does anyone else find baby-led weaning terrifying?

Since Lucy won’t take a bottle and I am her primary food source I had really high hopes for her eating actual food (and me regaining some personal freedom).  I suppose I had unrealistic expectations that she was going to just start eating full meals right off the bat.  Once again, Lucy has decided that she is quite particular about she gets her nutrients.

Little girl is not interested in baby food, i.e. pureed food of any kind.  Or to be clear, she is not interested in anyone feeding her baby food.  She wants to feed herself.  Since she is only 7 months old the act of putting spoon to bowl to mouth is out to reach.  Therefore Lucy pretty much only eats teething biscuits for now.

People keep telling me that for babies like Lucy the baby-led weaning is the way to go.  Essentially, in baby-led weaning approach you skip the puree stage and give your baby actual food and they self feed.  “Give your baby a broccoli floret and let her chew on it!” they say.  I am so worried she is going to choke.

Obviously, you have to sit with your baby the whole time they are eating… but what if Leo needs to go potty or the doorbell rings or the dishwashers starts inexplicably flooding the kitchen and your baby is sitting there with a whole banana and you’re not right there to react in time? I tend to jump to the worse case scenario….

But I guess I am going to try it since it’s probably not good for my child to only eat Baby MumMums. Does anyone have experience with baby-led weaning?  Is it terrifying? What do you feed your baby?  Help a mama out!

IMG_3276

The struggle is real…

the second time around…

I have been spending a lot of time with first-time moms recently and it has me thinking about how I was as a first-time mom and all of the things that were “important” to me with Leo and how they have changed and shifted the second time around.  Looking back, I was a little crazy.

The first big difference is that now I am a stay at home mom.  When Leo was this age (7 months), I was still working full-time. So little Lucy and I spend a lot of time together which is really nice.  I get to see the teeny-tiny changes in her add up to bigger milestones and watch her little personality develop. With Leo, a lot of these things seemed to happen so quickly.

There were so many philosophies that I subscribed to, mostly learned from baby books (particularly The Baby Book by Dr. Sears), that I look back at now and wonder “what was I thinking?”

Firstly, co-sleeping and sleep training.  We were never going to let Leo “cry it out” as a result he basically didn’t start sleeping through the night until he was three and he was still sleeping with us for part of the night even when I was pregnant with Lucy.  We did co-sleep with Lucy but basically the day she turned 6 months old we put her in her bed and started sleep training. The cry it out kind. Now that it’s been years since I have had more than 3-4 hours of consecutive uninterrupted sleep I am starting to wonder why we didn’t sleep train Leo.  At the time it seemed so cruel, I remember someone telling me that the only reason that babies stop crying and go to sleep when you are sleep training is because “they have given up any hope that you are coming back.” Now that I have given up hope of ever being (or looking) well-rested, I have no idea what we were thinking the first time around.

Breastfeeding.  Yes, breastfeeding is best for your baby but it can also be really exhausting. With Leo my goal was to breastfeed for a year, and I met that goal and then some but I did have to start supplementing with formula around 8 months which horrified me at the time. I think I even cried the first time we gave it to him. With Lucy, I would do just about anything to start weaning her now or to get her to drink formula.  I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that she just won’t take a bottle.  It’s hard to enjoy myself when I work out or go to dinner with my husband or friends when I am constantly worried that I need to get home and feed Lucy. Now, I can’t believe that I was so judgmental towards moms who chose formula.  We’re all just trying to feed our babies and get through it!

Babywearing.  This is another thing that Dr. Sears told me to in the “The Baby Book” that I just took to without question. Since Lucy and I are together all the time, she spends a good amount of her day in the ERGObaby 360.  It’s basically the only way that you can do things like go to Costco or pick up a toddler at preschool with a baby in tow.  But I literally have NO recollection of why baby wearing is supposed to so great but now I use Lucy’s stroller as much as I possibly can. Unfortunately, Lucy loves the Ergo.  When she is fussy, it seems to be the only place she is happy and OH MY GOD MY BACK IS ON FIRE.

There are a lot of little things that just don’t phase me as a second-time mom.  I don’t care if you bring your kid over with a runny nose; if something is going around we’re probably going to get it anyways. I let Lucy play with toys that have been dropped on the playground.  I don’t care if she’s in the room when Leo is watching “Yo Gabba Gabba” (I seriously don’t think Leo had seen a screen at her age).  Lucy just doesn’t do purees so her first food was a Baby Mum-Mum (these are made in China and the second ingredient is sugar), Leo’s was homemade organic sweet potatoes.

I hear a lot of new moms start sentences with “you’re supposed…” as in “you’re supposed to make your own baby food” or “you’re supposed to swaddle your newborn.” What The Baby Book or The Happiest Baby on the Block tell you might not work for your kid, and that’s ok. The second time around, I’ve just relaxed my thinking and become less rigid in my beliefs.  I realize now that you just have to do what works for you and your family. After all, who knows your baby better than you…

IMG_2899

Lucy’s doing just fine…

 

a lovely vacation… Disney’s Aulani

Our family was long overdue for a relaxing vacation and we wanted to take a trip to Hawaii. It’s possible that we looked at the websites for every hotel on every island before booking, this is my husband’s “leave no stone unturned” approach to vacation planning.  After much debate, we settled on Disney’s Aulani Resort on the island of Oahu. We went into it with the view that if Leo was happy, we would be happy.  As Lenny and I are in our 30s, we weren’t thrilled with the idea of Mickey Mouse crashing our vacation but we decided that we would give it a try.  It was awesome.  We were there for 5 nights and we barely left the resort… and we wish we would have stayed a few more.

A few things about the Aulani… The design of the hotel was much better than I expected. Mickey is there for sure, but it’s done in way that is subtle enough that you don’t feel like you’re on vacation in a toddler’s bedroom.  Check out the below photos of our bed and banquette in our room.  Can you find Mickey?
IMG_3109
IMG_3110

There are a ton of room types at Aulani but we decided that the 1 bedroom villa was the right fit for us. Mostly because Leo goes to bed around 7pm and we wanted to be able to hang out and watch movies after he was sleep, having a separate space  for him at night really worked out.  Also, the room has a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, washer/dryer… and even a highchair, pack n’ play and step stool in the room!  Disney makes it easy to travel with children.  There are even little kid-height sinks in all of the hotels main bathrooms.

Now on to the fun stuff!  One of the best things about Aulani are the pools and beach.  There is so much stuff to do, Leo wouldn’t have been bored if we stayed 10 days.  There is a great lazy river, giant water slides, a water-jungle-gym sort of thing with two little water slides, a splash pad, two huge pools and a beach with beautiful sand and clear warm water and tiny toddler-safe waves.  Leo loved all of these things, he loved the beach the most and taking a kayak out in the ocean with his dad.  There are a ton of lounge chairs over looking the main pool areas, the ocean and on the beach itself.  We never had trouble finding a chair… of course, we were up at 6:30 every mooring and to the pool pretty much by 9:00 but I think that seemed to be pretty standard for everyone else who was traveling with kids.

The VERY best thing about Aulani is Aunty’s Beach House, their version of a kid’s club. This is fully-supervised child care with fun activities.  They are open from 9:30AM to 8:00PM daily and take kids 3 to 12 years old. We had to get in line pretty early, around 7:00AM, to sign Leo up for activities but he had a blast and we were able to enjoy a few calm mornings by the pool and even a toddler-free dinner (with Lucy in tow).  The activities included a little hula class, making “volcanos” and “space goo” and things like that. Most involve a character or two and most are complimentary; meals at the Beach House are eight dollars. You check your child in with your room key ID and an electronic wristband (kid lojack) and check out with room key and a secret password- it all seemed very secure.  The “beach house” itself is very cool with a ton to do, but has A LOT of media (it is Disney after all). We found that a full day at the pool and beach was too much for Leo, he just got too tired (cranky), so it really helped all of us have a better vacation when he was there a few hours a day.  This is what we did while Leo was in the kids club and Lucy was asleep in her stroller…. pure bliss…

IMG_3091If you’re kids aren’t quite three or you don’t feel like getting up at 7:00AM to sign them up for the beach house activities there are character-led activities around the property as well.  Pool parties with Goofy and “surf lessons” with Chip and Dale. Sorry this is not the best photo, but you get the idea…

IMG_3164
They have evening activities like firepit story telling and a “starlit hui” luau but they all happened after Leo’s bedtime so we, sadly, did not get to experience them.

Another nice thing about Aulani is the Disney PhotoPass program; professional photographers that roam the resort and take photos- even in the lazy river!  We ended up with about 100 pictures from our vacation which we purchased on a disc for 99 dollars, sure it’s a steep price but better than ruining your camera or iPhone at the beach or having to take it with you everywhere.

Now, for the so-so part.

The resort is pretty crowded.  Even the last week of February they were at 90% occupancy. We never had trouble finding chairs by the pool but sometimes walking around felt like a bit of a traffic jam.

The food at Aulani was just OK.  I became frustrated with the dining options at Aulani before we even got there when I called a week before our arrival to make dinner reservations and everything was booked! There is no cancellation policy for dinner reservations at the Aulani so it seems like everyone is making reservations that they have no intention of keeping.  We found ourselves rushing to get to our 5pm reservation because 5:30 wasn’t available… only to sit in a mostly empty restaurant.

If you are particularly health conscious this might not be the place for you.  There is a lot of fried food and a lot of sugary stuff shaped like Mickey Mouse.  There are two sit down restaurants and we really liked the ‘Ama ‘Ama, their ocean front restaurant which is a little fancier, but it was really hard to get a reservation.  The Makahiki buffet was great for the character breakfast… in addition to Mickey, Minnie and Goofy coming around the tables they have musical performances and get the kids involved in conga lines, etc.  Leo had a blast.

IMG_3243

The buffet dinner was expensive but the food seemed OK, unfortunately someone had a meltdown and I was not able to eat 50 dollars worth of crab legs or really try that much in the 10 minutes we were there for dinner.  But all of the other food is grab and go and pretty junky stuff- fish and chips, hot dogs, ready-made sandwiches… not the best.  There is a little shopping center across the way with sushi, pizza and “farm to table” restaurant that are all pretty good.

Another slightly bad thing is that Aulani is a Disney Vacation Club property i.e. timeshare.  We managed to avoid any sales pitches but we were invited to a few, there is a presence for sure.

Overall, it was a GREAT vacation and we will return when Lucy is old enough to enjoy it a little more.  Leo is already begging to go back.  Here are a few more photos from our trip… (just iPhone ones, not the 100+ from Disney that I still have to sort!)

IMG_3104 IMG_3170
IMG_3132 IMG_3115 IMG_3113IMG_3258

(Written over three-weeks, because that’s how long things take when you have a three year-old and a baby…)