Making Puree Baby Food

If you’ve considered making baby food at home there are a lot of advantages. Its easy and actually can be fun. You can choose more of a variety, hand pick your organic fruit or vegetable and its fresh, oh so yummy and even cheaper!

This batch I made here was green beans, sweet potato, peaches and pears. Not only am I able to pick out my baby’s food but I can buy organic fruits and veggies and save!

First, lets start with green beans!

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Rinse them well, chop the sides off and toss them in a steam basket. Next place the basket into a large pot that has been heated up on medium. It takes about 10 minuets to get soft enough to puree. Pull the basket out safely and allow them to cool a little to prevent cracking in your blender. Put the beans in the blender and add the remaining water in the pot that has lots of the nutrients left in it. Pour as much as needed to reach your desired consistency.

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With this amount of green beans I was able to make 3 baby jars full at only .64 cents. You can make larger batches but this is her first time and I didn’t make a ton. If you were to buy store bought baby food 2 4oz tubs would cost around $2.

Next sweet potato. Wash well and peel. Cut into cubes, toss into basket just like the green beans with new water. I went and watched my show as these cooked as they take a bit longer. Let them cool a bit and put into the blender with remaining water. Sweet potatoes blend up so nice and smooth! Take a spoon and fill each hole of a ice cube tray.

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Sweet potatoes also give you a lot for the price!! So here you can see I paid 0.84 cents and this one potato made 15 servings! Again 2 4 oz tubs of store bought food is about $2.

Then, cover the ice cube tray with tin foil. Some ice trays have covers (which I need to find.) Let them freeze overnight or about 12 hours.

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Pop them out onto a paper towel and put in your labeled freezer bag. I was concerned they would stick together but surprisingly they do not. Just make the bag air tight to prevent freezer burn. Also, I have put two different foods together without any issue. I just make sure they’re different colors so I can tell which is which.

When its time to eat, grab a cube. I place it in a little glass petri dish and place in the microwave for 10 seconds. If its fruit, like peaches or pears I may just place it in the fridge that morning and it will be ready!

Have fun and break out the napkins!

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With Heavy Hearts

We knew this day would come, but hoped not so soon. Our little guy is going to be placed with his Grandmother while his birth parents work through their issues. So many emotions are going through my head right now. I’m not sure if I should be angry? Happy? Relieved? Depressed? I loved this boy with all my being but the thought that he wasn’t ‘all mine’ was always right there. I get overwhelmed thinking I have to perfectly articulate his transition. I spent several hours today typing out his daily schedule, what calms him down and the foods hes tried so far. I type, and then back space again and again. Am I going over board? Does this make me look like I think shes incapable? I wrote a brief letter thanking her for someone stepping up and loving him but do I sound sarcastic?

I started getting some of his things ready to go. As I keep these kids, I look at all their toys and clothes and think what I’m going to send with them when they go home. I remember what they came with and what has memories. That day is always on my mind. How is there a correct way to tell a five month old, I love you but Mommy and Daddy won’t be back to get you. It feels like you’re letting them down.

I’m disappointed in the way things are handled and the lack of care given for these kids futures. Blood is best, repeat that and remember it. The only question we were told that had a wrong answer on the home study was “Do you think its in the best interest of the kids to be reunified with family?” I may answer this differently depending on the case, but I know the answer they want to hear.

I question myself, would I rather grow up with my grandma or adoptive parents? A question I’ll never be able to answer. I read another blog that someone so selflessly stated why would you want to keep these kids away from someone else who loves them? That is how I’m looking at it. I’m not going to get in the way of his Grandmothers love.

I do this for the kids, and I’ll keep doing it. Not for the birth family, not for the case workers, not for the state but for each individual little soul that walks through my door. As long as I loved them as much as I could and raised them as best as I can, I’ve been successful. I’m trying to not think of ourselves as failures.

He has certainty touched my life. I’ll never forget his sweet morning smiles and ticklish giggles. May his Grandmother soak in every sweet moment and milestone he crosses. I will let my heart grieve but try to remain positive.

What is an NAS baby?

david-103The nurse looked at me and asked “have you ever had a NAS baby?” Nope! As a matter of fact I am a nurse and I have never heard of this acronym, not even in our foster classes. NAS stands for Neonatal Abstinence syndrome. Our girls were starting to spend over night visits with their birth mom and getting closer to reunification when we received a call for a 3 week old baby. We were told his mother left the day after he was born. He tested positive for heroin and other opioids. We arranged with the intake caseworker to see him that evening.

He was in a special care nursery. I’ll never forget the day I first saw that sweet baby. The nurse just finished feeding him and turned him around to us introduce us. She placed him in his bed making sure to bring all his wires with him. He had leads on his chest and a pulse oximeter to his foot. He began to cry and I could only try to imagine the pain this little boy has had to feel withdrawing. My eyes filled up with tears. At this point we could not sign for him to be in our care until he would be discharged. However, we decided we were going to take him in when he was ready. He needed a mommy and daddy. For three long weeks he had been fighting on his own. The nurses were great but he had no constant familiarity with their schedules.

It was not easy but we managed to arrange our work to be able to transport our girls to and from visits and take turns staying with the baby. Children under two were not aloud in the Special Care Nursery and only immediate family.  Thankfully they did consider our girls his foster sisters and twice they were able to see him in the hospital. We had to provide proof they were up to date on vaccines and have their temperature checked each time.

I stayed late nights with him, this made me feel guilty I wasn’t home enough for our girls. We took advantage of the girls overnight visits with their birth mom so both of us could stay with the baby. They provided us with guest rooming and we were able to be called in for all his feedings at night. We didn’t do much sleeping! If he slept for 15 mins straight it was a blessing. Each day he would be scored on a finnegan scale. Depending on his scores he would be weaned on his medication. This scale looks for common withdraw symptoms such as high pitched cry, lack of sleep, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, increased muscle tone, and tremors to name a few. His first two week treatment with methadone was unsuccessful. He was also taking phenobarbital to reduce risk of seizures as well as clonidine to help control NAS symptoms. When children services got involved the doctor tried subutex which slowly began to help him. The nurses told us they could begin to see improvement when we stepped in. We held him and talked to him for hours. Love is a powerful medicine.

I have videos of him jerking, these are called myoclonic jerks. Some things we tried to calm him down were swaddling, soothe pacifier, laying on a warm blanket on his belly, walking down the halls, music, & warm baths. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, nothing was his ‘go to’. We often would feed him laying on his side on a pillow in our lap to help him eat a little slower. A lot of times they have trouble coordinating their suck, breathing and swallowing.

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It was exhausting mentally and physically. He was the loudest on the unit. You could hear him screaming at the ward doors as they buzzed us in each time. It takes a team! After many hours and days of weaning off most of his medication a week later he was finally approved for discharge. We got to take our little guy home! He was sent home on one medication and he would need to follow up with a high risk neonatologist as well as physical therapy evaluation. It was not the typical discharge, here we come walking out with two CPS case workers, the hospital social worker, a nurse and our now three kids!

It was a relief to be home, all of us in one place but just for the weekend, our girls would be going home forever on Monday! He brought much happiness in such a hard time. The girls were our first foster children, our first to be reunified. They loved to help out and give him lots of cuddles.

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We got to cut his wrist and leg bands off that were getting tight on his little limbs, we saved these for his life book. For the first time in his life he wasn’t attached to any cords, no beeping, no scores, no lights on 24/7. He could relax, he slept for six hours!! Although I’ll admit being home was easier on everyone it was still very hard, and still can be.

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Through many trial and errors we learned what helped soothe and what didn’t. Today we have reached many milestones and victories. He is a happy, healthy five month old baby boy. We are unsure of his possible upcoming developmental setbacks but he is thriving now with appropriate love and care. We love you buddy! 🙂

For more information on NAS babies visit:

http://www.marchofdimes.org/complications/neonatal-abstinence-syndrome-(nas)

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