Thursday, December 12, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from Santa and his Elf!

Happy holidays to you and yours! 

I'm very excited about the holiday season with our bambino. While I could make myself quite anxious planning his first Christmas and the traditions we are creating for him, I'm trying to just enjoy our time together. After all, we are still establishing sleeping routines and are at the beginning of many new things together. 

I'm also attempting to put aside my computer/phone/camera a little every day - and every event - to really enjoy my time there and be present with those I love. There are the photographic and written records, but there are also the memories. The memories I can relive as I am falling asleep or starting a new poem and will share later with our bambino.

See you back here in 2014!

What are your favorite holiday traditions? 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

After Swaddling: Halo SleepSack Wearable Blanket

Tummy time, Good Night Moon and getting ready for bed in a 
Halo SleepSack Wearable Blanket

The Halo SleepSack Wearable Blanket solves the problem of keeping your baby warm without the dangers of a blanket. A loose blanket, or anything in the crib including a bumper, can increase the chance of SIDS because an infant might suffocate. To keep our newborn safe - and well-rested - we followed Dr. Karp's Happiest Baby on the Block suggestions. His Huffington Post piece here explains the process well.

Around three or four months, our bambino was able to roll onto his stomach (but not back again) and we stopped swaddling him. He still, however had (and has) limited controlled neck and limb control, so a blanket still isn't safe. We moved from the SleepSack Swaddle to the SleepSack Wearable Blanket.

With a onesie underneath the wearable blanket, our bambino, who is now six months old, sleeps (mostly) through the night. And so can we, since we don't have to worry about fabric. He can roll over - there's plenty of space for his legs to move inside the bag - and his arms are free.

We're smitten with this cotton one with an elephant on the front. He seems to like it, too. When we change his clothes and put on the wearable blanket, he knows that it is time to sleep. It is a part of our evening routine, before I read a book to him in Italian and my husband reads a book in English. We all snuggle together on the bed and then transfer him to the crib to fall asleep on his own. (Well, we're still working on the last part.)

Click through for more about the Halo SleepSack sleep initiative in a recent post I wrote about infant swaddling. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

One Bambino-Bear and His First Snow

Ok, so after living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, yesterday's Washington, D.C., snow might barely qualify as snow. Still, it was our bambino's first sight of it. And this morning, he raised his eyebrows at his first sight of icicles on the branches outside the window.

Dressed up like a teddy bear and squinting in the bright cold, he was mostly nonplussed yesterday. I held up a little snow that had fallen on a leaf for him to touch. As you might have guessed, he didn't like it. We took some pictures and quickly went back inside to warm up. Hot cider for us and some apples and oatmeal cereal for him. 

I love watching our bambino notice and explore this brand new world. I'm constantly reminded that every. single. thing. is brand new to him. And, happily, it starts to become (at least) a little new to me, too. Today on my writing coach blog, I wrote a little about how his explorations are a good reminder that writing should offer the same discovery. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Nom, Nom, Nom: Starting Solids


Starting solids is messy and time consuming. And I love it.

I love our bambino's surprise at new tastes and the way he negotiates his lips and tongue to try to keep the food in his mouth. We make each other laugh, which often ends up with food sprayed everywhere, but that only makes us laugh more. Yes, sneezing with a mouthful of food did provide the biggest laugh and mess.

Sitting in front of our our bambino in a Bumpo on the floor, I feed him with an infant spoon from a little plastic bowl suction-cupped to the tray. An easy to clean plastic bib and lots of paper towels, dry and wet, keep us both mostly clean. We might have succeeded avoiding a lot of baby-products, but these have all proven really helpful. Sometimes he assists me (with limited success) to guide the spoon into his mouth and then use the rubber end to massage his gums. He is able to hold onto my pinky if I extend it while holding the spoon. He definitely tries to pull the bowl off of the tray, but the suction - amazingly - keeps the food (generally) safe. Pretty soon he'll be big enough for the high chair and a larger tray for everything.

I didn't immediately start with fresh foods. Sure, that was my goal, but after starting with the fortified, dry rice cereal, I guessed (correctly) that his first bites of fruits and vegetables would be very small. I didn't have the time or the patience to puree teeny, tiny amounts. I started with prepared containers of bananas, carrots and apples. His pediatrician suggested trying one food for a few days (not more than two new foods a week) in order to best catch any possible allergies. We started with rice cereal around five months and have been adding in bananas, carrots and apples.

Yesterday, for the first time, he ate fresh food: half a pureed avocado mixed with formula. Nope, not appetizing to me, but he seemed to enjoy it. That is, he seemed to enjoy it after scrunching up his face every which way as he tested out this new flavor.

I'm really looking forward to cooking various foods for him and eventually with him. I like to cook, even if I haven't had time to blog about it since the bambino was born. I'll see if I can't cook foods that we can all eat, putting some aside for him to puree for him before flavoring the grownups. I'm also hoping to freeze portions for him for the future. We'll see how this all works out as the work piles up at the end of the semester, but I'm optimistic.

The Mayo Clinic's website offers clear advice about starting solids. WebMD offers tips on preparing baby food and what foods are appropriate for each stage. What has worked well for you and your child?