Friday, December 31, 2010

Congratulations, Your Baby is ONE!

If you are reading this article, congratulations!  You made it through the first year of your child’s life.  This is a major accomplishment.  The first year of a baby’s life is the most wonderful, blessed time, but it is also the hardest, most exhausting year ever. 

It’s time to celebrate!  Whether you like to go all out for birthday celebrations, or prefer a small, family affair, you’ll want your child to experience cake, probably for the first time.

I consider myself moderate with what I let my child eat.  I limit sweets and treats and try to always have veggies on his plate.  But when he turned one, the thought of him having preservative-filled cake with overly sweet powdered sugar frosting seemed too much to me.  I believe that “everything in moderation” is a good mantra, so I scoured the internet to find a healthy-ish cake alternative.  And you’ll notice that the frosting doesn’t have the usual 3-4 cups of sifted powdered sugar!

This was a big hit with all of the young children at the party.  For the adults, I made a traditional yellow cake with the leftover frosting from below.  Everyone loved the 'less sweet' frosting.

Taken from Cait Johnson, author of Witch in the Kitchen.

Pumpkin Apple Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting


1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, beaten
¾ cup organic sugar
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
½ cup chopped apple
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I omitted the nuts)


1. Preheat oven to 325.  Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.
2. Combine pumpkin, eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Add flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger and salt, stirring to combine.  Add apples and nuts, stirring again.  Pour mixture into prepared pan.
3. Bake 20-25 minutes until toothpick in middle comes out clean.
4. Cool the cake, still in the pan, on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes, then invert the pan onto the rack and remove cake from pan.  Cool on wire rack completely.
5. When ready to serve, put cake on a pretty plate and top with frosting below.


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups heavy cream


1. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth.  In a small mixing bowl, whip the heave cream until stiff peaks form.  Fold into the cream cheese mixture.  Frost cake liberally.

Enjoy and Happy Birthday Baby!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pregnancy - Final Trimester!

This is a very exciting time! You should be feeling pretty good early on in this trimester. Your energy might be a little lower or it might not. But you are probably starting to feel fatigued. REST, REST, REST. Sleep in whenever you can. People often say to sleep a lot now since you won't be once baby comes - and you need to bank that sleep. I want you to sleep now just because you never will AGAIN!

At about 33 weeks, I started having these strong pains in my groin, pelvis and upper thighs. I was so worried about it because initially, it was so bad I couldn't stand up straight or walk very well. It turns out that this was normal. Once baby gets into position or "drop," there can be a lot of pressure down there! Just rest as much as you can to relieve the pain.  (And sometimes baby never drops or waits until labor actually begins.)

I also had a lot of contractions. They are uncomfortable like moderate menstrual cramps. They feel like your belly is churning. But they never progress to major pain. And they never get closer together. When those two things happen, you are in labor!

Another pain that surprised me was the one during the internal exam. Most doctors will start to do a pelvic exam around 34 weeks (sometimes later.) It is like getting a pap smear. She checks to see if you are dilated and effaced. Well, it HURTS!!!!!! And, for me, it gave me regular contractions for almost 24 hours afterwards. My doctor assured me that it would not initiate labor unless I was already ready to go into labor. BUT, I did go into labor the morning after one of these exams.

Be prepared to have a c-section. You never know. But if you have to have one, you'll need someone at your house 24/7 for about a week. So, if your husband can't take off, get a family member. You shouldn't get up more than you have to and you certainly can't empty a dishwasher. And you are not allowed to carry baby up the stairs. So, you'll want to set up a pack-n-play in the family room. Or camp out upstairs.

And if you do have a c-section, buy some really big underwear that come up high like at your belly button. You don't want bikini cut because the waistband will hit right on your scar. And you want them to be bigger than usual because your belly is numb, but yet very sensitive.

Whatever happens leading up to the miracle of child birth, just remember your overall goal.  You want a healthy baby!  Trust your doctor, trust your instincts and keep your eye on the prize.

New Baby Advice - Nursing Whoas!

I would like to begin by saying that while it has been proven that nursing is best for baby, I firmly believe that it is up to the mother. Because if you are not enjoying it, not comfortable with it or whatever, then you don't need to do it! Formula is great too.

With that said, let me tell you that I am the foremost expert on nursing woes, as everything that could go wrong DID. But I got through it and nursed for one year.

I thought that nursing would be a piece of cake for me. My mom nursed me and loved it and said she had no issues. I also have extremely insensitive breasts, so thought I would have no problems adjusting. But, I had heard that it can be painful at first, so I lubed up for several weeks before baby was born. I applied the Lansinoh nipple cream 1-2 times per day.

Then, in the hospital, I nursed immediately and the lactation consultants were so impressed with me and baby. He latched on immediately, my milk came in and I had no pain! Then, I got home. Within a week or two, I had EXCRUCIATING pain. But my friends said this was normal. That even though all the books said it would be a little uncomfortable, that was a lie. IT WOULD HURT.

Well it did hurt, but when it didn't go away, I called the hospital's lactation consultant. Side note: when you are choosing a hospital, see if they have a lactation department and see if they are available after you get home. It turns out I was producing an overabundance of milk. Go figure! 

Because of that, baby was having a hard time staying latched on. So, he would latch and unlatch repeatedly - like every second for the first couple of minutes of my letdown. This was causing redness, cracking, pain, etc. Lactation told me to pump one ounce out of each side before each feeding. Well, with a newborn, there is no telling when the next feeding will be, so I rarely did that.

And, because I rarely did that, I had rawness, redness and cracks which led to me developing thrush. This is a yeast infection that is transferred from baby's mouth to your breast through a crack in the nipple. It appears as white spots in baby's mouth and can also be accompanied by a diaper rash. So, we had it and we had to get treated. I took one prescription yeast infection pill and then I had to wash my nipples after every feeding and apply a very expensive prescription compound cream to them. I had to wash all of my bras, towels and robe every day in hot water. I had to change my nursing pads twice a day. Then, I had to treat baby's diaper rash with over-the-counter foot cream at every diaper change. And I had to give him prescription drops in his mouth four times a day!

But, when the thrush went away, the pain did not. Water couldn't touch them in the shower, fabric rubbing was unbearable. I used to cry by the last feeding of the day. My husband would rub my feet to relax me and take my mind off of the pain. My son had a VERY strong suck and liked to stay latched on for up to 30 minutes on one side! I stuck it out mainly because it was good for him, but also because the pain I was going through was easier than the task of stopping nursing (drying up) and paying for formula. And, I just kept thinking it would get better - it had to.

So, believe it or not, in the midst of that pain, at about 2.5 months, I got mastitis. It was about 5 days before Christmas and I thought I had thrush again. Initially, I had the same symptoms - sore breasts, searing pain going through my nipples, etc. So I got all of the prescriptions again including the very expensive nipple cream. Then, about 2 hours after filling them all, I got a terrible headache, chills and achiness all over. I had read about mastitis and a light bulb went off. I looked at my right breast and it was red and blotchy.

I called lactation and my doctor again and was easily diagnosed. Mastitis is a breast infection that not only makes your breast red, itchy and very sore, but it gives you flu like symptoms for several days. When I talked to the nurse at my OB's office and she gave me the rundown of what to do, one of the things she said was bed rest. HAH! With a newborn??? But, any time he was sleeping, I was at least on the couch or in bed watching TV. And that definitely helped.

There are countless ways to try to prevent these various conditions that go along with nursing. Check with your lactation office, the La Leche league in your area or use your OB as a resource. And on a positive note, at 3 months, as one of my friends told me, the pain while nursing went away and it became incredibly easy and enjoyable. I am glad I stuck it out so I can actually have a happy ending to my DRAMATIC nursing story!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Baby Prep - Nursing, Pumping, Etc., Oh My!

If you are going to nurse, you need to prepare!

Breast pads - I tried the Lansinoh and the Medela and liked both equally.
Lansinoh nipple cream - great for sore nipples and it is OK to leave this on for nursings (easiest way to get it off your hands is a dry tissue .)
Milk storage bags - definitely buy the Lansinoh bags. I bought another brand and all of my frozen milk went bad!

This is tricky because you don't know how big your breasts will be once your milk comes in. You can try and buy one or two before you give birth. It is generally safe to go up one size from your pregnancy breasts. I had a very hard time finding a bra that fits because I have very large cup size and relatively smaller around the bust. I didn't like any of the bras that looked like traditional bars. I had luck with the Seamless Nursing Sleep Bra by Medela at Mimi Maternity. It comes in S, M, L, XL and it is very comfortable for every day. I didn't know it was a sleep bra until I looked it up for this web site! I then bought two bras at Motherhood, one with underwire and one without. These were very uncomfortable because I had such nursing issues (very sensitive breasts inside and out), but they were fine for going out.

Now, I can't stress enough how much I love the sleep bras at Motherhood Maternity. At the time that I purchased them, they were $11. If you are apprehensive about buying 'cup size' bras, just buy 2 of these sleep bras and wear them day and night when you first come home. They are so soft and comfy and they have decent support for day and night. I bought one in white and one in black, but would have preferred two whites.

And once my breasts regulated and went closer to their normal size, I was able to wear this great Wacoal bra that is a soft lace with no under wire.  It is comfy because there is no under wire, and makes it easy to access for feedings.

Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or you work full time, buy a high-end, professional grade pump. This was a piece of advice a friend game me and I thought, nah, I am going to be at home or bring baby to work, so I can get a cheapy. I thought that going cheaper just meant that it might take a little longer for the milk to come out. Well, it can take A LOT longer but it can also be harder to get the milk out. And that is the last stress you need!

I suggest the Medela Pump In Style or the Ameda Purely Yours. The Medela is the most mainstream and well-known because it is sold in stores like Babies R Us.

The Ameda is ranked as a tie in Baby Bargains, but it is harder to find. It is about $50 cheaper, so that is why I sought it out. I bought it online at and I have been very happy with it. It actually came damaged and the manufacturer sent me a new which I received within two days of calling.

The only downside I can see with the Ameda is that the refrigerator storage bottles only hold 4 ounces, but the Medela bottles hold 6 ounces. Once I started feeding baby 6 ounces, I had to pump 3 ounces in two bottles or do 2 and 4 ounce bottles.

I also was told by friends to buy the pump before baby was born. But I didn't listen. I honestly thought that I might not need it - that I would be such the Mother Earth that I would only nurse. WELL, once I started nursing, 8 times every 24 hours, and I had sooo many issues with it, I was DYING to pump at least one bottle a day so my husband could give me a break. SO, buy it ahead of time, unless you are really on the fence about nursing and think you might not want to do it at all - which is AOK too!

Baby Prep - Crib Advice

Is everything related to baby preps sooo overwhelming?  There are just too many choices out there these days.  Here is some information to help you with that BIG crib purchase.

As far as what brand to buy, please do your research. Not all cribs are created equal. The book Baby Bargains is an invaluable tool for everything that you are purchasing, but particularly cribs. Not only do you want a safe crib, but you want one that is easy to use, easy to put together and you want a company with good customer service.

So, I will leave the company comparisons to Baby Bargains, but I just want to voice my opinion on convertible versus regular cribs. Pregnant friends have asked my opinion on this and I have one! I think it is best to buy a traditional crib for a few reasons.

Personally, I couldn't possibly commit to my child's bed when buying a crib. In other words, the idea of a convertible crib is that it turns into a bed that your child will have until he or she goes to college. Well, I love to decorate, so I am not that practical. But seriously, if you are going to have more than one kid, I think it makes more sense to have a nice, traditional crib that all your kids can use. And each time a baby grows out of it, he gets a "big boy" bed and the crib is passed down to the next baby. I also really prefer the symmetry of a traditional crib, but that is just me. And, if someone tries to sell you a crib that turns into a toddler bed, ignore them. A toddler doesn't need a mini bed. Crib to "big boy" bed is just fine.

And one more thing, to drawer or not to drawer. When I first heard that many cribs come with a drawer underneath, I thought that sounded ingenious! I am a pack rat, so any extra storage would be great. But after I asked friends and read up on it, it sounded like it wasn't all that. The items get so dusty that you don't want to put anything in there that baby actually uses (like sheets or blankets.) And apparently, they can be somewhat flimsy. So, my crib came with one and we didn't even install it. It also didn't fit with our extra long crib skirt that I had made.

-side rail lifts up and down with one hand and knee release
-quiet lift and lower
-smooth surfaces and edges, no hardware sticking out
-made of hardwoods, for durability and sturdiness

Research shows that a firm crib mattress is the best and safest option for baby. And Baby Bargains says the hands-down choice is the Colgate Mattress. It is sold at specialty stores, so check their web site or call around to find one near you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Baby Advice - Starting "Solids" (Mush)

In addition to breast milk or formula, baby can start solids around 4-6 months.  Every baby is different, so make sure to talk to your pediatrician before starting.

Baby Center, is a great resource for starting solids. They actually tell you about portion size as well.

Here is a basic guideline:

4 months: Start rice cereal and then oat cereal - rice cereal is easier to digest. Mix it with a lot of water, formula or breast milk at first, so that it is very runny. Don't be surprised if baby isn't into it at first. It took me 4 tries over 10 days before my son would eat it. They are getting used to eating sitting up, the texture and they might still have a reflex that forces their tongue to sort of spit out the cereal.

6 months: Stage 1 baby food - this food is pureed so it is very watery and easy for baby to eat. Try veggies first and start with squash, carrots and sweet potatoes. Follow those by green beans and peas. You can also try making your own, particularly if you want to try unique things like edamame or avocados. I tried both of those and my son was not interested. In fact, he dry heaved and gagged!

Move on to fruits next. No particular order seems to matter. My doctor said to leave a full week in between each food. But after 7 weeks and he still hadn't tried a fruit, I went down to 3-5 days between each. If you have allergies in your family, a week might be a good idea.

7-8 months: Stage 2 baby food - you can definitely try this earlier if you want. Stage 2 is strained which is a little teeny tiny bit lumpy.

8-9 months: Mashed foods and some finer foods like pieces of bagel, toast, pasta and cheese.

10-12 months: Finger foods and easy to eat table food - banana pieces, soft cheeses, pasta rings, etc.

I have noticed that there are all kinds of different beliefs on when to move on to the next level of foods. I think it really depends on your comfort level and your baby. You will notice that some items (like Gerber Star Puffs or Zwieback crackers) will have guidelines to follow. One interesting thing to keep in mind is that a baby does not need teeth to progress to less pureed foods. They have incredibly strong jaws and can gnaw on things. BUT, remember, that choking is always a hazard. Use your instincts and remember, you don't have to rush it. Have you ever seen a three-year-old eating strained green beans? No chance!

-set of plastic bowls - there are some that have a divider down the middle, so you can put cereal in one side and a veggie in the other
-set of rubber or plastic spoons - metal can hurt their sensitive gums
-sippie cup - you can try this at about 6 months, so you might as well buy it now (try one with handles and either a rubber spout (similar to a nipple) or one with a straw

As you set out on this adventure, keep remembering one of my mantras.  GO WITH THE FLOW!  Nothing is easy with a baby.  But everything is just a phase.

New Baby Advice - Should I Swaddle?

When I was in the hospital after my c-section, I had a different doctor from my pediatrician's office each day, three in all. I asked each of them what they thought of swaddling. My pediatrician said he considered it a blanket in the crib. So, in other words, don't do it. I then asked his younger, female partner (who is a mom) and she laughed and said it is a must. She checked out my baby and then swaddled him like nobody's business. Never was he swaddled more perfectly again!

So, I say swaddle away! And with my son and all of my friend's kids, they wean themselves from it. It could happen at 3 months or 6 months, but it helps them sleep and as you might have noticed, that is your number one goal! And if you read the registering link, definitely buy the Swaddle Me by Kiddopotamus (see Amazon link to your right!) It helps keep baby in the swaddle because after a few weeks of life, they get pretty squirmy.

New Baby Advice - Establishing a Schedule

You might start to see a schedule form early on, but generally I would not worry about it or even look for it until sometime between 3 and 4 months. And even then, you will have to go with the flow because baby will do something to "mix it up" daily or weekly. Or you might have two similar schedules that vary only slightly, depending on when baby wakes up every morning.

Your goal in life after baby is born is to work towards getting him/her to sleep through the night. So, you want to try to feed baby 6 times during your wake hours and twice overnight. And ideally, that first middle of the night feeding will disappear, followed by the second.

And, once baby is sleeping through the night, you have graduated to what one friend calls "The Blockbuster Phase." This means that you can watch a movie on the couch after baby goes down without falling asleep ten minutes into the film!

Here is a schedule that worked for me:
7am - nurse/formula8am - nap #1
10am - nurse/formula
11:30am - nap #2
1pm - nurse/formula
2:30pm - nap #3
4pm - nurse/formula
5:30pm - nap #4 (usually very short and maybe even just 30 minutes in the swing)
7pm - nurse/formula
8:00pm - bedtime!
10pm - nurse (dream feed - take baby out of crib while still asleep and get a few ounces in her. Don't wake her, burp her or change the diaper unless it has poo.)

This is a rough guideline, meaning that he might wake up at 6am and then you adjust everything. Or maybe his middle nap goes until 2pm, so that 1pm feeding is at 2pm. You can push everything slightly or cram nursings by doing them every two hours to get caught up.

And then, as baby gets older, you eliminate feedings. At about 6 months, I did cereal at 10am instead of nursing. I did this because I noticed baby was not nursing much at the 10am and 1pm feedings. He would continuously get distracted and probably only nurse a couple of minutes each side. So, for about 10 days or 2 weeks, I pumped at 10am and gave him just cereal (to make sure it wasn't just a phase.)

Bottom line - every baby is different, so don't stress the day-to-day.  Just look at the overall picture, what baby does most of the time.  And remember that the newborn phase is the shortest phase of your child's life!  GO WITH THE FLOW!

Easier said than done, right?

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Baby Advice - Dream Feed!?

Much like waking a sleeping baby, this was hard for me. The dream feed is a practice where you go into your baby's room at about 10pm and take him out of the crib and nurse or give a bottle while he is still partially asleep. This is to get a couple more ounces in him so he sleeps longer. It definitely worked for us early on. For the first 5.5 weeks, my son woke up twice in the night (1am and 4am or so.) This is very typical. Then, he dropped that 1am feeding. With the dream feed, he was able to sleep until 4am and sometimes even 5am.

One thing I will emphasize. The dream feed actually stopped working and we believe hindered his sleep progress at about 3.5 months. He started sporadically sleeping through the night - maybe 2-3 times at 2.5 months and maybe 6-8 more times by 3.5 months. But then, all of the sudden, at 3.5 months, he started waking up 2-6 times a night. He never wanted to eat, he would just cry and go NUTSO. If we put him on the changing table to check his diaper, he would smile and start kicking and want to play.

We tried EVERYTHING. We started giving him a huge bottle of pumped milk before bedtime (7pm) instead of me nursing. We started cereal right at four months. We tried a bath every night to get a good ruotine in place. Well, when a friend heard that he wasn't eating in the night anymore, she suggested cutting out the dream feed.

We were SO scared, but what did we have to lose? He was already up sometimes every hour and at least once a night he would wake up and stay up for 1-2 hours - but he was never interested in eating. And we are going on about 5 weeks of this. So, we eliminated it and within three nights, he was sleeping through the night! I don't know if the dream feed was disrupting his REM sleep, or maybe making him gassy since we didn't burp him, but eliminating it worked for us

Now, I will tell you that for about 2 months after that, he would still wake up mysteriously one or two times a week crying for no apparent reason. And he still does once every couple of weeks. I hear this never ends!

Pregnancy Advice - Mastering Your Doctor Visits

It is easy to be intimidated when you visit any doctor, but especially your OBGYN.  Not only are you often in a vulnerable position (physically), you are probably very new to the whole pregnancy thing!  But keep in mind that you will be seeing a lot of him or her and so you should be comfortable at each visit.  Figure out what you need from him or her so that each time you leave an appointment, you’ll feel satisfied with your visit.
Keep a notebook with you or by your bed and jot down questions for your next doctor visit. I guarantee if you think you will remember them once you get there, well you might. But you will forget as soon as he or she dashes in for your allotted three minute visit!

-mention any pains, funny feelings, etc.
-if you are concerned with any of the questionable foods (peanut butter, deli meat, fish)
-ask about ANY medicines you might want to take (vitamins, herbal supplements, allergy, constipation or heartburn relief)
-any symptoms you might have - doctor might have a way to relieve your discomfort
-don't be intimidated to ask for an explanation or clarification on a particular procedure
Later on, make sure to discuss your birthing plan with your doctor
-does she use forceps or vacuum?
-what is his belief on induction, c-section, etc.
-will you want an epidural, other pain medication, etc.?
-what about circumcision?
-having the father cut the cord
-any factors that are important to you and your delivery (dimming the lights, listening to music, allowing others in the room, etc.)

You want to look back on your pregnancy experience as a good one.  If you do feel intimated, just remember, YOU AER YOUR OWN ADVOCATE.  And there are plenty of other doctors out there if you aren't totally comfortable with your current choice!

Pregnancy Advice - What to Bring to the Hospital


There's the list! OK, I am exaggerating, but ignore the books or magazines that tell you to bring DVD's, magazines, CD's, snacks, ETC. I brought BAGS of stuff and used none of it. I didn't even turn on the TV the entire time I was in the hospital. I loved having my own pillow for comfort (I also brought a little blankie of mine) and also liked having it to prop me up in bed. It is great to have a robe because the nurses will want you to walk the halls if you have a c-section. Well, we all know what happens with a hospital gown - there is a flap in the front or back! And bring all of your every day toiletries like your yummy smelling shampoo, your usual toothpaste and bring a blow dryer if you care about that (I did, but only on the last day.)

Another must-have for ME was my laptop. My hospital had wireless internet and my husband and I sent an email with pics within hours of baby being born. I had an email in my 'drafts' folder with every single friend and family's email address in the To: line. And yes, I am embarrassed to admit, I had multiple drafts saved because I knew we would send out pics more than once. But my husband and I are photo-taking nutballs!

I also suggest bringing your Boppy pillow and asking a nurse or lactation consultant to show you how to use it. I had a nurse/consultant help me nurse in every different position and in the bed and in a chair, with a regular pillow and a boppy.
A friend also told me to bring cheap flip flops to wear in the shower. A lot of women have showered before you...

Also, I remember really wondering what I would be able to wear home from the hospital. I read that I should bring an outfit that fit me when I was 4 months pregnant. Now I had a c-section, so I was really sore in the abdomen in addition to still having a belly, but I wore the same outfit home that I wore to the hospital. Those BIG front-flapped pants, a t-shirt and a fleece jacket.

I have a friend who was fixated on looking cute on her way home and NOT wearing maternity clothes. She had this image of herself holding her baby wearing a black dress with a jean jacket. Another of our friend's set her straight and she ended up buying an Old Navy track suit. She at least got her wish and didn't wear maternity clothes. I didn't care at all, I just wanted to be comfy and get home and sit on the sofa.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lullaby... and GOOD Night!

Recently, my 4-year old had a hard time falling asleep.  This is incredibly rare because we were such sticklers with sleep training.  I tried the usual reasoning efforts, but when those didn’t work, I asked him if he wanted me to sing him songs.  Much to my chagrin, he said yes!  I began to rack my brain for all the songs he loved as a baby, and that got me reminiscing…
From the day my son was born, he loved for me to sing to him.  I have a pretty awful voice, but it soothed him regardless.  Along with rocking, swaying and pacifier-ing, it became a ritual at nap and bed time (I even made up a lullaby!)  It was so essential that I sing without pausing in between songs, that I had a play list in my head.  I would sing the same songs, in the same order, and then repeat.  I was a human iPod.
After that recent night of singing my pre-schooler to sleep, I thought I would document the play list – for you and for me!
Freres Jacques (Are you sleeping?)
Rock-a-Bye Baby
Lullaby and Goodnight

I’m a Little Teapot
Mary Had a Little Lamb
You are My Sunshine
Hush Little Baby
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

And if you are a believer of Christmas and lucky enough to have a baby around November and December, add in some Christmas Carols.
Jingle Bells
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
12 Days of Christmas
Silent Night
Joy to the World
The First Noel
Away in the Manger
Have more lullabies?  Send them to me, so I can add to the list!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Picky Eater... Who is This Child?!

My very vest friend is living in Luxembourg at the moment (how cool!)  We don’t get to talk much over the phone, so email is our main mode of communication.  She emailed me a few days ago asking for help with her 2-year old.  He was a very good eater but all of the sudden, out of the blue, he won’t eat anything but fruit.  I had been meaning to write about how I dealt with my picky eater, so it was perfect timing!

Every child goes through phases where they don’t want to eat much at each meal, don’t want to eat at all OR just want to eat one thing over and over.

My 4-year old son William went through a VERY finicky phase and still has his moments, usually at dinner.  I am very proud of how I handle(d) it outwardly.  Inwardly, I take it personally and it makes me a little frustrated and a lot crazy.

But here is my advice, given to me by my pediatrician.  Put three well-balanced meals in front of him every single day and then let him decide if he wants to eat it or not. And he will go hungry PLENTY of the time at this age. William still skips dinner a lot. He sits there and rolls his eyes, haws and hems, but then just goes upstairs for bed without dinner once my husband and I finish.

To delve a little deeper, here are some additional suggestions.
If he asks for more fruit, tell him he needs to eat two bites of chicken first (or broccoli, etc.)  I am sure you have heard that you aren’t supposed to withhold “treats” unless he eats his growing food first.  This is an important rule to follow.  Never say that your child can't have a cookie unless he eats his all of his meal.  But you can tell him he can’t have any more cheese unless he eats a bite of “insert healthy food here.”
One other thing we did was made things we knew he loved a couple of times a week.
My son’s favorites were quesadillas and pizza, so we would cut up microscopic bites of
green beans and chicken and hide it in both. We also filled both with canned black olives b/c he loves those. If you do hide healthy foods in his main entree, make sure to always put the green bean or other vegetable on his plate as a side, so he knows that it is important to eat the healthy foods.  This won’t happen overnight, but by the time he goes to school, he’ll start learning about growing foods, sometime foods, and once in a while foods.
And finally, how do you handle "treats"? You don’t want to be too strict or your kids will obsess over the sweet yummies.  But you also want them to eat treats in moderation.  My son was really frustrating because he was always asking for a treat after every lunch and dinner.  But I never wanted to give him one at dinner, because he never ate his meal!  

Soooo, we instilled a rule that he gets a treat after lunch every day.  I give him two choices and they are usually pretty healthy (yogurt or all-natural vanilla cookies, for example.)  I did this because he is generally a good lunch eater. But we don't do treats after dinner at all unless we are at a friend's, out with family, having a special dinner at our house, etc. This has worked great for us.  He still asks for a treat some nights, but he knows not to expect it.  I give him credit for trying!

Good luck parents!