Thursday, May 15, 2014

Eighteen months

These shoes don't fit despite being brand new and his size, but I stuffed his feet in for Easter anyway, oops!

My little man turned 18 months last month! His appointment was just last week so I waited to get his stats since I want to be able to keep these updates kind of like a baby book.

Growth- At Caden's 18 month check-up, he was 32 inches and 25 pounds. We always think Caden look so big compared to other kids his age, but he is in the 32nd and 69th percentiles. I think it might be because he is so stalky, just like his daddy! The doctor also pointed out something else that he has of his dad's- wide feet. He is in size 6 shoes, and we have to search for ones that are wide enough to fit his feet.. just because they are labeled wide doesn't mean they are wide enough! We found a pair of Nike SB's that actually fit. This boy is going to cost us a fortune just on shoes!

New skills- It has been six months since I have done an update, so Caden has gained so many new skills in that time! I think the most impressive is that he can jump! He has actually been jumping since he was 14 months, and I mean both feet off the ground jumping. Caden also learned to 'skateboard' on his xylophone after watching skate videos with his daddy, and I have to admit he is pretty good. He even tries to do tricks! Climbing stairs (and everything else) and running are some of the other things he can do now. Any time we go somewhere, Caden throws a fit if I carry him on the stairs. In fact, he throws fits all the time. I thought this wasn't supposed to happen until the terrible twos?

Major events- In the past few months, Caden went to the Birch Aquarium and the Children's Museum, took Gymboree classes, and had his first Easter egg hunt. He also has started going to day care at the YMCA while I workout, and he has so much fun that he doesn't want to leave with me! Another major event was when Caden got sick with croup and an upper respiratory infection. It was terrifying to know that he was having trouble breathing, and I'm still scared it is going to happen again. Last weekend, we had an appointment where the doctor had Caden run around and then monitored his heart and oxygen levels, and everything came back great!

Likes/dislikes- Caden started getting picky about textures with things like strawberries and rice a few months ago, but things got really bad once he got sick. The first 5 days after the croup, he would only drink milk and eat puffs or yogurt bites. I was one stressed mama. We then discovered that he would eat pouches, so it was that and steamed veggies for another week. It literally took a month after getting sick for Caden to start eating normal again. His favorite breakfast food right now is cottage cheese, and dinner is meatloaf. Lunches are a struggle for some reason, but he can destroy a homemade green juice!

Words- I wouldn't say that Caden is behind with talking, but it is not his best skill. He is so focused on mastering physical skills that he just doesn't have time for talking! He can say (with meaning) Mama, Dad, Jack, ow, wow, uh-oh, no, bird, ready, and I love you. He is also learning all done and thank you, and constantly imitates things that we say. He even yelled "crap!" the other day after Daddy!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Green Baby Series: Bottles and Cups

When I first had the idea for a green baby series, I thought I could cram all this good info into one post. I quickly realized I was wrong. So I made a basic outline for the entire series and wrote up the first two posts about diapering and bath and body products just in time for Earth day. Last week, I had intended to write about everything that goes into a baby’s mouth, but had to stop at pacifiers and teethers. This week, I thought I would finish up writing about everything involving feeding, but it got too lengthy with just bottles and sippy cups!


Bottles are one of those areas that can leave a first time mom feeling completely overwhelmed. Somehow, you choose a bottle (or spend a small fortune trying every single brand), and then less than a year later, you have to do the whole process all over again with sippy cups. I personally found sippy cups to be a more difficult venture, and there are 0 green sippy cups sold in stores. The recent movement to get rid of BPA has led consumers to believe that their products are free of harmful substances, but just because a plastic bottle is marked 'BPA-free' does not mean that it is safe. This article, with citations from a credible study, gives a brief description about why we should stay away from plastics in general. This study, supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH), lists research that plastic products, including BPA-free baby bottles, still release estrogenic chemicals.

Somehow, I settled on Dr. Brown's bottles, and I have been very happy with my choice. One of the selling points of Dr. Brown's bottles is that the million pieces help reduce the air that enters the baby's belly and causes tummy aches. Since I only know of one time when my son acted like he had a belly ache as an infant, I believe that was in part because of the bottles we chose, although I don’t have anything to compare it to. While the internal pieces remain the same, Dr. Brown's does sell glass bottles. The last set we purchased were glass, and we never had a problem with them breaking, or falling on baby's head or anything like that. Caden was never into holding his own bottle until he was much older (plastic or glass), so I can't comment on whether it affected him being able to hold it on his own or not. But really, I enjoyed giving my son a bottle, which also could be the reason he never wanted to hold it on his own!

Sippy Cups
These are just as difficult as bottles. Not only are there as many options, but they are more expensive. We started out with a cheap Nuby sippy with a nipple to get my son the hang of drinking out of something other than a bottle, and then we switched to a straw cup around 10 months. When it comes to plastic sippy cups, we really like the Lolla cup, which is a weighted straw cup made in the USA. It does leak when turned upside down, but we don't let Caden run around with a sippy cup so that is not a problem for us. When I started researching green sippy cups, I found that there weren't a lot of options, and the ones that were available were either poorly rated or super expensive (or both). After a lot of research, I finally decided on the stainless steel PuraKiki, and we are very happy with the bottle. The bottle is stainless steal as well as the collar, and the nipple (for infants) and sip spout is silicone. Laura has a great review of most of the brands of stainless steal sippy cups, including the Pura Kiki.  I would like to have a stainless steal straw cup for my son, but I don’t let Caden nurse his milk so I don’t think we will have a problem. When Caden gets a little older, he will use the mason jars with metal lids that we use.

Next week I will be posting about organic food choices, the easiest way to start going green!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May Goals

1. Talk to my advisor/ finish my school schedule. I'm pretty sure I only have four classes to go before I graduate, but the requirements for my electives are confusing. I hope I don't have more to do than I thought!
2. Spring Clean. I've never actually 'spring cleaned', but this year I am going to do it (a little late). I've made a list, and I will be happy if I can get a decent portion done this month.
3. Workout twice a week. My Crunch membership expired this month, so I decided to look for a gym with childcare now that Caden is a little older. I signed up for a family membership at the YMCA, so now I can go on days that I have the car, plus we can go as a family instead of Chris and I having to decide who gets to go on what days. I have gone twice, and Caden has so much fun at the day care that he doesn't want to leave!
5. Family pictures! Our groupon expires at the end of the month!

Last month's goals...
1. Finish sewing two sheets. Fail. The past two months have been really difficult for me with endometriosis pain, so I haven't accomplished as much as I have wanted. Plus this month I am taking a capstone business class that is going to hog all of my time, so I'm just going to put my sewing projects on hold.
2. Post once a week to the blog. Success. I posted six times in April and started my green baby series.
3. Clean out freezer. Fail. I did dig through to find some forgotten meat, but I didn't do a full cleaning.
4. Back-up my computer to my USB. Somewhat success. All of my organized pictures are saved, but I still need to organize/add the pictures from the last two months.
5. Plan the basics of our move. Success. Now just waiting on the Navy to tell us where we are going!
6. Schedule Family Pictures. Fail. We just need to pick a weekend in May!

Monthly Goals

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Green Baby Series: Teethers and pacifiers

Somehow, anything and everything goes into an infant’s mouth. At 18 months, my son is even worse! Seriously, he eats dog food on a regular basis, and if I’m not looking he will suck down a tube of diaper rash cream, toothpaste, or hand sanitizer. I’ve pulled batteries, coins, gum, and who knows what else out of his mouth. For the things I can control, I try to stay as natural as possible!

There are plenty of arguments about whether or not to give your baby a pacifier in the first place, and I really like the view from this article. The AAP does say that giving a sleeping infant a pacifier reduces the risk of SIDS, which is a big benefit in my eyes. However, I think the lines that surrounds SIDS are a little blurred, so don't feel guilty if you decide not to give your child a pacifier for whatever personal reason. I personally chose to give my son a pacifier around two months old, before we switched to co sleeping, and my son is almost weaned at 18 months. (Almost! He would have been weaned already if it wasn’t for getting sick!) I chose Jollypop pacifiers (previously Hawaii medical) because they seemed to harbor fewer germs with the one piece design. At the time, I didn't even think of looking for a more green choice because I really didn’t think that there would be one. But of course there is a natural choice: Natursutten pacifiers are made with natural rubber. They are expensive, but we survived with only two pacifiers at a time with Caden and only had to replace those once because of wear and tear. I'll definitely choose these with my next child if we decide to use pacifiers.

Chances are, you have had many family members recommend orajel for your child's sore gums (in addition to plenty of crazy old remedies). I personally decided to stay away from orajel because I was afraid of numbing my son's gag reflexes, but with a quick Google search, I found a better reason for steering away: according to the FDA, benzocaine can cause a disease called methemoglobinemia that causes dangerously low oxygen levels. You can read more about the symptoms and concerns in this article from the FDA. As a disclaimer, the children's Orajel box does say that it is intended for children age 2 and up.

Tylenol almost always does the trick, but it is not natural in any way, and it increases the risk of developing asthma if given in the first year, something I wasn't aware of until a few months ago. However, I don't believe this study does much more than provide a link between something we give our children (as a society) and a growing health concern, but that is just my opinion.

The solution- Stock up on teethers! One of our family favorites is Sophie the Giraffe because she is made with 100% natural rubber and food paint. Around 6 months old, Caden would go to town chewing on her feet while they squeaked against his gums. Caden's all time favorite teether was actually his Nuby Silicone teether with bristles. This one stays soft in the freezer and can reach to the molars. Opinions on silicone differ, so this might be something you want to do your own research on.

I know a lot of mom's swear by Hylands teething tablets and Camilla teething liquid, but we only had mediocre results with Camilla and never tried Hylands. Orajel also has a natural teething gel that is actually made with homeopathic ingredients. We have used it a few times, and I’ve noticed a tiny difference, but at this age it is really hard to get it on my son’s gums. Either he clamps down his lips or he sucks it right off my finger before I can get it to the right place. Some people also swear by amber teething necklaces, but I just haven’t been comfortable enough allowing my son to wear a necklace when I’m not looking at him 24/7.

Are there any other natural teething remedies that you use with your child?

I hope you stop by next Tuesday for a post all about feeding our little ones!