Merry Mother Logo

April 2008
Issue # 006

rainbow
{Photo by RonAlmog}
As I fondly watch the snow melt away, I'm filled with great anticipation for the flowers and warmth of April.

Surely winter is almost over! (I hear you snicker! my southern sisters!)

As we all move from the cocoons of our homes and begin introducing our offspring to the wonders of the world, let us look at our children with fresh eyes.

Let us never forget the wonder of seeing that first fuzzy caterpillar or our joy seeing that tantalizing rainbow, oh-so-close, but oh-so-far-away.

We, like our babies, were explorers once...

Think of all the wonderful things you have the pleasure of introducing your little one to!

It's mind-boggling and exciting. What a blessing to be the one to watch her feel grass for the first time! What an absolute treat to share the fragrance of a flower.

So here's to us! As we get on our hands-and-knees into the mud and experience everything "for the first time" all over again.

Treasures in This Issue:

In Case You Missed It...

Here are some of the new articles published recently at The Essential Infant Resource for Moms that you may have missed. As always, sign up for the Infant Blog and be notified instantly of all new or altered pages!

Announcing...A Different Kind of Boutique!

baby footprint pirate
Starting this week, I've launched our new store, The Giggle Wiggle Boutique, which you can view at this link.

Unlike the other ba-zillion baby boutiques on the web, this boutique is different. It focuses on selling hand-crafted and specialty items made by you.

For example, check out these baby handprint and footprint kits. Hand-painted and individually designed, they are like nothing else you will find on the web. (Trust me, I checked!)

These works of art are assembled to-order by Becca G., mother of Abigail (and a Merry Mother subscriber). I'm also looking for other baby and mom-related items to sell. Do you have an item to sell?

Merry Mothers get $10 Cash Back
on Their First Order!

princess
Your code is: ImMerry2

When you complete your customization form, there will be a special space labeled "MM Rebate Code" for you to enter in ImMerry2.

Click on "Go to Step Two" to complete payment and shipping. Your $10 will be credited to whatever form of payment you use within 24-48 hours.

This offer is only available for those kits sold in The Supreme design group and will expire on April 30th, 2008.

Click here to shop.

Still to Come...

In case you're wondering, I'm still working on the interactive component of the website I mentioned in the last edition of The Merry Mother.

Look for that announcement, as well as several more quality pages on...

  • Infant Milestones - How to read growth charts, social development checklists, etc.
  • Baby Health Issues - Curing the Infant Cold, Does He Have Allergies? etc.
  • The Basics of Teething (if I have time!)
Look for all the details on this new opportunity in next month's issue on May 6th.

feature

musing definition
I was recently reminded about those early "mom" days when the issue of breastfeeding came up while chatting with a friend. She is expecting her first any day now and was still trying to make up her mind about breastfeeding or formula feeding.

"Why not do both?" I said, to her astonishment. That option had never occurred to her.

Yes, I breastfed and formula fed both my babies (and will again, most likely). The article below looks at the practice of "combo-feeding" in all its hits and misses. Enjoy!

Combo Feeding:
Using Breastmilk and Formula Together

I was first introduced to the concept of combo feeding in the book, O for a Thousand Nights to Sleep (by far the most entertaining baby prep book I've ever read, by the way! View it here.)

By the phrase "combo feeding" I'm referring to breastfeeding all but one feeding a day. In the late-night feeding (around midnight) I would give my baby formula instead of breastmilk.

The Hits

  • Breastmilk is easily digested, leaving your baby hungry sooner. By giving Lauren a formula bottle at midnight, I was helping her sleep longer, which is letting me sleep longer. Both my children were sleeping through the night (e.g. 5-6 hours straight) by 6-8 weeks old.
  • Daddy can offer that second bottle, allowing him his own bonding opportunity (and you some sleep).
  • If you struggle with low milk supply (which is really only 5% of nursing moms), supplementing gives your mammary glands an opportunity to catch up.
  • Any amount of breastmilk you can get into your baby is a blessing. By "compromising" with yourself, you may last longer as a breastfeeding mom.
  • If I knew I was going to be busy the following day, I would use the opportunity to pump while Cameron was bottle-feeding, storing it in the fridge for the next day's use.

The Misses

  • Be warned that the convenience of formula feeding is enticing. Be disciplined not to "over supplement". Adding more than one bottle a day can impact your milk production, which will cause more need for supplementation, which will lead to less milk supply...and all the sudden you're formula feeding 100%.

    Unless that's your actual plan, be aware of this temptation. This is especially, tempting if you already have a second child running around the house.

  • Many lactation consultants recommend that you do not begin supplementing until 6 weeks after birth to give your milk an opportunity to reach peak production. You will need to decide for yourself when is the best time to begin combo feeding (if at all).
In summary, combo feeding was a blessing to my family, especially after the birth of my second. Evaluate what your goals are and where you are in life. Are you able to handle less sleep for a longer period of time? Do you wish to breastfeed to his first birthday? If so, combo feeding may not be the best option for you.

Hopefully this information will help you make a deliberate decision either way that will serve the whole family.


Craker, Lorilee. O for a Thousand Nights to Sleep. Waterbrook Press. 2003.


The Merry Mother Feature Article in May will be:

14 Steps to Reducing Your Infant's Reflux

baby food recipes

This Month's Quote:

All babies need a lap.
~ Anonymous

Click here for more.

Prompted by the popular article on "Including Your Baby in Family Meals" in the February Issue of the Merry Mother (see it here), I've decided to combine the "baby food recipe" and the "family recipe" section into one.

Each family recipe will include simple feeding instructions on what your baby can eat, and when.

Despite how much table food your baby shares with you, always offer pureed baby food (homemade or storebought) before cleaning him up.

Elena (13 mo.) still requires this. Without it, she wakes up at 2:30 am very hungry and very angry. Not good.

As always, make sure you make the food as choke-proof as possible. Look over those guidelines in the "Including Your Baby in Family Meals" article.

kids
{Lauren and Elena share a family meal.}
This month's meal:
  • Ravioli with Creamy Tomato Sauce
  • Steamed Green Beans
  • Apples with Cinnamon-Sugar
In the ingredients list, the months in the ( ) are the suggested ages your baby should be before eating that food. If your baby is younger than the suggested age, skip it.

Ravioli with Creamy Tomato Sauce

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ravioli (spinach = 9 mo. cheese = 8 mo.)
  • 1 cup Newman's Marinara Sauce (tomato sauce = 1 yr.)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (soft cheese = 9 mo.)
  • 3 Tbs Parmesan, shredded (hard cheese = 11 mo.)
  • 2 Tbs basil (fresh spices = 1 yr)
To prepare, boil the ravioli, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Toss the ravioli with a little olive oil to coat.

Bring the sauce to a simmer, whisking often. Whisk in the ricotta and enough cooking water to thin the sauce as desired. Return to a simmer and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Recipe by Giada de Laurentiis

For the family: Spoon about 3 Tbs of the sauce on the bottom of 6 bowls. Arrange the ravioli on top, drizzle with remaining sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan and basil.

For baby: Dice up the ravioli and serve with or without the sauce (depending on the age). If baby is older than 9 months, smear some ricotta on the tray for finger-painting and eating. (If there is a milk allergy in your family you may wish to avoid dairy until he's over a year.)

beans
{Photo by Zoyachubby}

Steamed Green Beans

Trim the ends of about a pound of fresh green beans. Place in a Ziploc Steamer Bag. Microwave 3-4 minutes, according to the directions. Season and serve.

For baby: Steamed green beans are edible for babies as young as 7 months. For non-finger-feeding babies, slip into a small blender (I keep mine on the countertop) with a little water and puree well. For older babies, finely dice and they can self-feed. The texture should be slightly mushy, not al dente.

Apples with Cinnamon Sugar

Slice up a crisp apple, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. This makes a great snack (with or without the sugar!).

For baby: Peel the apple. Puree it into applesauce (without the cinnamon and sugar) for babies 7-8 months old. For babies 8-12 months old, shred it right onto the tray. Babies Elena's age (13 mo +) can enjoy gnawing on the entire (peeled) apple. Again, this works best with apples that are slightly over-ripe.

news
  • Giada De Laurentiis (Food Network) ~ a daughter, Jade, on March 29th.
  • Brenden Fehr (Roswell) ~ a son, James, on March 26.
  • Jeri Ryan (The O.C.) ~ a girl, Gisele, on March 2nd.
  • David Charvet (Melrose Place) ~ a son, Shaya, on March 5th.
  • Lisa Kelly (Singer on Celtic Woman) ~ a daughter, Ellie, on March 6th.
  • Josh Blue (Last Comic Standing) ~ a son, Simon on March 10th.
  • Joel McHale (The Soup) ~ a son, Isaac, on March 14th.
  • Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) ~ a son, Braydon on March 16th.
  • Hale Berry ~ a daughter, Nahla, on March 19th.
  • Luke Bryan (country singer) ~ a son, Thomas "Bo" on March 19th.
  • Christie Clark Barnes (Days of Our Lives) ~ a daughter, Hannah on March 20th.
  • Soliel Moon Frye (Punky Brewster) ~ a daughter, Jagger on March 20th.
  • Nicky Slater (Dancing on Ice) ~ a son on March 21st.
  • Rob Cohen (Director) ~ triplets: daughter, Zoe, two sons, Jasi and Sean, March 20th.
  • Darryl Worley (country singer) ~ a daughter, Savannah, on March 24th.

infant activities

0-3 Months:
Shooting Star

Place your baby on his back and sit in a chair in front, so you can lean over him. Using some soft pom-poms or other soft, light fabric scraps or toys, let him watch you hold the object above his tummy.

After gaining his attention, say "Here comes the Shooting Star!" and drop the pom pom on his tummy. Smiling widely, cheer and praise him for "catching" the star. Repeat until he looses interest.

This activity helps to build anticipation of events and visual tracking.

3-6 Months:
Ode to Baby

Choose a favorite tune (Rock a-bye Baby, etc.) and replace key words with her name (Rock a-bye Lauren, etc.).

You can also take a familiar tune and add the phrase "Mommy (or whoever) loves Elena", repeating it over and over.

A family favorite is to add "Mommy loves..." to the theme song to Pirates of the Caribbean. (I know... we're strange.)

This activity builds language development, listening skills and social interaction.

stickers
{Photo by ginamig276}

6-9 Months: Sticky Spot

Undress your baby to his diaper, propping him with pillows so he is seated. Sit in front of him with some medium-size stickers.

Show your baby a sticker. Hide the sticker between to fingers, and place your hand on a body part, adding the sticker. Remove your hand and ask baby to help you find the sticker.

Guide him to his hands, naming them and asking "Nooo...it's not on your hands" etc until you "find" the sticker. Repeat.

This activity helps build body awareness, object permanence, and problem solving.

12-18 Months:
Hold or Drop?

Gather three, fun, colorful toys that are easy for her to hold. Keep them out of sight. With her in front of you, offer her a single toy, letting her explore it for few moments. Offer the second toy and watch her reaction. Does she drop the other toy, or grab both? If she drops one, encourage her to pick it up.

After both toys have been briefly examined, offer a third toy. Does she drop both? one? or does she try to figure out how to hold all three?

This fun infant activity teaches eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills, and problem solving.

bathtime
{Photo by dchousegrooves}

9-12 Months:
Spongy Shapes

Cut colorful sponges into different shapes with sissors. At bathtime, drop them into the water and let him export them.

Take a sponge and press it against the tub. The water will come out and it will stick to the side. Let him try to take them off and put them back on. Talk about the shapes as you play with him.

This activity works on fine motor skills, colors and shapes, and sensory stimulation.


Eventually, he may begin to lose interest in playing these games. Don't force anything. If that seems to be the case, simply try out some of the infant activities in previous newsletters.

Most of these activities were adapted from Baby Play and Learn. This book is available for purchase at the Essential Book Emporium.

heather's hints

With all the sicknesses floating around this season (my house not excluded), I thought I'd go back to an oldie but goodie.

Cleanliness is Next To...The Wipes?

Proper hygiene dictates that you wash your hands before and after you change your baby's diaper. But how many mothers really take the time to do this? (Don't worry, no hands are necessary.)

Make good hygiene easy on yourself by purchasing a large pump-style container of instant hand sanitizer and keep it on the changing table.

I purchased mine at Walgreens a year ago for about $5.99. It's my lifesaver - and still going strong. It was easily one of the best-spent five bucks of the "new baby" spending splurge.

For more tips on changing diapers, check out this article.

recalls

There have been 11 recalls since the last Merry Mother was published in March. One of those recalls was a sling and the rest were toys. The details are below.

Sling Carrier Recall

There was one sling recalled, the Ellaroo Infant Sling Ring Carrier. Get the details on this report.

Toy Recalls

The following toys were recalled in March.
  • Lamb Grabby Rattles by Infantino
  • X Force Commander Toy Airplanes at Dollar Stores
  • Super Famous Toy Cars and Motorcycles at Dollar Stores
  • Toy Sundae Sets at Target
  • Extension of Magnabild Building System Recall
  • MagnaMan Magnetic Action Figures
  • Magtastic and Magnetix Jr. Pre-School Magnetic Toys
  • Camouflage Eggs and Spinning Egg Top Toys at Hobby Lobby
  • Toy Penguin Figures
  • Rock ‘N Ride Plush Rocker Toys at Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Kmart, Target

View the Toy Recall Report for pictures and details.

New Recall Report Section Added

I recently added a new section on "General Items" that includes recall reports on bouncers, bath items, slings and carriers, clothes, nursing equipment, and pacifiers and teethers.

These have not yet been released to the public. You can view them here at the Members-Only Recall Report access page.

closing

I hope you've enjoyed reading April's issue of The Merry Mother.

The next issue will be published on May 6th. So watch your Inbox! smiley

Contact Me

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Thank You Readers!

Thank you so much for reading and subscribing to this newsletter. It is a labor of love. I'm happy to know others enjoy reading it as much as I do writing it.

My growing subscriber list shows that you have been sharing it with your friends, and for that, I am deeply grateful.

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P.S. Be sure to check back at The Essential Infant Resource for Moms, your friend-next-door for questions-answered, stories-told, and laughs-had.

Newsletter Archives

All the previous editions have been archived and are available for you to examine at your leisure. Visit http://www.the-essential-infant-resource-for-moms.com/Newsletter-Archives.html for past editions.

All the photos on this page can be found at www.flickr.com and were used
according to licensing requirements.

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