Guest Post: How to Deep Clean Your Refrigerator in 30 Minutes or Less

When you’re a toddler, the refrigerator can be many things. It’s a fun place to explore, somewhere to play, and if you’re creative it can even be a convenient place to hide. Of course, the refrigerator is also a wonderful place to find a snack when you’re feeling hungry.

In a busy family things tend to get a little messy and the refrigerator is certainly no exception. With all that food and those liquids things are bound to get a bit grimy in there. Grime leads to germs and we can’t have bacteria roaming around unchecked in the place where we store our food.

Toddler exploring the inside of a fridge

Looking a bit grimy in there.

The busier the family the faster that refrigerator tends to get messy and the less time there is to devote to cleaning. Luckily, today’s guest post is all about tidying up that refrigerator quickly and efficiently. Check out these handy tips.

Deep Clean Your Refrigerator in 30 Minutes or Less

When was the last time you took a moment to deep clean your refrigerator? Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a huge project! Giving your fridge a quick wipe down should be a part of your weekly kitchen cleaning routine. Just like you wash the dishes, your fridge needs some attention too. Even if your fridge looks clean, it could be hiding tons of mold, mildew and even dangerous bacteria.

In addition to normal wipe-downs, about twice a year your fridge will need a little extra attention. Giving your fridge a deep clean might sound like a hassle, but it doesn’t have to take all day. Thirty minutes is all you need to make sure your fridge isn’t a breeding ground for gross bacteria.

Woman cleaning a refrigerator

We promise that deep cleaning your fridge won’t take up your entire weekend. Here are five tips to help you get the job done in thirty minutes or less.

1. Remove Everything

The first step to effectively cleaning your fridge is to take everything out. Don’t try to wipe around bottles or containers, as you’ll likely miss key areas. If you’re worried about spoilage, transfer everything to a different fridge or a cooler. This process should only take thirty minutes, so nothing should spoil in that time.

Take this opportunity to clean out everything that accumulated in the fridge over time. Throw out spoiled condiments or leftovers that were pushed to the back. These items make your fridge smell, and these smells can be absorbed by the other food.

2. Clean the Inside

Once everything is removed, wipe down the inside thoroughly and be sure to hit every corner, shelf, and drawer. We recommend using a gentle cleaner made of baking soda and hot water.

vinegar and baking soda

Safer alternatives

As we mentioned earlier, food can sometimes absorb smells, so it’s best to use something mild. You also don’t want to use a heavy bleach, since you’ll be placing food back in the fridge later on and it could become contaminated with chemicals.

3. Organize Everything

An organized fridge tends to stay much cleaner, so be strategic as you’re putting items back into the fridge. Make sure everything has a place and that you can easily see the contents. This way you’ll be able to see if something has spilled or if an item is expired.

4. Wipe Over the Outside

Once you have the inside cleaned, don’t forget to do a wipe down of the outside as well. The handles of your fridge can collect a lot of harmful bacteria from raw food.

5. Don’t Forget the Freezer

Since you’re taking the time to give your fridge some TLC, don’t leave out the freezer. Many people avoid cleaning their freezers, unless a major spill occurs. Freezers need to be cleaned out about once a year as well. Take this time to wipe down your freezer and throw away items that have been in there for too long.

This is a guest posts from Jamie Alexzander

Jamie runs Homelization, a house cleaning blog that strives to provide readers with natural, simple and DIY tips to maintain the cleanliness and organisation of the home.

Do you want to submit your own guest post to Diary of a Little Peach? We would love to hear from you!

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7 Ways a Toddler Can Keep Busy in the Kitchen

Every day Mommy spends time in the kitchen cooking up food and cleaning up after meals. Much of this happens while Daddy is at work which means that nobody is available to entertain me. Now that I’m a toddler I don’t require as much supervision while Mommy is busy, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily want to be left to my own devices.

Sometimes it’s nice to be able to do my own thing while Mommy is busy in the kitchen. I can play with my toys, watch TV, do some colouring, or play with the tablet. Other times I just can’t seem to think of any way to occupy myself. When that happens I hang out with Mommy and I try to be helpful in any way I can. Here are some ways that I like to keep busy in the kitchen.

Toddler helping in the kitchen

Are we cooking this box for dinner?

1. Parallel Cooking

Because I have shown such a keen interest in cooking, Mommy bought me my own cooking set. It consists of a pot, pan, plates, cups, and various cutlery. It’s brightly coloured, very pretty, and it even comes with a rack just like the one Mommy uses to dry the dishes. I’m very happy with my cooking set and I use it all the time.

Sometimes when Mommy is cooking up a storm in the kitchen, I fetch my own cooking set and join her. I put my dishes on the counter, pull up a chair, and practice my cooking skills. I don’t even require ingredients. It’s nice to have someone to cook with and It’s great to have a second mouth to taste test my creations.

2. Spice Rack Overhaul

Mommy has a wooden contraption that she uses to contain all her jars of spices. It sits on the counter and has a mechanism which allows it to spin freely. It holds small glass jars filled with various coloured powders and what appears to be a variety of crushed leaves that mommy sometimes sprinkles onto our food.

Toddler playing with a spice rack

Important work in progress.

I love the spice rack! I push a chair over to the counter, get up on it, and spin the spice rack again and again. Then I take all the little jars out and line them up on the counter. Next I put the jars back in the spice rack and give them another good spin. Then I repeat the process.

3. Stirring

Never underestimate the simple pleasure of stirring. It’s amazing how much fun you can have with a spoon, and if you add a bowl you’ve got yourself the tools for a real kitchen activity. The hard part is getting Mommy to give me something to put in my bowl that can be stirred. Most of the time I end up with rice and dried beans but if I’m really good Mommy lets me have some water too.

I pull up my step stool and stir my ingredients until they’re nice and blended together. After that, I continue stirring. I never really get tired of this activity and it just about always ends up in tears when it’s time to clean up and move on to something else. Maybe that’s why Mommy is generally so hesitant to give me ingredients to stir.

4. Drawer Diving

All of the kitchen drawers have locks on them but Mommy lets me investigate the ones that don’t have anything pointy inside. My favourite is the one which contains all of our gadgets and gizmos. This drawer is not new to me as Mommy has been giving me items that live in it to investigate since I was a baby.

Baby with a whisk

A younger me exploring the whisk.

Even though I have seen to contents of this drawer so many times, whenever I explore in there I find something new. It’s a good way to pass the time. If I get bored of utensils, I move on to the bottom drawer which contains dish towels and oven mitts. Mommy says that dish towels don’t belong on the floor and oven mitts don’t go on my feet but I insist on doing things my way.

5. Pass the Potato

The truth of the matter is that I generally just want to be involved in whatever Mommy is doing. Chopping, stirring, scrubbing, carrying around heavy pots full of water, everything she does looks like so much fun! Sadly, there aren’t that many kitchen activities that Mommy lets me get involved in. It’s always “That’s hot!”, and “That’s sharp!”, or “That’s not for Peachy.”.

One of the few activities that Mommy allows me to be involved in is peeling potatoes. I love it! I get on a chair right next to Mommy and I pull all the potatoes out of the bag one by one. This helps Mommy select which potato she wants to peel next. Then I put the unpeeled potatoes back in the bag.

Next I take all the potatoes out of the bag again and repeat the process until Mommy declares that we have enough potatoes peeled. That’s when I carry each peeled potato, one at a time, over to the sink and chuck it in. While I do that Mommy washes the potatoes. I’m a big help! Mommy says so.

6. Refrigerator Inventory

Here is a kitchen activity that I have been enjoying since I’ve been able to walk. When Mommy opens the refrigerator I push my way to the front and take inventory of its contents. I take stuff out, put stuff in, and generally move things around. I get free roam of the entire refrigerator, except for the eggs. Mommy always removes the egg carton before I can get good and in there.

Peachy is the kitchen helper

Back when I couldn’t open the deli drawer.

Sometimes I leave some toy blocks for Mommy to find in the fridge, and sometimes I squirrel away some cheese in the crevices of the couch. Occasionally I get hungry and eat a cucumber or some yogurt I find. I make a bit of a mess, and I often bruise the produce, but Mommy says it’s a small price to pay. Not sure what she means by that.

7. Being a Good Helper

Sometimes I’m a terror in the kitchen. I run around like a whirlwind knocking things over, being noisy, making a mess, and leaving chaos in my wake. Other times I’m genuinely a good helper and a pleasure to have around. It depends on my energy level, attention span, and mood.

When I’m in a helping mood I am the fetcher of dish towels, chooser of tomatoes, retriever of wayward cutlery, and quality control expert. Sometimes it’s surprising how helpful I can be when I’m given a task that’s within my means. I’m also skilled in the art of announcing that dinner is ready. Most importantly I am excellent company and when I’m in a good mood no task feels like a chore.

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5 Activities a Toddler Can Do With a New Baby

In these past couple of months and I have been learning what being a big sister is all about. Babies are a lot of work but they can be a lot of fun too and my baby sister is certainly a little cutie. There are times when having a baby around can be challenging but it’s important for all of us to remember that she is a little person and a member of our family.

My baby sister might not be able to run and play the way that I do but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun together. Family bonds are important and it’s never too early to work on those relationships. It’s only through our interactions that we can get to know each other and build those family ties.

Peachy accepting her Liebster Award Nomination

Family is important

Mommy feels that I can be a bit rough sometimes and that some of my attempts at interacting with the baby are too much for my little sister to handle. On occasion there have been some tears shed but no real harm done. Under Mommy’s watchful eye I have been learning safe ways to play with my baby sister that we can both enjoy. Here are a few of my favourite activities that we can do together.

1. Sing Circle

I have always been musically inclined and at only two and a half years of age I know the words to quite a few songs. I especially enjoy the songs that have animated hand gestures to go with the words and Mommy and I have added certain actions to our favourite songs to make them even more fun. Singing songs has always been something we have done every day.

Here’s a good one from The Wiggles.

With the addition of a baby to our family, we have another person to join in our songs. Granted, she doesn’t know how to sing just yet, but we all have to start somewhere. Mommy and I have been teaching my little sister our songs by the use of a song circle.

We put the baby in her bouncy chair so that we can all be at floor level. Then Mommy and I sit on the floor with the three of us forming a circle so that we can see and hear each other clearly. Mommy and I sing our songs while the baby watches. She seems to enjoy our animated gestures and the sound of our voices and we have fun with it too.

2. Story Time

Books have always been a large part of my life and for as long as I can remember Mommy and I have been reading together. Reading is part of our bedtime routine and a fun way to spend time snuggling on the couch together. The love of books is something that I am eager to share with my baby sister.

Peachy reading to her baby sister

Sister reading group

At bedtime I have Mommy all to myself and we have our routine reading time together but during the day the baby often joins us on the couch for a story. As long as I have my daily alone time with Mommy, I really don’t mind sharing Mommy with the baby during the day. In fact I like sitting next to my little sister and enjoying her company.

Sometimes when Mommy is busy I take it upon myself to be the storyteller. I don’t quite know how to read yet but that doesn’t stop me from telling stories. I pull up a chair to where the baby can see me and sit down with one of my favourite books. Then I talk about the pictures while my sister listens.

3. Toy Box Treasure Hunting

Turns out, there was a time when I was a baby. As unbelievable as that sounds I know it to be true because Mommy has shown me photos. There is also evidence in the form of an impressive collection of baby toys. Now it is time to pull those simple toys out of hiding and share them with my sister.

Baby in a nursing pillow

I used to be much smaller.

Babies don’t know how to play with toys so it’s up to me to teach my little sister what toys are all about. Mommy places the bin of baby toys on the floor and she puts the baby in her swing or bouncy chair. We sit around the baby where she can see us and we take turns pulling out toys from the bin. We show each toy to the baby demonstrating it’s use and making sure to point out all of fun and interesting features of that toy.

The first few times we did this my baby sister showed little interest in the toys. Now she looks at them much more attentively and lately she has been making some effort to touch the toys we show her. It’s very rewarding to watch my little sister learn and grow. I get a sense of pride knowing that I helped teach her how to play.

4. Dance Party

One of my favourite activities consists of dancing along with YouTube videos. I love it when we play my favourite songs on the big TV so that I can dance around the living room. It’s even more fun when Mommy and Daddy join in! Then the three of us twirl around the room together trying to invent new dance moves that we can all try out.

My favourite YouTube video.

My baby sister doesn’t know how to walk yet but that doesn’t mean she can’t experience the fun of dancing. While she sits in her bouncy chair I demonstrate some of my best moves for her. She seems to enjoy the music, the bright colours of the videos, and all the action and excitement of my dancing.

Sometimes while I’m dancing Mommy scoops my baby sister up in her arms and holds her tight while she dances. Then Daddy joins in the fun and the next thing you know the whole family is dancing together in the living room. Then we’re having a real dance party and that’s my favourite way to dance.

5. Mommy’s Helper

There is a time for fun and games, and there is a time for serious business. Babies are a lot of work and they require a great deal of attention. I take the job of being a big sister very seriously and Mommy has been teaching me how to take care of my baby sister. It’s important work!

Peachy and her baby sister

I’m here for you

Mommy has taught me that the baby cries because she is sad and needs our help. I know that my little sister likes her pacifier and I know how to get it gently into her mouth. My baby sister likes her soft blankie and I’m becoming an expert at tucking her in and making sure that her face isn’t covered. There is a lot to know when taking care of a baby and I’m still learning.

Whenever I hear my little sister crying, I immediately alert Mommy and Daddy to the fact the baby needs us. I am the bringer of tissues when Mommy is feeding the baby and I am the fetcher of dropped pacifiers. I have an important role in taking care of the baby and my little sister knows that she can count on me.

It’s never too early to start building family ties and my sister and I are well on our way. We’re going to be the best of friends!

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8 Steps to First Steps

For the last few months I have been practicing my walking skills. It has been a difficult journey but an exciting one. There have been many ups and downs both figuratively and in the literal sense. I’m finally mastering this ability and using my feet to my advantage.

Now that I’m an expert in the field of walking, I feel it is my duty to help my fellow babies. For those of you who are ready to expand your world and explore, this guide is for you. Here are my 8 steps to take you from unassisted sitting to unassisted walking. Go forth my fellow babies and explore your world.

1. Discovering Mobility

Before a baby can walk, a baby needs to know that it is possible to get around on one’s own steam. From the time we are born, babies get carried around to wherever they need to be. Mobility is a new concept that needs to be discovered.

Baby doing exercises to learn how to crawl

Now what?

Most babies will crawl before they walk. Luckily I have already covered this topic, so if you have been following along, you already know what to do. If crawling isn’t working for you, don’t worry. Some babies never crawl. We are individuals and it’s the discovery of mobility that is important, not the means of propulsion.

2. Working Those Legs

Unsurprisingly, walking takes a bit of leg strength. Crawling should help with that, but if you’re not into that, standing with a bit of help can get the job done just as well. All you need is someone to help keep you upright while you practice standing on your feet.

Peachy using the Evenflo ExerSaucer Jump and Learn Safari Friends.

I’m working my quads

Once you’re comfortable with that, invest in a jumper or exerciser. These contraptions will hold you upright while you play so that you can stand up whenever you feel like it. This way you won’t have to rely on the fickle attention of adults.

3. Standing 2.0

Once you have those legs in shape, it’s time to try standing on your own. At first, get an adult to help you by holding their hands. Don’t let them lift you to your feet. Instead, use their hands to pull yourself up. Before you know it, you’ll find that you are standing on your own and only using your hands for support.

Baby trying to sit back down from standing position

Here’s where it gets tricky.

Now that you can stand all by yourself, it’s time to practice. Make sure you are surrounded with lots of sturdy objects that you can use to pull yourself to your feet. It’s going to be tricky at first, but soon your technique will improve and it will get easier. Good flooring that is non-skid and preferably cushioned is a must at this stage. A good place to start your journey to walking is in your own baby zone.

4. Cruising

The next step is to combine your new-found ability to stand with the concept of mobility. What you need at this stage are lots of baby height objects such as the coffee table or couch. These pieces need to be sturdy and arranged in such a way that you can move around the space without having to let go. Place lots of small toys on all these surfaces to keep yourself entertained and to encourage yourself to move. Once you have the space set up, cruising will come naturally.

Adorable baby girl in pajamas

This stuff is easy

Don’t be discouraged if at first you can only manage to sway from side to side. You might also find it harder to go in one direction over the other. No need to worry. These issues will resolve themselves with time.

By now you will probably have realized that gravity is a bit of a jerk that’s always trying to keep a good baby down. Don’t let gravity push you around. Keep at it within the safety of your baby zone where the floor is cushioned and there are no sharp corners. You’ll overcome whatever challenges gravity sets out in due time. All you need is a safe place to practice and you’ll be cruising like a pro in no time.

5. Balance

When you’re comfortable cruising about the room while holding onto the furniture, you’re ready to tackle the issue of balance. Standing up with your hands grasping the coffee table is one thing. Standing up all by yourself is a different beast. You will need to work on your sense of balance.

The best way to start is with the help of an adult who can hold your hands up over your head while you stand and walk. If you’re anything like me you will find this strange at first, but give it a fair chance. Have your adult hold you under your arms in the beginning if that’s what you need to feel comfortable about it. Trust me, you will not regret it. Once you discover the freedom of moving about the room without having to look for a handhold, you will be dragging that adult about the place all day.

Once you’re comfortable walking about holding both of your adult’s hands, it’s time to move on to just one hand. This is much harder and you might find that you wobble a lot at first. After a brief period of adjustment, you will be just as confident with the one hand approach as you were with two.

6. The First Steps

Now you’re ready to take your first steps all by yourself. It might feel scary at first to go completely solo but don’t worry, you’ll get there. The best way to start is with two adults sitting on the ground facing each other just a couple of feet apart. Stand in front of one adult with your back to them and their hands holding you about the waist. Take a step towards the other adult and as the first adult let’s go, throw yourself into the arms of the other. Then turn around and repeat.

The distance between the two adults can be gradually increased so that you take two steps before you catapult yourself into those outstretched arms. Make certain your adults are the encouraging kind that will make you want to come to them and that you get lots of praise when you get there. You’re working hard and you deserve to be told what a great job you’re doing.

Peachy is learning how to walk

Ready or not, here I come!

If you only have one adult around, you can improvise. Find a piece of furniture that you find comfortable using to hold yourself up on and place your adult a couple of feet away. When your adult begins to encourage you to come to them, take a step and lunge into their arms. Then turn around and throw yourself back to the furniture. I preferred to use the couch for this because it’s squishy and very good at catching me.

7. Taking Off

As the distance you walk before flinging yourself towards your safe haven increases, you will build up your confidence. At one point you will find that you no longer need to throw yourself to safety. Instead you will simply walk into outstretched arms. The next stage is to venture off on your own and join the world of the walkers.

Nobody can tell you when you’re ready to make that transition or how to take your first independent steps. I can tell you how it happened for me. One day I was practicing my walking between mommy and the couch. I was having a great time of it and the distance between mommy and the couch was a good six feet. We had been at it for a while and then on my journey back to mommy I veered right and went around mommy into the empty space of the room. There I was, standing in the middle of the room and I knew that I walked there all by myself. I decided to walk around some more and so my journey began.

Even if you do head off on your own, it doesn’t mean you can’t run back to the safety of arms or sit down and crawl for a while longer. I went back to mommy’s arms several times that first day, I occasionally insisted on holding a hand for several weeks after I knew I could walk on my own, and I still occasionally choose crawling over walking. Just because you learn something new doesn’t mean you have to abandon the things that have been working all along.

8. Practice Makes Perfect

No matter how long it takes for you to give it a try, sooner or later you will walk and you will fall. Falling down hurts and I recommend that you do all of these steps within the safety of your baby zone. Make sure your adult inspects your baby zone constantly to make sure it is always safe for your changing needs. Falling down hurts and it can be discouraging. You need a safe place to practice where the hurts of those falls will be kept to a minimum.

Peachy found a tennis ball

Exploring on my own

One day you will find that you have become quite stable on your feet and that you rarely fall anymore. When that day comes, you are ready to be released into the rest of the house and perhaps even beyond. These days I have free roam of the downstairs floor of our house for most of the day. When we go out I get to explore places such as the park and playground. Sometimes mommy insists on holding my hand, but other times I get to go off on my own.

Learning to walk is hard, scary, and sometimes a bit painful, but I promise that it’s worth your effort. Don’t give up my fellow babies. Throw caution to the wind and catapult yourselves into toddlerhood with reckless abandon. You won’t regret it.

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Is Your Baby Eating Poison?

I’m a big girl, and big girls eat grown up food. I have been eating solid foods for almost a year now. With that much experience, I’m pretty much an expert in this area. There have been bumps along the way, but overall it has been a pleasant journey.

When I began this adventure, mommy wanted to introduce me to an easy to digest food that would replenish my iron supply. Babies are born with about 6 months worth of iron. After that the supply needs to be replenished through an iron rich diet.

My very first big girl meal was infant oatmeal. Cereals made for babies are fortified with iron and they make an excellent staple food for a baby’s diet. I still eat oatmeal almost every day and I love it. It’s especially good with a bit of fruit mixed in. Sweet and creamy. Occasionally I’ll have a multigrain cereal instead just to keep things interesting.

There are many different baby cereal options out there. They can be made with various grains and come in a variety of flavours. Because iron fortified infant cereal tends to become a cornerstone of a baby’s diet, it’s important to choose the right one.

Believe it or not, we’re all consuming poisonous elements just about every time we eat. Should we be concerned? Maybe. The question to ask is not whether or not we’re eating poison. The question is, how much of it are we eating?

There are several toxic elements which can be found in common foods. Cyanide is found in the seeds and pits of fruits such as apples, apricots, and pears. The amount of cyanide these fruits contain is very small and it’s just about impossible to eat enough seeds to succumb to cyanide poisoning.

Cyanide is unlikely to be present in your infant cereal. What is more likely to be lurking there is arsenic. This element is naturally occurring and it exists in two forms. There is the organic arsenic which tends to be found in plant and animal tissues. There is also the far more toxic inorganic arsenic found in rocks, soil, and water.

Arsenic is found in nearly all of the things we eat but in very small quantities. Trace amounts of arsenic can’t harm us. There are some foods which tend to contain more arsenic than others. The food with the highest concentration of inorganic arsenic happens to be rice. It is unfortunate that many infant cereals and snacks are made primarily with rice.

Baby in a high chair with a quizzical expression

Are they trying to poison me?

Why does rice contain so much arsenic? There are three main factors that cause this to happen. The majority of rice is grown in parts of the world where large amounts of arsenic exist in both the soil and the water. Rice grows in flooded fields which require lots of water. Rice plants absorb more arsenic than other plants.

While arsenic does occur naturally, human activities such as pollution, mining activities, and the use of certain fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides can significantly increase the presence of arsenic in both the soil and the water. These activities release more arsenic into the soil which contaminates the ground water that is used for field irrigation. Furthermore, flooding fields with arsenic-contaminated water only increases the amount of arsenic in the soil.

Eating rice once in a while is not a problem. I enjoy the occasional rice cracker or puffed rice treat and I even have a side of rice with dinner from time to time. However, mommy is very cautious when it comes to my overall intake of rice. We little people are especially vulnerable because we are small and the amount of arsenic we ingest is proportionally larger.

Rice hides in many popular baby and toddler foods. There are the rice cereals, puffed rice treats, crackers, rice milk, and some puddings. Some infant formulas are rice-based and some formulas are sweetened with brown rice syrup. It’s a good idea to read product labels in order to have a good handle on the overall intake of rice in any person’s diet.

Inorganic arsenic can cause a number of health problems and make it more likely that an individual may develop a chronic disease. It has been linked to cancer, heart disease, hypertension, vascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. Because arsenic affects brain functions, it is especially harmful to babies, children, and teenagers. It may impair memory and concentration leading to reduced intelligence.

Some sources of rice are better than others but as a consumer, it is impossible to know how much arsenic a particular rice product may have. The best way to safeguard against overexposure to arsenic is to simply limit the amount of rice that is being consumed. This is true for everyone, but it is especially important for those of us who haven’t yet finished growing and developing.

If your baby is relying on that rice cereal, perhaps it’s time to consider switching to a cereal made from a different grain. May I suggest oatmeal? Try it with pureed pear or banana. That’s my favourite.

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Preventing Allergies One Meal at a Time

I’m a food explorer and taste adventurer. I like to try new things and even though I don’t always like the taste of what I put in my mouth, I enjoy the experience of finding out how yummy something is, or isn’t. Sometimes the journey is better than the destination.

I eat all sorts of foods and I have been discovering new flavours and textures from a very young age. Mommy doesn’t have many restrictions when it comes to my menu. As long as it can be chopped small enough to not be a choking hazard, I’m allowed to have it. I even have peanut butter, fish, and eggs all of which I have tasted by the time I was 8 months old.

Many parents will tell you that you can’t introduce your baby to eggs, peanuts, and fish until well after their first birthday. Some people may even include milk, wheat, and soy on this list. They will tell you that feeding your baby these things too early will cause allergies. These people have good intentions and they were probably given this advice by their doctor when they were feeding babies of their own.

Around 20 years ago healthcare professionals were told that delaying the introduction of common allergy causing foods will decrease the risk of an allergic reaction. This was based on a theory and there was never any evidence that it worked. Nevertheless, doctors passed this advice on to their patients. We now know that this advice was wrong.

Ten years later food allergies in children were at an all time high. A study done in 2008 has revealed that children who were not introduced to peanuts in infancy are ten times more likely to be allergic to them. Similar studies on other high risk foods came to the same conclusion. Withholding these foods makes it much more likely that an allergy will occur.

Babies are ready for solid foods between 4 and 6 months of age. At my 4 month checkup with my pediatrician we were told that I was ready. I felt ready. I was very interested in what mommy was eating. I was sitting up with only a bit of assistance and I could hold up my own head quite well. I was ready.

Baby girl sitting in high chair putting up her hand

Who’s preventing allergies? I am!

In the first year, babies need to be introduced to foods slowly. One new food at a time with several days without anything new between them. That way, if there is a food allergy it will immediately be clear what the culprit is. Luckily, I haven’t had any reaction to anything I’ve eaten.

The first thing I every tried was oatmeal with breastmilk. It’s good to have a high quality and iron fortified cereal as a staple. It’s easy to digest and the cereal to milk ratio can be adjusted as needed. Next I tried a few different fruits, one at a time of course, and then a couple of vegetables.

Once I had these basics covered, I had my first taste of egg yolk. A few days later, I tried the egg white. I was coming up on five months by then and I already knew I didn’t like eggs. I’m still not a fan although I do like the way mommy makes french toast. I also like scrambled eggs if they are on mommy’s plate.

A month later I was eating peanut butter mixed into my fruit puree. I liked it as long as it didn’t overpower the fruit. These days I enjoy peanut butter on toast with sliced banana on the side. At this point I was also eating yogurt. Babies can have products that contain cow’s milk, but they shouldn’t drink it until at least 9 months of age. Cow’s milk lacks the required nutrients.

Once I passed the six month mark, mommy began feeding me meat. The first thing I tried was fish and it was pretty good when mixed with vegetables. Now I enjoy a nice fish fillet with vegetables and rice on the side. I’m a big girl and I have big girl meals with my family.

By the time I was eight months old I was self feeding with my trusty pincer grip. Mommy gave me cubes of cheese and bits of toast for my snacks. I still like that and will often eat this combination before I have my afternoon nap. It keeps me full until dinner.

In my first year, I have crossed off just about all the high risk foods off my list. My doctor said that the earlier I eat these foods, the better my odds of not having a reaction. It is also important to continue to eat them on a regular basis to prevent an allergy from developing. Early and often is the new recommendation to safeguard against allergies.

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Peachy’s Newborn Essentials

The warmer weather is finally beginning to assert itself. With that come longer days, shorter nights, more time outside, and a change of wardrobe. At our house, we use this time to get our home a bit more organized and to clear out some clutter.

Much of that clutter is the pile of my stuff which I am now too big for. There are stacks of clothes, baby gear, and supplies which I have outgrown. Mommy and daddy have decided that it’s time to go through my belongings and pack away the things that I don’t use anymore. It’s being washed, boxed up, and put in the attic for storage, making space for the brand new things that I have acquired.

After going though the house, the stack of boxes going to storage turned out to be quite impressive. Most of these items were purchased by mommy and daddy before I was even born. Others were bought hastily in the first week after my birth. A fair amount were acquired in my first year of life.

Some of the things going to storage got a lot of use and proved indispensable. Others were barely touched and turned out to be unnecessary purchases. My needs today are very different from what they were when I was brand new. It got me thinking about the things that newborns really need.

Many of the things mommy and daddy bought before I was born were among the things that I never used. It’s not surprising. How were they to know what to expect? Before I came along, they had never been parents before.

Those first few weeks of parenthood are chaotic. Mommy and daddy were just trying to be prepared. They were thinking too far ahead and preparing for something they didn’t know anything about. I’m sure that if mommy and daddy were to do it over again, they would have waited until the got to know me before buying all these things.

If other mommies and daddies expecting their first babies are anything like mine, well-intentioned but unnecessary purchases are probably being made right now. They don’t have the benefit of experience to know that they only need to buy the essentials for the babies that are about to join them. This a confusing and overwhelming time for them.

Baby in a nursing pillow

I used to be much smaller

So what are the essentials for a newborn? Who better to answer that question than a baby? I’m here to help. Here is my shopping list of essentials that expecting parents should buy before their baby is born.

Newborn Essentials Shopping List

1 bassinet or Moses Basket
2 bassinet sheets
6 swaddling Blankets
1 baby blanket
1 newborn size baby bottle (for breastfed babies)
1 small tub of formula (for breastfed babies)
6 newborn size baby bottles (for formula fed babies)
2 different types of formula (for formula fed babies)
1 contoured change pad with safety strap
2 change pad covers
2 large boxes of newborn size diapers
2 bags of wet wipes
1 tube of petroleum jelly or equivalent
1 tube or diaper rash cream
1 baby bathtub or equivalent
2 towels
4 wash cloths
1 bottle of 2 in 1 baby wash/shampoo
4 one piece long sleeve footie pajamas/sleepers
4 short-sleeved legless bodysuits
2 pairs of pants
2 sweaters or long-sleeved shirts
4 pairs of infant socks
1 hat
1 hooded bunting bag (for winter baby)
1 dress up outfit
1 infant car seat
1 stroller
1 bottle of baby laundry detergent
2 pacifiers
1 diaper bag
1 baby hairbrush and comb
1 baby nail clippers
1 baby Emory board/nail file
1 baby thermometer
1 pair of no scratch mittens

There are many other things that a baby requires. The above list consists of the essentials to get through those early days while everyone settles into their new roles within the family. Parents who do not buy these things ahead of time are likely to find their overwhelmed and sleep deprived selves at the store with their newborn.

I have a second shopping list for first time parents. These things could be purchased before the baby arrives, or within the first couple of months after the baby is born. Here are the other baby gear items that parents are likely to need for their little ones.

Essential Baby Gear

1 crib
1 crib mattress
2-4 crib sheets
1 waterproof mattress pad
1 change table
1 diaper pail
1 dresser
1 rocking chair or glider
1 baby monitor
1 wet wipes warmer
1 bottle warmer (for bottle fed babies)
1 sterilizer (or dishwasher with sterilizer setting)
1 nursing pillow (for breastfed babies)
4 bibs
1 bottle of infant acetaminophen
1 bottle of infant vitamin D drops(for breastfed babies)
1 high chair
1 play pen
1 baby gym
1 swing and/or bouncy chair

That’s my list of items which I found necessary. What other items do you consider a must have? Leave a comment.

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