Baby Led Weaning: Step 2

If you’re just starting out with your Baby Led Weaning Journey, check out this post where I outline Stage 1, and the post on why we chose BLW!

BLW Stage 2

So, you’ve made it this far. It’s going well, you’ve found out your kid loves a few things and is still skeptical of a few others. And then you hit some bumps. What else should you be giving him? Why is he doing THAT? The next steps are even more fun than the first, but as with all things baby, they are even more confusing. Here is how we proceeded with BLW our son after the first few months.

PLEASE NOTE, I am not a pediatrician, nutritionist, doctor, or any combo there of. I am simply a mom who fell in love with baby led weaning while trying it with her own son and wants to share her experience with others. The intention of this post is not to give rules or even instruction, but to give another example of the possibilities and ease of this amazing method to other parents. Please always talk to your child’s pediatrician before trying anything with your child to see his or her opinion on it.

The following guidelines are things I noted and tried with Ryan starting at around months 8 or 9.

Keep on introducing more foods! –  I think this is the most exciting part of baby led weaning – seeing what your child gravitates to, what they like and dislike (for now) and sharing your favorites with them. Food is my language of love so to me it’s been such a bonding experience to cook for Ryan and show him what I love. To make this easy and stress free on myself, once we had a good base of tasty things already tried, I try to introduce something new at least once a week. This week was olives (olives are salty, and there are recommended guidelines on salt in the first year. Ryan’s very close to one year, I bought low salt olives, and I didn’t give him many, but do what feels right for you!) and he LOVED them. Sometimes I pre-plan on my calendar what I want to pick up at the store for him to try out, sometimes I wing it by just seeing what looks good or fun, and other times I just give him something I’m eating. This happens most often when I’m making salads, as things are already being cut small. If your child doesn’t like something, DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED! Research shows that it can take 7 – 15 exposures (awesome article about feeding children!) before a child makes a decision on whether or not they like something. Don’t assume your kid hates something because the first few times it was ignored.


Decide on meals – There are so many opinions on this throughout the internet. Until our 9 month appointment at the pediatrician, Ryan was getting a lunch and dinner of solids and nursing the rest of the time. After his 9 month checkup, Ryan’s doctor suggested 3 meals and 2 snacks. We haven’t necessarily gotten the entire 2 snacks since he is still nursing a good amount, but he gets breakfast, lunch and dinner each day and usually at least 1 snack. But as with all things baby, this is going to change as he gets older.

Figure out what schedule works for you – In the same vein, you should figure out what times your meals will be served. While this is beneficial for your baby to give him a sense of what comes next, I find it most beneficial for me, so I can schedule my day a little easier. Ryan is NOT on a nap schedule (awesome.) but this is what our day looks like. All of these times are VERY VERY VERY loose, but we do try to stick to meals 1 hour after he wakes up:

7:00 – Wake up, nurse and snack 1 of a banana cookie or freeze dried apple.
8:00 – Breakfast, usually 2 steamed veggies, breastmilk pancakes, and a fruit.
10/11:00 – Nap (nursed to sleep)
12:00 – Wake up, nurse (occasionally at this point) and play
1:00 – Lunch, usually egg squares, 2-3 veggies, and a fruit
2:30 – Depending on nap time, wake up time, and mood, snack 2 of freeze dried fruit or raw apple slices
3/4:00 – Nap (nursed to sleep)
5:00 – Wake up, nurse (occasionally at this point) and play
6:00 – Dinner, usually poached or shredded chicken, 2-3 veggies, sweet potato and fruit
7:30/8:00 – Bed


Work on that pincer grip! – Around 9 months I noticed Ryan looking at broken off chunks of things with interest, so I gave him peas. Within a week he was picking up the peas with ease (I couldn’t resist, guys.) having honed his pincer grip. Slowly I started to move all of his foods from stick form to smaller bites. I actually found that he started to prefer the little pieces that he could just shove on in there. A better developed pincer grip as well as improved hand eye coordination from learning how to feed themselves is one the benefits of BLW and people are always shocked at how great Ryan’s is for his age. I attribute it 100% to BLW.


Add in water – (This is a HORRENDOUS picture, but the only one I could find with a sippy? I swore I had more..) At 8 months we gave Ryan this sippy cup filled with water. After every few bites, I would pick up the water and bring the spout to his mouth, tipping so that he understood that water came from it. It probably took a month or so for him to get the point that if he sucked, something came out (it might be quicker for children who took to a bottle, but Ryan didn’t – this is just my own experience!) but now he gulps it down. We also cut out the little piece that makes sucking required after we saw Ryan biting it to get water out faster at around 10 months. He hasn’t picked up the concept (by that I mean, has no interest and no patience) of drinking out of a straw yet, but we’re working on it.

Don’t stress out – If I could teach you anything through this, it would be this: don’t stress out. If your kid isn’t eating a ton, she might not be hungry. If your son isn’t picking up the concept of a water cup, he might just need some time. If one day he only wants to eat apples and is throwing the rest of the food while resisting being strapped in to the highchair, he may be getting a tooth. (Not that that ever stressed me out of anything. Nope. Not me. Never.) Here’s an experience from our own journey.

We’ve quickly learned that, surprisingly, Alex is the worry wart when it comes to Ryan. I think this is due to my being with him all day long so I know his limits. But anyway, around month 8, when Ryan really started to get into food, he had about 2 or 3 weeks where he would put something in his mouth, chew once, put in something else, chew again and repeat until his entire mouth was full and would gag until he spit it out. I knew to just let him learn that it wasn’t cool to do that, but Alex would freak out and stress out. He would try to take the food out of his mouth or  take his food away until he was done.

Thing is, the times Ryan ate with his dad around during these weeks, he would gag more, spit more, and cough more. Ryan felt Alex’s stress and wasn’t being allowed to learn when to stop putting in more food, since Alex would manually take the food out of his mouth. Long story short, to compromise we both brushed up on the baby Heimlich and CPR, I showed Alex a few articles on choking versus gagging, and when feeding Ryan I would only give him one piece of each thing at a time. Eventually Ryan learned that chipmunking his food was no fun and got over it. Just use your intuition! Eating is a natural concept for a human, but the mechanics of it must be learned, like any skill.

Now go enjoy showing your little one the joy of food! I hope this helps clear up the mysterious BLW a little bit more. Below are a few different links you may find helpful during this stage!

Choking versus Gagging
Infant CPR
Infant Heimlich
Pincer Grip

And if you’re still in the beginning stages of BLW, here are my first 2 posts on the subject:
BLW Stage 1
Why We Chose BLW

Did you introduce solids with BLW? Do you plan on doing so? What do you think of the process? Let me know in the comments!


Best of the Weekend, Mother’s Day

Ahh, another weekend has come and gone and though I am sad to see it go because it was a great one, I am excited to start this week fresh and new! For some reason I’m looking forward to this week with bright eyes, which usually means my gut is telling me I have something good coming my way! Here are the highlights from last weekend

-Spending my first Mother’s Day with my favorite guys.



I told Alex all I wanted for Mother’s Day was for him to agree to a family 5k, the ability to drink all the Coke Zero I could manage, and to not make a single decision through the day, and he definitely delivered. We went to Space Farms, which is a animal refuge of sorts with a cool antique museum on the land that has old tools, cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Alex used to come there a lot as a kid, so it was fun to bring Ryan. We even took a picture in front of the legendary elephant slide that Alex has a bunch of pictures on as a kid.

We had a day of good, easy food since Ryan’s naps were off, but still awesome. Chipotle, Panera, and my first cup of ice cream in almost a year. Cookies and ice cream are my favorite things, so not having ice cream has been rough. Ryan is still going strong on the no allergy front, so I’m happy.

Also, side note, I have all these tiny hair growing back at the front of my head from post-partum hair loss. Does anyone have any tips for taming them? It was super humid yesterday, so that headband was a quick fix, but I need something better!!!

-An ice cream cake for (almost) no reason

After seeing a commercial for one, I jokingly told Alex I really wanted a Carvel ice cream cake. They’re my favorite since I really don’t like cake, and that’s what I always ask for for my birthday. Well, the next thing I know Alex is gone and driving to the store to get me one. Can you say most amazing husband ever? This guy.

-The knee is still holding up!

As I mentioned in my workout round up, my knee is holding strong so far! I’m so happy, but I’m still obviously being cautious to not over do it in my excitement. Keep on keepin’ on, knee!

-Warm days reminding me of summer!


It was so warm on Friday and on Sunday (Saturday was warm but cloudy and will a chillier breeze) that with out the AC in the house yet, we had Ryan rocking the most adorable combo of tank top and diaper I have ever seen. Can you please tell me something cuter than baby legs? Ugh. PS, please note our attractive makeshift baby gate. We actually have real one from when Cooper was a puppy, but we need something that Coop can jump over so when I’m too busy to chase Ryan in an our of the living room, this is what we do.

Here’s to a great weekend and hoping for an awesome week!

I’m linking up with Erin at Her Heartland Home and Katie at Healthy Diva Eats!

What were your favorite parts of the weekend? Do you prefer cake or ice cream cake? Let me know in the comments!


Workouts Week of May 4

First and foremost, Happy Mother’s Day to all you mommas out there. I’m typing this up as my own little man naps, but so far we’ve had an awesome day, and I really hope you all get to spend some time with your little ones!

Anyway, here are my workouts for last week, my first week of trying to self-rehab my knee. Here’s how it’s going and how my knee is behaving.


Monday: I intended to go to the park we went to yesterday but I couldn’t find it on my own! I got lost, but found my way to a different and even more beautiful state park, James State Park. 1.94 miles, run and walk combo for 38 minutes. (I am using the free C25K app from the Google Store in addition on Map my Run for distance.) Completed 2 rounds of Runner’s World’s Knee Strengthening exercises.

Tuesday: Arm workout from FitnessBlender.com


Wednesday: This time I kept it simple and went to a closer recreation park near my house since I knew I had to be up early and out the door with Ryan fed quick so I could get my run in as well as a Ryan nap before we left for my dad’s. Success! Ran/walked on a soccer field for 1.76 miles for 30 minutes. Did not complete strength exercises since I was running around during nap time and then at my dad’s all day. Life happens and I’m okay with that.

Thursday: Arm work out from FitnessBlender.com, Runner’s World’s Knee Strengthening exercises.


Friday: Run/walk at same park as Wednesday, 3.61 miles over 1:10. Turns out the stroll puts Ryan to sleep (it wasn’t very near nap time, but I guess too close for him to not be lulled to sleep.) so instead of waking him up, I just walked after my favorite path after I ran.

Saturday: Ryan was up super early so we went for a foggy walk while Alex slept in. We got in a gentle 1.7 miles in 28 minutes before I realized he was starting to fall asleep again, so we headed home quick to take a nap.

Sunday: Nothing structured, but a lot of walking around Space Farms with Alex and the baby as a little Mother’s Day outing!

Knee update: So far, my knee feels good. *knockonwood* It definitely felt tight a few times, but after stretching or walking out the tightness went away. I also felt sore a bit for the first half of my workout on Friday which I attribute to doing the knee strengthening workout the day before. I think I need to stick to doing the knee workout AFTER my run the same day.

I’m thinking about buying one of the challenge packs from BeachBody to add into my workouts and/or supplement them. I’ve heard so much about Shakeology and even though I’m definitely not a shake for a meal person, this week I’ve been loving smoothies but they don’t keep me full, so I’m looking to add something to make it last a longer. Plus I’ve read a few articles of personal experience with Shakeology helping with eczema, which mine had been OUT.OF.CONTROL. So, I’m thinking about it. I’m thinking of maybe trying PIYO for the stretching/strength./flexibility aspects as well as the ease on my knees, but I’d like to hear your opinions!


Saturday Quick Tips: How to Mill Oat Flour

Just stopping in on this beautiful Saturday to give you all a tip that we use in our house all the time: milling your own oat flour!

Oat flour is great in a ton of different applications, from cookies and pancakes to savory breads and biscuits. At my grocery store, a 22 ounce package of non-organic oat flour costs $4-5. Meanwhile, an 18 ounce canister of store brand organic oats costs $1.49, while non organic is usually $.99.


If we put the cost of the flour at $4.50, the cost per ounce is $.20.
The cost for the oats is $.11 per ounce for organic oats, and the non-organic is just $.06 per ounce.

With a little time and effort, you can save over $3 per package of oat flour. You benefit, your family benefits, and your wallet benefits!

When I heard that you can actually make your own flour, I laughed. No way. And then I tried it.

oat flour collage

And I had fine, fluffy flour ready for a batch of pancakes.

I use a plain old food processor for this recipe, but if you have a high powered blender, feel free to use what you have.


As always, a little kitchen helper makes the process a little more fun!

Oat Flour
makes 2 cups of flour

2 heaping cups of oats (rolled or quick)

Pour oats into food processor. Process the oats for about 2 minutes, and stir to get any larger bits from the bottom. Continue for another three minutes before checking again. Feel the flour – if you If it is not a powder, continue processing in 30 second intervals until powdered in consistency. If not using right away, store in a sealed container until ready to use.

**For each cup of flour needed, you will need one heaping cup of oats since the flour takes up less volume than the whole oats. If you are making the flour for a specific recipe, I would suggest making a half cup or so more flour just in case.


Friday Favorites

It’s Friday! As I’m putting this together (Thursday) I am doing a million and seven things, which is definitely NOT my favorite. Thursday’s always stress me out because I want to get as much done as humanly possible so that I can enjoy the weekend. I know I won’t get much done from my to-do list on the weekend so I try to finish everything I procrastinated all week on Thursday night/Friday morning. But anyway, here are my favorite finds of the week!

Favorite Mother’s Day gift: I REAALLYY want one of these adorable necklaces. I love the bracelets as well, but I know I would never wear it. I love the idea of showing your love a little more subtly.

Favorite money saver: Ebates has a new button for Chrome so when you shop at a store where you can qualify for cash back, a bar pops up top to let you know and remind you! I love Ebates and try to remember to use it when I shop online, but I find myself forgetting a lot. This helps! If you don’t have an Ebates account, click here and sign up! You’ll get a $10 bonus for signing up (they will legit send you $10 check even if you NEVER use the site again) and I’ll get a referral bonus. I’d appreciate it, but I really just wanted to let you guys know how awesome this site it.

Favorite tear-jerker: This post is so beautiful and it makes me want to cry and gives me the chills. I will never forget the moment Ryan was put into my arms and this just brings it all back.

Favorite fitness: I could wax poetic all day and night about this program, but I won’t because I’ve mentioned it in like four posts already. Basically I love C25K so much, and you should to. End of story.

REAL PARTIES: One Year Old in a Flash Birthday Party

Favorite first birthday: With Ryan’s first birthday coming up, I’m scouring Pinterest looking for inspiration for the small first birthday party we’re throwing at the end of the month. I LOVE this theme!

Okay, I’m off to bed, and when I say off to bed I mean off to procrastinate for a couple of hours doing random things.


Getting Back to Basics

When I first met my husband, I was a lot bigger. Like, 45 pounds bigger. Living with my then-boyfriend who doesn’t snack and eats pretty healthy made me lose weight. Just being around someone who led a healthy lifestyle made me unconsciously adopt one. I began to lose weight without trying, then started to try by consciously changing how I ate and saw food, and lost even more weight. Finally, I started running, which felt amazing and I kept losing weight until I was at my ideal weight. I was between 117 and 120 and felt amazing and confident. I ate pretty strict Monday through Friday and indulged with Alex on the weekends. I counted my calories on myfitnesspal, worked out, and made good choices.

#FridayFitspiration: Keep at it. It's not what you do some of the time, it's what you do MOST of the time that counts. Never give up, and you'll never fail. | Fitbie.com

I was at my ideal weight in July of 2012. In September of 2012 I over did it and I screwed up my knee. I have no idea what happened but it’s a pain that is inside my knee when I over work it, usually a throbbing dull pain, but if I keep going it can get sharp. I tried to recover, but between full-time school and almost full-time work, I barely had time for sleep much less doctor’s visits to figure out my issue. So I supplemented with a LOT of incline walking at the gym (I got a bit obsessive and would go for two hours before I went to work. Who was I?) and classes. I made it work. I graduated in May and started working full time. In July, one of the best things ever happened – we got Cooper!

Cooper was like having a newborn, but with energy. I was up all night with him, letting him out, taking him for a walk, dealing with teething, and playing with him. Alex works as a diesel mechanic and at the time had INSANE hours, so  when we got Cooper, we knew the late nights would be my job since running on no sleep could put his life at risk, literally. I stopped going to the gym. I needed that extra hour or two of sleep in order to safely drive to work and get my job done. I couldn’t go after work, because I had a 3 month old puppy waiting for me to let him out and we lived in the second floor of an apartment building, so no doggy door.

I gained 7 pounds by the end of September.

And then I found out I was pregnant. I started my pregnancy at around 127. I weighed about 170 when I gave birth to Ryan. (I’m a little embarrassed to even type that. Hello, ice cream, bagels and pasta.)

December after I gave birth, I weighed about 130, and currently hover around 125. Those last five pounds, man. They’re no joke. I’ve tried a few different things (30 Day Shred, which I like but can get super monotonous, Blogilates which I ADORE but her calendars are 60 minutes a day and momma ain’t got time for that, and Fitness Blender, which I’m really liking.) but nothing has made me feel the way I first felt when I started losing weight and running. I miss it. A lot. Running was one of the only things I have ever found where I can shut off my brain and just go. So I need to get back to it.

I'm not shy to admit that losing weight was a huge struggle for me. Aside from making a lot of mistakes along the way (what, I can't eat an entire jar of peanut

I plan on documenting my knee journey here, but here is a quick glimpse at my plan:

Couch to 5k: C25K is how I got into running in the first place and I think it’s a good way for me to get back into it. I have a real problem with going all in on things and then burning out, so this will (hopefully) stop me from charging through without thinking about overworking myself. The plan calls for 3 days of running/walking combos a week, so while I would love to be running 5 or 6 days a week again, this will keep me at a reasonable amount of run time.

Strength: The key to rehabbing most knee problems is to strengthen the muscles that support the knee, so this time around I’m making sure to get it in.

Monday: Day 1 Couch 2 5k, Runner’s World Knee Strength Workout
Tuesday: Arms and Abs. (I’ll be using either a Fitness Blender video or a combo of Blogilates videos)
Wednesday: Day 1 Couch 2 5k, Runner’s World Knee Strength Workout
Thursday: Arms and Abs.
Friday: Day 1 Couch 2 5k, Runner’s World Knee Strength Workout
Saturday: Some kind of yoga/stretch routine in the morning while Alex sleeps
Sunday: Off/active recovery with Alex

I need running back in my life and I’m more determined than ever to make this work. If I start feeling pain again, I will probably look into going to the doctor to get it looked at and maybe work with a PT, but all of that is hard with Ryan, so I’d like to work it out myself first.

Stay tuned for updates on how it’s going! On Sundays I plan on posting the previous weeks workouts and I’ll put a bit more about how the knee is holding up and how I’m feeling.

Have you ever had to over come an injury? What kept you motivated? Any tips for knee pain?


The Things I Already Miss

In less than a month, my son will turn one year old. It has been one hell of year. A year of learning to be a mother, of trial and error, of tears and of joy. The years to come are years filled with events and memories I look forward to making: learning about cars from his mechanic daddy, watching my father teach him to ski as he did with me and my brother, going on family vacations, hearing his opinions, watching him grow into a little man. But all of this can wait.

baby ryan

As I count down the days until he has his first birthday cake, I find myself begging for time to slow down. The phrase I was so tired of hearing just a year ago is one I myself keep saying: It goes so fast. I am now attempting to soak in all of the little quirks this little boy has. Soaking in all the little moments. The moments I already miss.

ryan cooper

It seems silly to miss things that I have right now. But how can I not mourn the things that I know will be gone soon, the things I will never see from this little boy ever again. Granted, some things will still be here for a while. None of them will magically leave the day he turns one. It’s just that noting that an entire year has passed brings to light how quickly time flies and makes the reality that your baby will one day grow up all the more real.

ryan lap

So here are the things I already miss about my little boy. The things that when they happen, I drop everything and breath them in a little deeper, trying to hold on to them a little tighter in hopes that they will stay a little longer.

The way his little hand curls around mine when I’m nursing him.
The way he still, at 11 months, needs me, and only me, to rock him to sleep.
The squeal that shatters my ears when our dog nudges his belly.
The proud face he makes when he stands up on something, looking around to see who else saw.
The way he sings along to the radio in the car, going, “BAAABAAABAAAA!”
How he gets shy and rubs he face in the crook of my neck when a stranger talks to him.
The way he pulls hard on his own hair when he’s starting to fall asleep.
The excited face he makes when you walk into his room after he wakes up and sees you.
The way he would rather play with an empty plastic cup rather than one of his plethora of toys.
The way he tugs at my face when I’m trying to get him to sleep, shoving tiny fingers into my nose.
The way he slams his hands on his highchair when he wants food.
The way his hair curls on either side of his head, giving him horns.
His laugh, his yawn, his grumpy face, his smile, his chubby legs, his round belly, his tiny feet, his scrunchy nose, his soft, curly hair, his bright blue eyes.

My baby.

These are the things that I am taking mental pictures and videos of. These are the things I hope are burned into my mind forever. These are the things I already miss.

Linking up this week for Thinking Out Loud with Running With Spoons!