Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Meadow Rose: Labor & Delivery Story


by Sarah

If you read the birth story about my son, Noah, about a year and a half ago, you know that I went through a long labor and gave birth to a healthy baby boy who was 9 pounds, 8 ounces. Because he was a larger baby and because I would be giving birth for the second time, everyone warned me that my labor & delivery could be very quick. So quick, that I might not have time for an epidural, or even make it to the hospital in time to give birth.
 
Our baby girl, Meadow, came in the blink of an eye, but that isn't to say she didn't bring with her a little bit of hospital drama. I lucked out in many ways; however, one thing I learned is that if I have more any more babies I will most definitely be delivering in a birthing center rather than in a hospital.

Meadow Rose Temple was born at 7:17 am on Thursday, April 23, 2015 and we love her ineffably.
 
**
 
My due date was on Monday April 20th, 2015. When the date arrived I had no signs of labor. I went to a doctor's appointment with Noah and while I felt a tinge of disappointment because nothing was happening, she assured me that Meadow would most likely arrive before 41 weeks. But, If I did reach 41 weeks, she suggested we schedule an induction.
 
Admittedly, I was nervous to give birth again, since the first time left me with a still salient postpartum recovery--emotionally and physically--so I wasn't really in any hurry to induce labor.
 
On Tuesday, I began noticing irregular contractions and by Wednesday afternoon, they were happening every 10-15 minutes.  I could tell that I was beginning to enter early labor, but since I was overdue already, I worried that the birth could be days away.  Dan left work early to come home, thinking that the birth was imminent. However, I had a visceral sense that it wouldn't happen any time soon, because the contractions were still so far apart. 

The evening came and my mom offered to watch Noah so that I could take it easy and be able to go to the hospital if necessary.  I was happy to be able to rest, but I worried that if I went to the hospital too early they would just send me home. So, Dan & I went to Target to walk around.  During this pregnancy, walking around Target became a comforting routine so we thought, what better place for a soothing walk. Then we went to pick up some dinner because I was starving, and again, this made me think I that wasn't in real labor. When I was in labor with Noah, I couldn't think about food at all. But I couldn't deny how much the contractions hurt.  

Around 8pm, we headed home to meet my mom, as she brought Noah home to get ready for bed. My sister also came over so she could stay the night with Noah if we went to the hospital, which is what everyone thought would end up happening. 
 
After Noah got settled into bed, we ended up hanging out for a few hours and then, with plenty of deliberation, Dan and I decided to head to the hospital around 10:30pm.

**

When we got into the Triage unit, we checked in and the receptionist informed us that we were coming in at the end of a long, busy day. Once we were in a Triage room we met our nurse who was visibly exhausted and annoyed by any questions out of the ordinary. , She behaved as though she'd done this same thing thousand times already that day: she attached two monitors to my belly and took my blood pressure without saying a word.

The doctor was older, he had a slightly condescending and know-it-all air to him but had no idea or worries that others saw him in that light, just who every woman wants a vaginal exam from. He entered shortly after the nurse was done with my blood pressure to check my cervix. My cervix was only at a 4.  (To be in active labor and to be admitted into a LDR suite, you have to be 5 cm dilated). I thought surely he would send me home.
 
However, he immediately suggests that we get on "active path" to getting our baby delivered since I am over 40 weeks (by two days...) and that I begin a dose of Pitocin and order an epidural (at just 4cm dilated...). I mentioned earlier that I am very nervous to induce labor with Pitocin because the literature demonstrates it increases the likelihood of a C-section without added benefit. It seems that doctors offer it up so easily because they want to get you in and out...like a baby factory would.
 
Naturally, I tell him I would just like to wait a little bit before immediately receiving augmentation.  He responded with a anecdote about how he was around in the 70's when all the (presumably) hippies wanted to "go natural", and he knows about natural birth. Then he explained how in the 1800's, when women were giving birth in the back of horse-drawn wagons, the health of children born of truly natural child birth were horrendous.   He was actually comparing my wanting to delay Pitocin to giving birth on the back of a wagon in the 1800's.  At this point I knew I just needed to be away from this man.

"What if we just want to wait a few hours before making any decisions?" "Can we leave and come back in a few hours?" You would think these would be normal questions for someone who wasn't yet in active labor and showed up to the hospital a tad too early.
 
Our nurse chimes in with, "Regardless of whatever decision you make, there aren't any LDR rooms open anyway, so you will have to stay in this room. You can take your time and wait it out and we'll check on you in two hours."

My head was about to explode from the sound of the doctor and the nurse talking at me. I asked them if I could have a minute alone and finally they left. Before I knew it, we were in the car and heading back home. We were literally at the point where we called a few of the other hospitals in Pittsburgh to see if they had any rooms open and what it would take to deliver somewhere different. But, every hospital had the same answer: Magee was my hospital-- it had all of my medical records and my OB group practiced there.
 
When we got back home, I crawled into bed. I was overwhelmed with anxiety because my contractions were getting so strong that my whole body began to shake while they reached their peak and then eased away.  I knew that things were picking up quickly now, but the fact that the hospital I had prepared to give birth in didn't have any rooms open for me made me anxious about going back.  However, at that moment I knew that I had made the right decision to leave the discomforting Triage room where I was trapped in a tiny bed, strapped to machines, and being pressured at every turn.  Meanwhile back at home I was in my own bed, free to move as necessary; consequentially, my body was more relaxed and free to do what it needed.   This was the sphincter law in action.
 
Eventually, I got to the point where I couldn't take it anymore.
 
"C'mon, we're going back to the hospital," I said with certainty to Dan. "I don't understand why these ones hurt so much more than the last time." I was curled up in a mangled ball underneath our down comforter and I knew that if I got to the hospital, I could at least get the epidural and take a little nap.
 
**
 
When we arrived back to Magee for Round 2 at around 2:30 am, we were surprisingly greeted by a nurse who had a much better attitude.  She took us to a different Triage room, a room that seemed much brighter and much cleaner. As she was handing me a drab hospital gown to change into she said, "We thought you went to a different hospital. Someone called here and asked us about a patient that might be coming there."
 
We did call around, but we never gave any personal information when we did. It never got to that point because everywhere we called told us that they didn't advise switching hospitals while in labor.
 
I was honest with her and told her that I called around to see if anyone had an open room, since they didn't. In a refreshed tone, she told us that they always have rooms open for patients in labor...
 
A few minutes later, a new nurse and a resident doctor--a down to earth female probably a little older than us--came in to check my cervix. I can't even begin to tell you how relieved I was to see a female doctor.
 
"You're at a 7. No wonder your contractions hurt so bad. You got through the hard part already. It's almost time to have this baby." (Now if you remember, the ancient asshole doctor advised me to get Pitocin just two hours before to speed labor up. I went from a 4 to a 7 in two hours on my own.)
 
The nurse in the room immediately jammed an IV into my wrist and I was whisked away to a LDR suite. I ordered an epidural as soon as I was settled into my new hospital bed because I didn't want to have to be stitched up without it. And, it's amazing to go from extreme pain to a level of comfort where you can take a nap.
 
In my last birth story, I wrote that I was terrified to receive an epidural, but that when I got it I was so surprised by how much it didn't hurt. For some reason, when I learned I was pregnant again, the fear of the epidural returned and every day I would spend a few minutes dreading it. This time around, it was the same exact thing as the first time-- it didn't hurt. It is uncomfortable, for sure, and it takes a long time to do, but it isn't as painful as contractions.
 
After the epidural kicked in at about 4am, we turned on the lights and tried to take a nap. I couldn't get a wink of sleep, but it was still nice to lay there and watch an episode of Secrets and Lies and enjoy having no pain. Dan slept on the couch next to me.
 
After about an hour, I worried that the epidural slowed down my labor. I couldn't feel my stomach tightening, so I constantly asked the nurse every time she came in to check on me if any more contractions were happening. Every time I asked, she looked at the monitor and said, "nothing appears to be happening."
 
A midwife eventually came in to check my cervix before the end of her shift around 6:30am and told me I was still at a 7. She offered to either give me Pitocin (again) or break my water.
 
"Break my water," I said. This was familiar territory because I had my water broken towards the end of my labor with Noah, and I remember my body knew it had to push a baby out shortly after.
 
So, after she left, I turned Secrets and Lies back on and wondered how I was going to push a baby out. Getting the epidural was one of the things I was most nervous about, but now I realized I still had to push. As I began to get lost in my own thoughts and Ryan Phillippe's voice on my iPad I began to have an intense back pain, but only in one tiny spot.
 
Huh? Was my epidural not working?
 
I switched from side to side and hit the epidural button. I asked my nurse when she came in and she told me to keep switching sides.  I asked her if I was having any contractions now that my water had been broken. She told me I wasn't having any contractions because she didn't see any on the monitor and that I should just continue to switch what side I was laying on and hit my epidural button every 8 minutes.
 
I did what she suggested, but the tiny pain kept getting more intense. It was only in one spot-- a spot as tiny as a needle prick but it grew and grew until I began to get a little vicious. I was beginning to feel a little pressure, but since the monitors weren't picking up my contractions, I didn't believe it was the pressure that you feel when it is time to push. I just thought my epidural was failing me.
 
The nurse came back in to check on my belly monitors and I told her I needed a better epidural. She looked at the monitor, confused since no contractions appeared to be happening and finally after I pestered her enough, she told me she would go find a doctor to check me (because a doctor has to check you before you get another dose of an epidural).
 
About a minute after she left, the pressure began to pick up and I yelled at Dan to wake up. "GO GET A DOCTOR," I yelled. He went outside in the hall and I could hear him say, with skepticism and as though he was still half asleep, "Um, she needs a doctor."
 
Even while he was just outside in the hall, the pressure grew worse and worse. FAST. I began yelling and crying from the discomfort and I realized it wasn't anything I could control. I knew people could hear me and it made me wonder why I was doing it.
 
All of the sudden, my doctor comes running in. It was 7am and a new shift had begun, which meant that the doctor changed. I cannot even begin to describe how happy I was to see the doctor who I scheduled my appointments with in the office. She has the best bedside manner and she has made a special bond with Noah over the course of this pregnancy. She jumped into action, checked my cervix and didn't even bother saying anything other than, "It's time."

About 10 minutes later, and less than two sets of pushes later (you do 3 pushes every set), Meadow Rose Temple was here. She arrived at 7:17am and weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces. I didn't even need one stitch! We left the hospital a day early because all I wanted to do was be in my own bed and at home with Noah. 

**

Almost two weeks later, it's hard to remember what life was like without her. My second pregnancy was much different than my first because I worried that Noah wouldn't understand having a new baby around and that he would feel replaced. But, he has adjusted so well. During the first week, I would catch him staring at her in amazement. **He has had his moments (we certainly aren't a perfect family) where he tosses one of his toys at her or does something wild, but it has been very rare and usually happens before a nap.

My recovery, compared to last time, has been a dream.  Even though the hospital let us down a lot this time around, I couldn't ask for an easier labor and delivery.

If you have any questions for me, don't hesitate to email me or leave a comment below!
xo,
Sarah

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Week Before Meadow Came...(and a Mini Maternity Photo Shoot!)

by Sarah


 
 
 
 
(Note: I wrote this blog when I was exactly 40 weeks pregnant. I gave birth to little Meadow last Thursday and she is so precious! I will be posting my Labor & Delivery story shortly.)
 
Today, I am 40 weeks pregnant with you. I never made it to the 40th week of pregnancy with your brother. He came two days before his due date. You, you are giving me no signs that you'll be here soon. Truthfully, since this is my second time giving birth, I am in no hurry to go through it again, but of course this is not to say that I am not thrilled to meet you.

This past week was the first week I took off from work for my maternity leave and I did all of the things:
 
I went out and got a pedicure.
I cleaned and cleaned and organized closets.
I have my hospital bag packed.
I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies bought everything to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies but opted to lay on the couch instead.
Cried about how everything was about to change and cried about how excited I am to meet you.
We went on several necessary Target shopping trips where we fell into the typical Target trap of going in for one thing and ending up blowing more money then we intended to (even Dan).

I am so exhausted, but these are the first days that I have given in and just relaxed. I spent almost the entire day laying in bed, watching Netflix movies I've already seen. The only time I really felt productive was when I ate lunch--a sub from Subway or "Subby"(as your big brother calls it). Somehow, I managed to clean the kitchen up and do one load of laundry. But, I promised myself it would be the only cleaning I would do. 

My entire pregnancy with you, I have not sat down once. I almost feel guilty that I didn't get to daydream about you as much as I did with your brother but in a way, I know you are the second baby for a reason. You have been so calm in the womb and my pregnancy has just flown by. At times it has scared me because you are very different than your wild brother, who I could see jumping around in my belly. I just know that you are calm, collected, smart and sweet.

I can't wait to meet you, sweet girl.
 
The real star of the show at Mellon Park, where we managed to take a few maternity
photos before it started pouring.  
 

Friday, March 27, 2015

What's In My 18 Month Old's Easter Basket?



 
While I am still on the hunt for the perfect Easter basket, I thought I'd share a few of the things we are putting in Noah's Easter basket this year. He is still too young for a basket full of candy, so we are mixing up limited sweets with toys and books. We bought him a few pairs of shorts, a few t-shirts, polos, and a new pair of shoes for spring/summer intended for his basket, but since the weather has been so nice, we tapped into everything early. 

1. Goldfish Vanilla Cupcake Grahams-- Noah loves having Goldfish for an afternoon snack and when I saw these at the grocery store last week, I knew I had to put them in his Easter basket. 

2. Frog cup with lid and straw-- I found this at Target in the dollar aisle and it's perfect for Noah.  He loves "fwoggs" right now and I have a cup like this that he is always trying to get his little hands on.

3. Fruit snacks-- I found these "springtime" fruit snacks at Target and I liked the idea of fruit snacks because they don't seem as unhealthy as something like jelly beans.

4. Baby Touch and Feel book-- Noah loves books, but he is also an extremely active toddler, which means he can't still through some of the more advanced children's books we have for him yet. We already have a few other books from Baby Touch and Feel and they are perfect because they are interactive and short. He loves to read them in the car.

5. Reeses Eggs-- I can't pass up seasonal Reese's candy, especially when pregnant. So, I stocked Noah's basket up with them. They will most likely end up being for Dan & I. There are many other staple Easter candies like this, but I wanted to not include them in the basket since they will end up probably being less for Noah and more for Dan & I. While I'm a big fan of dessert after dinner, I try not to keep actual candy in the house. 
 
6. Toys-- We have a bunny that Noah's aunt got him last year that we are going to put in for decoration. Since he is still so young, we can get away with reusing items like this and it offers a cute touch to the basket. Also, we plan to get a few more Hot Wheels cars to add to Noah's growing collection. As I mentioned above, the basket isn't finished, so another trip to Target is in order!
 
7. Easter eggs-- I haven't decided what I am going to put in these and I might end up buying another color of plastic eggs (most likely green) to fill his basket up with. I might keep them empty and let him play with them, as toddlers get a kick out of pretty much anything.
 
Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see the finished basket!
 
What is in your little one's Easter basket? Comment below :)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Danger of a Successful Routine

...and why it is so important to keep things fresh.


 
 
They say that if you do what you love to do for a living, you'll never work a day in your life.  But, I have found that doing what you love to do for a living can be a fickle thing. It can be easy to become burned out when you have to mass produce creative projects every day to either make money or be successful in some way (i.e. seek fame for what you are doing.)
 
I'll admit I haven't blogged in months and many people have asked me if it is because I had a baby. While motherhood has been easily the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me (and I do love to let it consume me), it didn't make me stop writing. I just needed a break. And, I'm totally comfortable with taking a break because I was getting to be burned out with the subjects I was choosing to write about.
 
Anyone who knows anything about being an artist knows that it can be a rollercoaster.  People notice you, they forget about you, they steal your ideas, they criticize you, they say you suck, they put you on the cover of magazines, they pay you, they praise you, they forget about you again....and the list goes on. You just have to keep going because while you want them to notice you, it isn't about them. They need to be drawn to you because you are doing something original or something worthy of them essentially wasting time on. You can't cater to them because they look up to you for inspiration. 
 
At the same time, however, it is so easy to cater to them. Because we want to get paid for what we love to do. And if no one knows who you are, you're screwed.
 
My initial main goal for starting a blog was to get noticed.  I had written a book and sent off query letters to publishers and I got a few people notice me (usually they don't even give you the time of day) but they would all say that since no one knew who I was, they wouldn't take the risk. 
 
I had so much fun with finding subjects to write about on this blog for so long and it became addicting that other people loved it, too.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and interviewed many amazing people. I also, in turn, interviewed quite a few assholes who I knew would bring in a lot of new readers and it just led me to get burned out. The last interview that I did was with Holly Madison, who I don't dislike, but her publicist would only allow me to interview her if I asked her about her line of dog toys in the interview. Her publicist went on to scratch off questions I planned to ask her that she didn't feel "appropriate" for Holly. 
 
It was truly the final straw. Every interview you read, see, or hear with celebrities is calculated, planned, and executed in a way to become an advertisement (except if you're Oprah).
 
As a struggling writer trying to get noticed, I saw what people wanted to read and I went with it. I became addicted to something that I found to be successful.
 
After I had a baby, I felt embarrassed all of the sudden by some of the things I was choosing to write about. I believe that as parents, the best way we can teach our kids about life is to live the way we would want them to live. Whatever my son and daughter (!) choose to do with their life, I want them to always have passion for what they are doing, to be authentic, and I want them to give everything their all.
 
Writing, for me, had always been about telling the truth. I feel as though every real writer out there would say that this is the case: it's about exposing the things everyone else brushes under the carpet. It's about dissecting emotions in a way we are scared to in every day life and even scared to do in other forms of art. Even if we have to create fiction to tell the truth, we still have some duty (I don't know where it came from) to change the world with what we are writing about.
 
It isn't about interviewing reality stars.  It isn't about getting paid to write a review about skin cream.
 
(Don't get me wrong, I love sharing good beauty finds and I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to interview someone who I really respected.)
 
There was something magical about the days when I didn't try to impress anyone because I knew that no one was reading anyway. I just kept grinding out the best articles I could hoping to get noticed. I would stay up all night trying to perfect my writing just because I enjoyed it and I was too involved to fall asleep.
 
Talent usually isn't enough. It needs to be accompanied by drive and passion so we can work on it every day and find ways to improve. Talent is raw, free, and usually full of errors. It's free from criticism and the limits we, as artists, place on ourselves after we hear what other people say about our work. It's free from the pressure we, as artists, put on ourselves when we know we're noticed. Talent is also something that can be put on a back burner if we choose to put it there. When we put it into action for work, it becomes work. When we have gotten to the point where we don't even want to do anything anymore, it's because we are burned out.
 
It is important to remember that we are the only person responsible for when we feel burned out. It's no one else's fault and it it's actually a great thing to allow yourself to be burned out when you feel like you need to be. Passion is like your overall health, if you're burned out, you need to rest and recharge.
 
What keeps art alive isn't success. It's change. It's pushing yourself, even when you're successful. It's pulling those all nighters, it's daring to make something that other people might say is garbage because you believe in that piece of garbage. It's being true to who you were when you started, even if that means you lose your successful routine...for the time being. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

BabyLit Board Books


Reading with N is one of our favorite activities. He loves books so much that sometimes I will find him sitting alone, reading a book "aloud." The book will usually be upside down and he will be babbling things I can't understand but his determination melts my heart.

We were sent a few board books from BabyLit and I don't know who loves them more: me or him. All of the BabyLit books, written by Jennifer Adams, turn classic literature into easy to read baby books. Alison Oliver joins Adams to bring beautiful illustrations to every page and they are simple enough to hold the attention span of my one year old.  As a mama, I find them to be so charming.

We just love them!

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Image Credit: Gibbs Smith

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Prenatal Vitamin Routine For Pregnancy #2!


by Sarah

 
As of today, I can happily announce that I am sixteen weeks pregnant with my second baby. To kick off more pregnancy blog posts, I thought I would start with which vitamins I am taking!
 
Garden of Life Kind Organics Prenatal Multivitamin--When I was pregnant with N (seems like it was literally just yesterday), I swore by Garden of Life's Vitamin Code Prenatal Vitamins. This time, I stuck with the same company but I switched to a prenatal vitamin they have recently come out with that is made entirely from real, whole foods. So far, I am noticing that my nails are stronger than they have ever been and my hair is more lustrous than usual, which is always a perk of taking prenatal vitamins!
 
Garden of Life Kind Organics Plant Calcium--During my last pregnancy, I noticed my teeth seemed to weaken and I'm assuming it was because I needed a little more calcium than usual. When you're growing a baby inside of you, baby's growing bones will always be able to grow because they will take all of the calcium out of your bones, so it's important to make sure you have plenty of calcium for the two of you. This is just as important when you're breastfeeding, because you're making special milk for your baby with your body so stock up on tons of calcium. I have only been taking this brand for a few weeks now, so I will report back if I continue to like it. I try to get a good majority of my calcium from real food because it is more easily absorbed, but unfortunately, I'm not a major milk fanatic, so I eat yogurt every day. (Raise your hand if you eat your toddler's YoBaby yogurts!)

Spectrum Essentials Prenatal DHA-- DHA is really important for brain development so I make sure to take this every day. I bought this at Whole Foods on sale, but I will most likely be purchasing off of Amazon  to restock (click the link above) because it is way cheaper.
 
I'd love to know- what prenatal vitamins do you take when you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
 
xo,
Sarah

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's "The Sleeping Beauty"--This Weekend at the Benedum


by Sarah & Rose
Alexandra Kochis & Alejandro Diaz in PBT's The Sleeping Beauty //  Photo Credit: Aimee DiAndrea
 
Last night, we saw Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's The Sleeping Beauty at the Benedum Center and thought it was fabulous! We made a girls night out of it and dined at Six Penn beforehand.
 
It was the first ballet of the 2014-2015 season and the entire production was spectacular. The costumes were absolutely beautiful and reminded me of a sparkling confection. The dancing was energetic and fun, even a little quirky, but still maintained the elegance and grace found within ballet. The set design was beautiful, as well.
 
In Act Two, there is a stunning scene where the Lilac Fairy shows Princess Aurora (who has been asleep for one hundred years) to Prince Desire in a vision by a lake. Afterward, he is so enchanted that they both travel to her by boat. When the boat moves across the stage, it's magical. It is truly one of the most beautiful scenes I've seen yet from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
 
Please visit PBT's website for show times and to purchase tickets for The Sleeping Beauty.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Best of Me Giveway, In Theaters October 17


The Best of Me, starring James Marsden & Michelle Monaghan, hits theaters October 17. Enter below to win an exclusive movie giveaway!
Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they've never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances.
To prepare you for the perfect movie date night, you can win a $25 gift card for Sephora, the official movie soundtrack, and a copy of the book.  
To enter, simply like us on Facebook and leave a comment below with your contact info.
Good luck! xo


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

American Horror Story: Freak Show Releases New Extended Trailer


Good news, AHS fans! A just released extended trailer offers more insight on the newest season, which is due to premiere on October 8. Much of the plot and it's characters have been kept under wraps, but now, we finally get to see the personalities of some of the main characters. We see why conjoined twins Bette & Dot (played by Sarah Paulson) join the 'Freak Show' to begin with--an abusive home life. We're also introduced to Twisty the Clown, this season's villain...frightening!
 
You know October is upon us when a new season of American Horror Story is almost out!
 

 
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Style & Wisdom Mama: How To Avoid Picky Eating


by Sarah 


I know I'm only a mama to a 12 month old (and kids don't tend to get picky until they are older) but I thought I'd share a few tips I've picked up from our pediatrician and other moms of older kids on avoiding picky eating. I must admit that my baby eats just about anything I put in front of him, but at his 12 month check-up the other day, the doctor gave me some tips on how to avoid picky eating in the upcoming months.

--Don't make "separate meals" for your kids. I always let Noah eat whatever meal we are having as a family. When you make a separate meal for your baby, it may make them think that they don't need to be eating what the rest of the family is eating. This could become a routine that gets hard to break once the picky eating stage comes about. 

It's important to never introduce junk to them, especially for dinner. Sometimes we think our kids will like "classic" kids foods (which are the things we see on kids menus at restaurants) like pizza, chicken nuggets, or mac & cheese, but they should have a balanced diet just like the rest of us should be striving to get--fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, etc.

--Setting an example. One of the best things you can do for your little ones is make an effort to grow stronger every day, just like they are.  A healthy mama is a mama who her child can look up to for inspiration, for advice, and as a person who they can always feel safe and "at home" with. You can't be this person unless you strive to be this person.  Show your kids what a healthy lifestyle instead of just encouraging them to do it. 

I try to show N that I am eating the same healthy things as him. If he's having yogurt, I will usually have yogurt, too. If he has a banana, I'll have a banana, etc. I know this one is hard because I have a niece who is a picky eater and even if she sees the adults around her eating healthy food, it doesn't do anything to persuade her.  But, if you have an older picky eater on your hands (and lord knows, it may happen to me, I just am trying to avoid it at all costs) it's a good idea to still have real foods around and continue to make meals so kids still see the routine and can at least try new foods. Which brings me to my next point... 

--They don't have to like it, but they do have to try it. If you have a picky eater on your hands already, make it a rule that they don't have to eat things they don't like, but they do have to try it.  I actually got this tip from Meg from the WhatsUpMoms Youtube channel, and I think it's great advice. You never know, your kiddo might just like something you forced them to at least try. Another good practice might be to have them explain why they don't like it and "it's gross" or "I just don't want it."

--Don't be afraid to be a parent. One of the things that I found the most difficult about becoming a mother is how guilty I felt about everything. I went back to work six weeks after giving birth and I felt guilty about that. I feel guilty every time N gets shots. Let's just say I feel guilty every time N cries or needs to be disciplined.  But, kids need structure and they need rules.  The reason why I bring this up is because sometimes food becomes a way to entertain, reward, or calm a toddler down.  The first time I gave N ice cream, he went crazy because he loved it so much and I had to cut him off. He cried, but ice cream is a "once in a while" food. Now, he only gets ice cream after doctor's appointments. But it's okay to take junk food away from a kid no matter how much they cry.


--Get sneaky. Smoothies seem to be the way to trick your toddlers & kids into eating just about anything. We have green smoothies every other day in our house and N drinks more than I do because he loves it so much. It tastes like a dessert because of the fruit we put in it, but really, it's full of kale, dandelion greens, spinach, and cucumbers.  

Another good "trick" is to give your kiddo buckwheat pancakes instead of regular pancakes for breakfast.  If you start them young, they'll never even know what hit them by the time they reach the stage of understanding what they are eating! 

--If they really hate something, don't beat yourself up--there are plenty of other healthy foods. Since the beginning of weaning off of breastmilk and starting solids, N has LOATHED peas.  I mean, he hates 'em with a passion.  I tried every brand. I even tried to give him real peas once he began eating table foods and he threw every last one of them onto the floor. So, I stopped giving him peas. I didn't keep trying to offer them to him.  I offered him different green vegetables.  

Image Credit: Today's Parent
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