Hayden is 5 months

Hayden is 5 months | crackersandcarrots.com

  • Date: July 5th, 2015
  • Height: 27 inches
  • Weight:  17 pounds  8 ounces
  • Sleeping Pattern: See “A Day in the Life”.
  • Eating Habits: Hayden breastfeeds every 2-3 hours all day and night. He also has 1-2 4oz bottles during the day.
  • Development: He grabs things and puts them in his mouth.
  • Mischief: Waking up 2-3 times during each this month. Bad habit? Not sure.
  • Cuteness: When you get close to him and start talking to him, he gets very excited and does this high pitch squeal.
  • Talking: Usually in the form of blowing bubbles.
  • Favorites: Pacifier, excersaucer, close face-to-face interaction, acting like a zombie and wanting to eat your face or shoulder.
  • Firsts: Hayden had his first one-on-one time with mama this month! Together we flew to Cincinnati, Ohio to visit Pamper’s headquarters for two days!
  • Concerns: I’ve been experiencing more plugged ducts and milk blisters this month. I’m thinking it’s due to Hayden’s lazy feeding. Those bottles just produce a lot quicker results for a hungry boy…I can’t blame him for wanting bottles. 😀
  • A Day in the Life: Hayden wakes up around 5:30am and stays awake just long enough to fall asleep just as Liam is waking up (around 7am). He sleeps for 1 hour and wakes up for 1 hour. Then, he sleeps for 2 hours and is awake for 2 hours. Sleeps for 1 hour and wakes for 2 hours. Sleeps for 30 minutes and is awake for another 2.5 hours until he falls asleep for good at 7pm. I’ll dream feed him once around 10pm and he’ll wake up around 2am for another feeding. Then, he’ll start it all over again at 5:30am!

Hayden is 5 months | crackersandcarrots.com

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plugged ducts, milk blisters and treatment options

I’m honored to be a Sisterhood of Motherhood partner, a sponsored blog partner this year. Thanks to the support of my mother friends, I’m battling this hurdle in breastfeeding!

Breastfeeding is hard and in my experience, TOTALLY different from baby to baby. With my first baby, the only issues that I encountered were lack of supply. Looking back, it wasn’t that I didn’t have enough supply, it was that he was constantly spitting up what he drank and always wanted more. I ended up supplementing him with formula to keep as many calories in him as possible.

Breastfeeding plugged ducts, milk blisters and treatment options | crackersandcarrots.com

Fast forward to baby number 2. He’s 4 months old and I’ve had multiple plugged ducts in each breast. As I sit here today, I am treating another. This is a new one for me. It’s a milk blister on the nipple, with the duct plugged behind it. It won’t come unplugged and it’s been this way for more than two weeks.

My mom friends (Thank you Sisterhood of Motherhood!) have been so kind and offered their advice on how to get it unplugged (which is actually the same advice I received from the lactation consultant yesterday) and for the past 24 hours I have tried:

  • Hot showers – While in the shower vigorous massage with a wash cloth on the nipple to help remove the milk blister. This is what worked for me with all of the plugged ducts before and I would instantly nurse the baby after showering.
  • Massaging the breast
  • Castor oil compress – Take high quality castor oil and soak a piece of flannel (or cloth) and lay it directly on the breast where the plugged duct is. Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on top. Use a heating pad or hot compress on top for 60-90 minutes. Then use a little baking soda and water to make a paste to clean off the breast before nursing again.
  • Different feeding positions, including getting on all fours and allowing gravity to help the flow of milk. It’s always a good rule of thumb to have the baby’s chin pointed toward the plugged duct.
  • Olive oil soaked cotton ball on the nipple to moisturize and loosen the milk blister.
  • Increasing vitamin C intake – i.e. strawberries, bell pepper
  • Taking 1200mg of Lecithin, 3 times per day – it is an emulsifier, helping to breakdown milk fats
  • Soaking the breast in warm water with epsom salt.

Breastfeeding plugged ducts, milk blisters and treatment options | crackersandcarrots.com

As I try and treat this plugged duct, I also examine what could be the cause of my breastfeeding struggles. Here are just some things to think about:

  • Stress – It’s something that I can’t seem to get rid of when taking care of my children, keeping the house straight and working from home. To tell you the truth, I don’t spend much time on myself any more and it’s become increasingly difficult to manage the stress. Stress causes your body to not release the milk as it should via the hormone, oxytocin.
  • Lack of rest – Again, with a newborn and a toddler, there’s not much time for rest. When opportunities that I have to rest present themselves, I usually take to work so I can give my children the attention they need when they’re awake and I exercise, so I can keep up with these munchkins! This is all after being up all night with the baby.
  • Upper arm exercises – When you do repetitive upper arm exercises, ducts can become plugged. Coincidentally, I started doing workout videos just last week and they include things like pushups, that I could attribute this plugged duct to.
  • Laying on your stomach – This puts too much pressure on the breasts, causing plugged ducts. And I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a tummy sleeper. I have been as long as I can remember. When I’m pregnant, the hardest thing about sleeping is not being able to sleep on my stomach. Breastfeeding was such an unknown with my first baby that I didn’t even consider sleeping on my stomach for that first year. However, with my second baby, I will lay flat on my stomach after feeding him in the middle of the night to get to sleep the fastest. Every minute to get to sleep is precious these days…but now I’m reconsidering that with this whole plugged duct thing.
  • Distracted baby – With our toddler running around making a ruckus while I nurse the baby every time, he gets very distracted while feeding. This cuts the feeding times short, not allowing the breasts to completely empty. I realized this was one of my issues while I was away on a trip with just my baby and he fed SO much better than he does at home. A distracted feeder means there is plenty more supply to be had.
  • Lack of water – Okay, you caught me, I’m not drinking enough water. I rarely focus on myself any more and drinking water wasn’t very high on my list after baby number two came along. Instead, I’m constantly making sure my boys are nourished, happy and safe. Plus, I can’t leave my giant jug of water out like I did when I just had one baby because my toddler will either drink out of it (wowzers, he’s full of germs) or it’ll get knocked over in the name of racing cars. I read that one of the most common things that happen is that the thickened milk is what causes the blockages.
  • Sports Bra – I noticed almost instantly that when I fed my baby after working out, while still wearing my sports bra, that ducts were plugged. I would lift the tight sports bra up and rest it on the top of my breast while he fed. Note to self: Don’t do this. It cuts off the ducts, causing blockage.

Breastfeeding plugged ducts, milk blisters and treatment options | crackersandcarrots.com

Wow, that’s a lot to constantly think about. Breastfeeding is no easy task and takes a lot of work to maintain.

Logically, it makes sense to me that I would have issues breastfeeding with baby #2 once you think about all of the reasons we just talked about. However, when I spoke with the lactation consultant, she said it’s usually the first baby that you have the most issues with and that every baby after that has less issues. So, who knows. All I know is I have rearranged priorities in my everyday life to accommodate my tatas and put breastfeeding and my body first, since it’s the lifeline for my baby.

48 hour update: I’ve seen my OB about my duct and it she believes it’s just a chronically plugged duct (no longer painful to me, just annoying) and that the lactation tissue will go away a few months after I wean baby from breastfeeding. Just to make sure it’s not something more serious, I’m scheduled to have an ultrasound done next week.

This post was sponsored by Similac and has partnered with bloggers like myself for its Sisterhood of Motherhood program. As a part of this program, I have received compensation for my time, but all opinions are my own. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.
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Hayden is 4 months

Hayden is 4 months | crackersandcarrots.com

  • Date: June 5th, 2015
  • Height: 25.5 inches
  • Weight: 15 pounds 13 ounces
  • Sleeping Pattern: Two days prior to turning 4 months old, Hayden was waking up every 1-2 hours at night to nurse. However, as soon as he had his 4 month doctor’s appointment he started sleeping through the night! Now he wakes 0-2 times from 7pm-6am. During the day he naps every 1-2 hours for 1-2 hours.
  • Eating Habits: He is fed breastmilk with 1-3 supplementary bottles of formula every 2 hours during the day and whenever he wakes during the night.
  • Development: Hayden is becoming more alert this month. He recognizes when mommy, daddy or Liam is talking to him. He’s getting stronger and pushes himself up on his forearms when he’s on his tummy. I have a feeling he’ll be rolling over soon! He’s also finding his fingers more to suck on them, which always results in a drool soaked onesie.
  • Mischief: I can’t complain. Hayden is such a wonderful baby. I just wish he would smile more!
  • Cuteness: He’s discovered how to blow bubbles! It’s the cutest thing.
  • Talking: Hayden makes more sounds now! He’s a pro at bubble making and has given us a couple giggles (a rare thing!). He also makes a high pitch noise like he’s sucking in when he gets excited!
  • Favorites: He loves his pacifier. He doesn’t need it, per se, but it’s how he falls asleep. During the day he loves laying on his back on the play mat, playing in the exersaucer and the bouncy seat. We’ve minimally used the side-to-side swing (which is still his favorite) to encourage better sleep habits. Since making that adjustment in sleep, his nights have been SO much better!
  • Firsts: His first giggle was this month! Of course, he’ll only do it for Logan.
  • Concerns: Hayden is still very distracted and lazy when breastfeeding. It’s hard to find a quiet place to nurse during the day with crazy Liam running around! We also spoke with the pediatrician regarding his vision and we’re taking him to a pediatric eye specialist in July. Our pediatrician thinks he has a lazy eye that can be fixed with some vision exercises. Because of this vision problem, Hayden has a hard time focusing which results in minimal smiles or interaction.
  • A Day in the Life: The day begins around 6am when Hayden feeds and decides it’s time to play. He’ll stay awake for about 1 hour and then sleep for 1-2 hours. Then, he’ll be awake for 2 hours and sleep for 1-2 hours, repeated for the rest of the day. There will be at least one 4 ounce supplementary formula bottle in the late afternoon, if not two. Depending on how the day has progressed, he’ll usually continue a pattern of sleeping for 30 minutes and being awake for 30-60 minutes. Once he feeds for the last time around 8-9pm, he goes down for the night. I’ll dream feed him around 11pm. During the night, he’ll sleep for 4+ hours, waking just once or twice during the night (prior to June 3rd, he was waking every 1-2 hours…he did this for 3 weeks straight…exhausting).

Hayden is 4 months | crackersandcarrots.com Hayden is 4 months | crackersandcarrots.com

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homemade baby food recipes

A variety of homemade baby food recipes that you can make for child. I’m honored to be a contributor for Inspired Home, sharing these recipes and much more!

Make Your Own Baby Food | chocolateandcarrots.com

It’s official, I have the best time watching my children experience food for the first time. That first bite is hilarious. You can see it in their face, “Mom, what are you feeding me and why are you doing this to me?!?” But, then they begin to love the tastes and you both have fun exploring new flavors together.

I’ve made six baby food recipes that you can make and freeze at home for your child! They range from beginner to advanced baby foods, giving you a glimpse at what each stage of baby food looks like. I hope you enjoy them all!

P.S. There’s a recipe for a baby curry in there that is so delicious! Shh…I ate it for lunch. Don’t tell Hayden.

Head over to Inspired Home to see all 6 baby food recipes!

I have been selected by the International Housewares Association to be a contributor for Inspired Home. While I have been compensated for my time, my opinions are my own. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.

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my food story

I’m honored to be a partner with Similac. I’m excited share my food story and to tell you about their newest product, Similac Advance Non-GMO.

Hayden tring the new Similac Advance Non-GMO | crackersandcarrots.com

I haven’t always been health conscious. Actually, growing up, my house was always the ‘cool food house’ to my friends since my parents stocked it with amazingly delicious junk food. It was always so fun to see my friend’s faces light up when they had their first taste of things like Fruit Roll Ups or Goldfish. In a way, I seemed to feel bad that their parents made them eat healthy foods all the time, not being flexible to allow them cake except for at their birthday party.

I wouldn’t change my childhood for anything. I loved every second and have such great memories in the kitchen (and don’t think by having a variety of junk food in the house means that we didn’t have healthy foods, too) where my mom would prepare home cooking and she’d also have oodles of fruits and vegetables for us to choose from, too. I think the foods in my family’s kitchen just embodied the decade I was born in (the good old 80-90’s).

The term ‘organic’ wasn’t a thing yet since everything coming from the ground is by definition organic. It wasn’t until 2002 that the USDA created the organic seal to officially certify that foods were grown without pesticides and antibiotics and many other high standards and practices. By then, I was in high school and the general consensus was that the higher priced organic foods was a fad for the rich eccentric crowd. However, fast forward a few years and stores like Whole Foods and Earthfare started popping up locally and had readily available options for buying organic foods.

By my college years, I had befriended people who were more health conscious and together we learned about taking care of our bodies through exercise and foods. While I still didn’t purchase organic foods, I was taking the right steps towards eating healthier with less processed foods. Then, I got married and my husband and I educated ourselves more on certified organic products and decided to slowly begin budgeting for organic foods where they were most important (dirty dozen). Once we got pregnant our first child in 2011, I had a huge sense of responsibility to provide him with the healthiest upbringing possible, starting from what I ate while pregnant. Of course, this continued once he was born in 2012. He was this clean slate that we were in charge of fueling!

Hayden tring the new Similac Advance Non-GMO | crackersandcarrots.com

I continued to learn everyday about different foods and slowly made the transition to things like organic milk and yogurts, local non-antibiotic eggs and I have even dabbled in non-GMO products like canola oil and some processed snack foods. As time has progressed, my husband and I have made the decision to sacrifice some other luxuries to budget to feed our family (roughly 80%) organic foods.

We’re teaching our children the ways of healthy eating (and don’t think that organic = healthy, organic chips are still chips, carrots are healthier than chips, even if the carrots are not organic) and taking care of their bodies at an early age. Of course, I’m not going to refuse them the deliciousness world of junk, either. It’s all about moderation. We use that wiggle room of 10-20% to splurge on things like ice cream sundaes (have you ever made homemade magic shell?!?), organic fruit snacks, gummy worms (hello worms ‘n dirt!) and of course, chocolate.

I’m still learning myself on how to better feed (and bathe) my family and just recently discovered that organic and non-GMO products start in even baby formula! Similac just came out with a non-GMO version of their Similac Advance formula last week after listening to parent’s requests for it. According to Similac, “Similac Advance and Similac Advance NON-GMO have the same ingredients; they just have different sources for the ingredients.” Either way, it’s nice to have another option for parents who are concerned about GMO’s when feeding your baby.

Introducing the new Similac Advance Non-GMO | crackersandcarrots.com

Our 4 month old, Hayden has recently been trying out the new Similac Advance Non-GMO and has taken to it just fine. It blends well in water like the original Similac Advance and I have no complaints on my end! I now have the added reassurance that even my baby is being fed another alternative. Now, if they would make the Similac Advance Non-GMO or Organic in those little on-the-go powder singles like they do with the Similac Advance! They are perfection when traveling!

So, what do you think? Is your baby ready to try the Similac Advance Non-GMO?

You can find Similac Advance Non-GMO at Target. Here are some answers to FAQ. Thank you for giving us parents more choices!

Introducing the new Similac Advance Non-GMO | crackersandcarrots.com

This post was sponsored by Similac and has partnered with bloggers like myself for its new product launch for Similac Advance Non-GMO. As a part of this program, I have received compensation for my time, but all opinions are my own. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.
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disney with a baby

A series of tips and tricks for traveling to Disney with a baby!

Disney with a baby | chocolateandcarrots.com

My family had the opportunity to visit Disney with our 11 month old son in May 2013. Have been traveling to Disney myself since I was just a wee one myself, I thought I’d share some tips and tricks for traveling to Disney with a baby (0r toddler)! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it all, too!

I hope you and your family enjoy the most magical place on earth!

These posts were NOT sponsored by Disney. I just love the magical place so much, I wanted to share information I found helpful to other families. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.
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rider swap pass system at disney

Rider Swap Pass System at Disney

Rider Switch System at Disney World | chocolateandcarrots.com

The rider switch service is such a blessing when you have a child who can’t ride the rides. Whoever invented this system was so kind. The system allows for all of the adults in your party to go on the ride in two rounds, allowing one adult to stay with the children outside of the ride while the other party rides the adult ride. Even though riding takes longer when you have two rounds, at least one of the parties gets to go through the fast pass line!

In our party, we had three adults and one child. Here’s what we did to maximize riding and minimize time (with the original FastPass system…works very similarly with the new FastPass+ system):

Since each person can only receive one FastPass an hour (or now it’s up to 3 FastPass+ per person/day until redeemed) it is advisable for each party to get a FastPass to a different attraction hence efficiently using all fast passes for a ride to swap options. We’d go grab fast passes for three rides, one fast pass for each ride. Once the first FastPass was ready, we went to that ride, meeting the cast member at the front of the FastPass line and grabbing a Rider Swap Pass for the rest of our party. The person with the FastPass would proceed to ride the ride while the rest of our party stayed outside. Once the first person was finished with the ride, the remaining two adults would go ride with the Rider Swap Pass at the FastPass line, while the first adult stayed behind with the baby. We would then repeat this with all three rides and then repeat it again with three more rides!

Disney with a baby | chocolateandcarrots.com

With the new FastPass+ system, I’d imagine that you could repeat this process but ride even more rides, having each person get a FastPass+ for three different rides than the other person (so if there’s three adults, you get a total of 9 different FastPass+ rides). That way everyone in your party of 3 adults gets the chance to ride 9 different rides with FastPass+’s in one day. Did I do that math right?

To tell you the truth, we weren’t that crazy about riding as many rides as possible, so we just took them as they came and rode what we could, making sure that Liam was as comfortable as possible.

Have fun exploring the Rider Switch System at Disney!

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baby friendly rides at disney

Baby Friendly Rides at Disney

Baby Friendly Rides at Disney | chocolateandcarrots.com

You’d be surprised at how many rides your baby can accompany you on. Any ride that doesn’t have a height requirement, they can technically go on. If you have an infant, it’s best of you wear them in a carrier so you can have your hands free to handle other children and just having a free hand to safely get on/off the ride.

Baby Friendly Rides at Disney | chocolateandcarrots.com

You will want to make the judgement over whether or not to bring your baby on the ride based on his/her dislikes to darkness, noise, movement or other affects the ride has. For example, I didn’t take Liam on the Haunted House because I had a feeling he’d be afraid of the darkness.

 

Baby Friendly Rides at Disney | chocolateandcarrots.com

Here are our favorites to take baby/toddler on:

  • Country Bear Jamboree – Singing bears in Magic Kingdom
  • It’s a Small World – boat ride through singing dolls in Magic Kingdom
  • Kilimanjaro Safari – car ride through zoo in Animal Kingdom
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – boat ride in Magic Kingdom
  • Living with the Land – slow boat through gardens and scenes in Epcot
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – slow ride in Magic Kingdom
  • Peter Pan’s Flight – slow ride in Magic Kingdom
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – dark boat ride in Magic Kingdom
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel – circle ride in Magic Kingdom
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends – slow ride in Epcot
  • Spaceship Earth – slow ride (sometimes dark) in Epcot
  • Swiss Family Treehouse – explore in Magic Kingdom
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – tram ride in Magic Kingdom
  • Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid – slow ride in Magic Kingdom
  • Walt Disney’s Carrousel of Progress – slow singing show in Magic Kingdom
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room – singing show in Magic Kingdom
  • Walt Disney Railroad – train ride around Magic Kingdom
  • Wildlife Express Train – train ride in Animal Kingdom

Our 11 month old especially loved The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid and Spaceship Earth – so many bright colors!

Baby Friendly Rides at Disney | chocolateandcarrots.com Disney with a baby | chocolateandcarrots.com

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transportation at disney

Tips for using the transportation at Disney.

Transportation Tips at Disney | chocolateandcarrots.com

If you stay on Disney property, the transportation is all taken care for you. You park your car at the hotel and don’t have to pull out your GPS until you head home.  Depending on what hotel you stay at, your transportation options will differ. You can travel throughout the parks/hotels in a few different ways:

  • Monorail – Servicing Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Transportation Center and the Grand Floridian, Polynesian and Contemporary resorts.
  • Water taxi – Servicing Magic Kingdom from the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Contemporary and Fort Wilderness. Servicing Epcot and Hollywood Studios from Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Swan and Dolphin.
  • Bus – servicing all parks and hotels.
  • Walking – Some parks are within walking distance from resorts and have dedicated walking trails to allow this.

Each mode of transportation offers different pros/cons. Typically when we’re at Disney we like to get to where we’re going in the quickest way possible (usually the monorail). However, sometimes it’s nice to slow down and take a ride just to enjoy it (water taxi at sunset is magical). Whatever your preferred mode of transportation, you will get to where you’re going with ease thanks to Disney’s vast network of transport.

Since we’re all about speed, we found that the down side of the transportation is that each mode goes in a one way loop. For example, when we took the Monorail from Grand Floridian to Epcot, it takes almost an hour with all of the stops. Likewise, when my family took the bus from the Grand Floridian to Animal Kingdom it took 45 minutes with all of the stops. Since we stayed at the Grand Floridian specifically, it was the quickest going from the hotel to Magic Kingdom (one stop away) and taking the water taxi from the Magic Kingdom to the hotel, based on the direction of the transportation.

One thing to remember when using the transportation systems at Disney is that not all of them are stroller friendly. The water taxi and monorail are both quite stroller friendly. It’s typically not necessary to fold up the stroller to go these. However, the bus transportation system, packing and folding up the stroller is required. We have the BOB stroller and it is not convenient in its compact-ability nor it’s ease of folding. Just make sure to that your items are securely packed away before you load onto the bus.

Lastly, if you’re traveling to your resort on Disney property or if you’re using your personal car to get from place to place, be sure to pre-navigate your route before traveling. The road signs on Disney property are not very clear and no one likes getting lost on Disney property…it’s huge!

Disney with a baby | chocolateandcarrots.com

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rain and stroller recognition at disney

Rain and Stroller Recognition Tips at Disney.

Being prepared for rain at Disney | chocolateandcarrots.com

You’re in Florida.

It rains.

Bring ponchos for your family and your stroller, or buy them in the park. If there’s a slight chance that it might rain while you’re on a ride, go ahead and cover your stroller with a poncho with the hood tied in a knot. Not only will this prevent your stroller and diaper bag from getting wet, but it also acts as an easy way for you to spot your stroller among the sea of strollers.

Stroller Recognition Tips at Disney | chocolateandcarrots.com

If there’s no chance of rain, you still want to be able to spot your stroller in stroller parking. Bring a brightly colored scarf that you can wrap around the handles of your stroller to be able to spot it from across the way.

There you have it, a quick tip for spotting your stroller at Disney!

Stroller Recognition Tips at Disney | chocolateandcarrots.com

 

Disney with a baby | chocolateandcarrots.com

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