Wednesday, February 20

3 changes to make for baby that make a big difference

As we've cared for our babies through the years, we've settled into a way of living and doing all things baby that makes the most sense to us.  We've learned some tricks and tips along the way to preserve our sanity, time, and money and I'd love to share them with you here. 

1.  Lay Your Baby Down Awake.  We've had a baby in the house near constantly for the last 12 years, and the most important thing I could tell you if you were a new parent is to do everything within your power to lay your baby down for naps and bedtime when they are still awake.  Even in those newborn days when it seems as if baby sleeps 'round the clock, don't give in to the temptation to rock, nurse or pacify your baby to try to get them asleep.  Babies who learn to fall asleep without help in those early days, will continue to lay down peacefully and sleep in longer stretches because they don't wake up confused wondering where in the world that warm body went that helped them drift off. (We use these in the first few months - can you say lifesaver?) Even if they wake up unexpectantly in the middle of a nap, they can drift back off to sleep without help.  And that's a good thing for an exhausted and busy mama.  We know by now that it isn't a fluke, seven babies proves that!  I'm sure if you asked a new parent what they dream of most, they'd say sleep!  And one of these (on the waterfall setting) wouldn't hurt either - we smartened up by baby #6, when this mama was tired of shushing everyone at naptime.  It drowns out all noises.  So fab!

2.  Make Your Own Pureed Baby Food.  This is something we started with baby number 4, after we realized just how easy it was to make and freeze.  We make and use our own baby food for about 6 months or so, and it's so rewarding and nice to know where your baby's food has been.  (Well, sort of.  We use mostly organic produce for baby food, we're trying!)  Here are some of our favorite ways to make it. 

Pears:  Remove the skin from 2-3 pears.  Cut into thin slices.  Saute' in a frying pan in extra virgin coconut oil until soft.  Puree in a blender until desired thickness.  Scoop into ice cube trays.  Remove and store in the freezer.  (I'd imagine apples would prepare well in this same way, but we buy a large jar of applesauce instead.)

Carrots, Yams, Butternut Squash:  Peel, and chop into chunks.  Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Melt  around 4 T extra virgin coconut oil (for a full pan full) in a 9x13 pan in your preheating oven.  When melted, remove from the oven and put in your veggies, coating them in the melted oil.  We put all three kinds of veggies in the oven in the same dish, then separate into the blender when the time comes.  (You can mix the varieties too and they come out great!)  Bake for 1.5 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.  Puree roasted veggies in the blender.  Scoop into ice cube trays.  Remove and store in the freezer. 

Two fruits you don't have to do anything to to feed it to baby other than mash with a fork is avacado and banana.  I'd imagine that any kind of fruit or veggie could be prepared in one of these two ways and turn out fantastically.  I'd love to hear your baby food sucesses!

Emmalie loves all of these different foods, and it's so satisfying to make them ourselves!  Not to mention the cashola it saves us in the long run.  Each round of pureed food lasts around 3-4 weeks for her.  And that's with a mixture of all sorts of fruits and veggies.  We still keep commercial baby food on hand to bring with us in the diaper bag for outings. 

3.  Give Cloth Diapering a Whirl.   To me, cloth diapering was something those earthy, granola types did.  No offense, I just knew I wasn't one of them.  When our 5th baby came along, I was ready to give it a try.  It was painful to think about all of the disposable diapers we'd thrown away over the years, and all of the money that flew out the window with them.  It took Jeremy and I seeing someone we knew, in action cloth diapering, and telling us it was going to be okay.  We were eager to save money, first off, and the landfill second.  We've cloth diapered off and on through Gabi, Levi, and Emmy - they work for different seasons and not for others for us - but it's a great investment that pays itself back within the first couple months.  And with us having 3 in diapers, it's a big deal!  Plus, they're really cute.

Oh, and if you're wondering about all of the... ahem... poo?  You would never catch me rinsing out a stinky diaper over a toilet bowl, so you'll find me using these with each diaper change.  They lay inside the diaper against baby's skin and catch all of the yuck.  They say they're flushable, but we just throw them in the outside trash.  Then you can just toss the dirty diaper in the diaper pail with no worry. 

Enjoy those babies, friends - and gain back some of your sanity, time and money! 

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