Making Your Own Baby Food – Yay or Nay?

I wasn’t the “award winning” mom when I had my first.  She was a “surprise”.  One we of course took really well – but we weren’t necessarily ready for her yet.  After I went back to work from my first, I was working crazy long hours, and it was considered an early night when I got home at 10:30pm.  The little time I got to spend with her was quality time I didn’t want to spend doing household chores or standing in the kitchen.  So when it came time to start Samantha on solids, it was naturally easier for me to order the “Earth’s Best Organic “ little bottles online.  After all, jarred baby food is a million if not billion dollar industry, and I had absolutely no guilt about giving it to her.

Fast forward 2 and a half years, and my son, Tyler turned 5 months yesterday.  I’m once again faced with the jarred food or make your own food dilemma.  Since then, I have dramatically cut back on my hours (getting home now around 7:30, 8pm); and hired help.  I have a live-in nanny 5 days a week – we love her because she keeps me sane and keeps my head from exploding.  But these days money has definitely been a little bit tighter – so I started google-ing about making your own baby food.

 

Turns out it’s actually not as scary and daunting as it may seem.  Most articles when you read about it talks about how you should make a huge batch and then “freeze” it so you don’t have to worry about making it daily.  I love my freezer, but have always been afraid of freezer burns, it not being fresh enough, and have some ill feelings about “leftovers”, so I wasn’t too keen on doing the freezing it thing.  But turns out making “fresh baby food” really isn’t that hard, nor does it take THAT much longer then you think it would.

A few things I love about making my own baby food is:

–          I know exactly what my child is eating.  No preservatives, no chemicals, no nonsense.  Comparing a jar of fresh cooked peas to a bottle of jarred peas, the color of the freshly cooked peas was much more vibrant and actually smelled like peas.

–          More varieties.  I can actually buy fruits and vegetables that are in season – and pick out the best produce for my child.  I also expose him to more flavors – such as a touch of garlic or onion in his prepared veggies.

–          Much Cheaper.  My baby is too young to be exposed to chemicals and pesticides – so I do end up buying only Organic stuff for him – but even the freshly bought organic stuff is cheaper than the prepackaged jarred food.  Plus having all the extra veggies in my fridge forces the rest of the family to actually eat the food.

 

A few things I don’t like about making my own baby food is:

–          Time – it does take longer to make.  There will be nothing faster than opening your cabinet and taking out a bottle of jarred baby food.

–          Convenience – Ultimately, it’s not as convenient.  I can’t pop a few jars of baby food in my diaper bag the way I have in the past and forget about it because the stuff I make can actually spoil if it’s not eaten in 1-2 days.

–          More varieties – Since we’re still doing the 3 day rule (where you expose your child to only one kind of food for 3 days at a time), we have to have A LOT of varieties for him; so he can experience tons of different flavors.  In the dead of winter (like NOW), this can sometimes feel frustrating.   Pediatricians tell you to feed your kid the “rainbow” in veggies – but how do we do so sometimes when these rainbows are not really in season?

End result.  I’m going to be doing the best I can with making freshly cooked food everyday – but still keep the jarred stuff handy on those days/nights when I really don’t feel like standing in front of the stove.

~Mama Cheryl

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Cholangitis…what??

Another term that was thrown at us! In the beginning of March, my baby boy caught a little cold that had us taking a trip to the Emergency Room for blood test, which came back normal and we were told that it was viral. His fever left, but then it returned 5 days later, which gave us another trip to the Emergency Room, only this time we were admitted. His white blood count was too high and with his condition, he had to be treated ASAP. We got admitted to a floor a night, so no doctors were around, but he got started on antibiotics. By the morning time his fever went down and never came back actually for the rest of the stay, however we had to stay. I’m a working mom and was unable to stay with him, I felt HORRIBLE!!! but I have an amazing friend that came and helped me out and my mother -in-law was there as well. I would work and then return and sleep at the hosptial, I literally did it for the duration of my son’s stay.

Every morning the surgeron would come and then fellows and then residents. The first 2 days, I never got a confirmation but  I got the words “it’s suggested that he has cholangitis” (which is an infection in his bile ducts). Because he was responding to the antibiotics, it was surely that, therefore the choice was for him to stay for 7-10 days or get a picc line and have him go home and get it done. We were scared but the picc line (which I learned later on it was a better option) and by the time an actual plan was thought out by the team, he was already mid way done with the antibiotics, so we choose to stay. He  had the same nurses, if not new ones who were just as great as the others and he constantly had company.

 I didn’t see my daughter, every morning I heard my little boy scream cause they had to draw blood from him, I slept at the hosptial and went to work. I got woken up for almost every 3 hours by the PCAs and nurses checking up on my son. By the last day that I expected us to leave I was so happy and relieved to be able to go home to see my daughter and bring my son back. The morning of, my husband came to be the one to get my little boy discharged while I went to work. However, things did not go as we planned. His first blood results were not great, so they have to redraw his blood…and the results still came back bad. I was so upset. I had thought everything was great, his #s were steady enough the last draw and even the doctors and nurses were prepared for us to go home. By 7pm – I was told that he had to stay and he would need a MRI the next day. So all my expectations went down the drain, and another night at the hosptial.

My baby was NOT allowed to eat after 7am the next morning. His MRI was not scheduled at all. So you can only imagine how frustrated it is for me as a parent and how hungry a 4 month little boy is. At 11am we were told he was going to in an hour, an hour pass and nothing…2 hours passed…3 hours passed…nothing. At this point, I’m frustrated. I asked for them to just forget it and make an appointment the next day. They couldnt! which got me annoyed.We waited and waited and finally by 6pm he was called downstairs.  The whole process took forever- he had to get sedated and then we had to go the PACU afterwards, where he FINALLY got to eat. WHAT A DAY THAT WAS! Results came back the next day – and it was good. nothing in his liver! YAy! we’re happy about that. His blood results were semi-normal. At least good enough to be told he was able to go home after he finishes up the antibiotics.

We’re home now and he’s doing great – eating as much as he did before he got that little cold, always smiling and still achieving milestones. We’re super more careful now – spraying down everything, no germs! washing our hands constantly.

~Mama Winnie

Mommy Me Time

I’m a working mom of a two.  My daughter is two and a half and my son turns 5 months next week.  Me Time Hardly exist anymore these days, but I sneak them in somehow.

For as long as I can remember, Moms were always put on a higher pedestal then dads.  We still bear a lot of the responsibilities of the old age idealism of moms being the caretakers and housekeeper, but add in the fact that these days we also have to maintain a full time job while doing it all.  Essentially, we are ALL supermoms.   So not surprisingly, moms can’t find a minute for themselves.

And even more often so, they feel guilty about taking that time for the gym, a massage or a manicure.  I know I used to feel that way when my oldest was born.  I remember I used to laugh with my friends on how I don’t even have a spare moment to get a facial or manicure; and how tired I was constantly feeling .  When in reality, it really isn’t that funny.

It’s not like I don’t love spending time with my kids.  I mean – I love them (thus why I had them); but time for yourself makes you a more energized and loving caregiver.  I learned that the few girls night out I have with my friends is when I decompress and have a little bit of me time.  After that, I’m more energized and so much more excited to see my babies once again.

So ladies – what do you do for Me Time?

~Mama Cheryl

Working Moms vs. Stay at Home Moms

It used to be a battle of the sexes: Now it’s a battle of the moms.  Working Moms vs. Stay at Home Moms.  Everybody envies the other. The working mom wishes she has more time to spend with her child; the stay at home mom wants to be recognized as a capable, creative person.

The anxiety seem to fall hardest and most dramatically on the shoulders of working moms.  Back in the 70’s & 80’s, a working mom was celebrated as heroines of feminism, and a “Have It All” status.  But in this day and age, working has become ordinary.  There’s status to NOT working whereas in the last generation, there was status to working.

I’m a working mom.  I work full time.  I leave the house at 8am and don’t get home till 7pm at night.  I do it because I have to, but when it comes down to it – most days – I love my job.  I love the adult interaction, I love negotiating with clients, and I like that I’m not ONLY a mom.  Of course I would love it a lot more if Corporate America could’ve offered me a bit more flexibility to work from home occasionally, or have slightly shorter hours, but for the most part (at least for now); I don’t regret my decision to go back into the work force after my maternity leave was over.

Motherhood is hard work, and I admire women who are willing to put their careers on hold to raise their children.  It was just something that wasn’t right for me.  Unfortunately, nonworking mothers are much more judgmental of working mothers than vice versa.  Nonworking mothers assume they’re better mothers because they’ve made the choice to stay home.  A friend of mine criticized me once for putting my child in daycare and that I should be spending more  quality time with my child.  I was furious.  I would never question her parenting skills.

On the other hand, it’s not as if the nonworking mom are completely confident of choices they’ve made either.  While our own mothers, who serves as our role models stayed home and raised us, they also educated their daughters of being capable of running the world.  Those who’s made the conscious choice to stay home and make a career of motherhood can’t help but wonder whether the brilliant life that was dangled as their birthright is passing them by.  Conversely, many of those who are running the world worry they’ve sacrificing their families on the altar of their own ambition.  Instead of directing their anger where it belongs, America’s stingy, unpaid maternity leave, refusal for flexible working hours – working and nonworking moms are dividing into opposing camps and unleashing resentment and suspicion on one another.

At the end of the day though, we’re all mom with the same goal.  We want healthy, smart kids that’ll grow up to be mature, responsible adults – so can’t we just all get along?

~ Mama Cheryl