March 6, 2018
14 Comments

How We Started Baby-Led Weaning

There are so many things to think about with having a new baby that I just didn’t have space in my brain to decide on anything that would come later down the line—the old “one thing at a time” mentality for sure. That being said, I didn’t really think that much about starting her on solid food and our timeline or plan for that until she was several months old and I knew it was just around the corner at the six-month mark. In the meantime, I had heard little whispers of friends that had already done or were starting something called “baby-led weaning” with their kids and seemed to really love it so I looked into it for a few months before deciding to give it a try when Lola was showing all the signs of being ready for food (usually happens around 6 months but they should be able to sit up well on their own first in addition to a few other indicators as well). The name “baby-led weaning” is a bit misleading since it sounds like you are weaning off breast milk (which I didn’t want to do for quite some time) but it’s basically just about starting solid food. The basic premise of the whole thing is that instead of starting Baby on purees for a while, you jump right into actual food that that is soft enough (and usually shaped in long sticks or have a bit of a stem handle on them) for Baby to practice chewing on right from the beginning. That way, they learn to chew right away with types of food that are manageable for them and they can feed themselves from the beginning (always under supervision of course!). They encourage a wide range of appropriate foods for each developmental stage and differing levels of softness as Baby progresses in their eating journey. So, you wouldn’t give a 6 month old a hard crunchy carrot to eat (too hard especially with little or no teeth to chew and a large piece may break off and be a choking hazard) but if you steam or roast manageable slices of carrot soft enough, they can eat them very well! They are actually Lola’s favorite. Small things like soft peas are introduced later since Babies don’t have the dexterity to pick them up one by one at 6 months, so you are kind of making everything into sticks that they can hold (like an oatmeal finger) or steaming broccoli and cauliflower florets and leaving some stem on so they have a bit of a handle to hold while eating.

One of Lola’s first foods at 6 months—banana sliced in half was one of her favorites from the start!Ok, now the biggest concern (it was my biggest too)…Is there a risk of choking? Yes! Anytime you are giving your baby food that’s not a total puree, there’s a risk of choking. But even if you start your baby on purees, you’ll still eventually have to give them solid food at some point unless you want them to be 35 years old and still only eating applesauce for every meal. Point being that you don’t really get to skip that terrifying stage where it freaks you out that they could potentially choke on something they are eating, you just delay the inevitable by starting on purees. Babies have a gag reflex that is way further up in their mouth when they are born so it’s somewhere near the middle of their tongue and it moves further back as they get older. Lola would gag all the time when we tried to do tongue exercises with her after her tongue tie revision, and that’s why! It’s way further forward than it will be when she’s an adult. So, that reflex being so much further up acts as a protectant for babies to (usually) trigger a gag for a larger piece of food before it become choking and being fully lodged in their throat. That being said, it’s still scary to watch a baby learn to eat real food, no matter what age they are. When it would freak me out to see her gag on something, I would totally have that thought of, “maybe we should just do purees instead,” but I realized that it will be just the same exact thing of her learning to figure it out later so I wasn’t really gaining anything by putting it off. Just delaying that uncomfortable feeling for myself. Also, regardless of what feeding strategy you choose, I really think every parent should take a choking/CPR class so you know what to do in case a baby is choking on food or any other item. As much as you can try your best to keep small things away from babies that could be dangerous, they are smart and fast so it’s best to be prepared in case the worst case scenario happens. I did find that she was gagging more than than I thought she should be so I just steamed her veggies even softer and then she did so much better after that.

And again, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing the purees first, it’s just a different process and I think both have their pros and cons. I know some Mamas that did a combo of purees and solids because they would hate it when they gagged and I totally get that strategy too. They do suggest giving Baby water with each meal, but our pediatrician doesn’t recommend water as a drink until after one so I don’t do that part and she seems fine without it.

I do love that right from the start she was eating lots of different foods and I look for opportunities to put spices in things as well to get her used to that—so far there’s nothing she won’t eat. There are some things that you’ll need to keep in mind like not giving them foods with added salt, really limiting processed foods, being wary of or delaying introduction of allergy prone foods before a certain age (like nuts or strawberries), and not giving them certain foods at all (like honey), so make sure to read up on all of that before starting.

Supplies

We use this bib (it has a pocket which is great!) overtop of this waterproof smock (they really help keep her clothes clean) and this high chair (for some reason they sell the seat and tray separately). I love that once we don’t need a tray anymore we can cozy this chair right up to the dining table and she can sit right at the table with us. For now we just place her chair right next to the table between Todd and I so she still feels very included in family dinner and the high chair is really easy to clean since it doesn’t have crevices where the food could get stuck so so that’s a big plus. I use this travel high chair that clamps onto a table for when we go out to restaurants or eat at friend’s houses and this placemat is great so she has a clean surface that I can put the food onto. In the beginning it’s helpful to have a crinkle cutter for veggies so little fingers can hold onto slippery shapes easier. On occasion I have spoon fed her some bites of soup or other things she couldn’t really pick up or eat herself yet and I have used these spoons that she’ll learn to use herself later. The Baby-Led Weaning book feels that you should give Baby water to drink with meals as soon as you start solids, but our pediatrician feels water under one isn’t necessary so we haven’t done that part yet.

This is a really messy process so I would definitely recommend a splash mat underneath your chair or just make sure the surface under your chair is easily cleanable (like wood floors). I made a confetti-filled mat as a DIY that I love! Also, if you have a clean space under the chair, you can just hand them back the piece of broccoli that they sent airborne on purpose and they can continue to eat it and not waste food.

I keep hearing from people that have done this that it made their babies such good eaters to be able to feed themselves and have a wide variety of flavors and spices so early. My favorite part so far though is that she can eat and feed herself while we eat so we can all eat at once! No taking turns between Todd and I to spoon-feed while our own food gets cold and we can actually eat our food when we go out pretty normally since she’s busy eating too. So much easier!! We just increased from one meal a day to two meals in the last month (lunch and dinner), and we’ll probably go to three meals in a month or two. Around 7 months her staple foods were banana, avocado, broccoli, cauliflower, potato, sweet potato, squash, carrots, pear, and oatmeal, but now she eats pretty much whatever we are eating with a few variations at times when things are too spicy for her, etc.

She pretty much always has a fruit desert at each meal—her favorite! They have a cookbook that explains pretty much all you need to know before starting the plan with a bunch of recipes as well, but I would suggest just reading the main Baby-Led Weaning book if you are planning on making your own plant-based or vegan meals like we do. I got the cookbook first since I heard it explains most of the program, but I didn’t feel like the recipes were helpful since I couldn’t use or would have to really alter a lot of them to fit our mainly plant-based eating. It can be helpful to look at the general titles of recipes though just to get an idea of what types of foods are easier for Baby to eat at different stages. I’ll share some of my favorite things and meal ideas to make for Lola in another post in case that’s helpful for you, some I’ve gotten from other Moms and some I’ve had to just figure out on my own! I guess that’s most of Motherhood in a nutshell, huh?

xo. Laura

February 21, 2018
9 Comments

Dining Room/Front Room Tour

I feel like technically this tour should also say “office” too because I actually work out of this room the most lately! I use our spare rooms as an office/craft storage space but it’s a lot easier to photograph in this front room with its big windows and I can spread out large projects on the dining table so that’s a big help too. Anyways, besides that, we love to use this room for parties since you have have all your food spread out on one side and a big sitting area right next to it. I never knew what a sitting room was before moving to the south, but I guess it’s just a room made to sit in so I think we are doing it properly?? I actually made that table 5 years ago (my first wood DIY ever) and it’s still holding up just fine! I painted it white a few years ago and gave the legs a gold spray paint treatment and it’s just a nice, simple table that feels sleek and clean. Those molded chairs are also great for all the crafts, cat hair, and baby stuff that’s happening in this space since you can wipe them down really easily which is a big plus. I also highly recommend a cowhide for a dining room—hard to stain (even this light colored one) super easy to clean food off of, and basically waterproof! I painted that sputnik fixture gold when we moved to give it a new life and I think I’ll basically like any 60’s or 70’s inspired light in a house (here’s a similar one)—they just feel way cooler to me. I made these wall planters for the space a while back but they are perfect for adding a little greenery to the walls. PRO TIP: I usually use faux plants in wall planters because trying to water wall plants can be a dripping nightmares so it’s usually waaay easier to go the faux route here.  Little vintage touches (like those brass swans) are my favorite thing to shop for… I’ve been keeping a lot of my glass collection on that buffet table, but as Lola gets more and more mobile, they will probably have to find a new home soon! I also just printed out that Bardot pic at Kinko’s on their blueprint machine and then made a simple custom frame for it. She’s been there for a bit sooo I may switch her out soon and probably for Robert Redford. I mean any day that goes by without looking at that face is a bit of a mistake if you ask me. This bar cart is due for some rearranging as well pretty soon! Maybe we should get a bar cart with cabinet doors we can lock (or maybe something up higher like this) to keep Lola from crashing all the bottles over. I think she likes anything that makes a loud sound so I see her eyeing up this bottom shelf lately…(“wild at heart” print from this shop). That tall cactus is hanging out inside for the winter! He lives outside in the summer, grows a ton, and then we bring him back in for hibernation. We had to cut off a foot from the top this year just to get him in the door! He was only about 3 feet tall less than two years ago so it’s super crazy how big he is. For a little room refresh, I got this amazing flat weave rug from Arro Home (love that company!). We have another one of their rugs in the den and they are great for Lola to crawl around and play on since you can roll balls and toys around on the rug without them getting stuck on anything. That pink linen ottoman is also great for extra seating in this area and it’s a soft item that Lola can pull up on and practice her standing skills.

I love large scale prints and all the colors and chill vibe in that ocean print—the mint is perfect for my color palette. I’ve been drooling over those pink eye pillows ever since I saw them in some other home photos online—they are just too cute! They are also velvet which feels super plush and it’s nice to have some round pillows for shape variation as well. That sofa is actually a sleeper sofa which is great for us since we don’t have a lot of space but we can close the doors to this front area and then guest can have the whole space to themselves (and the bed is really comfy too).  It’s good to have an Instax out for parties or just to capture an everyday moment—I love the little collection we’ve gathered over the years. That awesome neon print is a Jeff Mindell photo (used by permission) and I’ll take neon signs or photos anywhere I can get them! We have a real neon in the den, but prints can totally give off that real neon vibe too. That little Palm Springs house is actually a scratch house I made for the cats! It’s still one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. I loooove it.  Our cats hang out in this room most afternoons and take lots of naps on the rug during sunny days (although not a lot of those this winter!). That cocktail table is so pretty but the edges hold all the crumbs and dust in like crazy—you have to vacuum them out to get it clean! Still, I love the gold details though. Love that simple photo display. And look how little Lola is!! That phone cutout was a 70’s advertisement I found in a vintage shop. I just keep moving it around the house because it’s too good not to display somewhere.                                     Lola’s shirt/ Enfants Cheris, Lola’s pants/ Efaster

Overall this is just a warm friendly room that makes me happy to hang out in or have breakfast in on a Saturday morning (you can see what this room looked like when we first moved in). We also have been purposely eating dinner as a family at the dinner table every night (even if the other half is covered with my work projects). I want to get Lola used to that habit so we started it as soon as she began solid food and we’ve only had a few nights where we haven’t done it (up until then we’ve always eaten dinner at our coffee table in front of the tv—guilty!!). We still have a few small changes to create a “Lola-proof” environment as she grows (like move out or create a barrier around that cactus for one), but she’s pretty cute as you can see so it’s worth any change we have to make 🙂

xo. Laura

February 12, 2018
7 Comments

Whatever Lola Wants…

…Lola gets? Well, it’s obviously her Mom wanting these things, but the post title is just too good to pass up. I spend waaay more time looking at items for Lola then I do for me. I would have thought before I had a baby that would be a bad sign that I was “losing all my own personal identity” or something, and who knows, maybe it is, but it brings me a lot of joy soooo I guess I’m ok with it. My brain is already gearing up toward spring mode (it really can’t get here fast enough for me) and besides the temp and sunshine the other best things about warm weather is that all the baby legs come out of hibernation! Cute babies in short rompers are irresistible…Here are my top things I have my eye on this month:

Two words — Valentine’s Day.

I have an outfit in mind for Lola’s one year photo (of course that all depends on if it still fits by then!) but these shoes would be perfect! And these I just want for every other outfit 🙂

I wasn’t sure I was going to do hair clips for Lola any time soon, but these may change my mind!

Maybe the perfect blend of pre-tech hippe baby and the modern world?

Ugh, this bodysuit is perfect to pair with a cute skirt (and I looove the back detail).

This knitted romper is my favorite thing I’ve seen lately and and I can totally picture her in this come spring! Such sweet ruffle straps.

DOES THIS COME IN AN ADULT SIZE?!?

I don’t know if this has happened to any of you, but so much of the denim I wear these days is distressed that anything without rips looks odd to me now (even Lola’s baby jeans). I think these will solve the problem nicely…

I want to make Lola a busy board soon, but I love the coloring on this toddler version—perfect colors for my house and it looks so fun!

I would love to get her some more play romper for around the house (I’d rather not have her in her actual pajamas all day since they get dirty so fast with her crawling around on the floor and then we run out of PJs so fast) and I love this pattern (although these are literally bananas and would match her banana sheets too).

She is WAY to little for this mind-blowingly cute bag, but maybe I could keep it for her for a couple of year!! I’m dying…

I think this shade of mint is so pretty on Lola with her coloring so as much as I love my pink, I should also have a few more sweet rompers like that.

I have a feeling I’ll be getting more and more into hair accessories as her hair grows too (which it definitely is doing every month) so I’ll be keeping an eye out for that category in the coming months. I think her little side swept bangs will be so cute with little clips on that side—can’t wait!

xo. Laura

January 26, 2018
23 Comments

Help! How’s A Mom Supposed to Workout?!

Man, I knew it would be hard to find time as a working Mom to workout, but gollygeewhiz it’s so hard to find the time to do anything in that category. When I was still on maternity leave I could go during Lola’s morning nap to a local workout class that designed for new Moms and that felt so good to accomplish that on those days I went. Now, it’s so hard to wake up before Lola in the morning to workout because she sleeps so well at night but if she hears any little noise in her last few hours of sleep, she’s up for the day. And since I work during the day (Todd is on Daddy Day Care duty) that’s not really an option either. And then after work it’s dinner, cleanup, and trying to spend as much time as I can before Lola goes to bed where I then either collapse exhausted onto the couch for an hour or continue to finish up any other items on my to-do list that still need to be done. It still seems like night is the better option with an afternoon workout possible on the weekends but even then, what should I do??

Maybe a youtube video thing? I’ve got the whole yoga mat/weights/birth ball set up so sometimes I’ve done circuit training on my mat. I definitely would like to work on my postpartum belly a bit. I just feel like there’s an air pocket there and I’m not sure how to get it to suck back in. I’ve heard that’s a pelvic floor issue so crunches won’t really help and you have to work different muscles to get it to tighten back up. Anyone have any luck with exercises to help with that??

As dumb as it sounds, I’ve thought about getting a new workout outfit to help motivate me. For some reason having a workout outfit I like has actually worked in the past to get me to do it more. It’s kind of a  “fake-it-til-you-make-it” sort of a thing, like if I feel like I look like a put-together workerouter then my body will follow along and want to work out. Maybe some new leggings that show a little leg (or a lot of leg) or have a little more pattern? What about some blush sneakers (these are pretty sweet too)?? I can also always wear those out in general so if my plan fails they would still be useful. Also, are nursing sports bras necessary? Or only if you are out at a mommy and me workout class? I just have the old regular sports bras but I figure they can always be pulled up if needed. Either way, I definitely want this gym bag—it’s perfect!!

There’s always the warm weather option coming up too. We did a 20 minute walk almost every day after dinner before it got cold so I’m sure we will start that again and maybe that will help inspire me. Although it will be a few more months before it’s light again at that time. Maybe I’ll get Lola a baby tracksuit and do one of those “use the Baby as the weight” type of workouts in the den—maybe she’d like it too??

Anyways, if you guys know of an awesome post-partum youtube workout video or tips for getting in quick Mommy workouts, let me know! I definitely have to figure something out!!

xo. Laura

January 17, 2018
15 Comments

Lola’s Nursery Tour!

Is it weird that Lola’s nursery is my favorite room in the house to hang out in? When designing this room in my head I knew I wanted it to feel fun, sweet, and peaceful while matching the color scheme and aesthetic vibe of the rest of the house. We spend a lot of time in this sweet room and I’m so glad that I spent so much time making it special for her— all the effort was totally worth it in the end!I wasn’t sure if I really needed a glider before she was born, but let me tell you, I’m so glad that we got the one we did. It’s super comfortable and I still nurse her in it daily and in the middle of the night as well so it’s nice to have it rock so easily with just a tiny bit of motion (which is all I can muster at 4am anyway). I actually just recovered a plain footstool with furry fabric to use at the base of it and I added a gold planter in the corner behind it and a gold side table (an old Target find) to bring some more gold into that area as well. I wanted an area to add a few photos and knick-knacks and this marble and gold shelf is perfect for the space. I have her baby bracelets from the hospital next to that wooden rainbow and a few wooden animals help complete the look (love that little dino!). I’m so glad that I decided to do a dresser with a changing table top instead of a separate changing table (we use this changing pad). It definitely saves on space in a smaller room and she can use it as a real dresser right from the start as well! I have a few changing pad covers (definitely something you want to have more than one of!) but that watercolor cactus cover is my favorite right now. I got Lola that leopard coat for Christmas and it’s SO cute on her. Maybe I’ll get her this version for the warmer months too!I wanted a special light for Lola’s room and that Perla chandelier is so amazing. Almost every light in my house is from that shop. I also wanted to create custom closet doors for her room and those starburst doors fit perfectly with the overall vibe. I had so many books on my baby registry that people we laughing at me during my shower. I love books and I have so many favorites and special memories of being read to as a kid so I wanted to make sure we taught Lola how to love reading as well. That amazing house bookcase is the perfect spot to keep a bunch of them within reach and lately her favorite thing is pulling them all off the shelves she can reach while I read to her.  Since we don’t have extra space on her dresser top for diaper necessities I added a diaper cart next to the dresser to store her wipes and nail clippers and what not. We use cloth diapers most of the time (read more about our cloth diaper routine) but I keep disposables on hand for babysitters or ill timed diaper laundry days. Also, that diaper pail is awesome!
The hand painted wallpaper was quite the project but it’s my favorite thing about the room—it’s so personalized! Another sweet detail I love is that kitty hamper (Pottery Barn Kids item from last year) and I made that lion bust for her as well, I think he has such a kind little face. This crib is basically the crib of my dreams (sold out from Land Of Nod, similar here)! Lucite sides make it look like the crib is floating in midair and it has three adjustable heights and a toddler rail to use on the front to turn it into a big kid bed later—so cool! We also got an organic mattress and pad and those banana sheets (also organic!) are literally, well, bananas!! That large print above her bed is a digital print that I altered a bit and I love how it adds a bit of drama to the space and Funny Girl is my favorite movie so the quote is just perfect (similar gold side table here). And could I have a nursery without a cactus pillow? Probably not!  What’s cuter than a baby in pajamas?? These are on my wishlist for when they come back in stock in her size.Lola is just now big enough to ride that lion rocker (with a little help of course!) and as you can see she loves it! I’m also so glad that we have a soft and beautiful rug that is machine washable too! Such a big help in a baby’s room for sure and I love the giant pink tassels on each end. I’m sure that Lola will eventually be helping to pick out things for her own room buuut until then I’ll just have fun being in charge of the space while she doesn’t seem to mind 😉

xo. Laura

P.S. Interested in our favorite baby gear? Check out my newborn and 6 month favorite lists for Baby!