Apr. 28, 2012

Raising a Foodie: At 7 and 8 Months

I am very pleased to note that Thomas now (often) eats three meals a day. I wasn't sure this would ever happen a few weeks ago.

In mid-March, Thomas caught a lingering cold and he entirely lost his appetite. Literally the boy refused food, aside from a few (very small) mid-afternoon meals, for weeks. We continued to offer fruit, vegetables and meat two or three times a day and celebrated every time he accepted a bite. I tried baby led weaning too, in case he was expressing a preference to feed himself instead, but nothing seemed to work. I kept reminding myself that when I'm sick I rarely want to eat, so this was likely what was going on with our little man. I kept sane knowing that he was getting plenty of breast milk and was continuing to gain weight.

However, after all signs of illness subsided, it occurred to me that Thomas might also be overfed. He does after all nurse all night long (literally! I've woken up at night and he's already been latched!). After confiding in a few other moms, one with a similar baby (a frequent night feeder) shared that her nutritionist recommended she nurse only to sleep for naps and bed, and then (at eight months, which is the age Thomas is now) offer food and water throughout the day. I tried it, and all of a sudden Thomas started eating! Before that we'd been nursing every three hours, which is what's generally recommended, but for babies who nurse at night might be too much if establishing solids is a priority for the family. For those super curious, this means I nurse Tom to sleep for a nap at 8:30/9:00 am, again for a midday nap, and then late afternoon before supper (around when he often takes a mini nap when we're out in the car/stroller/carrier). He then cluster feeds for an hour or so before dozing off for the night (which happens anywhere from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm, depending on how long his late afternoon nap lasted).

Having Tom eat three meals a day was very relieving. But the quantity of food he was consuming at these 'meals' remained slight.

But we've found a (hopefully temporary) solution to that too!

Oh a whim, I bought a Baby Gourmet pouch (I had never (well aside from a few jars of pureed chicken) given my baby jar food before), and he loved it. When offered Baby Gourmet, Thomas went from passively accepting a few bites to literally standing in his high chair and jumping up with his mouth open to accept the food. It turns out Thomas thinks mama is a bad cook (I really didn't think you could mess up purees that bad!). I still have a freezer full of organic, homemade purees that I hope to move back to, but for now we're munching on pre-made organic purees.

To wash down those meals, and when outside on a warm day, we offer Thomas water from a regular cup. He loves it so much that he reaches for everyone's water glass when they're having a sip. He can't get enough. This is a habit that I'm so happy to encourage! 

Apr. 16, 2012

Horizontal Stripes Guide to: Strollers

Since becoming pregnant with Thomas, starting to focus on more 'mommy-styled blogging', and seeing many of my friends also become pregnant, the most common question they've asked (at least with regard to 'baby gear') has been 'which stroller should I buy?'. After tailoring my advice to each friend, and discovering for myself what works for our family, I thought this might make a good topic for a blog post.

We have three strollers. Yes, you read that correctly -- three. And yes, we have one baby. So, you might want to keep in mind that I'm not someone who has found one stroller that works for everything. I also prefer to purchase strollers that have a decent resale value, because I want my stroller to have a life after I use it so that it doesn't end up at a landfill after a few years use. So, my recommendations tend to be mid-priced strollers (most very high end strollers aren't locally available and therefore my city's second-hand market doesn't seem to place the same value on them that people in larger cities might). If you're like me, you might want to take a look on Kijiji or the like before buying to see what different brands are selling for in your area.

So, which stroller should you buy?

If you love taking walks in the city while baby naps, you'll want a stroller with a bassinet.

My personal bias for preferring that baby sleep in a bassinet rather than a car seat saw me seeking out a stroller with clip in bassinet (which we actually used as Thomas' bassinet in our bedroom for the first three months) as our main full-sized stroller. We went with a fun Quinny Buzz that combines plastic and air-filed tires (and provides the option to switch out the front plastic wheel for a pair of air-filed ones). Other strollers with similar functionality include the Bugaboo Cameleon, UPPAbaby Vista, Stokke Xplory, iCandy Apple, Mamas and Papas Mylo, Bumbleride Queen B and Microlite Toro. Quinny and Bumbleride strollers pictured above. These are catch all strollers, and tend to have better resale values than similar 'travel systems' (Graco and Evenflo, for example, strollers that come complete with a clip in car seat from big box stores).

If you want to use the same stroller seat from newborn to toddler, you'll want a stroller whose seat can lay completely flat.

There's something appealing about having one seat, which has the ability to lay completely flat so that it can be used from birth and up. The bonus here is that there are no extra components to store or adapters to fiddle with. The leaders in this category are the Mamas and Papas Sola and the UPPAbaby Cruz (both pictured above).

If running is part of you're daily routine, you'll want a jogging stroller.

We also bought a used jogging stroller for occasional use on some trails around our neighbourhood for about $40 (it's a Co-Pilot). BOB and Phil and Ted's (both pictured above) are the leaders in this pack (at least in St. John's), so I'd recommend starting there first when you're looking to buy. I have close friends with both types. If you plan to use your stroller while also walking your dog, this is the sort of stroller I recommend. BOB and Phil and Ted's also sell double strollers.

If you're a jet-settler, you'll need a compact umbrella stroller.

Baby's comfort is most important to me, so I suggest staying clear of the too flimsy umbrella varieties if your little one is less than two. We have a Maxi Cosi Mila, but I also love the Maclaren Triumph and the Quinny Zapp Xtra. If you plan on flying with your baby, or want a stroller to keep in your car all the time, I recommend one of these. I love the Maxi Cosi and Quinny varieties best because they also allow you to clip in your Maxi Cosi car seat, which is super convenient if you're travelling with a small baby. Maxi Cosi and Quinny strollers pictured above.

If you plan on having a second child, you might want a stroller that converts to a double.

Similar in styling to the bassinet options above, a stroller that expands to accommodate two might be the best choice if you plan to have a second child or if you have twins. This is a small but growing category of strollers. My personal favourite is the Bugaboo Donkey, but the Mountain Buggy Duet and Baby Jogger City Select are also beautiful and functional. Bugaboo and Baby Jogger strollers pictured above.

Chances are you might need one or two of these (likely a larger stroller and a compact stroller). What strollers do you use and love? I'm so curious!

Apr. 14, 2012

Our Playroom: The Reveal

At long last, we put the finishing touches on Thomas' playroom yesterday afternoon. Our timing couldn't have been any more perfect because he's just started actually crawling. I feel so fortunate to have a space dedicated to play for our little man, and it's a stress reliever knowing the room is baby proof (or at least so I think!).

Floor squares - Walmart
Solair Chairs - Studio Pazo
All picture frames - Michaels
Teepee - Mozzlehome (confetti painted by hand by me)
Artwork - Mrs. Eliot Books and Retro Menagerie
Clock - Dominion
Growth Chart - Indigo (thanks Virginia!)
Artwork Hanging Wire - Ikea
Hanging Artwork - Vintage Tintin Post Cards and Lagom Design
Pillow - Ikea (no longer available)
Toddle Truck - Ikea
Storage Bins - Dominion

Apr. 13, 2012

Raising a Baby in St. John's: Fine Dining with a Baby

Now that Thomas is able to sit up in a high chair (yay!), I wanted to put together this round up of fine dining establishments in St. John's that have a high chair. It's great to know there are high and (medium!) end dining options for the whole family to enjoy -- not only to be able to bring baby along to avoid the costs of a sitter, but also to expose baby to the enjoyment of dining out. As Thomas grows up, it is a priority for me that he be comfortable (meaning enjoy eating) and able (meaning having the appropriate table manners) to eat at a high end restaurant. In St. John's, high chairs can be found at (in alphabetical order):
  • Aqua
  • Bacalao
  • Bianca's
  • Blue on Water
  • The Casbah
  • Get Stuffed
  • Indian Gate
  • The Keg
  • Oppidian
  • Piatto
  • The Peppermill
  • Portobello's
  • The Rooms Cafe
  • The Sprout
In completing my round up, some restaurants (Duck on Water, Oliver's, The Cellar and Chinched Bistro notably) let me know that while they don't have a high chair, they encourage patrons to bring along a booster seat as they're child friendly. Annexe Resto also mentioned that they plan to buy a high chair soon (as they're a new establishment). I also couldn't reach anyone at Basho or Yellowbelly, so I'm not sure about their status? Anyone know? If I missed somewhere, please let me know. I'd love to add them to the list!

Apr. 10, 2012

Registering for Baby: Modern Budget-Friendly Alternatives Edition

The reality is that we didn't have $20,000 to spend to prepare for Thomas' arrival. If we did, our nursery might have looked like a composition of the last post. What we did have were generous parents, the ability to make a few splurges ourselves and some researched findings on much-more budget friendly pieces. If modern design is important to you, you might want to consider some of these more affordable pieces as well.
Bassinet - Eco Cradle

Stroller - Bumbleride Indy
High Chair - Svan High Chair
Rocking Chair - Ikea Poang

Apr. 9, 2012

Registering for Baby: Lux Gear Edition

When I was pregnant, I couldn't find a baby registry checklist tailored to my style (modern, clean lines), so I've decided to draft my own. If you share a similar aesthetic, your dream registry might look something like this. In preparing for baby, I wanted to balance my desire for good modern design with utility and my average budget.

This list is similar to one I crafted in my master 'prep-for-baby excel spreadsheet'. When shopping, we splurged on some of these items ourselves and our families bought a few others. In thinking about a second baby, I even have a very short splurge list ready to go (a second Stokke Tripp Trapp and a Bugaboo Donkey). For fun and as an alternative to this dream list, I'll be sharing a list of affordable and modern items, inspired by this list below, tomorrow, including some of the alternatives we purchased to keep our budget on track.

Crib - Ooba Nest

Bassinet - Hushamok
Stroller - Stokke Xplory

Nightlight - J Schatz Egg Lamp

Apr. 4, 2012

Baby Goals: Updated

I've become a humble mother. I'm constantly seeking advice from those mothers who came before me, and I'm constantly changing my approach to caring for our son. As month seven fades, and a return to office work looms in my future, I've updated my approach to my two baby goals. Back in February, I wanted nothing (yes, NOTHING) more than for Thomas to sleep through the night and to take a bottle when I was away from him. I was convinced I'd done everything wrong -- waited too long to introduce a bottle, rushed to him too quickly at night to respond to his cries -- and those mistakes had created a situation (a baby that would only eat from mama and that woke up every hour looking for a nipple) that I couldn't easily change.

Two comments by my public health nurse (love her!) changed my entire perspective on our situation, and I now feel much more confident in Thomas' ability to thrive while away from Mama when I head back to work.
  • Sleeping Through the Night -- My nurse said that babies who are well-established at breastfeeding often wake regularly at night because it helps maintain mom's milk supply! Knowing his waking might simply be nature ensuring that we're able to continue breastfeeding for the foreseeable future is actually pretty amazing.
  • Taking a Bottle - My nurse said that Thomas also wouldn't take a bottle because he's so well-established in breastfeeding. Knowing that his rejection of the bottle is an indication of my dedication to exclusively breastfeed until one and to then continue to breastfeed until he self-weans, not an indication of a failure on my part to introduce a bottle earlier, was so reassuring. In fact, she mentioned he was actually old enough to skip a bottle all together and move straight to a sippy cup or even a regular cup. So far, he's preferring a regular cup to any of the alternatives! I don't know why I was so bent on thinking that taking a bottle was central to us maintaining breastfeeding even after I'm back at work -- it didn't even occur to me that I could give him breastmilk in an actual cup!
Has anyone ever said something simple to you that's changed your views on parenting?