5 Month Update on Baby Jacob

I CANNOT believe that nearly 5 1/2 months have gone by since my little guy was born! He is the sweetest, happiest little guy and I LOVE him! 

You wouldn't know it looking at him now, but if you've been following on my facebook page you know we have been struggling to get him to gain weight! At his 4 month check up he had reached 12 pounds and finally made it onto the growth charts at a whopping 2%. I have never been so happy to hear a 2% score in my life!! 

We struggled with breastfeeding and ultimately ended up with a combination of breast and formula to get him to put on the pounds! He is the sweetest, best baby I could ever wish for. He only cries when he needs mommy!

Plus, he has the most handsome smile ever! He's sportin' his Thirsties cloth diaper and a newsboy hat I made him in these pictures.  His baby blue eyes are sure to make him a heart breaker in a couple years.

He goes in for his 6 month check-up in a few weeks and I'm hoping he has continued to put on some weight. I have been making my lactation cookies to try and keep up with him!

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Lactation Cookie Recipe {Dairy, Egg, and Peanut Free Options}

If you are nursing a little one and haven't heard about lactation cookies... well, you're in luck! Essentially a Lactation is cookie is pretty much what it sounds like. It's a cookie you can eat to help with your lactation {milk production}. The cookies are full of yummy and super healthy ingredients to help give your body a little boost! 

Nursing a baby takes a lot from us moms (literally!) and sometimes we just need a little something extra to help us get through it. Plus, it doesn't hurt that they taste so darn yummy! I have to make these in 1/2 batches so that when I eat them all in 2 days I don't feel so terrible. AND, as an added bonus... when your hubby says so sweetly, "haven't you had enough cookies?" you can sincerely reply, "NO. They are for the baby and I need to eat them!". Ha!

Seriously... doesn't just looking at the picture make you drool!? Well, wipe off your keyboard and write down the ingredients so you can make some of your own! If you scroll down to the bottom of the recipe you can find some *egg, **dairy, and **peanut free options too! 

Lactation Cookie Recipe
Servings: Approx 3 dozen cookies

1 c butter
1 c granulated sugar
1 c brown sugar
4 T water
2 T flax seed meal
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 c flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
3 c oats (steel cut if possible)
1 c chocolate chips
2-4 T Brewer's Yeast

Turn oven to 350ºF
In a small bowl, mix flax seed meal and water. Set aside for 3-5 minutes.
In mixing bowl add butter and sugars. Cream together. Then add remaining ingredients, including flax seed mixture and thoroughly combine.
Use a cookie or ice cream scoop to form cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. Let them rest on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

A couple tips:
I was able to find both the flax seed meal and the Brewer's Yeast at my local health food store. Be sure to find the un-bittered or less bittered yeast.

I actually almost always add heaping teaspoons of baking soda. I also add about a tablespoon of vinegar to my cookies. It helps them to fluff up a little more.... and I like really fluffy, almost cake-like cookies. Ya, I'm weird like that! ♥

If you want a sweeter cookies, add about 2 tablespoons of honey to your recipe.

I recommend starting with just @ tablespoons of the Brewer's Yeast... it can be quite strong!

You can also add peanut butter (about 1/2 cup) to your bowl to give your cookies a little extra bit of yummy-ness!

*For egg-free cookies:
I use egg-replacer in my cookies because we sadly also have an egg allergy in our home. You can follow the instructions to replace your two eggs (which is 1-1/2 t. egg replacer mixed with 2 T water) or do what I do and adjust it slightly. I like to add 3 (heaping) teaspoons of egg replacer mixed with 3 T of water. I find that it mixes and cooks up better.

**For dairy-free cookies:
Again, we have a dairy allergy in our home. It is also a common allergen that doctors will ask nursing mothers to take out of their diet to help fussy or reflux babies. I use Fleischmann's Unsalted margarine in my cookies as a substitute for butter. I am sure you could use coconut butter instead... though I have not tried it, so if you do and it works, please let me know!!

I also use the chocolate chips or chocolate chunks by Enjoy Life. They are free of the top 8 allergens and taste delicious!

**Peanut-free cookies:
You don't have to use any kind of nut butter in your cookies, but I like the taste of it! Instead of using peanut butter I use almond butter in my cookies (because, again we have a peanut allergy in our home). I have found that the Kirkland brand of almond butter (from Costco) is peanut free!! Yay!!!!!!!

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Now that you see how easy they are to make, go make a batch and try not to eat them all!

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Not Your Average First Day of Kindergarten

For anyone who isn't an avid reader of my blog, here's a short version of our food allergy story:

We first discovered that my son (now almost 6 years old) had food allergies when he was only 2 month old. We had given him a small amount of formula before a road trip hoping it would last a little longer in his tummy. By the time we arrived at our destination -- about 1-1/2 hrs later -- he was bright red from head to toe.

We left my daughter with the family we were visiting and rushed him to the hospital. He was breathing fine, but we didn't know at the time what was going on. They monitored his oxygen for a while and I breastfed him hoping to flush it out of his little system.

The next few months were spent arguing back and forth with the pediatrician who was convinced it was grass, or a change in detergent (because everyone knows that I would let my barely 2 month old lay in grass and I hadn't changed detergents, soaps, shampoos, or anything else) and that it couldn't possibly be a food allergy. But when I would see my little guy look like this....

I knew something wasn't right. I exclusively breastfed him just in case. Still he would have allergic reactions and we didn't know what from. I finally tracked down an allergist who did blood work to test my little guy. We then found out the extent of his allergies: Dairy, Eggs, and Peanuts. The trifecta!

The last 4 years have been spent honing in on some allergen free recipes and working hard just to keep my little guy alive! I carry Epipens and Benedryl with me everywhere he goes. I quit school (with only student teaching left before I received my teaching credentials) because I couldn't send him to daycare with his allergies. A tough decision, but one I will NEVER regret making!

Now we reach a new chapter in our lives. SCHOOL. Never have I felt so anxious in my life! Every parent goes through some anxiety, and maybe some sadness when their child starts Kindergarten. But, imagine not only sending your child to school for the first time, but putting your child's very life in the hands of people you may only have known for a few weeks. Yep, that's what happens to parents of children with food allergies.

Does the teacher know what symptoms to watch for? Does the office staff know what to do in case of an anaphylactic emergency? Will his lunch table really be clean enough to keep him safe? Will the kids who drank chocolate milk for breakfast touch my son? Will he remember not to trade his food or take food from anyone? 

These are the kinds of things that go through my mind as I get ready to send my little guy off to school for the first time. Add to that the fact that up until now (1 week before school starts) the school staff and nurse have been taking a nonchalant approach to the whole thing, reassuring me that everything will be fine and they will take care of him, and I'm feeling just a little stressed out.

So, though I am feeling a little uneasy about everything I am still hopeful that it is all going to fall into place over the next few days. My son has been fortunate to take part in a program run by First 5 that gives incoming Kindergartners a chance to "experience" the Kindergarten setting for 2 hours a day for a two week period. It's a great introduction to sitting on the carpet, working in small groups, playing with others, and following directions. It has also been great for us in that we were able to put various things into place for my son in the classroom to keep him safe and to get the other incoming Kindergartners accustomed to some of those safety practices.

If anyone else out there is sending their allergy child to Kindergarten this year, we can cry together (a la American Tail -- somewhere out there) on that first day of school as we kiss our little ones goodbye and release all the control we have had over their little lives. If you are gearing up for that still my advice for you is to start early with your paperwork and meetings. I did that and it still isn't completely ready. If anyone is curious as to specifics on how we are handling things at school let me know and I can put together a post about it.

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Cloth Diapering 101 with Newborns

First off, this post is intended for anyone who will be cloth diapering a newborn or who is considering taking the plunge and starting cloth diapering with their baby. What I write and share is my honest opinion. The great thing about opinions is just that... they are opinions. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and that's what makes the world great! While what I share may work for some of you and your little ones, it may not work for others. Every baby is different (trust me on this, I've had four babies) and what works really well for one baby may not work so well with another. 

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A little background: I started cloth diapering almost two years ago with my then almost 6 month old. I came across some cloth diapers at Target (Charlie Banana's) and bought a box thinking it would be really easy to cloth diaper. I was right, and wrong, all at the same time! After reading a little more about cloth diapering, I quickly realized that it was a real commitment. Not just in the money to buy all of the supplies needed for cloth diapering, but in the time as well.

With disposable diapers, it's really easy to buy a package from the store, take it home, change you baby, toss your diaper in your trash pail, and be done! With cloth diapers it's a little more complicated. Before you can even use a cloth diaper you have to wash it/pre-treat it. Then you can use it on your little one. Once it's time for a change, the soiled diaper has to be placed in a wet bag (hanging or in a pail) and you have to wash them every couple of days {I will get into my washing routine in another post} and dry them.

Once I did my research I increased my cloth diaper "stash" (all of the diapers and wipes you have) and jumped in! I will be the first to admit that the first couple of months of cloth diapering is hard. You have to figure out the best brand and style of cloth diaper for your little ones bum, then you have to learn how to put it on your baby so that it doesn't leak. (My daughter went through many outfits a day during our trial and error period -- so don't feel bad if you do too!) I finally figured it all out and now have my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE cloth diapers to use on her -- she's now two. {I will be sharing about her cloth diapers in another post too!}

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Officially two plus FOUR now! Welcome baby Jacob!!

Now that our little guy has arrived, my new blog title is right! 

After passing my due date by a couple days... my little guy finally made his debut! I was induced {more on that in another post} and it was a fast labor and a quick delivery!! 

He was my smallest baby by more than a pound! But the moment we saw him we fell in love instantly. 

He had this cute little scowl on his face for most of the time we were in the hospital. I'm pretty sure that since he was induced he was just a little grumpy because he wasn't ready yet.. haha! 

There is something about newborns... you just can't help but smile just to look at them! He has such kissable, squishy cheeks! 

I love baby toes, wrinkly, flaky, purple and all! They are cute and kissable. I always forget to take pictures of my babies little feet... but this time I remembered! I am so glad I did. It's fun even now -- almost two months later -- to look back at these tiny toes! ♥

I LOVE this little guy! 

He was able to stay in my hospital room the whole time with us. I loved it because we could just sit and stare at him... which was most of the time. With each of my babies I always had a hard time sleeping when they sleep because I just want to look at them! I know we are supposed to sleep when they do so we can get our much needed rest... but I just find it so hard to do! 

His big brother and sisters (the younger one not pictured because she can't seem to keep her little 22 month old body still for a picture) were so excited when we brought him home! 

I will post more later... including a short version of my birth story if anyone is interested. For now, I'm off to feed my little guy! Have a great weekend!! 

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