Zucchini Bread Baby Food Recipe

Homemade Organic Zucchini Bread Baby Food Puree Recipe | via The Crispy Mama

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission for items purchased through my blog, at no cost to you. All items advertised are items that I actually use and all opinions are 100% my own!

Over the past week, I’ve been trying to find fun new ways to introduce some of the vegetables into Liam’s baby food that he had already tried, but didn’t particularly care for. One of those vegetables was zucchini. The first time he had it, he made a sour face the whole time he was eating (but he kept eating it, little trooper… ha!). To be honest, I feel him. Plain zucchini, steamed with absolutely no seasoning? Blah. Don’t get me wrong, I love some good stir fried, crispy baked, or “zoodleized” zucchini, but soggy plain stuff, pureed into oblivion? No thanks. Since bananas are one of his favorite foods of all time (again, I feel him), I mixed some in with his zucchini, and threw in a little bit of baby oatmeal for good measure and good naps. I added a pinch of cinnamon to keep things interesting, tasted it, and I swear I had a slice of homemade Zucchini Bread in my mouth.

I stripped Liam down (ain’t nobody got time for laundry), strapped him up in his highchair, and we gave it a try. He tore it up. That hungry little guy ate about a half a cup of the stuff, which is easily three times as much as he normally eats. He also took a three hour nap afterwards (shout out, oatmeal!). You can read how to make your own baby oatmeal in this post.

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp baby oatmeal
  • 3 tsp water
  • pinch cinnamon

Method

Cut ends off zucchini and steam or boil until soft. Cut banana into chunks and add to blender. Add cooked zucchini and a little bit of water (or cooking water). Add a small pinch of cinnamon (less is more!) and blend until smooth. In a microwave safe container, stir together baby oatmeal and water. Microwave about 30 seconds. Combine with as much zucchini-banana-cinnamon puree as desired. Stir well. Test temperature on your wrist or lip before serving.

Does your baby say yay or nay to zucchini? What about Zucchini Bread Baby Food? Share in the comments.

Xoxo,

The Crispy Mama


Baby’s First Easter Basket (From The Target Dollar Spot!)


Baby's First Easter Basket, filled with items from the Target Dollar Spot | via The Crispy Mama

Liam is still at that age where holidays, like Easter, don’t mean anything to him. He doesn’t know what’s going on, all he knows is there are a bunch of people around and they all want to hold him. He could really care less about Christmas presents or Easter baskets. Pretty much any holiday festivities are solely a formality and only for Mama and Dad’s benefit (hello, adorable holiday themed outfits). Because of all of this, it would be beyond silly for me to spend any more than a few bucks on an Easter basket for him. I thought, this sounds like a job for… The Target Dollar Spot (formally known as Heaven on Earth).

I absolutely cannot wait until the next Easter when we’ll be able to dye eggs, do an Easter Egg Hunt, tell him all about the Easter Bunny, and actually enjoy the things that are in his basket. I still have very distinct memories of my Easters as a little girl. My family and my sister’s best friend’s family would all spend our week off of school camping at the same campground, doing a big Easter Egg hunt with all of the other kids that were staying there, having a huge (and I mean huge) meal with everyone. I can’t wait to start making those memories all over again with my little Liam.

I am completely incapable of entering a Target store without thoroughly inspecting the Dollar Spot. It is a gift to all humans and I love it. This year’s Spring/Easter Dollar Spot items are pretty much all precious. From little pillows, to candle lanterns, to tiny buckets, to summer scarves, to wall decor, to ceramic bunnies, I was drooling in there. Luckily (for my bank account, anyways) Dad limited my time in there and dragged (I mean literally dragged) me away after a measly ten minutes. I did manage to snag the cutest Tassel Basket ($3), Stuffed Carrots ($3), Bunny Rattle ($3), and Chambray Bow Tie ($5). We can reuse the basket for a few years until he starts requiring larger items. The carrots and rattle are for him, and the bow tie is 100% for me (Ugh! So cute!). They also had some precious Sparkly Bunny Ears ($3) that would be perfect for little gals. I’ll probably throw in a banana and an avocado because those are his favorite foods. I plan to use some green tissue paper rather than Easter Grass because that stuff is the hardest thing to get rid of since glitter. I swear I’m still finding Easter Grass from when I was a kid. Who in the hell invented that stuff? I suspect Satan. I’ll be making another trip to The Spot this week in search of some cute stuff for our Baby’s First Easter Photo Shoot (post coming soon!). Hopefully, I can escape without going too overboard, but I won’t be holding my breath on that one. We also just got a brand new Dollar Store less than 1/4 of a mile from our house (yaaaasssss) so I’ll be scoping out the Easter stuff there too. Everyone wish me luck that I don’t go too crazy.

What did you get your kiddo for their First Easter? Share in the comments!

Xoxo,

The Crispy Mama

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission for items purchased through my blog, at no cost to you. All items advertised are items that I actually use and all opinions are 100% my own!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Baby Food Recipe

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Homemade Organic Carrot Cake Oatmeal Baby Food Puree Recipe | via The Crispy Mama

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission for items purchased through my blog, at no cost to you. All items advertised are items that I actually use and all opinions are 100% my own!

Confession. I am one of those weird people who really doesn’t like cake at all. At weddings, I’m more interested in the buffet than the cake table.I usually have a “birthday pie” instead of a standard birthday cake because I feel that strongly about it. To me, cake is just way too sweet and doesn’t have any real flavor other than pure white sugar. One of the few exceptions to my anti-cake rule is Carrot Cake. It’s delicious, with spicy flavors and just a hint of sweetness. It usually has cream cheese icing, which is far superior to that nasty bright colored stuff that just tastes like sugar and chemicals. If I must subject myself to having a birthday cake, Carrot Cake is usually the winner.

When I make Liam’s baby food, it’s really important to me that it tastes good (and I mean actually good, not just “ehh it’s better than that nasty stuff in the jars” good). We tried carrots on their own and he wasn’t much of a fan. I feel you, buddy. Plain steamed carrots with nothing on them are decidedly not the bomb. I don’t plan to introduce added salt or sugar to him until his first birthday when he can have some (Carrot, obviously) cake. Since he adores bananas, I decided to mix the carrot puree that I had already made with some banana mash and see if he liked that more. It was a hit. Apparently, my kid is going to live on “fill in the blank” mixed with bananas for the rest of his life. I guess there could be worse things. 

Last week, we gave him his first oatmeal. I had mentioned before that we were holding off on grains until he had tried a variety of fruits and vegetables. With bananas, apples, carrots, zucchini, green beans, blueberries, spinach, and kale under our belt, I decided that it would be okay to introduce some oatmeal mixed in with these things. Long story short, he took the longest nap of his life after that meal. #foodcoma. So I tried to come up with some other ways to make oatmeal that would be both good and good for him. I looked at my freezer baby food inventory and came across the bananas and carrots that I had mentioned earlier. I decided to defrost one of those, mix it in with his oatmeal and a a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. I tried it and it was so good I wanted to make a bowl for myself. It seriously tastes just like carrot cake without icing (which is how all cake should be served because in my humble opinion, icing is gross). I plopped his little butt down in his highchair and gave him some and it was the biggest hit since applesauce (which was the biggest hit since Titanic). He ate most of the bowl that I made, which is about twice as much as he normally eats. We’ll definitely be putting this one into the rotation. You can read how to make the carrot-banana puree (along with several other Stage 1 purees) here. You can find out how to make your own Baby Oatmeal here, along with another oatmeal recipe for baby, and a smoothie recipe for mom here.

Note: I took Liam’s shirt off before giving him his first oatmeal. This meant less clean up for me, and that I could keep a close eye out for a possible reaction. For some people, hives show up first on the torso area, so it’s a good idea to look out for that.

Xoxo,

The Crispy Mama


Liam’s Nursery Tour


This includes affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission for items purchased through my blog, at no cost to you. All items advertised are items that I actually use and all opinions are 100% my own!
When we started buying stuff for Liam’s room, we mostly got things that went with the “vibe” of the rest of our house. Mostly muted grays and whites with dark furniture (all from Target) and maybe a navy accent here and there. Never once did it occur to me that we were supposed to have a “theme” until people started asking me what it was. “So what’s the theme of his room?” “Uhhh… Baby?” We ended up with some race car stuff, some outdoorsy stuff, some animal stuff, you name it. Though we don’t have a “theme” it all turned out so much nicer than I expected. We chose furniture that can be converted (changing table to standard dresser, crib to toddler bed, to daybed, to full bed) so he can use to for a long time (budget win!). The crib is pretty much for decoration because he sleeps with me, but I’m confident that he’ll sleep in it one day. Until then, it’s a great place to store pillows, stuffed animals, whatever else, at the moment.

We stuck a little reading nook in the corner for when he’s a little bigger. We read him bedtime stories every day and he really loves it, so I think that reading books in his little nook will be really fun for him. I made this Ruler Growth Chart (tutorial coming soon) for about $10 and I can’t wait to be able to mark his growth on it. We opted for sheer rather than blackout curtains to help prevent our little guy getting his days and nights mixed up. I got a great deal on them on Amazon (duh, everything is from Amazon).

This is the most comfortable chair of all time. I seriously would sleep in it voluntarily. It also shipped already assembled, which is a huge plus for me because my patience with little parts and pieces lasts about 15 seconds. We chose it because it has a higher back than most of the ones that we looked at, which is great for tall Daddies. 

I made these little Car Prints. They were incredibly easy, took all of 10 minutes, and look precious. All I did was search for “car scale images” on Google, found ones that I liked, printed, matted, and framed them. The frames were originally tacky brass that I spray painted to match the rest of the room. 

We created this collage wall all with items on sale at Hobby Lobby (HoLo is life!). We used a drawer organizer as a “garage” for toy cars and it turned out way cuter than expected. I love this little 3D bear too. 

I added cubby shelves from Target for toy storage, two lamps from story time (one from Hobby Lobby, one from a garage sale that I spray painted and replaced the shade) and a vintage glass water jug to use as his “piggy bank”.

What do you think of Liam’s nursery? Are you interested in seeing how I made his Ruler Growth Chart? Share in the comments!

Xoxo,

The Crispy Mama


Three Baby Food Recipes Featuring Apples

This week Liam ate his first apple sauce and to say he loved it would be an understatement. He ate and ate and ate until I wouldn’t give him any more (and he was pretty grumpy about getting cut off). Since he struggles with some tummy troubles, I thought that the fiber in apples would be great for him and since he liked them so much, this would be a chance to give some other flavors a try too. I checked out the refrigerator inventory and came up with these combinations. I tried each of them and I would willingly eat all of them (I won’t give him anything that I wouldn’t want to eat). I try to introduce Liam to a really wide variety of flavors while he’s still young in hopes that he won’t be a picky eater (I’ll get back to you on if it works or not, fingers crossed though!).

Apple Ginger Cinnamon Nutmeg- 2 peeled apples (I used one Granny Smith and one Fuji), 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, pinch cinnamon, pinch nutmeg. Throw it all in the blender and add a little water if it’s too thick. This one tastes like apple pie. The ginger is good for little tummies.

Apple Banana Cinnamon Rosemary- 1 apple, 1/2 banana, pinch cinnamon, pinch fresh rosemary leaves. I blend the bananas first, then add apples, cinnamon, rosemary leaves, and a little water if it’s too thick and blend again.  Bananas are another one of his favorites. I hated rosemary as a kid but I love it now, so I’m hoping he’ll like it. We have fresh rosemary in our garden so I cook with it a lot.

Apple Blueberry Spinach Kale- 1 apple, 1/2 cup blueberries, 3 cups spinach and baby kale. I steamed the blueberries and greens together in the microwave (just throw it all in a bowl with a splash of water and microwave for about 2 minutes) to make them a little tastier and a little easier on the tummy. This is basically a baby green smoothie. Apples and blueberries are both such strong flavors, I’m pretty confident that he won’t even be able to taste the greens. Mom-Win.

TIP: I steamed all of the peeled apples together (2 Granny Smith and 2 Fuji) and blended them into apple sauce first.

So far he has tried the Apple Ginger Cinnamon Nutmeg and he looooved it! We’ll update after he has tried the rest of them! Do you have another way that you like to prepare apples for your baby? Share in the comments!

Xoxo,

The Crispy Mama

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission for items purchased through my blog, at no cost to you. All items advertised are items that I actually use and all opinions are 100% my own!


You May Also Like One Month Of Stage 1 Baby Food (In 20 Minutes, For $10!)

Mom Hack: The Leftover Baby Food Smoothie

Us Mamas pretty much live on a diet of cold coffee and our kid’s leftovers. Incredibly appetizing, right? When I make Liam’s baby food, I always taste it first. Today, as I was whipping up his Avocado-Banana-Cinnamon mash, I took a bite and thought, “Damn, this stuff is pretty good.” As usual, he ate about 1/3 of it before he was over it and ready to get out of his chair and go play. Since avocados and bananas don’t keep particularly well (especially organic bananas, I swear they turn brown in 15 seconds), I either had to eat the leftovers or throw them away. I decided to throw the leftover mash, the remaining half of the avocado, what was left of the banana, some ice cubes, chia seeds, soy milk and some more cinnamon into the blender and this super fresh tasting Mom Hack Smoothie was born. You get a dose or healthy fats from avocado to help keep you full, protein and antioxidants from chia seeds, calcium from soy milk, and potassium from bananas. Plus its way easier to drink a smoothie one handed while holding a baby than it is to eat something. If soy isn’t your thing, you could easily sub almond or coconut milk (I think coconut would be amazing in this). You could also add some greens like spinach or kale for an extra serving of veggies.


Ingredients:

  • Leftover Avocado-Banana-Cinnamon baby food (yum)
  • Remaining half of avocado
  • Remaining half of banana
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Throw it all in the blender and call it lunch.

Do you have any other creative ways to use your kid’s leftovers? Share in the comments!

Xoxo,

The Crispy Mama

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission for items purchased through my blog, at no cost to you. All items advertised are items that I actually use and all opinions are 100% my own!

 

Inside My Diaper Bag

I must have looked at nearly every diaper bag in existence trying to find the perfect one. All of them seemed to be too big, too small, too busy with ugly patterns, hard to get into, not enough pockets, too many pockets, you get it. Eventually I ended up just buying an extra large black tote bag from Target and ordering a bag organizer to put in it. It works great, it looks great, and it matches everything. In the beginning I had a tendency to over pack the diaper bag (seriously, it weighed more than the baby and the carrier combined). After figuring out what was getting used and what was collecting dust, I have been able to cut it down to a reasonable amount of baby paraphernalia.

  1. Diapers (duh.)
  2. Wipes (also duh.)
  3. Diaper rash cream
  4. Changing pad
  5. Burp rags
  6. Extra pacifier (they seem to disappear)
  7. Bottle and formula
  8. Water bottle
  9. 1-2 small teething toys/teething necklace
  10. Extra outfit (blowouts happen)
  11. Waterproof pouch (for the blowout clothes)
  12. Extra socks (these also disappear)
  13. Light blanket
  14. Heavier blanket (only necessary when it’s cold outside)
  15. Moby wrap
  16. Shopping cart/high chair cover
  17. Medicine bag with gas drops, tylenol, gripe water, saline drops, bandaids, and stickers (for emotional boo boos)
  18. My wallet/keys/phone (ain’t nobody got time for a purse)

Thats it! This organizer makes it really easy to keep everything accessible. The bag that I use is discontinued, but you can get a similar ones herehere, here, and here. You’ll want something big enough, but not so huge that it’s hard to carry. Look for something neutral, with sturdy sides and bottom, and straps long enough to go over your shoulder comfortably. My waterproof pouches are from The Royal Standard but are unfortunately discontinued. You can get another really cute option that comes in three different patterns here.

 

What else do you keep in your diaper bag? Share in the comments!

Xoxo,

The Crispy Mama

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission for items purchased through my blog, at no cost to you. All items advertised are items that I actually use and all opinions are 100% my own!


One Month Of Stage 1 Baby Food (In 20 Minutes For $10)!

As mentioned before I make all of Liam’s baby food. It’s less expensive, I know exactly what is going in it (no weird preservatives or artificial colors), I know exactly when it was made (no icky mold filled food pouches here!), and most importantly, it’s so quick and easy. I can get a whole month’s worth of food made during one nap time and still have time left over to have a very large cup of coffee while I browse Pinterest (did I say that? I meant do dishes and laundry…)! When you should start your baby on solids or purees is really up for debate these days. Some pediatricians say 4 months, some say 6, some parents insist that Baby Led Weaning is the way to go. For me, BLW wasn’t an option for us. The choking hazard is too much of a risk for me and I would be a nervous wreck the whole time. You should absolutely do your own research and consult your own pediatrician before starting your baby on food, but there are a few signs that you can look out for to determine if your little one might be ready to start trying some food.

  1. Is your baby at least 4 months old? Before 4 months, their little digestive systems just aren’t ready to handle anything other than breastmilk or formula.
  2. Can your baby hold their head up well? For obvious  reasons, you won’t want your kiddo’s head flopping over while they have a spoon in their mouth.
  3. Can your baby sit up well, with or without some support? If not, they’re not ready yet.
  4. Does your baby show interest in food? When eating in front of your baby, do they reach for your food or open their mouth? These are good signs.
  5. Does your baby seem less satisfied with their normal amount of formula or breastmilk?
  6. Does your baby immediately spit out food that is put in their mouth?  If so, they may not be quite ready yet. This is a reflex that will go away with time.

If you answered yes to all or most of these, it might be time to give some simple purees a try! In the beginning you should introduce your babe to one food at a time, leaving about 3-5 days in between new foods. This way, if your babe does end up being allergic or sensitive to something, you can pinpoint exactly what it is. You should keep a close eye on your little one for about an hour after trying a new food to make sure they aren’t showing any signs of a bad reaction. Signs to look out for include hives, difficulty breathing, extreme fussiness, or blood in stools. Once you have introduced two foods and your kiddo shows no signs of a bad reaction, you can try combining these foods. For example, we gave Liam carrots first, then bananas, then carrots and bananas together. Before one year of age, most of your babe’s nutrition should still be coming from breastmilk or formula, so try to keep food fun and stress free. For now, all you’re really doing is getting babe used to new flavors and textures. If a spoon is intimidating to your kiddo, you can try letting them eat with their hands (warning, this WILL be messy) or putting some food on your finger and letting them lick it off.

I’m lucky that my favorite grocery store right down the road from us has a great selection of organic and local produce for much better prices than Whole Foods (more like Whole Paycheck, right?!). I try to buy organic as often as possible, but if the store happens to be out of organic bananas this week, I buy the regular ones and I don’t lose sleep over it. I use these little containers for freezer storage and label the lids with some tape so I don’t have to worry about pulling one out and wondering “WTF is this?” I highly suggest introducing vegetables first, then fruits, then grains. The idea is that if they are given something super sweet (like fruit) or super “carby” (like rice cereal) first, they won’t like the more bitter flavor of vegetables. Grains can also lead to constipation in infants, which is no fun for anyone. Some doctors have differing opinions on when allergy prone foods should be introduced. Our’s suggested waiting until one year, so that’s our plan.  These foods include raw strawberries, citrus, peanut butter, shellfish, and eggs. Other foods that should be avoided before one year include honey, animal milk, and any fish high in mercury.

What You’ll Need: 

    • Blender (I have this one and it’s amazing)
    • Baby food containers 
    • 3 medium/large pots (you can use just one, it will just take longer)
    • Cutting board and knife
    • Vegetable peeler
    • Masking tape/labels
    • Pen or marker

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission for items purchased through my blog, at no cost to you. All items advertised are items that I actually use and all opinions are 100% my own!

 

Get Started:

Put three pots of water on to boil. Wash and dry all produce.  Peel carrots and cut into about 3 inch pieces and add to one pot. Cut ends off zucchini and cut into about 3 inch pieces and add to another pot. I bought already trimmed green beans, but if you did not, trim them now and add to the last pot. Boil all three pots for about 10 minutes until vegetables are very soft. Save the cooking water. In the meantime, peel two bananas and add to blender with a couple tablespoons of water or breastmilk. Blend until very smooth. Fill containers with banana puree, label, and set aside. If you only have one blender container, clean it out now. Add carrots with a few tablespoons of cooking water or breastmilk and blend until very smooth. Fill containers with carrot puree, label, and set aside. Fill blender half way with more carrots, cooking water or breastmilk, and one peeled banana. Blend until very smooth. Fill containers, label, and set aside. Wash out blender again. Add zucchini, some cooking water or breastmilk, and blend until very smooth. Fill containers, label, and set aside. Fill blender half way with more zucchini, add carrots, cooking water or breastmilk, and blend until very smooth. Fill containers, label, and set aside. Wash out blender and fill half way with zucchini and cooking water or breastmilk, and add one peeled banana and blend until very smooth. Fill containers, label, set aside. Wash out blender one last time (almost done!) and add green beans and some cooking water. Blend until very smooth, fill containers, label, set aside. Place all labeled containers in the freezer, wash that damn blender one last time, and you’re done!

TIPS: 

  • A bullet style blender really comes in handy here. They usually include more than one cup which eliminates some of the blender washing.
  • Cut pieces of tape or labels ahead of time. I just labeled mine with letters since the containers are so small (C for carrots, CB for carrots and bananas, you get it.)
  • Blend until super super smooth for the first month or two since baby isn’t used to chunky textures yet.
  • You can choose what order to introduce these foods in, but we did carrots first, then bananas, then carrots and bananas, then zucchini, zucchini and bananas, zucchini and carrots, then green beans. We also introduced a little bit of cinnamon this month and added it to the bananas and the bananas and carrots.
  • Remove one container of food from the freezer the night before and put it in the refrigerator to thaw. Use it within two days of thawing. Food that has not been frozen should be kept in the refrigerator and should be used within four days.
  • Take a few spoonfuls of food from thawed containers and put into a smaller microwave safe bowl. (You don’t want to serve directly out of the storage container unless baby will be eating all of it. This is just to prevent excessive bacteria growth in the food). Microwave for about 30 seconds and stir really really well. Test the temperature on your bottom lip or the inside of your wrist before serving.
  • Keep spoonfuls really small. Babes can’t handle too much in their mouths yet and are likely to spit most of it back out anyways.
  • Consider just undressing baby for feeding. They WILL get food everywhere. Less laundry for you!
  • If baby seems frustrated, aggravated, or upset while eating, stop and try again tomorrow. You want eating to be fun, not stressful. You don’t want baby to create a negative association with food.
  • Give baby a bottle or breastfeed FIRST! Like I mentioned before, most of your baby’s nutrition will still be coming from breastmilk or formula until one year. Give baby about half as much formula or breastmilk as they usually take before offering food. After food, if baby is acting like they are still hungry, offer another half of a bottle or the breast again.
  • If baby doesn’t seem to like a certain food, try it once or twice and then move on. You can introduce this food again later either alone, or combined with another food that they do like.
  • Not wild about these first food options? These are some other great first foods for baby:

Check back next month for another round of baby food recipes! Has your little one started solids? What was their favorite food so far? Share in the comments!

Xoxo,

The Crispy Mama

You May Also Like: Three Baby Food Recipes Featuring Apples


My Must-Have Apps For Pregnancy and Parenthood

Hi! Admitted iPhone addict here! As a first time mom, I constantly have little questions and I-wonders about my child and myself. There is no more easy, and accessible way to find the information that I need than a quick check on my phone. These are the apps that I used most during my pregnancy and as a parent.

  1. Ovia Fertility– This is what I used when we were trying to conceive (which happened way faster than we expected it to, so I suppose it’s pretty accurate).
  2. Ovia Pregnancy– My go-to app for looking up food and medication safety, and symptom checking. It also has that thing where it compares your unborn child to different fruits and vegetables, so that’s cute, I guess.
  3. Ovia Baby-Helps keep track of milestones and development. Plus it has interesting little articles and fun facts. I like to check it while kiddo naps.
  4. What To Expect– This falls under “pregnancy” and “parenting” because I still check it almost daily. It has interesting little facts and articles about your baby, both before and after birth. My favorite thing about it though, is the Groups. I joined an “October 2016 Babies” Group that is awesome. During pregnancy it was great to ask about certain symptoms or feelings that I was experiencing. Now, the Mamas in the group all have babies close to the same age, but with some a few weeks older and some a few weeks younger than mine. This is incredibly helpful because the Mamas of older babies can help me out and warn me about growth spurts, leaps, etc, a little before they happen and I can do the same for the Mamas of younger babes.
  5. Pampers Rewards– You’ll most likely start stocking up on diapers before baby arrives. Each box of diapers (assuming that you use Pampers) has a code in it that you can enter into the app to earn rewards points towards free baby stuff. Awesome.
  6. Amazon– Also known as the best app in general. Amazon is THE place to buy your diapers. You can get them as much as 50% off, and you can subscribe. I also ordered about 80% of my nursery stuff from Amazon. Its the best.
  7. The Wonder Weeks– If the phrase “mental leap” means nothing to you, download this now. It, unfortunately, isn’t free, but I cannot emphasize how helpful it has been to us. Basically, your baby will go through some periods where they are learning a whole lot all at once and it makes them act like little nightmares. This app lets you know exactly when to expect these leaps and tells you exactly what baby is learning. Leaps suck, but knowing what baby is learning and actually noticing them mastering these skills makes it a little better.
  8. White Noise– Great for helping baby sleep, great for helping giant uncomfortable pregnant ladies sleep, great for The 5 S’s. Just great. Our favorite is “Heavy Rain Pouring” but there are a ton on here to choose from.
  9. BabyTime– For the first couple weeks after bringing baby home, your brain will be fried. This helps you keep track of when baby last ate, how much or how long, how many wet and dirty diapers your baby has, and what those diapers look like (your pediatrician will ask).
  10. Facebook– Some of my best advice from other Mamas has come from the closed Facebook groups that I have joined. I suggest Milky Mommas, Sleepy Littles, Bringing Up The Littles, COSLEEPING, and Peaceful Parenting. All of the groups have no-bullying tolerance and have guidelines about what types of things that can be posted, so be relevant and be nice! Since they are closed groups, your friends will only be able to see that you are in the groups, not what you post.

What apps were a lifesaver for you while you were pregnant and as a parent? Share in the comments!

Xoxo,

The Crispy Mama

The Crispy Philosophy


Parenting in today’s world is arguably both easier and harder than it has ever been before at the same time. While our mothers and grandmothers never had a lot of the technology that we have today (hello, baby swing and white noise machine), they also didn’t face nearly as much scrutiny as today’s mothers. Social media has made it easier than ever to share those darling pictures of your little one with your dear Aunt Petunia, but it has also made it easier to judge and be judged by other mothers. I have caught myself on plenty of occasions looking at friend’s pictures of their kids doing various things (riding a bike without a helmet, chowing down on some candy, riding in a front facing car seat, you get the idea) and caught myself saying “what is she thinking?!” without taking a moment to reflect that there are probably Mamas out there thinking the same thing about me. Parenting these days seems to go one of two ways. You’re either a “crunchy granola” Mama or a modern technology, mainstream Mama. If you find yourself put off by the extreme nature of either of these options, I hear you. Enter: Crispy Parenting. Not quite crunchy, not totally mainstream. I’m not a child-raising expert and I don’t claim that any of this is the only way to do things. I also recognize that some of these philosophies may change as my child and I grow together. So what are the basic philosophies that  make me “Crispy”?

I Absolutely Vaccinate.

This will never be up for debate in my parenting book. Though it has been proven time and time again that vaccines DO NOT cause Autism, people still harbor some fear. Reflect for a moment on the Mamas to children with Autism. Consider this. By not vaccinating your child, you are telling these Mamas that you would rather your child be dead than be like their child. This is harsh. This makes people uncomfortable. But this is true. I understand the natural instinct to prevent injury to your child whenever possible, but putting your child (and other children) at risk for deadly disease is never okay. There are a few exceptions to this rule, like for children who have an allergy to vaccine ingredients. These children are another major reason to vaccinate if you can. By immunizing the majority of the population, we are making the world a much safer place for them. Some crunchy parents reason that the body can fight off any illness on it’s own without the aid of vaccinations. My question to these parents is, if your child can fight off full blown Polio, why can’t they fight off the (minimal, if any) side effects of the Polio vaccine? See the logic? Once again, vaccination is never ever up for debate, at all, for me. This is the one thing that I fully allow myself to judge other mothers on and I will never apologize for that. Vaccinate your children.

I Babywear.

Ahh, babywearing! One of the easiest ways to keep Mama and baby happy and close. I seriously use my Moby Wrap every single day for the majority of the day. My little guy loves to be snuggled and held. Some Mamas think that holding baby too much may spoil them. I politely disagree. You cannot spoil a child with too much love. People in other countries babywear all day every day, and studies have shown that these babies cry significantly less (seriously, like, almost never). Babies are meant to be close to their Mamas and slings and wraps help to mimic the womb, keeping babies comfy and happy.

I Avoid Screen Time, But Sometimes…

It has been proven that screen time before the age of three can be damaging to child development and behavior. Even after three, too much screen time is never a good thing. We live in a technology dependent world where children are constantly complaining of boredom. Children have become so used to being constantly entertained and stimulated that they no longer know how to use their imagination. “Go play outside,” you say. “How?” they ask. TV and smartphone apps have become an epidemic. This being said, every Mama needs a moment of peace, and if placing my child in front of the TV for a couple minutes while I make his bottle gives that to me, I do it. In my Crispy opinion, as long as you’re not using technology as a babysitter and as long as it isn’t preventing you from interacting with your child, turn on Finding Dory and take a moment to catch your breath (and maybe pour yourself a glass of wine while you’re at it).

I Do Not Believe In “Cry It Out”

Think back to the last time that you were really, really upset. Calming yourself down was kind of tough, right? Now imagine that you have absolutely zero life experience to draw from to help you deal with these upsetting emotions. Calming yourself would be nearly impossible. This is what your baby experiences. When you leave your baby alone in their crib to cry, they literally think that you have abandoned them and that you are never coming back. This is true until babies develop object permanence. When baby stops crying, they haven’t “self-soothed”, they have mentally shut down. We have all heard of fight or flight. What a lot of people don’t know is that it is actually fight, flight, or freeze. After enough panic, the body literally shuts down so you will not die. This is what is happening to your child. Some Mamas resort to Cry It Out out of desperation and I do not fault them, at all. Parenting is hard and ultimately every mother is just trying to do what is best for her child. Night waking is normal for children. Think about an average night of sleep for yourself. You wake several times but are able to put yourself back to sleep. Babies do not have the skills to put themselves back to sleep, and will not have these skills until they are developmentally ready. For me, if my son needs me, even in the middle of the night, I go to him. He is small and he has needs that must be met, and it is my job to meet them. I look at rocking my sweet boy to sleep as a privilege, not a burden. By meeting his needs consistently from the very beginning, we are forming a secure attachment and I am instilling confidence in him. Because of this, as he becomes older and more mentally developed, he will be less and less “needy”.  I have already seen this happening, even as early as four months. In the first couple months of his life, when Liam would wake at night, I would have to hold and rock him to calm him back to sleep. Now all it takes is a simple pat with my hand and a little “it’s okay, Mama’s still here,” and he’s right back to sleep. He knows without a doubt that if he needs me, I will be there.

I Formula Feed.

My entire pregnancy, I planned to breastfeed. I was so excited about the wonderful bond that it would create between us. I did all of the research I could. Right after birth, Liam latched on and we were off to a great start. Then time went on and things got worse and worse. I was in so much pain, almost as much pain as actual labor itself. I cried every time I fed him. I was so devastated, almost mourning the loss of this “wonderful bond” that I had been fantasizing about. Finally, I took a moment to come back to reality and realized that I was hurting us both. I was in physical and mental pain, he was always hungry because I would have to unlatch him before he was really full. I made my first formula bottle and cried. I made my second formula bottle and cried. This went on for about a week. Then I moved on and we have never looked back. He is a much happier baby, I am a much happier Mama, he is meeting his milestones, and growing like a weed. I still think that breastfeeding is a beautiful and wonderful thing and I still mourn the loss of that experience. But, I refuse to judge myself for making the right decision for myself and my child.

I Co-Sleep.

Co-sleeping can mean a few different things. I can be bed sharing, room sharing, or somewhere in between. Liam sleeps in our room, and will continue to do so until at least six months, but most likely one year. This is what is recommended to reduce the risk of SIDS. It also makes life a whole lot easier for me. When he wakes at night, a quick pat and some reassurance and we’re all back to sleep without anyone having to get out of bed. Major win. We also bed share sometimes. If he wakes early and I’m not ready to get up yet, if he wakes up scared at night, if he is in the middle of a growth spurt or a mental leap, or if he isn’t feeling well, I scoop him up and snuggle him up against me and we both go back to sleep. Again, major win and major cuddles.

I Make My Own Baby Food.

We skipped the traditional rice cereal as a first food in favor of organic vegetables and fruits. We plan to keep him on a mostly plant based, organic diet. We chose to go with vegetables first to get him used to the flavor. I didn’t want him to get accustomed to the super “carby” taste of rice cereal or oats first, or the super sweet flavor of fruits out of fear that he would later turn his nose up at “green stuff”. Once his menu expands, we will add brown rice cereal, oats, quinoa, and other grains into the mix. We will introduce him to a wide variety of flavors and textures to encourage adventurous eating and discourage picky eating. Until one year, all food is supplementary to breaskmilk or formula, so it’s mostly for fun. We plan to make him try all foods twice. If he doesn’t like something after two tries, I will never force him to eat it. I want to create a healthy relationship with food and eating. For that reason, we will also never use food as a reward. Food is necessary and should be enjoyed, but will not be used as a bribe, reward, or punishment. I looked into Baby Led Weaning and decided that it wasn’t for us. I am a big worrier and the risk of choking is too high for me to be comfortable. So for now, we are sticking to purees until he is a little more developmentally ready. All of this being said, we will absolutely indulge in occasional treats. On birthdays, we will have cake. On nights that Mama doesn’t want to cook, we will have pizza. If they are out or organic bananas at the grocery store, regular old bananas will do just fine.

I Will Not Spank My Children.

Spanking, popping, swatting, whatever you want to call it. It is violence and it is not something that I will encourage in our household. We are all trying to teach our children to be good people and setting an example with violence is absolutely not the way to do this. Children watch every single thing that we do and learn from it. As much as we say “do as I say, not as I do,” that’s simply not how it works. I want my children to respect me. I do not want my children to fear me.

“Time With” Instead Of “Time Out”

A lot of parents see “time outs” as a good alternative to spanking. While I do agree that it is better than hitting, consider “time with” (meaning sitting with Mama or Daddy for a while until kiddos are able to calm down) instead. By putting children in time out, we show them that when they are having a hard time handling their big emotions, that they will be isolated. Then we wonder why, as teenagers, they lock themselves away in their rooms rather than coming to us with their problems. Kids are small people with big emotions and it is my duty as a parent to help them learn how to deal with those emotions.  For us, this can be better accomplished by having “time with” and talking about why a behavior is unacceptable, why we feel the way that we do, and better ways to handle our emotions in the future.

I Offer Praise And Rewards

Some “crunchy” parents are against excessive praise or rewards for good behavior. I say, if you like a behavior, let them know and encourage them to repeat it. Offering a “great job!” or a sticker for being brave at the doctor, or helping Mama do the dishes makes kids feel good, and I am all about making my child happy.

I Encourage Individuality 

Children are held up to “average standards” for meeting milestones, behaviors, interests, etc. While meeting milestones is important and some behaviors are acceptable and some are not, every child is their own person. Because of this, we need to leave a little room for error. While one individual child may not sleep through the night at the “appropriate age”, they may sit up or roll over early. If my son shows an interest in playing with baby dolls or kitchen sets, we will get him a baby doll or a kitchen set. If, in the future, my daughter shows interest in playing with race cars, thats okay too. If my son decides that he only wants to wear purple shirts, he can wear purple shirts for as long as that continues to make him happy. I will not try to force my children into a mold of what I think that they “should” be. They are their own people, not little extensions of myself.

I Work Full Time 

While I would love to be a stay at home Mama to my little one, it just isn’t an option for us. To continue living the lifestyle that we do and to stay in our home, we need two sources of income. I also need my job for the benefits (my health insurance is the bomb). I am lucky enough to have parents that are able to watch my son during the day and to have a job that only requires me to work four days per week, and I am so so thankful for this. I know that my child is in good hands, but I still feel sadness every time that I leave him. I just make sure to get extra snuggles in on my days off.

I Show As Much Love As Possible

Children cannot be spoiled with too much holding, to many snuggles, too many kind words, or too much love. I try my best to remain present while I am with my child and offer as much encouragement and interaction as possible. No one has ever said “I wish I spent less time playing with my children.”

My Child Controls Their Own Body

If my son doesn’t want a haircut, he will not be forced. If my future daughter does not want her ears pierced, she will not be forced. If my children do not want to “give hugs and kisses” that is okay. Their body is their own and they will be allowed to make (healthy) decisions for themselves. So many things are out of a child’s control. Something as simple as a haircut should not be a cause of distress. By allowing the child to make these decisions themselves, I am setting them up for future healthy self-image and body autonomy.

I Enforce Appropriate Punishments

Essentially, make the time appropriate for the crime. I wouldn’t take away all of my child’s toys just because he spoke to me disrespectfully. I also wouldn’t only scold him if he takes my car for a joyride. These are obviously extreme examples, but the concept makes sense. Punishments that are either too harsh or not harsh enough are not effective. To be effective, punishments must be consistent and appropriate.

I Use Positive Language

This basically means that instead of telling a child “don’t run,” you would tell them “please, walk.” By telling them what to do instead, rather than just telling them what not to do, you are setting them up for more success. Children can’t follow instructions that are never given. Rather than “no hitting”, try “be gentle”. Instead of “stop yelling”, try “use your inside voice”. If  we want our children to act a certain way, we need to tell them how to do it. However, if my child is in immediate danger, I will not feel bad for a simple “stop” or “no” or “oh my gosh, do not jump off of that!”

No parenting method is foolproof, and no parent can stick to their beliefs 100% of the time.  We will make mistakes, just as our children will. These are simply my philosophies and guidelines that will help me be the best Mama that I can be, and my son be the best kiddo possible. Do you agree with Crispy parenting? Disagree? What would you do differently? Share in the comments, y’all! #KeepItCrispy

Xoxo,

The Crispy Mama