Our Approach to Baby Led Weaning

Not long after Caleb was born, I discovered the idea of Baby Led Weaning (BLW). BLW is what it sounds like – letting the child feed themselves about the time they reach 6 months and are showing interest in food. For Caleb, he started showing interest in food at about 4 months, but we held off for the most part offering him anything.

The biggest takeaway here is “weaning”. In the United States, weaning is considered to be leading a baby off of breast milk while the United Kingdom, weaning is more so where you simply add complementary foods to the child’s diet. After all, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire. The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.

I fell in love with the approach even if the rest of my family isn’t quite sold. The biggest concern that they’ve expressed is choking. I remember the first time my mom watched Caleb feed himself. She quickly told me to stop because she couldn’t handle watching him do it. There is a HUGE difference between gagging and choking however. I know it is hard watching Caleb struggle but as long as I stay calm, he stays calm.

Baby Led Weaning can help a child develop into a good eater. If they eat it, they eat it, if not, they don’t. You don’t force them to eat it. You allow them to explore and feed themselves. It’s meant to be fun, after all and it is fun. And messy. Soooo messy. You can make them little special treats (like my Healthy Baby Muffin Bites) or you can feed them what you eat, just making sure that they are sized appropriately.  They are exposed to new textures and tastes, and learn to chew first and then swallow (versus swallow first and then chew like with purees).

I do give Caleb some pureed items on occasion just to give him that sort of texture (which some purists believe that any puree means that you are not doing BLW) but for the most part, I go with the Baby Led Weaning approach. Follow my Instagram for pictures of some of what I feed him or check back on the blog soon for a “What Caleb Ate” post!

Teething Helpers For Your Baby

Wow. Caleb is 6 1/2 months already. I absolutely cannot believe it. While we think that he started teething back when he was 3 months old, we still haven’t had any teeth break through the surface. Every time I feel around in his mouth though, I wouldn’t be surprised to find a tooth poking out. We’ve been keeping a few items in the fridge to help soothe his gums (and him on these hot summer days) so I thought that I would share a few of our, or rather Caleb’s favorite items to help him through his first teething experience.

Is your little one having issues teething? Check out the Hippie and the Hunter's suggestions for teething helpers!

Wink Naturals Cool Gums Teething Gel 

I picked up this teething gel long before the FDA released its warning in May about teething gels with benzocaine. The Cool Gums Teething Gel is a natural, drug-free formula containing zero numbing agents and it helps soothe tender gums. It has a great flavor to it and Caleb really seems to enjoy it. Sometimes I’ll even put it in the fridge for a little bit to get it a little extra cool. Fun fact: you can also use it on canker sores yourself!

Use “EELLIOTT15” to get 15% off of anything in the Wink Naturals shop!

 

Baby Buddy Silicone Finger Toothbrush

I’ve mentioned this product before but it is too good to not mention again. This is sort of like a starter toothbrush for those first teeth but it doubles as a gum massager to help with sore gums. It’s never too early to start your little one on the right path to good dental hygiene! The finger toothbrush is super easy to use and it almost seemed like a game to Caleb for me to use it. It’s a completely different sensation to have against your gums and I think he found it funny!

Mary & Kate Benny the Bunny Teether Rattle

This wooden rattle is made of European beechwood and is such a fun little rattle to play with. I love the sound of it. It’s durable and safe for babies to chew on. Studies have shown that wood can naturally eliminate even most harmful bacteria like e-coli or salmonella from its surface within minutes, so you don’t need to sterilize some wooden toys. Just rinse them under running water or wipe clean. This rattle was designed Montessori style to stimulate baby’s senses, encourage learning and social skills and promote grasping and fine motor skills development.

Go GaGa Squeeze & Teethe Elephant – Kiki

Finger!

One of Caleb’s favorite things to gnaw on is my finger! Or rather… my knuckle to be more specific. I don’t mind, especially since he doesn’t have any teeth yet. Even better – fingers are free and easily cleaned!

Essential Oil Blend

Yes, there IS an essential oil blend that may help with teething. To 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, add 1 drop of lavender essential oil and 1 drop of roman chamomile essential oil. You’ll want to massage a small amount on the OUTSIDE of your little one’s cheek along the gum line. Again – OUTSIDE. Essential oils are potent and should be treated as such!

What are some of the things that helped your little one when s/he started teething?

 

5 Super Quick and Easy Snacks for the Diaper Bag

Before I had my son, I never really carried a purse. It just seemed like such a hassle when I could fit everything that I needed into my pocket. But now? If I don’t have my diaper bag somewhere around me when we go around, then we are testing our limits.

As my son grows older, I know that my diaper bag will evolve. No longer will it be a bag mostly of diapers. Instead it will hold coloring books, juice boxes, and best of all – snacks! Food tends to be more on my mind during the day than anything else. I live for meal to meal. Even though we aren’t big snackers, I know that as Caleb gets bigger, his needs will grow too, especially as we start taking longer and longer trips. So I might as well get used to packing some snacks. Besides, I enjoy having a little treat for myself during the day.

Here are a few of my favorite – and easy – snacks for the diaper bag.

  • Happy Baby Organic Yogis Freeze-Dried Yogurt & Fruit Snacks – Nom, nom, nom. I’m not going to lie, I enjoy eating these myself. These bites are made with probiotics to help maintain digestive health and are certified USDA organic. The size is perfect for little ones learning to self-feed.
  • Banana Chips – Banana chips are a great addition to any diaper bag. They are easy, low-effort, sweet, and best of all, CRUNCHY. I like to snack on them instead of potato chips when I need something to keep my hands busy. Even better, Target has no come out with chocolate-covered banana chips! Yes – CHOCOLATE covered. How yummy?
  • Fruits and Vegetables – Fruits and vegetables are such an easy thing to add to your diaper bag. I highly recommend breaking down the produce and putting them in a container of sorts instead of leaving them whole. There is nothing that I hate more than a mushy banana and if the peel pops? Bleh, your whole bag will smell like bananas.
  • Happy Tot Organic Fiber & Protein Soft-Baked Oat Bars – The package image pretty much sums it up. Even though we tend to avoid overly processed packaged foods in our house, it’s still nice to have something to grab when you are on your way out the door and realize that you don’t have anything packed. These oat bars are made with whole grains and real fruits and vegetables in palate-pleasing combos like apple & spinach and bananas & carrots.
  • Seaweed snacks – Okay. I know that this might be completely out in left field for some but dried seaweed is a great, crunchy and salty snack to pack, even if it ends up being more for you than your little one. Seaweed is chock full of nutrients, including high levels of vitamins A and C, and calcium.

I hope that you enjoyed this post and found a few new snacks for your diaper bag.

What are some of your tried and true favorites?

A Letter To My Son

Dear Caleb,

Yesterday you had your 4 month shots. I can’t believe that I have only been your mom for 4 months. It feels like a lifetime already. You make it so easy to be a mom, to be your mom. I cuddled with you most of the afternoon while you slept because I knew you needed it. I knew that you needed the warmth and safety of mom’s arms. Yes, I had to take leave without pay from work but it was worth it. You’re only going to be this small once.

You slept all day and into the evening. Even though I knew that I should wake you, I let you sleep. I knew that your little body needed the rest, even if it meant that we would be up all night. Sure enough, at midnight, you woke, ready to start your day. It made for a long day at work only having 3 hours of sleep, but how could I be upset at you? All you wanted to do was “talk” to me last night, to play with your toy, to share your happiness. Every time I looked over, your brown eyes looked right back at me. You would smile, a smile that filled my heart with joy. I know that you don’t understand the concept of love yet but you know that I am your person, your protector, your provider. I am your world.

But it won’t always be like this. As you grow bigger, as your world grows bigger, you won’t look at me the same. Sure, I’ll always be your mom and you’ll always love me, but things will change. Someone else will come into your life and I want that for you… one day… That’s why I had no problem staying home with you yesterday. I know our time together is short.

I’ve already watched you grow so much since you were born – cooing, reaching for things, holding your head up, interacting with others, TEETHING – it has been so amazing. I can’t wait to see where this journey continues to take us.

With love,

Mom

Caleb’s Teething + Baby Buddy

Disclaimer: I’m a Brand Ambassador for Baby Buddy which means I get free products in exchanging for promoting them. I wouldn’t promote a product that I didn’t believe in and use myself, but I may get a percentage of sales if you click on their link.

Caleb will be 4 months old on Thursday and I think that he’s started teething. I feel so bad for him. The poor little guy has been exessively drooling for the past few weeks and has been gnawing on his hands and toys. I picked him up an amber teething anklet to wear while he’s home and some teething gel but it’s time for me to start thinking about the future.

I’m vain about my teeth. Even though I’ve never had braces, I’ve always gotten compliments about how pretty my teeth are. I go to the dentist regularily and make sure to floss my teeth almost every day. I want to make sure that I get Caleb started off on the right track as well and develop good dental hygine. I’ve already been using this silicone finger toothbrush from Baby Buddy to help massage his sore gums which helps him to get used to the routine of having his teeth brushed.

Baby Buddy Silicone Finger Toothbrush with Carrying Case

I think that he enjoys it. But I need to start thinking ahead for when that first tooth actually breaks through the surface. Baby Buddy has these things called ‘Tooth Tissues’ which I think are going to be super easy to use. Tooth Tissues are bamboo wipes that are bubble-gum flavored and fluoride/paraben free! They are perfect for ages 0-16 months. Even better – you can stick one in your fridge to chill it to help with sore gums (or adults can even use it when they are on the go).

What I like most about Baby Buddy products is that they really seem to care about their customers. They’ve put a lot of time into the products they sell to make sure they are producing high-quality items. Their passion lies in oral care for little ones and it shows!

Check out the video I shared of me using the gum massager on Caleb:

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