Life with an almost 16 month old is fundamentally different to life with an itty bitty baby! Amethyst is so mobile it is crazy- like she runs fast! She is also starting to explore language. She says around 20-25 words. Mama, Daddy, dog, owl, turtle, bow (bottle), out, happy, moon…it is awesomely cool! She is still experimenting with food. She loves spicy food! Also, smoothies, raw chocolate, berries, beans, hummus, nut milks, juices, rice dishes ( or even plain white rice!), raw crackers, satsumas and so much more!
We are still co-sleeping. It’s been a little difficult recently as Amethyst has been waking up easily throughout the night but I still wouldn’t change it for anything! I’d still love a big ole king sized natural latex mattress, but we’re good without it 🙂
These are just a few of the things that, while not absolutely necessary, certainly made our first year with Amethyst a little easier. Some of the things that I would consider to be necessary for us, like our homemade goat milk formula are not included on here.
1. Lifefactory bottles
We love these for the whole family!
The main thing we love about these is that they are glass which means that they are of course bpa free and just healthier in general for not being plastic. Maybe just as important is the fact that glass wins from an environmental perspective as well. They don’t deteriorate the way our previously used plastic ones did and if we are blessed with another wee one in the future we will just need to buy new nipples. Also, you can get sippy cup tops for them when your baby transitions.
Yay for reducing, reusing and recycling!!
2. One Size Cloth Diapers
We love the idea of one diaper that you can use for the entire process until your child is no longer in diapers. Amethyst us almost a year old now and we use the Blueberry brand. I think we started with the one size diapers at about 2 months. I like bamboo liners for the day and micro fiber for night or when we need more absorbency, like on the road . For the newborn period I recommend TotsBots, specifically for newborns. This is one of ours. When we moved to the States she was basically too big for them so most of them are still in storage in Spain.
Reusable diapers clearly do not look new after months of wearing and washing. If they are good quality diapers however, they can certainly be reused with subsequent babies. There is also a market for used cloth diapers if you want to either try some for cheaper or pass on your no longer needed nappies.
3. Amber teething necklaces
Amethyst has seven teeth now and we have exclusively used these. They are super cute when worn (especially two like Amethyst wears) and apparently effective. We haven’t needed to use ANYTHING else and she always gets complimented on her jewelry 🙂 My mom has a lot of mouth discomfort due to dental issues after radiation for throat cancer and she got an adult version of an amber teething necklace for herself!
4. Kimono style onesies
Not only are these just super cute but also easier to put on than the whole onesie over the head thing. In winter a long sleeved one with footie pants is perfect and in summer short sleeved either alone or with cotton leggings is always cute and comfortable. They aren’t that easy to find ( i.e. not at any of the big box stores all over America) especially not in organic fibers but you can find them online or if you have an H&M near you, they are awesome for cool baby clothes. We got Amethyst organic kimono style onesies in really neat colors for ridiculously cheap, like 6 euros when we lived in Madrid. She has since outgrown almost all of them and I wish I would have had the foresight to buy a stash for at least up to a year!
5. Manduca baby carrier
When Amethyst was a newborn I wore her in a Moby style semi-elastic wrap and we both loved it! After a few months though, she was too heavy for it and she would sag so we started using the Manduca more. It is basically a European version of the Ergo baby or Beco Gemini.
It’s construction and look means my hubby likes to carry her in it as well, which is awesome for all of us. We discovered about a month ago that Amethyst likes to go in a stroller and it will put her right to sleep. That does have its uses but we still don’t use it if we are out and about. It is just too easy to just wear her!
For me right now, working the Farmer’s Market Saturday mornings (4:30 wake up, yo!!) Friday night has become super busy work time for me followed by a “lets get as much sleep as possible” thing. Tomorrow will be the third market this week, as there was a special July 4 market yesterday. With a just turned 10 month old in tow, it is hard work! I’ve been relying on lots of liquid nutrition like smoothies and juices to power me through.
I had some noni juice for the first time! Verdict- foul by itself but pretty damn great mixed with kombucha! I will be having this the next time there is a festive occasion where I don’t want to be drinking alcohol.
Even with all that goodness + the goodness that is my life, today I sort of hit an emotional and physical wall. Seeing Amethyst transform from a dependent, bald little baby into an independent little girl is so beautiful to see, but at the same time it is testing my ability to enjoy each moment and to allow myself to let go and surrender to the inevitable flow of life to the limit! Of course I want her to grow into the being she was meant to be, but I can’t help but selfishly want her to stay a baby! She is my little starseed. I felt her grow inside of me and then I released her, into the world. Each contraction that rocked my being to the core, each primal push that brought her a little closer into this dimension is forever etched into not only my memory, but my cells themselves, as I am forever changed because of it. Along with by body which opened to give her passage, my heart as well was cleaved wide open, raw and exposed. And right now, I feel it all too well. I see her, this living, breathing, laughing expression of me, of my heart, out there in the world and I know that it will never return. And so I continue to breathe deeply, wipe the tears off of my face (and hers), thank the Great Spirit for the gift of this experience, for the ability to feel such divine pain, kiss the tip of her nose and brush my face against hers. Kind of heavy, I know. But I have to be real and this is what I am going through now.
The Medicine though, is right here:
Diaper wipes aren’t a very sexy blog post and clearly if you don’t have babies then it certainly isn’t relevant. If you gotta wipe a baby booty, though, well you need a wipe. Before I had Amethyst, I had all these grand plans to not only use cloth diapers exclusively, but also to use reusable and washable wipes like cloth ( organic hemp, of course lol.) Cloth diapering is totally worth it to really make an effort and try to make it work, at least in my experience with my family.
But the cloth wipes… For me, it just hasn’t worked out. The first time you have a blowout poop to deal with along with a crying baby and the knowledge that at some point you will have to deal with the poopy diaper, the idea of using a cloth wipe is unbearable! It’s like please give me something I can just use and throw away! Fuck it, I will be a bad environmentalist if it means touching even a little less poop throughout the day.
What I can’t do though, is wipe my littles’ precious boot with normal baby wipes. Even in the so-called natural ones there is still a bunch of ingredients I can’t pronounce but I know that at the very least I don’t want triclosan, parabens, sodium laureth/ laurel sulfates, and a bunch of iso-, butyl-, propyl-, hexl- what have you’s. This is where homemade wipes come in. Now, I know they aren’t perfect as it is still wasteful and using virgin forests, etc. But man, living in the world is hard sometimes.
First, get a plastic box with a lid. Something smallish and rectangular but big enough to fit a standard roll of paper towels.
Next, get a roll of paper towels. Awesome if you can find/ afford recycled ones. Place the roll into the box.
Now gather your ingredients.
You need some kind of mild soap. I use Dr. Bronners unscented baby soap because I use that soap for everything I need to wash for Amethyst. You also need an oil (coconut oil is great because it is naturally anti-fungal but you can use whatever good quality oil you have on hand like olive, grapeseed, sesame etc.) and some essential oils. I always use tea tree oil for antibacterial goodness and lavender oil because it is soothing and smells divine. Sometimes I will add in another oil like rose, peppermint or rosemary. In a blender, put two cups of water, a generous squirt of soap, a tablespoon of oil and a few drops of each essential oil.
Blend for a few seconds until it is foamy and then pour on top of the paper towel roll that you put in the box. As it sits soaking up the liquid, you will be able to remove the cardboard tube in the middle.
That is it!
If you need some for on the go, just take some from the roll and put them into a ziplock bag. I have one in my diaper bag that I refill as necessary. It works out so much cheaper for us to do this! So, even if you don’t have babies, pass this idea along to any mamas you know who might be interested.
I posted a while back about my struggles breastfeeding and what we do in our family regarding milk.
I wanted to do a little update on what we do now about feeding our little one.
First, Amethyst still gets the vast majority of her calories through milk. At this time that means she gets mostly her home-made formula although she can breastfeed on demand. As she gets older and more interested in the world around her however, her interest in the boob has waned dramatically which means that my milk production has decreased as well. As a family, we decided against long term intensive breast pumping to maintain my supply.
Starting at about 4 months, Amethyst starting being extremely curious about the food that we were eating. We didn’t really offer her anything, but as the weeks went by and her interest kept growing we started offering her a few things. She started with some pureed pears, and then some sweet potato, then apple and spirulina, then avocado and banana. She loved everything she tasted and we began letting her taste some of our food (within reason, of course!)
Now, at almost 8 months old Amethyst LOVES green smoothies, green juices (even the ones with wild greens), coconut water, all kinds of fruit but especially berries and melons, yogurt, broccoli, carrots-anything really.
drinking her green juice in a big girl cup!
Ideally, I would have waited a bit longer before introducing nuts and seeds into her diet but she stole a sip of a smoothie I was having that had hemp seeds and cashews. We don’t specifically give her these, but after seeing that she suffered no ill effects we let her taste things with those two ingredients in.
Once, when we were having a quinoa pasta dish, I mushed up a few pieces of the quinoa pasta and let her have those. I’ve also mushed up a few black beans when we were having black bean tacos for her to try along with her beloved avocado. We have also just started feeding her egg yolk a few times a week for choline, which is necessary for brain development.
So that is where we are now- in the food for fun stage! We like to let her try out her palate and taste all kinds of new things without pressuring her to eat any more than she likes. She will easily suck down half a glass of green smoothie, though!!
My girl getting her Vitamin D!
So, we may be doing it all wrong. But we are doing it intuitively and following Amethyst’s lead. She is a thriving, happy and well adjusted girl who is always eager to learn new things.
Six and a half months ago, I gave birth to my beautiful little Amethyst Joy. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that I would breastfeed her both exclusively and long term. I had a few reservations about my ability to breastfeed due to the shape (not size) of my breasts but when I would bring up my fears with lactation consultants the answer was always “Don’t worry- you will be able to breastfeed.” My planned homebirth did not go according to plan as Amethyst decided not to come out, and we were risked out of a homebirth, which ended in a hospital induction (still natural, though!) We were lucky to be at a hospital that was extremely breastfeeding friendly and I had the support and knowledge of staff 24 hours a day during the time Amethyst had to be in the neonatal unit- a little over a week. I breastfeed her constantly and on demand. And she cried and cried. I used a hospital grade breast pump and pumped around the clock. My milk finally came in on day 5, and I kept pumping. I never got more than 1 ounce at a time, but everyone kept saying that when we finally got Amethyst home and when the stress of being in a hospital 24 hours a day went away that my milk would come in fully and it would be okay. We got home, and I rented a hospital grade pump. I pumped and pumped and breastfed and breastfed and Amethyst cried and cried. And I cried too! In my worldview, formula is poison. It is substandard food made from genetically modified ingredients and not suitable for any baby, much less mine! Well, we finally made the decision to supplement with some formula, and you know what, she drank that shit down like she had never eaten before! My baby was hungry- that was painfully obvious. I immediately bought a SNS, an at breast supplementer so that I could give her supplemental feedings at the boob and some organic formula.
So, that is what we did for the first few months- I breastfed her when she wanted and then supplemented with organic formula at the boob with the SNS.
Then we moved to America and we couldn’t get the formula she used and liked. So we bought what was available and organic and it made her sooo unhappy. So now, we make our own formula using these ingredients based on the recipe by Dr. Weston Price:
When we can, we give her breastmilk donated by other lovely, generous mamas
And we still do this with love, every day!
So have I failed at breastfeeding? It depends on how you look at it, I suppose. Those feelings of failure haunt me every day no doubt. But I have learned that I have to redefine success for myself. I just look at my little girl smiling up at me and growing in leaps and bounds and I know that failure is impossible. She is here with me and happy and that is all that matters in the world 🙂