Update at 18 months

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I can’t believe how fast time is passing and that Jack is already 18 months old! I remember when he was a tiny baby we’d always be the youngest ones at meetups and things, and now he is definitely a toddler! I try as much as possible to be present and enjoy each day because they really fly by, and even if we have another child it’ll never be the same as having all my time to enjoy just Jack. Some things that have been going on lately:

  • Talking: Jack is saying about 10 words or so now. It’s on the low end of normal, but hopefully he’s just a later talker like his dad was. I make sure to narrate what we are doing all day and wait for him to respond to questions so he has the opportunity to practice talking. While he says 10 words he says the same 3 most often- ball, mama, and car. So it really doesn’t feel like he’s that grown up yet, I think once he is using his words all the time it will really feel like he’s not a baby any more.
  • Eating: Jack has gradually been eating more solids. He likes most things that are breaded such as organic chicken nuggets or fish nuggets. He is also eating more fruits such as peaches. Our meals are still pretty random things at this point though, like raisins and peanut butter for breakfast.
  • Babywearing: I still wear Jack for usually either a nap or to get him to sleep for bedtime. I also use the Tula a lot for when we are walking to of from a store or part of the time we are walking our dog.
  • Breastfeeding: Jack still nurses a lot! If I’m gone for 4-5 hours for work I start feeling engorged. He also nurses every few hours at night. Once his teeth are in I’ll try to cut that down, but he keeps having teething pain at least a few weeks a month so it doesn’t seem worth it to deal with the crying and lack of sleep of night weaning just to go back on it a week later when he has horrible teething pain all night.
  • Clothes: we have still been able to stick with 100% organic clothes! I’ve been happy to find toddler clothes at H&M, Frugi, Burt’s Bees, and some random stuff on amazon.
  • Cloth diapers: Jack is wearing mostly Bumgenius 4.0 pockets now because they are easy to change while he’s standing or walking. He goes to the potty when he wakes up in the morning and usually after nap and we get almost all poops in the potty.
  • Movement: Jack is almost running now which is cute. He is also climbing nonstop! He can push a chair to the kitchen counter and climb up on it which is scary. We are looking for a used learning tower for him to make standing at the kitchen sink a little safer.
  • Playing: Jack still prefers playing with containers or laundry over mot of the toys he has! Some favorite toys that actually get used often are books, his wooden cart, and his pounding toy which he also likes to remove the pegs from and put them places.

Overall he can entertain himself for longer and longer now- sometimes 10-20 minutes, so it’s getting so much easier for me! I can now cook in the kitchen sometimes while he plays in the sink or with some containers, or I can clean while he “swiffers.” He also sits in his high chair long enough for me to eat an entire meal often, although sometimes I have to give him a little container with a lid for him to put raisins into to keep him busy at the end.

I love how he learns new things almost every day, like how to make a new animal noise. He is starting to get upset when we tell him he can’t do things, but luckily after reading a ton about positive parenting (I love the book Peaceful Parenting) I feel pretty well equipped to deal with it and help him learn to calm himself down so far. I’m sure it will get harder (but in some ways easier) as he gets older though!

Attempting minimalism with a toddler

the majority of our toys and books

the majority of our toys and books

My husband and I try to be minimalistic with our possessions, but it’s been a challenge to keep that up once we had a baby! Now that Jack is 16 months old and a toddler, I wanted to update how we’re doing. You can see a post about minimalism with a baby here or about our minimalist baby registry here.

Diapers: we are still cloth diapering which saves tons of money and decreases our daily trash by a huge amount! We love it, and while we had ammonia issues now that Jack is peeing more, the poop is also SUPER easy to clean now that it’s solid- you just plop it into the toilet (or since we do EC Jack poops in the potty most of the time which is even easier).

Food: we do baby led weaning which minimizes the need to buy special baby purees or machines to make purees (although we already had an immersion blender). Jack eats what we eat, or we buy snacks from the dried foods or cereal section of Whole foods (like unsweetened organic corn puffs). We did buy a few stainless steel espresso spoons for Jack and these thick glass shot glasses he can drink from that are hard to break. We’re skipping sippy cups since dentists don’t recommend them, and just use a water bottle on the road.

Clothes: I try to buy as much gender neutral organic clothing as I can so we can hopefully use it for another child down the line. We do laundry about every 5 days, so we try to buy only the amount of clothes we need to last us that long. Jack has a few gender neutral shoes as well.

Toys: I have a secret: Jack prefers to play with things that aren’t even children’s toys ūüėČ We have a few nice wooden toys for him, and my dad has a bunch at his house which they bought. Jack spends a lot of time playing with our pots and pans, kitchen paraphernalia, ¬†putting things inside bowls or ceramic vases, pushing our ottoman around, or playing with our dog’s (nontoxic) balls. I think we have never bought him a toy ourselves, but it’s harder to get relatives not to buy him toys and instead give him clothes or donate to his college fund. We go to the park or library playroom at least once a day, so Jack gets to play with different things there too.

Books: We have a handful of board books, most that were from my childhood and are in different languages so they can’t be found at the library. Once he gets a little older we plan to get most books from the library instead of buying them. (For my husband and I, we almost always buy ebooks now).

Sleeping: We still have our crib sidecared, and in the future may buy some kind of natural full size mattress for a floor bed. We use my old cell phone as a while noise player.

Transportation: We have a convertible car seat in each of our cars, and my dad has one also. I’m storing our Orbit nontoxic infant seat to hopefully use with another baby. We still use the City Mini stroller sometimes, but only maybe once a week. ¬†I use baby carriers multiple times a day though! I love my Toddler Tula and Bamberoo, and also use my ring sling for quick trips to the library (love the pocket which works as a purse). I put Jack high on my back in a woven wrap while I vacuum so he can see what’s going on.

Bath: Jack has showered with me since day one, or sometimes if he just has food on him I’ll do a rinse in the sink. We rarely use soap on him, and put coconut oil to prevent diaper rash and dry skin. He uses our organic towels, we don’t have any special baby bath things. For bath toys we have some bowls and a ball or two that rotate as bath toys.

Babyproofing: we bought some cheap light switch covers and a few string things to keep drawers closed, but other than that we don’t babyprrof most things and instead watch Jack and teach him to “be gentle” with the low-hanging art, or “let’s not touch the toilet water, it’s wet” etc. It’s been working well so far, but we’ll see if we need to change the plan as he ages.

Things we skipped buying: baby gates, baby monitors (we cosleep), a play yard, baby bath tub and bath products, and baby swing.

Update at 15 months

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Jack is 15 months old now, and just within the past week started walking all the time. It’s really mind-boggling and amazing to watch a baby learn a whole new skill like that. It took several weeks of him walking a step here and there before it just seemed to click one day. It was probably the how to walk DVDs we play him… just kidding!

For several weeks now Jack has been switching off and on between mostly 2 naps a day but sometimes just 1. He’s always tired for his morning nap 2-3 hours after waking up, but sometimes he just doesn’t fall asleep for the afternoon one. Then we have a tricky situation where he gets exhausted by an early time like 5pm and I don’t know whether to let him sleep or not. The other day he took a 10 minute nap after breastfeeding at 5, but then stayed awake until 9pm! So I think from now on I’ll try to keep any really late naps to 5 minutes and see how it goes.

Today for example Jack woke up at 7am and napped from 10-11:30. I tried to get him to nap again between 2:45-3:15 and he wouldn’t fall asleep while I walked him around in the carrier, so we skipped the afternoon nap. I took him to the park at 5 to keep him busy and now he’s passed out after breastfeeding at 6:30. Hopefully he’ll stay asleep all night!

Jack’s also been crying more lately and putting his fingers in his mouth so I think he’s getting a canine tooth. We always have a hard time deciding about giving tylenol (all the chemicals and possible side effects vs. don’t want our child to be in pain or never sleep) so I’ve been trying to limit it to once a night. The ingredients list is frightening though- I don’t know why medicine for children needs artificial colors and flavors…

Jack has also started (finally!) eating some more solids, but still not a lot compared to other kids. The things he likes are either puff type textures like cheerio-type things or these baked pea snacks, or mushy stuff in a spoon like egg salad and refried beans. I need to think of some more things to offer him though, maybe that will help him sleep more…

Jack’s first steps

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At almost 14 months old, Jack took his first steps yesterday! He has been walking often with his wooden walker wagon, and he can cruise on furniture and even climb the couch, but he hadn’t walked until yesterday. I’m happy that we let him do it in his own time instead of pushing him or “helping” him with contraptions that gave him a false sense of security like those plastic walkers that go around the child and have wheels (are are not allowed in Canada because they cause lots of accidents.)

The only contraption we used was the wooden wagon which is self-directed so Jack can decide when he wants to pull up on it and push it, and he has the freedom to do it or stop when he wants. I identify as an attachment parent primarily, but I like the RIE philosophy about teaching children new skills. They say that you should spot them, but not help them- so be there to catch them if they might fall, but not push them to do something they can’t do themselves. For example, I didn’t hold Jack’s hands and support/pull him forward while he tried to walk. RIE says that doing things like that gives your child false confidence and leads to injuries when he tries to do it alone. Instead, they recommend letting them learn gradually and naturally by first standing against furniture, then cruising while holding things, and then walking on their own.

It’s hard not to wish your child was growing up faster sometimes (especially in the realm of sleeping more independently!), but I’m trying to be laid-back about his milestones and providing loving support for him to achieve things in his own time, without pressure. This translates to a “wait it out” approach to sleep and knowing that he’ll sleep through the night when he is ready. In terms of talking, I talk to him a lot all day, but don’t constantly ask “what’s that?” all the time as though I’m giving him a test. With eating, I just offer a variety of foods for him and hope that he will gradually become more interested in solids. I’m definitely not in a hurry for him to grow up too fast- I feel like time is already flying by, and I want to appreciate these months when he is more dependent on me since in a few years I’m sure he’ll barely want to spend time with me anymore. I just have to remind myself of that at 2 in the morning :)

Baby led weaning with a picky eater

blueberries for Jack

 

We’ve been doing baby led weaning with Jack since he was 6 months old, and he’s 13 months now but still barely eating much at all. All our friends with similar aged babies have babies who can’t get enough of food, but Jack often just throws it off the table to our dog. At first he will often put food in his mouth and then spit it out a little later, and then move to just throwing it over.

Some of the foods that he likes more than others are:

  • freeze dried fruit, especially blueberries (whole foods sells them near the nuts and dried fruit, and they taste really good)
  • puffed corn (sold at whole foods in the cereal aisle in a plastic bag. He prefers the corn over the kamut, maybe because it’s slightly bigger)
  • dried apple chips with cinnamon (sold near the dried fruits at whole foods)
  • banana chips I found at trader ioe’s
  • baked dried pea snack sold at trader joe’s and whole foods
  • most types of bread except sliced bread which I think is too squishy for him to hold well

 

Since his iron was a tiny bit low, I’ve also been giving him applesauce with some blackstrap molasses in it because that has iron, and he likes it better than many other foods (i.e. will eat about 2 teaspoons). Since we do baby led weaning I put it on a spoon and have him hold it with me, and he usually brings it to his mouth. You can also just leave the “loaded spoon” on the table but that got super messy for us.

I bought some special baby organic puffs at whole foods, but Jack didn’t like them, and they had mostly rice flour which I worry about Jack eating too much of because of the arsenic, so I’m glad he prefers blueberries and corn.

We also tried those food pouches everyone seems to use once, but Jack would only eat a tiny amount at once and you are supposed to use it in 24 hours so it seemed like a waste. They also had some issues with recalls, so I’d rather just make my own purees and freeze them in ice cube trays and then use a cube over several days.

Hopefully Jack will start eating more soon! I’ve heard that sometimes they get really interested in food overnight, so we’ll see.

Non-toxic food pouches

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I think I mentioned before that Jack has not been a big fan of solids so far. He’s 10 months old now (I can’t believe he’s almost one!!) and we’ve been doing baby led weaning since 6 months. I love breastfeeding and want to continue as long as Jack wants to, but I also wish he would get some more calories from food so that it could be easier when I am away from him since he often refuses a bottle.

He has been minimally interested in fruits and vegetables in “fry” shapes and purees on loaded spoons, but my friends’ babies love those food pouches you can buy at the grocery store, so I finally decided to try one. We got an Earth’s best organic vegetable one and while it was messy, he actually ate more than usual! So I decided to research the least toxic food pouches to buy so that we can make smoothies and things at home to feed him. The pouches you buy at the ¬†store are made of some plasticy thing, so while I’m sure they are BPA-free, I have talked before about the new chemicals replacing BPA which are also endocrine disruptions, so we try to stay away from plastic as much as possible.

Silicone is the most non-toxic plastic along with natural rubber as far as I know, so we decided to order the Sili Squeeze. I was sad that there were no 100% silicone options, and all the pouches had some kind of hard plastic spout. The sili squeeze seemed to at least be upfront about their materials unlike the alternatives I saw, and they use¬†thermo-plastic elastomer for the nipple which is newer and has less safety info, but doesn’t seem incredibly bad at least.

 

The Sili Squeeze

We have tried it a few times so far (once in the bath tub because it can be messy!) and it’s working just as well as the store bought pouches. I like the “squeeze with eeze” newer pouch because the original required sucking and this one is easier to get food out of, although messier. I put a smoothie with banana, blueberries, and spinach in it and Jack was a fan more than of many other foods we’ve tried.

I also looked into those mesh feeders, but there seems to be no non-toxic ones as far as I saw. I also looked at the lighter weight ones similar to the disposables you buy at the store like Squooshi but their web site doesn’t list what it’s made of except to say BPA free etc. I trust companies who are more transparent, and I also think that crinkly type of plastic they use is definitely not silicone or natural rubber!

One thing I’m excited to use when Jack gets older which is 100% silicone is these cool freezer-pop style things

First tooth

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On Wednesday, Jack’s first tooth broke through his gum! He was really fussy the night before which now makes sense, and has still been fussy especially in the evenings and nights since then. The night before and after the tooth breaking the skin were the worst ones- he was waking up and crying, while he usually wakes up, eats, and goes back to sleep.

I’m really nervous about him biting me while breastfeeding! He clamps down sometimes and I try to stop feeding him when that happens, but I don’t know if he realizes the connection. Right now the tooth is still barely out (I’m surprised how slowly it’s growing in) but I can’t imagine how much it could hurt if he bit me after the tooth sticks out more. So far it seems really sharp!

I wonder how long it will take until the tooth is all the way out- I’ve heard anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks. It also seems like in a couple of weeks his other bottom one and then top ones will start coming in. I get the feeling that the next 6 months are going to be non-stop teething! Ironically he is drooling less now than at 4 months, but the fussiness is pretty challenging. I may have to just wear him in some kind of carrier most of the days until it’s over.

I’ve been trying to offer him more solids lately, and he really enjoyed watermelon yesterday. I cut a slice with the peel on to make it easier to hold without breaking, but I took the peel off the edges so he was less likely to try to eat it.

I also made a puree for the first time (oatmeal with breastmilk and spinach) to see if he liked it. I was thinking since it had milk in it, he might prefer it more than the fruits and veggies he has been nonchalant about. Sadly he only ate a small spoonful of it (which I gave in a “loaded spoon” ) before deciding to play with it. I think even though it’s messy, I’ll try to focus on offering him food 1-3 times a day in small amounts to get him used to it rather than trying to get him to eat more at once. At least he really enjoys his baths in the sink afterwards!

Allergy update

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Jack had his 6 month visit to the pediatrician today (a month behind schedule because the doctor was on vacation). He weighs 19 pounds now and is right around 50% for everything. I told the doctor about his getting a rash on his face after eating tomatoes, so now neither of us are supposed to eat tomato or citrus fruits until he’s a year old.

Apparently tomato allergies aren’t that uncommon, and may be due to the fact that they were not historically part of many people’s diets until somewhat later than other foods when they were brought over from the Americas to Europe in the 1500s. ¬†I told the doctor that Jack has been waking up every 2-3 hours at night which he said can be allergy related, so he advised for me to continue avoiding dairy, but also try cutting out soy again as well as the citrus fruits and tomato. Of course that happens right after I went to the farmer’s market and bought tomatoes yesterday! It’s a shame too because Jack found tomatoes easy to eat because they are so watery.

Some new foods I have been meaning to have Jack try are:

  • Watermelon (has as much iron as spinach! but probably easier for a baby to eat)
  • Oatmeal- probably a baked oatmeal “muffin” so Jack can hold it himself
  • Maybe egg yolk which is supposed to be high in a lot of vitamins. I just have to figure out how to serve it. “Loaded spoons” with food haven’t worked well so far since Jack just grabs them and flips them upside-down or something and doesn’t end up eating it.

I’m a little sad to have to go back to basically cooking/baking everything from scratch because most processed things have soy in them. The new diet means no mayo, ketchup, any desserts from trader joe’s, or most frozen foods I eat. Some desserts I can still easily make are:

  • Pancakes with whole wheat flour (made with almond milk)
  • Brownies in a mug if I feel really lazy!
  • Easy peanut butter cookies
  • Brownies (but not with chocolate chips because they all seem to have soy)

Baby led weaning update

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Jack has been eating sold food for about a week and a half now, and some foods have been working better than others.

Here are some things that worked or didn’t work well for us with baby led weaning (everything was organic FYI):

  • We tried baked sweet potato spears first, but he didn’t eat much of them. I cut them into fry shapes and baked with olive oil for about 30 minutes or so at around 400 degrees. They were easy for him to grab because I made then pretty fat and long, but they were so soft that they turned into mush quickly and he didn’t eat much.
  • Some things we gave I guess weren’t cooked enough because he was able to grab them easily and with minimal mess and suck on them a little, but didn’t eat any. This included roasted carrot (pictured above), sauteed broccoli spear, and a probably not ripe enough avocado spear.
  • Some things were too soft and therefore hard for him to hold. I tried giving him a roasted red pepper from a glass jar sold at whole foods, but it was really floppy and he couldn’t put it in his mouth well
  • Bananas have been the only thing he actually eats a decent amount of so far. I at first gave him a half banana with part of the peel on to make it less slippery. However, he took the peel off and then started sucking bits off the inside of the peel which was creative. I cute the banana lengthwise in half so he could grab it, and while it was slippery as long as the pieces were long he could put it in his mouth easily and it was soft enough to eat.

Next on my list to try:

  • Dipping a spoon in applesauce or coconut greek yogurt (we’re avoiding dairy due to allergy) and letting him feed himself
  • spears of melon or watermelon
  • kiwi
  • steamed carrot
  • mashed beans

At least he’s been having fun so far, and the dog especially loves it!

Introducing Solids

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Jack turned 6 months old the other day so we started giving him solid food! We are doing baby-led weaning and the first food we have been giving him is baked sweet potato fries. I peeled a sweet potato from the farmer’s market and cut it into long thick fry shapes and baked them for about 30 minutes. Jack loves to put everything in his mouth, but over a few days he seems to mainly just be licking the food so far and eating very little of it which I think is normal.

We are using the Tripp Trapp high chair which I love so far. Jack has been playing with spoons and sitting in it for a few weeks now, and he really enjoys it. He seems comfortable and likes to be able to reach things and watch me in the kitchen. We got the espresso color which was on sale here¬†and are using the baby seat that I found on craigslist. You can apparently use the harness and don’t need the baby seat, but it seems to really secure him in there (it’s a tiny bit hard for me to even get him in/out) so I like it. eating also gets messy, so I like that I can just wipe the seat off. The chair is REALLY easy to clean and is made of eco-friendly wood, so I love it. It’s also ergonomic so the child’s feet can always be resting on something as they grow. I was able to put it together by myself while wearing the baby!

We decided not to buy the tray which is really expensive but got this silicone placemat instead. It sort of sticks to our glass table although Jack can pull it off if he wants to.

We’re going to avoid dairy because of possible allergies and likely most other allergy-causing foods. Our doctor recommended we start with vegetables and then move to fruits which are sweeter, so I’m going to try to think of some other options. I think the sweet potato may have been too mushy and stringy, so I may try something more firm and easy to hold that he can suck on like broccoli, or just give him an avocado I have… Hopefully he continues to be interested and starts actually eating some food soon!

For now, our dog Bear is the main one enjoying the sweet potatoes

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