Welcome to the place where moms share their stories.
Enjoy reading and be encouraged!
Why I Feed My Baby Pancakes (and what to do with the leftover baby food!)
I have been snowed in for the last two weeks, and have not been able to get to the grocery store. We haven’t starved; we keep plenty of dried goods in the pantry and meats and veggies in the freezer. My hubby was able to bring home some eggs one day, which are absolutely necessary for a happy stuck-at-home experience (without them, you can’t make cookies!). So this morning, I was searching the rather empty-looking refrigerator for something to feed my 11-month-old for lunch. I found in my freezer the bags and bags of pureed vegetables I had prepared when he was in the “baby food” stage. He still only has six teeth, but it was amazing how quickly he started to prefer eating solids he could pick up with his fingers to being fed mush from a spoon. What to do with my leftover pureed carrots? Hmmm... Make pancakes, of course! I defrosted about a ½ cup of carrot mush and added a spash of milk, an egg, a scoop of flour, maybe a couple tablespoons of honey, and a pinch each of salt, baking soda, and vanilla (real specific recipe, huh?). After I poured each scoop of batter into my hot, buttered pan, I sprinkled a few raisins on top. Flip them when they look bubbly and dry. Wow, were they good! Sweet, flavorful, and filling. I had to stop myself from eating them all before the baby got some. I think pancakes are one of the perfect baby foods. You combine a great source of protein (eggs!) with the grain of your choice (I have used regular flour, whole wheat, sourdough, oat flour, and will occasionally mix in whole rolled oats). Add milk, and fruit or veggies as you choose. Carrot, pumpkin, or sweet potato makes a great base for pancakes. You could also use mashed bananas or applesauce. If your baby has enough teeth to handle chunky stuff, mix in whole raisins, blueberries, or chopped up fruits. A complete meal! Add this to the fact that it’s easy to make a large batch and store the pancakes in a plastic bag to serve the rest of the week. Just lightly toast one or two and add a pat of butter for a quick lunch. They are soft and easy to cut up into little bits for your Little Bit (if you’ve never heard that pet name, you’re not from the south). What about the green vegetable purees that are not so appetizing in a pancake? Go omelet style – mix green beans, spinach, etc. into scrambled eggs and sprinkle with some shredded cheese. Taste it and see if it needs a little salt or pepper. If you think it’s disgusting, don’t make your baby eat it. Make the effort to make a tasty meal, and you can both enjoy a quick and easy lunch together!
Adventures from the Start
I discovered during one of my pregnancy tests with my first child, Eliza (unknown at the time that we would be having a girl) that I had gestational diabetes. It wasn't something I was expecting and felt like I somehow failed when I received the result.
We had tried to conceive for close to two years when I finally became pregnant with Eliza (when we gave it a break). Early on I had spotting, causing us to fear that we had lost her. I really shouldn't have been surprised by having another hurdle to my pregnancy after all of that. Due to the GD diagnosis, I had to undergo NSTs bi-weekly (Non-stress tests). During one of the later tests, it was discovered that Eliza also had an irregular heart rate (murmur) so away they sent me to a fetal specialist. After the first time this happened, I wasn't surprised to be sent back there again after the next NST (the first visit showed that her heart was growing just fine) nor was I surprised to hear that her heart was indeed growing just fine.
At the time I was still working full-time and hadn't fully prepared my employer for my maternity leave. My parents had left for a trip to FL to visit my grandmother (against my sister's advice saying, "You know she'll be early for this since Amy's late for everything else."). My In-laws were also out of town visiting family up North. The specialist told me that even though Eliza's heart was normal, my amniotic fluid level was not. They needed to induce me THAT day which was still three weeks before my due date. My husband and I awaited a check in time at the hospital and packed our bags for a long labor. As we left the house, one of our Golden retrievers decided he should make a run for it before his life was changed forever. As we left for the hospital, we had to chase down our family pet! (On a side note, he now LOVES Eliza, so his life isn't that bad with kids after all!)
Because Eliza was preparing me for a life of doing things her own way, she wouldn't budge after I was induced. But, her heart rate started to falter. I had planned on having a water birth with my daughter. When I was informed that they had showers I could labor in (through they did not have a tub), I decided to go that route and have a natural birth with no drugs. I really wanted to have my daughter as natural as possible. That plan never happened. After all of the preparing and dreaming, I was eventually taken in for a C-section. I had planned on holding Eliza as soon as she was born but she swallowed a lot of fluid during the birthing process and wasn't scoring well on her APGAR tests so she was whisked away to the NICU. I had one moment of kissing her face and blue toes before she had to leave. I had dreamt of nursing her upon birth and providing Kangaroo care so we could enjoy the first moments of her birth skin to skin. These things never happened. Nothing ever happens as you plan it anyway. I learned this through the years of trying to conceive and coming up barren. But, Eliza is a fighter. She was out of NICU by the time I made it out of recovery and was on my way to my hospital room.
My one last "big plan" was the nurse her instead of giving her a bottle. My experience wasn't successful the first or second time and Eliza was slower to learn because she was three weeks early. But, I was determined to be the best nursing mother on this planet and I was. After being sore and chapped and going through a gallstone attack (undiscovered until three months later as I nursed through several attacks) and nipple shields (don't be too proud to use them -- they work!), I was able to have at least THAT with Eliza. And, it was more than I could ever ask for. We learned together and it was magical....though not at first.
I'm still learning how to be a parent with Eliza. She really hasn't changed since the moment I met her six-and-a-half-years-ago, full of fire and spirit, and teaching me what love is all about.
“No, no, don’t touch the trash can. Yucky.”
“No, no, don’t go near the stairs.”
“No, no, books don’t go in your mouth. Books are for reading, not for eating.”
My baby is only 8 months old and has only just begun to pull up on the furniture this week, but he is already getting into trouble! Since he started crawling (if you can call it that…it’s really more of a cross between a sea-lion thrashing and a break-dancing move), he has been eager to explore, touch, and taste everything around him. It’s amazing to watch…and exhausting to supervise. You wouldn’t believe how quickly a magazine can be torn to shreds and partially digested in a quart of saliva! And for some reason, the kitchen trash holds particular interest to a little one toddling around in a walker…maybe it’s the way the bag crinkles when you touch it. My husband and I are delighted with baby’s new tricks, and we really don’t want to stifle his budding curiosity. But, unfortunately, neither the world nor my house is a giant baby-proof playpen, furnished with padded walls and only clean, safe plastic toys to chew on. We firmly believe that our child’s safety, character, and ultimate happiness depend upon his learning to respect boundaries and authority, and it’s not too soon to start that training process! So, how do I give my little explorer the freedom he needs to grow and develop, while at the same time protecting him from danger (and protecting my stuff from the little monster)? The following ideas are written partially for you… but mostly for me! I am a new mom and am trying to put these principles into practice right now, so feel free to comment or share your ideas. I can sure use it!
Provide alternatives. If you’re tired of saying no, say yes! When I have to take away a forbidden object or activity, I try to offer my baby a distracting alternative. For example, after he gets a firm “No, no!” and a little swat on the hand for touching the trashcan, I move his walker in another direction and point out something that he CAN touch. This way, I am replacing the “no” object with a “yes” object. If I have the time, sometimes I’ll even “plant” objects for him to find and touch. This doesn’t have to be fancy…when we’re in the kitchen, I’ll hang a colorful piece of cloth or plastic rings from the cabinet handles within his reach. Sometimes I’ll put a metal pot or an ice cube tray in the middle of the floor for him to find. I think it helps to *offer* the alternative object rather than force it on him. Not only does the object become more appealing when he can discover it for himself, but I am also reinforcing his development as a little explorer by providing a new discovery that is also a “yes” object.
Prioritize your no’s. You may think this is overkill, but I don’t let my kid put those thick cardboard “toy” books in his mouth. Baby books are great because they don’t get ripped to shreds the moment his sticky little fingers touch the pages, but they are not indestructible, AND I want him to learn a respect for his books as well as a love for them. For a little baby who puts everything in his mouth, this means a lot of “no’s”! We are making progress…but we have a long way to go. So, this issue is important to me (as something else may be to you), but I try to give my baby as much freedom as possible in the house. He likes to make a purring noise by running his plastic toys over the metal heat vents. He nibbles on chair and table legs (don’t worry, no lead paint). When I fold laundry, he tips over the basket and chews on Daddy’s clean socks. Although Daddy’s toes might be a little damp later, overall there is no harm done, and baby benefits from exploring real world objects instead of only his plastic made-in-China toys. Before you say no, ask yourself if it’s really that big a deal! There are a lot of regular household objects that are perfectly fine for baby to explore (with supervision, obviously). Of course, I try to remember that my child won’t always be within the safe and comfortable boundaries of my own home, and he must also learn the principles of respect for other people’s boundaries and belongings.
Be consistent. Try to decide early on where your boundaries are, and stick with them. Lately I’ve had a hard time drawing the imaginary line in the carpet for “too close to the stairs.” Part of the reason it’s so important to prioritize your “no’s” is because they need to be enforced – every time! Especially in the early stages, when baby is first learning the concept of “no,” he needs loving consistency in order to understand what you want from him. Like I said, my family is still in the early stages of learning boundaries and cultivating character. This is the voice of a mom who is trying her darndest, not the voice of an experienced sage! However, even this early, I can tell that understanding is beginning to dawn on our little one as we “train him up in the way he should go.” For example, that look of curiosity/uncertainty he gives me as he crawls toward the forbidden CD player. What will Mama do? Does she care? Will she be consistent in her teaching? Saying no every time can be exhausting! But even though my baby is still years (and many spankings) away from a true understanding of right and wrong, seeing the green buds on the tree give me the motivation to work hard in this area, joyfully anticipating the fruit of character and obedience later on.
Surprise and Gratitude
My hubby and I were packing up our home in California and getting ready to move to Texas. The next week after packing, I gave my work a three-weeks-notice. All at the same time, we found out that we were pregnant.
It came as a total surprise since hormonally I was having problems and had been told that I would not get pregnant (it was virtually impossible until my hormone levels were leveled out). I was in shock when I read a home pregnancy test --- I thought I took the test wrong, so I went and took another pregnancy test. Yes, I took two, but I was still apprehensive!
What made me decide to take the home pregnancy test in the first place, was that I didn't have my period. I figured I had been under a lot of stress so I thought that that was the reason. I was supposed to take some medication to balance my hormones --- medication that I couldn't take if I was pregnant already. So, I decided for peace of mind to make sure before proceeding. Well, I was indeed pregnant! Needless to say, the hormones must have leveled out rather quickly. Praise God that I didn't miscarry!
I have always been someone who knew I wanted a natural birth. Upon discovery of pregnancy, I realized I wanted a midwife present too. It took some convincing my husband to have a birth center birth. I did the research, asked LOTS of questions and found the perfect midwives who suited well with mine and my husband's wishes and desires. They gave me peace of mind as a first time mom-to-be, eased much of my fear and answered my questions. They also directed me to a great teacher for Bradley classes. My husband and I went to all the classes and we did our homework, which was very helpful for labor!
When the time came for labor to begin, I couldn't help but be ecstatic knowing my baby boy would soon be in my arms. I had a lot of expectations, thinking that everything I had ever hoped and planned would come to pass. After a long 28-hour labor, my water breaking, yet I was not dilating, I found myself being transferred to a hospital! To my surprise, I ended up having a c-section! I share this story not scare any new mothers-to-be but to encourage them that even though the c-section was far from what I had ever expected or planned, I really had a great experience. It's really true that what is most important is a healthy baby and a healthy momma.
I use to think I was invincible. I now know that I'm not and that life is a precious gift no matter how the child comes into this world. This is my story and I love it because it is MY story. There's not another exactly like it, just like your story is unique and there will never be another one exactly like it!
Looking for baby items handmade with love?
Check out this baby boutique!
Pregnancy Back to Back
“I’m pregnant? What? Again! I can’t believe this is happening. I have a baby already!” These were my thoughts, in February 2010, as I stood next to my toilet with a pregnancy test in my right hand and my four-month-old son sleeping in the next room. Having a baby had been a lot harder than I’d thought it would be and now I was pregnant again!
Caring for a newborn is hard for anyone – even if it’s your tenth baby and you know what to expect. For many new and inexperienced moms (including me) taking care of a baby was much harder than I anticipated. With engorged breasts, cracked nipples, a lack of sleep, a sore bum, and waves of guilt, anger, and giddiness relating to post-pardum blues and hormones, I was left wondering if I was normal and if I would ever be normal again! I remember wondering how I would ever go to the grocery store again…..what would I do with my baby? I couldn’t leave him with anyone…..or so I thought. I couldn’t carry him around in the store…..or so I thought.
Four months later, with life finally beginning to feel a little normal again and my fears of grocery shopping beginning to abate, I now felt a slight sense of panic seeing my positive pregnancy test. I felt apprehension mixed with joy about having another child. I was worried about the labor, the painful experience I had with nursing, and the sleep deprivation that I would face again, only this time I would have two babies to take care of.
Thanks be to God, my prayers for an easier experience with my second child were totally answered! My labor was short with my baby girl, she was gentle to nurse, and so fat and cuddly that I could even nurse her in bed! As the months flew by my two little babies became best friends and playmates. I am so thankful that my kids are close together in age! They have their cranky days when they fight but they have good days too when they have disappeared in their bedroom for an hour because they are deep into a game of “Thomas the Train” or “Superman verses Purple Power”.
Five years later I now have three kids (probably with more on the way) and many of those first fears have dissolved. I can see the fruit of my labor with my happy, wonderful children.
Are you nursing and bored?