Lets Eat! Starting Solids

It’s an exciting time. You and your baby are ready to explore the world of food together!

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Most doctors recommend starting between 4-6 months. Our doctor said Jules was ready at 5 months based on how she was sitting and her cues (beginning to show interest in what I was eating and trying to grab food from my plate). Back in the day, it was very common to begin with rice cereal because it is thought to be easy to digest. Nowadays, rice cereal is falling by the way side (did anyone see yesterday’s news report? Arsenic???) and most doctors will give the green light to begin with oatmeal or vegetables. Ask what your doctor recommends at their four month check up so you can put your plan in place.

First, will you be making some or all of your baby’s food? If the answer is yes, you may want to look at baby food makers and there are certainly plenty on the market. Since I knew I would be making some but not most of her food, I didn’t want to invest in yet another gadget. I have a Vitamix (which I highly recommend because it rocks) and a steamer and that is really all you need. I picked up a few freezer containers so that when I make a batch of food, I can freeze the rest in individual containers.

You will also need soft spoons, small bowls, and a ton of bibs of you don’t have already.


I love this bowl and plate set and it’s currently on sale at Pottery Barn Kids

Next, if you’re buying foods, you’ll be starting with Stage 1. Baby foods come in stages based on the simplicity of the food, the amount it is pureed, and the size. For example, a Stage 1 food may simply be “carrots” while a Stage 2 may be “carrots, butternut squash and apples”. Stage 1 foods are typically 2 ounces while stage 2 are between 3.5-4 ounces. I did a lot of research on brands and I stick with Plum Organics and Happy Baby. Both are organic with non- GMO ingredients but what I think sets them apart is the variety of meals after stage 1 and less added ingredients. At most of my local stores, the stage 1 foods were in short supply (so annoying) so I did a big order from diapers.com and stocked up.

As per the doctor’s recommendation, we gave the same food for three days in a row to watch for allergies. We would try new foods either in the morning or around lunch time to allow for plenty of time to watch for any adverse reactions before bed.

With fruits or vegetables, you would begin by giving half the pouch and give the remaining half the next day (they are good refrigerated for 24 hours). If beginning with cereal, follow the directions on the box. If your baby is eating everything you are serving and wanting more, increase the amounts.

After we had a few foods under our belt, a typical schedule looked something like this.

7am- bottle

8am- oatmeal with fruit (we love this oatmeal that was recommended by a friend)

11am- bottle

12pm- a vegetable

You’ll then add dinner and eventually replace the afternoon bottle with a snack.

I felt strongly that I didn’t want to give her vegetables combined with fruit because I thought it would possibly turn her off to regular vegetables (I worried she would grow accustomed to the sweetness of the fruit) so I stuck with stage 1 for awhile.

Even now at 9 months, I still buy stage 1 fruits and buy only stage 2 vegetable meals, always with some type of protein.

Random Tip– Target makes these fruit pouches that we buy for the big kids which have exactly the same ingredients as the baby food pouches for a lot less $ so if you are a Target shopper, make sure to check them out

Jules did experience some constipation when we began solids, which is fairly common. Prunes and pears, as well as the probiotic oatmeal, worked wonders. We still stay away from bananas because they are so binding.

At our 8 month check up, we were given the green light for her to eat anything (with the exception of cow’s milk and honey which cannot be given until after the first birthday). Now the real fun begins!

All advice above is solely my personal opinion based on my experience. Always consult a medical professional with any medical concerns. 



How “clean” are your beauty products?

A few months ago, my daughter began collecting “pocket bacs,” the small, hand sanitizers from Bath & Body Works. Personally, I’m not a fan of the store- I feel like I get a headache from the scents just by walking in- but since she wasn’t actually using them (don’t even ask), I didn’t give it much thought.


But then the obsession quickly grew to include their body washes and lotions, as well as body washes, lotions and bath bombs from other stores. I decided it was time to do a little research to see just what was in all of these products.

My first stop was Skin Deep, a great site where you can type in a product and get a rating on how good/bad it is based on the ingredients.  The only problem was most of the products I was looking up weren’t on there. Hmmm. I needed to do a bit of digging.

Have you heard of the “dirty dozen” for fruits and vegetables? Well, apparently there’s a list for chemicals too!

1. BHA and BHT– Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA).
2. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number
In addition to coal tar dyes, natural and inorganic pigments used in cosmetics are also assigned Colour Index numbers (in the 75000 and 77000 series, respectively). Look for p-phenylenediamine hair dyes and in other products colours listed as “CI” followed by five digits.1 The U.S. colour name may also be listed (e.g. “FD&C Blue No. 1” or “Blue 1”). Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.
3. DEA-related ingredients– Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer.
4. Dibutyl phthalate– Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant.
5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives– Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.
6. Parabens– Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions.
7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)– Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as “unscented.” Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity.
8. PEG compounds– Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., polyethylene glycol).
9. Petrolatum– Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.
10. Siloxanes– Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane).
11. Sodium laureate sulfate– Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).
12. Triclosan– Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

Pretty scary stuff, not to mention overwhelming. I decided we’d start by going paraben and BHA/BHT free.

Needless to say, my daughter was not thrilled when I began confiscating her products to analyze the ingredients. To include her in the process, I used this very cool, FREE app called Think Dirty. With this app, you can scan products with your phone and it will give you a score (much like the other website I mentioned but the scanner makes it fun!). Within moments, she was scanning away and screaming when she came across a 10 (“OMG! Get this out of here!“). I love that she could see that the items weren’t good  for her so she didn’t resist. She even joked she could become a “paraben hunter” 🙂


Her products that she will no longer be using.


My products that didn’t make the cut.

Do you have any favorite “clean” products? I’d love to hear about them!


Juicing For Health

It’s been 19 days since the “big day” and I feel like I’m finally breathing again. So many good things in such a short period of time! My thank-you’s were completed today and I unpacked all the boxes that have been sitting near my front door.


One of the amazing wedding gifts we received was a juicer (thank you, Larry and Michele!). Now, I love fruits and B loves vegetables but neither of us have ever juiced before. When strolling through the isles in Bloomingdales, filling out our registry, we said, why not?. Now I have the task to figure out the why, in addition to the how and when!

So why are people crazy about juicing? What’s the difference between the apple juice and orange juice that I buy at the store? I began there…

  • Juicing has a very high nutritional and vitamin content. The juicer breaks up the cells of the produce and, because it’s liquid, it goes into our bloodstream instantaneously. Juice is also easy to digest so our body isn’t working as hard.
  • Fresh juice is not pasteurized. Juice that is sold in a store is heated and, during this process, most of the nutritional value is destroyed.


Ok, so fresh juice is better than store-bought, pasteurized juice (makes sense!) so onto the how and when…

When– First thing in the AM or anytime you need an energy boost (for me, that’s around 2pm). Make sure to drink the juice as soon as possible after juiced as it starts to lose its nutritional value as soon as it’s made. Also, because there are no preservatives, you’ve only got about 24 hours, max (make sure to store in a glass, airtight container if you can’t drink right away). Make sure to drink fresh juice on an empty stomach and don’t eat food for about one hour after consuming juice so the juice can do it’s magic.

How– Get yourself a juicer. Go shopping for organic, seasonal fruits and veggies. Use a vegetable wash to clean and then prepare your produce for juicing the night before. Pull up some juicing recipes if you’re like me and need a recipe for everything in the kitchen or play around like my hubby did (oh my, he’s my hubby!)

Here are some recipes I found to get started. If you are a juicer and have recipes to share, PLEASE comment and share the love!





Turn Your Black Thumb Green

Ok, I’m determined. I can and I will turn my black thumb green.

I adore flowers, especially orchids, but can’t seem to keep anything alive more than a few days. Even hardy plants seem to wilt in my presence (I killed bamboo for goodness sakes! Who kills bamboo?!) but with my mind set, I know I can accomplish anything so here we go.

The girls would love a vegetable garden but considering my past history and after doing some research, it seems herbs are a better place to start. I went to my local nursery (farmers’ markets are also a good choice) and picked up organic potting soil, three beautiful pots that fit perfectly on my windowsill, and some seeds. I will give updates if anyone’s interested and would love to hear any tips from my fellow gardeners. With any luck, I’ll have some fresh herbs to add to my fall meals. Listed below are the basics to get started in case anyone is a novice like me.

Source: http://www.oprah.com/food/The-Urban-Herbalist#ixzz1TGZkgTt5

  • Light: Herbs love the sun, so choose a spot with plenty of it. Southern exposure is ideal, but any bright window with four hours of direct sun will do.
  • Containers: Pot especially pungent herbs like cilantro, mint, basil, and lavender individually, so their roots don’t overwhelm one another. Try planting other varieties together in a single hanging basket or a long ceramic trough. Choose containers with holes in the bottom for drainage.
  • Soil: Fill the pot with potting soil, which is lightweight and drains quickly.
  • Water: Allow the soil to become dry before watering. Pay attention to shifts in temperature—consider air-conditioning, radiator heat, and seasonal variation in sunshine—and adjust your watering schedule accordingly (anywhere from once a week to once a day during hot spells).