Okay, so this isn’t really a Going Green post, but since it fits in with the idea of eating fresh, eating organic, I’ll add it to the series.
Have you heard of Baby Led Weaning? It’s a new, well actually, old idea on introducing solid foods to infants. Way before we had baby spoons and Cuisinarts, babies learned to eat ‘adult food’ by handling, sniffing, tasting, gumming and squishing whatever they were introduced to.
That means big chunks of food for babies to ‘palm’ (since most don’t yet have a pincher grasp by 6 months) and play with. Big chunks might include a strip of toast, a slice of peach or a large chunk of chicken. Any food cut long enough that they can both grasp it in their fist and gnaw on it.
Some of Liv’s favorites? Sliced peaches, pears and apples (sometimes raw, sometimes a little cooked or stewed), strips of roasted carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, squash (roast all of the above with a little salt, pepper & olive oil – let cool), diced plums, blueberries, apricots (small pieces to practice grasping), hunks of chicken, pork, beef, ribs (really!) and sliced bread (loves it toasted), cornbread, avocado and eggs.
At this point she’s still 100% breastfed, so the quantity she takes in is up to her.
BLW means skipping pureed and mashed foods for ‘table foods’, or basically whatever the family is eating for dinner. We decided to experiment with the concept (no extra work pureeing everything? the opportunity for Liv to pick and choose her foods – and hopefully grow to love our dinners – herself? sounds great) and introduced Liv to roasted carrots and Italian broccoli (you know, the long kind that looks a bit like an asparagus) at about 6 months. She’s checking out sliced plouts (plum + apricot = yum) and cornbread above.
I still cut up food that is of choking size (such as these little blueberries which she devours) so she can feed herself.
No, she’s not really pointing . Liv’s been practicing her hand eye coordination to get that pincher grasp (thumb and forefinger) down – all while playing with her food.
The one downfall? It’s so messy!!
As you can imagine, if baby gets to control where the food goes, it goes everywhere. Thankfully our yellow lab, Bodie, is quick to catch most of the chunks that go tumbling off of her tray!
You have to get used to the idea that about 2/3 of the food that you first introduce will be wasted and in piles on the floor. Slowly that number drops and slowly babies begin to consume more of the food itself.
I think Liv might even love the clean up part just as much as the eating part.
We love it. BLW means I get to put a few choices of food in front of her and she gets to feed herself. I can eat lunch, make dinner or otherwise work with her right next to me. If you’re interested in learning more, Google ‘Baby Led Weaning’, there are a ton of great blogs and resources out there – including this book.
It’s a great option but we’re not strictly BLW and we also don’t discount purees for when they’re best, such as when we’re traveling (once Liv knows we’re eating she insists on being involved, so there’s no just waiting for a later time in the day to feed her). While out at restaurants we feed her right off of our plate but offer bite sized pieces of beef tenderloin or potatoes so that she doesn’t need to grasp everything (because let’s face it, sometimes a crazy mess of food in every direction just won’t fly).
What we do love is that she gets to participate in our meals! And she totally digs it.
Posted in Family & Friends, Going Green | 13 Comments »
We’ve been working on Going Green over here through our remodeling, household purchases and especially in the way we cook and eat. One of the best ways to do that is through our local Farmers Market! Gotta love wholesome, locally grown, farm-to-table food (especially now that Liv joins us at the dinner table! More on that soon).
While we are registered with a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group and pick up a box chock full of delicious goodies once every other week, sometimes we like to supplement with the local Farmers Market, and since San Diego supports over 50 local Farmers Markets - there’s a plethora to choose from.
But… can buying local be as cost-efficient as buying from the grocery store? I headed out to our Sunday morning Hillcrest Farmers Market to check it out.
My mission: Spend $25 for a weeks worth of organic fruits and veggies.
My finds: 1 canteloupe, 1 acorn squash, 3 large bell peppers, 2 bunches baby carrots, 1 head of garlic, 1 bag each (about 8 total) of tomatoes, peaches & apricots, and for good measure – two $2.50 bouquets of flowers, 1 container fresh mozzarella cheese and one loaf of locally baked bread.
The results: My locavore basket beat out the local supermarket by about 50% (I’m sure with coupons and specials you could get awfully close though) and when I added up the finds it was roughly Farmers Market: $25, Supermarket: $38. Score one for the home team.
Best tips: I prefer to hit up the Farmers Market about an hour before closing. The selection is usually just as great but the vendors are eager to part with their wares (to not truck anything home) and offer great sales. Bartering is always to be expected around this time, too! Pick out a range of ‘ripeness’, such as melons a week or so out, peaches that are still hard and squash that will last for a while in your fridge. You don’t want to be stuck with an entire basket that’s bound to ripen up (or is already ripe) too soon.
So delicious! I usually roast my squash and carrots to draw out the natural sugars (450 deg tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper) – also great for any root veggie, BBQ stone fruits (such as my peaches and nectarines – add a bit of honey and yogurt) and saute the bell peppers with fingerling potatoes. If we do have veggies and fruit that we won’t eat quickly enough, into the juicer they go.
By eating locally, we’re supporting our ranchers and farmers, keep our hard earned dollars in the local economy, eating fresher produce (no shipping and shelf life here), reducing energy consumption (transportation and storage) while protecting our environment, and getting the opportunity to cook in season with ingredients that might not often be found in the store (yay for the funny looking vegetable you’ve never tried before! or, chocolate mint, anyone?). Plus, most of the locally produced food grown by family farmers is organic and chemical free.
Posted in Family & Friends, Going Green | 6 Comments »
Our little test over the past three weeks has been pretty fun! I’m not joking when I say that I was pretty excited to change Liv’s diaper – eager to find out how well this version or that fit my criteria (ease of use, trimness and durability). Here’s a look at the initial cd post, review #1 and review #2.
When it came down to it, there were two diapers that I really looked forward to putting Liv in: Happy Heinys minis for day and GroVia for night time. As I mentioned yesterday, all of the brands reviewed were pretty stellar and you really can’t go wrong, but these were the two that we’ve invested in for Liv’s first 16 lbs (or until she’s about 9 months).
I’ll likely revisit the stash I already have (and will continue to use!) to see what our next 16-30 lb purchase will be (I must admit, if I find a cloth diaper that doesn’t require line drying – GroVia hybrid’s only downfall – and is as great as it is overnight, I might switch it up for round 2).
gDiapers came in at a close third. The fit on g’s are terrific – they look just like a normal disposable under clothing and are so easy to use (I love that I don’t have to replace the entire diaper each time I change Olivia). Liv’s a heavy wetter and in the end the cloth outer covering couldn’t always hold up. BUT if your baby is a – how shall I say – ‘normal’ wetter, I’d definitely give em a go. Plus, you can’t beat the convenience of picking them up at Babies R Us and Whole Foods.
Now for a little Q&A that I received via email and in the comments.
I’m a novice when it comes to cding, but I’m more than happy to share what has and hasn’t worked so far!
Pricing: Is cloth diapering really cheaper?
I love that an upfront investment will turn into years of monthly savings. Here’s the quick math: the average cost of disposable diapers runs about $60 each month. That times 2.5 years adds up to $1800 per child. I figure that if I invest in two rounds of 18 cloth diapers (roughly 8-16 lbs and 16-30 lbs) at about $15/diaper, I’m looking at a $270 cost today and a $270 cost in 6 months ($540 total) for 2.5 years of use x multiple children (we hope to have 3-4!). And the water use? I calculate that to run us about $.50 a load, meaning we’ll spend roughly $65 more each year and about $500 total if you account for 2.5 years per child and 3-4 kids. That means we’ve saved ourselves somewhere around $6000 over the long haul. Not bad, right?
AND because I bought many of our cloth diapers second hand (I have no issue with purchasing dipes from someone else as long as I’ve done my research and asked important qs like, how long did you use them for? how did you wash them? (affects their absorbency) what shape are they in? I’ve received several hand-me-downs, and my score of 10 Happy Heinys for $60 on eBay came from a mom who dressed her daughter in cds for a mere four months before selling them in pristine condition ($6 a diaper? Can’t beat that). Want to try re-diapering? Check out eBay, Craigslist, ReDiaper.com, DiaperSwappers.com, PamperedBuns.com and a ton of other great sites by Googling ‘Cloth Diaper Consignment’ or the like.
Still nervous? A reader shared this link with me on the cd program ‘Changing Diapers, Changing Minds’ where you can try and return 10 different cloth diapers for the cost of shipping! (Thanks, Lisa!)
Environment: You’re using so much energy to clean the diapers, is it really that much more environmentally friendly?
This is subjective, but my feeling is that while you certainly do use a decent amount of energy and water to get these puppies clean (one hot rinse, one cold wash and a trip to the dryer) the benefits of not wrapping up waste in plastic only to sit and fill a landfill for hundreds of years to come far outweigh the water (a renewable resource) used in washing. You also have to take into account the energy used to make disposables and all of their components.
Cleanliness: Do you actually have to touch the poop?
Ha! I agree, the thought is pretty gross . Right now we have baby breastmilk poop so while ‘explosions’ can sometimes be an issue, it’s really not stinky, big kid poop (yet). And I promise, there is NO poop touching. The entire cloth dipe drops right into the wet pail (to contain the smell – read more about that in review #1) and the entire wet pail is poured directly into the wash every two-three days. When Liv starts on solids, we’ll give biodegradable liners a try, and perhaps a sprayer too.
Cleanliness, Part 2: Can you explain how you wash them?
Per the instructions on the cloth diapers, each load gets a cold rinse (just a pre-rinse, not a full cycle), a hot full cycle and a trip to the dryer (though I hope to hang them outside in the summer). I use Charlie’s Soap and I hear Rockin’ Green is awesome, too. So far so good!
Okay, you’re probably so done seeing half naked pictures of Liv. Back to home updates and great entertaining/decorating finds. And to all of you non-cloth diaper readers out there, I still love you! To each his own. Thanks for being patient through these posts.
Posted in Family & Friends, Going Green | 7 Comments »