Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Margarita Carrot Sticks

I came across this recipe two years ago that claimed to be as addictive as french fries and had to try it out. It's become my all time favorite carrot recipe. I've tested it out on some pretty picky kids and have gotten nothing but approval.(My boys are still a bit too young for these but their sister and cousins gobble them up.) These carrot sticks are perfect for pool side munching... I like to bring along some sweet grapes too. It's the perfect sweet & salty raw food combo.

You will need:
4-6 carrots
a lime or two
course salt to taste (kosher or sea salt)

Peel and cut carrots into sticks.
Squeeze lime over carrot sticks.
Sprinkle with salt and toss.


This recipe is originally from Home Ec 101
If you have not been to Heather's site it is a must see! Home Ec 101 is chock full of recipes, cleaning tips, budgeting advice, and nutrition. You are truly missing out if you don't head over there ASAP.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Starting Solids With My Twins

My daughter Em's first food was home made rice cereal. (You can find the recipe I used here). Why did I feed her that? Well because that's what you're supposed to feed babies right? At least that was what I thought at the time. It's a cultural thing here in the states. It's what we do because it's what we have always done. That's why doctor's recommend it. Not because they have had a lot of nutritional training, sadly most have not. The good thing about rice cereal is that your baby isn't likely to have an allergy to it. The bad news about rice cereal is that there isn't a lot of nutrition in it at all. Sure there are some chemically processed vitamins that are thrown in there, iron being the one everyone seems to be worried about.

If iron is something that you are concerned about then I highly recommend reading Kelly Mom's "Is Iron Supplementation Necessary". Remember that while breast milk is lower in iron than formula, the iron in breast milk is more easily absorbed (50-70% of iron in breast milk is absorbed compared to 3-12% in regular cow milk formula). If your baby is not yet born please consider delayed cord clamping as it will help protect your baby's iron reserves and prevent anemia (as well as a list of other benefits).

There are studies now that suggest iron supplementation (when not needed) could actually cause more problems than prevent. See Food Renegade's "Should You Feed Your Baby Iron Fortified Foods".

I was really pleased when our pediatrician this time around suggested nutrient rich foods to be the twins first. His suggestions were bananas, sweet potatoes, and avocados. I started my boys just like I started my daughter on home made pureed baby foods. I have a little hand grinder that I would just carry around with us and grind up (after she had been introduced to a good variety) whatever we were having. There is really no need to buy jars of baby food. Making your own can be just as convenient not to mention healthier, and money saving.

But after I tried a few purees with my boys I started reading about the Baby Led Weaning style of feeding solids. I am so thankful that I did because it has made feeding them so incredibly easy. Because of baby led weaning I actually have time to eat at meal times and sometimes clean up a bit while they are taking care of themselves. My main fear with this style of feeding was choking but I have found that the boys actually have choked less eating this way than Em did on purees. The worst part of BLW? The mess! But it's worth it and my boys eat so well. Everyone is always so impressed.

If you are a twin mama thinking about starting solids I urge you to read in to Baby Led Weaning. I know for me & my family it has been a huge blessing.

Here is the best article I have read on the baby led weaning style of eating in general. And here is a great blog post by a fellow twin mama on the subject.

The last thing I want to bring up in this post is the importance of delaying solids. One thing that The World Health Organization, UNICEF, The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Academy of Family Physicians, The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, and Health Canada all agree on is that babies should not start solids until 6 months. Not before. I'm putting this in bold because there are a lot of pediatricians still encouraging moms to start earlier.. commonly 4-6. But there is a good reason behind this.

"From birth until somewhere between four and six months of age, babies possess what is often referred to as an “open gut.” his means that the spaces between the cells of the small intestines will readily allow intact macromolecules, including whole proteins and pathogens, to pass directly into the bloodstream.This is great for your breastfed baby as it allows beneficial antibodies in breastmilk to pass more directly into baby’s bloodstream, but it also means that large proteins from other foods (which may predispose baby to allergies) and disease-causing pathogens can pass right through, too. During baby’s first 4-6 months, while the gut is still “open,” antibodies (sIgA) from breastmilk coat baby’s digestive tract and provide passive immunity, reducing the likelihood of illness and allergic reactions before gut closure occurs. Baby starts producing these antibodies on his own at around 6 months, and gut closure should have occurred by this time also." 
from Kelly Mom

If you haven't started solids yet please take a look at the entire Kelly Mom article entitled "Why Delay Solids?"

Don't forget "Food before one is just for fun!"

Monday, July 16, 2012

Giving Up The Pasci

Em was not always very into using a pacifier. She only used them for sleeping, but then the boys were born. She started using it more and more. She did amazingly well with the twins being born and changing everything but I still think she just needed the extra comfort those pascis' gave her.

About a year ago she had her first trip to the Build A Bear store. There is one in the hospital here and her brother was in that hospital at the time. So she made one for him then. While she did great making one for him and not herself, of course she really wanted one. So that's when I started telling her that she could make one when she was ready to give up her pasci. This is something we have been talking about for a year now.

Well last week we were at the hospital for a doctor's appointment and I took her in Build A Bear. She picked out a rabbit but she said she was not ready to give up her pasci yet. I said that was fine and we didn't talk about it anymore. Then yesterday she was watching PBS and there was a commercial for Build A Bear. She told me she was ready to go. She was ready to give up her pasci. Then she brought it up again this morning. So after a pasci- free naptime we went.

As much as this was a big step for our daughter it was for my husband and myself. Our little girl is not so little anymore. It was one of her last little pieces of babyhood that she has left. She's three and a half now. She's not a baby, she's a little girl. And I am so proud of the beautiful, amazing person she is and is becoming.

She had a little trouble going to sleep tonight. Up until this point she was very excited about her new rabbit and being done with pascis'. But then she got tired and cried, and asked me to go to the store and buy more tomorrow. She's asleep now. I dragged the chair into her room, rocked her to sleep like I did when she was bitty, and soaked up the remnants of babyhood that she has left.

Here are some photos from our bittersweet day.

We put five pasci's in her bunny. One in each hand, one in each foot, and one where the heart would be. We were certainly not the first family to come through doing this. The Build A Bear workers were great about it.

After building her new friend "Pearly" she rode the merry go round for the first time, and we went out for dinner complete with frozen yogurt. On the way home she was tired and started to get sad about not having her pasci. That's when we saw a rainbow. To me rainbows are a reminder that God loves us and that everything is going to be all right. The rainbow kept her happy until we got home.

She had a little trouble falling asleep and a little trouble with her nap today but she is doing really well with it over all. She keeps telling me how much she likes her rabbit.

Special Thanks to Pink & Green Mama for the great idea! I'm not sure if she is who thought it up as I've heard of a lot of people doing it, but her blog is where I first read about it.

linking up with loving out children tuesday

Monday, July 2, 2012

Developmental Leaps and Sleep Regressions

I have a friend who has twins about a year younger than mine (and also two young daughters, but this is about her twins). She texted me last week stressed. Her babies had been nursing non-stop and she was exhausted and worried about her milk supply. She asked for my advice.

I suggested sending her daughters to be with family, ordering delivery, ignoring cleaning her house and laundry. I listed glactagauges that she could take to help with her supply. Things like oatmeal, flaxseed, fenugreek, & lactation cookies. I warned against supplementing as it would keep her babies from upping her supply.

And then I realized... maybe they are going through a developmental leap. So I found out their due date and looked it up and sure enough they were.

Then it occurred to me! I wonder how many moms (but especially twin moms because we are already more concerned about supply) stop breastfeeding thinking that their child is unhappy because they are not making enough milk for them, when really that child is going through a developmental leap.
I am also wondering how many well meaning parents have started a Cry-It-Out routine because of night wakings due to developmental leaps (a.k.a. sleep regressions)

So what is a developmental leap and why should you know about them?

There are at least ten developmental leaps. Each of these occur as your babies brain changes the way it perceives information. As this happens babies tend to be much more fussy, clingy, and have more disruptive sleep patterns. They need love and support as their entire world is changing.

It's hard being a mom. It's really hard when your baby is crying and you don't know why. It's easy to go to "Am I not producing enough milk?" or "Are they spoiled and need to learn to sleep through the night". But just like knowing your baby is teething it is much easier to be compassionate and actually help your baby if you know whats going on.

I learned about sleep regressions originally when Em, who had been an awesome sleeper up until this point in time, stopped sleeping well. Trusty old Google brought me Ask Moxie. What a relief to find out that this was normal and I was not the only one.
Start at her " Q&A: what are sleep regressions anyway? " and then read everything she has to say on it, even the comments. especially the comments!


Then buy the book "The Wonder Weeks" by Plooij & Vanderijt
They do have an app out now but all of the information on the app is on the website for free and you are really missing out on a lot of great info (including how to best help your child through each individual leap) if you don't read the book.

You can also sign up on The Wonder Weeks website and they will email you every time your baby is about to go through a leap.  Be sure to enter your baby's due date and not their actual birth date.

The good news is that if your baby is going through a developmental leap, it will not last forever and there are ways you can help them! Remember to be gentle on yourselves during these times too. They are hard. Our most difficult was around 8 or 9 mos. I thought I was going to loose my mind, but we pulled through. We are going through another leap right now and it is not nearly as bad.

Have you found a particular leap to be more difficult than the others?