Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Homemade Teething Biscuits

Little Frances is currently gnawing on anything and everything she can get into her chubby little paws!  I am at my Mom’s house for the holidays and, silly me, I forgot to bring her mesh teething bag so that she could gnaw on something that might add some vitamins to her diet.  I thought it might be fun to look up recipes for teething biscuits, and I found this great recipe on WholesomeBabyfood.com.  Luckily we already had all of the ingredients in my Mom’s kitchen so we decided to give it a try!

WARNING: Make sure watch your baby as they eat these!  There is a risk of choking if you give them to your baby in anything other than bite sized pieces.  We decided to give them to Little Frances whole, but we made sure to carefully watch her while she ate them.


1 cup quick oats
1 cup ground oats (grind oats and make a coarse oat flour)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon (or ginger or cardamom)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup (approximately 2) overripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp oil of choice (I used olive since it’s the healthiest we had, I would not recommend using peanut oil as peanuts are a common allergen)



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grind 1 cup of oats in a chopper, blender, or small food processor
  • Mix the oats, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking powder in a bowl
  • Mix the bananas, vanilla extract, and oil in another bowl
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until well mixed
  • Place approximately 1 tbsp on a baking sheet
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Yield: Approximately one dozen cookies depending on size.

Storage: This is not scientific fact, but I am going to freeze mine and I expect to use it within a month.

Epicutie Rating: Yummy in the Tummy!  Little Frances loved these, and she quickly gobbled up two!

Little Frances 1 Little Frances 2

Difficulty: 1 out of 5 for me because my mom actually made them! Smile  However, I would say that it is a 4 out of 5 compared to most baby foods because there are several ingredients and it involves many more steps than most baby food.

teething biscuits

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Breastfeeding: Why Pump?

As we continue our series of articles on Breastfeeding, here we will discuss pumping. See the blog label “Breastfeeding” for other articles related to breastfeeding (Breastfeeding 101: Getting Started, Why pump?, and coming soon----Breastfeeding Older Babies, and Common Obstacles/Troubleshooting).

I will be honest, pumping is awkward and inconvenient at first and even a bit embarrassing. I felt like Ole Bessy the Cow plugged up to a milk machine!! Just allow you and your husband to get a good laugh at the entire situation and you will be a pro in no time. I never had a hands-free attachment for my pump, but I found ways to have both hands free. Do not dismay, you will learn to do nearly anything while pumping. Pumping only takes about 15 minutes (if you double electric pump it) per session, so in the big scheme of things it is not much of a time commitment.
Why Pump?
  • Getting Your Milk In-Pumping as soon are home from the hospital will help your milk come in sooner, in some cases. Initially, I would pump for 10-15 min right after I finished nursing Little Joy. I would let her lie in a Boppy Pillow next to me and play with her as I pumped (as a side note, I still use the boppy nursing pillow every time I nurse Little Joy, even at 8 months). As she got older I had to get creative about how to interact with her / entertain her as a pumped.
  • Establishing Milk Supply-Pumping consistently early on will help provide a plentiful and steady milk supply early. Pumping after feedings sends a signal to your body to make more milk since you are pumping after feeding. Since Little Joy was a Babywise baby since she was born, I was able to anticipate when she would likely nurse next so I was never worried that I would not have milk when it was the next feeding time.
  • Storage-Pumping regularly allows you to store milk away for bottles. I use the Lansinoh Storage Bags and LOVE them, be careful because they can get holes in them. We learned the hard way to a)freeze in 2 and 3 oz increments to prevent overfilling and allow for ANY size bottle to be made and b) freeze them laying FLAT. Storage is great for:
  1. Dream feeding your baby
  2. Allowing others to feed your baby (which means a very deserved and needed break for mommy)
  3. Thinning baby food in the future
  4. Providing you peace of mind that your baby will have mommy’s milk for a while after (and if) your milk supply runs out or you decide to stop nursing
Features to Consider when Buying a Pumps
  • Electric vs Manual-Electric is nice because you can multi-task while you pump AND it better mimics your baby’s sucking. Most resources recommend a manual pump if you will only pump occasionally. I originally I thought I would only pump occasionally but once I realized I could store and increase my supply, I knew I would pump a lot!
  • Dual vs Single-Dual is a great feature because you can get twice the milk/stimulation in half the time. Some woman prefer to only pump on one side at a time because they only feed on one side each nursing period. I have always nursed and pumped on both sides every nursing period/pumping session.
  • Portability-Depending on your life style you may want the option to pump in the car using batteries or a car adaptor. My pump (the Avent duo) did not come with either (you can buy the car adaptor separate) and for the next baby (assuming we are blessed with a baby #2 one day) I will purchase the car adaptor.

Pump Review
(Please submit your reviews on pumps by sending an email to kelly.g.grant@gmail.com)

Medela Pump In Style
  • Price: Relatively Expensive ($279 on amazon) but it does come with a bag, ice packs and a few bottles
  • Ease of Use: VERY easy to use
  • Replacement Parts: These are EASY to find at any store that sells baby products and the parts are fairly inexpensive.
  • Vacuum: You can change the amount of sucking easily however there is not much “tweaking” you can do to the amount of the sucking. This makes it difficult to mimic your baby’s sucking (which is the goal).
  • Overall: When I used this pump, the amount of milk I got was much less than with the Avent Isis Duo. I loved that the parts were easy to find and very easy to clean. I borrowed the motor and then purchased all the replacement parts so I do not know all the in's and outs of the product when purchased NEW.

Avent Isis IQ Duo (I recommend this pump!)
  • Price: Relatively Expensive ($249 on amazon), however it comes with 4 bottles, ice packs and lots of other bells and whistles
  • Ease of Use: Slightly complicated, but after several uses it is easy to use
  • Replacement Parts: They are more difficult to find and so far I think they can only be purchased online. The parts are a little more expensive compared to replacement parts of other pumps. There is one part that you have to call Phillips to order, I haven’t been able to find it anywhere.
  • Vacuum: LOVE this feature! You actually manually decide the sucking strength to best match your baby’s sucking with a handle. After 2-3 squeezes—it remembers it! This also means you can set the sucking strength until let down and then change it or change it whenever you want!
  • Overall: I highly recommend this pump but warn buyers that there are more parts to it than most pumps, but the extra parts are what makes it worth it. I get a lot more milk in a lot shorter time with this pump. Also, I can use this pump manually if I so desire. One drawback, is this pump is cannot convert to batter operated, but there is a car power cord available (purchased separately). It is worth the money!

Discalimer: As I said in previous breastfeeding articles, if you did not or do not breastfeed---that is perfectly fine! We must all make decisions that best suit our families. These articles are intended to serve as a reference for those who want to breastfeed OR are trying to breastfeed as long as possible! Remember to always do what is best for your unique family!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Blueberries are high in fiber, rich in antioxidants and are packed with vitamin A and C; not to mention they can help with constipation!! For more information on the goodness of blueberries, check out wholesomebabyfood.com's site on Blueberries!

I loved the idea of introducing blueberries because it will be a wonderful finger food for a toddler, just grab, wash and GO! Blueberries were enticing to introduce also because they can help with constipation and I am always looking for ways to de-clogg Little Joy. I have heard mixed information about introducing berries before one year because they tend to be an allergen. After much debate, I went to my two main resources (the book "Super Baby Food" and the wholesomebabyfood.com website) to see what they recommended. Both shared that they can be introduced around 8-10 months since they are not the same kind of berries that are the usual culprits for allergies. PLUS my husband and I both do not have any food allergies that we know of, so her likelihood of having them is very low. I did decide to COOK the blueberries before serving them to make them easier to digest; after a year I will just puree.

WARNING: DO NOT feed WHOLE blueberries to a baby or young toddler, they can cause choking. Most recommendations are to wait until at least 3 years old before offering the blueberry whole. Also, you may want to ask your doctor before introducing berries if you baby is less than a year; I did not but you may want to since it has been known to be an allergen.

Fresh blueberries (1 pint)

Steps for COOKED puree:
  • Wash blueberries
  • Place berries in a pot and just barely cover the blueberries in water (about 1-2 inches of water)
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes
  • Remove blueberries from pot with a slotted spoon and place in your puree device
  • Puree until smooth adding blueberry juice (the water from your pot) until desired consistency is reached
  • SAVE THE LIQUID from your pot; just strain it before saving! This blueberry juice is great for adding to cereal to change things up a bit. I also froze some of the juice.
  • Freeze puree until frozen solid (about 12-24 hours if using ice cube trays) and after frozen, place in freezer zip lock bags until ready to use (I like to save about 2 servings in the refrigerator)
  • Uses for the puree: I prefer to add the puree to other foods such as pears, apples, yogurt, cereal etc.
  • Uses for the juice: So far all I have tried was adding it to cereal along with milk.
Steps for UNcooked puree (it is recommended you cook the puree if introducing prior to 9 to 1o months old, see below)
  • Wash blueberries
  • Puree using liquid (probably water) to thin until you have reached your desired consistency
  • Freeze puree until frozen solid (about 12-24 hours if using ice cube trays) and after frozen, place in freezer zip lock bags until ready to use (I like to save about 2 servings in the refrigerator)

NOTE: one ice cube is about an ounce of food

Timing: 8 to 9 months for COOKED puree; 9-12 months for raw mashed blueberries; 3 years for whole blueberries (depending on who you ask)

Storage: According to "Super Baby Food" by Ruth Yaron, this can be stored in the freezer for up to one year.

Epicutie Rating: Yummy in the Tummy---see right side of page for rating descriptions.
Epicutie Little Joy LOVED her blueberry cereal, blueberry apples and blueberry pears! I will try them with bananas and yogurt soon. I do not ALWAYS add fruit to her cereal because I want her to be able to eat it plain if needed. It also seemed to help de-clogg her, maybe a bit too much :)

Difficulty: 1 out of 5---this is SO easy!!!

In the pot with water, ready to cook

Simmering, errr...boiling here :)

I used a chopper vs a food processor since we are trying to move to thicker foods now that Little Joy is getting older.
The juice remaining

I stored the juice in the jar for 2 days before freezing.

Little Joy's reaction to blueberries; not too excited but definitely wanted more. At the end you will see a blueberry explosion!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Breastfeeding 101: Getting Started

Here we begin a series of articles concerning breast feeding; the series includes Breastfeeding 101 (Getting Started), Why pump?, Breastfeeding Older Babies, and Common Obstacles/Troubleshooting.

A big part of our (both the authors) feeding approach is breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. It is optimal for both babies and mothers. For babies it can protect against infections and reduce the rates of later health problems including diabetes, obesity, and asthma. Breast milk has the perfect combination of proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates. For more information on the advantages of breastfeeding for both mother and baby please see the American Pregnancy Association site.

Before I continue, let me say if you did not or do not breastfeed---that is perfectly fine! We must all make decisions that best suit our families. This post is intended to serve as a reference for those who want to breastfeed OR are trying to breastfeed as long as possible! For us, breastfeeding has been the best choice for our two families.

Getting Started (pre-baby and the first 10 days):
  • Commitment vs. Decision-Breastfeeding is a commitment by both mom and dad not merely a decision that should be made on a whim. A commitment is something we will strive to stick with through the peaks and inevitable valleys; much like our marriages (it is not a direct analogy to marriage, a commitment to marriage is MUCH more important). Making the commitment does not mean you forsake your sanity to breastfeed, it means you do not allow one set back deter you---you give it your all. KNOW that it is a commitment and KNOW there will be both tough and easy times.
  • Set goals and expectations-Set an initial goal for how long you would like to breastfeed. I would recommend everyone try it for at least 2 months. After 2 months, mommy and baby are much more comfortable with the experience (not to mention, baby’s sleep has stabilized, everyone is more rested and mommy has healed significantly). I committed to 2 months initially and then each month after that I evaluate and must recommit myself each month. I could NOT commit to a year up front, it seemed too big and too scary! But, YOU and your husband decide. Your decision may be different than mine. And remember have realistic expectations: your body simply may not make much milk or you may physically not be able to breastfeed. All you can do is TRY your best and the rest is up to our heavenly father!
  • Be patient-Be patient with your milk coming in; it takes everyone a different amount of time. Do not be afraid to supplement with formula AFTER nursing; its OK. It can take a week for some moms to get their supply up to the level it needs to be. Just wait and try not to give up too quickly. Pray for patience and pray for God to bless your supply.
  • Pumping-Although we have a separate article on pumping (Breastfeeding: Why Pump?) here are a few things to remember. Start pumping right when you get home from the hospital. Pump after every feeding. Do not dismay, you may not get much at first, but soon you will. This will help your milk come in faster. After your milk comes in, you may decide not to pump as much, but I pump A TON so that I can have a GREAT storage in case something DOES happen to my supply (that was part of the commitment I made up front). Pumping can also help increase your supply as well as give you a liquid to thin your baby foods with in the future :)
  • Keeping baby awake to ensure a full feeding-I struggled tremendously with this for the first 3-4 months. Little Joy would ALWAYS nap before every feeding (she is a babywise baby) but yet would still fall asleep during feedings. It is essential babies learn to take a FULL FEEDING otherwise, you may have a snacker on your hands and you will be feeding them every hour or two even when they are older (whew, that must be exhausting). Here are some tips to keep baby awake (I rotated through these since using any one tactic too much rendered it ineffective): cool wash cloth, stroking feet, talking to them, saying their name, switching sides, rousing more rigorously before eating, remove clothing, skin to skin, clicking your tongue and moving the arm on top up and down/side to side.
  • How Often to Feed-This is tricky. For the first 10-14 days, I would not worry about the clock. Feed when the baby seems hungry however DO NOT BE SCARED TO WAKE UP YOUR BABY TO FEED THEM. I woke up Little Joy every 3 hours during the day/evening to feed her, but if she needed food sooner--she would get it. Waking to feed her was important because 1) it helped establish a stable milk supply for me, 2) she quickly understood the difference between day and night and 3) she was able to get what she needed during the day NOT in the middle of night (she slept from 10 PM until 5-6 am at 3 weeks old). Every baby is different and every 3 hours was perfect for Little Joy; most babies need to eat close to every 2.5 hours at first.
  • Encouragement-This was vital for me. My husband and friends (especially the other author) have encouraged me throughout this journey. I would not be nursing at 8.5 months and one week had it not been for them. This also means, encourage others!
  • Ignore criticism-If people discourage you from doing this or tell you to give up when you express any challenges just remember---you made whatever decision you made because it was best for your family's unique situation. Also, just because a baby is on formula does not mean things are easy; there are challenges no matter what feeding approach you use!

I am a warrior!

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About the Authors

This blog was started by two Babywise pen pals to document our adventures in high chair manners, making our own baby food and doing our bests to raise happy, healthy, thriving little ones!

Epicutie #1

Epicutie #1

Little Joy at 2 years, Sept 2012

Epicutie #2

Epicutie #2
Little Frances

Epicutie #3

Epicutie #3
Little Asher at 11 months, Sept 2012

Epicutie #4

Epicutie #4
Little Elizabeth, July 2013
  • Yummy in the Tummy: Epicutie thoroughly enjoyed each bite
  • Somewhat yummy: Epicutie seemed to somewhat enjoy the food at first, but seemed to like it less with subsequent bites
  • Not so sure I like it...yet: Epicutie somewhat rejected the first bites, but seemed intrigued. The next exposure may be better!
  • Confused: Epicutie rejected the first bites, perhaps due to texture or strong flavor.
  • Sour Puss: Epicutie gave a sour face indicating she did not like the food. However--if at first you do not succeed, try, try again!

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