Archive for March, 2011
A few days ago my husband reminded me of some crazy things we did during the first few weeks after our baby was born. We were pretty pitiful, especially me, but looking back at those times it is actually quite humorous. So I would like to share with you the consequences of baby induced sleep deprivation if you haven’t experienced this for yourself.
During the first two weeks after the birth of our baby, my husband was helping throughout the nights by burping the baby and changing her diapers. He had a hard time staying awake and was always worried he would fall asleep while holding the baby. One night my husband heard the baby crying (dreaming that he had been holding her) and while he was half asleep thought the baby was stuck in his pillow. He was rubbing his pillow like it was a baby then realized he was actually rubbing his pillowcase. So, he started to freak out because he thought the baby had got stuck inside the pillowcase. He said “Mel, the baby is stuck in my pillow! Help me get her out.” To which I replied “Go back to sleep Hunny, I have the baby.” Then he argued with me for about a minute, and I told him I knew he didn’t have the baby because I was nursing her. So he challenged me saying “Wanna bet?” and I laughed and said “Sure, let’s bet on it.” Once he realized he was wagering something he fully awakened and realized I did have the baby the whole time. Poor guy was a sleep deprived walking zombie who was working 12 hour shifts all day at the factory. I really needed his help though, and I am glad he was willing to sacrifice his sanity for me and our baby girl.
Shut That Baby Up
Some of the more serious side effects of being sleep deprived are emotional control and mental alertness. My husband and I have a few not so funny stories about that too. During the first week after our baby’s birth we were both desperate for sleep and it caused us to become very angry and depressed. We were snapping at each other for every little thing, and on rare occasions we would get angry with the baby too. One time my husband had sneaked up behind me and put a sign on my back that read “Free to good home, but must take both.” Once my husband found me in the kitchen laugh-crying because I could not make the simple decision of what to cook for breakfast. When he worked 12 hour shifts he would beg me to shut the baby up so he could get some sleep. One time while he was sleeping he said he was going to throw the baby against the wall if she didn’t shut up. (I know this sounds horrible but he wouldn’t have actually done this. Trying to function on little sleep really can make you do or say some crazy things.) We both learned not to feel bad about letting the baby cry for a little while as we tried to get our sanity back.
Now that my baby has been eating solids foods consistently for just over a month I have learned how to make some pretty good homemade baby food recipes. I feel so much better about what my baby is eating when I know exactly what is in her food. For all of my blending I have been using the Magic Bullet blender and it has been working well for me so far.
Fruits and Vegetables:
Sweet Potatoes- My baby LOVES sweet potatoes, and I actually have to use them in foods that she doesn’t like for her to eat them. Of course for sweet potatoes, I just peel, boil, and then blend them with some of my own milk or just filtered water.
Carrots– This is another favorite for my baby. To preserve the nutrients I steam fresh, organic carrots until soft, and then blend them with water to make a thick runny mixture.
Sweet Peas– My baby did not like these at all, but she was willing to eat them mixed with carrots or sweet potatoes.
Butternut Squash– This was delicious for the whole family. The baby had to share the butternut squash since it was so big. I peeled, quartered, boiled, and pureed the entire thing. Half was set aside for the baby and half was turned into yummy butternut squash soup for my husband and myself.
Peaches– When I first blended peaches I added way too much water and ended up with a liquid smoothie mixture. I didn’t think about how juicy peaches are, so keep that in mind when blending up peaches.
Apples– I was so sad to find out that my baby did not like apples. Apparently they were too bitter for her to eat by themselves. She doesn’t mind apples mixed with peaches though. To make it easier to blend smooth I peeled, sliced, and poached them. To keep the apple from turning brown, just blend it with a few drops of lemon juice.
Bananas– This was another failed flavor for my baby. She does not like bananas alone, but she will eat them mixed with peaches or in oatmeal. I was hoping she would enjoy them more because they are so easy and convenient to feed her.
• ¼ pound browned ground turkey
• 1 cup cooked brown rice
• ½ cup sweet peas
• ½ cup diced tomatoes
• ½ cup broth (doesn’t matter what kind)
I browned a pound of ground turkey for a dinner meal and then set aside about a quarter of it for this baby food recipe. I was also cooking rice for the whole family at the time. While the rice is cooking steam the peas until soft. Blend everything in a blender until smooth. You may want to add more or less broth to get your desired consistency. My baby loved this recipe.
• 1 cup spaghetti noodles (gluten free if their is a history of allergies)
• ½ cup organic tomato sauce
• ½ cup diced tomatoes
• a little broth or expressed milk if you want it extra thin
Cook the spaghetti noddles until they are VERY soft so they are easier to puree. Add all ingredients and blend until smooth. Check the consistency and add a little broth if it is too thick for your baby. Then blend some more. This was a great success with my baby. We also used our own homemade spaghetti sauce instead of store bought. I have also made this with about a handful of ground beef blended in.
• 1 chicken breast
• ½ cup green beans
• ½ cup chicken broth
• 1 medium sized sweet potato
Peel and quarter sweet potato. Boil chicken and sweet potato until cooked through. Steam green beans while those are boiling. Add all to blender with chicken broth, and blend until smooth. You may need to add more broth to obtain desired consistency. This is also delicious for baby if you use expressed milk in place of broth.
This is a great recipe if you are growing your own vegetable garden. The ingredients are based on my vegetable garden which I have begun again this year with my new baby in mind.
• 1 cup diced squash
• ½ cup diced tomatoes
• ½ cup expressed milk
• 1 cup cut green beens
Steam the squash and green beans together until very soft. Blend all of the ingredients until smooth.
Last week I began my list that will eventually total 101 things to do before having a baby, so to read the first 10 you’ll need to check out Part 1. Here is Part 2 of my list #11-20, feel free to comment with any suggestions of your own.
To Do Before Baby:
11. Learn a second (and maybe third) language– Yeah I took Spanish classes way back in high schoool and I can say a few things “en espanol” still, but that doesn’t count for actually knowing another language. I wish I could speak it fluently so that my baby could grow up understanding two languages instead of just one.
12. Graduate from college – I am so glad I did this before having a baby. Even if you are not working a professional job, it helps to have a college degree to fall back on. After having a baby I no longer have the time or money to go back to college.
13. Hang out all night with your friends– Stay up late and party while you can, because sleep will take precidence once you are pregnant. Also, it is hard to fit in any time to just hang out with friends when you have a baby to care for 24/7.
14. Dance in the rain– Be silly, have fun, and enjoy life. This is true all of the time but before you have a family and the responsibility of another human being enjoy your freedom, go crazy, and dance in the rain.
15. Build up your emergency fund!– I really wish we had done this, but my pregnancy was unplanned and unexpected. What little extra money we did have came in handy when my husband got laid off. Also, babies are expensive- very expensive!
16. Reduce your debt– Even if both parents have decided to keep working full time, bills come with babies and it is much easier to handle the added burden of a new member by removing some burden of debt. Besides, it is just a good idea to lower your debt before such a major life-changing event.
17. Establish a Date Night– My poor husband felt so left out during the first few months of our baby’s life. We needed a date night, but starting any routine is difficult once you have a baby to care for all the time. A time to bond and be alone with your significant other is very important at this unpredictable time in your lives together.
18. Go on a spontaneous adventure– It is hard to do anything spotaneous with a baby in tow. I wish we had taken a spontaneous trip before our baby just for the fun of it. Now that we have a baby we have to pack up tons of baggage and plan everything out ahead of time.
19. Plan your budget around a single income just in case– You never know how you will feel after the birth of your newborn baby, you might change your mind about going back to work. We did this although I loved working in the laboratory and couldn’t imagine leaving. Now, I can’t imagine leaving my baby.
20. Go on a romantic cruise– I don’t really want to take a child on a cruise with my husband because that would not be very relaxing or romantic. I guess we will just wait until our baby is old enough to stay a week at her grandparents house before we go on a cruise together.
Since I am always asking my husband for blog ideas, he suggested doing a guest post on something relevant to a dad’s perspective of having a new baby. This is what he came up with, and I thought it was so good that he might need to do this more often. Thank-you Jonathan for the great information! (To read more about my family just check out the About Me page.)
Camping with Baby
Are you going camping with your baby? It takes a lot of extra organizing and planning to have a fun and safe camping trip with a baby. I loved camping as a child and all the way into my adult years. My wife and I are looking foward to this spring since we will be able to go camping with our daughter for the first time. I’ve done some research into safe camping with babies and here are my top five tips:
Tips for You and Baby:
1. First of all have a great attitude. Don’t be afraid to camp with your baby. Babies can really enjoy the outdoors and if you take the basic safety precautions you will all have great time.
2. Prepare your trip. Think of ways to re-organize your car and plan extra breaks in your trip.
3. Plan ahead. Think of extra items that you will have to take with you to organize a play area for your baby. It has to be both safe and fun.
4. Have a lot of different toys for your baby. Don’t be afraid that they will get dirty, you can always wash them when you get back home.
5. Plan baby’s sleeping. Your baby will fall asleep before you, so try to prepare a safe sleeping space for her where she can sleep unatended.
If you plan for these things before your camping trip you will avoid a lot of hardship. Camping with babies can be a really great adventure for both you and baby. You are showing a different world to your little one while getting to spend time in the great outdoors. Babies learn great social skills and develop much faster during various social activities rather than in front of the TV. So plan ahead and go camping with your little one, you and your baby will love it.
Listening to Music with My Baby:
Everyone knows that music can have a profound affect on our emotions and can also bring up certain memories. Babies are not exempt from this affect, actually it can enhance their development also. As parents we know how singing quietly to our baby can soothe them to sleep, or playing something loud and upbeat can make them bounce up and down. Some may not know what a difference music can make in a child’s life though.
Early exposure to music can lead to a love of music throughout their life and stronger music-related pathways in the brain. Since listening to classical music can improve spatial reasoning for a short time, your baby could benefit from listening to classical music while trying to master a new skill like a puzzle. The spatial reasoning might be temporary but the learning experience will be permanent for your baby.
Benefits of Music for Babies:
• Helps to lull your baby to sleep.
• Creates a lively atmosphere during playtime.
• Mundane tasks become more fun with music.
• It can be a great distraction while waiting at an appointment.
• A familiar tune or song can help a baby adjust better to an different/strange environment.
• Music can easily calm an upset baby.
• Listening to your favorite music with your baby can evoke a strong emotional bond together.
Now that you know the facts, how do you put it in practice? I like to sing a “wake-up” song every morning and a “goodnight” song every night. We also have a bath time song and a silly diaper changing song. Sometimes I will play the piano for her or let her bang out her own tunes, and when we want to relax together or play together we have some favorite CD’s for that too.
For playtime we listen to the Baby Einstein Sing & Play CD and she loves it, but the tunes are catchy so I find myself singing them all the time. At naptime or whenever we want to chill out and relax, we listen to the Baby Einstein Lullaby Classics CD, which I love because classical music is my favorite. At night my baby falls asleep to the sound of the running water from her fish tank. I think this is part of what helps her sleep through the night so well. A white noise CD can easily replace the water feature though and I would recommend that over a white noise machine as long as your CD player can be programmed to run continually.