Eat Your Greens!

It is recommended by the powers that be that children are introduced to solids at the age of 6 months.  There are some additional guidelines one should take into account (they can sit, they can swallow, they want food), but generally the benchmark is 6 months.

When Fiona was 6 months old, we tried to introduce her to solids.  I bought the first of three avocados we went through before she finally ate, and made the first of the best virgin guacamoles (ie- mashed avocado) I have ever made.  She didn’t want it. It took about 10 days before she was ready to accept our food offering and it’s been all downhill since.

She loves food.

In the beginning I tried to go by the food guidelines the pediatrician gave us but that went out the window quick.  I have found that a combination of food guidelines and baby led weaning is what has worked for us. It’s been two months and there has not been food she has tried that she hasn’t liked.

Except pre-packaged baby food.

She doesn’t like that.  (I don’t even like that…ewww) So I make all of her food.

IMG-20150819-WA0009Since she started eating, Fiona’s meals have been homemade with ingredients that are mostly seasonal, local, and organic. I’ve become somewhat of a pro at the whole baby food making thing.  Frankly, I love it. And she loves it too because her food tastes like food.  To be honest, I wouldn’t feed her something I myself wouldn’t eat. Except rice or beans. I hate them but she has to eat them. She also eats cut up table food.  I am usually pretty good about letting her try whatever we are eating (as long as she wants it) so she can learn to be an adventurous eater.

One thing though that I decided early on was that I would not introduce her to meat. I mentioned this at Gymboree during discussion the other day and some of the moms were looking at me like I was crazy because apparently nobody can be vegetarian since birth.

Well, Fiona has been.  She does eat cheese and yogurt, but until she can go to the store and buy herself a piece of steak, she is not going to be eating meat. There is really no need for that.  I also can’t imagine being a vegetarian trying to raise a carnivore child.  I have read the discussion boards and ultimately it seems that it always comes down to the inescapability of meat in our culture, and whether or not the child will feel excluded from that culture.

To me, that doesn’t feel like a good enough reason.

I wish I knew parents of vegetarian children.  I would love to know how they manage.

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Babysitting Woes

I don’t know how moms can trust strangers with their babies.

When she was about two months old I tried to leave Fiona with a babysitter.  My husband and I were going to an opera preview at a friend’s house not far from where we live so we called a friend (former nanny) to watch her.  I was so stressed out that I had a miserable time and ended up coming home like an hour after I left. I couldn’t stay gone.  The thought of my little baby daughter alone with someone who was not me, freaked me out to the point that I just couldn’t handle it.

So I never left her alone again.

Needless to say, my social life took a massive hit.

Anyway, Fiona is now eight and a half months old and this time Hugh and I have a wedding to go to next weekend.  I am already having an anxiety attack.

So I have to ask, when does one become okay with leaving their child with a babysitter? I know that people do it all the time but I can’t imagine that they were always okay with it.  Is it the age of the child or the trust you have in the sitter?

This also leads me to the next point:  I am thinking of going back to work.  What happens then?  I know that most moms do go back to work and so they have to make alternate arrangements for childcare; but how do they? If I don’t feel ready at nearly 9 months to leave FIona with someone other than me, I don’t know that I would have been able to survive leaving her at 12 weeks…

Am I being crazy?  Is there something I don’t know?

It Really Takes a Village…

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

Before Fiona was born I decided that unless there was a really good reason why Fiona couldn’t, that I would do everything in my power to make sure she was fed exclusively breast milk until she is at least 1 year old.  I had a back up plan (I still have a stash of Holle milk to prove it), but the reality was that having read the research, recommendations, and a lot of the information available to new mothers, I really hoped that I could do this for my daughter.

Maybe this doesn’t seem like an ambitious project to most people; however, Fiona is adopted.

As much as I would have liked to have a nursing relationship with my daughter, and had I been able to, I most certainly would have breastfed her exclusively until she weaned herself. Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards for us so I had to think outside of the box.

Years back I saw a picture of Salma Hayek breastfeeding an African child.  I remember looking at that picture and thinking to myself what an amazing woman she was for sharing her baby’s food with one who wasn’t as fortunate.   That image has always stayed with me.

I had heard about the existence of milk banks but upon further research, I found them to be cost prohibitive in the long term. Not to mention that in most cases we didn’t qualify due to the fact that Fiona was neither in the NICU nor had any kind of special need.  Hell, she wasn’t even born when I was making these inquiries!  But like they say, when God closes a door he always opens a window because it was during this time that I first heard of community breast milk sharing.

“It takes a village to raise a child.”- African Proverb

11061228_10155997276185061_6396593316691245215_nEvery passing day that saying becomes more and more true for our family. Thanks to some amazingly generous mothers I’ve connected with through Human Milk 4 Human Babies and Eats on Feets, Fiona has been fed exclusively breast milk all 8 months and 1 week of her life and is well on her way to make it to the goal of 1 year I had originally set for us.

Yay!

Now, I’m not judging those who don’t place as much importance on breastfeeding as I have.  Still, i think the option of milk sharing should be included in the conversation for moms who do feel breastfeeding is important and who, like me, can’t breastfeed their children, and those who produce far more milk than their children can consume.  This can make a world of difference in the life of a child.