Parenthood: A New Era Of Valentine’s Days

Valentine’s Day. A day of romance, indulgence, spontaneity, and if you’re lucky, a night of very little sleep (wink, wink!)

But now you’re parents. Granted, you are still getting very little sleep, but that’s all thanks to the adorable little sleep thief that you both made.

For new parents, the first Valentine’s Day can be overwhelming. After all, it’s the first time where you will have more than just one love of your life in front of you. Processing and balancing that amount of love is darn hard.

Life with a new baby is exhausting any time of the year (yes it’s amazing, but you’re tired, time-short, grumpy, worried, perhaps not feeling your most attractive – the perfect cocktail for arguments).  But at this time of year in particular, beyond the diapers and feeds, you also have added pressure from Cupid telling you to up your romance game too. It’s enough to shake even the most competent multi-tasker! And the truth is, it’s all too easy to become so engrossed in being parents that you forget to be a couple as well.

As parents who have been through this and come out the other side, we’re here to tell you not to fall for it. Don’t fall for the hard ‘perfect Valentine’s’ media sell. Don’t believe that you have to live up to the extravagance of your pre-baby life. Don’t believe that you have to spend lots. And don’t believe that you won’t be able to enjoy it with a little one in tow.

Here’s a few simple low-stress ways to treat yourselves on your first family Valentine’s:

Snooze – Nothing says I love you like letting your sleep deprived partner sleep in! Plan ahead (pump extra milk etc), pick a day and take turns to let each other recharge. There is NO better gift.

Stay in – Don’t feel pressurized to go out for Valentine’s Day. If you are not ready to leave your baby at home, then don’t force yourself to go out as you won’t enjoy your night. Couch cuddles, candles, dinner, wine, movie, pajamas – it’s a cliché, but a good one.

Early Birds – If you are up for getting out of the house (and good for you!) but like most new parents, you need matchsticks to stay awake past 9pm, then why not switch Valentine’s dinner for a lunch date? The restaurants will be less busy during the daytime too, so it’s win-win. If baby will be with you, plan it around nap time and go for a walk – a sling will let you be all cute and hold hands.

Change the day – Go a step further to changing the time and change the whole day. If Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday and your partner is working, then change it. Pick convenience over calendar and make it more enjoyable and stress-free for everyone.

Remember, it’s not about perfection, it’s about connection. Your main goal is to step away from the chaos of parenthood, recharge a little and be together, even if it’s only for an hour. And even if it’s at home.

Valentine’s Day with a baby will be like nothing you have ever known before – but like most family ‘firsts,’ it can be so memorable. You can and you will still enjoy it – just in a new kind of way!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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5 Tips For Starting Your Infant On Solid Foods

By Rachel Rothman, MS, RD, CLEC

At your baby’s four-month visit, your pediatrician may have talked to you about starting your baby on solid foods and probably recommended to start between 4-6 months. It’s usually recommended that baby can be started on solids when they are sitting up mainly on their own, seem interested in food and open mouth when food is offered. As a pediatric dietitian, I answer many questions about infant nutrition and starting baby on solid foods. Here are just a few of the things to keep in mind when your baby is ready for real food:

  1. At the beginning, it’s just for fun.Your baby will still be getting most of his nutrients from breast milk or formula, so your goal should be to help him learn these new behaviors. Eating should be a fun experience, and not stressful. If you begin feeding solid food and your baby has a hard time with it – she’s gagging or fussy – wait and try again. You will not do any damage by waiting a bit.
  2. Consider some key nutrients and focus on variety. Key nutrients for babies and toddlers include vitamins A, C, and D, iron, total fat and omega-3 fats, and calcium. Each of these nutrients serves a specific purpose within the body; around 6 months of age, babies require these in other forms, above what is in breast milk or formula. Don’t be afraid to be creative with the foods you are offering to meet baby’s needs for these nutrients. Infant rice cereal may be what your grandmother recommends, and it’s no slouch – its high iron content is helpful. However, variety is important for teaching your little one to appreciate different food tastes and textures, so try purees of spinach, beans or lentils.  To help baby intake additional omega 3 fatty acids, try adding chia seeds, ground flax or ground walnuts to purees.
  3. Some foods should be avoided at the beginning.A few foods you will want to avoid until baby is 12 months include honey (because of the risk of botulism), cow’s milk (it contains too much protein and some other nutrients), and small solids (small chunks of raw vegetables, grapes, sausages, whole nuts and seeds can all be choking hazards). Allergens are another consideration. Recommendations about the foods to avoid (in order to minimize risk from allergic reactions) have changed over the years. A 2008 review of research by the AAP concluded that the top 8 allergenic foods (cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat) need not be avoided unless you have a family history of food allergies. In that case, it is best to speak with your pediatrician before proceeding.
  4. Serving sizes are small. I hear a lot from parents that their baby is not eating enough. But how much is enough? A typical serving size when starting solids is 1-2 tablespoons of a puree or food, or a few bites of a soft piece of food – it’s a small amount.  And you will want to start by offering one to two meals per day. Remember, baby will still be getting a good portion of her nutrition from milk or formula until age one. As baby gets older the serving size will increase, after 12 months the amount of food per meal should be around ¾ to 1 cup.
  5. Division of Responsibility. Renowned feeding expert Ellyn Satter gives parents the helpful suggestion of division of responsibility. Parents are responsible for the “what, when,and where of feeding; children are responsible for the how much and whether of ”  Do not force your child to eat more or stop eating if you feel they have had too much. Babies have the amazing ability to self-regulate (many of us adults have long since lost this ability). Eating is a behavior that does need to be learned but does not need to be rewarded.

When feeding baby don’t forget about mom and dad. All too often I see mom and dad focused so much on baby’s health and wellness that the parent’s health and wellness falls by the way side. Remember to practice good nutrition for yourself, this will not only help you to feel better, but to set a good example for your child. Healthy and happy mom and dad lead toward a healthy and happy baby!

Want to learn more about starting baby on solids? Join me at Babies in Bloom on February 14th at 11:30am.  Registration and details are here.

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Pinterest Has Spoken

Hey parents, did you get the memo?  Woodland inspired nurseries are going to be huge in 2017. It’s cute. It’s cozy. It’s gender-neutral. What’s not to love!?

How do we know this? Well, Pinterest released its Pinterest 100 board which predicts the 100 trends we are most likely to see in 2017, all based on saving and search data from 2016. Woodland nurseries happen to be up 97% in the last year.

In light of this bunny boom, we thought we’d help you out by sharing some of the ADORABLE woodland themed items we currently have in our Boutique.

Little Unicorn Organic Cotton Muslin Quilt:

This breathable, natural cotton muslin quilt is loaded with four snug layers and a whole host of friendly forest characters. It’s large (47” x 47”) so you will get good use out of it over the years. Best of all, it promises to only get softer and cuddlier with each wash.

Milkbarn Organic:

Burp Cloths:

Adding cute to the puke, these soft and ultra-absorbent cloths come in a two pack and are made with 100% certified organic cotton. They look and feel such high quality – they would make a great gift wouldn’t they?

Newborn Gown and Hat set:

Speaking of gifts, how stinking cute is this Milkbarn Organic newborn set? This stylish box comes with an elastic bottom gown and knotted hat, all Hummingbird themed and sized 0-3 months.

SugarBooger’s ‘What Did the Fox Eat?’ collection:

All BPA free, this range is not just cute, but smart! To be honest, the plate had us at ‘spill-proof.’ Sure your little one might like working on his / her baseball pitch using oatmeal, broccoli or pasta, but with a removable suction base, at least the plate will stay in place.  Every little helps right? As well as the matching snack pots and lunch container, we also stock the matching silverware set in the Boutique. Just the right size for tiny hands to grip, the set comes with a case (ideal for on-the-go) that can also be personalized.

Tesa Babe Clothing: 

If some of these designs came in adult size, we’d be all over them. Cool, cute and comfy, woodland has never looked so classy! Or calming. They are all the c’s!  A variety of sizes and prints are available.

Anything catch your eye here? Pop in to the Boutique to feel the quality for yourself – we’d love to see you sometime soon.

 

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Laughter is Always the Best Medicine

Laughter is the best medicineWe’ve just survived another Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year – so the arrival of ‘Global Belly Laugh Day’ this week was most welcome!

Belly Laugh Day is not just a day for having a good ol’ chuckle, but a much needed reminder for us to do it more often. Because laughter really IS the best medicine.

It does so much more than make you feel good mentally – laughter induces actual physical changes in your body. Blood flow is increased; as is your intake of oxygen-rich air which stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles; it aids muscle relaxation, reducing some of the physical symptoms of stress; boosts our immune system and improves efficiency, mental focus and concentration. Yes, to all that please!

Best of all laughter is FREE! And available to you every day – even on the roughest of parenting days.

You don’t even need to rely on humor, jokes or comedy for belly laughs – you can fake it yourself with Laughter Yoga. Have you heard of that? Google Offices use it. Even Oprah Winfrey swears by it.

Laughter Yoga is a practice of prolonged voluntary laughter – because voluntary or ‘forced’ laughter still delivers the same physiological and psychological goods as spontaneous laughter.  And trust us, (we’ve tried it), it might start off as fake laughing, but you end up feeling so ridiculous that it soon turns in to a genuine fit of the giggles!

There are an increasing number of laughter clubs across the US where you can practice laughter yoga in groups, but you can also do it at home alone, or with a partner. Take a look at this video and you’ll get the idea. Here’s also a list of 150 laughter exercises to try yourself at home – our personal favorite is forcing yourself to ‘laugh’ Beethoven’s Fifth: Ha ha ha haaaaaaaa, ha ha ha haaaa!! We’re giggling even typing it.

In a nutshell, laughter yoga not only offers every parent a simple way to relieve stress, it also gives them a license to act like a crazy spontaneous toddler again! So, what’s not to love!? Your kids will find you hysterical – and most likely join in too.

Go on, give it a try! Find the jolly in every day – you’ll probably feel very silly, but our bet is, you’ll probably feel pretty great too!

 

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