Browsing Tag

Having a baby

FAMILY

I Am Proud to Be An Older Mom

proud to be an older mom

I became a mom after 40s. I gave birth so late that my age group doesn’t appear in fertility tables. I was 47 years old when I gave birth to my beautiful son. For readers who are aware of the congenital heart defects of my son, it has nothing to do with my age. I don’t have any fertility stories to share since my son was conceived naturally. What I want to do here is addressing misconceptions about midlife parenting.

Some call us selfish to have waited so long, others assume that we do it to fill void in our life. Personally, I feel that it is better for everyone — that is, you and your kids — when you are ready to be a parent. Continue Reading

FAMILY LIVING with kids

Parenting Tips: How I Get My Baby to Sleep All Night

How to get my baby to sleep through the night?

My husband and I are the lucky parents of a loving baby that sleeps all night since he is 3-week old. We can’t take all the credits since Zack arrived from his 3-week hospital stay this way.

At four weeks, Zack made us understand that he didn’t want us to wake him anymore for feeding. His doctors said it was OK to let him guide us to what he needs. He drank plenty of milk during the day. He quickly moves to sleeping 6 hours, 7 hours, 8 hours and so on, without a bottle. He sleeps for 10 to 12 hours every night in his nursery since he is 3 or 4 months.

At a time where having a good night sleep is a luxury for most new parents, I felt truly blessed. So, I did some reading to make sure that my baby continues to sleep well. I learned that a few simple rules made it possible. For the ones who doubted that it applies to most babies, you should give a try to know if it works before you make a decision. I read that this method provides a high success rate.

Differencing Night and Day

The first rule for sleeping all night is that your baby must grasp the difference between night and day. Once your baby distingues nighttime, you can teach your baby that night is made for sleeping. It starts by lowering the lights and reducing the noises in the house near bedtime. The light and noise trick comes from the hospital. This is what they do at the NICU.

Short Bedtime Routine

We try to keep our bedtime routine short and simple. Ours used to take up to 45 minutes when he was a few weeks old. Now that he is 17 months old, it takes about 10 minutes. Zack understands it. In fact, he is looking forward to our bedtime ritual. Our babysitter reproduces the same ritual once a week with the same level of success than us. While my husband is prepping his last bootle feed, I change his diaper and put on his pyjama. We feed him in our living room before we move him to his room upstairs.

For about a year, we waited until he was asleep in our arms and then, gently put him in his crib. Sometimes after he reached one year old, we slowly moved away from waiting that he was completely asleep before leaving the room. Later, our son started to tell us that he did not want to be in our arms and that he prefers to go straight to his bed.

We currently feed him a bottle, brush his teeth, mommy quickly gives him a kiss and he goes straight to his crib. After putting my baby in his crib, we turn his pendant light off, we strategically place two OXO nightlights around his room and illuminate his ceiling with stars and a moon. We tell them the story about how the sun went down and the dark sky gets brighter. We only provide him with a dark sleeping environment at nighttime. We have a little play session with a plush toy or we sing him a few songs before we tell him good night. A baby can easily relate to these steps and understand what is coming next.

Everyone, including my baby, is happier since my baby falls asleep by himself, at naptime and at bedtime. I feel that you must do that step when your baby is ready for it.

Give Your Baby Time to Learn How to Sleep

Babies must learn how to stay asleep when they are transitioning from one sleep stage to another stage. This is one of the reasons why they cry. Waking them when they are transitioning from one sleep stage to the next only makes it harder for them to learn that most important skill when it comes to sleep. When this happened, your baby can still be asleep. Give your baby the few minutes he/she needs to make the transition. So wait a few minutes — my limit is 5 minutes —before you rush by the crib. It will be a lot easier to do this if you must get up in the middle of the night and walk to their nursery than if your baby sleeps next to your bed.

Comfort only when Needed

From what I read, the earliest a baby can learn how to sleep on his/her own, the easiest it will be to acquire the skill. I can bring comfort to my baby in my arms if he woke up in tears (arrived a lot when he does his teeth), but he will return to sleep in his crib after that. I often found that he only wants a fresh diaper. Like I said earlier, we quickly reached a point I didn’t need to feed him during the night.

Keep the Noise Down at Night

To further help your baby distingues between night and day, it is best that they sleep with no noises at night and that they can nap hearing your day activities.

What about Naptime?

To not confuse them, rely on a different routine at naptime. Your baby needs to know that we only expect a short sleep.This is why when he was younger, he slept in his room only at night. He napped in the crib of his playard in a corner of my living room during the day.

As he grows older, I tried several napping techniques.  To tell you the truth, I had more problems with establishing a regular naptime than sleeping at night. My boy used to fight me even when he was tired. For the past few months, we found a way that suits him. I tell my son that I will see him soon and that we will play after he sleeps. I often leave him with a book in his crib. He decided when to fall asleep; which is usually a few minutes after I left his room. One important visual cue remains: I partially close his blinds so he sees that their is still light outside.

I know that every parent and baby is different. My technique might not suit your parenting style. My goal is simply to provide food for thoughts. Any comments, any tips to add? How did you teach your infants to sleep at night?

BABY care FAMILY

Baby Food: Essentiels to Make Your Own Baby Purees

baby food

baby food
photo of my son at 7 months after a meal

Introducing a baby to solids can be challenging for new moms. After trying several brands of store-bought vegetable purees, it became clear that if I wanted my son to develop appetite and to stimulate his taste buds, I must cook my own vegetable purees. It is fun and if you do in batch, it will not require a lot of your time.

Before I gave birth, I wanted one of these fancy baby food machines. Let me tell you that you don’t need one. I bought a Beaba Babycook, read the manual and return it. My method is simpler, uses what you already have in your kitchen and would not become useless 6 or 7 months later. Talking to a few moms convinced me that a baby food machine didn’t worth the trouble, the cash and the extra counter space. Instead, I upgraded my 20-year old immersion blender for a sturdy model with a chopper attachment with lid. I never looked back.

Batch Cooking and Freezing

If I was making mashed potato and carrot for our dinner, I doubled the recipe. I froze the rest in ice cube trays. I use standard ice cubes (because I had them), the trays from KidCo and the PLASTIS ice cube trays from IKEA. If you need to equip yourself, buy two standard size silicone trays — it is easier to remove the food from them — and a few PLASTIS trays. The smaller size of the PLASTIS trays is practical for adjusting how much food you serve to your baby.

Season the Baby Food

My goal was that Zack could easily transition to what we eat for dinner. I developed recipes that fit my cooking style. For me, that means seasoning the food. Right from the start, I use butter, olive oil, onions, freshly ground pepper, ginger, fennel, and herbs to provide an array of flavour to my baby.

The Basis of my Recipes

I boiled the  vegetables in a marguerite. I tried roasting in the stove one or twice without success. I cut the vegetables in small pieces to reduce the boiling time. Each puree includes two or three vegetables that complement each other in taste and texture. I cooked them together.

I experimented a lot. Don’t hesitate to look at what inside your fridge or on your counter before you start. One of my yummiest recipe was a batch of caramelized onions that I mixed with boiled carrots. For inspirations, I looked at soup recipes. The list of ingredients triggered delightful mixes that became my signature purees.

Zack adored these recipes:

  • Ginger flavoured sweet potato and zucchini puree. I added a small potato to absorb the water of the zucchini.
  • Ginger flavoured carrot and red onion puree.
  • Mashed cauliflower and potatoes with a touch of fennel.

Have you cook any tasty purees lately? What is your secret?

Zack now eats like us. No more purees for him; in his mind, he is a big boy. He looks forward to lunch and dinner. He eats by himself and likes everything, except for eggs that he never cared for. We will never know if making his purees played a role in that but I am sure that it didn’t hurt. I encourage any mother to make their own baby purees. All you need is your pots and pans, a handblender, good ingredients and a little bit of imagination.

 

FAMILY LIVING with kids

Happy Baby: Will It Be Day Care or a Babysitter?

babysitter daycare

babysitter daycare

Many questions came to my mind before I took my decision. What would be the best for my baby? What about the development of his social skills? Where can he interact with other kids if he doesn’t go to day care? How much schedule flexibility do I really need? What are the costs associated with each option? Can I find a vacancy at a good day care close to my home?

I experienced the typical guilt and worries of working moms when it’s time to return to work. Ideally, I would like to spend time with my son in the morning and to send him to day care in the afternoon. On the other end, I wonder if kids under 2 years old are not too young to go to day care. I worry that he will not get enough attention from the caregivers if he goes to day care. Many parents that I know sent their kids to daycare around 1 year old. Their kids enjoy it and they are well-adjusted. Maybe that my fear comes from the fact that I never went to day care. I couldn’t decide what to do.

As it turned out, the final decision came from medical reasons. My son’s neonatal pediatrician suggested to delay day care until next spring, if we can. This is a precautionary measure to avoid the flu season. So what would I do? I want to return to work this winter. Babies and toddlers that go at day care benefit from being with other kids and from being outside the house without their parents. And I read that kids who do not attend day care could be more shy around kids. Can he catch up later? To find the answer, I investigated the impact for a baby of not having daily social interactions with kids of his ages.

I wanted a professional opinion. So I asked the occupation therapist who followed my son when he was at the hospital. She reassured me when she told me that developing proper parents-baby relations are what really count up to 1 year old. If he needs to stay away from day care for a little bit longer, say until 2 years old, he should be able to catch up later.

I do not know yet when I will be ready to send him to day care. I just know that he will at some point. In the meantime, I am looking for baby and toddler activities where he can socialize with kids of his age. Who knows, it might be him that tells me when he’ll want to go to day care?

My Conclusion

A part-time babysitter will take care of him for now. After considering all factors, this is what I am the most comfortable with at this point. It’s a smooth transition that addresses his and my needs. The babysitter will allow me to work for a set numbers of hours per week, without baby distractions. I will be able to attend meetings and events, like I used to do.

There are still many unanswered questions. How do I set the boundaries between my work and my family life? Is it feasible to maintain those boundaries while working mostly from home? Time will tell if and how long I can manage being a mom and running my business from home with the help of an in-house childcare provider.

I am curious to know how you did it? Which childcare arrangement worked best for you and your baby/toddler: a babysitter, a nanny or day care?

SOURCING:
+ photo: Zoo Packs by Ship Hop $20 USD

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Happy Baby: Our First Halloween as Parents

star wars family

star wars family

Zack’s first Halloween was a team effort. My husband chose the Halloween theme last July when he bought at ThinkGeek the Darth Vader costume that Zack wore. Yes, we have been waiting for this moment. The hardest thing was to imagine how a 7-month baby could celebrate Halloween? After a few talks, we decided that a staged photo will nicely commemorate the day.

baby darth vader

We needed a spot that would deliver a sci-fi vibe. We knew that we had the perfect backdrop when we saw these lit blue glass doors. Like they say, the rest is history. The choice of our costumes was a no-brainer. My husband wanted to be Obi-Wan Kenobi. He grew his beard for two weeks. He was happy to shave this morning. I designed and made Jerome’s cape with the help of my mother. A friend lent me her Princess Leia costume. I attached the Darth Vader “helmet” headpiece to a black hat with safety pins. That kept Zack warm and it maintained the helmet in place.

zack as vader

We made nice memories that we will treasure for a long time. Zack was curious at the actions that were going on outside. He was so interested by what was happening that we had troubles to find a way for him to focus on the photo shoot. I can’t blame him. They were plenty of new things for him to discover. He smiled when he saw for the first time a lit Halloween pumpkin on our street. He enjoyed the costumes. Finally, I felt proud of what we did when two young trick and treaters encouraged the rest of their group to have a look at the cute Star Wars baby.

A special thank to Bettina Forget for her help in capturing on photos these precious memories.

FAMILY KIDS products

Petit Collage Garlands and My Ultimate Baby Book

Deluxe Baby Book with Memory Box by petit collage

petit collage garlands

I stopped by Indigo yesterday. I could not pass on Petit Collage alphabet garlands. I like the fact that it is reusable. With 80 alphabet and animal tiles and 5 yards of ribbon, it is easy to custom made the party garland to fit the occasion. I suggest that you tailor even more the garland to your party scheme by updating the color of the ribbon.

My Favorite Baby Book

Deluxe Baby Book with Memory Box by petit collage

While I was there, I explored the rest of the collection. It is when I saw the best made baby book. It provides room for fun facts about mom, dad and the baby plus, photo pages for milestone events and for each monthiversary of your baby’s first year. The baby book comes with a keepsake box. It would make an awesome baby shower gift.

inside pages of baby book

SOURCING:
+ Petit Collage Garlands $19.95 CAD at Indigo
+ Deluxe Baby Box with Memory Box by Petit Collage $50 USD at Petit Collage
Deluxe Baby Box with Memory Box by petit Collage $60 CAD at Indigo

BEVERAGE FOOD + DRINK

The Brita Slim Pitcher | Being a First-Time Mom

brita slim pitcher

brita slim pitcher

Although my baby was old enough to drink water from the faucet, I continued to boil the water to prepare his infant formula because of the poor condition of the city water pipes. Montreal is slowing replacing our water system but the process will take a long time. But I wanted to make it easier on me. This is why I bought a Brita water filter pitcher. I am happy that I did.

I selected the Slim pitcher (5-cups) since it contains more than what I need to feed my baby. What I did not expect was that my husband and I would also use it. We found that it improves the taste of our water. And the fact that it is their smaller pitcher is not a problem since it roughly takes half a minute to filter the entire pitcher. Plus, having a small pitcher leaves more room in my fridge.

SOURCING:
+ Brita Slim Water Filter Pitcher $12.59 CAD at Canadian Tire
+ Brita Slim Water Filter Pitcher $9.54 USD at Lowe’s

BABY products FAMILY

My Must-Have Baby Gear List | Being a First-Time Mom

must have for a baby

must have for a baby

My son is 5 months today. I am taking this occasion to share what are the baby items that we really used over the last 5 months since it could help moms-to-be with their shopping list. Besides the car seat and the stroller, I think that you should get:

A lounger or bouncer: I have the mamaRoo. We use it to let my baby rest after a feeding. He also sits in the mamaRoo for watching his favorite movies or TV shows, when I read him a book or simply to be near to us when we eat dinner or when I cook. We used the movements and the sounds for the first 3 months. Lately, the mamRoo acts as a low chair where we know that he sits safely.

A play yard: We bought the Graco’s Pack ‘n Play Chadwick Playard at Babies R Us when my son was a few weeks ago. We bought it because we were invited to a brunch at the home of a single guy. This is why we selected a model with a removable bassinet and diaper changer. What we did not anticipate was how much we would use it at home. I use the bassinet for when my baby takes a nap. His nursery is on the second floor. The diaper changer comes handy when we have a babysitter. It is easier for them to not go upstairs and we feel better knowing that they do not carry our baby up and down our long staircase.

An activity mat: I suggested that you buy an activity mat that will look good in your living room since it will be on the floor all the time. At first, I stored our activity mat after each usage but I quickly give up. Providing enough tummy time is very important to build muscles. Since most babies do not like to be on their tummy, you end up doing mini sessions several times a day. It is wise to avoid tummy time immediately after a feeding. I bought the Treetop Friends Activity Gym from Skip Hop.

A musical mobile: Contrary to my initial belief, a mobile is not to make your kid sleepy unless it is by exhaustion. Our son becomes excited when we put the mobile on. A mobile distracts and entertains your baby while you are doing something else. We bought the Tiny Love Sweet Island Dreams Mobile. The sound quality of the Tiny Love is way better than the Fisher-Price Rainforest Peek-a-Boo Leaves Musical Mobile, which is a similar model.

Fun Educational Toys: It is important to stimulate the senses of our baby as soon as possible. We bought and received from friends many toys. The ones my son enjoy the most are his Tug & Play Activity Knot and his Musical Inchworm, both from Lamaze, Sophie The Giraffe plus his T’es fou louloup hand puppet from Ebulobo. The puppet enables me to interact and communicates with him.

Books: At the Montreal Children’s Hospital, they told us to read books from day 1. It will help you create a lasting connection with your baby. Your baby will learn to recognize the sound of your voice. Zack already have a huge collection of books. I buy board books suitable for children aged 1 to 3 years old. Now that Zack is able to manipulate objects with his both hands, the books become a tool to further develop his motor skills.

SOURCING:
+ Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym $74.99 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]
+ Tapis de jeu Treehop $81.99 CAD at Rose ou Bleu
+ Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard – Chadwick $199.99 CAD at Babies R Us
T’es fou louloup hand puppet from Ebulobo
+ I Love You Through And Throughby Bernadette Rossetti Shustak $8.95 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]
Tug & Play Activity Knot $11.99 USD from Lamaze

FAMILY LIVING with kids

A Lot Happened in 3 Months | Being a First-Time Mom

I can’t believe that my little baby son is already 3 months old (he reached it last week). I met lately a few parents-to-be who ask me what to expect, which gave me the idea to share my impressions so far. They say that the first 5-6 weeks are hard and they do not lie. I recall the first days where I wore a PJ all day and was wondering when I could go back to a routine where I do my hair and wear make up every day. But it happened quicker that I imagined at that time. We all need some “Me” time. I feel that it boosts a new mom’s morale to try to look good on a daily basis.

The wonderful thing about being a new parent is that it gets easier every day. I would say that you grow with your baby. You get better organized and always fine-tune some kind of routine. I say some kind of routine because your baby will dictate when you will do things. Right now, I am in heaven. His feedings are going well and are pretty regular. I have a pretty good idea of when it is the right time for quick naps during the day. I have a set of activities to entertain him during the day. I am able to run errands with him during the afternoon. I cook dinner and we are able to enjoy our meal most of the nights. As a bonus, my son sleeps 9 to 10 hours a night. Nonetheless, I am still impressed by how much time you must put to take care of a young baby.

Baby Nasal Aspirator

nasal aspirator for baby

Since he was born, I learned new skills and discovered baby products that I would have never imagined. One of those is the baby nasal aspirator by hydraSense. I received a sample from a PR person in Montreal. I must say that we hesitated to use it at first. When we finally did, a day where it was obvious that my baby needed it, we were impressed by its effectiveness. Our son doesn’t appreciate the process but it works. We use it with Easydose, a seawater nasal drop dispenser that you use to liquefy mucus.

I started an incredible journey and I know that the next 3 months will bring even more adventures. I am leaving you with a cute photo of my son.

BABY care FAMILY

My Must-Have Baby Bottle Accessories | Being a First-Time Mom

must-have baby bottle accessories

Besides the bottles of your choice, these are my three must-have items if you are feeding your baby with a bottle. First, you need one or two bottle and nipple brushes. I seem to prefer the Munchkin Bottle and Nipple brush to the equivalent brush by Nuby but I can’t tell you why other than I got the Munchkin first.

I try to wash the bottle as soon as I finished feeding my son. I rinse it first in cold water, then I use the brush for a quick clean with soap and cold water. The bottles will be fully washed in the dishwasher in the sanitizer mode. You need the drying rack because plastic doesn’t dry well in a dishwasher. I bought the Boon Grass drying rack for its cool design and its two parts easy fit in my dishwasher. Since it is mostly to dry the nipples and the bottom parts of VentAire bottles, it provides me enough place. But if you are worried that it is not big enough, Boon made Lawn, a bigger version of Grass.

It took me a week to buy a bottle warmer. I did it for one key reason: time. The milk gets at the right temperature in more than half the time and you know exactly how long it will take. For that alone, it is worth every penny. I asked around and it seems that parents prefer the Avent bottle warmer. This is why we got this one.

The Baby Bottles

It simplifies my life as a parent to have enough baby bottles for one day of feeding, plus one bottle. I can wash the used bottles before going to bed. This is where the extra bottle comes handy. You keep one bottle ready to use for the night feeding or, if you are lucky like us, for the morning feeding. We bought two VentAire newborn gift sets.

I decided to try out the VentAire and it works fine with my son. I also bought 2 glass Medela bottles that we do not use them anymore. Glass bottles are simply too heavy. My son had problems with the Stage 1 nipples that came with the VentAire bottles. The Stage 2 nipples were too fast for him. After trials and errors, we discovered that the Medela slow nipple works the best for him. We were lucky that the Medela nipples fit the Ventaire bottles. Therefore, I bought several packs of Medela nipples to complete my set.

SOURCING:
+ Grass Countertop Drying Rack by Boon $16.99 USD
Lawn Countertop Drying Rack by Boon $29.99 USD
+ Avent Express Food and Bottle Warmer $36.17 USD
+ Playtex BPA Free VentAire Standard Reusable Bottles Gift Set $26.99 USD

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Must-Have Small Appliances for a Quick Breakfast | Being a First-time Parent

toasters and nespresso

toasters and nespresso

It is a fact that parents with babies are time-crunched. I begin my third week with my baby at home and I came to appreciate the efficiency of my toaster and our Nespresso machine.

Now, I frequently use the reheat function of my toaster. Before we have Zack, I only use once. Diaper changing or something else may disturb me and my toast will rest on the plate longer than it should. The reheat function means that I do not throw it away. This is important since going to buy a new loaf of bread is not always an easy task. Several brands propose it. I bought the Breville ikon 2-Slice Toaster. I saw that Philips seems to make a good one.

You will need a coffee boast a few times a day to stay awake. We switched to Nespresso because it is fast, easy and tasty. I still make me a small pot of French press in the morning but the rest of the time, I drink an espresso or lungo made with my Nespresso machine.

Food-wise, having instant oatmeal, yogurt, fresh fruits charcuterie and soups are a life saver. As you can see, my eating habits are erratic during the day. But my husband and I try to find the time to eat a relax dinner, even if that means eating at 10 PM.

SOURCING:
+ For Canadians: Breville ikon 2-slice toaster $69.99 CAD
+ For Americans: Breville ikon 2-slice toaster $69.89 USD
+ Philips 2 slot 2 function metal curve toaster