Browse Category: Baby

Introducing Baby Food

We are in the early stages of solid food with Odette so I thought I’d post about our approach and what’s worked well for her and our other kids. We started all our kids on solid food at 4 months.  I think most providers suggest introducing solids between 4-6 months, but I would consult with your pediatrician first.

Baby Cereal

At 4 months, we started feeding Odette during dinner and now at nearly 6 months, she is eating solids 3 times a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).  We started all our kids out on a baby cereal (rice, oatmeal, etc.) mixed with breastmilk.  This seemed like an easy transition for them because it still tasted somewhat like breastmilk.  We used the cereal/milk combo for a few days to get them used to using a spoon and then we transitioned to other purees.  I don’t think I even went through an entire box of baby cereal with any of the kids; we used this purely as a transition food.  It took the kids a few days to adjust to eating solids.  In the first few meals, they only took a few bites but we kept with it and eventually they got the hang of it.

Purees

After Odette was comfortable with baby cereal, we introduced purees.  We started with one food at a time (stage 1 purees) and slowly introduced more complex foods after she didn’t show signs of food allergies.  For example, we would try peas and spinach separately and then feel comfortable with a pea/spinach combo.  We specifically tried to rule out food allergies early on so we fed her things like peanut butter, berries, etc. in isolation over three-day stretches.  There seems to be a lot of conflicting information about when to introduce peanut butter, so I would consult your pediatrician on that one.

Making Baby Food

Before I started solids with my oldest, I devoted an entire Pinterest board to the subject and bought supplies to make and freeze massive quantities of baby food.  I kept this up for about 2 weeks and quickly abandoned my effort and just bought baby food off the shelf.  For me, it wasn’t worth the time and effort.  The food I made looked really gross and I was constantly cleaning the food processor, ice cube trays, jars, etc.  It just wasn’t worth it to me.

Instead of making special baby food, I try to pull from meals the rest of us are already eating.  For example, if we are having soup then I will throw a small amount of it in the food processor for Odette.  I pureed ribs and barbecue sauce the other day and she LOVED it 🙂  When she can’t easily eat what we are having, then I’ll use a prepared puree from the store.

Favorite Foods from the Store

Here are some of our favorite baby foods that can be purchased at most grocery stores.

Stonyfield Organic YoBaby Yogurt:  This comes in a variety of flavors.  All my kids have loved this!

 

 

 

 

Organic Puree Pouches by Beechnut, Earthbound, and Plum: I love the pouches because they aren’t as heavy as jars and can easily be thrown in a diaper bag.

Baby Mum-Mums: These are a great food that babies can feed themselves!  They large wafers that basically melt in their mouths.  If Odette gets hungry while I’m busy with something else, then I often just give her a mum-mum to tide her over until I can feed her something more substantial.

Transitioning to Real Food

Odette is still toothless so she is still limited on food options.  Once her teeth start to come in then we will introduce chunkier food until she is eating the same food as the rest of us.

Introducing solid food is fun & messy! Good luck.

– Anna, Life with Little Ones

Baby Sleep Routine

When my kids were babies, I spent lots of nighttime hours scouring the internet for articles on “baby sleep schedules” and “getting your baby to sleep through the night” and none of them had the magic formula to get my kids to sleep through the night instantly.  With a newborn I was willing to sell my left kidney just to get a full-night’s sleep.

Leopold (oldest) started sleeping through the night at 5 months and Frederick (middle) started around 3 months.  Odette (baby) started sleeping through the night at 2 months, which was AH-MA-ZING.  While by no means do I qualify for expert status, after three kids I definitely learned a few things.  Here is what worked well for our kids:

  • Keeping a consistent bedtime routine
  • Reinforcing “Sleeping Hours” and “Daytime Hours”
  • Using a noise machine
  • Sleep sacks
  • Soft light in the nursery at night time
  • A Dream Bottle (see below)

Our approach for Odette’s first 2 months is laid out below.

First 2 weeks

I channeled my focus on establishing breastfeeding during this time (feeding on demand) and didn’t worry about her sleep schedule.  I was a zombie, but she was happy 🙂

WEEKS 2-8

Starting at week 2, after she was doing well with breastfeeding and the pediatrician was comfortable with her weight, I changed my focus to her sleep schedule.  We determined that her ideal “Sleeping Hours” would be 6pm-6am.  A 6pm bedtime would allow me to put her down and then go through the bedtime routine with her older brothers to have them in bed by 7pm.

During the “Daytime Hours” (6am-6pm) I worked on feeding her as much as possible.  If she started to fall asleep during a feeding, I would try my best to keep her awake to ensure she was completely full before falling down for a nap.

Bedtime Routine

Starting around 5:15, we would give her a bath.  This was typically pretty quick.  Then we would put lotion on.  I really like Johnson’s Bedtime Baby Lotion, 27.0 Fl. Oz because it smells so good.  It doesn’t really matter what you use, but I think it is nice to stick with one scent so they start to associate it with bedtime.

To set the mood in her room, we used a soft light.  We would also turn on her sound machine (Cloud B Soother – Sleep Sheep).  Then we would start heating up her bed (see this post).

Then we would get her pajamas on and use a sleep sack.  At about 2 weeks we moved straight into sleep sacks with our babies instead of continuing to swaddle them.  Basically, once they started breaking the swaddle, we moved her into a sleep sack.  This was just our preference.  We liked the Carters sleep sacks like this one – Carter’s Baby Girls Sleepbag, Pink, OS9.

Next, I would feed her trying to get her to eat as much as possible.  This is so hard when they are young because they like to fall asleep.  After she was done eating, I would read a book and place her down to sleep (removing the heating pad).

I would leave the room, turning off the light…hoping she would stay sleeping!

Dream Bottle

At about 9:30pm before we went to bed, one of us would wake her up and feed her a “dream bottle” of pumped breastmilk.  I read about this approach online and it worked really well for us.  Instead of waiting to feed her when she woke up, we would feed her on our schedule (before we went to bed).  It’s called a dream bottle because babies are typically really drowsy during this feeding.  If Tim was home, he would often take this shift.  During this feeding, we tried to get her to eat as much as possible so she would sleep longer (hopefully!) in between feedings.

Nightime Feedings

From 10pm – 6am, I essentially tried to discourage feedings since this is when I wanted to sleep.  At the beginning, she would typically wake up 2-3 times during this period.  I would get up with her to breastfeed, but if she fell asleep eating then I would just put her back in her crib rather than waking her up and pushing her to eat more.  My theory was that if she was used to eating 3-4 ounces consistently at 1am, then she would probably continue to wake up for that but if she was only eating an ounce or so then she may just continue sleeping.

Daytime Routine

At 6am, I would feed Odette.  If she was still sleeping, I would wake her up.  During this feeding, I would really encourage her to eat a lot so she could get used to “Daytime Hours”.  I would continue to encourage her to completely fill up for all feedings during the day.

Sleep Over Time

Over time we continue to reinforce daytime and nighttime hours with large feedings during the day and smaller ones at night.  Eventually, she started to wake up between 10pm-6am less and less until at 2 months she was consistently sleeping during that time without interruption (yay!).

At 4 months, we are still feeding her a Dream Bottle at 9:30pm each night but we are hoping to drop that feeding in the next few months.  We are just happy that she is sleeping while we are sleeping 🙂

I hope this was helpful!  All babies are different and there are many different methods to getting babies to sleep through the night.  The good news is that eventually, all babies (and parents) will sleep through the night…it may just seem like a difficult road to get there!

Have a drink, take a deep breath and keep up the good work.

– Anna, Life with Little Ones

Parenting Hack: Putting Baby Down to Sleep

When our first child was born, our pediatrician passed along this tip and we have used it with all three kids.  It was a life saver!

Before you lay a baby down in their crib, use a heating pad to heat up the sheet.  Remove the heating pad and set the baby down in a nice, warm bed.  This is particularly helpful when you just can’t seem to set a baby down without them crying – the warmth makes it seem like they are still being held!

This just became part of our bedtime routine for the first few months and then we phased it out.

Caution – Don’t leave the heating pad in the crib with the baby and make sure you store cords safely out of reach.  

– Anna, Life with Little Ones