Category: Baby

How to Raise a Vegan Baby from Day One

If you caught my interview on the DM Show Podcast you’ll remember I spoke about adding more vegan-related content to my blog. A while back I also mentioned wanting to add more motherhood-related content as well since I get a lot of questions about that in my Instagram direct messages. There’s so much I’ve been dying to share but it’s been really challenging trying to focus on the blog and raising Athena (not to mention work & personal life stuff) at the same time. But Athena’s now a year and a half old, which means things are starting to get a little easier. Ok well, that’s not technically correct. What I should say is that some things are starting to get easier while others are becoming more challenging. But she’s growing up and becoming a bit more self-sufficient and Marc and I are getting really good at dividing and balancing our time with her so each of us can also get some work done. Long story short, I feel like I’m finally starting to have a bit more time to produce content for the blog, so get ready! 

Today I want to talk about how to raise a vegan baby. Specifically, what to give your baby from day 1 and what options you have as a vegan parent trying to raise a vegan baby. Now, if you’re not vegan, or are but don’t plan on raising your baby vegan, you should still read this post because I’m going to cover some stuff every parent should know. Yesterday, I got a message from a reader asking me if I was still breastfeeding. I’m am still technically breastfeeding Athena but I don’t think I’m producing any milk at this point if I am it’s probably trace amounts. At this point, she’s already eating a wide variety of solid foods so for these reasons, I’m planning to stop breastfeeding her in the next couple weeks. I was also asked if I’m supplementing her diet with a milk replacement. I’m not and I never have. Athena has only had breastmilk since the day she was born. To be completely transparent, I did try giving her goats milk formula on three separate occasions (because I thought she needed it) that first day but she spit it all up and did not seem to be doing well with it, so I stopped and waited for my milk to come in. 

I wasn’t educated enough on breastfeeding and this is something I wish I had done much more homework on. I thought my newborn baby was going to starve if I didn’t give her a lot of milk right away. I didn’t know her stomach was only the size of a large marble and that she’d only need 1.5 to 2 ounces of milk per feeding. I didn’t know about colostrum. I think as women, we just grow up thinking breastfeeding will be easy and come naturally to us, but it isn’t and it doesn’t. So I really advise every mama to really learn as much as possible about this topic.

Here are some great resources for doing so:

La Leche League (click here to find a league near you)

Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

 

What type of milk should I give my vegan baby? 

I get this question quite often. It may not surprise you to hear that breastmilk is the best option for all babies, not just vegan babies. A lot of parents worry that raising their baby vegan will be challenging because they won’t get enough protein. Breastmilk is the product of millions of years of evolution. Over this period of time, it’s been refined to be the most perfect food to ensure that humans not only survive but thrive. Breastmilk is high in fat and other nutrients but quite low in protein, in fact, protein only makes up 6% off calories in breastmilk. Compared to breastmilk from other mammals, humans breastmilk is extremely low in protein and this is a good thing.  Babies just don’t need tons of protein at this stage in their development. 

Can’t I just give my baby infant soy formula? That’s vegan right?

No, soy formula is not vegan. However, it is a slightly better option. Soy formulas still contain whey or casein and minerals derived from animals. If you need to use formula for your baby, I would suggest using a soy formula that doesn’t have any whey or casein. Earth’s best makes one that is plant-based. While it’s not entirely-vegan, I think this is one of the better options in soy-based infant formulas. 

Are there any vegan baby formulas available?

Yes, but not in this country, yet. If you really need to use formula and you must have a 100% vegan formula, you can order Premeriz. The stage one formula seems to be sold out at the moment but you can sign up for email alerts for when it’s in stock again. This formula is also organic, gluten-free, and free of palm oil. You can find Premeriz vegan baby formula at boutiquevegan.com.

There is also a new vegan baby formula coming to U.S. markets. Nestle recently submitted a patent for a vegan baby formula that will be 100% vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, and minimally processed. It will be made from potato microparticles and will be suitable for vegan as well as non-vegan babies. You can read more about this news here

Donor milk could also be an option for you.

Donor milk comes from women who produce an excess of milk and kindly donate it—or sometimes sell it—to a milk bank. Donor milk is screened and tested for viruses, diseases, and other harmful substances before being accepted. However, different milk banks have different protocols for this. There’s some debate about how stringent for-profit milk banks are on their testing methods compared to non-profit milk banks. If the milk passes the screening, it is then pooled with milk from 3-5 other mothers and pasteurized. It’s then bottled for donation or sale. There are many ways to go about getting donor breastmilk. You can check with the hospital at which you gave birth, some of them have what is known as “compassionate milk” which they donate to babies in need. You can also check with local non-profit milk banks or buy some from for-profit milk banks. The latter option can be quite pricey but some insurances cover the costs. This article from What to Expect has more thorough information on the topic of donor milk. Also, keep in mind that some individuals do not consider breastmilk vegan if the donor is not vegan as animal products can pass through the mother into the breastmilk.

*Please note regular plant milks (coconut, soy, hemp, almond, hazelnut, etc.) do not provide a sufficient amount of nutrition to replace breast or formula milk within the first 12 months of a babies life.

Additional resources for vegan mothers:

RaiseVegan.com (If you’re on Facebook join their vegan parenting group!)

Vegnews.com

PlantbasedNews.org

ForksOverKnives.com

PlantProof.com

 

Sources for this article include:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

www.nutritionfacts.org

www.psychologytoday.com

First Time Leaving Baby

When mom watches you…

When mom watches you.

 

VS when dad watches you…

 

When dad watches you,

I have a huge family. There are fourteen aunts and uncles (not counting their spouses) just from my mother’s side of the family. And they’re all spread out across the country and around parts of Mexico. So when the opportunity arises for all of us, or a lot of us, to get together, I really make an effort to show up. When I learned that this weekend a small portion of my family was getting together in Pasadena, I was instantly excited. If you have kids, you know that traveling with them is…difficult, to say the least. The last time we traveled with Athena, our now 17-month-old, she was only nine months old. She was still a baby, so she slept most of the car ride from Las Vegas to our destination near Salt Lake City. But even so, it was SUCH a production traveling with her. A baby’s packing list is soooooooo long. Between sound machines and multiple outfits (because oftentimes they’ll poop so much that it goes up their back and you just have to throw the whole outfit away) and diapers, wipes, breast pump, breast pump equipment, bottles, bibs, Nosefrida, swaddles, nail clippers, shampoo, lotion, the list goes on and on and on. We even took her crib with us. Yep. We did that. Anyway, the car was packed to the brim. But whatever, we did it, and overall it turned out fine.

However, I was not looking forward to doing all that again AND dealing with any new hurdles that might be thrown at us now that she’s a toddler, aka tiny tyrant. But how could I leave her?! I don’t think I can. The trip is only for one night so it should be easy, right? Well exactly, it’s just for one night, so instead of loading our entire house into the car and strapping the baby in for 4+ hours each way on back to back days, we decided it’d be best if I went alone. Insert sobbing emoji. I’ve never left my baby, and I’m honestly not sure how I’m going to handle being away from her for almost two days.

My worry about leaving her is literally giving me anxiety. I’ve been feeling a tightness in my chest since yesterday. I’ve been preparing food to leave behind for her as if I’ll be gone for weeks. I even bought new toys for Marc to distract/bribe her with while I’m gone. And don’t get me wrong, he’s more than capable of taking care of her on his own, but it’s different, you know. It’s different when there are two of us with her than just one. Even though we love her the same and always do our absolute best, it’s like the pressure is on when one parent is away, and the other one forgets how to function at full capacity.

For example, there have been days when I’ve been out of the house for a few hours and come home to find him frazzled and frustrated. He’ll tell me what issues he had with her, and I’ll instantly offer various solutions to the problem that didn’t even cross his mind. And somedays, our roles are reversed where I’m the frazzled one, and he’s got all the answers that would’ve never occurred to me. But like, I said before, it’s not even that that’s causing most of my worry. It’s something entirely different. I can’t even bring myself to write it because I feel like that will somehow be inviting it in to happen. Part of me believes that this type of worry is entirely typical, it’s just a mom’s nature. But the other part of me thinks I’m totally neurotic.

I’ve been practicing visualization recently, the science behind it is super cool. It’s really helped me with other aspects of life. Also, gratitude. I’ve been practicing mindfulness and gratitude which have helped immensely. I recently heard someone say that gratitude and negativity can’t exist in the same place, meaning that when we practice gratitude there is organically no space left for negativity. I think the key here is to keep practicing. But I’m curious what your experiences with this issue have been. What did you do the first time you left your baby behind. How did you handle it? Did everything turn out okay? Have you done it again since then? Please please please leave me a comment down below or on my Instagram and let me know.

Baby Gift Ideas for Christmas 2017

We spent this past Saturday wrapping presents and keeping Athena away from the Christmas tree, lol. I can’t wait to see her open her presents on Christmas morning! We bought her some toys and a LOT of books. She’s had a natural love of books for a long time, since she was born really. Although, lately when we try to read to her she has a slightly shorter attention span and she crawls away to the nearest toy. I think it’s totally normal though. She’s learning so quickly and now, at nine months old (tomorrow!), she LOVES more interactive toys and those with a variety of textures.

I’m linking the exact items we bought for her. I feel so confident your little one will absolutely love any one of these items because Marc and I played with all these books and toys ourselves and we love them! They’re all made really well and are of high-quality materials. We even let Athena play with them for a few minutes before I wrapped them up and she was in HEAVEN. These toys range in ages from 3 months to 3 years old. We generally try to stick to age recommendations for toys. However, oftentimes, we feel like Athena becomes bored and uninterested in toys for her age group so we move up. We always evaluate toys above her age group for safety. Side note: if you’d like to evaluate toys that may be a chocking hazard, use this choke tester designed by the CPSC, Consumer Product Safety Commission. Read more about each toy below and click the item title to shop.

Melissa & Doug Classic Bead Maze

This toy is a classic. I used to think the bead maze toy was overrated but I’m not a baby and babies sure do love it. Athena played with this maze almost the entire time we were in the store and then some more when I went to wrap it. It’s made really well, no chipping or paint peeling, and has a sturdy wooden base. The exact dimensions are 11.75″ x 11.75″ x 12.5″. In case you don’t have a ruler in front of you, it fits on my lap. Teach your baby movement, shapes, colors, and more! This toy is recommended for ages 12 months and up.

Melissa & Doug First Bead Maze

There’s also a smaller version with four suction cups on the bottom, perfect for setting on highchair trays. I’m thinking of getting this one as well for traveling with. Every time we go out to eat, Athena immediately starts grabbing at anything she can get her hands as soon as we scoot her highchair in. This suction cup-based bead maze would be perfect for keeping your little occupied in such scenarios. This one is also recommended for ages 12 months and up.

Squigz Starter Set

How cute are these little suction cup toys?! Athena currently loves suction cup toys; she’s going to go bananas for these! They’re stackable so your little one can make all sorts of fun shapes with them. They’re made of smooth silicone, which means they’re super easy to clean. These would be perfect for traveling with since you can stick them on baby’s highchair tray, stroller tray, or table top while your dining out. The starter set comes with 24 pieces in a variety of colors and are recommended for ages 3 months and up.

Mirari Pop Pop Piano

This toy is so, much, fun! Athena loves pressing the piano keys and seeing the colorful jacks fly! The music is also not annoying— a very important selling point for me— lol. I read reviews on all of these toys and for this particular one, many people were concerned about the jacks being a choking hazard. The clear cover can be pulled off by strong toddler hands BUT, the jacks are too big to be a chocking hazard according to this device designed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This is probably my favorite toy thus far, it’s so cute and fun! This child’s piano is recommended for ages 12 months and up.

Learning Resources Snap-N-Learn Alphabet Alligators

Fun fact about me and my sister. I taught my sister how to read and do basic math by the age of 2 (I was 5). I had a little chalkboard that I would take outside everyday and we would have alphabet and numbers lessons everyday, al fresco, lol. We would have loved these toys when we were little. These letter matching pieces will make learning so much fun! And it I love that they come in cute little alligator shapes! The container is also sturdy and can be used for storing and traveling, so useful. This toy is recommend for age 2 years old and up.

BeginAgain Color N’ Eggs Matching Puzzle

I’ve talked before about the importance of Athena learning both English and Spanish. I love finding cute and fun toys that help her do just that. These little egg puzzles are adorable! We currently only have one set of bilingual flash cards. I’ve been looking for more bilingual toys and these are perfect! I can’t stress enough the importance of teaching your child a second language. I feel so lucky to have Spanish as my first language, it’s been so helpful in understanding and learning other languages. This bilingual matching puzzle toy is recommend for ages 2 years and up.

Janod Zigolos Pull Along Drum Elk

I’m so excited for Athena to open this pull along toy. You can see her playing with it in the 7th photo from the top. She already loves dragging along her pink bunny (or any other toy, really) while she crawls around the house so I’m fairly certain she’s going to love this pull along toy. This toy is recommended for ages 18 months and up.

That’s Not My Puppy Book

We got her so many books for Christmas, including these touchy-feely books from the “that’s not my” series. She loves these books because they come with all sorts of fun textures to touch. The first one we bought her when she was 4 months old (I think) was the That’s Not My Dragon book. It’s one of her favorite books. She quickly learned where all the textured spots are and she goes right to them as soon as I turn the page, lol. Make sure to see the other “that’s not my” books in the widget below. I read through them before wrapping them and they’re so cute! This book is suitable for all ages.

Other fun books pictured above:

That’s Not My Panda

This is another touchy-feely book from the same series. It’s got cute pandas! This book is suitable for all ages.

Toot

I have to admit, the name of this book is what drew me too it. I thought it was so funny. The illustrations are simple but really cute. It’s about, you guessed it, tooting. Such a cute book. Your little ones will definitely get a giggle out of reading this. It’s part of a series, see the others in the widget below. The book is recommend for grade levels preschool and up.

Ice is Nice: All about the North and South Poles

I love this book and the one below. It’s never too early to start teaching our little ones about how the earth functions and the importance of taking of our planet. This book teaches kids about the different poles and how animals stay warm in different temperatures. It’s filled with busy colorful images that are candy for the eyes! This book is recommend for ages 4-8 years old and grade levels preschool-3.

If I Ran the Rain Forest: All About Tropical Rain Forests

This book is one of my favorites and while, like the one above, it’s recommended for ages 4-8 years old, I firmly believe it’s never too early to start teaching kids about the importance of taking care of our planet and being respectful to nature. This book teaches kids all about the trees, animals, insects, plants, and native people that inhabit the rainforest. This book is recommend for ages 4-8 years old and grade levels preschool-3.

 

Radio Flyer Wagon with Canopy

Last but not least, this adorable Radio Flyer wagon with canopy! I mean, how cute would your baby look sitting in this? I can’t wait to see Athena and Grayson sitting in this wagon as Lexi and I pull them along in the park. Oh the cuteness! I can’t even!




A Five Year Relationship, A Break Up, & A Pregnancy

One month old Athena. She peed all over this setup about 15 minutes after I took this photo, lol.

Ever since Athena was born I feel like I’ve been going nonstop. Her 8 month birthday is coming up soon and I can’t even begin to tell you guys how much I’ve learned. There are SO many things that I want to share, but I don’t even know where to start. Ive been sitting here giving it some thought and I realized that I haven’t shared much personal information with you guys, so I should probably start with that. I should preface this by saying, I’m really private when I comes to my personal life and sharing personal details doesn’t come easily, so bear with me. That being said, let’s dig right in.

A five year relationship, a break up, & a pregnancy

That’s how I would sum up the following in less than 10 words. But for the sake of being more open, let me expand on this title. Marc and I were in a romantic relationship for 5 years, we broke up, I moved out of the house we shared, and two months later, I found out I was pregnant. We decided we would co-parent and live together again for the baby’s first year to lean on each other as we navigated through life as new parents. We moved into a bigger house and a few months later Athena was born.

Fast forward nearly 8 months and everything is going well. When it comes to parenting, we’ve had some bumps in the road but that’s perfectly natural since this is a new experience for all three of us. I can’t speak for Marc but I can say that I’ve personally learned a lot from this experience. Like I said in the beginning, there’s so much I want to share, about pregnancy, about being a vegan mom, raising a vegan baby, breastfeeding, parenting, baby products, etc. So this is where I ask for your help. Let me know in the comments or over on my Instagram, what you’d like me to share about first. Thank you all in advance and I wish you all a happy weekend!

Baby’s first Halloween: Mommy & Baby Easy Costume Idea

Top: Target | Leggings: Spanx | Boots: Steve Madden | Headband: Target (similar) | Lips: Nars (in Damned) | Lip Liner: NYX (in Plum) | Athena’s Onesie: Kickee Pants (without the footies here) | Headband: Janie and Jack

We are SO excited for Halloween this year because it’s Athena’s first! The search for Halloween costumes for babies is tough though. We had a hard time finding costumes in her size, 6-9 months old. We checked online, 2 Target stores, Marshalls, and a nearby Halloween store. Finally, we landed on a chicken costume and a black cat. The chicken costume we found at the Halloween store for like, 19.99, I believe. The cat costume, we couldn’t find so I decided I was going to make it. But then I realized I don’t have the time or the energy to make a costume that she’s only going to wear for 1 day so my mommy brain kicked on, “I’ll just put her in a Kickee Pants onesie and her Janie and Jack headband. Done!” (high-fives self).

Easy Halloween Costume for Babies

I’m obsessed with Kickee Pants. They’re soft, high-quality, comfortable, durable and they’re super cute! When I was thinking about Athena’s black cat costume I looked for black separates but couldn’t find any. You’d think it’d be easy to find a black pair of pants and a black top for a baby, but nope. She wears Kickee Pants all the time so I thought why not just buy her an all black Kickee Pants onesie that she can also wear after Halloween? I bought the version with the footies but there’s also a version without the footies. Her cat ears headband I found while perusing one of my favorite children’s clothing stores, Janie and Jack. It’s so cute and she can wear it any time just for fun! For a super quick and easy kids Halloween costume, you could also use Kickee Pants in other solid colors such as light green, dark green, pink, purple, or brown to dress your little ones as a dinosaur, unicorn, or a teddy bear. Just add a little bit of makeup from and fun headband or beanie. I’ve linked a few fun headpieces below.

Easy Halloween Costume for Women

My costume was super easy to put together as well. I used my favorite faux-leather leggings from Spanx that I purchased during Nordstrom’s anniversary sale. They’re so comfortable, they go with everything, and they make your tummy look flat, I LOVE them. You can shop them here. My top is from Target, it’s super soft, comfortable, and it’s like $10. MY boots are from last year but they’re back this year and they are some of the best over the knee boots ever. If you have wide calves, these are the boots for you! FYI, I couldn’t find my exact headband to link but I purchased it at Target from the $1 bin at the entrance. I did, however, link a similar headband that’s about $5. I also linked several other options below.

10 Things I wish someone would have told me when I was pregnant

In lieu of Athena’s 6 month birthday, I thought I’d share 10 things I wish someone would have told me when I was pregnant. There are many, MANY, more things I wish I’d been told but the clock reads 2:50am as I type this and I just can’t remember it all right now.

1. When it comes to the actual birth, expect the unexpected.

I heard it all and I still wasn’t prepared. I must have listened to 50+ labor and delivery stories on The Birth Hour alone. I heard it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly. There were experiences with 20-hour labors, emergency c-sections, giving birth with 2-broken legs, etc. But none of these stories prepared me for the birth of my baby. I planned for a home birth and everything did start at home but after 30-some hours of labor, we ended up in the hospital—per my midwife’s recommendation. I didn’t plan for a hospital birth so I wasn’t prepared for that AT ALL. I didn’t even pack a bag incase this scenario played out, so we were kind of scrambling last minute to get things together.

2. Don’t buy all the things

Ok well, someone did tell me this. Six months into my pregnancy, Marc and I took a newborn care class. The class opened with a discussion about essential items needed to take care of newborn baby. The teacher, who would later become my doula, said you don’t need a single thing. Sure, there are a variety of items that can make welcoming your little bundle a bit easier but you already have everything you already need.

My advice, wait until you need it and then order it on Amazon Prime. This works really well because you won’t have to go to the store (also, you won’t be able to/want to). Also, waiting until you need it allows you to determine if you really need the item in question. If you buy everything you think you’ll need right away, you’ll end up shoving it all in a linen closet or giving most of it away, like I did. Buy the absolute essentials, like diapers and a crib. The rest, can wait.

3. Let your partner help

I’m kind of a control freak and I like to keep my house clean and organized. This is not a good combination when you’ve just given birth. I was cleaning my house right up until the day I gave birth. In fact, I was cleaning during labor. After my daughter was born it was tough to physically move around. So the dishes started to pile up and dust bunnies moved in. If you want to keep your sanity, it’s important to remember to let your partner help. I used to be very much of the it’s-easier-and-faster-if-I-just-do-it mentality. As much as I wanted to, I just couldn’t do it all after giving birth so Marc started helping more around the house. Your partner may not do things the way you like them to be done but they’ll get done and that’s what matters. So what if they don’t match the tupperware lids to the bottoms before putting them away, even if it’s all shoved into the cabinet, at least it will be put away and not lingering in the dishwasher for a week. While they do that, you can have a rest, which you’ll definitely want/need.

Also, let them help with the baby, everyone benefits from this. Again, they may not change diapers, swaddle them, or coordinate their outfits like you do but it’s all going to be fine. Dad needs to bond with baby too and these are the perfect opportunities. I’ll never forget one of the times I asked Marc to dress Athena while I finished getting ready. I was putting on my shoes and I look up to see Marc walking down the stairs holding Athena in a Batman onesie with matching hat and bib. He was so proud. Lol.

4. If you’re planning to give breastmilk exclusively, buy extra equipment.

Breastfeeding is a beast of a task. Women that are able to breastfeed (even a little bit) should be given a medal. It’s so freaking tough. Pumping is a whole other game. These two challenges combined, well, prepare to want to rip your hair out. You will want to pump though; and when you do, it’s a bit easier if you have extra bottles and breast shields. Most pumps come with 4 bottles and 2 breast shields; you’re going to need more.

I spent the first 3 months after my daughter’s birth endlessly washing and sanitizing pumping equipment. You’ll need 2 breast shields and 2 bottles per pumping session, you’ll probably want to pump about 6 times a day so buy at least 3 more sets of shields and bottles. This way, you’ll only wash everything once or twice per day. Trust me, having to wash and sanitize everything after every single pumping session is unnecessary torture. Now, at the end of the day, I just throw all the pumping equipment into the right side of the sink with really hot water and lots of soap. I let it soak for 15-20 min before quickly scrubbing everything. Washing 6 sets of breast shields, bottles, lids, valves, and membranes, takes about 15 minutes.

5. You’re going to be you but you’re not going to be you

Your life has just changed in in the blink of an eye. You’re now responsible for this tiny human that you have to feed, clothe, and raise into a model citizen—shit. By nature, you now come second and this can be a bit disconcerting. You’ve spent your entire life, until now, taking care of mostly just yourself but now you have to do everything you’ve done for yourself for another human first. Then, if you have time leftover, you can bathe, get dressed, and have a meal.

Every little thing will be different. You won’t be able to shower or do your makeup like you used to, because you won’t have the time. None of your clothes will fit for a good while and once they do you can’t just wear that cute top that you love so much. No, forget fashionable, you’re now all about functional. You’ll need to wear something that’s conducive to breastfeeding (if you plan on breastfeeding). And I sincerely wish you the best of luck with breastfeeding. I thought this would be one of the easy parts. Nope. I didn’t know what my body was doing, at times it really felt like my body was betraying me.

You’re basically going to turn into another person, the person your baby needs you to be; and you may have to go through all of this while dealing with postpartum depression. You may not feel like yourself (six months in, I still don’t), for days, weeks, months, or even years. But as awful as this all sounds, it’s so rewarding. You’ll have some epically blissful moments that won’t compare to anything else you’ve ever experienced in life and it’ll all be worth it.

6. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on a new stage of baby’s behavior, everything will change again.

You’ll want to pull out all your hair and you may start to lose hope— but this is all perfectly normal. It’s a steep learning curve but you can do it. It may seem like you can’t keep up but you can.

7. Don’t buy all the cute onesies.

Unless you really want to. Ok, I’m split on this one, here’s why. I was repeatedly told by friends, family, and strangers alike, not to buy a lot of baby clothes because they grow so quickly that they won’t even get to wear it all. I got the same advice from all these people because they too, purchased way to many cute outfits that their baby never got wear. And you’ll do it too, as you should. Athena has some outfits she outgrew before wearing but I don’t regret buying them. Shopping for baby clothes while I was pregnant was one of the most enjoyable moments of my pregnancy. So my advice is, if it makes you happy, buy all the onesies!

8. Be in the pictures!

You may not feel or look your best after giving birth (or for several months after) but don’t let that discourage you from getting in the picture with your baby. I have only a handful of pictures with Athena from birth until 4 months. Partly because I typically looked like something the cat dragged in and I didn’t want photographic proof of that; and partly because I was always the one taking the picture. It was only recently that I made a conscious effort to be in the photos because even if I look like crap, I know in the future I’ll regret not having pictures with her. I also came to the conclusion that being photographed with frizzy hair, no makeup, and spit-up-laden sweat pants will help us better recall these grueling but oh-so-rewarding first few months of parenting.

9. Your mother, aunts, and other older females will try to roast your baby.

Keep an eye on them. The older female relatives, that is. The first time my mother visited, after Athena was born, she spent a good part of each day telling me to bundle up my baby because she must be cold. I heard this a lot from my aunts and Athena’s paternal grandmother as well. My mother even took it upon herself to cover Athena up whenever she had the chance. You may have been told that babies have trouble regulating their temperature and while that’s true, it’s doesn’t mean that they are cold. In fact, in most cases, babies run hot. Because of this and per the suggestion of our midwife, we keep the house pretty cool, especially at night. Our midwife told us it’s better for baby to be a bit cold then to run the risk of overheating them. My room is oftentimes freezing while Athena is still perfectly warm when I pull her out of the crib every morning.

9. Going out will never be the same

Rather, running errands (because this is the only going out you’ll be able to do), will never be the same. What used to be a quick, 10 minute pop into the grocery store is now a 2 hour mission. The amount of gear your have to take along is unreal. But should you choose to leave it behind one day, that will be the day your baby has a poop explosion, then spits-up exorcist-style as you try to wrangle her diaper. And yes, I speak from personal experience.

10. Remember to take care of yourself

As soon as you give birth everything revolves around your baby. By nature, you will obsess over her so much that you may forget to do even basic things for yourself, such as brush your teeth or shower. But it’s important to set aside time to do something nice for yourself. These little breaks will help you keep your sanity, be a better mother, and an overall better person.

3 Things to consider when introducing solid foods to infants

Thursday night we ended up in the ER with Athena. It was the scariest moment of my life and if I’m being honest, I’m a bit traumatized. If you have kids, this may seem like a rookie mistake to you and you’ll probably think I’m an idiot. But I want to share this experience for those that are new parents, like myself, or are expecting.

We’ve been giving Athena solid food for about a month now. She’s had pureed carrots, peas, and avocado. We’ve also given her sips of 2 types of juices we make. One contains kale, spinach, cucumber, lemon, ginger, and celery (this is her favorite). The second contains blueberries, kale, bananas, dates, and almond milk. As vegans, we drink a lot of almond milk. We also drink coconut milk and cashew milk every now and then. Because of this, we naturally, didn’t even think twice about giving our baby nut-based milks.

If you’re a new parent, you may not have thought about allergens when you’re introducing new foods. I sure didn’t. I mean, it crossed my mind at one point when she was first born but that thought had long vanished from my mind. Food allergies don’t run in my family history or in Marc’s so it’s not something we really thought about. It’s especially easy to forget to think of these types of things when you’re a new parent because there’s a multitude of things going on. You forget even the most basic things. Some days I don’t even remember to brush my teeth. Food allergies are such a serious issue, life-threatening even. You’d think that you’d remember to think about something so serious. But we didn’t, and Athena had a major allergic reaction.

I had just made some cashew milk and we decided to give Athena a bit to try. She probably had an ounce or less and within minutes she began to scratch feverishly. As I grabbed her hands to stop her from scratching, I saw her chest was covered in hives. Even as she was breaking into hives, a cashew allergy didn’t cross my mind until Marc said it. I told Marc to call the pediatrician.  As he was pulling up the phone number, the hives kept spreading and growing. By the time he found it (not even 2 min had passed), her chest, belly, and neck were covered in big, thick, hives. It looked as if her skin was going to burst. Then she let out a little wail and her voice had changed. She sounded muffled, I immediately told Marc to drive us to the hospital. I breastfed her as Marc gathered our things. 

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This photo was taken a bit after they gave her medication. It was so much worse before.
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This photo was taken a bit after they gave her medication. It was so much worse before.

Fortunately for us, the nearest hospital is literally 10 minutes away. We made it in 5 and rushed into the emergency room. On the way there, I called the hospital to let them know were coming. Judging by the total lack of urgency in their step, I thought maybe I overreacted. Although, I honestly think that if someone walked in holding their own severed arm, the staff would have behaved equally as slowly. They had us sit so they could take Athena’s vitals. We hadn’t given her anything at this point, except breastmilk, and I noticed the swelling had gone down. I’m not sure about this, but I think the breastmilk may have helped reduce the hives a bit because they seemed to be improving. Her voice also improved a bit before she got any medication. They administered diphenhydramine and dexamethasone orally to treat the hives. Within a couple hours the rash was completely gone.

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Even her ears swelled up. This photo was taken after they gave her medication. Here, some of the swelling has reduced.

3 Things to consider when introducing solid foods to infants

Introduce only one new food per day

Introducing only one new food per day will make it easier to find the culprit should your child experience and allergic reaction. The rule used to be every four days but that has since changed. However, if food allergies run in your or your partner’s families, consider sticking to the four day rule which is waiting 4 days before introducing a new food. Nuts and nut-based milks were recommended only after baby’s first year but those guidelines have also changed. The American Academy of Pediatrics now suggests introducing these foods as early as 4 months of age.

“New research has shown early introduction of peanuts into the diet of infants at high risk of peanut allergy can play a role in the prevention of peanut allergies. Based on this new research, European and U.S. physicians are developing formal guidelines regarding early-life complementary feeding practices.” – American Academy of Pediatrics

Introduce new foods in small doses

This was the mistake we made. Athena likes drinking from a regular cup so I poured a bit of cashew milk in there and let her sip it. She drank maybe about an ounce of it. What we should have done, is let her drink it from a bottle or sippy cup, which have a low flow. This way, we could have noticed the allergic reaction before she ingested a larger amount. We did initially have her drink it from a bottle but she wouldn’t drink it. She seems to only like having breastmilk in her bottle. So we tried it in a regular plastic cup and she drank it right away. Try introducing new foods in one ounce measurements. Be sure to keep a close eye on your child during and after a feeding, in order to spot any signs of an allergic reaction.

Have some medication ready

We have now learned that in case of an allergic reaction, if your child is still breathing, most pediatricians will recommend benadryl. Check with your pediatrician on how and when to administer this medication and what steps to follow, in case of an allergic reaction. We now have some benadryl in our medicine cabinet in case this happens again. If food allergies run in your or your partner’s family, and your child is of the required weight, ask your pediatrician if they can prescribe an epi pen jr.

Now that this has all passed and it’s been a few days, a small part of me thinks I may have overreacted but I still think I made the right call. When I saw the rash and hives spreading so quickly and heard my baby’s muffled voice, all I could think was that her throat was going to close up and she would stop breathing. I would never want to take that chance so that’s why we booked it to the hospital. So my last piece of advice is, listen to your instincts. No one loves your child more than you do. No one will take better care of them than you will, so don’t worry about looking like a crazy, dramatic parent during these types of situations. Follow your instincts because no one knows your baby better than you.

Sources:

https://www.aap.org

Babyswatch – The Perfect Accessory for Baby

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I’m so excited to tell you guys about Babyswatch! How cute is Athena’s little red fabric watch? I absolutely love it! I wasn’t familiar with these fabric watches until Babyswatch contacted me for a collaboration. Since discovering them I’m obsessed! They come in a wide variety of colors and the most adorable prints! The first thing I thought when I saw this watch was how perfect it would be for a baby shower gift idea or a baby gift idea. Or even a father’s day gift idea! Can you imagine dads look on his face if you gifted him matching watches for him and baby? So fun!

Handmade and high quality

As you guys know, I love handmade items so when I saw that Babyswatch are handmade, I was even more excited to receive this watch for a review. I have to say, the quality is top-notch. I wondered how it would hold up once I washed it. The care instructions say to hand-wash but I’m going to be honest, as a new mom, I don’t have time for that. I had a mountain of baby’s laundry piled up so I put the watch in a mesh wash bag, washed it on gentle, and let it air dry. Would the color bleed? Would the shape become warped? Nope! It came out perfect. This fabric watch is so well made!

What does baby think of her fabric watch?

Athena loves her Babyswatch! She can’t talk yet but she gave me this look that I’m pretty sure said,”I need 6 more, one for every day of the week.” Yeah, I think that’s what she was trying to convey. Lol. In all seriousness, she really likes it. Also, I love introducing the concept of time with Babyswatch. Every time she wears her Babyswatch, I tell her what time it reads and I also show her the time on my watch. It’s such a fun and cute accessory for babies 0-6 months!

Other reasons I love Babyswatch:

“These cotton bracelets are Handmade with 100% organic and chemical-free cotton fabric that is ultra-soft, breathable and non-irritating against baby’s skin.”

“Babyswatch bracelets are BPA free, latex free, phthalate free and lead-free. The product comes in different designs and graphics printed in high definition resolution that doesn’t fades and its suits baby’s wrist perfectly causing no discomfort nor bleach on baby’s skin.”

Visit Babyswatch online at www.babyswatch.us to shop their full line of handmade fabric watches and connect with them on social media to see what others are saying about Babyswatch.

Instagram: www.instagram.com/babyswatchus/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/babyswatchus/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/babyswatch

 

This post is brought to you by Babyswatch. All opinions and content are my own.

Baby Care Play Mat – Reversible Happy Cloud

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Baby Care Reversible Happy Cloud Play Mat
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Front of play mat.
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Back of play mat.
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Play mat is 1/2 inch thick.

I’ve been looking for a nice play mat thick enough to help cushion baby’s head since it’s still wobbly at times. I scoured the internet for a few hours and after reading countless reviews, this is by far the best play mat for everyday use. Here’s why I love this play mat.

It’s 1/2 an inch thick.

Large playmat (83″ x 55″)

Very cushiony.

Waterproof.

Wipes clean.

Not coated in any harsh chemicals.

Easy to move around.

Rolls up for easy storage.

Great price point.

And the print is SUPER cute!

This near the top end of the price spectrum BUT this is one of few play mats that are thick and cushiony and cover a wide area. I wanted a large play mat because my baby just started rolling around and I don’t want her to end up on the floor. I have a smaller, fabric play mat that she uses but I have to keep repositioning her when she rolls off of it. The thickness of this play mat is perfect. Keep in mind that when your baby starts rolling over and crawling, their heads are still a bit wobbly and they tend to crash down onto the floor. This was a big worry for me but not anymore with this mat, it’s very squishy and does a great job cushioning a blow to the head. 

I like how large it is. I placed it in front of my sectional in the living room for now, not sure where its permanent place will be but it’s easy to move around. This play mat is suitable from birth and up. I know she’ll get a lot of use out of this mat for a long time to come. I think this is the best mat especially for the price. The top price range is around $150 and the lowest priced mats I found were around $25 but they’re small and made of fabric. This is one is only $89.99, the shipping is free, and if you sign up for the email list, you’ll receive a 20% off coupon, bringing the total under $80 (including tax).

 

 

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks in Kids

 

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1. City Quilted Faux Leather Diaper Backpack

2. Baby Arrival Gift Set

3. Pom Set of 3 Canvas Bins

4. Breakfast at Mom’s Bib

5. Happy Mat Feeding Mat & Hardcover Book Set

6. Baby Bling Headband

7. Luxe Hooded Towel

8. ‘Mini Sugar’ Rain Boot

9. ‘Spruce Tree’ Bookcase

10. Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat

 11. Little Royalty Piggy Bank

12. Ultragirl Sweet III Mary Jane Flat

13. Cable Knit Bow Headband

14. Bomber Jacket & Tulle Dress Set

15. 3-Piece Teething Necklace & Bracelet Set

16. Mini Boss Faux Leather Diaper Bag

17. 3-Pack Muslin Swaddles

18. Companion Quilted Nylon Diaper Backpack

Hey friends! This is my final post in Norstrom Anniversary Sale picks. These eighteen items are my top picks from the kids section. They’re in random order but my number one pick is the Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat (#10)! This was the very first item I received from my baby registry and I love it! It’s a great car seat. It’s very well made and easy to take apart should it become soiled (it will, often). You can throw it straight into the wash and tumble dry. I’ll be sharing a full car seat review soon, but don’t miss out on this anniversary sale pick! Mine was $250 on Amazon. This one is the same one for only $199! It would make a great baby shower gift btw.

I also received pick number 2 during my baby shower and I loved it! This is a great baby shower gift idea. It’s packaged super cute and everything is not only useful but natural and safe for baby. I love the quality of Honest Co. products. We’ve been using their diapers, wipes, bathing products, and body products since day 1 with our baby.

I’m obsessed with pick number 1 and 18. I can’t decide which one I want. I’ve been using a large Rebecca Minkoff tote as a diaper bag. Mostly because I never had the time to do my research on and pick out a diaper bag so I just grabbed my largest tote. Pick number 1 is a vegan faux leather diaper bag (cruelty-free yay!). The faux leather look and quilted pattern is so cool. Perfect for stylish moms and dads! Pick number eighteen is a nylon diaper bag. You know what this means? Machine washable! Yaaaaas! Need I say more? Ok, I’ll say more anyway. The camouflaged print is so cool! Love it!

I have to quickly mention picks number six and nine. I’m also deeply obsessed with these. I purchased one of the Baby Bling bows a while back and Athena gets tons of compliments every time she wears it. They are so cute and soft! They’re super stretchy without being loose. I love that they come in a variety of colors, we have about 8 of them now. She also has the cable knit one (pick number 13), so freakin’ adorable! Lastly, how cute is that tree shaped bookcase?! OMG, too cute. It also comes in white and gray. I’m thinking that gray one is coming home with me.