Caring for a sick Ava

This past week Ava has been dealing with and recovering from a cold.  Today, she is back to 100%, except for a lingering clogged nose.

Like any other mom, I hate when my child is sick.  It drains my soul and pushes my anxiety to new heights. But, thank God, this is only the second time that Ava has been sick in her almost 10 months of life!

#tbt to a less sick Ava. Luckily she is recovering like a champ! And so far, she is sleeping well.

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::Last time Ava was sick::

Her symptoms started innocently: a stuffy nose.  Then her eyes were constantly watery and glassy (along with lots of mocos, according to my babysitter, haha).  I thought maybe it was allergies.  The next day she was irritable and clingy.  I thought maybe it was because of her teeth growing in (her four top teeth are all coming in at once…yes!…said no mom ever).

That same day Ava wasn’t eating as much as she normally does. That was a red flag.  Because if there is anything that this girl likes to do, it’s eating (followed by terrorizing our chihuahua and sleeping).

Then I discovered that Ava had a fever.  She looked flushed and felt hot to my lips when I kissed her forehead. Her temperature was almost 101 degrees. I think my heart dropped when I read the thermometer, even though I knew that it was a low grade fever and not something to freak out about.  But I think that as a first time mom, my simple mental equation is fever = very bad & serious.

The worst part about having a sick baby is trying to play the guessing game as to what is wrong.”

I was able to get a same day doctor’s appointment and he assuaged my fears & mental ramblings of “what if this…” and “what if that..”.  He diagnosed Ava with a simple viral infection, aka, a cold.  He directed me to give Ava Tylenol when her temperature reached or was above 101.

After her appointment, I decided to give Ava all my love, energy, and attention, leaving work or anything else for nap times only. My number one goal was to keep her super comfortable and to hopefully reduce her cold symptoms.

Since cold & flu season is approaching, I wanted to share some of the things I did to help Ava recover quickly and as comfortably as possible. Do you have any other home remedies for babies & small children? Include them in the comments below!! 

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  1. Baby Chest Rub, a.k.a., Vicks Vapor Rub

Why: Has anyone ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Do you remember how the father believed that Windex was the cure all for everything? That is how I feel about Vicks Vapor Rub.  Go ask my parents–they’ll tell you.

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I swear by the power of Vicks for stuffy noses.  My grandmother used to use it on me every time I was sick.  It’s so great for opening up a congested nose.  Also, it is just soothing to feel someone rubbing your chest and back when you are a sick, little kid.

Hispanic Parents put "VICK's" everywhere when your sick! ft. @_camilaainc #TeamLeJuan

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::click image to play::

2.  Little Remedies Saline Spray

Why:  Ava HATES this stuff. I literally have to wrestle her to get even one drop into her nose (you may laugh now, but you try fighting Ava–she’s really strong!).  After I finally get a few drops into each nose, I suction out (click here for link to the nasal aspirator that I use) whatever guck is in her nose.  This stuff is great for simultaneously moisturizing and drying out her nose. I administer it every morning & night, at least.

I live for those pouty lips. She was so congested and feeling under the weather. It was a miracle that she was able to fall asleep.

I live for those pouty lips. She was so congested and feeling under the weather. It was a miracle that she was able to fall asleep.

3. Tylenol (for babies)

Why:  Not much to write about Tylenol.  It’s a fever reducer.  Enough said.

4. Campbell’s Chicken & Rice Soup

Why:  Sadly, I don’t have a real reason for this one.  Everyone told me to do it and I myself am a believer in the great healing powers of Chicken Soup.  I know it can help with dehydration.  Since Ava wasn’t eating a lot, it was great that this was appetizing to her and that she actually ate it. I fed it to her in small portions once a day (I kept the left overs in the fridge).  My babysitter swears by the below soup, as opposed to the Campbell’s brand, but I didn’t have time to run out and buy some. It’s called Maggi Sopa Sabor a Pollo con Fideos/Chicken Flavored Noodle Soup Mix. 

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5.  Babies R Us Crane Humidifier

Why: I put this on every night to help Ava breathe a little better.  It adds some moisture into the air.  I ran it every night.

Now that I’ve listed a few of my go-to remedies, what are some of yours?

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Baby Food Ideas with Fruits, Veggies, and Poultry

Every few weeks I head over to my local Spanish supermarket, Fiesta, in order to pick up Ava’s favorite cereal: Nestum.  She loves this stuff.  When she first started eating solids, she couldn’t stand the standard American option of Gerber–it was the spicier Nestum that got her tastebuds hopping.

During my last visit, I walked through the baby isle and took a look at the jarred baby foods.  I hardly ever look at the jars because I make all of her food at home.  I use a Baby Bullet and I’ve had a lot of success with it.  But I make simple and bland things–sweet potato puree; mashed peas; applesauce. I looked at the jars on the shelf and there were so many interesting combinations: turkey with a starch and veggie puree; mixed fruits; mixed veggies.  I felt really bad that I wasn’t making such cool things too!


I bought some veggies and other items with the intent of making some new & interesting meals for Ava.

The results were fabulous.

Mango Applesauce:

I can’t have a little girl who already has a propensity towards Caribbean culture to not like mangos.  So I decided that might be fun to mix in with her standard applesauce.  It’s so easy too.

  1. Wash fruits.
  2. Peel, core, and chop up 2 apples.
  3. Steam apples until soft.
  4. Place in blender with slices of 1 peeled/deseeded mango
  5. Puree until desired consistency is reached.  Thin out with water if needed.

This will give you enough meals to enjoy for 4 days and freeze leftovers!

It’s sweet, delicious, and pretty to look at.  I even enjoyed a taste.

Sweet Potatoes and Peas Puree:

Ava loves sweet potatoes.  She loves peas (I use Birds Eye Frozen Peas, which have no additional or artificial ingredients).  So why not combine them? It is a nice, heavy meal, and is likely to make her sleepy (not a bad thing!).

  1. Wash sweet potato.
  2. Peel & chop up 1 large sweet potato.
  3. Steam sweet potato until soft.
  4. Place frozen peas in microwave and follow package instructions.
  5. Place both items (in portions) into blender.
  6. Puree until desired consistency is reached.  Thin out with water if needed.

This will give you about 2 weeks of food, depending on how much your child eats.  You might not use all of the peas, so save them to eat with YOUR dinner.  I think it’s a good sign if you are serving your kid something you would eat (unlike some nasty, foul smelling formulas I’ve given Ava!–no shade). I also ate her left over quinoa and threw the extra chicken into my Spanish rice.

This looks a little weird.  Kind of like poo.  But I’ve tasted it, and yet again, it is yummilicious.

Quinoa, Chicken, and Carrot Puree: 

I was pretty proud of this one.  I adapted it from a Turkey, Rice, and Carrot recipe from the Baby Bullet cookbook. I wanted to try a meat with Ava, and chicken seemed like the obvious choice.  I had a ton of quinoa and i took a quick look in my baby book (yes, I still use it occasionally, lol) to see if that was ok: it was ok for babies! This recipe was a little more involved.

Remember to keep everything STERILE.  You do NOT want to cross contaminate raw meat with uncooked veggies.  So prep your meat last and clean up before combining everything. 

  1. Wash 1 carrot. Peel & chop up.  Steam.
  2. Rinse 1 cup of quinoa.  Place in 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and lower flame.  Let simmer for 15 minutes.

  1. Put carrots & quinoa aside.
  2. Grill or boil chicken: whichever is more convenient.  I pan grilled slices of 1 large chicken breast with a little dab of olive oil.
  3. CLEAN EVERYTHING
  4. Combine carrot, 1/2 cup of quinoa, 1/2 cup of chicken, and 1/2 cup of chicken broth in blender.
  5. Blend until desired consistency.

 

This tasted ok, but as an adult, I’m not used to eating meat purees.  Ava, on the other hand, loved it!


I hope you enjoy these recipes and share them with your little ones.  I’d love to hear what recipes you use, so feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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Ava’s Precious Pink & Gray Nursery!

I am so in love with my daughter’s nursery.  It is my, ::ehem:: I mean her, sanctuary. I worked on it for months.  And now that we spend so much time in it playing, I thought this would be a great time to showcase it.

For those who have followed me, let’s not forget what this room USED to look like. 

You can see the full project at projectnursery.com!!

I organized all of my inspiration on Pinterest.  I love that site!

General nursery inspiration: https://www.pinterest.com/livingfor2plus/little-girls-nursery/

Specific items for Ava’s room:  https://www.pinterest.com/livingfor2plus/avas-room/

Nursery organization ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/livingfor2plus/nursery-organization/

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#thuglife

This week, I took Ava to the supermarket.  Not a big deal, right? Nope, it was a huge deal.  Why? Because Ava was able to sit in the cart, alone, without the car seat. It was amazing. She was fascinated by the world around her.

There were adorable moments, where people would just come up to us and compliment her on how cute she was…

 But for the majority of my shopping trip, Ava sat with her feet up, leaning on her side.  Like she was a little gangster! Everyone I passed got a kick out of it. It was a total #thuglife moment for Ava.

Have a laugh. Enjoy your day!

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STANDING?!

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Ava has been really mobile during the past month.  At the beginning of July, I worried a little about Ava not being able to sit up on her own–she would always tumble over and need assistance while sitting.  By the end of July, Ava has not only been sitting up on her own, but also crawling, rolling, and pulling herself across the floor.  And, as you can see in the picture, she is standing on her own! Reminder: Ava is only 7 months old, almost 8 months as of the 2nd.

My aunt warned me this would happen.  She said that one day, I would randomly find Ava standing in her crib. Yesterday, I was looking down at my phone, about to send my husband a text message and I happened to look up at Ava (my every 2 minute habit). My heart stopped–there she was STANDING! STANDING!!!!!!! And as if I could doubt how she found herself in that position, she lowered herself and then pulled herself up again!!! Amazing.

This girl literally amazes me every day.

Ava: “I’d like to give a special shout out to my Jumperoo, which I practiced in every day!”

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Hospital Must Haves

It seems like just a few days ago that I gave birth to one of the most awesome little human beings in the world…

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A few minutes old.

Ava Grace.

She went from a pink faced little cherub to a bouncing and darling baby.

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Perhaps because I have now joined the “mommy” club, I’m noticing that my Facebook mini feed is full of pregnant women and new mommies.  I remember just a few years ago, it was filled with a ton of people getting engaged & married.

Maybe it’s the age–that almost thirty age group that is now cranking out cute little babies like no tomorrow. And I swear, with all the vitamins and health conscious measures that we are all taking, we are certainly creating a race of bionic, ridiculously smart & advanced children (my baby included, of course!).

Being that we are all crossing the threshold into motherhood together, I often get questions from expecting mommies, such as what did I bring to the hospital when Ava was born? Or, what did I find useful the first few weeks of motherdom?

The daunting task of preparation.

I hope that this post is helpful to those who need it or are interested in any nursing product reviews.

1. Pinterest

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First things first: I am an admitted Pinterest junky, and I have no interest in rehab. In my humble opinion, Pinterest is honestly one of the best social media gadgets out there!  I made this board to organize all of my ideas and tips related to baby care, including packing my hospital bag. Later, I created this board which is exclusively dedicated to packing for a hospital/diaper bag. 

My favorite pin:

I liked this pin because it streamlines what you should bring for all parties involved–yourself, the baby, and the hubby (people always forget about him, but he is an integral part of the team! At the very least, he can get an extra t-shirt). Big takeaways:

  • make sure you bring your iPad or whatever Internet/video enabled device that you own
    • I was able to videochat with friends and family who couldn’t visit me in the hospital. It was so beautiful to show off Ava to my East Coast family and friends.
  • don’t forget your “college shower” flip flops.
    •  I forgot mine and had to shower in socks…annoying and awkward, to say the least.
  • nice nightgowns
    • These are a good idea because 1) you want to be comfortable, 2) new and nice pjs make you feel special, 3) you’ll naturally look good for pictures and 4) you don’t want to get a two piece pj set just in case you get a C-Section (think about it: waist bottoms rubbing against a fresh C-Section incision…bad idea).  If nursing, you’ll want some nursing friendly pjs, like ones with the bra snaps or ones that button down in the front. I got pjs similar to the ones below:

2. Nipple cream

I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed. But in the beginning stages, breastfeeding was really uncomfortable and painful.  Particularly when (::TMI warning::) my nipples got dry and cracked from nursing every two hours (or less). I couldn’t live without this Boobease Natural Nipple Balm (Amazon, $12.79). This is particularly great if you are allergic to wool--most other brands use lanolin, which is a wax made from wool bearing animals. I happen to be allergic to wool. That would have been an awful surprise those first days, so buyer beware!

3. Nipple pads

In the first few days of nursing, your breasts are incredibly sore.  These gel pads were such a life saver.  Just place them in the fridge and then stick them on–super simple, and super soothing.  These are also useful after milk comes in and breasts become engorged.  I used to put on the nipple cream and then these pads…even though the box said not to do so. It just felt so divine!

4. Your own comforter

Why, oh why, do hospitals never have nice, thick comforters? I suppose that on a mass level, they would be difficult to keep clean and sanitized for patients. But in a cold hospital, I knew way in advance that the extra warmth was necessary. I was so glad to have my comforter. Not only did it keep me nice and toasty, but it also smelled like home. This is very calming in a hectic environment, when doctors were running in and out of my room every minute.

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You can’t see it, but I am all wrapped up in my blanket.

5.  Ear plugs & Eye mask

Image source:  eBay.

Image source: eBay.

I was very lucky–my hospital was almost like a luxury hotel stay.  But even in this lovely environment, there was still outside ambient noise and light leaking in through the door.  My ear plugs and eye mask were crucial in allowing me to get a few hours of sleep.  For me, sleep was hard to come by those first few days–I was so amped up on adrenaline but exhausted at the same time.

6. Mints 

Image source: Google image

Image source: Google image search

This is a great tip that I never used.  A friend of mine warned me to bring some mints to the hospital just in case there was a delay in the c-section.  As many know, you can not eat anything the day of a surgery, c-section included.  She advised that sucking on some mints can cut the hunger pains as the hours pass.  Lucky for me, my surgery was scheduled early.  However, it was delayed and probably would have been performed later in the day, but the monitors started going crazy and my doctor decided Ava had to leave NOW!

These are my top must haves. What are yours? 

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Baby bullet: Apple sauce!

Recently, Ava had her first taste of food! Real food! I’m happy to report that her introduction to the world of culinary delights began with a cup of freshly made apple sauce. 🍎🍎🍎 #healthybaby

I always wanted to be “that mom” who made fresh baby food instead of buying off the shelf. I’m not knocking bottled baby food–I will most likely need to buy some jars in the future.

On a side note, the feeding of solid foods to Ava has been quite a controversial topic among my family and friends. Old school wisdom advised feeding cereal in bottles as early as two months, so that babies would sleep longer. But current trends advise against that since a child’s digestive system is not developed enough to handle that. My pediatrician recommended that the window of feeding solids is 4-6 months, generally signaled by the following:

🔸She can sit up (with support) and can hold her head and neck up well
🔸Her birth weight has doubled.
🔸She’s interested in what you’re eating and may even try to grab food from your plate.
🔸She can keep food in her mouth rather than letting it dribble out.
🔸She shows signs of being hungry for more than she’s getting by clamoring for more when her bottle is empty or wanting to nurse more often.”
webmd.com

I followed Ava’s lead. When she started to stare at my food and demand more feedings, I figured it was time.

I used the Baby Bullet to make Ava’s first batch of food.

1). Starting with two Fuji apples…

2).  I peeled, cut in half and cored them. I then placed the halves in a small saucepan with a small amount of water. I put the flame on medium and covered the pot, steaming the apples until they softened.

3). Once soft, I put the sections in the Baby Bullet and puréed them. I added the water I used to steam the apples and a little bottled water in order to make it easier for Ava to consume.

 4) All that was left was to give Ava her first round of food! I put the left overs in individual trays in the freezer.


Check out Ava’s experience:

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