Apr 18, 2014

All About Baby || Plagiocephaly || The DOC Band

Many of you already know that Olivia had a DOC band for 6 weeks (less time than we originally expected). She had torticollis (when the neck is very stiff on one side and forces the baby to look to one side - the side that they are more comfortable) at birth (most likely from being stuck in the birth canal) and could only look over to the left the majority of the time. I have to admit that I was so sleep-deprived the first 2 months (plus, we had other issues, like breast milk jaundice to worry about) that it didn't even cross my mind that she only looked to one side. Until I noticed that her head was becoming significantly flattened on the right side. I felt like I had failed as a mother to notice that she needed PT to correct the torticollis. I felt that this was mostly my fault and that it could have been prevented. 

Thankfully my best friend specializes in occupational therapy -- and specifically works with DOC bands. She noticed this very early on and we starting implementing some exercises that we hoped may change the situation. However, by the time Olivia was 4 months old, we knew she needed one. 

I am so glad we decided to get her a band so early on. I believe that is why she only needed it for 6 weeks. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical as to how this all worked, but it seriously made such an improvement in her head shape.

Many people would argue that this is only cosmetic and didn't need to be fixed, or "it will fix itself eventually". Which isn't true. Yes, it's cosmetic and her head was flat on one side, but it was leading to one eye being larger than the other and one ear being lower than the other and her forehead was significantly more prominent on one side. 

I had SO many fears when we first had the band put on.
Is it comfortable for her?
Is it going to give her a rash?
Will this hinder her ability to learn new things?
Is it too heavy?
Can she sleep with it on?

Some of the things that we experienced are totally normal but worried me sick, so I thought I would mention them!

- Your kid's head will stink. Like a dirty soccer shoe. NORMAL
- The band may cause one eye to droop because of the fit- especially when you have the band adjusted ( this is done weekly)  NORMAL
- There will be areas of some redness the first few days -- just keep an eye on them to make sure they go away in under an hour when the helmet is off.  NORMAL
- As we got towards the end of her treatment, the helmet make an indentation to the right side of her head with some soft tissue swelling. This is actually NORMAL.
- Your child may want to sleep on their belly and this will cause concern since it is very difficult to see their face with the helmet on. I didn't sleep for 6 weeks because I would go in and check on her every hour to make sure she was breathing. My friend told me that children will frequently sleep like this with the band because it is comfortable for them. She did fine with it!

Here are some other things that we were worried about, but in the end -- were fine!

She acted like there was nothing on her head. She went about her days the same as she did without the helmet. 
This did not hinder any of her milestones. She continued to roll front to back and back to front like a pro!
You have to bathe your little babe every day since the helmet needs to be washed and your child's head is crazy stinky. This can be a bit annoying but becomes routine quickly. 

Overall, it was a great experience and I am seriously happy with the results. If you see that your little babe may be suffering from torticollis -- make sure to ask your doctor if they may need physical therapy to avoid needing a band in the future. If you notice that your babe may be developing plagiocephaly, get your doctor on board with this very early on!

Don't hesitate to send me any questions you may have! :)

Here is a video of Liv blowing raspberries in her DOC band for your entertainment! 

Apr 17, 2014

Captured by The Light || Something out of a Fairy Tale

Last weekend was one of the best in memory. The hubs finally had a few days off in a row and the weather was absolutely glorious.
 70+ degrees and sunshine
We met up with some good friends of ours (Nikki happens to be a photographer as well) and we had so much fun capturing each others' families. 
The first batch of photos were taken by my hubs and edited by me and the last batch were graciously taken by Nikki. Thanks love!

{Clothing Details}
On Me -- Dress || Crochet Detail Maxi
Floral Crown || The Scalloped Window

On Olivia -- Dress || Cream Fairy Dress
Floral Crown || The Scalloped Window
Cardigan || Zara

The ones below are by my dear friend Nikki - thanks so much love!

Apr 16, 2014

All About Baby || All About Solids Part I

 Hi, I’m Megan and I blog over at A Blessed Nest, a lifestyle blog featuring topics on marriage, motherhood and making your house a home. When Lynzy reached out to me about being a guest blogger on Sparkling Footsteps regarding the topic of introducing solids, I immediately accepted! Not only do I have a passion for food and health, but our daughters have the same name, which solidified my decision even more. A few months apart in age, knowing we both have a special spot in our hearts for an Olivia, we immediately connected!

Over the coming weeks, I will be guest blogging in a 4-Part series. Part 1 will be an overview about introducing solids. Part 2 will be on structuring your baby’s diet. Part 3 will be on how to make your own baby food – the easy way! Part 4 will be our favorite baby food recipes, food combinations and an opportunity for you to submit any questions you may have for me!

A little about me – I am a Stay-at-Home Mom to my 10-month old daughter, Olivia. I am an RN (BSN) by degree with a special focus on diet and nutrition. I have a passion for healthy food and I believe that starts with your baby! All the opinions expressed are my own and have been formed over years of education, both personal and professional experience and extensive research. I welcome the opportunity to answer any and every question or comment you have in regard to these topics! 

Part 1: Overview on Introducing Solids

When our daughter Olivia turned six months old, I was ecstatic! In my mind, it meant one thing: solid foods. When trying to determine if your baby is ready for solid foods, there are many cues you can look for that are helpful. Keep in mind that a growth spurt will most often occur between 3-4 months of age, which often accounts for increased hunger, and should not necessarily be taken as a sign that your baby needs solid foods added. Here are a few signs that may indicate your baby is ready for solid foods, but the best recommendation is to consult your pediatrician.
(1)                  Loss of tongue-thrust reflex – This reflex allows babies to drink and swallow liquids with ease and in the first few months of life, protects an infant against choking. When any unusual substance is placed on the tongue, it automatically protrudes outward rather than back. Between 4 and 6 months, this reflex gradually diminishes, giving an opportunity for a baby to swallow food rather than reflexively spitting it out.
(2)                  Signs that a baby is full – When your baby is able to turn away from a breast or bottle, this may indicate that your baby is gaining the ability to self-regulate the amount of food being eaten.
(3)                  Muscle strength – your baby has gained the ability to sit up and hold their head up unassisted
(4)                  Interest in your food and mealtime – sometimes babies tend to pay more attention or be more interested in what an adult is eating when they are becoming ready to eat solid foods themselves; Olivia would watch us very intently from 5-6 months at mealtimes and that clued us in that she was gaining interest
(5)                  Frequently waking in the middle of the night when a solid sleeping pattern has been established – while this may not be the most accurate indicator, it can be helpful; when Olivia hit 6 months, she began waking multiple times each night and she had previously been sleeping 10-12 hours through the night from 8 weeks on

In conjunction with the above signs, we aligned with the World Health Organization’s recommendation to wait until 6 months to introduce solids, solely by personal choice, so once November 2013 hit, we were armed and ready (with a bib and a spoon!). The most important factors when planning to introduce solids were the following:

(1)                  Variety – Aim to offer Olivia 2-3 different foods per meal; we also make it a goal to feed Olivia all the colors of the rainbow over the course of each week.
(2)                  Whole Foods – Nothing processed or from a jar. I understand this is not an option for everyone but as often as possible, aim to offer fresh (or fresh-frozen) foods
(3)                  Organic – Because I would be making my own baby food, I calculated what I would save on buying jars and pouches and it was unbelievable! The amount saved allows us to buy 99% of Olivia’s food in an organic form, including grass-fed beef and free-range poultry and eggs, organic produce and wild-caught fish.
(4)                  Textures – I didn’t want Olivia to exclusviely eat purees, so introducing different textures to Olivia through her food was a goal of mine from the beginning. I achieve this by pureeing her foods to varying degrees or leaving certain foods more whole (now that she finally has teeth!)
(5)                  Heavy on Veggies & Protein + Light on Fruit – While fruit contains natural sugar, it is still important that a baby doesn’t get too much sugar. Sugar is sugar, and I view fruit more as a “treat” for Olivia.
(6)                  Starting Young – Neither my husband, Dustin, nor I was raised on broccoli and beets, and I firmly believe a baby/child can learn to like anything if they are offered it enough. Our philosophy was to introduce foods that would benefit Olivia’s body and mind from the beginning. We want to nourish her with real, whole, raw foods and healthy fats and oils so that she grows up to be a well-rounded eater. So far, at 10 months of age, Olivia has eaten and enjoyed every food we have given her!

Back to introducing solids! I have a deep love of cooking & a passion for food of all kinds and I couldn’t wait to introduce that same passion to Olivia through her first foods. As an RN (and in my family), I work closely with Registered Dieticians and I knew Olivia’s first food would be avocado. Often called one of nature’s perfect foods, avocados are packed with healthy fats (monounsaturated fat) and essential nutrients that a baby’s brain needs. Smooth and creamy when mashed or pureed, introducing avocado to your baby can begin as early as 4-6 months old.

We first introduced avocado at the 6-month mark and then a week later, added in a cooked egg yolk (free-range, organic egg, hard boiled). Eggs are one of the other so-called “perfect foods,” because they are said to contain everything a person needs to survive. And while babies can’t have egg whites until at least 1 year of age, the egg yolk is packed with essential protein for growth and development. Some days I would add a small slice (about 1 inch thick) of banana in with the avocado and egg yolk, to sweeten it up a bit. But knowing that V would eat it without the banana, I used it sparingly.

This avocado-egg mixture quickly became Olivia’s favorite breakfast. It was easy to prepare and two ingredients I always had fresh on hand.

The next foods we introduced to Olivia were roasted sweet potatoes, beets pureed with blueberries, free-range Turkey breast, wild-caught salmon, wild-caught Alaskan cod, broccoli, roasted rainbow carrots, green beans, peas and more! We added a new food once every week to be sure she had no allergic reactions to it and cooked everything the way we would cook it for ourselves: we steamed or roasted (baked) vegetables and baked fish and turkey. I will be sharing more about how we structured Olivia's diet in Part 2 and how we made our own baby food in Part 3 of this series!

Apr 15, 2014

Style Diaries || Shopping. Coffee. Vogue (or not...)

{Outfit Diaries}
Jacket || H&M (similar for a great price here)
Denim || Gap
Flats || Gap
Hoodie || Style Lately

So two out of three of these things are things that I no longer have any time for....
any guesses?
Yup. You got it. Shopping & Vogue. My little 6 month nugget trumps both of these though, I have to say. The only shopping I do is from my couch!

Oh, and I suppose you would need extra money for that. 

Happy Tuesday!

Apr 14, 2014

The Launch Of VRAI Magazine

I am so excited to introduce all of you to VRAI Magazine. I am thrilled to say that I will be contributing to this site and would love if you would subscribe and follow along! The magazine is a blog lifestyle magazine and is entirely written by bloggers and the topics range from food to family and from travel to style. I will be focusing on parenting/fitness/style articles. 
Come join us here!