Monday, 24 November 2014

Paloma's First Solids

So after all that talk about how I wasn't going to give her solids before 6 months, I broke down and let her eat some food early. Over the weekend, I made a bunch of different pureed baby food for her which I froze in ice cube trays and then transferred into freezer bags. On Saturday, I was just putting some peas in the freezer, when it crossed my mind that Paloma will turn 6 months old on Thursday and I wanted to give her solids for the first time on a weekend so Andino and I could video it and take pictures and Andino wouldn't be rushed to get back to work. I quickly made the decision to let her eat some peas then and there (before I had a chance to change my mind.) I was so emotional about it I even choked up - I don't know why I'm making such a big deal about this! She ate the whole serving of peas and of course we got some cute video and pictures. We haven't brought her high chair in from the garage. We have a tiny kitchen and at this point she's eating such little portions, Andino just holds her on his knee while he feeds her. On Sunday, she ate some butternut squash which she definitely didn't like as much as the peas. The second time around, I was much less emotional about it and I was able to focus on the bright side of being able to cook for her and help her learn to enjoy healthy food.

So much of what I daydreamed about while going through infertility surrounded food. I know that sounds funny, but I imagined making family traditions of big Sunday dinners and special holiday breakfasts. Every time I'd make a dessert, Andino or I would have to bring half of it to work to share with colleagues or else we'd end up throwing it in the garbage because we couldn't polish off a whole batch of cinnamon rolls or cupcakes by ourselves. I imagined how it would be in the future when I had kids to bake for. So starting solids doesn't just symbolize a step away from me, it also marks a step towards creating new family memories.




Monday, 17 November 2014

#Microblog Monday

Whoever said diamonds are a girls best friend, never had a dog.

The first few weeks after Paloma was born, our big dog Lola never left her side. She was up with me and in the nursery for every single diaper change and feeding. Now, she trusts me that I am going to take good care of the baby so she has stopped hovering so much. But even now if Paloma starts crying and Mama doesn't go to her fast enough, sure enough Lola will push the door open to her room and look at her through her crib to make sure she's okay.

Throughout my pregnancy, we were a little worried about how the dogs would react to the new addition and we are so thrilled that they love her and are not even a little bit jealous. I love being a stay at home Mom while on my maternity leave for a year, but it's even better that the dogs are here to keep us company. Especially this week, while Andino is away with his band, having the dogs here makes me feel safer and not so lonely.









Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Thinking About Solids

**I hope it goes without saying that the things I write about here are just my experience as a Mom. I totally understand that other Moms have different experiences and make different choices and I 100% support whatever makes your family happy**

Paloma is 5 months old. Now, she is sitting up on her own (although she still topples over from time to time so I have to keep a close eye on her) and she is grabbing any and every thing within her reach. Last night, after dinner I picked her up and sat her on my lap while Andino and I chatted. I still hadn't cleared the supper dishes, and in 2 seconds she pulled the placemat towards her and was grabbing at my plate! We bought a high chair but haven't set it up yet.

She is sitting up on her own, she has a high chair... the next logical step is baby food.

I feel so emotional over starting solids. I guess it's the fact that she is growing up and she needs/wants more than my body is able to give her. For 9 months my body grew and nourished her, then we had an amazing labour & delivery and then a great breastfeeding relationship for the past 5 1/2 months. (Except for the first week, when I was soaking in the bath tub and I actually peeled scabs off both of my nipples. Oh My God...) And now it's time to start thinking about adding solid foods to her diet. I had planned on exclusively breastfeeding my baby for the first 6 months since the day I found out that is what is recommended by:

I trust all of the experts above. I trust their research and reasons for making their recommendations of breast milk only (meaning no water, juice or foods) for the first 6 months. Unless I was physically unable to breastfeed my baby, I had always planned to follow those guidelines. From day one, I made it clear to anyone who asked, that Paloma wouldn't be fed any supplemental food/water for the first 6 months. I mentioned that the World Health Org. and Health Canada agrees with me, but some people still made comments which really get under my skin. I have to learn to let comments like those roll off my back because because it's not worth wasting my personal energy dwelling on them. I'm still learning how to do that.

Anyway, we've got the high chair. I've got a few baggies of squash and sweet potatoes all mashed up and frozen, all I have to do is thaw them, add breastmilk to thin them out and freeze them again in ice cube trays. Our plan has always been that on her 6 month birthday, Andino would be the one to feed her her first solids. He's never really been able to feed her before, so it will be extra special for him. We plan to feed her avocado (mixed with breastmilk), and to video the whole thing. Do I think if I were to feed her solids now, a few weeks before her 6 month birthday it would really make a difference? No. I don't think a few weeks on either side of her 6 month birthday would really make a difference, so I'm choosing to do it then because I've been planning to make it to 6 months exclusively breastfeeding and I don't want to do it before then. I know it's silly to fixate on a date on the calendar, but if it's important to me and it won't make any difference to her, then why not? 

I'm definitely going to continue breastfeeding her. Aside from the fact that it is just so easy  to not have to worry about cleaning bottles, I still very much enjoy it and the bonding time we have while she nurses. Not to mention, it's still the easiest way to put her to sleep (next to putting her in my wrap when she's sleepy and letting her nod off on her own.)


I feel like starting solids is a huge transition. Moving from infant to baby. Her first step away from Mama... I have two weeks left of exclusive breastfeeding and I am going to soak up every day of it. Babies grow so fast. Before I know it, she won't be nursing at all. Before I know it she will be sitting around my dining room table eating with the rest of us. Why not slow down and take the time to enjoy her as an infant for as long as possible?
If you have children, how did starting solids go for you? Did you feel emotional over it or is it just me?


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Some of my favourite photos from our vacation. These are the photos we had taken professionally, which were also the first photos of all 3 of us!










And these are my favourite photos that we took with our camera:



My Dad & I


Mama & Paloma

Grampy & Paloma

Smiles

Beach Baby

Nanny & Paloma

She looks like a Cabbage Patch here!

Shopping

Napping in Daddy's arms





Saturday, 1 November 2014

Travel With a Baby

We just got back from a little family getaway before the cold weather hits. Winter is long and cold in Saskatchewan, so we needed one last week of fun in the sun before packing away our sun dresses and sandals. We got home at 2:30 in the morning two nights ago, and it's been a flurry of laundry and unpacking and groceries and driving to pick up the dogs from my father-in-law who watched them while we were gone and all the other errands that need to be done before we can fall back into our home routine. I told Andino when Paloma woke up at 6:00 a.m. the morning after we got home and I'd only slept 4 hours that I don't think I was that sleep-deprived even when she was a newborn! I'm still catching up on things around the house (I didn't even manage to wash my face today!) but I've been writing this post in my head since we started our trip ten days ago and I want to get this written before too much time passes and I start to forget. I apologize in advance, because this post is going to be long...

We spent the week at Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya with our 5 month old daughter. This was the first time Andino and I have stayed at an all-inclusive resort, as we are much more inclined to the adventure/budget type travel, but we thought it would be easier with the baby to do an all-inclusive. This was the second time we flew with Paloma. The first time she was 13 weeks old. (Now she is 22 weeks.) Let me tell you, flying with a teething 5 month old is a lot different than flying with a 3 month old! When she was 13 weeks old, she still took a pacifier and she was still a sleepy little newborn. All we did was keep giving her the pacifier during the flights and she basically slept through the plane rides and was awake during connections and boarding. It was easy. I fed her right before boarding and as soon as we got off the plane. I also brought a bottle, which she took with no complaints. Other passengers complimented us on what a good little traveller she was and I regretted all the time I spent worrying about how it would go.

Fast forward to travelling with a 5 month old teething baby who rejects the pacifier & bottle. Flying with her was a lot different the second time around. What follows are my tips for keeping your sanity and enjoying your family vacation with a baby. I hope you can learn from our experience.

Boarding

Take advantage of priority boarding. It's not going to be easy because you are new parents and if you are anything like us, you are perpetually running late. I remember when I was a single traveller and I saw the other passengers anxious to get on the plane as soon as possible and I wondered why they were in such a hurry to sit down for hours in a cramped space. I always waited to board last so I could stretch my legs until the last minute. This strategy doesn't work as a parent, because you need that time to get your baby situated. For the first flight, we missed priority boarding because I was changing Paloma's diaper when they announced it. I was in the bathroom and I heard them calling it over the PA system and I rushed out, with the baby in one arm, backpack slung over one shoulder and wrap trailing behind me all in a fluster. It's not a good way to start a long trip.

Tip # 1 is: Get there early and allow yourself the time to change the diaper and feed the baby and still have time to make priority boarding.

Nap Schedule vs. Flight Schedule

An overtired baby is a cranky baby. We all know this, but for some reason I thought it was a wise idea to board a flight with an overtired baby. What was I thinking?? For the first flight, I held Paloma off from her nap. I thought if she was tired when we boarded, she would sleep for a good portion of the flight. Ha! What actually happened was, I boarded the plane with an overtired baby who just got more tired as the plane filled up with passengers and by the time we took off, she was scream-crying. Not because the cabin pressure bothered her ears (because she didn't react to that at all for other flights) but because she was overtired. I'm sure if you are a parent, you know how challenging it is to deal with an overtired baby in your quiet nursery at home, let alone in a plane full of people. To be fair, I felt like the other passengers around us were understanding and kind towards our situation. (At least the ones who gave us sympathetic smiles) But still, it's really not easy being the person holding a baby who is scream-crying at the top of her lungs in a confined space jammed with people.

Tip # 2 is: Don't board the plane with an overtired baby. Let her sleep when she wants to sleep as you normally would. 

Comfort & Clothes

We dressed Paloma in pyjamas during the flights so she would be as comfortable as possible and we wouldn't have to worry about socks falling off, pants being too tight or sweaters falling off the shoulders. I dressed in a v-neck t-shirt so I could have quick and easy access to the breast as I had to nurse her often during the flights. I used my wrap (baby carrier) while flying as well as in the airports and at the resort! I tied the wrap before boarding using the basic X carry. so I could just pop her in while we were already up in the air (because Air Canada required me to take her out of the wrap and hold her  during take off and landing.)

Tip #3 is: Dress the baby and yourself for comfort and convenience


Crying on the Plane

The most successful daytime flight during this trip was one that had two seats per aisle so once we made priority boarding, I didn't have to stand up to let someone in after I'd gotten Paloma settled. She was in the perfect state of hungry and sleepy when we boarded, so I fed her and rocked her to sleep and she napped without disturbance and woke up in a happy mood. Andino and I took turns entertaining her with the toys we brought and Andino walked up and down the aisles with her so she could look around. The people sitting across from us played with her and made her laugh so the flight went smoothly. However, with as many flights as we took during this vacation (2 flights on the way there for a total of 6 hours flying time and 3 flights on the way back for a total of 8 hours flying time) we knew she was bound to get fussy on the plane. I just tried to accept it and told myself she has just as much of a right to be there as anyone else and we were all babies at one point in time. I also nursed her very frequently during the flights although I felt a little awkward whipping my boob out with so many people so close to me (and even tried to use the nursing cover a few times but that didn't go well as Paloma's not used to it and she kept batting at the fabric.) I told myself it's either a little boob or a lot of crying. I'm not saying I was unfazed, calm, cool & collected when she cried on the plane, I'm just saying I knew it was likely going to happen when we booked our tickets months ago and I did my best to take deep breaths and accept the situation.

Tip # 4: You can do everything in your power to make your baby happy while travelling, but you must accept the fact that if you fly long enough, your baby might cry. Just accept it as an unfortunate part of travel and move on.

Travel Partners

We travelled with my parents. It was so helpful to have Paloma's Grandparents there who were eager to take her off our hands and help us out everyday. Whether they took her for a few hours while Andino and I went on a romantic date or the 4 of us took turns keeping her entertained & happy when she was fussy at a restaurant, there's no doubt it was easier having them there with us.

Tip # 5: If possible, bring help!

Sleep & Flexibility

At home, we have a routine. Obviously, on vacation that routine flies out the window. During our first vacation, Paloma had been sleeping through the night for a month but began waking 2-3 times a night while on vacation. This time, she's been able to sleep through the night without being swaddled for a month, but now needs her swaddle again. Expect some sleep disturbances, things will go back to normal in a couple days or weeks after returning home.

Paloma coped really well with all the unfamiliar surroundings, smells, sounds etc. but there were times when she seemed overwhelmed by it all and needed a break. I noticed she had a really hard time at the big, busy restaurants we went to, especially at supper. She's never really been exposed to that at home, because we always go to quiet, small places to eat. If we ever go somewhere busy with a lot of people (like a festival) she's in my wrap, snuggled close to me for comfort. By supper time she was tired from all the sightseeing and swimming and wasn't up for sitting in a high chair in a busy restaurant with so many unfamiliar sounds and smells. We usually gave her the benefit of the doubt and brought her anyway, but when she started fussing and wouldn't stop, we'd either quickly finish our food and go, or I'd take her back to my room and order room service while the rest of the family finished their meal.

Tip # 6: Listen to your baby when they tell you they've had enough.


Packing

For as often as I travel, I'm a terrible packer. For this trip, however, I did a good job only bringing what was really needed. We didn't pack a tonne of clothes that were never worn or toys that were never played with. We brought Sophie the Giraffe, her keys and a rattle. For some reason, I decided to bring a bottle on the plane even though I know she doesn't take one anymore. As expected, I never used the bottle and ended up having to dump it all down the sink - what a waste! The only way Paloma takes a bottle is if I am the one to feed it to her - what's the point in that? It sucks unpacking, so do yourself a favour and don't overpack. Babies need surprisingly few things.










Tip # 7: Don't Overpack.

So what about you, have you travelled with a baby before? Any tips you can share?

Coming up next: A post (with pictures) about our vacation
 
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