My Baby Has Baggage

My baby has baggage, and I’m trying to understand it. BabyC carries around a little mesh drawstring bag for most of the day. The bag initially held a little set of finger puppets. A few of these remain, but BabyC has also added a variety of other small objects. Some have been there for months, while other rotate out on a daily basis. Regardless, they must have some meaning to her, because she has a hard time parting with her bag. When we leave the house or she gets ready for bed, we often have to take the time to find a safe place for it, where she knows she can find it when she returns.

Sometimes, BabyC insists on bringing the bag on our walks. I think she likes having a place to stow her little treasures.

Continue reading

Bottle-feeding and Obesity Risk

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A study published this month in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine looks at the relationship between infant feeding practices and weight gain (1). Breast milk vs. formula? Nope, it isn’t that simple.

Led by Dr. Ruowei Li of the CDC, this prospective longitudinal study tracked feeding and weight gain in 1900 infants during their first year of life. Each month, mothers were asked how they fed their babies in the last 7 days, and from their replies, infants were grouped into the following categories across ages:

  1. Breastfed only
  2. Breastfed and human milk by bottle
  3. Breastfed and formula by bottle
  4. Human milk by bottle only (i.e. exclusive pumping)
  5. Human milk and formula by bottle
  6. Formula by bottle only

The mothers in this study were mainly white, married, and had at least a high school education. A third were on WIC. About 50% were overweight or obese. Statistical methods were used to adjust the findings for a range of maternal factors, including BMI, as well as infant sex, gestational age, birth weight, and age of solid food introduction.

The most important finding from this study was that infants fed by bottle only – whether fed formula or breast milk – gained more weight than those fed breast milk at the breast. Continue reading

Home Again, to Recover from Vacation

We’re back from a week in Sedona, Arizona. We met up with friends and stayed at a rustic U.S. Forest Service cabin at the foot of Cathedral Rock, a 5-minute walk from Oak Creek.

It was gorgeous, fun to be with our friends, and nice to get away from our daily routine.

BabyC had a great time with her friend O, who turned two on the day we arrived. O is very chatty, already speaking in short sentences. He is fast and spent lots of time running laps on the screened-in porch where we ate our meals. BabyC adored him. Continue reading

Checking In and Checking Out

This morning, I sat on the patio of a coffee shop, alone. Alone. I enjoyed a latte and gorgeous plate of french toast. My breakfast did not require a bib or a booster seat. There were no interruptions and no rushing to finish my food in anticipation of the “all done” sign from BabyC. It was heaven.

I wondered, why didn’t I sit alone at a coffee shop before I had a child? I should have done this every weekend! Instead, I always ordered my coffee to go and sat with it at work, often on a Saturday morning, when the lab was quiet. Maybe I would eat a scone out of a paper bag while scrolling through my email.

Isn’t that the way it always works? I thought I was too busy then to lounge at a coffee shop when in fact that is exactly what I should have been doing.

But I realize that I wouldn’t have enjoyed it then like I do now. Continue reading

What the Heck is Xylitol, and Will It Save My Baby’s Teeth?

Tooth brushing is not fun in our house these days. Twice per day, we go through this ritual of misery. Every once in a while, BabyC tolerates it while I sing a silly song or she brushes my teeth, but most of the time she fights off the toothbrush with all of her might. I know this stage will pass eventually. Regardless of how BabyC feels about it, I consider tooth brushing to be non-negotiable. I have had issues with cavities all of my life, and I want to save BabyC from the dentist’s chair as much as possible. If you need a healthy dose of fear on this topic, see this article from the New York Times.

Look at all those pretty little teeth!

One thing that has eased the struggle of brushing time just slightly is flavored toddler tooth gel. When we started brushing BabyC’s teeth, I didn’t understand why anyone would use this stuff. We just used water, and BabyC loved her toothbrush at first. And then one day, she hated it, especially when I insisted on brushing for her. I suddenly understood what the strawberry-banana flavored toddler tooth gel was all about.

As I shopped around for kids’ toothpaste, I found many that advertised xylitol as an active ingredient, particularly among the “natural” brands. I wondered: What is xylitol, and will it do anything to protect BabyC from tooth decay? Continue reading

Guest Post: Organic Versus Conventional Milk: Health Issues And Environmental Perspectives

Last week, guest poster Joanna Samuelson Lidback explained that milk – conventional or organic – is safe to drink and why her family has chosen to remain a “conventional” farm. Today, we have another guest post, this one from Kirstin Hendrickson, on health and environmental problems with large-scale dairy farming.

You may be wondering why on earth we’re spending so much time talking about milk on a parenting blog. That’s a good question, and I admit that we’ve gotten a bit off topic. However, I think that Americans, and especially our children, are far too disconnected from their food supply. It is important for us to understand where our food comes from and the impact of our buying decisions – and to pass that understanding on to our kids. Kirstin gives us more food for thought on organic vs. conventional milk, and I hope that the respectful discussion of these issues continues.

Organic Versus Conventional Milk: Health Issues And Environmental Perspectives

By Kirstin Hendrickson

Ah, the organic versus conventional debate. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by information flying around — much of which seems to change on a daily basis — with regard to whether organic is safer and healthier, or a scam directed at fearful parents. There are some important health issues associated with organic foods, but I don’t want to get into those in this post. Instead, I want to address all the reasons to buy organic food — specifically, organic milk — that AREN’T associated with individual health. Or at least, aren’t ostensibly associated with individual health. Continue reading

The Great Diaper Project of 2012

There’s been some industrious craftiness happening at our house. You may have noticed that I’ve never blogged about folk art, knitting, or scrap booking before. In fact, I was very crafty back when I was a pre-teen and teen living without a TV, but now I find that my kid and a few writing projects are plenty to keep me busy. But the subject of this post is a craft project that was born of serious necessity.

It is a waste management issue, really. Our cloth diaper stash is falling apart. Most of our diapers are BumGenius pocket all-in-one diapers, and we bought many of them gently used. They are adjustable, so we were able to start using them once BabyC’s umbilical cord had fallen off, and she’s now wearing the same diapers on the medium setting. They should last until she transitions to underwear in another year or so. We love them, truly.

BabyC helping with diaper-folding, back when all our cloth diapers were fresh and functional

The only problem we have run into is that the velcro has worn out, especially on our second-hand diapers. It is not very satisfying to change a squirmy toddler and then have her run off, only to find her diaper resting in the crotch of her pants a few minutes later. Continue reading