When my first child, who is now four, was born - I had lofty visions of making all of my own baby food from scratch. Hand picking organic fruit from my garden that I would cook and puree and store myself, you know, along with all of the sleep I would be getting and time for pruning a garden.
Ah, first time mom Mandi was so cute.
Fast forward four years and another baby later, and I know a few things about motherhood. I also know you don't have to sacrifice quality when it's done for you if you know where to look.
Lucky for us busy moms, Smart & Final has launched their own Sun Harvest baby food brand this month that is organic, clean, GMO-free and made simply from fruits and vegetables. That's it!
Available in an array of delicious flavors and only $0.99 per ounce serving, the packaging is also BPA-free, which you know is a huge must for us and most mamas.
You can choose from Mixed Vegetables, Pear, Apple Mango, Pear & Banana, Carrot, Apple, Banana and Strawberry and Sweet Potato, giving your little one a diverse selection of fruits and vegetables to please their budding palate. Which you know I am a huge fan of. Diversity in a child's diet, from a very early age, helps them to like an array of vegetables and fruits as they grow.
For store locations and information on Sun Harvest, as well as other products offered at Smart & Final, you can visit their website here.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my almost two years of motherhood is to never say never.
Before marriage, my anxiety told me I’d never want to carry or birth children. After marrying the man of my dreams I said I’d love to carry a child but that I’d never birth a child without drugs. Then once I was carrying my precious little man, after years of infertility, I did everything in my power to bring him into the world naturally, and I succeeded in my goal. After bringing him home, listening to outside advice, I uttered the words that I would never nurse past a year because of the judgment against moms that did. That was until I learned about all of the health and emotional benefits that come in the second year of life from a healthy nursing relationship. It was these large moments in my life, as well as many little instances peppered in between, that taught me to get my proverbial foot out of my own mouth and stop saying “I’ll never…”
Read the full story here on West Valley Moms Blog
Mamas, let’s talk about OUR gifts.
I’m not talking about our gifts by way of our talents.
I’m not talking about our knack to be able to DIY a palette into a bedroom set or our ability to meal plan like a champ.
I’m not talking about our gifts in the marketplace, or what we offer when it comes to our careers.
I’m talking about physical gifts. The material things we give. In particular, I’m speaking of the gifts that we give to our children.
Rewind to Spring when I was celebrating my baby’s first Easter. Now, as a Christian, Easter to me is of course first and foremost about Jesus and His sacrifice and His resurrection.
In celebration of this occasion, I put together a humble little box for my son. One that simply contained a baby Bible, a storybook for bedtime and a stuffed bunny...
If there's ever a chance to infuse more music into our lives. I'm all about it.
Experts say exposing your baby to a variety of music can increase their social skills and their intelligence.
Myself, being the fan of music that I am, and my significant background in the field, I knew I wanted our children to have a well-rounded sense of the music arts.
With this in mind, I started a tradition with Grey that allows him time to soak up different genres, sounds and artists every day, giving him a chance to find what it is that he prefers. And I have to admit, it's been quite cute to watch, and so far, 60's rock is winning. #OldSoul.
Just in case anyone else is interested in doing something similar to expose your little to a variety of genres, instruments and songs, below, I outlined the music I play on different days of the month. Since I limit TV in our home to only 1-2 episodes of educational shows a day (less if we go out with daddy or for a playdate), and no music or tv while we are doing our "learning time", music has been a fun way to break up the day and make meal times more entertaining.
I usually play music during breakfast, while I'm prepping dinner and during one of the play times after a nap. All sticking to the same genre on the specified day. I use a music app on my phone to randomize songs in the particular genre I choose to play that day.
Feel free to be creative and tailor your list to YOUR tastes, and to the types of music you want your littles exposed too. This is just what works for us!
(Classical and Opera proved to be too hard to listen to all throughout the day. I felt like I lived on an elevator, so we do Friday mornings or winding down before nap to the list below.)
On weekends we just mix it up and listen to Christian or Top 40 Radio when we are out and about with my husband, as the weekends are for adventures, errands, day trips and quality family time.
For more on what I'm doing in music, check out www.NVERecords.com where I've just accepted a position as label director and couldn't be more thrilled to be back in music full time once again!
As we dive deeper into Baby Led Weaning, I thought it would be fun to share the meals that little man enjoys. He's got SUCH an appetite and it's no surprise he's our child, since he's a foodie through and through. We stick to organic, healthy choices for him, and as of yet he's still dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free and pretty much Top 8 Free. We are going slow with introductions and now that he's almost 1, we will be introducing more and more for variety and nutrition.
I've posted some photos of the meals I put together for him, and I plan to share along the way, leading up to toddler meals. These are the meals he's currently enjoying at 10 months of age.
I would love your ideas too! If you have some great infant or toddler food or meal ideas, feel free to share. Any recipes of a specific dish I make for him, I will link to the recipe here on NoshandNurture.com!
*Note that these are the meals he's served from breakfast, lunch and dinner. He also gets two-three snacks a day. Snacks include apple slices, pear slices, organic teething cookies, organic puffs and vegetable based baby food purees.
lunches + dinners
when we're out
The beauty of eating clean, whole foods, is that Grey can usually eat some of what I order.
When traveling in Long Beach, we stayed at the Westin and for breakfast I ordered scrambled eggs, gluten free toast and avocado.
I shared my avocado with Grey, ordered him a side of bananas and brought a puree pouch of baby food to round out his meal.
Mama + baby were satisfied. Done and done!
Keep an eye out for What Grey Ate, every month on Nosh and Nurture! And as always I'd love to hear your feedback and what you're feeding your littles.
I also share a lot of our mealtimes, and more, on my Instagram Stories, so if you're over there, follow along! Find me @noshandnurture.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhyPlumFormula #CollectiveBias #Sponsored
I've learned the road to motherhood can be a bit bumpy. Learning schedules (or throwing them out the window because baby's change weekly), raising a tiny human on little sleep and making sure you give them optimal nutrition to keep them healthy are all areas in which I feel we are constantly trying to navigate with little guidance and much instinct.
I remember that one of my first thoughts when Grey was born was how I was so excited to breastfeed him right away. When they handed that tiny, pink, wrinkly babe and he latched on like it was the most natural and beautiful thing in the world, my heart soared.
However, there were circumstances with health issues in the hospital, with both him and I, that called for more nutrition, and more volume, than what I could give him. My instincts as a mother quickly shifted to making sure he got the nutrients he needed to help him thrive. All mom guilt aside, I had to do what was best to feed my baby under the new circumstances we faced.
If you've been following the blog for a while you will know I am a MAJOR advocate for organic living and consuming whole foods with no or minimal artificial ingredients or processing and I knew I wanted to hold fast to the same standards for our new little babe.
Having heard of and having researched their infant snacks and food line, I knew that Plum Organics® was, and is, America's number one organic baby food brand. I was ecstatic to learn they also made formula. Their organic infant formula adds no corn syrup solids, which was a huge plus for me. And since lactose is the most abundant carbohydrate found in breast milk, their carbohydrate source is from cow’s milk lactose only. In addition, the milk they use is from cows not treated with the hormone rBST**.
I also love that they respect a woman's desire to breastfeed during those crucial, early days and I adored their understanding outlook on it. It made me feel good, and assured, that what I was giving my baby was a product that was created by parents just like me.
As an organic food company, we’ve always admired nature’s complex, built-in, and beautiful way of nourishing baby. We believe breast is best. But we’re also a team of parents that know first hand that life – and parenting – isn’t always perfect. Because life happens, our goal was to design an organic formula we can feel good about feeding our babies and yours. - Plum Organics
In addition to their Grow Well® Infant Formula being organic, it is also non-GMO and contains essential DHA and ARA. They believe that formula is food and should be treated with the same care we'd give ourselves and the rest of our family members when seeking an organic diet and lifestyle.
The formula can be found at Safeway and Albertsons nationwide and for those of you wanting to make the switch, I've included a coupon for you all below.
For more on Plum Organics and their full range of products:
**No significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST-treated cows.
How do you ensure your family reaches their nutritional goals? I'd also love to talk to fellow mamas about your breastfeeding and formula journeys! Leave it in the comments below and let's connect.
I usually don't quote other people's work often in this space, however, as a new mom I've been hearing so much advice from friends, family, doctors and Google on how to take care of this new little nugget of mine.
And while most of the advice is solicited (seriously, I'm calling everyone about everything and settling in with my new mom tribe to know I am not alone in this journey of new motherhood) some of it is not. And while I know it's coming from the very best place, it makes it hard to know what's right, what's wrong and what is just one persons experience or opinion.
Then I came across this entry below from a book published in 2002 and it spoke to me. Like "I could have written this myself!" kind of speaking to me. It was as if I wrote it based on how I feel about being a "pacifier" to my newborn son and I couldn't have written it better, so I decided to include it below. This is a topic that most women, both mothers and non-mothers have given their opinions on.
The Human Pacifier
Credit: Lu Hanessian
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 19 No. 1, January-February 2002, p. 14
I'm sitting in the rocker with my son in the blue light of dawn. We've been at this a few weeks now, getting to know each other after nine months of anticipation. I am searching for feedback; a sign that I'm doing right by him, getting closer to figuring out what ails him when he seems so inconsolable.
I would love to hear your feedback. New mamas - when our babes feel safest with us, there is nothing wrong in giving them security, love and the closeness that can only be achieved by allowing them to soothe themselves on us.
I am completely devoted to being that person for my precious son, especially during this "fourth trimester". My son who arrived into a big, scary world that he has yet to know how to navigate. I am all he knows, I am home to him. And I pray that through his life, I will always be home to him. That in my presence he would feel safe, secure and oh so very loved.
This post was sponsored by Balance Bar and while I was compensated for this post all opinions on this deliciousness are my own,
As the countdown to Baby P draws to a close we are wrapping up all the finishing touches to be best prepared for our new "day to day" routine and that includes my business affairs.
Working from my home office as an editor, journalist and nutritionist, I found it tricky to choose my dates for maternity leave, as stopping at any point left me feeling like I'd leave loose ends, and I have a feeling it may be equally hard to decide the right time to go back to work. Not knowing what to expect from raising our first newborn and inevitable sleepless nights that lie ahead, mixed with the need to create and get back to my clients, I'm interested to see how it will all play out.
I have had an amazing response from talented guys and gals who have stepped in to guest blog for me and the magazine's Fall issue wrap came right before my due date, giving me some time to step down from my roles and enjoy baby cuddles and some time away. And what I am learning most about all of these new transitions is that balance is key.
I wanted to take this into consideration as I packed our new diaper bag. Mr. Charming and I each purchased our own, and each have our own packing system and needs when it comes to venturing outside of the house with Baby P. Mine is equal parts baby and me, as I love to get outside of the house and work from local coffee houses and cafes and take meetings when I need to.
Wanting to have all baby essentials on hand, it was also important for me to be able to function outside of the house with baby as I ease back into work and I feel I was able to strike a nice balance between baby mama and business woman with my selections - so I wanted to share below my necessities to packing the perfect Momprenuer diaper bag.
Here is a popular Q&A for those who have questions, as well as the companies who are including this harmful ingredients in infant formula currently on your local stores shelf.
What is nanotechnology, what are nanoparticles/nanomaterials?
Nanoparticles are tiny little engineered particles, about 1000x thinner than a human hair! The term ‘nanotechnology’ basically describes the manipulation of things at a really, really small scale, several hundred times smaller than our blood cells. The interesting and also the concerning thing about manipulating materials at this scale is that familiar substances change in ways that scientists may not expect or predict. Let me give you an example. We’re all familiar with the thick white sunscreen worn by lifeguards, etc. If we use nanotechnology to reduce the size of those particles to the nanoscale, suddenly those white zinc particles become transparent. This can be useful. The problem is that at this tiny scale, the particles change in other ways as well. We now know that those zinc nanoparticles are also much more toxic than the larger zinc particles – and unfortunately that appears to be true of many nanoparticles. So a key concern for us is the uncertainty associated with nanotechnology. That’s why we need new safety testing before nanoparticles are used in products.
Why are companies using these nanoparticles in baby formula?
Nano HA is most likely a calcium source for the formula, or could be used as an abrasive, bulking and emulsion stabilizer. However, the needle-form is more commonly used in oral and bone surgeries. TiO2 is a brightener or whitener for food and beverage products, while the anti-caking agent Nano silica dioxide is used as a ‘trickle and flow’ aid in powdered food products, as a clearing agent in beer and wine, as a food additive (amorphous silica found to be nano) and as a food coating.
All aspects that make infant formula more desirable to the eye for its color, its thickness and its flow capabilities.
Get The Full Downloadable Report by Friends Of The Earth
It is important for U.S. consumers to know that manufacturers are not required to list nanomaterial ingredients on product packaging in the United States. In our investigation, Friends of the Earth did not find any baby formulas that listed nanoparticles as ingredients, including the samples we found to contain nanoparticles via laboratory testing.
Are nanoparticles used in other kinds of products?
Many nanomaterials have already entered wide-scale commercial use and can be found in hundreds of products, including transparent sunscreens; light-diffracting cosmetics; penetration enhanced moisturizers; stain-, moisture- and odor-repellent fabrics; long-lasting paints and furniture varnishes; antibacterial household appliances such as vacuum cleaners, refrigerators and air conditioners; and sporting equipment. Beyond baby formulas, children’s products that contain engineered nanoparticles include skincare products and sunscreens, supplements, food containers, pacifiers, teethers, blankets, toys and stuffed animals, baby bottles, toothbrushes, baby carriages, bibs, baby clothing and many other products. So it is a widespread problem that needs to be addressed.
Are there alternatives available for baby formula?
In terms of using nano as a calcium supplement, there are many other calcium sources that can be used instead of nano hydroxyapatite, especially the needle-like form. Alternatives include non-nano calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. Calcium used in foods and supplements contains varying amounts of actual elemental calcium. So yes, the nano TiO2 could be replaced with other ingredients,
So now that we have this information, what can we do?
Well, the first piece of action we can take is signing the petition to fight against these companies using the particles.
Second, we can continue to do thorough research for the betterment of our bodies and our children, choosing the healthiest options when it comes to what we are feeding our family. Opting to make change through where we spend our money and opting for healthier options against the mainstream companies using these potentially dangerous particles.
And lastly, join us during the Facebook party on May 19th at 6PM PST to speak with the researchers and Mamavation on these findings.
Where have you made healthy changes in your children's diet? And have you heard of nanoparticles and other artificial ingredients in infant formula? Would love for you to comment below and join in the conversation.
For more information visit the Friends Of The Earth website at www.FOE.org or search for one of the nanomaterials experts available for contact: ● Ian Illuminato, Lead Researcher and author of the report, Friends of the Earth ● Lisa Archer, Director, Friends of the Earth Food & Technology Program and Mom ● Tracey Woodruff, Reproductive Health researcher, UCSF ● Mark Mitchell, MD, National Medical Association ● Martha Arguello, Physicians for Social Responsibility - Los Angeles
Baby Led Weaning
Lunches 4 Littles