Monday, February 25, 2013

Night waking...

Ok, so I know I've been a totally absentee "blogger".  To be perfectly honest, we've been struggling with sleep in the Randazzo house and I will only allow myself on the computer if/when Nicolette is asleep.

I don't know what happened to my Sleeping Beauty.  Up until Nicolette was 5 months old she would fall asleep, whenever, wherever and stay asleep for what seemed like forever!  Then things suddenly changed...I would put her down in her crib at bedtime and she would stay asleep for maybe an hour or hour and a half and then she would pop up.  I'd see her little head popped up at the monitor and her trying to push onto all fours to crawl around while crying.  So I'd go back upstairs try to comfort her in the crib (did not work at putting her back to sleep ONE SINGLE TIME over the past 2 months) and I'd end up picking her up, rocking and/or nursing her back to sleep and we'd repeat this cycle over and over either until morning or until I gave up and brought her to bed with me.  (More often than not the latter of the two is how it honestly ended).  I had maybe two nights total over the last 2 1/2 months where she would sleep 5-7 hours without waking.

In the midst of all of this of course I was internet researching and I decided that it must be developmental.  A lot of babies have milestone related night waking.  They get so excited about a new "trick" (i.e. pushing up to all fours, crawling, babbling, etc) that they wake up in the night hours to "practice".  The way she immediately popped up onto all fours I was sure she was waking up to practice pre-crawling and crawling.  Well, milestone related night waking surely cannot last 2 1/2 months NON-STOP right???

Once or twice (against my every gut feeling) I decided to try to do some "sleep training".  I'd stand by the crib and pat Nicolette's back when she would cry and try to calm her down.  This was not successful, not one single time.  I'd wait and try to soothe her but she quickly works herself up into an absolute frenzy...gasping for air sobbing, shrieking frenzy.  I could not deal!  There was one night where I slept on the floor of the nursery and out of sheer exhaustion I did let her cry herself to sleep.  Two days later she had a little tooth popping through and I felt horrible that my baby was in pain that night and I didn't just bring her to bed with us like my gut was telling me to :(

So we're back to co-sleeping but now I'm wondering if there's a bigger issue.  Nicolette earned her nickname "Tootie" early on for good girl has gas and can rip some big ones.  It doesn't seem to bother her at all during the day (never has) she's happy, smiley, content....just toots and keeps doing whatever she's doing.  This past week I started sitting in the nursery with her more while she's sleeping and I've noticed that she usually toots shortly after waking up and crying so I wonder this whole time, has gas been causing her to wake up????  She'll usually scream/cry, wake up, roll around, toot, then be wide awake crying for a while.  It breaks my heart because I can see that she's in pain, I'll try to bicycle her legs to release the gas and she tightens up stiff as a board making it impossible to move her little legs.  When she's in bed with us she still wakes up, toots and whimpers a little bit but since I'm right here and able to comfort her within seconds she's much quicker to settle down and then doesn't suck in all that extra air from crying and the gas doesn't seem to be as bad as when she's on her own in the crib.

I of course examined her diet to see if there's a culprit...I've switched from Baby Led Weaning to Purees and back and also done a combo and it doesn't seem to change the gas situation so that made me begin to question MY diet.

I have several friends whose babies have dairy and/or soy sensitivities and they've either had to A) give up breastfeeding or B) totally eliminate dairy and soy from their diets to make breastfeeding work.

When Nicolette was a teeny, tiny baby she didn't show any of the classic signs of a dairy/soy sensitivity (i.e. arching back while eating, constant crying, lots of spitting up, vomiting, etc.)  In fact, Nicolette hardly ever spit up, has never vomited and really doesn't cry during the day time at all.  Up until she was 5 months old, night time wasn't really an issue either...then again we were co-sleeping all the time and she would wake several times, fuss a bit and I would easily feed her and she'd be back asleep before ever completely waking up.  Recently I've been reading that night waking can be a sign in older babies of a dairy/soy intolerance.  I don't know if this is what's causing our night waking and gas issues but I'm definitely willing to give it a shot so today was the first day that I consciously went dairy and soy free.

Now this is no easy task for this cheese loving girl.  But at least the dairy is pretty easily identifiable and therefore easier to cut out.  Soy on the other hand is is in almost EVERYTHING in some shape or form.  I had the hardest time finding soup today that had no dairy or soy.  You'd think that simple tomato soup would have a short ingredient list...not so.  You really have to read labels so closely and you'll be surprised that it seems like 90% of packaged foods do contain some form of soy.  I've read that it can take anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks for your body to cycle out all of the dairy and soy that's built up so we'll test this out for a month or so and see how it goes.  If you have any yummy soy/dairy free recipes to share with me please do so!  Edamame was my go to snack/meal and I will miss it so!!!!

Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

7 Months Old!!!! (and crawling, kind of)

Yesterday was Nicolette's 7 month Birthversary!  Pictures were next to impossible because this girl is ready to CRAWL.  As soon as I set her down she pulls forward onto all fours (pretty dangerous in the glider I usually take her pictures in each month).  And it was hard to get a smile because she was irritated that I wasn't letting her pull forward on to her tummy.  She's such a big girl!

At 7 months old Nicolette is starting to crawl, loves avocados, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash, oatmeal fingers (with flax and chia), scrambled egg yolk, and steamed kale.  She wasn't totally wild about green beans, didn't hate them though.  And she wasn't too excited about banana either (we were surprised on that one and will have to try more fruits this month).  She loves blowing raspberries and is making more consonant sounds and babbling.  Her favorite word to say is "agua"....who knew that Nicolette would already be bilingual?  ;-)

February will be a fun month!  Nicolette has a few birthday parties to go to this month...she's quite the socialite!  And I'm off to chase this baby who is scooching around the house...bye!!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Baby Led Weaning-ish

In my last post (about a million years ago...I'm such a bad blog updater) I touched briefly on Baby Led Weaning.  Die Hard Baby Led Weaners would say that true Baby Led Weaning (or BLW for short) is when your baby eats exactly what mommy and daddy eat at meal time.  So if mommy and daddy are having Mexican, then baby gets a little mexican (and maybe some indigestion).  If mommy and daddy are having steak (almost never happens in this house) then baby gets a little steak.  You just give them small-ish pieces of your food and let them eat as much or as little as they would like.  The point is not for them to eat a complete meal, your baby should still be getting the majority of his or her nutrition and calories from breastmilk (or formula) up until he or she is a year old.

So that's why I say that we're Baby Led Weaning-ish.  I have not introduced any purees and don't really plan to unless we're totally pinched for time and I have to dig out one of my emergency organic baby food pouches that I have stored in the pantry.  I do prepare special meals for Nicolette each night and actually now I just eat whatever she's eating for dinner...Nicolette has sweet potatoes, mommy has sweet potatoes, Nicolette has kale, mommy has kale.  It has made life easier for me.

***Now you might ask what does the Italian eat for dinner?  Because those who know my husband and his appetite know that he isn't living off of kale and butternut squash :-)  He's now on the Body for Life diet so I make his meals a few days in advance (roast off a ton of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs and prepare individual containers of a starch and green vegetable for him to eat...he eats 5-6 times a day now so he's on his own little schedule).  It's working for him...he's already lost almost 3 inches off of his midsection.***  

In the 3 weeks that Nicolette has been eating "solids" she's already enjoyed a pretty wide variety of foods.  I've stuck mostly to vegetables, but do plan to introduce fruits soon!  Nicolette eats "solids" twice a day (breakfast and dinner - at the same time that I eat my breakfast and dinner) and I think that she is really eating a good amount of food.  I say think because it's hard to tell between what is mashed up on the tray, on the floor, in her hair and in her chunky little hands how much she has actually ingested.

Here are a few things that have been helpful to us:

  1. Cut/slice food into "finger" shapes or wedges.  Babies like to have a "handle" to pick up their foods 
  2. If you're cooking food, be careful not to let the food get too mushy...I've noticed that if Nicolette has too much trouble picking it up then she loses interest
  3. If your food is slimy or slippery you can roll it in some ground flaxseed meal to make it easier for little fingers to pick up
  4. Babies can snack on raw veggies too (Nicolette has liked gnawing on celery, red bell peppers and cucumbers...she takes after her mama).  She doesn't actually "eat" that much yet, but once her little teeth come in that will all change I'm sure! 
  5. Don't be afraid of seasonings!  I use a tiny bit of sea salt on all of her roasted veggies(you can read about the benefits of sea salt here).  I've also introduced pepper and cinnamon and plan to introduce some cumin, chili powder and garlic in the next couple of weeks.  This is the prime time to get baby used to eating different flavors.  I've read that they are most open to flavors and textures between 6 and 8 months.  

Here are a few pictures (and recipes) from our Baby Led Weaning adventure, so far we haven't stumbled across anything that she doesn't like...

Oatmeal "Fingers" & Scrambled Egg Yolks
1/2 c. Organic Old Fashioned Oats
1 1/4 c. Water (or breast milk*)
Dash Cinnamon
2 T. Ground Flaxseed Meal
2 T. Chia Seeds
Preheat oven to 350
Combine first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and boil for appx. 5 minutes until most of the water has been absorbed (you don't want this to be too wet). 
Remove from heat and stir in flax and chia
Spread mixture into a loaf pan and bake 10-15 minutes until firm and dry on top.  Let cool. 
Remove with a spatula and cut crosswise into "finger" shapes.  (I get 8 sliced out of my loaf pan)
Store in an airtight container in the fridge and serve cold, room temp or heated slightly in the oven. 
*If you use breast milk, do not bring to a rapid boil and watch it carefully as you don't want your liquid gold to scorch.  It will take longer to cook this way. 
**I have also made this and added an organic egg yolk into the mixture along with the flax and chia (let the oatmeal mixture cool slightly and stir immediately or else the yolk will scramble instantly)

Scrambled Egg Yolk
1 Organic Large Egg
1 tsp. Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Heat 1 tsp of extra virgin coconut oil in a pan over med-low heat.  
Crack egg (duh).  
Separate white and yolk.  
Scramble lightly 
Cool and serve to yo little one

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Sweet Potatoes 
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
1 Sweet Potato
1 Tbsp. Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Dash Cinnamon, Sea Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 375
Scrub Sweet Potato 
Peel both pieces with a potato peeler
Cut in half
Slice into "finger" or wedge shapes
Put Coconut Oil on a baking sheet and toss in the oven for a minute to melt it
Place squash on baking tray and lightly season with Cinnamon, Sea Salt and Pepper
Toss to coat
Roast 15 minutes, then turn the potatoes then roast for about 10 more minutes.
Keep an eye on it in the oven, you don't want it to burn on the edges.  A little caramelization on the tops and edges is good, golden brown is good, charred and black is bad.  

Steamed Broccoli
2-3 Organice Broccoli Florets

Wash Broccoli
Using a steamer basket and saucepan, cover the bottom of the pan with water just below the bottom of the steamer basket.
Bring to a boil, place florets in basket, cover and steam until you reach your desired tenderness.
*DO NOT MAKE IT TOO MUSHY...counter to what you might think, it is best if the veggies are cooked just a tad past al dente.  If it is too mushy it will fall apart and/or slip in their little hands and they'll quickly lose interest in feeding themselves.
**Nicolette mostly sucks the florets off of the stem/stalk.  She gnaws on the stalk part and mushes it up some but doesn't eat much of it.

Steamed Kale
Steamed Kale
Organic Kale

Wash Kale
Remove ribs from kale and coarsely chop.
Using a steamer basket and saucepan, cover the bottom of the pan with water just below the bottom of the steamer basket.
Bring to a boil, place kale in basket, cover and steam until wilted but still bright green

Butternut Squash and Avocado 
Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash

1 Butternut Squash
1 Tbsp. Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Dash Sea Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 375
Cut top and bottom off of squash.  Cut the long, thinner end from the base/bulb (just makes it easier to peel and cut.  
Peel both pieces with a knife
Cut both pieces in half
Scoop out the seeds (I use a melon baller, gets them right out!)
Slice into "finger" or "fry" shapes
Put Coconut Oil on a baking sheet and toss in the oven for a minute to melt it
Place squash on baking tray and lightly season with Sea Salt and Pepper
Toss to coat
Roast 15 minutes, then turn your squash pieces then roast for about 10 more minutes.
Keep an eye on it in the oven, you don't want it to burn on the edges.  A little caramelization on the tops and edges is good.  You want your baby to enjoy different textures.  

Green Beans

Organic Green Beans

Wash & trim beans

Using a steamer basket and saucepan, cover the bottom of the pan with water just below the bottom of the steamer basket.
Bring to a boil, place a few green beans in basket, cover and steam until softened slightly but still bright green
*Nicolette couldn't get through the actual bean part but she did suck the seeds out of the inside and mushed the beans up quite a bit with her little gums.

Bon Apetit to you and your tiny culinarians!