Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Just in case you were wondering...

My family and I have been recovering from a cold, and I've had a lot of things weighing in my mind, so I haven't been much in the mood to blog. I hope to get new posts up next week.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Have I told you lately that I love you...

I was just reading a post on the Lactivist (I mention her blog a lot, don't I) about a way she honored her grandparents. About 10 years ago, she wrote a letter to them telling them how much she loved and respected them. She also shared some of the fond memories she had of spending time with them. What made this even more special is that her grandmother had dementia for the past several years and passed away this week. She shared how much it was easier to grieve knowing she had told her grandparents these things while they could fully comprehend it.

I never really got to know my grandparents. We moved from Brazil to Australia when I was 13 months old. I was 13 years old when we moved back. My paternal grandfather passed away when I was 4 or 5. The only memory I have of him is seeing him ill in bed, when we went to Brazil to visit one year. My maternal grandfather was very quiet, reserved man. He now has Alzheimer's. I did get to know my grandmothers a bit more. I cherish those moments. They are such godly, faithful women. Although my interactions with them have been quite limited, they have deeply touched my life in many ways.

My children have not met all their grandparents. I pray they will have the opportunity. In the meantime, I believe the respect and admiration they have for my parents is ultimately tied to how much I talk about it with them.

Last mother's day, I wrote a mother's tribute honoring my mother, and other motherly figures in my family, as well as my husband and children. I've been wanting to share it on my blog, but I thought I'd save it for this mother's day.

Well, I'm not sure if I made any sense. I was having trouble falling asleep. I think I'm finally ready to go back to bed.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Day Care Drama

Well, what do you know? It appears that the dramas of peer pressure and falling in love are now starting long before high school -- like at the day care! Check it out:

Super Baby Food

I have always wanted to make my own baby food, but I haven’t done it much. With my first child, it was a challenge enough to have other food before him because I was so disorganized (and breastfeeding is so convenient). So, I ended up buying the stuff from the stores. I was also going to try and make my second child’s food, but one of my husband’s coworker gave us a bunch of baby food because their son rejected it. His wife had started giving him homemade food from a book called Super Baby Food and their baby didn’t want anything to do with that processed stuff. I did a mix of homemade and jarred, but soon he was eating table food with us anyway. Well, now that my third child has been looking at us like a vulture when we are at the table, I decided to get the book from my local library and see what it had to offer.

With the exception of a few precautions, it doesn’t take much know-how to make baked apples, sweet potatoes, and puréed peas. You don’t really need a book for that kind of stuff either. But Super Baby Food is more than a baby cookbook. The subtitle saying that it is “absolutely everything you need to know” is pretty accurate. In addition to recipes, there are plenty of money and time saving tips. Cost consciousness is a plus for me, as this is often a downfall in most cookbooks. For those who prefer a schedule, the author has provided one. Also, there’s a chapter detailing almost every fruit and vegetable you can think of, providing information for from selecting them in the grocery store, to cooking and freezing, as well as at what age it is appropriate to include those foods. The nutrition advice is sound and well explained, and there is an emphasis on whole (i.e. minimally processed) foods. To keep up with the current recommendations, corrections and updates are available through You can also browse sample chapters on the site.

By the way, you know how the packaged baby cereal tastes like cardboard? Well, homemade cereal has a much better taste and texture to it. I did buy the boxed stuff. It comes in handy for thickening the cereal when I add too much liquid, and when I haven’t had the chance to make more cereal, but my baby seems to like homemade food better.

In addition, Super Baby Food includes information on cleaning your home with baby-safe materials (I tried cleaning my bathroom with vinegar and baking powder. It worked out really well), as well as a section on birthday parties (I’ve got to try their spaceship cake design).

In summary, Super Baby Food is a resource well worth having.

Super Baby Food (2nd ed), by Ruth Yaron. ISBN: 0965260313

When to introduce solids

There is no set age when a baby needs to start having solid foods. The usual recommendation is 4-6 months. Most of all, it depends on when the baby is ready. According to The American Dietetics Association, your baby may be ready to begin solid

food if he does all of the following:

  • Sits with help or support
  • Doubled birth weight and weighs 13+ lbs.
  • Is hungry after 8-10 breastfeedings, or 32 oz. of formula, in a day

There is no need to push this with your child. Early introduction of solids can actually increase a babies risk of allergies or malnutrition. There is also a concern that breastfed babies need more iron intake after 6 months of age, but this is not always the case. I still need to review studies related to this, so I am not stating a position about this at this time. I hope to post about this down the road if I have the time to really think about it.

Personally, my goal is to wait until the baby is 6 months old before I introduce any other foods. With my first son I started at 7 months. This was primarily because breastfeeding (a.k.a. nature’s fast food for babies) was so convenient that actually having to prepare something for him required a shift in operation. He appeared to be ready beforehand, but I wasn’t and that was okay. My second child had his first spoon of cereal at exactly 6 months. He had already been watching us at the table and was quite interested in what we had to offer. We couldn’t feed him fast enough! My third is almost 7 months now. She started showing signs of readiness much earlier. I was reluctant to introduce solids earlier to her because I was more concerned about allergies and intolerances with her (topic for another post). Then when she watched us like a vulture during a meal, I figured I’d give it a try. So she got an earlier start at 5 ½ months. Still, I’ve started slow, and really haven’t introduced much over 4 weeks.

There are several precautions needed to take when you introduce foods to your baby, such as having a waiting period for introducing new foods. Some foods should be off limits until after their first birthday. I simply can’t reproduce all that information. Besides, there are other places you can find it. A good resource for infancy and beyond is Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron (check out their sample chapters online). The American Dietetic Association also has a pdf file available online at:

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Eleven years ago today, I received a dozen ascii valentine roses (like the one above) from a friend who felt sorry for me because no one sent me any valentines. I am happy to be married to that friend for 8 years.
Love you Sweetheart!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I won!

I just wanted to share with you all that I won a $25 gift certificate to motherwear! They retail maternity and breastfeeding clothes. Last month I submitted a breastfeeding tip to be included in their spring catalog, and my tip was one of 8 selected out of over 30. Here's the tip I submitted (They may have changed the wording slightly to make it fit or make more sense.):

I offered my toddler a snack or milk before I sat down to feed his little brother. This kept big brother from interrupting and demanding attention.

Thanks to the Lactivist for announcing the contest.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Everlasting Lovingkindness


I bit my finger when eating breakfast this morning. “Well, it’s just my finger,” I thought, “I’ll be alright.” What surprised me, though, was how long and intense the pain was. Even though I went on with what I was doing, it still hurt – a lot. I started to wonder whether or when it was going to feel better and then the pain just stopped. Actually, my finger still throbbed a tiny bit, but the pain’s intensity had dropped significantly. What relief.

And then my thoughts went back to my pain. Not the pain in my finger, but a different one. You see, I’ve been hurting for a while. My life's adjustment to a third child has been much harder than I ever expected. The transition to two kids was pretty easy, but this sweet little girl showed me that there is a lot to be worked out in my life. It’s not that I ever expected to have it all together, but I strive to care for my family and home well, and I'm not talking about Martha Stewart style here either. Anyway, I realize some things in my life need to change. I’ve been evaluating which standards and expectations need to be lowered, and which ones need to be raised. Without going into any of the menial details of my struggles, just know that I struggle – and it hurts. Right now, because I am in the midst of such intense pain, it can be hard to ever imagine that it ever will end. So right after I asked God if the pain was ever going to stop, I bit my finger. It hurt much more and for much longer than I would have liked, but it did stop. I realized at that moment that God, in His lovingkindness, was telling me, “Renata, do not grow weary, this too shall pass. Put your hope in Me.” Encouraged, I sat down to write these thoughts out. I don’t know why, but when I sat down I thought about a friend I hadn’t heard from in a while. Not even five minutes later, she called me. She told me how she was awake in the middle of the night (she’s pregnant, so the awakenings are common) and that it dawned on her last night that she hadn’t called me back. Of all nights she could have remembered me, last night was the one I needed her to. Not only was I up a lot with my children in the middle of the night, my soul was downcast. But once again, God made a way to show me that I was not alone and that He heard my cry.

I have often wondered what king David meant when he said that God’s “lovingkindness is better than life,” (Psalm 63:3). I think I have a better idea now, and for that I am very thankful. I am thankful that I know Christ as my Lord and Savior. I am thankful for the friendship I have with Him (John 15:15). I am thankful that His grace is greater than any hurt or struggle I could ever encounter, and that He shows me that I can endure all things because He strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). What a wonderful Savior!

“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips. When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, for You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.”
Psalm 63:1-8 (emphasis mine)

“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Psalm 136:1

Thursday, February 1, 2007

On Schedules

I have been asked about my position on infant feeding schedules. Here is my (hopefully) short take on it:

I think there needs to be some balance, but I definitely lean toward feeding on demand. Babies grow and change so incredibly fast, that once you get used to a schedule or routine, the baby starts teething, goes through a growth spurt, etc. Still, having a routine or schedule helps you plan your day out so that you aren't simply reacting to everything that's going on. Then, as your child grows older, he or she falls into a more consistent routine.

I keep thinking that my baby will nurse three times at night forever. As much as I wish she'd settle herself back to sleep on her own, my current circumstances don't offer me that luxury. But a year from now, her sleeping patterns will be so different. Ten years from now, she could still be waking up at night, but by then she will be able to deal with it on her own.

Pay attention to your child. It doesn't make sense to hold off a feeding just because you think he shouldn't be hungry. On the other hand, it doesn't make sense to forcefeed a child by nursing him at the drop of a hat (Although nursing is more than feeding. It offers comfort to the baby too. Babies soon learn how to nurse for comfort without stuffing themselves). The same thing goes for the sleep schedule. Although it may be ideal to have him fall asleep without any intervention (such as nursing or rocking), it just isn't always practical. Although it isn't ideal to let a baby cry himself to sleep, sometimes you just can't hold or nurse him anymore.

The common denominator I see in people who are wrestling with these issues is that they do want the best for their child, although they may be afraid of being selfish or manipulated. Be assured, though, that it is often neither.

I have more I could write about this, but it takes a while for me to organize my thoughts and put it into writing. Feel free to leave any comments and we can take it from there.