Babies and Toddlers

All things related to raising babies and children

A Round-Up of My Newborn Favorites

Baby J is growing incredibly fast! I know that people always say that time will fly by but man, it really is flying by this time around. With Baby E, I had no idea what baby products we needed but now I feel a little bit more confident in what my absolute favorite newborn items are! In today’s post, I’m going to share a few newborn favorites (with affiliate links so you can shop!) and why I love them! 

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Let’s Talk About Sleep, Baby (Part 1)

Sleep DockaTot Header

Baby 1:

  • Started life by being nursed to sleep
  • Continued to be nursed to sleep throughout infancy (my bad)
  • Needed to be motivated (rocked, swung, bounced) until she was even sleepy
  • Had non-diagnosed reflux type issues
  • Would ONLY sleep on an incline until she learned to roll over
  • Mama didn’t read ONE BOOK on infant sleep until it was way too late
  • Finally had to cry it out
  • Didn’t officially sleep through the night until 11 months

Baby 2:

  • TBD but I’m definitely not repeating last time!

Sleep is so precious and valuable. After dealing with Baby E’s sleep situation, I told myself I wouldn’t let that happen again (if I could have any control over it). So I’ve made it my goal to give Baby J positive sleep habits and I’m going to share what has helped us so far!

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Adventures in Avoiding Screen Time: 20 Screen Free Activities for a Toddler

screen free toddler activities

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, screen-time should be very limited for all children. They believe that children under 2 years of age shouldn’t have ANY screen time unless it’s videochatting. From ages 2 to 5, they say to limit it to one hour of “educational” television per day. Though the rules and regulations have been addressed, I personally find this to be an unrealistic expectation in today’s society.

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All About Baby Led Weaning: Frequently Asked Questions and an Update

Baby Led Weaning

At about 6 months of age, we started “Baby Led Weaning (BLW)” with Baby E. I wrote a post about it but it was unfortunately deleted. I talked a lot about what we were going to do with BLW, why we were doing it, and how it all works. After initiating this method for quite a while, I learned a lot about infant eating habits. I’ve also been asked a few questions by people and I’m going to share all of that with you!

When did we start Baby Led Weaning?

We started when Baby E was 6 months. Most websites and books recommended that we start feeding the baby when she was:

  • able to sit up
  • hold up her head
  • showed interest in food

E was able to do these things confidently around 6 months so we figured it was a good time to start. She also had the craziest interest in food. Like crazy, to the point where taking her out to eat was annoying because she would cry if she wasn’t eating too, haha.

Why we started Baby Led Weaning?

  • Honestly, it was sort of laziness on my part. I figured that I wouldn’t have to spoon feed her all the time and I could eat while she ate. I also read a lot of interesting blogs about the topic.
  • Funny thing, BLW is actually a lot messier than spoon feeding your baby. So being lazy wasn’t an option when I had to pick up tons of pieces of broccoli off of the floor

Did you find Baby Led Weaning helpful for your family?

  • Absolutely.
    Baby E is a PRO with all foods now. She has been exposed to several foods and their different textures. She eats with such confidence. She only has 8 teeth but will take a bite of a burger and chew it with ease.

What were the benefits for Baby E?

  • She became more skillful with her hand-eye coordination. Her pincer grasp is on point. She even uses a spoon and fork now at 14 months. She’s not the most graceful yet but she knows how it works.
  • She is very independent when it comes to eating. I’m so glad that we didn’t feed her with a spoon very often because I know that once we have another baby, she will feed herself confidently.
  • She knows when she’s done eating. She eats and asks for more when she wants more. She also passes us her plate or each piece of food and will say “thank you” or “no” until each piece of food is off of her plate, haha. She’s a ham.
  • She ate what we ate. Y’all I don’t have the energy to make her her own little baby meals… So she ate the foods that we ate (with some exception, that I’ll go into later).
  • After handling her sippy cup for some time, she now knows when to drink water. It’s really cute. She’ll eat too much or something a little spicy and she’ll reach for her sippy cup like she knows that fluids will help!

What is your advice for Baby Led Weaning?

  • First and foremost, always talk to a doctor before doing anything food related. Wait until you get the “okay” from them before starting a new food venture.
  • Always do BLW in the high chair- sitting up, with no recline.
  • Obviously, never leave your child unattended!
  • Don’t put food in their mouths! The whole point in doing this is for them to learn their limits and to explore food at their own pace. If the baby isn’t interested, then don’t stress it. Your baby technically can survive off of formula or breast milk until 1 years old, I’ve heard. “Food before one is just for fun!” Keep that silly little saying in your mind, haha.
  • Have an emergency plan, just in case. This includes knowing what to do if your baby is choking or if your baby is having an allergic or anaphylactic reaction.

What type of foods do you feed your baby?

  • Soft foods that are easy for someone with almost no coordination or muscle control to grasp
  • If you are able to squish the food between the roof of your mouth and your tongue, then that’s a good sign
  • We basically followed the typical order of foods to give your baby (with the exception of the time my husband gave her eggs, strawberries, and peanut butter all in the same day… I died a little inside when he told me about this, of course. Thankfully, she was okay and had no reactions to any food (so far).
  • Puffs. I’ve actually eaten some of them and my favorite brand is the Happy Baby brand. (Not sponsored, haha. I just really like them)
  • Teethers. Again, Happy Family brand.
  • Pouches! She learned to hold them herself and drink them so that was cool.
  • Her favorite foods in the beginning were: sweet potato, avocado, bananas, zucchini, 2 ingredient pancakes!
  • For recipes: I just typed in “Baby Led Weaning” on Pinterest to learn new things.
  • She now loves green beans, sausage, blueberries, grapes (makes sure you cut them, the’re a choking hazard), turkey sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,

Where are you now with feeding Baby E?

  • She loves to eat.
  • She eats everything (except for milk so far because it was possibly a trigger for her eczema).
  • She snacks and roams which isn’t the best situation in the world but she’s happy and thriving so I’m not mad at it.
  • She’s using utensils frequently and barely making an accidental mess (she intentionally throws her food when she’s done eating though… we need to work on that).
  • She likes to dip her food, which is hilarious.
  • We sometimes eat breakfast on the couch and snuggle and it’s my favorite!

Baby Led Weaning is a really cool, interesting, and sort of fun way to introduce foods to your little one. Although some people prefer doing the purees, it is fun to attempt BLW to see how your infant likes it. We definitely did a lot of purees but ultimately knew that we wanted to strengthen her skills in eating. Overall, it’s been great for our family and I highly recommend everyone try it with their baby!

– Erica

baby led weaning aiming for august

The Birth Story of Baby E


I love, love, love birth stories. Most of the internet usage in my 3rd trimester consisted of creeping on any and everybody’s birth story. I heard, read, and saw (at work) the beautiful triumphant highs and scary, intense lows of childbirth. Regardless of the ending, I enjoyed hearing these stories. So here is ours:

I think all birth stories have to start the week before or at your last doctors appointment.

August 24, 2015

My last appointment was on a Monday. I was 39 weeks and 1 day. I was already dilated 3cm and about 80% effaced. I was having BH contractions steadily throughout the week but nothing major I guess. I worked my last day the Sunday before my appointment so I felt ready. Each appointment, the doctor would say “I’m sure that the next time I see you, you’re going to be having a baby!” Why do they do this?! I was really expecting to have a baby before each appointment! My doctor told me that I was SO close to 4cm but not quite enough. He then asked if I wanted to schedule an induction date so that he could be there. He basically said they would just admit me (since I was so close) and they’d take it from there! I reluctantly agreed that I would come in on August 31st at 7 am.

August 29

My due date… Full of contractions and fatigue but no baby yet

August 30

We went to our fave Tex-Mex restaurant and celebrated our last night as just us two. We dropped out dog off at his parents and headed home. We packed our bags and got all of our outfits ready for the next day. We felt incredibly prepared and decided to go to bed early since we’d have no clue about how long labor would last.

August 31 

I hadn’t been sleeping well for about a week straight now. Baby E became outrageously active between the hours 1-4 am and the pain/discomfort always kept me awake (oh hey, Netflix marathons). This morning around 2am, I couldn’t sleep because of the pain, my bladder, and most likely my anxiety! I went to use the restroom and waddled back to the bed. As I laid down, I heard a pop noise… And my entire lower body was soaked. Instead of being excited or nervous, I almost cried from embarassment, haha. I cried, “babe, I think my water broke” (2:30am) and J shot up instantly questioned my certainty. I previously told him the statistic of women whose water actually breaks without medical assistance prior to delivery… It’s not actually very common. So we were both shocked. Thankfully, we mentally prepared ourselves for her to be born on this day, so everything was ready to go! I took a super fast shower- to clean my amniotic fluids off of my thighs (not really even comprehending how disgusting I would be during labor). Jonathan decided to eat a bowl of cereal, which annoyed me to no end at the time because my contractions were somewhat starting and I have ZERO patience. Jonathan (who sprained his ankle and was in a walking boot and crutches at the time) walked our bags to the car (which was parked in our apartment parking garage about a 4 minute walk away… if you’re not on crutches). He finally pulled the car around and picked me up and we arrived to the hospital around 315am! We get checked in… which took a while and they took me to a room to check and make sure that I was on active labor! At 345ish, a doctor confirmed that I was in active labor and 4 cm. Then, the contractions began… while the nurse us starting the IV and I am freaking out. I was being really weird initially because it was a strange pain at first. They were about 3-4 minutes apart. Jonathan came to the back after about 15 mins with the nurse. After she put the IV in, came the annoying admission questions. I think this took about 20 minutes but I began to feel crazy pain and begged the nurse for the epidural. My face was hot. My contractions were about 2 minutes apart. I guess I’m a sissy but that pain was terrible. Suddenly I couldn’t take the pain anymore and asked (yelled) when I was going to be out of triage and into a room… The nurse said soon and when I was in more active labor. Note: she also laughed after I asked and said, if you think you’re in pain, just wait”. Real reassuring haha. After she said that, I told her that I was in awful pain and asked if she could assess me and she didn’t. Then I told her I felt the urge to push and that lit a fire underneath her. She checked me and I was 7 cm. it was about 440am. So they put me into a labor room and got me all checked in. I asked for an epidural AGAIN. And they said soon… The next hour is a blur. My IV got ripped out because I was spazzing in the bed. Note: I had no medication AT ALL during all of this. The nurse had to leave the room several times. I was screaming through contractions so people kept coming in to check on me. (I was so embarrassing). I made Jonathan fan me because I was burning up. He checks again at about 515 and I’m 9 cm. STILL NO EPIDURAL OR IV. and I’m crying. At about 540, he checks again and tells me it’s time to start pushing. And I was like HOLD. UP. I need an epidural. They tell me I’m too far along and basically too out of control. And I freaked out. After putting up a fight and convincing them that I’d be still and good, I got my epidural… At 630ish… At 10 cm. I also finally got my IV. Several things could have gone wrong during this time but thankfully nothing did. After that epidural, I was soooo relaxed and happy and just feeling the moment. I wasn’t scared anymore! I asked Jonathan to get me my makeup so I could start freshening up (yes, I’m one of those people…) and then they tell me it’s time to push! This was all happening so fast that we barely had time to text our families so instead of getting cute, we focused on letting everyone know what was going on.

After pushing for about 45 minutes, little baby girl was born at 730am! She was 7 lbs 5.8 ounces and 20.5 inches long. She was so clean compared to most fresh babies.  The epidural was so good that I didn’t even feel it. Jonathan had to tell me that she was out. She didn’t come out crying. She was very silent and they immediately put her on the warmer for stimulation. I knew that these things happen so to distract myself, I awkwardly asked to look at my placenta… So weird but it was pretty cool.  She finally cries and they give her a wipe down and place her on my chest! We took out first family picture and I instantly started nursing. After an hour or so, we moved to the postpartum unit where we waited for our parents!

Baby E’s birth was very fast and sort of a blur. For a first time mom, everyone kept telling me that my labor was incredibly short (especially without any medication). It was only about 5.5 hours! Fortunately we had a lot of things ready because we anticipated that she would be born on that date! But as much as we wanted to have it all planned, it was completely out of my hands. I told myself that I didn’t want an epidural and a bunch of other things but at the end of my experience, I have no regrets! We were so blessed to have a smooth, uncomplicated delivery and a healthy baby girl!