Friday, October 8, 2010

Car Safety: Calming a Crying Baby

Who hasn't experienced the screaming baby on a trip to pay the bills, go grocery shopping, or for the more adventurous a long road trip? It happens to all of us. For some mothers it is a constant battle and for others it is sporadic but when it happens it can be heartbreaking. None of us enjoy hearing our baby cry and this lack of enjoyment only increases when we are limited in our capability to fix the problem. Instead of focusing on what we cannot do this post will feature what we can do to help a crying car seat baby.

1. Assess the car seat - There is quite a bit to this step. Make sure the car seat is comfortable for the baby. Check the straps to see if they are too loose or too tight, make sure the incline is correct, feel the fabric and the buckles to see if they are super hot or cold, feel around for any hard bumps maybe a lost toy. You also want to check to see if your baby is being hit directly with sunlight as this causes many to cry.

2. Create a car toybox - Put several car safe toy in a car safe toybox. Then when baby cries reach back and hand him/her a toy, every time. The box should have a lid and be relatively soft. The toys should be soft as well, something that wouldn't harm baby if it went flying in a car crash.

3. Pull over - Sometimes, even when five minutes from your house, you just have to pull over and comfort baby for awhile. Enjoy this time together, I promise you'll miss it later and I promise it is more important than wherever you have to be in most cases.

4. Talk or Sing to baby - Many babies are soothed by their mother's voice. Even if baby isn't soothed they will know you care about them and hear them crying. It is a way of showing affection even when you can't stop the crying.

5. Put some ice in a mesh feeder or a baby sock - Many babies love to suck on these contraptions and it can keep them occupied quite a long time.

6. Offer a binky - If your baby takes a binky then be sure to offer it for the car ride. We have a special car binky.

7. Have a special car seat toy - This toy is only played with while in the car. Babies get bored easy so this helps create novelty.

8. Bring the car seat in the house and let baby play in it - This helps break down the association of car seat as something negative.

9. Place a poster safely on the seat in front of baby - They make special baby items for this purpose. It gives baby something to look at while you are driving.

10. Play music or white noise - Many babies are soothed by music or white noise.

11. Assess for a medical condition - Babies with reflux, for example, may need the incline of their car seat adjusted (within safety guidelines) to make sure that driving is comfortable for them. There are many baby items you can purchase to help with this.

Now I know I promised a list of things you can do versus things you shouldn't do but I fibbed a bit. I do feel the need to create a small list of "do-nots".

1. Do not leave handle up of the carseat unless the manual expressly says it is safe to do so. If it is safe to leave the handle up it is still not safe to hang toys from it.

2. Do no take baby out of car seat while you or someone else is driving. The risk is not worth the perceived benefit.

3. Do not turn around while driving, pull over if you must.

4. Do not turn the car seat around to forward-facing prematurely. A lot of people will say that their babies stopped hating the car seat once it was forward-facing. However, we now know that it is much safer to rear face your child for an extended period of time. The benefits of safety far outweigh the risk of having an unhappy child.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Baby Food: Spice is Nice

Using spice in your baby food can be just as exciting as trying new foods! Babies enjoy flavorful foods just as much as we do and in many cultures babies are introduced to spices from the very start of solid introduction. In general though the recommendation is to wait eight months before introducing spices regularly into babies diet, this seems to be to prevent upset tummy. Keep in mind that it is still recommended to follow the "wait four days for every new item to allow for allergy" rule.

What I recommend is an entire food experience. Babies are sensory creatures. Choose your spice and introduce it to baby's many senses. Each time you introduce a new spice think of it as a sensory learning experience and do the following.

Sight and Sound: Since spices are so small and generally do not make much sound I've combined these two senses together. Get an empty jar of some sort that is clear like a plastic water bottle or an empty baby food jar. Put some spice in there with hard beans or rice. Then tape the top. Baby can use it as a home made rattle. Of course if you have the full version of herbs and spice baby can enjoy looking at them that way as well.

Smell: Put a dab of the spice on your finger, smell it. If it isn't too strong then hold about an inch away from baby's nose and allow baby to smell. Learning smells is a fun experience!

Touch: Put some of the spice in a bowl and let baby feel it. This will be fun for baby and perhaps even help the development and perfection of the pincher grasp. If your baby uses a pacifier this is the perfect time to let baby suck on it as it will help prevent the hand to mouth scenario. If baby does not then just be sure to keep a close eye on baby to make sure a handful of spice doesn't go into the mouth.

Taste: Mix the spice with one of baby's favorite foods and allow baby to taste it!

Here are some ideas of what foods and spices may work well together. The information was gathered from Wholesome Baby Foods.


Apple(Sauce): use cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, ginger

Pears: use ginger, cinnamon, a drip of vanilla or even mint

Bananas: use cinnamon, ginger, allspice, vanilla


Plain Yogurt : use with mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger, allspice, cardamom


Sweet potato: use with nutmeg, cinnamon and/or cardamom

Pumpkin: use with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and dash of vanilla

Carrots: use with basil & garlic - baked cinnamon carrots are yummy too.

Green beans: use with garlic powder

Mashed potatoes(white) : use with dill weed or garlic

Winter Squash (acorn, hubbard, butternut etc.): use with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger


Pasta: use oregano, garlic, basil

Oatmeal or other cereals: use fruits, cinnamon & nutmeg, dash of vanilla

Rice (sweet) with cinnamon, nutmeg, dash of vanilla, cardamom, ginger
Quinoa (sweet): use cinnamon, nutmeg, dash of vanilla, cardamom, ginger for sweet

Quinoa (savory): use garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, basil, oregano and others


Chicken/Turkey with cinnamon and/or coriander

Chicken/Turkey with garlic powder and basil

Chicken/Turkey with lemon zest and pepper

Chicken/Turkey with basil & oregano

Chicken/Turkey with garlic and pepper
Chicken/Turkey with sage, rosemary and thyme

Beef with garlic and pepper

Beef with onion powder and pepper

Beef with Orange Zest"

Baby Food: Making your Own Purees

There is a lot of difference in how we choose to feed our children outside of the breast or the bottle. So long as the food baby is receiving is healthy and mom is taking possible health considerations, like allergies, into consideration then it is really a process of what works best for your family.

A friend of mine helped me create a how-to of making your own purees. This is helpful for the moms who don't exactly trust the ingredients in processed baby food or the moms who want to save an extra dollar (because really who doesn't need that?).

Items Needed:

- Blender or Baby Mill

- Ice Cube Trays

- Zip Lock Bags

- Stove

- Pot

- Baking Dish

- Steamer


1. Assess what type of cooking your food will need.

a. Foods you would normally put in the oven to cook for yourself like potato or in a pie like apples and peaches you probably want to bake until soft.

b. Foods you would normally steam for yourself like green beans, broccoli, and peas or foods like berries you probably want to steam until soft.

c. You can use the resource at the bottom of the page to check out how to best prepare each food for cooking. They give information like which foods need to be peeled and which do not.

2. Let the food cool after cooking.

3. Put the food in a blender. You have a choice to use a liquid to make the food a bit smoother or not. Many moms do use this option. If you do then you must make a choice on which liquid to use. Here are some options.

a. Breast Milk

b. Water from the steamer you used to soften the food. This will not work for foods high in nitrates like beets, spinach, and carrots.

c. Water from the tap

d. If you are making a "poopy" meal to help with constipation you may choose to use a small amount of no-sugar added juice.

4. Puree to the consistency that you and your baby prefer.

5. Scoop and put into your ice cube trays. Let sit for 24 hours (or until generally frozen solid).

6. Once frozen you can pop the food out of the trays and put into your ziploc bags. Please label the bags with both item and date. This helps with health and safety issues. Ziploc bags remain in the freezer.

7. In a typical freezer foods are good for about one month. In a deep freezer they are good about three months with the exception of meats which are good only one month no matter where they are stored.

8. When it is time to eat then take out the number of cubes you prefer and defrost. Some choose to defrost in a pot and some use the microwave. Each cube is approximately one ounce of food.

a. To defrost with a microwave then you put into a microwave safe bowl and heat. After heating be sure to stir well as to avoid hidden hot pockets.

b. To defrost without a microwave take the food out and put into a bowl. Put this bowl in a bowl of warm water.

c. To defrost the simple way just take out, put in a bowl, and leave in the refrigerator to defrost.

d. Foods are good in the fridge for approximately 72 hours, in a sealed container, so in general you can defrost an entire days food at the same time. Just take it out when you make breakfast for yourself or when you get up in the morning. But do not simply leave on the counter to sit because this can cause bacteria growth.

e. Do not re-freeze food that has been thawed.

Great Resource:

Wholesome Baby Foods