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Homemade Baby Food is Easier Than You Think

When it came time for my son to start eating solids, I knew I was going to be a DIY mom.  There is something about knowing exactly what my infant is ingesting that put my mind at ease when it came to introducing new foods into his diet.  Any change for a mom and her infant can be a stressful time, I found this approach to be especially comforting during this transition.

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I had been lucky enough to have been gifted a Magic Bullet for one of my wedding gifts, which certainly came in handy when embarking on my homemade babyfood endeavour.  Although, I did find that most veggies were easily mashed with a fork, for making applesauce, I couldn’t beat the Bullet.  Now they have the Baby Bullet which seems super convenient, but for the sake of saving money, do not bother with expensive gadgets, any blender will do the trick.

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Finding the Right Mattress for Baby

The right mattress for your baby is a very important decision.  The process can be confusing, overwhelming and even a bit scary when you hear about “harmful chemicals” and other scary words.

Not only will a mattress help support your growing baby possibly up to age 3 or four, parents need to take into consideration that mattresses for babies need to be firm but comfortable.  Mattresses too soft can not only be a suffocation hazard, but also can increase the risk for SIDS.

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Image credit: Image Source

You should consider not only how much the mattress costs, but also many other factors.  There are mattresses that come in all types from foam to spring coils, to organic materials.  Think about what is most important to you and make sure you take your time.  This was one of the first things I started looking at when I was pregnant because I knew it would take me a while to decide.

When searching for a baby mattress, it is important to start Comparing baby mattresses based on the following:

  • material quality
  • chemicals used in preparation
  • size
  • shape
  • actual materials used
  • price (if you need to be on a budget)

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Bed Time For Baby

by Tara on April 25, 2013
category: 0 – 1 year (baby),1 – 3 year (toddler),Children’s Health

Consistency is key for most endeavors where children are concerned, bedtime is no exception. When it comes to getting your little one to sleep, you will want to make a routine that both of you will love and stick to every night. Although I can not guarantee this will make a seamless transition into slumber all the time, I can say that your child will be cozy in bed at roughly the same time every evening, which makes for a happier mommy and baby in the morning.

baby sleeping

Every child is different, of course, but it is widely excepted that young children should be put to bed around seven and eight PM. This was a natural time for my baby boy to go to bed, in fact, putting him to bed any later usually gets me wrestling with a grumpy bear throughout our entire routine. Your routine can be anything that works for your family, but I would like to share what works for us.

We usually start to wind down around one hour before our boy needs to go to sleep. We cut out anything that is super stimulating like his noisy toys in an effort to get him somewhat calmed as we transition into his bedtime routine. Even though, by now, our son knows what to expect, we also talk him through the separate events in the routine. For example, we might tell him, “Now we will have dinner and then we will take a bath.” That way once we are done with dinner, there is no surprise about having to get in the bath.

If both of us are home during bedtime, one of us will prepare his bath and bed while our baby finishes his dinner, otherwise, we carry him along with us and as said before, we tell him what we are doing while we do it. After bath, we take baby to his changing table for a fresh diaper. We often time give him a little lotion massage before putting on his pajamas. We also use a noise machine to create a background sound that cancels out any noises that may be happening in our house or neighborhood, not everyone is in on our bedtime routine, so we have to make due.

Our son has favorite stories that we read nearly every night. As he has grown, we make reading more interactive by asking him to point out characters in the book or show us colors as we read. It is fun and an easy way to work on his vocabulary during these precious moments. Our boy also enjoys a small sippy cup of milk while we read and relax into bedtime.

Once the story is over, we turn down the lights and get into our cuddle positions. Our family has adopted a co-sleeping method. Our son shares a family bed with us. It might not be for everyone, but we enjoy this closeness. From here we hand deliver our little one to dreamland by laying with him until he drifts off. We sometimes sing or hum to him as he fights his last attempts to stay awake.

This routine takes about an hour start to finish and with any luck, he goes to sleep without any cranky fussing. On a good day, this is still my favorite time with him. I love to catch a look at his angelic face as he slips into sleep, it is just about the best feeling in the world.

Meal Time for Toddlers

by Tara on February 25, 2013
category: 1 – 3 year (toddler),Children’s Health,Feeding

Choosing a meal our child will eat sometimes feels like a gamble.  I can hardly predict the days my child will have a healthy appetite and which days he will turn his nose up at any offering.  Over the year he has been on solid foods we have tried a variety of meals for our tot with mixed results.  Though it sort of hurts my feelings when my little guy snubs my cooking, I have to remind myself that his appetite swings don’t necessarily have to do with my stove-top skills, other factors might influence his desire to eat or not eat, like teething or a growth spur. I try to keep positive about the whole thing and make sure I offer him a variety of healthy meals and snacks throughout the day.  It’s all I can do to ensure that he is getting steady diet of fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, and grains.

The following is a list of some of our winning breakfast combinations.

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Proteins and Veggies

Egg Scrambles can be a great start.  This meal provides an opportunity to introduce some delicious super foods to your child’s diet.  I often use spinach, kale, or baby bok choy.  Diced mushrooms also make a good addition to this dish.

I warm a small amount of olive oil first and add my greens and mushrooms.  I stir them frequently until they are cooked.  While the veggies are cooking, I crack and scramble the eggs adding a little milk for a fluffier consistency when cooked.  Once my veggies are cooked I add the eggs to the pan.  Once in a while I will also add a small amount of ham for flavor and an additional source of protein.  I stir the mix until it starts to harden and then add some shredded cheese, because who doesn’t like a little cheese?! Once the cheese melts I remove the pan from the heat and allow the eggs to cool before serving.

Dairy

Yogurt is a great choice  You’d be hard pressed to find a child who does not like yogurt and my toddler is no exception.  There is an array of yogurts out there to choose from and I change it up, usually selecting ones that have fruit mixed in and whatever is on sale.  If my child refuses to eat everything else on his plate, he will most likely still be interested in yogurt so it it a breakfast staple at our house.

Grains

Oatmeal can be a hit or miss but it is a great start. This was not an immediate hit with our guy.  I had to offer it to him several times before her took the bait, but he finally went for it and now enjoys it a few times a week.  There are all sorts of flavors you can find at the market, our little guy prefers the type with brown sugar added.

Toast can also be a great whole grain. This is a simple addition to any breaskfast plate. Make sure you choose whole grain breads that are not enriched.  My child enjoys toast and my hopes are that he never develops a taste for plain white bread!

Fruit

Fresh fruit is a great choice but you have to find the right one.  It seems my toddler goes through phases of liking or disliking certain fruits, so I go through a rotation of melon, bananas, apples, pears, cuties, strawberries, and grapes.  This might be the first thing he goes for the last thing on earth he wants on his breakfast tray but I offer it always anyway.

As you can see, variety is the secret to my success.  If my son doesn’t eat his fresh fruit, I snuck a little in with the yogurt.  If he doesn’t end up eating all of his yogurt, he gets some dairy in his eggs.

Feeding a toddler can feel discouraging some days, but with a little creativity and consistency, you can make sure your child is getting the nutrients he needs to thrive.  Still trying to get the most out of your child’s meal times?  Here is a great guide to your child’s overall nutrition:

What to feed

  • Low-fat milk (It’s okay to switch to low-fat or nonfat milk once your child is older than 2, but check with your child’s doctor if you have questions.)
  • Other dairy like diced or grated cheese; low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, pudding.
  • Iron-fortified cereals like rice, barley, wheat, oats, mixed cereals.
  • Other grains whole wheat bread and crackers, cut-up bagels, rice cakes, ready-to-eat cereal, pasta, rice.
  • Fruits, sliced fresh or canned, avoid those in excessive sugar.
  • Dried fruit, soaked until soft so it won’t pose a choking hazard most kids like apples, apricots, peaches, pears, dates, pitted prunes.
  • Vegetables, cooked and cut up into pieces they won’t choke on.
  • Proteins like eggs; cut-up or ground meat like turkey meat or poultry; boneless fish; tofu; beans; smooth peanut butter)
  • Combo foods like macaroni and cheese, casseroles
  • Fruit and vegetable juices (100% juice)

How much per day

One serving for a child this age is about a quarter the size of an adult serving.

  • 2 cups dairy (1 cup milk or yogurt; 1 cup = 1 1/2 ounces natural cheese or 2 ounces processed cheese)
  • 4-5 ounces grains (1 ounce = 1 slice of bread; 1/3 cup ready-to-eat cereal, or 1/4 cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups fruit (fresh, frozen, canned, dried and/or 100 percent juice) Emphasize whole fruits rather than juice.
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetables
  • 3 to 4 ounces protein (1 ounce of meat, poultry, or fish; 1/4 cup cooked dry beans; or 1 egg)

Have a favorite that is sure to please? Share it in our comments section!

 

Finding the Right Cleats for Young Children

Finding the Right Cleats for Young Children

Everyone knows that kids grow quickly and having the right shoes is instrumental in not only protecting their feet, but in allowing them the ability to play their sport of choice to the best of their ability.  Here are a few tips for keeping them safe and finding the right equipment.

Tennis Shoes

Many kids choose a sport and lose interest after a few short games. This makes many parents skeptical because they don’t want to invest a lot of money into something the child may not enjoy doing. Luckily, kids can play the sport in tennis shoes until you decide that they are dedicated enough to invest a bit of money into the sport. You should purchase a pair of tennis shoes for them to use specifically for soccer, though. These shoes will get grass stains and dirty, so they shouldn’t use their good pair of tennis shoes for it. soccer

Turf Cleats

Soccer is a popular game throughout the world. In the past decade, the sport has gained much popularity within the states, and many young people are choosing this as the sport of choice over others. Soccer turf cleats are a bit of a hybrid between traditional cleats and tennis shoes. There are no prongs on the bottom, which brings a disadvantage when playing outside but for young children, this is often the only type of cleats they are allowed to use.

These cleats are specifically designed for playing indoor soccer on turf. Classic cleats are not allowed in this type of environment, so players must use turf cleats. They are more sturdy and not as bulky as tennis shoes, which means they’ll hold up longer. Plus, the lack of prongs on the bottom make them safer for younger children to play in.

Classic Cleats

These cleats are used by the majority of soccer players around the world. They are cleats in every sense of the word. You will find prongs on the bottom of these shoes that help you get traction when running across the field. These classic soccer cleats make it easy to change directions quickly because the prongs dig into the ground.

It also makes playing in wet conditions a whole lot easier. If you were running around in turf cleats or tennis shoes, the lack of prongs on the bottom would leave you slipping and sliding all over the place.

If you’re worried that you child may not enjoy the sport, regardless of your encouragement, it’s wise to let them play a few seasons using tennis shoes. As young kids, you may find it safer for them to play in turf cleats until they really learn the game to avoid injury from the prongs on the bottom of the classic cleats.

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