Wanted to share my everyday jewelry today. These are the pieces I have been living in and very rarely take them off. Lately I have been investing in nicer pieces that I don’t have to take off. Let me be the first to say I am lazy about taking my jewelry off so anything I can keep on when I shower is right up my alley. Also since I have sensitive skin, I like to wear pieces that are real gold so they don’t irritate me.
Everyday Gold Necklaces
Smith + Mara rose diamond necklace: This necklace matches with one of my bracelets and is perfect for layering. Love how delicate it is and can easily be mixed and matched with other necklaces.
ByChari original spaced letter necklace in size small: This was one of my first gifts when Otis was born so it’s a pretty special necklace. It’s delicate and easily layers with other pieces. I will say I am pretty impressed that the letters stay in place most of the time.
Ariel Gordon imperial disk pendant necklace: This was actually a gift when I was pregnant and one of my first pieces with Otis’ name on it. I had to wait to wear it so I didn’t give his name away but it’s been a beautiful statement piece that I can still wear everyday. It’s also been a fun thing for baby Otis to play with while I am nursing him. Added bonus!
Everyday Gold Bracelets
Smith + Mara diamonds by the yard bracelet: Blake had Smith + Mara make me a custom bracelet as a wedding anniversary gift. It’s such a great piece that I sleep in, shower in, and never take off. It layers great with all my other bracelets.
I am currently on the East Coast spending time with family. It’s so special to be able to introduce Otis to our extended families and show him around all of our favorite places. It’s been special watching my Grammy holding Otis’ hand in the car seat while we drove them around. HEART MELT. So while I am focused on some uninterrupted family time, here is a look from a few weeks ago. Easy jumpsuits are great for Summer. Blake doesn’t always love when I wear a wide leg jumpsuit but lucky for him I don’t dress for him, I dress for me! This one is pretty great because it’s still breastfeeding friendly and I love the front tie gives a little shape to my upper body. I have so many striped pieces in my closet and blue and white stripes are pretty easy to find for Otis also so it’s a great print to do some matching Mom and Son outfits. Have to get creative when most brands only make Mommy and Daughter clothes. Honestly I need to start making my own clothes and help my friend sew them. We shall see! Currently doing a cheers with my dad with a glass of wine in hand. So good to be with family.
Last night we flew to Philadelphia for vacation to see our families so it was the perfect time to share some of my must have baby registry goodies for travel. I will be writing a whole post on more specifics about traveling with Otis because… it’s an adventure and I need to write a lot of words to fully document how complicated it is. HA! But for now, I have some of my favorite things listed below that you must have if your are registering for your baby. I recently shared this blog post on my favorite registry items for your baby nursery and finding a place to register can be a huge and stressful decision. It’s important to find a place that has all the brands and items you love and where it will be easy to make returns or exchanges. Walmart.com not only has all the brands that I currently love and use but you know you are going to get a good price on them and you know you have a store close by to be able to pick up anything you might need or make exchanges. They make it quick and easy to sign up and they offer recommendations when you first start which is SO helpful when you feel totally overwhelmed. What I really love is that you can use their app to add items on your phone. So it’s super easy to add items on the go. I remember the advice rolling in and it’s hard to remember everything so being able to add to your list on the go is a must. They also send you a cute Baby Welcome Box to get you started which is a nice little perk. I broke down all the items you need for your nursery including baby gear, diaper and baby skincare, and bath and health items. Hope this helps you new mamas create your registries. I know how stressful it can be and excited to share all the items I registered for and used!
BABY GEAR FOR TRAVEL
Skiphop diaper bag: It’s essential to register for a large diaper bag. The skiphop bags have been lifesavers for me and I love to travel with mine because it has so many useful pockets and pouches.
Skiphop grab & go bottle bag: If you are traveling with bottles, it’s great to have them in their own pouch to grab and throw them in any bigger bag.
Skiphop pronto changing station: This thing comes in HANDY. We keep one in our car at all times for diaper changes. I also love how it comes apart and is super easy to clean.
Babybjorn baby carrier one air: I used this carrier alot when Otis was tiny. What I love is that eventually you can also use this one in multiple different carry positions.
Babybjorn travel crib light: This crib is life changing. It basically is just two pieces: the frame and the mattress. It sets up in less than a minute and it’s nice and soft. We have brought this along on so many trips and it folds up pretty small compared to other portable cribs we have tried out.
Marpac hushh portable white noise machine: I have raved about these. They are essential to my everyday life but also for travel. We use this on the car seat or stroller for naps on the go but also we attached this near his crib when traveling as our sound machine. It’s small but powerful and easily charges with USB.
Dockatot deluxe+ Dock: We traveled everywhere with our dockatot before he grew out of it. It was super easy to pack in the car and made for a great safe place for Otis to hang out in the hotel room.
Dockatot deluxe transport bag: We didn’t have the travel bag and I wish we did. Makes it super easy to tote around and I would highly recommend it if you are planning to make any travel plans.
Motorola Video Baby Monitor: This is our favorite monitor for when we won’t be able to rely on wifi. It has a clear video stream and it’s been super reliable for us.
Babybjorn Bouncer Bliss: Otis loved this bouncer to hang out in when I would get ready in the mornings. IT was also easy to fold flat and pack in the car for a road trip. Loved that this baby seat had a small foot print and works in small spaces and stows away quickly.
Fisher-Price Sit-Me-Up-Floor Seat: This floor seat was epic. Full disclosure, we used it on our dining room table under extreme supervision and we used this to feed Otis when we first started giving him baby cereal. This chair is a great option before they are big enough to fit in a regular high chair. It also folds down flat so this was very portable and easy to pack in the car for a road trip.
Inglesina Fast Table Chair with dining tray: This is an amazing travel high chair for a smaller baby. We brought this one out to alot of restaurants before Otis was big enough for a regular highchair. The great thing is that we have it set up all the time on our kitchen island and we always bring it over to friends house’s that don’t have a high chair. This one also folds down. Not flat all the way but still folds down somewhat making it easier to travel with if need me.
Dr Browns bottles: These bottles are great and you can use them with or without the air flow vents. They also fit really easily in diaper bags.
Munchkin pacifier wipes: When traveling you might not always be able to wash a toy that falls on the ground. These come in handy.
Baby Buddy Secure-A-Toy toy strap: I have 500 of these. Ok I am exaggerating… but I have a TON of these. They come in handy to attached toys to the car seat, a high chair, or the stroller. They are epic and nice and soft also.
Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy: This is one of my favorite toys. The music and lights make for a really fun stimulating toy to bring along in the car seat or attach to the stroller. It one of Otis’ fav even now at 10 months old.
Avent pacifiers: These were our favorite pacifiers when we were using them. They stayed in his mouth well and I loved that they came in clear.
I wanted to share our experience with sleep training. Sharing today all about what we did and how it went. I want to always preface these posts by letting you know I am sharing our journey with Otis and know that every child is beautifully unique and what might work for us at home might not work for others. While I know that sleep training can get a bad reputation, it’s something I actually got a lot of positive feedback on and it was a great experience for us.
WHY DID WE DO SLEEP TRAINING?
So I am going to be very honest with you that Otis has always been a great little sleeper (I shared about our newborn – 5 month sleep experiences here). Because of that, some of our close friends asked us why we were even going to do sleep training since he was already sleeping through the night and sleeping well. At the time, Otis was about 6 to 7 months old and he was still using his pacifier. He would take his pacifier at bedtime and we would usually have to go back in his room to replace it 5 minutes after we initially put him down. Usually the “paci pop,” as we like to call it, would work and it was not really a hassle to us. He would then usually soothe himself to sleep with the pacifier and sleep through the night. We wanted to get ahead of any possible sleep issues and reinforce good sleep habits before any separation anxiety set in for Otis. It was time and we were ready to do this.
WHEN DID WE SLEEP TRAIN OTIS?
We sleep trained Otis in between 6 and 7 months. We would have likely done it closer to 5 months if we didn’t have so much other stuff going on with his helmet treatment (which you can read all about here).
OUR SLEEP TRAINING PROCESS
There are tons of sleep training programs out there. The only thing I knew is that I wanted the process to involve me and to make sure that I was able to support Otis through the process. I feel like all you hear about sleep training is “cry it out” but what a lot of people don’t know is that there are so many different styles of sleep training out there. Yes there was crying involved but it wasn’t what I expected. Since I followed the TakingCaraBabies newborn and 3-4 month sleep courses, I did some research and found that I wanted to take her 5month-1 year sleep course called The ABCs of sleep. The course was formal sleep training and came with online course videos as well as a pdf guide full of information. I get tons of questions to this day on how we liked her course, if it worked etc and I can’t say enough good things about it. The day I bought the course, Blake and I sat down and watched the whole thing through so we would be ready to get started.
What I loved about her style of sleep training is that it had a compassionate approach where you were still there for your baby and able to sooth them in small ways by letting them know you were going through this together with them. The course is based on a series of “pop ins” after putting your baby to sleep initially and if they are crying, you space out those pop ins first at 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, and then 15 minutes until your baby is asleep. The catch is, when you go in for each pop in, it should be quick (30-60 seconds max) and you can go in, verbally comfort them letting them know that you love them and it is time for sleep and you can place a loving hand on their body to show your love. You just don’t pick up your baby when they are crying. You can reposition them once if they are sitting up when you come in but that is pretty much it. The goal here is that they won’t cry to be picked up and they start to realize that bed time is for sleeping. Like I said, sleep training isn’t for everyone. You have to have a strong stomach for the first few nights because hearing your baby cry is the saddest and most maddening thing you could ever hear. But if you think about it, it makes sense. If they cry for you, and you immediately pick them up, you start to create those patterns for them. Babies are incredibly smart. Of course this is quick overview explanation of the course and there is so much information in it that was so helpful guiding us through the process. But this could give you the gist if you were on the fence deciding if it was worth it to purchase. I love how Blake will reference Cara from time to time and say, “that Cara really knows her shit.” And he’s right.
Night 1 was by far the hardest. Blake and I were armed with a bottle of wine because we knew we were in for it. We did our usual bedtime routine, put on his sleep sack, turned on his sound machine, gave him his lovie and pacifier and put him to bed. We kissed him goodnight and left the room. We set up our monitor in the living room and we waiting. Of course within 5 minutes he was crying because he had lost his pacifier. This was the first hard moment. Not being able to go in and replace it is always tough when you know it’s an easy fix. After 5 minutes, we went to check in on him, gave him our support and quickly left the room. The level of heartbreak when you walk out of the room with your baby screaming… broken. Heart broken into 5 million pieces. But we stayed strong and after 42 minutes of crying and pop ins, he was finally asleep!! AND HE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT WITH NO PACIFIER.
Below is our schedule of how Otis did through our sleep training process just so you can see the progress that was made and how quickly. Day 9 was a turning point because it was the first night where there was zero crying! So even though he didn’t instantly fall asleep instantly, he became successful at putting himself to sleep. Such a major accomplishment. GO OTIS!!
Night 1 / Asleep in 42 minutes (4 Pop-In)
Night 2 / Asleep in 22 minutes (2 Pop-In)
Night 3 / Asleep in 24 minutes (2 Pop-In)
Night 4 / Asleep in 16 minutes (1 Pop-In)
Night 5 / Asleep in 14 minutes (1 Pop-In)
Night 6 / Asleep in 17 minutes (2 Pop-In)
Night 7 / Asleep in 20 minutes (2 Pop-In)
Night 8 / Asleep in 12 minutes (1 Pop-In)
Night 9 / Asleep in 9 minutes ZERO CRYING!!
Night 10 / Asleep in 11 minutes ZERO CRYING!!
Night 11 / Asleep in 5 minutes ZERO CRYING!!
Night 12 / Asleep in 10 minutes ZERO CRYING!!
Night 13 / Asleep in 10 minutes ZERO CRYING!!
Night 14 / Asleep in 7 minutes ZERO CRYING!!
Let me be honest, no amount of crying is fun. Whether its 42 minutes or 5 minutes. Hearing Otis cry makes me want to break down in tears myself. It takes commitment to get through sleep training that is for sure. The wine helped a little bit. I am a big believer that because we were consistent we got through it pretty easily. Another amazing bonus from doing the sleep training is that Otis pretty much weaned himself off his pacifier during this process. We were not even intentionally trying to take the pacifier away all together but after learning to put himself to sleep without it, he stopped taking a pacifier cold turkey from that day forward. WILD. He didn’t need a pacifier in his car seat or to go to sleep. Kind of amazing that this process weaned him off it.
INTRODUCING A LOVEY
While I collected some loveys and let Otis play with them, I never really created any routine with them until we decided to sleep train him. Our program encouraged giving a lovey in the crib so I did a few things to get him acquainted with it before our sleep training started. Every time I breastfed Otis, I would hold the lovey on us so it was a part of our special time together. At this point Otis was already fully moving around in his crib so I did not have any concerns about it being a hazard. This is a great question for your pediatrician if you are wondering if it’s a good time to introduce something like this. The lovey became something special for him to snuggle and cuddle while he fell asleep and he is obsessed with them now. Otis’ favorite lovey is this one from slumberkins. They are so incredible soft and easy to machine wash. I wanted him to get used to something that was easily replaceable since he would likely get attached to it and we would likely lose it. We actually recently lost his yeti lovey at Disneyland but because Disneyland is the happiest and best place on Earth, luckily someone turned it into lost and found and we go it back! Talk about a Disney miracle.
OTIS SLEEP AT TODAY 10 MONTHS
Not that Otis is 10 months things are still sailing just as smooth as they did before. The beauty about doing sleep training is that whenever you might hit a regression or run into any issues, you can come back to these principles again and again. We haven’t had any major setbacks at all. The only time we had trouble getting Otis to sleep was after our trip to Hawaii when he went through the time change. But after 3 days of reinforcing our practices, he was back to himself.
Sleep training has been a really amazing experience for us and Otis. Always love hearing from other Mamas and what worked for you with your little ones. If you have a story to share, feel free to share in the comments below. These photos aren’t really related to sleep training at all, just some sweet moments with my little Oats. Him standing at the bench with that sweet little face… melts me.
Lately my closet is overflowing with jumpsuits and this one has some pretty unique details. I do gravitate toward more classic silhouettes but these ruffles are kind of amazing. Layering a light weight blazer on top adds a chic touch to this playful jumpsuit. Really feeling those resort vibes and of course a straw hat is always the best accessory (as well as sunscreen!).
Our first big family vacation to Maui was a success. Don’t get me wrong… the flights were… not great and traveling with a baby has some real challenges and obstacles. But let me tell you, the destination and memories were 500% worth it. When we finally booked our tickets to Maui, I texted my friend Shawn. Shawn and Adam, the photographers behind Love and Water, have been able to be part of our special memories on Maui and turned into dear friends. After 5 year living on Maui, they were finally moving back home to the Sunshine Coast in Australia and Blake and I were able to catch them for a farewell shoot just days before they left. The shot photos of on our wedding anniversary in 2016, and then in 2018 they took our maternity photo session in the same location where we got married. Shawn and I were actually pregnant at the same time and have babies a few months apart. To say it was special to have them be part of this full circle experience… is an understatement.
On May 27, 2019, we met Adam for sunrise as a quiet beach in Wailea. Now let me tell you, it’s a whole other story waking up your baby at 4:30 AM to get ready for some portraits at the crack of dawn. But MAN was it worth it. We were a short 5 minute drive away and the roosters were crowing in the street as we parked our car and the first light was starting to glimmer through the small beach trail. I don’t often wake up for sunset at home but because of the time different, I usually end up waking up earlier in Maui. The calm beauty of the morning there is something very special. Another day on the sand, laughing and hugging my family. My heart continues to burst with gratitude thinking about this trip and being able to bring my family there for an adventure together. There is never a day I take my family for granted. Ever. Looking back at these photos just makes me smile so big. The biggest thank you to Adam and Shawn for helping to capture such sweet moments for us. We will miss you guys so much!!! If you are in the Sunshine Coast, say hi to Adam and Shawn for us.
It has only taken me 9+ months to round up part of my baby registry for you. I am not going to lie, the idea of putting a baby registry together period is mind boggling. How is one supposed to know what a baby needs.. When you never had a baby. I remember first sitting down to start our registry and I was so overwhelmed staring at the endless options for diaper trash cans. HOW COULD THERE BE SO MANY OPTIONS! (I went with this one!) Luckily I have alot of mom friends that sent me some lists of favorite things, my sister who has 2 kids, and other family and friends that were able to help me come up with the best of the best to add to my registry. Finding a place to register is a huge decision also. It’s important to find a place that has all the brands and items you love and where it will be easy to make returns or exchanges. Walmart.com not only has all the brands that I currently love and use but you know you are going to get a good price on them and you know you have a store close by to be able to pick up anything you might need or make exchanges. They make it quick and easy to sign up and they offer recommendations when you first start which is SO helpful when you feel totally overwhelmed. What I really love is that you can use their app to add items on your phone. So it’s super easy to add items on the go. I remember the advice rolling in and it’s hard to remember everything so being able to add to your list on the go is a must. They also send you a cute Baby Welcome Box to get you started which is a nice little perk. I broke down all the items you need for your nursery including baby gear, diaper and baby skincare, and bath and health items. Hope this helps you new mamas create your registries. I know how stressful it can be and excited to share all the items I registered for and used! Click image below to shop:
Hatch Baby Grow changing pad: It’s been a gamechanger to be able to weigh Otis to ensure he was growing between doctors visits. It’s also VERY easy to wipe down which is essential for pee that happens all the time when they are so little.
Hatch Baby Rest nightlight + sound machine: I have raved about this in the past. We have on in Otis nursery as well as next to our bed. It’s a dual sound machine and nightlight and came in handy during those late night feedings. Everything is customizable which I love.
Nanit smart baby monitor: It took some getting used to not having a traditional monitor but it’s worth it! The picture quality is unreal and it never lags. Also it’s great that we can access the video stream on our phones or tablets so you don’t have to worry about the battery of a monitor dying.
Nanit multi-stand: This is a must if you want to travel with your monitor. We bought this and it comes in handy on vacation or a weekend getaway.
Nest camera: We are a little overkill over here with the cameras. But we had one left over and I wanted a birds eye view of the nursery. We use nest cameras in the rest of our house so this ties in nicely.
Motorola Video Baby Monitor: When we want to use a non-wifi monitor, we travel with this one. It’s super reliable and the picture quality is great.
Braun no touch digital thermometer: We had 3 different thermometers in our house when Otis had his first fever and this one was the one that we used and loved.Infant Tylenol: Always good to register for this! It’s something we forget to and then one of those things you forget to go out and buy. Always great to have this on hand just in case.
Guys it has been A WEEK. If you follow along on instagram stories, you know our Dog, Lola, has been in the pet hospital. Thankfully we figured out what was causing her issues and she is on the road to recovery! But WOW. It’s been such a sad, stressful and busy week. Nice to finally be back into the swing of things around here!!!
Another outfit from Maui for you. This dress is a real gem of a find. I saw a friend wearing it and HAD TO HAVE IT. Great thing is it can double as a dress for dinner, or a beach coverup. I also love the halter tie since it’s off the shoulder and this way Otis can’t pull it down. Below are some other favorite dresses for summer.
I can not believe Otis is already 9 months!! Over the past few months, we have been experimenting with all different ways of feeding Otis. It’s a question I get often and I am excited to be sharing what we did and what we are currently doing with Otis. Keep in mind, what works for him might not work for other babies but happy to share our experience with you all. We tried a combination if a few different methods and techniques and I think it’s help to make him the happy and adventurous eater he is.
WHEN TO START SOLIDS
At our 4 month pediatrician appointment, our doctor suggested we could start introducing baby cereal or baby oatmeal. Otis head and neck strength were strong so it was a great time to introduce his first non-milk foods. Our pediatrician gave us a sample of this oatmeal single grain cereal. Each babies timeline can be different for starting solids. Ask your pediatrician what they think and always trust your mama gut.
STEP 1: BABY CEREAL
We started Otis on his first cereal at 4.5 months. We really didn’t know what to expect but we were excited to try something new with him. We first got all our supplies together for feeding.
–Fisher-Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat: This seat is EPIC. We used this so much when Otis was first starting to sit up. We used it to feed him as well as a hang out chair. What I love is that it folds up flat so it’s both easy to store and to pack up in the car to bring with us anywhere.
–beaba spoon: These spoons are made of a super soft silicone so they are very gentle on Otis’ gums. We loved using these.
–copper pearl bibs: By far my favorite fabric bibs. We typically use these for drool but when Otis was eating cereal we used these. They also have the best patterns and prints.
Since I had pumped breast milk in my freezer, we used that as the liquid to mix in with the cereal. At first, we only mixed a little bit in so that the consistency was still pretty liquidy to get him acquainted with a little bit of texture in the milk. Otis was pretty into oatmeal from the start which was very exciting. Total foodie right here!! Of course a lot of it comes out of their mouth, and its messy but it’s a great way to experience these first textures. Our pediatrician recommended we try this later in the day as the drive to eat is higher so we started 1x a day in the early evening, and eventually 2x a day. We weren’t super strict with the schedule of it as some days he would be more interested than others. Each few days we would add a little bit more cereal to the mix to increase the texture. I don’t have any exact measurements as we just eyeballed it. We just continued to follow Otis’ lead as he was able to tolerate the added texture. When we felt confident in his ability to eat more textured cereal, we decided it was time to start the real fun; purees.
We started puree foods at 5 months. After successful eating cereal for a few weeks, we decided he was ready to move on to pureed food. The supplies we used are below:
–stokke tripp trapp high chair: While this high chair is VERY pricey, I can not say enough good things about it. It very securely fit Otis from an early age. I have loved the padded insert and the adjustable foot rest is great. The whole chair is highly adjustable and I can easily take the tray off to clean it in the sink. I also love that it fits in with our home decor. That is always a huge bonus when it comes to baby gear!
–bumkins bibs: These are by far my favorite bibs. They are easy to wipe down and rinse off in the sink and you can throw them in the washing machine. With messy foods, it’s essential to have a great bib so the food is on the bib… and not the baby.
–beaba babycook baby food maker: We LOVE this kitchen tool. If you have the counter space, I highly suggest getting the dual capacity one here. If you plan on making your own baby food, I have loved using this.
–beaba food storage container: We use these containers to store baby food we make for Otis but could also use it to store and tote snacks in the diaper bag.
–beaba babycook book: This book came in handy making purees for Otis. It also gave us ideas when we wanted to mix ingredients and make sure we were using the right proportions.
–instant pot: We use the instant pot all the time for our adult dinners but to make bigger batches of baby food this has been an amazing tool! Especially since it can steam and cook everything very quickly. This is great because its a tool we already had in our kitchen and are able to use it to make Otis’ foods.
–kitchenaid pro line series blender: When we use the instant pot to make Otis’ food, we use this blender to puree everything. It’s very powerful and we are able to get the texture we want very easily. It also allows us to puree warm foods that have just been cooked. This is great because its a tool we already had in our kitchen.
We decided to make our own puree since we love to cook and it was not a very difficult process at first when they aren’t eating very much to begin with. Our strategy was to try 1 food for a few days to make sure he didn’t have an allergic/adverse reaction to it and then move onto a new food. This was all info given to us from our pediatrician. We decided to start with a sweet food so our first food was sweet potato. We used the Beaba babycook which has been a great tool for purees. What makes it great is you can both steam and puree the food in one machine so it just makes your life easier. This was perfect for doing all our single food purees. We also used this book to help with our proportions and also later on when mixing different ingredients for purees. We made sure to keep the puree nice and smooth for his first experience. We started new foods at night when he would be the most hungry and tried to be consistent about doing foods 2x-3x a day. We tried a food for 1-3 days and then would move onto the next food. When making new foods, we always made sure to make extra to keep some in the fridge and to freeze some. This way, we could continue to add new foods, and keep rotating in foods he had already eaten.
As far as larger portions, when we wanted to make huge batches we used our instant pot to steam veggies and then our kitchenaid blender to puree it. If you have the time it can be a fun process to make your own foods but it takes time and work and we don’t always have that luxury. So we started to test out different premade options to see what Otis liked and to make things easier when we were out of the house or traveling for the weekend. I have to be honest that Otis has not been very picky and has eaten almost everything we have fed him. We can see things he really LOVES opposed to things he is more lukewarm about but one thing is clear: Otis LOVES to eat. Below are some brands I have loved and tried below:
–Plum Organics: Great option for on the go since it’s not-refrigerated and easy to stow in the diaper bag. I can also easily pick it up at the grocery story or at target.
–Happy Baby Organics: Great option for on the go since it’s not-refrigerated and easy to stow in the diaper bag. I can also easily pick it up at the grocery story or at target.
–Once Upon a Farm: This is a cold pressed pouch so it does have to be refrigerated but what is great is it can stay out of the fridge for up to 4 hours and you can re-refrigerate once opens for 72 hours. This was great because Otis doesn’t always finish a pouch if he is not very hungry so was nice to not waste anything.
–Tiny Human Food: This was a great option when we were starting solids. These packages are easy to use with a spoon and small portions.
–Yumi: This was one of my favorite delivers to test out more exotic flavors. Since I have alot of food allergies there are alot of things that I don’t cook and enjoy myself. So this delivery service was great to get Otis testing out more exotic fruits, grains and other items. This was also the most textured of all the premade foods we tried.
STEP 3: BABY LED WEANING
We started doing Baby Led Weaning with Otis at about 6 months. I had never heard about this method of feeding so this was new territory for all of us. Baby Led Weaning, or BLW, is a baby self feeding technique that allows babies to discover and experience food themselves. After reading about it and talking to some mom friends, I knew I would love to try a combo of doing purees and Baby Led Weaning for Otis. Otis was starting to get VERY interested in the things we were eating at the dinner table. Eyeing us down and wanting to join in on the action. Since this was a pretty foreign and scary idea for us to start, I found an amazing resource online called, Feeding Littles. It’s an online course that I bought that teaches you how to tackle BLW through a video course. This course was so amazing!! I think I watched all the videos in one day because I wanted to jump in as soon as possible. We also used this book that helped us with more visuals and ideas for foods to try based on Otis’ age etc. The course gave us the confidence to get started.
To give you an overview, you serve baby soft foods about the size and width of your pinky and allow them to pick it up and put it in their mouth. You make sure that it’s soft enough to squish with your fingers this way when they gum at the food, they are able to chew it and swallow easily while they are learning the textural differences. They have a less precise grasp on food this young so the larger strips of food make it easier for them to self feed themselves.
The scary thing about BLW is that since baby is learning, there is going to be gagging involved and there is always a risk for choking. But what is really cool is that babies have a gag reflex that is more forward in their mouth. This means when they stick that long piece of avocado in their mouth, and if they break off a pieces that too big, the gag reflex will be initiated and they will then salivate and spit the large piece back out.
The first food we introduced Otis to was avocado. I WAS SCARED SHITLESS giving him those first pieces of food. The anxiety was high but it’s truly amazing how quickly they learn. The gagging stopped relatively quickly for Otis once he got a hang of it. We did our best to make sure to be very positive, smiling and encouraging so that the food experiences were happy. We did a lot of positive encouragement and told Otis to chew as we demonstrated for him also. Never underestimate the power of a positive demeanor and attitude as it rubs off on the little ones and can affect their experience.
I will say BLW is VERY messy. You go through alot more food than they are actually eating since they are playing and experimenting with it. Alot ends up smashed in their hands, on they tray, and on the floor. But that is ok! It’s about creating a positive experience with food, and allowing them to explore it on their own terms. With a little guidance from us of course. Blake and I took a CPR course where we reviewed choking protocols as well which I hope to never have to use any of the things I learned there.
Otis has shown such interest in food and the BLW has been such a positive experience for us. We also used a fruit feeder to let him experiment with fruit when we just started BLW. It’s also around this time we introduced puff snacks and yogurt melts to Otis (linked his favorites below in the snack section). Since his grasp was getting better by the day, we introduced these melting snacks as something to give him while we prepped his food. If you try them yourself, you can see how quickly they dissolve in your mouth so these are a fun thing to try out. I keep them in our diaper bag so we always have snacks with us for our little food monster. While BLW can seem super intimidating, I am SO happy that we tried this out early as well. I really think it has alot to do with how great an eater he is now and it’s made traveling great now that he basically eats whatever we eat.
CLEAN UP TIPS
Feeding a baby is a messy process. Their hands get so dirty and sticky depending on what they are eating and it can be a real pain to get them clean. One trick I have found that gets the job done well is bringing over a little bowl of lukewarm water. I hold the bowl down with one hand (DEATH GRIP HOLD IT DOWN SO BABY DOESN’T SPILL IT) and then with my other hand I take his dirty hand and place in the water bowl and clean it. It’s pretty effective and becomes a fun little routine part of meals. I then dry his hands with a dish towel. I used to use silicone mats and bowls but the reality is that Otis finds a way to pick them up and then throw them on the ground. Hopefully I can use them when he is a little older to make clean up a little easier in the sink. So I usually just use the tray on the high chair. I usually only have to wipe it down but if hes eating something that has the potential to really stain like a red tomato sauce, I will remove the tray and wash it in the sink. My favorite bibs have also been these. They are easy to rinse off in the sink and machine washable. Which comes in handy when things get wild messy around here.
We introduced the allergens early as our pediatrician said the earlier the better. Exposure is key at an early age so we wanted to get the ball rolling on testing out different allergens. My pediatrician said the biggest things to look for were rash, including diaper rash, upset stomach, spitting up etc. We decided to start with eggs. I made an omelet and then cut the egg into strips for him so it would be easy to grab. Eggs were a BIG hit and they are so easy to make quickly in the morning. I wanted to try peanut next. We put a thin layer of peanut butter on a lightly toasted piece of toast and cut it into strips for him to try. Was the sweetest thing watching him both chew the bread and suck the peanut butter off. Otis is lucky to not have any reactions to the allergen foods so we continue to feed them to him. Again have a chat with your pediatrician on the best strategies for your baby.
INTRODUCING WATER CUP/BOTTLE
Our pediatrician recommended introducing some water once Otis started eating solids. No more than 1-2 oz of water a day. It’s mostly just to wash down food and get them acquainted with it. Luckily part of the BLW course we took included a whole section on cup training. They also have this handy blog post here. We started with this adorable mini cup to help Otis learn to take sips. We would basically show him how to do it ourselves. Then we would hold the cup and allow him to pull it towards him and take a sip for 1-2 seconds and remove the cup. We would be holding the cup the whole time. Of course he did spill alot. That was to be expected. Once he got a hang of that, we would let him try to do it himself. It’s truly shocking how quickly babies can learn these new skills.
My spray tan has since faded and we are finally back home from our trip to Maui. I have so many epic photos to share and lots of thoughts on traveling with a baby! I will sit down and write out my thoughts on that this week. For now, I will leave you with my adorable little man, sticking his feet in the warm Maui waters. Every time we would sit Otis in the sand, he would make a b line to the ocean like a little sea turtle. He’s fearless and independent an I love seeing how happy he is at the beach.
Finding mommy and me swimsuits for Mom and baby boy was not an easy task to find. The options are much more plentiful for Mom and baby girl. So its extremely special to be matching with my little Oats. I have worn Marysia swimsuits for years because they just make me feel good. They are on the pricey side but man are they a great investment if you are looking to spend the money on a swim suit. I take really good care of my swim and wash them every time I wear them so I feel I can justify a pricier option. I have bought many in the past but I was very lucky that Marysia was kind enough to send me this matching set for our trip to Hawaii. Finding a one piece is not easy. I wanted full coverage on the butt but you don’t want the suit to cut into you. This suit has just enough coverage for this postpartum mama, easy boob access (breastfeeding mama here!), and still has some chic details making it extra special. Now my problem is that I need to buy it in more colors. Excited to share more of our trip with you soon.