running and sweating and listening to music that is inappropriate for children.

Cleaning my entire house, and all in one shot. I mean hours of dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing, washing and tidying. Not one toilet lid or one wall of the shower here, a sink or window there. Not folding last week’s laundry as I start this week’s. Not putting the toys away only after I impale my foot with a tiny plastic pitchfork. All of it. At once. And it stay that way for at least twenty-four hours.

Sleeping in a big (clean) bed with only myself to put to sleep.

These are literally the things that run through my head these days. How about you? What do your fantasies look like?

 

Coming up on LC

Since this has been another slow week on the old blog, I thought I’d share some upcoming posts and series! Here it goes…

  • Love without hormones- marriage, sex, and the complications of parenthood.
  • A new ongoing series titled “Did you know”- each segment will feature a tidbit of truth and information on a topic (mostly relating to motherhood, pregnancy, children, but perhaps more) that I have discovered (and been shocked by) along my way. A little known fact about me: I am OBSESSED with research. So, I thought I’d try to work that into my blog somehow.
  • The space to be a mom- why we should let ourselves off the hook, ignore societal pressure and feel okay with the job we’re doing as mothers even if it doesn’t bring in any income.
  • It gets to be hard- why motherhood is difficult for every mother regardless of our parenting decisions and philosophies.
  • The girl I used to be- reflecting back on our old selves and deciding how much of our pasts to share with our children.
  • How to dress like a mom- my ongoing transition into owning my new role and appearing like a mom by saying goodbye to the wardrobe of my twenties and hello to a new mid-thirties woman. This will most likely be a series, heavy on the pictures, light on the words.
  • Toddler diaries- self-explanatory.

So, you can see that even though I took a break from posting I have not stopped writing in my head! I look forward to sharing it all with you! See you next week!