Bonding with baby

 

I was reading an article online about breastfeeding, and the effect it has in regards to bonding with your baby.  And it sparked me to write this post.  I’ll keep it short and sweet, otherwise I’ll feel like I’m rambling on, and I just wanted to express my thought(s) on this topic.

I was (or am) fortunate enough to first of all have children, and secondly to produce sufficient milk for them to thrive on.  With my first son, I exclusively breastfed and didn’t pump on the strong recommendation of my doctor at the time.  When it came time for him to transition into solids, I wasn’t able to pump enough milk to mix with his rice cereals, and the purées that we made for him.  With our second son, because of unforeseen circumstances, I am now exclusively pumping (and he is not latched or breastfed, although he is on 100% breastmilk pumped from me).  After he was born, he lost a lot of weight, which led to my doctor’s recommendation to breastfeed, followed by pumping to make sure I had enough milk for him.  (It turned out that I was making lots of milk, he just wasn’t absorbing it properly and efficiently enough to gain weight).  So I’m a mom who both exclusively breastfed my first, and exclusively bottle fed my second, so I feel like I can have an opinion on this topic since I’ve experienced both.  And here’s my conclusion:

What causes a bond between a parent and child, isn’t breastfeeding, or your ability (or inability for that matter) to provide breastmilk to your child, its about unconditional love, and believing in them.  Adoptive parents, dads, foster parents, in-laws, etc., can create bonds much stronger than moms who merely breastfeed but don’t provide in other facets of life, such as giving your children your time and attention.  Being a parent and creating a bond with your child goes far beyond the first year of your child’s life when they’re on breastmilk or formula.  People spend so much time talking about “breast is best”, but one of the doctors I encountered when my second son was ill, said it best: “breast is best, but fed is better”.  No one has spoken more truer words.  Who cares what or how you feed your kid.  I’ve seen my husband interact with my son, and no one can convince me that you need to breastfeed to create a bond with your child.  My husband has a bond with our older son (who was exclusively breastfed) equal to, if not stronger, than the bond I have with him and I can tell you from experience, it takes a lot more time, love and dedication to create and maintain a bond with your child than the act of breastfeeding.

And on another note, breastfeeding hurt like a mofo, so I didn’t bond with my son over breastfeeding, we bonded over other stuff.

With that, I’ll leave you with some humour by David Sopp on the do’s and don’t’s of bonding with your baby.  Enjoy!

Losing my Identity

 

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When I became pregnant with our first child, I was a working woman, had a University degree, and a career at the Surrey School District here in BC.  After our son was born, I still considered myself to be in the work force, even though I was on maternity leave for the following year.  When people would ask what I did, I replied that I was a Safe School Liaison for the Surrey School District.  I had a good job with decent pay, benefits, and I had an identity.  I could identify as someone in the work force.  Ever since I was a teenager, I had an identity – I was a sales associate, a sales manager, a student, a safe school liaison, a hockey referee.  I was always doing something.  When I was scheduled to go back to work in September (after my maternity leave was up), I found out I was pregnant with our second child.  I struggled with the idea that I would probably have to quit my job.  For one, I wouldn’t have been back at work long enough to get another year of maternity pay, and for two, due to the nature of my job, I felt it would be health risk for my pregnancy to go back and work while pregnant.  (For those wondering, my job had me working a lot at a smoke pit with at-risk youth in high school, and I didn’t want to be exposed to the second-hand smoke and occasionally drugs while I was pregnant).

When I gave my notice to quit my job, I suddenly lost my identity – I lost a part of me that I had known all of my adult life.  I became “just a mom”.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to be said about stay at home moms, due to the amount of work we actually do when raising a tiny human.  Because I was freshly off work and pregnant, I didn’t notice anything different until after our second son, Maverick was born.  But now that Maverick is here, and our older son is becoming a little more independent, I suddenly notice my loss of identity.  I can’t relate to anything with many of my peers anymore.  I’m not in the work force, I never made it back to work after our first child, and now here I am, a mother of 2 without a job.  I left my job on good terms, and my boss had made a point to express that when I was done having/raising kids, I would be welcome back to my old position at the School District.

To be totally honest, I don’t know if I would even want to return to my job though.  I worked with troubled youth, which is what I always wanted to do, but now that I have kids, I feel like my time should be spent with them, guiding them, and saving my energy to be raising them rather than other kids.  It sounds selfish I know, but thats how I feel about it.  I think a part of me also feels like I would be a changed person when it comes to my job – I can’t look at kids the same anymore now that I’m actually a mom.  When you become a parent, you change – you feel differently about things and you handle situations different than before you had kids, because now you don’t see kids as just kids anymore, you see them as if your kids were in that situation, and you think of how to deal with it as if it were your kid.  I don’t think I’m mentally strong enough to deal with that day in and day out as my primary focus.

Anyways, through all that, I feel like I need to have some sort of identity back.  I signed up to teach the Baby Signs® Program, although I don’t know if thats something I’d actually be interested in doing.  I love signing with my kids, but (to be totally honest), holding classes isn’t really up my ally.  I feel that because of my background though, it would be great to have it on my resumé, and if I can potentially hold single classes or maybe even occasionally teach the full 6-week program to help other moms, I’d love to be able to do that.  I also looked into taking my real estate license – sounds like a perfect job – working from home, make your own hours – the only downfall is the instability of having a pay check every couple of weeks.  Then I thought of the possibility of spending more time on my blog, and becoming a “professional blogger” (whatever that means), but it seems like everyone’s doing it these days!  Realistically though, I feel like I don’t have that much to write about, and even if I did, who wants to hear or read about my thoughts anyway?

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I’m still undecided about what I want to do with my life, with my career, and with my identity.  I don’t know if I’m ok with being “just a mom”.  But for now, I’m open to suggestions, and keeping my mind, eyes and ears open for any new opportunities that could arise.  I’m sure there’s new moms out there who are probably going through the same thing that I am, so I thought I’d post about it to show you that you’re not alone in the thought.  I wish I had a more defined ending to this post, but I really don’t, so until I figure it out, wish me luck!

Our newborn’s story: And our experience with the dangers of bilirubin

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When we found out we were pregnant with our second child, we could not have been happier.  We were a little surprised that it happened so quick, but we were happy nonetheless.  At an early doctors appointment, I remember my maternity doctor telling me that as long as my first pregnancy was normal and without complications, second pregnancies are usually the easiest.  Boy, did that turn out to be furthest from the truth!  (Well, if you consider just the pregnancy, she was somewhat right, but after the baby was born, we were in for a whole new world of parenting and emotions).

At 32 weeks, I was told our baby was breech.  I knew what a breech baby was (meaning, I knew the baby was head up, instead of the normal head down position), but I didn’t know what it meant for the delivery.  So I asked.  And she said, “well, if he doesn’t turn, you will need a c-section”.  My husband and I walked out of the doctor’s office thinking, wow this really sucks.  I had a natural (vaginal) birth with our first son, and figured we could or should expect the same for this one.  The thought of the recovery from a c-section, with a 20 month old toddler at home just wasn’t something I had even considered this entire pregnancy.  I was told that the baby could possibly still turn on his own, and an ultrasound was ordered at 35 weeks, followed by an appointment with an OB.  The OB gave us 3 options:  The first was to try to have a breech vaginal delivery, but they would only be able to accommodate us at 2 hospitals in the lower mainland – Langley Memorial, or BC Women’s & Children’s.  The second option was to try to turn the baby with a method called an ECV (external cephalic version), where an OB attempts to turn the baby by feeling around the outside of your belly (bump) and just pushing on it until it moves.  The success rate we were told, was 50%.  The last option, was to opt for an elective c-section.  The ultrasound had reported that the baby’s head was in the ninetieth  percentile and the OB was under the impression that the baby was measuring closer to 39 weeks rather than the 36 weeks that my due date had implied.  After a lot of discussion, contemplating, weighing out pros and cons, and taking a couple of days to sleep on it, my husband and I decided that the c-section would be the best option for the family, and the safest for the baby.

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My baby bump…with a breech baby

On April 6, Maverick was born via c-section.  He was a chunky monkey at 9lbs 2oz, and we were told that he most likely would not have turned, given the way his legs were positioned while in the breech position.  (His legs, or his knees were pointed outwards almost in a frog-style position).  Anyways, he was given a clear bill of health at delivery, and the following day, both myself and our son were discharged from the hospital.  Since they don’t normally discharge c-section patients that quickly, we were told to come back in 2 days to see our maternity doctor so she could follow up with Maverick.   When we brought Mav in, he had lost a fair amount of weight, more than the normal newborn weight loss, and enough that they were concerned.  She had me breastfeed him in the office, and did a pre- and post- feed weight.  She was satisfied with the amount that Maverick ate, and sent us on our way, with strict orders to feed him every 2 hours and top up with a bottle, but we were told to come in the following day for another weight check.  The next morning we came in, and he had lost weight again.  The doctor this time was more concerned about his colour, and jaundice, but it wasn’t anything alarming.  She wanted us to continue with the 2 hour feeds, bottle top ups and we were ordered to come back for another check up 2 days later.  When we came in this time, he had lost even more weight despite being fed every 2 hours and being topped up with a bottle for the last 5 days – he had now lost 600 grams.  He was down to 7lbs.  The doctor made a call to the paediatrician working in the maternity ward that day, and he ordered some blood work.  We were told to hurry into the hospital (which is located right next door to the maternity clinic), to have the blood work done.  Maverick was wearing only a diaper, and here I am running outside with a one-week old baby in just his diaper, I’m hobbling through the pain and discomfort of the stitches from my c-section, and all I can think of is, “wow, it must look like I’m stealing a baby right now”, running through a hospital with a half naked baby!  The results came back with Maverick’s bilirubin levels dangerously high, and a phone call from the paediatrician told us we needed to make our way to Langley Memorial Hospital within the hour.  Bilirubin can apparently cause permanent brain damage in infants (among other things), so we were lucky that it was caught and treated right away.  Who knew jaundice could have such serious effects on a baby?  I mean, when you really think about it, I suppose it affects their liver, so it can totally  have very serious consequences, but even as a second time mom, I always thought of jaundice as something where your kid just needs some natural sunlight, some vitamin D drops and it’ll go away.  Well, I was wrong.  Bilirubin occurs when your baby’s organs are unable to get rid of excess bilirubin in the body/blood.  Natural sunlight and vitamin D would not have prevented what Maverick went through.  Regardless, Maverick spent the next 18 hours in an incubator under phototherapy lights, where the special lights in the incubator are absorbed by the skin, and excreted out of the body through urine.  We couldn’t even take him out to feed him.

Fast forward 18 hours – they finally take Maverick out of the incubator, and test his bilirubin levels.  They are now at a more normal level, and they’re happy with the results.  Less than 24 hours later, they weigh him, and again, he’s lost weight, despite the constant feedings (every 2 hours) by the nurses measuring out his feeds and making sure he was getting the amount he needed in order to gain weight.  When the paediatrician asked what his birth weight was, and I replied with “4140 grams”, she couldn’t believe how much weight he had lost as he was now at 3444 grams.  She immediately ordered us to stop all breast and bottle feeds, and he was only to be fed through a nasal-gastric feeding tube (which went down his nose to his stomach).  This was how he was fed for the next 2 days.  2 days later, we were allowed to let him take a bottle again, which he was finally able todo, and ate an entire feed in the time he was supposed to.  They
suspect the problem with IMG_4085his weight loss was due to the fact that he was taking too long to eat (which makes babies burn a ton of calories), which was making him lose weight.  On top of that, the longer he would take to eat, the less time he had to sleep and rest, which led to poor eating habits – you can see the vicious cycle here.  The tube feeds allowed him to catch up on his sleep without having to make him work for his food.  He literally slept for 48 hours straight
while he was being tube fed – almost comatose.  He was now finally starting to put on 20 grams over each 24 hour period.  4 more days of slowly introducing the bottle back to him, with a couple of tube feeds in between, and we were finally discharged from the hospital.

 

Free from hospitals at last!  We were at Langley Memorial for exactly 7 days.  Plus the 2 days from when Maverick was born, and the kid had officially spent more time in a hospital than he had at home.  It was nice to finally be reunited with my husband and Linden (our 20 month old toddler at home).  By the way, my husband stayed at home and was parenting Linden, trying to keep things as normal and as stable for him as we could while I was in the hospital with Maverick.  We would have taken turns, but I had to pump every 2 hours so they could feed Mav, so we just figured it was easier for me to stay in the hospital with him.  Our family was now a family of 4 (or 5 if you include Snowy).  That first breath of fresh air walking out of the hospital was emotional.  Listening to other kids crying in the ward for the last 7 days, not knowing how your infant was doing, watching them poke and prod him with needles taking and testing blood, conducting ultrasounds on his brain, takes a toll on a new mom, or any parent for that matter.  But it definitely makes me appreciate everything we have that much more.  Makes you even more thankful for your kids and their health, makes you appreciate the fact that we are able to walk out of the hospital with our kids, because you just know, there’s parents and families out there who aren’t so fortunate.

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A week later, and although Maverick is still quite lethargic, he’s at least eating on his own for all feeds.  We still have to wake him up every 3 hours or he literally won’t even wake up to eat.  I’m pumping every 4 hours to be able to offer him the benefits of breastmilk, but its definitely taken a toll on me both physically and emotionally.  He is now back up to his birth weight, and almost 2 weeks after being discharged from Langley Memorial, he’s starting to be more alert and awake, is enjoying tummy time, and can even hold his head up on his own, and can lift his legs and hips during tummy time – all things that are a huge accomplishment considering his slow(-ish) start in life.

After going through all this, I can’t say enough good things about the doctors, specialists and nurses we have had the good fortune of meeting.  They save lives everyday (and I’m not just referring to our situation, but all the other people we came across in the hospital), they make the hardest days of our lives that much more bearable, tolerable and comfortable.  They stay up over night so you can get an extra hour of sleep.  They are the most selfless people around, and don’t get the credit they deserve.  We are truly grateful and appreciative to have been in the care of the doctors and nurses at Peace Arch Hospital and Langley Memorial Hospital.  Who knows what could have happened to baby Maverick if it weren’t for the diligence and care from all the doctors involved.  All we know is that we are lucky to not have to think about what could have been.

We are happy to report that Maverick is now healthy, and we are ecstatic to welcome the newest addition to the family!  Thanks to everyone who sent us well wishes, and supported us over the last couple of weeks – from other mom bloggers, to followers on social media, to our friends and family.  Your support and kind words helped us through some of the happiest, and most stressful times of our lives!

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The difference a week can make in a newborn.  On the left, is Maverick at birth (9lbs2oz), and on the right, is Maverick a week and a half later (7lbs).

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Maverick, healthy and home now, where he should be.

Swimming Lessons for a Baby

Here is a bit of background information before I blog about our experience with swimming lessons with our baby:

When Linden was 3 months old, I started to realize how boring babies are, and was trying desperately to find something to do with a newborn.  He couldn’t sit up on his own, he couldn’t crawl – he couldn’t do much of anything, really.  So, short of circle time and rolling a ball to him and basically playing fetch by myself, I looked into getting him into swimming.  There was nothing available in my area at the time for babies under 6 months of age.  All the community centres started them at 6 months.  I was talking to my neighbour at New Years, and she suggested a place called Swim Clo Aquatics which is a private swim school in BC.  As soon as the holidays were over, I called them enquiring about whether they would take a 4 month old, and they did!  I got Linden enrolled (and by this time, he was just under 5 months), and we now had an activity!  Swim Clo works out of the Best Western hotel in South Surrey, and they offer private lessons, which was awesome for us, being new parents and all, and really not knowing what to expect in regards to taking a baby swimming.  It was comforting to know that we would be the only people in the pool, and both my husband and I were invited (and encouraged) to come in the pool with our son.  It was also a heated pool, which was really nice for our son since he was so young.  We started him out twice a week for the first few months, just so he would get used to the water, and then dialled back to once a week.  The lessons were good for Linden, and for us as parents, as we were taught how to properly hold our son in the water, how to properly submerge him, how to teach him to swim, proper water safety, etc.  It was very repetitive, basically swimming from one end of the pool to the other for more than half the class, then we would do “Humpty-Dumpty’s” which is when we sat him on the edge of the pool, did the Humpty Dumpty song, and then submerged him and taught him to swim back to the edge, and then finally we would end off with him playing with some water toys, which he absolutely loved!

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When he turned 9 months, we were able to get him into swimming lessons at the community pool near our house.  They follow the same program (the Red Cross Swim Preschool Program), but its a group session with kids ranging from 4 months to 36 months (I know, now they take 4 month olds!).  Linden was the second youngest in the class, with most of the kids being closer to the 30-36 month age range, and the youngest one being 5 months old.  The classes were super fun for Linden, lots of songs in the pool like Purple Stew, The Wheels on the Bus, Fishies in the Middle, Hokey Pokey, etc., which Linden just loved.  The songs are interactive and fun for the little ones, and the kids had a great time.  I did notice however, that they didn’t “teach” as much swimming stuff to the kids or the parents.  Although everything we did in the classes were safety related, teaching them to be comfortable on their backs, blowing bubbles, etc., they didn’t teach the fundamentals of each step, such as rollovers (how to get them onto their backs, and teaching the babies to roll onto their backs) for water safety.  This wasn’t a problem for us since we had already been taking lessons with Swim Clo, so this was actually good practice for us.  We did notice however, that the parents of the other baby in the class were kind of left out.  They didn’t really know what to do, and felt uncomfortable and nervous when we had to submerge our babies/kids because they had never done it before, nor been shown how to do so safely or properly.  Long story short, the community centre swim program is a great tool for practice, but not a great place to learn how to swim.

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When we look back now, Swim Clo was an expensive alternative at the time, but now that we see Linden’s progress and see him with
other peers in his “age group” (although most were older), we could see that he was actually better in some aspects than some of the 3 year olds.  Although expensive, Swim Clo was worth every penny, and I’m glad we enrolled him.  I’m not trying to show off that our son is better at swimming than the 3 year olds, because he’s not – he still obviously needs us to hold him – but what I am trying to get at, is he is comfortable in the water, he’s not afraid to do things in the water, and he knows how to do  things in the pool that I think other kids his age may not be able to do.  For example, he is totally fine with, and in fact enjoys getting his face wet.  There’s a lot of kids who are afraid of getting splashed in the face with water, or getting their faces wet, or dunked underwater.  Linden also (with the help and the consistency of Swim Clo), can kick his legs 100% on his own, can splash his hands in the water when you tell him to, and reaches for the edge of the pool when you tell him to (which is great for water safety).  He is even starting to try a swimming stroke with his arms now, which I think is awesome for an 11 month old.


He still can’t swim on his own, but I’m confident that day is coming soon.  What I can say though, is that he loves the water, and isn’t afraid of it, which is all I’m asking for.  Both my husband and I want our kids to grow up being active, playing outside, doing physical activities because we feel its good for them and important for their physical (and mental) well being.  We hope to be able to continue Linden in classes both at Swim Clo as well as at the community centre without getting too overwhelmed with all his other activities, and with him starting daycare when he turns 1!

 

10 Month Update

This is a little late, but here is my blog post about our son’s development at 10-months.

Linden weighed in at 17lbs 13oz and 27.5″ at his 10-month check up with the doctor.  He is a little guy, but is growing well, and is healthy so we have nothing to worry about in that regard.  He is no longer breastfeeding – he is purely on puréed foods and drinking water (no milk or juice).  We do give him homemade popsicles made of apple or pear water (the left over water from when we steam his food) to help with his teething.  This also ensures he gets lots of fluids for these hot summer days.  Stopping breastfeeding was actually a lot easier than I had anticipated.  We were feeding him puréed foods 3 times a day, and breastfeeding pretty much just before bed to help him to fall asleep.  Usually, my husband gives him a bath before bed, and while he’s doing that, I’ll go have a shower.  One day, I took longer in the shower (or Linden was quicker in the bath), so my husband sat with our son, and Linden just fell asleep for the night.  And that was the end of breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding was always a horrible experience for me – it was painful and uncomfortable – so I definitely do not have any thoughts of missing the “bonding”.  Bonding – schmonding.  It hurt, it was a pain (literally and figuratively), and it just downright sucked. Good riddance to that!

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Family Photo at the Beach

He is still on puréed foods, which I thought he would be moving on to more solid foods by now.  I think he just got a slightly later start because he didn’t get his first tooth till he was 9.5 months old.  We have tried giving him small cut up pieces of soft foods (like banana and avocado), but he just swallowed them whole which almost ended up in a trip to emergency.  He managed to get it down though since it was a softer fruit, so all was good.  We have decided not to push the issue until he is ready.  He eats Baby Mum-mums though, and knows to chew those (although they mostly dissolve).  He didn’t take a liking at all to meats, so he’s eating quinoa mixed in with his vegetables, and flavoured tofu (an awesome suggestion from a friend of ours who had the same experience with their baby not liking meat).

He now has 4 teeth – 2 at the top, and 2 at the bottom.  The bottom ones came in first, and we didn’t even know they were breaking through until he put my finger in his mouth and bit my finger.  I was surprised to find two little teeth at the bottom.  They never seemed to really bother him.  The first top tooth however, bled a fair amount when it broke through the gum, and the second top tooth gave him a bit of a rough time.  Although after we saw it, we know why – the thing is huge!  He had a few restless nights because of that beast!  I’m sure every baby is different, they all get their teeth at different times/ages, and they all react differently when the teeth come through.  Linden (and we) were fortunate that they didn’t hurt him that much.

For those of you following my blog, we enrolled Linden in a Baby Sign Language program when he was 6 months old, and we have been going since then.  He absolutely loves the classes, and has (finally) made some progress.  His first sign was ‘milk’ (at about 8 months old), and he now can sign ‘light’, ‘dog’ (although since our dog’s name is Snowy, he signs ‘dog’ when you say ‘Snowy’), he waives hello and can clap.  We are currently working on getting him to sign ‘book’, and ‘thank you’.  He also loves music, and “dances” whenever he hears music or if you sing to him.


He is doing really well in swimming, and private lessons have paid off – although the
lessons were expensive, they were worth every penny.  We enrolled Linden in private swim lessons with Swim Clo Aquatics since they were the only swim school I could find who would take babies under 6 months.  Now that he’s older and enrolled in public classes, he’s miles ahead of the other kids who are much older than him.  (I’m not trying to brag, I’m just explaining why the private lessons were worth it).  In the pool, he can swim (short distances, maybe like 5-7 feet) from my husband to me and vice versa, he can turn over from his back to his front and vice versa, he can be fully submerged, he kicks his legs (to actually swim), he splashes his hands on the surface of the water if you tell him to, and if you say “reach for the edge”, he reaches for the edge of the pool and hangs on.  The main difference between the private lessons and the lessons from the local community centres, is that in the private lessons, they focus a lot on water safety and actually getting your child to learn to swim and learn the basics.  Its very repetitive, but the results show.  In the community centre program, they’re more about having a ton of fun, lots of songs and games for the little ones.  They both run the same program (Red Cross Preschool program from Starfish to Whale).

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Linden’s First Canada Day (he didn’t consume any alcohol – the beer can is sealed).  Plus, we wouldn’t waste a beer on him!

Outside of the pool, he’s gotten really good at crawling, and can climb up 2 whole flights of stairs.  In fact, he loves to climb the stairs, that if you pick him up, he lets you know of his dismay.  So we just follow closely behind him and let him tire himself out!  He loves going to MyGym where he gets to sing and do circle time, and then I take him and let him climb up all their apparatus and crawl through wobbly tunnels, play on their swings, go zip-lining, climb ladders and go down slides, and then has his independent time (which he totally sucks at).  He does however, love to share, which we normally encourage, but he loves to share his food (particularly Baby Mum-mums with our dog Snowy), so although he don’t want our dog taking his food, we figure that sharing is a good thing for him to learn for now.

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Linden rock climbing at MyGym

Lastly, he’s sleeping through the night, from 8:30pm till about 6:30 (sometimes 7) am.  Its been so nice to be able to sleep again!

And thats about it for his updates!

An Intro to Homemade Baby Purées

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My husband and I wanted to make sure that our 8 month old son gets the healthiest choices when it comes to what he puts in his mouth, so we figured that homemade would be our best choice.  Sure, we occasionally give him stuff out of a store bought packet, but we try not to if we don’t have to.  Since I’m still on maternity leave, we have this option, so I intend to take advantage of it while I can.  And I’m so thankful to be in Canada, where our maternity leave is 1 year.  But thats enough about that.

My husband and I invested in  a Babycook Beaba, and although it was expensive (even on sale), I feel it was worth every penny.  If you’re in Canada, TJ’s Kids sometimes has select colours on sale for $169 (for the double) or $149 for the single.  I would recommend the double if you can get it, since we normally do a bunch of his foods at one shot.

Below are a couple of our “staple” recipes, and storage instructions.


Pear Purée (Prep Time:  5-10 min   |    Cook Time:  15-20min)

3 Bartlett Pears, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Fill the Beaba to the number 3 mark, place cut pears into the steaming basket and let it steam.  (about 15-20 min)
Pour water into a cup and save it
Pour pears from the basket into the plastic blender piece.
Blend until smooth and no lumps are visible.  If you need to add liquid, use the saved (excess water) from when it was steaming.
* Tip:  You can use breastmilk or formula to add nutrition, but I usually only add this when I’m ready to serve the food for our infant, so it keeps longer in the fridge.

Apple Purée  (Prep Time:  5-10 min   |    Cook Time:  15-20min)

3 Apples (I use Pink Lady or Ambrosia) peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Fill the Beaba to the number 3 mark, place cut apples into the steaming basket and let it steam.  (about 15-20 min)
Pour water into a cup and save it
Pour apples from the basket into the plastic blender piece.
Blend until smooth and no lumps are visible.  If you need to add liquid, use the saved (excess water) from when it was steaming.
* Tip:  You can use breastmilk or formula to add nutrition, but I usually only add this when I’m ready to serve the food for our infant, so it keeps longer in the fridge.

Sweet Potato Purée (Prep Time:  10min     |   Cook Time:  15-20 min)

1 Jumbo Sweet Potato (if you scratch the skin off with your fingernail, they should be orange underneath, not white).  In Canada, the grocery stores mix them up and call them yams, but they’re not actually yams.  Peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.  If you’re using a regular sweet potato, then you’ll probably need 2.
Fill the Beaba to the number 3 mark, place cut sweet potatoes into the steaming basket and let it steam.  (about 15-20 min)
Pour water into a cup and save it
Pour sweet potatoes from the basket into the plastic blender piece.
Blend until smooth and no lumps are visible.  You will most likely need to add liquid to this recipe since sweet potatoes don’t have as much water content as fruits.  Use the liquid that was saved from steaming, since it will retain all the nutrients from the sweet potato.
* Tip:  You can use breastmilk or formula to add nutrition, but I usually only add this when I’m ready to serve the food for our infant, so it keeps longer in the fridge.


These 3 are my staple purées for our 8 month old son, but he has been eating these since he was 5 months old.  Pears are good on their digestive system, and apparently are supposed to help them poop if they’re a little “clogged” (if you know what I mean).

We normally feed fruits to our son in the mornings and afternoons (breakfast and lunch), since they have a higher sugar content, and try to avoid giving him too many fruits at night (or for dinner), since we don’t want him wired at bedtime!  So, for evening or dinner feeds, we try to give him more of the vegetable purées, and maybe one fruit option.

So a typical breakfast or lunch for our 8 month old will consist of 4 different things, oatmeal cereal (mixed with expressed breastmilk), and 2 fruit purées, and a vegetable purée.  And a typical dinner for him will usually consist of oatmeal cereal, sweet potatoes, and 2 veggie purées.

For anyone wondering about the oatmeal cereal that we use, we typically buy the Heinz brand since it offers a higher fibre content, so we don’t have to worry too much about him being constipated since we know he’s getting a lot of fibre.

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Heinz brand oatmeal cereal.  Make sure you buy the appropriate stage of oatmeal cereal for your baby

And as a side note, see the photo below for recommendations on how long puréed foods should last in the fridge.  You can also freeze some of the purées if you don’t think you’ll use them up before they will go bad.  Frozen purées make for good (but messy) teethers for your little one.

We normally just store all the purées in tupperware and label with the date and description so we know how long its been in the fridge.  We also occasionally store some of the food in those food snack bags – we purchased the Infantino Squeeze Station off Amazon for $16 and it was seriously one of the greatest investments we made.  I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to have homemade purées readily available for feeding on the go, or if you just want a different storing option.

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Baby’s Eating and Sleeping Schedule

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Food purées for our 8 month old

Linden is now just over 8 months, and I thought I would write a post on his eating and sleeping schedule, since it seems to be a popular topic on my Instagram account.  At Linden’s 5 month check up with our family doctor, we were told that he was showing signs (whatever those were) that he was interested in eating.  So, we started him off with rice cereal or oatmeal cereal, and a couple of purées.  We were advised to introduce solids to him individually (in case he had any reactions to certain foods), and to make sure that he drinks lots of water throughout the day, so as to prevent the possibility of him getting constipated.

The first foods we introduced were pears, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal cereal.  We fed him once a day (in the later evenings), and he was still being breastfed throughout the day and night.  We just thought that if he had a full meal just before bedtime, he would be full throughout the night.  And we were mistaken.  Also, we noticed that with the once-a-day feedings, Linden was only pooping (on average) once a week, but he wasn’t constipated by any means.  We still thought this was odd though, since its not natural to only poop once a week, and also, he was being mostly breastfed, and when he was exclusively on breastmilk, he pooped everyday.  We didn’t realize until his 7 month check up, that all our concerns over were basically caused by us!   (Although, the whole pooping once a week thing was nice because it saved us a ton on baby wipes!!)  The pooping once a week thing is normal I guess if you’re only feeding one solid meal a day – I didn’t ask why, but our doctor said it was normal.

At the 7 month check up, since Linden was a little on the lower side of the weight scale, our doctor advised us to start him on 3 solid meals a day, which would have 2 effects: 1) he would sleep longer through the night; and 2) he would poop more often.  And both turned out to be true.  We were told that one big meal a day wouldn’t sustain a baby’s hunger, and that having 3 consistent meals throughout the day would fill him up, and therefore, he wouldn’t wake up hungry in the middle of the night.  This didn’t only make sense, it was true.  And now he also poops about once to twice a day.  Lastly, at this checkup, I asked our doctor when Linden would be able to start eating actual solid foods (not purées), and she said basically when he has teeth.  She went on to explain that she has resuscitated too many babies in the ER and its not a pretty site, so she advised against it until they have teeth and can properly break down food.  Made sense to me.  She said we can try giving him some of those baby crackers (and she made sure we knew to give him BABY crackers, not crackers for adults since their little organs can’t properly digest adult crackers), but when I bought a pack, they didn’t seem to dissolve all that quickly in my mouth so I was cautious about giving him any so I have held off on those for now.

So, if you’re wondering what our typical day looks like, here it is.  And keep in mind that we don’t actually have a “set” bedtime or nap time, because lets face it, life happens, but this is more or less how it is:

IMG_85607:30am – 8am  Linden usually wakes up for the day
8:30am               Linden eats breakfast (oatmeal cereal and 2-3 different fruit purées)
9:00am – 10am  Linden plays
10:15am-noon  Linden naps
12:30pm              Linden eats lunch (oatmeal cereal, fruit purée, veggie purée and sweet potatoes)
1-6pm                 Life happens, and he usually will have a (1 hour) nap
6:30pm               Linden eats dinner (oatmeal cereal, sweet potatoes, veggie purées)
7:30pm               My husband and I have dinner
8:45pm – 9:15pm  Linden plays
9:15pm                Linden has a bath (which is part of his bedtime routine)
9:30pm               Linden is breastfed and then goes to sleep for the night
9:45pm               Linden is usually passed out by now
6:00am               Sometimes, Linden wakes up for a feed, and then goes back to sleep until about 7:30 or 8am when he wakes up for the day.

 

Listed below are the foods that he basically eats, and the foods that we have tried feeding him:IMG_4016

Fruits

  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Mangoes
  • Kiwi
  • Prunes
  • Bananas*
  • Watermelon*

Vegetables

  • Zucchini
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Avocados*
  • Spinach*

Meats

  • Chicken*

Other

  • Rice Cereal (Stage 1)
  • Oatmeal Cereal (Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3)
  • Oatmeal Cereal (flavoured, banana, apple and raisin)

~All rice cereal is prepared with expressed breast milk~

*Starred items are foods that we made or gave to him and he doesn’t like them.

And when we make his purées, we normally just steam them, and if we need to liquify or soften it up, we use the water that the foods were cooked in.  If we need to soften the food before we feed him, then we will add either water or expressed breastmilk at that point so that the food lasts longer in the fridge.

So there you have it, our 8 month old’s eating schedule and sleep schedule.  I will post blogs with recipes of the purées that we make him in case anyone is interested in those as well.

Baby Sign Language

 

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I was bored one night at home, watching over Linden do his tummy time, so I decided to Google “things to do with babies”.  After scrolling through a bunch of useless things to do with babies, I came across Tiny Talking Hands, a sign language program for babies.  Ever since I was little, I had a fascination with sign language because I always thought of it like a secret language or code that most people wouldn’t understand.  Naturally, when I came across a baby sign language program, I was intrigued. I clicked on it to find out more, and it was seriously a life changer.  I contacted Amanda at Tiny Talking Hands via email to ask more about her program, how old babies had to be for us to attend classes, cost, and availability.  She responded later that night, and because all her classes were full at the time, she informed me of the possibility of opening a second Level 1 (or beginner class).  Thankfully, she had enough people to do a second level 1 class, so we jumped at the opportunity and we are so glad we did.  Its honestly, the best class we have our son enrolled in.

Linden was 6 months old when we started the classes, and to be honest, we were a little skeptical as to how a class full of babies would be able to pay attention and learn or watch signs.  To our amazement, it was a success!  The moment Amanda introduced Bebo (the sign language bear) and got the music going, all the babies stopped what they were doing and just stared.  7 babies ranging in age from 4 to 18 months were 100% focussed on this signing bear.  They were intrigued by this giant bear singing and signing to them.  The one-hour class involves music, singing and signing, then Amanda reads a book to the babies, we go through flash cards, there’s some parachute time with music that the babies loved to bop to, and finally a wind down, complete with a goodbye song to end the class.  The classes are just long enough to keep their attention, and usually by the end of the class, most babies were ready for their nap.  In every class, we were not only shown signs, but given tools for how to teach our babies to sign, which was such an asset in signing with our kids.  Parents were taught what to look for, and what cues that your baby may be giving you to signal that they’re getting ready to potentially start signing.

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Linden crawling around, chilling with Bebo, happy as can be

The Baby Signs program is catered specifically towards babies, and differs slightly from regular American Sign Language (ASL).  (For example, some of the baby signs incorporate sounds to appeal to the babies, and after one of the classes, Nate turns to me innocently and says “why do we make a sound for the dog sign or the frog sign, a person who is hard of hearing can’t hear us making that sound” and I had to explain to him that the sign language classes we were taking had been altered to be more “baby friendly”, so adding sounds would get the baby’s attention).  Amanda is great at teaching us the baby sign, and then informing us of what the ASL sign is, for any signs where there is a difference.  Amanda’s philosophy is simple – we are here to facilitate communication with our babies (who are usually too young to be verbal), so even if we had been doing a different sign with our child, the bottom line is that its really whatever works for each parent and child.  She’s there to give us the tools to help us communicate with our babies.

Although the program is for the babies, the parent(s) are taught the signs, and its up to us to use those signs at home.  After the 6 week course, we walked away with a wealth of knowledge.  The program is surprisingly easy, and remembering all the signs is actually easier than you might anticipate.  I for one, suck at remembering stuff, so I thought this would be a huge challenge.  But because of the way the program is set up, there is a different theme every week, so it actually makes memorizing the signs insanely easy.  Every week, we are taught 10 new words pertaining to the theme of the week, as well as an emotion, which is repeated throughout an entire song (usually 7 times), so there’s a lot of repetition throughout the class so you don’t forget the signs.  Both my husband and I walked out of the course knowing well over 80 signs (excluding the 20+ signs we learned from the extra Easter class that we took).

Over the course of the classes, Nate and I talked about which 5 signs we considered the most useful, and the most likely for our 6 month old to learn.  Those signs were “more”, “milk”, “eat”, “play” and “tired/sleep”.  And the other 2 signs that we use on a daily basis, are “mommy” and “daddy”.  We try to remember to do the signs as often as possible, but we’re still trying to get the hang of it.  So far, we think Linden does the sign for “more”, but he kind of has his own version of it, I think because he doesn’t quite have the dexterity in his hands and fingers yet.  We are working on correcting his signs, but for now, they’ll do since we know what he’s trying to tell us.  We also think he might be doing the sign for “milk”, but he hasn’t signed it consistent enough for us to believe that its more than just a coincidence.

We’ve noticed in the last couple of days, that Linden is very attentive in watching our hands when we sign with him, and we are hoping and excited that this could be the beginning of his signing with us!

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Nate and I were reflecting over the classes today (since it was our last level 1 class), and he asked me, if we had other kids in the future whether I would take them to these sign language classes since we already know all the signs.  My response was an obvious and quick ‘Yes’, because, although we learned so much in the classes, we both agree that Linden had so much fun there – interacting with the other kids, playing with the toys, getting “into the themes” (like splashing in the bath that Amanda brought out for the bath time theme, wearing his pyjamas during the bed time theme, etc), listening to music, watching Bebo and all his signs – that we would love to be able to give that opportunity to our future kids (if we are fortunate enough to have more).  Lastly, upon completion of the 6 week course, you and your baby are given a certificate for participating and completing the program, which just solidified the professionalism and authenticity of the program.

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If anyone is interested in finding out more about the Baby Signs Program, visit www.tinytalkinghands.ca or check them out on Facebook here.  You won’t regret it.  And, if you’re interested but not sure about the investment, contact Amanda (amanda@tinytalkinghands.ca), she hosts her classes in Langley, BC, and runs one-time classes for Easter, Christmas, Halloween and other special dates/events for $10, and you can see if you like it before you commit to a full 6 week course.  But you have the WTF Parent warning that if you attend one of those classes, you’ll be wanting more!

7 Month Update

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March 14, 2016.

Linden had his 7 month check up, although it was more like his 7.5 month check up.  Here is what we learned from his visit to the doctor…

  • It is normal that Linden only poops once a week since he’s been on solids once a day and breastfed the other times.
  • He needs to be eating more solids – 3 times a day, and breastfed 4 times a day.  This will help with longer stretches of sleep at night.
  • Introducing new foods at night is probably not a good idea in case they give him gas.
  • Babies this age need more food during the day, rather than one big meal at night.
  • Stranger anxiety is a good thing
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Linden trying to show his independence, eating on his own

At 7 months, Linden is now:

  • Pulling himself up on furniture, toys and whatever else he can find to help him stand.
  • He can hold your finger and walk, although very wobbly.
  • He is full on crawling, and you better keep an eye on him!
  • He sits on his own, (although often stretches his arms out like he’s surfing) to balance himself
  • He is taking an interest in sign language, and although he doesn’t have full control of his hands/fingers, he tries to do the sign for “more”.  But its more like slapping his knees, rather than putting his hands/fingers together.  He is very interested in our hands when we sign with him.
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Linden’s first time bowling

So far, we have fed him cooked pears, sweet potatoes, oatmeal cereal, raw bananas, raw apples and raw pears.  He likes nothing raw.

At 7 months, his measurements are:

  • 16lbs 6oz
  • 26.5″ long
  • 44cm head circumference

He has finally outgrown his phase of a possible sleep regression, I have no idea what it was.  But he went through about 3 weeks of not wanting to be put down to sleep and would only sleep while on me, or on the nursing pillow.  It was very strange, but I’m so glad he is “over it” now.

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People always mention that time flies with a baby/child, and no truer words have been spoken.  Thats one reason why I love blogging – I get a chance every month to write about the milestones that our son has hit, the new things he’s learned, the things we got to experience with him (like swimming and sign language, etc), and I get to reflect on the time I’ve had, and appreciate how fortunate we are to be blessed with such an amazing and healthy baby.  Our lives have changed, no doubt, our patience has been tested, but its all been for the better, and our lives are so much richer since our son was born.

About me

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Family Photo

A quick blog post about me.  I’m new to the blogging world, and new to parenthood.  Kinda.  Well, I’ve been a mom to our 4-legged baby for 6 years, but am new to parenthood of the human type.  I decided to start blogging when I would be up countless times in the middle of the night, breastfeeding our son, and TV sucks at that time.

I was born and raised in Singapore, to a Singaporean mom and Canadian dad.  So I’m half Singaporean, half Canadian.  I moved to Canada when I was 16 and completed high school and attained a degree in Criminology in BC.  I am currently on maternity leave from my main job as a Safe School Liaison with the school district.  My job is kind of in between youth work and security – I am basically responsible for developing relationships with the students to gain their trust, and keep drugs, weapons, fights, bullying out of the schools.  Outside of my main job, I am also an ice hockey referee.  I started my own company in 2013 called REFcore, making and selling apparel and accessories to hockey referees, which is still thriving and doing well.  I served as the Referee-in-Chief for a minor hockey association for 7 years, and went on to be the Officiating Co-ordinator for BC Hockey for the Lower Mainland West.  When I became pregnant, I moved away from those responsibilities to focus on my family.

I still visit my friends and family in Singapore every couple of years, and my husband and I love vacationing there.  We were also fortunate to be able to travel around to Maldives, as well as to various states in the USA to follow our passion for hockey.  We both love hockey and love going to different arena’s in North America to get the sense and culture of the game in different cities.

Although, now that our son is born, I think most of our travelling has “paused” and I use the word paused because we would love to continue travelling, but when our son is older and able to appreciate the various places that we can take him to.  We look forward to going back to Singapore to show our son where his mom grew up, and to enjoy, experience and appreciate the different cultures.

For now, I’m enjoying this new role I have in life (mom-ing), and I’m enjoying being able to blog about it and share my experiences with other moms.  Since I started blogging, I thought I would expand and start my own segment called Parents in cars Getting Coffee, which is a spin off from Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in cars getting coffee, and I would combine talking with parents and getting a cup of coffee.  You can check out the website at http://www.parentsincarsgettingcoffee.com.

And thats pretty much it about me.  I’m pretty simple.  Loving life.  Living the dream.  Can’t complain, can’t ask for anything better.  Hope you enjoy my writing and reading my posts! Thanks for reading!  And if you’re interested in following, I’m on social media at:

Twitter @ WTFParent
Instagram @WTFParent
Facebook:  facebook.com/WTFParenting