Sunday, December 30, 2007

Proper Timing of Solids

I have been asked a lot when I am going to start Charlotte on solid food. I’ve made it clear that I am going to wait until she is at least 6 months old and begins to show interest.

Many moms ask why they should delay solids until 6 months?
Interest: It seems their baby is interested in food and that is one of the cues given on Baby Center. However, as one poster noted, our babies are also interested in the watching us type and fold laundry. Does that mean they are ready for these tasks? No. Babies have a natural curiosity about everything going on around them. This curiosity is what helps their brains to grow and develop. If we take away their best source of nutrition, we may impede their development.

Sleeping: So, let’s give the baby solid food so we can get more sleep? That seems awfully selfish to me. Setting aside the single mom who has to work 2 jobs to make ends meet (since that is the exception, not the norm), the vast majority of us can deal with waking every 3-4 hours to nurse a baby. I have said several times to those who will listen that I feel so good when I am breastfeeding. And I don’t even just mean the about the benefits to my daughter. I feel so good because the act of breastfeeding releases oxytocin (a happy hormone) into my system, giving me the desire to continue. God designed our bodies to do this so we can get through those night feedings. There are many more arguments against this reason. I highly recommend you read this article that is based on research and provides links to other relevant research.

What do the ‘experts’ say?
You can find an ‘expert’ to say just about anything you want. I know that. And that 86.7 % of all statistics are made up on the spot. However, it is important to remember that not every pediatrician is an expert. They have specialties as well, areas of extra interest that often don’t include infant nutrition. I can tell from reading the message boards on Baby Center that many pediatricians give their patients ‘permission’ to introduce solids before 6 months, even though the best in their field say otherwise. Why do they do this? I can’t be sure… but most likely it has to do with the amount of time it would take out of their schedule to give more direction and support to delaying solids. I won’t get on the soapbox of declining healthcare… but I think it contributes to the early use of solids.

Since Baby Center is one of the first sites that pops up when a mom goes looking for information about how to raise her baby, let’s look at what they say.
On Sitting – “By the way, most pediatricians recommend waiting until your baby is sitting with minimal support before starting him on solid foods.”
On Solids -
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for at least six months — though parents will attest that some babies are eager and ready to eat solids earlier.”
“You can introduce solids any time between 4 and 6 months if your baby is ready.”
“His digestive system simply isn't ready for solids until he nears his half-birthday.”
They contradict themselves a lot in this article. My belief is they do this so they can appease the parents who decide to give solid foods before the APA recommended time of 6 months. I think they do this so they can keep their audience since Baby Center is also a store that sells all kinds of stuff for babies and older kids.

Baby Center Message Boards
I read a few pages of posts on this thread and believe it definitely supports my idea of what the Baby Center readers are looking for. The only thing I can really agree with on this thread is that the mother needs to do what she thinks is best for her child. Notice, I don’t think she should do what she FEELS is best. We should be thinkers, that is how God designed us. He gave us breastmilk as the perfect food for a baby and there is no other food in nature that has as high a calorie content as it. It is important that we carefully consider what is happening to our babies when we give them something other than breastmilk. I don’t want to get into the breastmilk vs. formula debate here (there is no doubt what I think is best). I just wanted to focus on introducing solid foods into our babies’ diets.

Disclaimer: I don’t think moms who give formula or solids before 6 months are bad moms. I just wish there was a better support system for moms so they didn’t feel like they had to make these choies based on inaccurate information.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Feliz Navidad!

Yeah, I know... I'm a dork. I'm on my laptop on Christmas day. But that's okay... I'm not being sacrilegious or anything. We celebrated the REAL holiday, the birthday of Jesus, yesterday. Today was about giving gifts to family members so it is okay for me to be on the computer. They are watching the movie Cars.
I thought I'd share some pictures from our celebrations.
The collage we put together for Nana, Charlotte's grandmother on her father's side. We had lunch with her on Friday.

Bruce got very excited over his big gift from me - a new camera! I threw him off so that he wouldn't expect it by dropping hints that I had just been too busy with Charlotte and work to find time to order it for him. He wanted the Canon A540 to replace his A80 which doesn't work anymore. We opened gifts with my family on Saturday morning.

On Saturday, Charlotte got pooped out from all of the excitement. Isn't it cute how her legs got folded over while she slept?

2 nights ago we decided to go out and look at Christmas lights. The particular street we choose had a backlog of cars, so we got out and walked while Grandma and Grumpy followed along. It was kind of neat and Charlotte especially enjoyed looking at the lights up close, but one street's worth of lights was enough for us. We headed back for hot cocoa after this.

A new tradition is being formed that when Bruce and I have some time off and go out of town, we like to find an art cafe and paint pottery to commemorate the occasion. This year we took my parents along. Grumpy was a bit reluctant and decided to get his hair cut at a nearby barbershop instead, but when he was done he came to hang out with us and got sucked in. I'll post pictures of our creations after we pick them up tomorrow. For now, just know that Grumpy thought this was one of the most relaxing things he had ever done.
This morning Charlotte had a lot of fun playing in her exersaucer. I wasn't sure it was possible to smile with a fist in the mouth, but Charlotte proved me wrong!

Monday, December 24, 2007

12 Days of Christmas

I am sure most everyone has seen this by now, but it is too great to not share with the last few who haven't. Plus, I want to be able to find it again for myself, so why not archive it in my blog?

My family and I are celebrating the birth of Jesus today by going to a candlelight service tonight and having a birthday party for Jesus. I am baking an angel food cake (devil's chocolate cake just didn't seem right!) right now. We'll get to enjoy it along with a reading of the Christmas story later tonight. I can't wait!

Tomorrow, we will celebrate the secular holiday with gift-giving to one another and the reading of The Legend of St. Nicholas. It tells the story of the real St. Nick in a way that children can relate to. I know Charlotte isn't old enough to appreciate the story just yet, but we want to begin our family's Christmas traditions this year so they become second nature in years to come. Additionally, we really want to make the focus more on the birthday of Jesus and the giving of gifts.

Disclaimer: I know Jesus wasn't born on December 25, or 24 for that matter. However, because the miracle of his birth is so important, I think it is wise to take at least 1 day out of the year to celebrate God becoming man.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thanksgiving & Relatives

You are probably wondering why my post is titled 'Thanksgiving.' Well, you see, things got a little busy and either Charlotte or I have been sick for the last couple of weeks so I only realized last night that I never posted any Thanksgiving pictures.

We spent the weekend at my brothers who, as I did mention here, hosted a wonderful dinner with his wife Michelle.

[pause to go search for Thanksgiving pictures]

Umm... I don't have any! How is it possible that I didn't take any pictures all weekend? I have no idea. If I had taken them, they would be on my laptop, but there aren't any. Oh my... I've got baby brain bad!

Oh well... I guess I'll just share some pictures from last weekend. Charlotte and I went with my mom to St. Petersburg to visit her family. Charlotte had not had a chance to meet her Great-Grandfather or her Aunt Terry and the stars finally aligned to make it possible.
Here is Great-Grandpa holding Charlotte like an old pro. She is the first great-grandbaby in the family (both sides I think). We spent some time at his house (which my mom grew up in) oohhing and aahhing over the many renovations that have taken place since we last visited. From there we went to see his wife Kathy at work. (I call her Grandma Kathy, but I don't think she likes the 'grandma' part so much coming from a 30-year old). She married my grandpa (who I used to call pop-pop, don't ask, I don't know!) just a little over a month after I was born.

We also got to spend some time with my Aunt Terry. Some Christ-mas presents were exchanged then we went to lunch together. Here is Charlotte with her Great-Aunt Terry. Terry had a brain injury from a lack of oxygen shortly after she was born resulting in some mental issues. She hadn't been part of the family life for several years (I don't remember her from my growing up years). Then, recently, she has been coming back into our lives and is a joy to talk to. Charlotte is cranky in this picture because she was ready to nurse.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Decorations

I finally had a chance today to put up some Christmas decorations. I hadn't really planned on putting any up since we won't actually be here on Christmas day, but I changed my mind... clearly. :-)

This is my nativity set. It was a gift from my parents several years ago. They knew how much I admired a similar one my mom had so they got me my own. Hopefully I will have it for a long time and be able to pass it on to one of my children. There are 2 angels that go with the set but I don't have room on top of my entertainment center for them too. Yes, it is a pretty large set. It takes up 3 large boxes! I love nativities and have a few around the house. I'll try to take more pictures to share with you in the next week or so. I am also missing a box of nativities (I had several) and hopefully I will find them soon!

Here is Charlotte's first Christmas ornament. It is, of course, a Hallmark ornament. They make the best ones, don't they? Since I am not putting up a tree this year I decided to pick 3 of our favorite ornaments and place them on the stocking hangers with the stockings. Around the base of Charlotte's ornament it says, "'It must be delightful,' said Pooh, 'to be so brand-new.'" You can kind of make out my ladybug in the background.

And finally, here is a picture of our menorrah. I know, we aren't Jewish, but I think the story of how God blessed the Jews and the reason behind the Hannakkuh celebration is beautiful. We bought this one at Bombay Company several years ago. And yes, I know, this isn't a Christmas decoration. But the 7th day of Hannakkuh just started when the sun went down today so it is timely.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Quick Snack

Charlotte isn't feeling well this weekend. She has a nasty headcold and a low-grade fever. She won't hardly let us put her done and has been comfort nursing every hour or so, even overnight. That really means that mommy has to hold her all of the time. I don't really mind it though... until it's my turn to clean out her nose. She hates the aspirator!

Since she is sick I decided to stay home from church with her this morning. I don't like missing church, but if I had taken her I would have missed it anyway because I would have needed to stay in the nursery with her. I did manage to be rather productive while I was home and got started on our Christmas gifts for our co-workers. I'll post pictures later... I don't want to spoil the gift in case any of them reads my blog.

Bruce called about 35 minutes before our adult Bible study began to tell me he left his lesson at home and it was our week to provide snacks for the class. Fortunately, I kind of thought it was our week and had an idea in mind. It was quick and used what I already had without having to go to the store and spending $10 on bagels or donuts. I made drop biscuits from a pre-made baking mix. I dropped those off with some homemade apple butter and raspberry jam (the jam wasn't homemade). I was able to deliver them fresh from the oven and still warm. To me, this was a very frugal, yet still elegant, solution to our last minute need.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Zombie Arm

Charlotte has developed a new syndrome. I am calling it Zombie Arm. She leaves her arm out for very long periods of time, reaching for unseen objects. Unseen by me and Dr. Dad at least.
This afternoon we went for a 2-mile walk and I wore her in the Baby Bjorn. Most of that time she was holding her right arm out, as seen in the picture below, which I took with my camera phone as we walked. Who knows what she is reaching for!

True Story

I did it. I finally overcame one of my greatest fears about teaching – and it happened purely by accident.

I was thirsty this morning, so I drank more than my usual amount before school. About halfway through our first block I had to go to the bathroom. I’m an adult so I thought, “surely I can hold it. I expect my students to do that, it’s only 30 more minutes”

After another couple of minutes, I realized I was incredibly uncomfortable and wouldn’t be able to wait. So, I asked a neighbor teacher to keep an eye on my class while I made a quick visit to the bathroom. Once I was done, I resumed the lesson already in progress.

While I was explaining the next task, a couple of my students were snickering. I hadn’t seen them talking to one another but the giggles were distracting. Little did I know I would discover something even more distracting than giggles. I asked one of the girls, “what’s so funny?” She refused to say and wouldn’t look me in the eyes. Hmmm… what could it be?

It dawned on me what was so funny and I slowly reached my hand around to the back of my skirt to discover that it was tucked into my underwear! Oh my! I quickly pulled it out so that all was covered and gave a laugh myself. It really was funny but I was disappointed that none, not even one, of my students tried to save me from that embarrassment.

The moral of my story – follow your mother’s advice and always wear clean underwear, you never know who will see it. (Thankfully, I was!)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Charlotte's First Trip to Sea World

Last Friday, we made a last minute decision to visit Sea World. We have a Fun Pass that was given to us as an anniversary present and needed to get a little more use out of it before it expires at the end of the year. Our trip was a lot of fun and we even got a big splash from Shamu at the Miracles of Christmas show. Charlotte got quite a look of shock on her face but braved the wet socks very well (that was the only part I didn't get covered in time).

I really enjoyed the Miracles show. They didn't try to make this about a winter holiday, but instead talked about Christmas and sang Christmas carols. Bruce has some video I might find time to upload soon, but I've been busy posting a lot today so you'll most likely have to wait, if I even get to it. At the end of the show, they had a "choir" singing along with some fancy soloist. I don't think it was a real choir though. My guess is that they had their employees all put on the blue choir robes and come out to sing for effect. The people just didn't look that into it, they way you would expect paid performers, or even a volunteer choir, to look. So that part of the show was kind of lame.

Oh, another cool part was when the discussed the miracle of children (no mention of Jesus though). A video of momma whale nursing baby whale was playing on the large moving screens and at the same time, I was sitting in the stands nursing Charlotte. It was kind of touching. For me at least. :-)


Charlotte has a new toy that I put together last week. It is an Evenflo Exersaucer. I think it took about 45 minutes to assemble, but so far it seems way worth it! There are lots of little doo-dads for her to play with.

The video below is of the 2nd or 3rd time we put her in the saucer. She's pretty good at navigating around the circle. Her seat can spin if she moves her feet enough. We can lock it if we need to, but so far have let her experience the circular movement as much as she wants. Charlotte's tiny little feet just barely reach the saucer disk on the bottom, but it is just enough for her to work on strengthening her leg muscles and spin herself around. I'll try to get some pictures of her cute little toes reaching for bottom. For now though, enjoy this video!

Here's a picture to hold you over in case you don't have time to watch the video right now.

The 45-minute assembly was fairly frustrating, especially because I tried to do it without reading the directions. :) Normally, that isn't how I do things, but for some reason my baby brain was in charge when I put it together. There was only one time I had to ask for help from my husband, who got all of the upper-body strength in this relationship. He needed to push down on the super springs underneath those yellow caps so the exersaucer would bounce.
I like that Charlotte has a variety of toys, textures, and colors to play with. I also like that I can move the toys around (except for the book and the rolling rattle) to give her some variety and change.
EDIT: We took this with us on our one week vacation to Hilton Head in December 2007. The exersaucer easily folded down and since the toys are removable, we did not have much trouble fitting it into the car. Remember though, I drive a Ford Focus!

She's not a morning person

It would appear that Charlotte is taking after her mommy. She does not like to wake-up in the morning. This video proves it.


There are lots of blogs in the blogosphere that give away stuff. Most of it requires you to leave a comment and as I am a blogging lurker (I rarely comment) I don't participate in those giveaways. There are however, some blogs that just require you to fill out an entry form with your name and e-mail address. Challies Dot Com is one of those. I am really excited about Tim Challies' blog giveaway this month. It looks like something the youth at my church would really enjoy. Click on the link below to learn more and enter. Use referral code 40587 when you enter.

December Giveaway