CHARLEE’S JOURNEY TO SOLIDS

We’ve reached that critical age in a infants life where they begin to show signs that they may be ready for solids. Like I suspected, as early as 3 1/2 months, Charlee was showing clear signs that she was ready to start eating solids. She was sitting upright with minimal assistance, showed a lot of curiosity in what her father and I were eating at the dinner table and she started grabbing at my fork and spoon during meal time. My husband and I couldn’t wait for this journey to begin simply because we thought starting her on solids would improve her sleep and help her sleep for longer stretches. Sadly, at her 4-month wellness appointment, her pediatrician informed us that starting her on solids wouldn’t change her sleeping patterns and that at her age, infants sleep schedules are pretty much established. This was the saddest news for us because Charlee loves waking up at 3am for a meal and as new parents who work full-time, we value our sleep and 3am wake up calls aren’t our jam. The pediatrician also recommended we wait until 6 months to begin her on solids, but she provided a plan to follow in the event we decided to transition Charlee to solids earlier than the recommended 6 months.

So far the journey to solids has had it’s challenges, but we’ve had some successes as well and for that, we feel like we’re finally winning in the parenting department. Charlee is currently 4 months and 3 weeks old. We started her on the Gerber Organic cereal at 4 months and 1 week old and have slowly started introducing baby puree and here’s what we have learned thus far:

  1. It’s best to start feeding baby from the spoon with baby cereal when they aren’t hungry. We fed Charlee an hour or so before her regular feeding time that way she wasn’t very hungry and wasn’t focused on her hunger and could put her attentions to the new experience of eating from a spoon.
  2. Be patient. I have to keep reminding myself that she’s getting use to the swallow reflex and still trying to learn how to use her tongue. With all these new experiences, it is taking time for her to get this eating from the spoon business down, so patience is key.

3. Babies won’t like everything you feed them and that’s okay. Charlee is very vocal about the foods she doesn’t like. I have to remember that she has likes and dislikes too and just because I’m feeding it to her doesn’t mean she’ll eat it. This was hard at first because I had conditioned myself into thinking that anything I gave her she wouldn’t reject only because when she had breast milk she didn’t reject that. When I started supplementing with formula she didn’t reject that either, so naturally I’ve been spoiled and had this idea that she just likes to eat, no matter what it is. ALL LIES. I gave her some butternut squash puree and it wasn’t her fave. However, I’ll revisit the butternut squash at a later date to see if her mind has changed. It was the very first puree she tried, so I think it deserves a second chance.

4. When they turn away that doesn’t always mean they are rejecting the food. I remember Charlee’s pediatrician specifically stating that when baby turns their head away from the food it sometimes just means they are trying to get the tongue and swallow reflex down. They are experiencing so many new things when transitioning to solids and giving them time to decide and figure out how their tongue works and how to swallow is key. With this info in mind, I’ll be revisiting the butternut squash puree.

5. We are going to try out a transition/weaning spoon. We’ve been using a regular baby spoon up until now, but after talking to a few seasoned parents, they recommend a transition or weaning spoon. Charles and I will be ordering one off Amazon just to see how Charlee takes to it.

6. Feeding is still bonding time. I have to keep reminding myself that feeding time is still bonding time for Charlee and I. Sometimes I can get so wrapped up in the mechanics and logistics of transitioning her to solids and spoon feeding that I forget that this is our special mommy-daughter time together. The journey of breastfeeding to solely pumping to supplementing and now solids has always been about our time together, its the one part of my day where I relax and nourish this beautiful human I created and the one thing I don’t want to do is poison it by getting too bogged down with the challenges of transitioning her to solid foods .

I hope this info has been helpful. I’ll keep you updated on her solids journey as we go along.

P.S. all food featured in these pics as well as on my IG page are from Yumi, an amazing baby food delivery service. You should check them out.

Sincerely,

Deidra Marie


PROS & CONS OF RAISING AN INFANT DURING A PANDEMIC + A FEW HOME DECOR UPGRADES

Let’s face it, 2020 was one of the strangest years to date. In 2019, I never would have thought I’d be at home as much as I am now, but then again, in 2019 I didn’t have an infant to care for and there was no COVID-19 and therefore, my schedule was jammed packed with things to do: graduating from grad school, pageant stuff, traveling, blogging and just living my best childless life, LOL. Staying at home all the time was definitely a foreign concept to me. Staying at home all the time with an infant was something new too. Almost 10 months of quarantine and counting and I can say there is some good and some bad, so here’s my list of pros and cons of raising an infant during a whole global pandemic. Also, these are just some random pics of my sweet Charleekins and hubby Charles and a few home decor upgrades for our bedroom.

Pro #1 FREE DAYCARE

What daycare? I’m not an essential worker and thankfully, I can do my entire job from home. What does that mean, I’m with Charlee at home, that means free daycare. Everyone knows daycare is crazy expensive, so staying home with my child is the most cost effective thing a new parent can do. There are so many dollars we have kept in our pocket because I’m home with the little one and thinking about all the money I’m saving is nice too.

Con #1 WORKING FULL-TIME WITH A BABY IS HARD

I love Charlee, I do, but being at home with a newborn all day is exhausting! As many of you know, newborns require a lot of attention. I didn’t mind too much in the beginning since I was on maternity leave and didn’t have to worry about work, but maternity leave ended in November and trying to work with a baby at home all day is probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I will say this though, now that she’s officially 4 months an eating heavier meals, she’s sleeping for longer stretches so it’s not as bad.

Pro #2 TIME FOR SELF CARE

I have time for self care. Sometimes self care just means having time to just be home. Being quarantined there has been so much of that. I’ve really learned that self care should not only be intentional, but what really defines self care is just doing what you love. I’m doing what I love while Charlee sleeps and when she’s awake, I’m loving on her and that is a form of self care for me.

Con #2 CABIN FEVER

WE’RE. ALWAYS. HOME. I’ve had a few instances of cabin fever. It sometimes sucks being at home all day long and when you finally do leave you realize nothing is happening around you because, well, COVID, ugh. I want to travel again, I want to take Charlee out to see our city, see our family and friends. I want her to start being social with other people besides me and her dad, but again, COVID. Charlee’s health and safety come first, so until this pandemic clears up, I’ll be here, in the house, gazing out the window and reminiscing on life before COVID, LOL. 😂

Pro #3 WE’VE MADE OUR HOUSE A HOME

I’ve had time to make my house look like a place someone actually lives in. Here’s the thing, before Charlee and before COVID, my house was literally a place I just rested my head. Charles and I had the basics in our house and it was devoid of any home decor or items to make our house look lived in. We’ve since then cleaned up our act and started adding some personality to the spaces in our home, mostly motivated by the fact that we had to get rid of a lot of items and make room for the baby. Having a baby really encouraged us to make a space that was welcoming, homey and just an all around good space for her to grow up in.

Con #3 NO SPACE

Space is limited at our house right now. Charlee’s baby items take up so much space and because of the pandemic, we’ve opted not to move to a bigger space until we see economically, how things will pan our here in the US. We’ve chosen to stay put, pay off some debt and just purge the house of items we collected over the years that we really don’t need to make space for the items that Charlee uses regularly.

Pro #4 NO MORE FOMO

I feel less pressure to entertain these days. Pre COVID, I was dealing with some serious FOMO, Fear of Missing Out. That being said, I was going all over the place, celebrating major milestones with friends, going out every weekend with the girls, traveling here and there, attending this event and that event and blah blah blah. When COVID shut everything down, I felt this hidden anxiety melting away. Having Charlee slowed me down even more too. My life pre COVID would have never been practical with a newborn. Honestly, I’m not sure how I was functioning pre pandemic with all the things I was doing, LOL, but here we are. I’m resting, relaxing, reflecting and enjoying my little family.

Con #4 WE MISS FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTION

I. MISS. MY. FAMILY and FRIENDS. Being at home with an infant all day is a lot of work and some days the only social time I have. I love Charlee, I do, but I do miss interacting with people my own age. I do Zoom calls with my friends and family, but honestly, nothing will be able to replace face to face interaction and human touch. I for one am not a hugger, but being able to hug my friends and family would be priceless right about now.

Pro #5 WE SAVED A LOT AND REALIZED WE WERE BEING WASTEFUL

We have saved a lot of money. This has helped Charles and I realize that our lifestyle pre COVID was wasteful and not practical for a baby. When Charlee finally arrived, we had a nice nest egg saved up for her to get the things we needed to care for her on top of what was given to us by our amazing family, friends and coworkers. We’ve been extremely blessed and we are so grateful for all the financial blessings we received to welcome our sweet baby girl into the world this past August.

Con #5 NO REASON TO DRESS UP

Shopping is therapeutic for me and I love being able to go out and show off my outfits at work and on the weekends with my friends, but with COVID I’m not dressing up to go anywhere except to my kitchen and other places around the house and even then, I’m extremely careful about what I wear these days because baby spit up is real and will ruin your clothes, LOL. 😂. This is life with an infant. This is also life with an infant during a global pandemic.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my list. Here’s hoping this pandemic ends soon. I know we are all wanting to get back to some sense of normalcy and while I truly don’t believe it will ever truly be “normal” again I have hope that our country and the world will be able to recover from this and most importantly learn from this. There is beauty in hard times. Even during a pandemic, our sweet baby girl has been a light and while I have admitted it’s hard, nothing worth having comes easy. Okay, I’ll stop with all the cliches now and end by wishing you all a happy new year. Please stay safe out there and I wish you all good health and lots of happiness. Happy 2021!

By the way, our newest home project has been decluttering the upstairs and getting rid of items that make our space look less appealing. We’ve been adding little knick knacks here and there to spruce up our bedrooms upstairs so peep the pics from our master bedroom. More pics of the other rooms to come.

Till next time good people.

Sincerely,

Deidra Marie


MY 5 SIMPLE BABY SKINCARE TIPS

I learned very quickly that my baby’s skincare routine was something to take very seriously. When I brought Charlee home from the hospital, her skin was basically flawless. I mean it was clear, soft and supple to the touch and a perfect even smooth texture. That quickly went away at about 3 weeks old and she started to develop some baby acne. It was just a few bumps at first, but it gradually spread across her cheeks and then made it’s way to her forehead and chin and eventually spread to her scalp. Like any new mom, I was very concerned and even beat myself up about it on a daily basis. Somehow, I linked all of her skin issues to how I was doing as a mother and classified it as just poor parenting. I can laugh about it now, but at the time, it was taking such a toll on my mental and I was thinking a whole lot of outlandish things that I now don’t believe are true. As Charlee’s skin got worse, my obsession with wanting to hang onto that perfect baby I brought home with the perfect skin did too. Thinking back on it all, most of my behavior and thinking came from having my own skin insecurities, having dealt with severe eczema as a child and being diagnosed with Hidradentitis Suppurativa (otherwise known as HS) in my early 20’s, prompted me to work extra hard to solve the plethora of skin issues that started to crop up on Charlee (cradle cap, eczema and baby acne) all of which resulted in her loosing quite a bit of hair. I did a lot of late night research and came up with a pretty simple routine and some even simpler tips and tricks to keep her skin thriving and me less stressed. I hope the info I provide is helpful to you moms and dads out there and makes caring for your infant just a little bit easier.

86 the Fragrance

Fragrance is great, it makes things smell pleasant and for me, there are certain scents that just bring back some really great childhood memories, but fragrance can irritate a baby’s very sensitive skin. You have to remember that babies, while out of the womb now, are still developing, there skin is no exception to this. It’s sensitive and can easily break out, so getting rid of the fragrance is one way to reduce breakouts. Also, newborns have this really amazing smell about them that I certainly don’t want to mask with a bunch of harsh fragrance, just saying.

Be Thorough During Bath time

Some babies have the cutest little creases and fat rolls, but it’s also a breeding place for dirt, bacteria and anything else you can think of, so you have to be thorough when cleaning in between the creases and crevices, it’s an absolute MUST. I mean scrub scrub scrub and get up in there; in between their little toes and fingers, behind their ears, in the creases of their arms and legs and under their neck. If your baby is like mine, even with a bib on, milk always tends to seep under that neck, I call it milk neck. A good ole fashion cleaning under there will do the trick. I scrub everyday under Charlee’s neck with a light micellar cleanser, Mustela Baby Micellar Water. A warm rag will also do the trick in between baths as well.

Use an All-Over Ointment

With babies, the simpler the better. There is no need to have a baby body lotion and a different cream for their face and a different moisturizer for their scalp. Just buy something that does the trick for everything. I’m currently using Tubby Todd’s All Over Ointment. I literally use it head to toe on my baby and it has gotten rid of her cradle cap, eczema patches and baby acne. A little goes a long way and I love the results on my baby, so much I started using it myself when I got a few breakouts on my face, arms and back.

Choose the Right Laundry Detergent

What touches your babies clothes will also go on your baby’s skin, so I recommend a fragrance free, chemical free laundry detergent. There are so many detergents on the market targeted towards babies, unfortunately, many of them have lots of fragrance and other ingredients that are simply just bad for baby and you if I’m being honest. Read your labels and check for any questionable ingredients before purchasing. My family is currently using All Free and Clear.

Read Your Labels

Like I said in the tip above, all that glitters is not gold. Reading labels to see what is in the products you’re using is crucial. Companies love using words like “Natural” to trick you into thinking their product is safe to use, and honestly it may be safe to use, but many people don’t ever consider the long term effects of using products that contain harsh irritants and chemicals. Reading labels can be a bit confusing with all the big words, so I use the Think Dirty App to help me understand what each ingredient is in products and the effects they may have on the body after long term use. Using this app has really helped kickstart my clean living journey and has taught me so much about quality over quantity when it comes to what I put on and in my body.

When Charlee’s skin issues started to arise, I was buying all sorts of stuff to just fix things quickly and make it go away. What I’ve learned since then is that keeping things simple, using less products and sticking to a simple routine are what works best for Charlee’s skin. I now use a total of 3 products in her skincare routine:

For All Over Moisturizing: Tubby Todd’s All Over Ointment

For Daily Face Cleansing: Mustela Baby Micellar Water

For Body Cleansing: Honest Shampoo/Body Wash Purely Sensitive

Another brand we love that is baby friendly is Weleda. We’ve used it on Charlee in the past, but we are currently using the products above right now as they seem to really be doing the trick with maintaining her eczema breakouts and cradle cap. If you’re just looking for a skincare line for baby that’s gentle and clean, Weleda is a great option as well.

I hope this post has been helpful to all you moms and dads out there and even those who aren’t parents who are seeking to simplify their skincare routine.

Till next time

Sincerely,

Deidra Marie