Monday, June 27, 2011

Making your own baby food

Have you ever read the ingredients that make up a jar of baby food? It's quite disgusting and because of this fact I decided with Eli that I would try to make my own (as much as possible.) When we would travel or were going out to eat, I would just bring a jar of pre-made, but I would only buy organic. You have to really read the label because even some of the organic have some strange ingredients, so I would only buy Earth's Best. If you read the label for their food it has very few ingredients and are all organic. It's of course a little more pricy (okay...maybe a lot more), but to me I feel better knowing exactly what I'm putting in my baby's mouth.

Making your own baby food is EASY! Yes, it takes a little more time, but if you do it all on one day, such as the weekend, you are set for the week! With Eli I purchased the Beaba food maker, which I LOVE, but you can easily use a food processor. I saved my birthday money to buy mine. (funny how things change once you have a child!)

Miles has just started eating solids and I thought I'd show you how I made some fresh peach puree. It took maybe 15 minutes total and we are set for the week. I always look for fruit and veggies that are on sale and stock up. When they get older, around 9 months, you can add meat as well. You can do a mixture of fruit/veggies or just keep it single.

First I started with some peaches:

Next I peeled them and diced them:

The next step is to steam the fruit. The beaba cooker does this for me, but if you were using a food processor then you would have to do this step yourself on the stove.

While I steam...we play!

After steaming, I then puree the fruit to make it to my desired thickness. I make it really thin at first and then thicker as they get older.

I also have the Beaba storing trays which I love. I just pour the puree into the cubes and then pop one out at a time when I want it. Ice cube trays work as well and also canning containers (just make sure they are BPA free)

The finished product looks like this:

There's also a great website with recipes:

Let me know how it goes if you try it! I forgot to mention how much money it saves as well! Always a bonus!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Shop before you buy!

I have come across two websites that have amazing prices on baby items and have not been able to find lower prices anywhere. When looking for a high chair I really wanted a specific brand because I knew it would hold up and last through multiple children. In the stores such as Babys R Us and Buy Buy Baby they sell for well over $200, but on Albeebaby I purchased one for $179 with free shipping. We also purchased Eli's big car seats from these sites. For example, I just purchased a Britax Frontier 85 which sells for $300 in stores, and I bought it on Elite Car Seats for $197! (same exact model)

So....when shopping for large baby items (that you have to purchase yourself) make sure you look around. Both of the websites below have free shipping and I guarantee you won't find any lower prices. You can use the actual stores to go in and look at all the car seats and test your child out in them, but I would then purchase from one of these sites.

The websites:
Albee Baby
Elite Car Seats

Monday, June 13, 2011

Packing for the hospital

I remember calling my sister up before Eli's due date asking what the heck I was suppose to pack for the hospital. I knew it wasn't like going on a vacation, that's for sure, so I really had no earthly idea what to bring.

Now that I've been through 2 births here is what I would recommend packing: (in no particular order)

For yourself and partner: (I always pack 1 bag just for the delivery and another larger bag for our 2 day stay)

  • Drivers License, insurance card (try to pre-register a few weeks before if your hospital allows it)
  • Birthplan (if you have one!) 
  • Your pillow (let's face it...the hospital beds are not the most comfortable. I put an older pillow case on just because I didn't want my nice one to get dirty)
  • Socks for your feet during delivery and after. I went and bought some cheap cute socks at Target to wear during delivery. You go from burning up to freezing cold (at least I did) so sometimes you might want them on, and other times you might not want anything on your toes. BUT, I would buy a CHEAP pair because they can get dirty and you probably will want to throw them away ASAP. I know I did!) 
  • Load your Ipod with your favorite songs so you can listen to it during labor. This might help you and it might not, but it's a good idea to have it just in case! 
  • CAMERA!!! 
  • Video Camera! 
  • Flip flops (Again I bought a cheap pair at Target and then threw them away before leaving the hospital. They are nice to wear in the shower and around your room while you stay)
  • Chargers for your phone, computer (if you bring one)
  • Snacks for the hubby! Unfortunately, you won't be able to eat anything than ice chips during L&D, but your husband can and if he is like mine, he gets HUNGRY. I had a big ziplock bag packed full of his favorite things. I also ate some of the items during the 2 day stay as sometimes the hospital meals just weren't satisfying. (imagine that!) 
  • A robe
  • Comfy clothes! I'd suggest leaving your jeans at home girls. If you don't have any comfy pants, then go out and buy some. I like to get out of the ugly hospital gown ASAP so I always bring some comfy, light weight pants and shirts. 
  • If you plan to nurse buy yourself some nice tank tops with support. That way you can either unbutton the top layer you are wearing or simply lift the top layer up to feed the baby. I would recommend waiting on buying a nursing bra until you know what size you are going to be. (believe me... they can GROW!) 
  • Clothes for your husband as well as his toothbrush, shaver, etc. (whatever he uses on a daily basis)
  • I always like to take a shower as soon as I feel up to it and dry my hair and put on makeup. You might not care what you look like, but I always feel so much better when I look halfway like myself. So pack your hair dryer, flat iron, whatever you use.... along with your makeup, face wash, etc.
  • The hospital will have your bathroom stock full of pads for the bleeding that takes place after delivery. They can be pretty big so if you prefer your own, then pack some of those. You might have a lot of bleeding or you might not. It's whichever you prefer. 
  • Some ugly underwear you don't care to ruin and throw away! Again, I went to Target and bought a pack of 5 or 7 cheap underwear to wear during those first few weeks when you have the post-partum bleeding. Leave your thongs at home! Comfort is the key here!! 
  • A notepad/pencil: I read a blog where the mother of the woman giving birth kept a record of how the day progressed. It was so neat to read and I wish I would have had someone to do that with mine. They kept track of how many cms dilated she was at what time, what the doctor would say, the nurses, visitors, etc. What a great keepsake! 
  • If you want your baby's first foot prints in their baby book, then bring that and have the nurse stamp them in there when they are doing the same thing for the birth certificate, etc. 
  • Possible some light reading (I never did, but if you are a big reader and won't have a lot of visitors, then go ahead and throw something in!) 

For the baby:

  • going home outfit
  • blanket
  • hats (if you want him or her to wear one other than the hospital one)
  • outfits for the 2 days if you'd like, or they can just stay in the onesie from the hospital. It's fun to dress them up of course, but they are also perfectly fine in their onesie all swaddled up. 
  • have the car seat installed in your car and ready to go a few weeks before your due date. That way it is in the car already and is one less item you have to worry about. The hospital will not let you leave without one. 
  • You DO NOT need diapers. The hospital will have the baby's cart stocked full of diapers and you will take any you do not use home with you. 

I'm sure I forgot some things and will add back later if I think of any.

If you are reading this and have already experienced giving birth, what would you recommend bringing?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eating for 2

When you become pregnant you will most likely hear people say, "Oh, you can have another piece of ______, you're eating for 2 now!"

You might have a late night craving for a blizzard or an afternoon craving for chocolate cake. 

But, did you know that when you are pregnant, you only need an extra 100-300 calories a day? (depending on your BMI) I was very surprised to find that this was all the extra amount I needed with my first pregnancy and a little disappointed as well. I was thinking that pregnancy was a good excuse to let me eat whatever and whenever I wanted. 

I've always been a healthy eater (well...except for my love of ice cream), but I became an even healthier eater when I started dating Ryan. He was a BIG health nut and not into sweets like I was. This is a very good thing because if he loved dessert as much as I do then I'm fairly certain I'd be twice the size I am now. He was very good during the pregnancy keeping me in check. 

During my pregnancies I tried very hard to eat just as I normally do. To help on days when I was super hungry and really wanted to eat whatever was in front of my face, I would eat a protein bar. I love the Luna bars which can be found at both Wal-Mart and Target. These are much healthier and last much longer than cookies, candy, cake, etc. I would also eat unsalted almonds and nuts to keep me satisfied. I admit these are not very exciting, but you need to remember that whatever you eat, your baby is eating too. Do you really want to feed your baby all that sugar and high fat? I'm not saying that you shouldn't ever indulge in something that is bad for you. I would have ice cream every now and then, just not every night. 

The truth is that after the baby is delivered and you return home you are more than ready to get back into your pre-pregnancy clothes. The sad thing is that you probably won't be able to get those skinny jeans on  your post-pregnancy legs. It no longer feels cute to look pregnant when you're holding your baby in your arms. The more weight you gain, the harder and longer it will be afterwards to get off and believe me, you will want to get the extra weight OFF!! 

With Eli the weight came off pretty quickly. Not as fast as I would have liked it, but it came off. I think I gained about 30 pounds. With Miles the weight stuck around a little longer. I gained probably about 35 pounds and even though I was eating the same things I normally ate, the weight seemed to be going straight to my legs. I remember thinking "I'm not even eating anything bad!! Where are the pounds coming from?" 

So, as you continue on this 9 month journey, try to stay focused on eating healthy. Not only for the baby, but for yourself as well. Believe me, you will be so happy you did after your bundle of joy returns!