A Non-Comprehensive Guide To Starting Solids

Alternatively titled "Random Tips On Feeding Your Baby Solid Foods".

You are a new mom who has been faithfully following your pediatrician's advice to exclusively breastfeed and/or bottle feed your infant.  No cheating and adding rice cereal to the bottles, no sneaking them whipped cream - you are a rule follower.  Then somewhere between 4 and 5 months, your pediatrician hands a you a sheet on starting your baby on solids.  Enter paranoia/panic mode!

Okay, maybe that was just me, but even if you don't panic, starting solids can seem a little scary.  But trust me, it's not.  In fact, it's fairly easy.  Regardless, I'm going to give you my personal, random solid food tips.  Here we go.

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1. Start with rice cereal.  

Obviously.  This was on that sheet your pediatrician gave you, after all.  You mix the rice cereal with a little bit of breastmilk or formula until it reaches a still-pretty-runny consistency.  Rice cereal has no taste, so it's basically the same as giving them milk/formula, just a little thicker.  The whole point is to get them used to textures before you bring in the big guns - real, pureed baby food.

2. Don't go straight for the yummiest food.  

Once your baby is good and used to rice cereal, you get to try real baby food - now the fun begins!  But hold your horses - it might be tempting to go straight to sweet potatoes or bananas and watch your baby gobble it up with glee.  But my personal opinion is that you might as well get them used to the "yucky" foods first.  Think about it, would you want to go from sweet potatoes back to green beans?  Yeah, me neither.  And trust me, your baby will have plenty of fun just adjusting to something that actually has flavor.  So go with the green beans and carrots before you try the peaches and pears.

3.  Don't freak out if there's a change in color (if you know what I mean).  

It's probably not an adverse reaction, it's probably the peas you tried yesterday.  But if you see any blood or other concerning things in a diaper, or if your baby has another kind of reaction, discontinue the most likely culprit and call your doctor!

4.  Don't try more than one new food ingredient at a time.  

See previous tip.  You want to be able to quickly identify the culprit if your baby has a reaction.

5. Just because your baby doesn't open up, it doesn't mean they don't like the new food.  

Gwen likes peas.  But the first time we tried them, when she wanted another bite she pursed her lips and craned her neck toward the spoon, and I had to pry her lips open to get the food between - then she gulped it down.

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(Gwen, after her first meal of sweet peas.)

6.  Learn to perfect the scoop method.  

Give Baby a bite.  Baby will spit most of the bite back out.  Scoop the bite off Baby's face and re-insert.  Repeat until Baby actually swallows.

7.  Get ready for your husband to one-up you.  

I have taken a brief poll (i.e. my friends agreed with me), and dads are generally better at feeding the kiddos solids.  Derek can feed them and keep both of the kids looking like they just had a bath, but when I feed them it looks like they took a bath in whatever I'm feeding them.  And I swear they open up better for Derek too.  Don't take it personally, just use it as a way to convince your husband to take baby-feeding duty every now and then.

8.  Take pictures and video!  

I never took a messy-face photo or new-food video that I regretted.  Baby food is fun!  Adorable and fun.  Have fun with it.

9. Grab an extra spoon.  

Let your baby hold it (see picture below) while you employ the scoop method (see #6).  This will help distract them from grabbing at the spoon you are using to feed them, and the baby food jar, and your hair, and it will encourage their sense of independence.  They're too little to realize that they aren't really feeding themselves just because they get to hold a spoon.

(Wyatt at about the same age as Gwen is now.  Look how little he was!)

And this concludes my non-comprehensive guide to introducing solids.  

Experienced mamas, speak up!  Anything else you think new moms should keep in mind when they take the leap to solid foods?

Summer Visit

I'm still working on a post about our camping vacation, so stay tuned for that!  However, Derek's brother and sister-in-law flew in for part of June this year - it was so fun to have them here and go do a few things together.  I never got to share the pictures, so I thought I'd post them now.

Gwen got to meet her aunt and uncle for the first time!

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We all decided to go out one day, and I hung out with Wyatt and Gwen in the car while Derek and his family went on a cave tour.  I just knew Wyatt wasn't going to like being in a cave, so I thought it'd be best for us to wait a couple more years before we try that.

After the tour, we went out to lunch in one of the tourist-y towns around here.  Wyatt really wanted to help push Gwen in her stroller.  His older cousin was such great help with keeping an eye on him when he wanted to push the stroller around the parking lot!

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After that we went to see some waterfalls in the mountains, and we climbed 200+ stairs to reach the top!  

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Once we got up there, Gwen decided she was hungry (even though she just ate), and she cried for ten minutes while Derek ran all the way back down to the car for the bottle.  I felt so bad - for Gwen and for Derek! Then we finally got to the bottom again and Derek ran back up to get a picture for me, just because he wanted to (thanks Hon!).  So Derek ended up going up and down three times!  I was shocked that he wasn't more sore the next day.

The next day everyone came over to our house for lunch, and we had a nice visit at home.

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Jeff and Rae brought bubbles for Wyatt (he still loves bubbles)!

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We decided spur-of-the-moment to go out to dinner later, which was nice.

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Later in the week we went down to a local kid's play-place and let the kids run around for a while.  Wyatt was really interested in the painting.

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Painting with his cousin!

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Went off the paper here and there, but he was concentrating so hard!  It was cute.

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His finished masterpiece!

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Riding around on the trike in the play area.

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Gwen got lots of attention from her aunts and uncles and Gramie, so she was as happy as a clam.

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We went out to McDonald's afterward for lunch, and Wyatt followed his cousin clear to the top of the playland!  He was having so much fun, I had to go up there to get him to come back down.  We'll have to work on the coming down part.

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Then Derek's mom and our sister-in-law watched this kids later while Derek and I went out with my two brothers-in-law to watch the new Star Trek!  Which was really good, and way better than the first one, I think.

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We came back to a delicious dinner that Rae made for us!

We were sad when we had to say goodbye, because we don't get to see Jeff and Rae that often, but we had such a nice time with them here.  Hopefully we can get out there again next year to visit them again!

Things I Learned On Vacation This Year

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Things I learned on Vacation This Year:

1.  If you think you're developing Shingles before you leave, just fill the prescription your doctor calls in for you.

2.  Shingles hurts.  A lot.

3. Try not to forget about the bananas for the first two days.  By day three your whole car will smell like over-ripe bananas.

4.  Staying with relatives really can make your vacation fun and less stressful, especially when you have kids two and under!

5. Don't bring the diaper bag while camping - you won't need it.  The car becomes diaper-changing central, and it goes with you everywhere.

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6. If you decide to change your entire plan for vacation mid-trip, realize it's probably going to end up costing more money than you think it is.

7.  It's okay to take a picture by an auto lot sign if it's the best Route 66 sign available.

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8.  Road trips are great times to catch up on reading, and my instinct to always bring more books than I think I will read payed off!  

9.  When camping, the car will just not stay organized.  Or clean.  You must put your OCD tendencies on the back burner until you get home.

10.  Tent camping really is a lot of fun!  I had never been camping in a tent before, and I was surprised at how much fun I had.  Even  Especially when the kids decided to snuggle on our air mattress with us.  Good memories in the making!

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Lots more pictures and a full recap coming soon! 

Why I Didn't Wear A Veil (Simply Bridal Giveaway!)

When I got married, I decided not to wear a veil.  

I liked the idea of a veil, and there was one at the bridal store that I actually liked, but it was half the cost of my dress!  It's amazing how pricey they can get.  I didn't really need it to achieve the look I was going for, and it wasn't in the budget, so I ended up not wearing one.

I was happy not having a veil, but if I had been able to find a more affordable one that I liked I might have worn it for the ceremony.

Recently I was contacted by a representative of Simply Bridal, which is a discount online bridal shop - I poked around on their website, and they have a gorgeous selection of veils for deeply discounted prices!  I think if I had worn a veil at my wedding, I would have picked one like this:

They also have a huge selection of dresses.  This one stood out to me, (I admit, largely because of the name):

Simply Bridal has offered to give one of my readers a veil of their choice!  

Or for those of us who are already married, you can choose a piece of their bridal jewelry - if I were to pick one, I think I'd get this one, but that's just me.  It would have gone perfect with the earrings I wore on my wedding day, but I think it'd be pretty to wear now too!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below!  Giveaway will end on July 24th.  Good luck!

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