Baby-Led Weaning

As soon as Duke was born, I knew I wanted to try Baby-Led Weaning but I had no idea where to start.  What can he have? What can’t he have? Is he going to choke?

Fear not friends, after a ton of research, reading all the books, and watching all the YouTube videos, I can confidently lead you in the right direction. This book is all you need – The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook: 130 Recipes That Will Help Your Baby Learn to Eat Solid Foodsand That the Whole Family Will Enjoy


There is sister book to this one called Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Food.  You do not need this book! The link above for the Cookbook has all the same information in addition to a ton of recipes.

So if you are looking to do BLW, your first stop is to buy that book.  Now my thoughts on BLW.

Some days I love it, some days I hate it.

I think a lot of people preach how much simpler than purées it is.  This is not the case.  It’s super messy.  You will be doing a ton of laundry, scrubbing of highchairs, and vacuuming the floor.  Or if you are lazy like me,  calling the dogs over to eat the spilled food.


My loyal vacuum cleaner

You still have to cook food.  It’s not as simple as sharing your food with the baby, which is what I thought it would be.  Unless you’re already eating a perfectly well-balanced meal at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, additional work will be required.  You want your baby exposed to a ton of food, and it’s not always stuff you are planning to make for yourself.

The baby will not eat most of this food at the beginning.  In fact, most of it will be swished around in baby’s mouth and spit out.  If this upsets you, BLW is not for you.


That was a cupcake at one point…

Also, most babies go to bed at 7-8 pm.  If you plan on “sharing” your dinner with the baby, you’d have to eat dinner at 4.  I don’t know about everyone else’s situation, but my husband isn’t even home until around 6.

Now the positives.  My son gets to decide what foods he likes and doesn’t like.  He puts food in his mouth and tastes it, then he makes a decision on whether or not to eat it.

He gets to decide when he is full. When you feed your baby purées, you may not be able to read your baby’s cues.  Or you may be tempted to force feed that last spoonful.  That doesn’t happen with BLW.  When Duke is full, he literally feeds his food to our dogs.  I love this because it teaches him to trust his body to tell him when he is full.  A huge positive for his future health.


“hmmm, do I like this or not?”

Duke has gotten so much more coordinated through BLW.  He has to pick up food with his hand and get it in his mouth.  He has an amazing pincer grip from trying to pick up small pieces of food.  I think BLW has certainly helped develop his hand-eye coordination.

I do not worry about when to introduce what foods.  Duke eats peanut butter and eggs.  He eats the same type of foods adults would eat.  I know with a lot of weaning techniques they encourage you to wait to introduce foods on a schedule.  The BLW Cookbook suggested above, explains to you that is not necessary.



Overall, I love BLW.  It’s so fun to watch Duke experience new foods.  In my opinion, it’s better for him and he gets to eat pieces of what we are eating, which he loves.  If you are interested, or plan on doing it, I urge you to get the BLW Cookbook.  Then feel free to leave any questions you have for me in the comments or on my instagram.  





When Life Gives You Lemons…

Last week I lost the vision in one of my eyes due to a rare condition called Optic Neuritis. Seriously?  I don’t have enough going on with the Crohn’s, the PCOS, and the Endo?

I get IV's so much now, that my vein's explode pretty much every time.  The result is something I like to call, "the claw", pictured here.

I get IV’s so much now, that my vein’s explode pretty much every time. The result is something I like to call, “the claw”, pictured here.

When something bad happens, everyone is quick to rush to support with motivational quotes.  “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  I’ve made lemonade one too many times.  I’m over lemonade.  I hate lemonade.

I love the support others show by trying to build you back up with those quotes, but I also think it’s unrealistic to take that optimism and run with it.  It’s easy to bounce back from something that happens once.  You move on.  It’s not so easy to do when something repeatedly happens.

Why have lemonade when you can have this bad boy?  Limit 2 per costumer?  Ok then, I'll take 2 and my husband will take 2...

Why have lemonade when you can have this bad boy? Limit 2 per costumer? Ok then, I’ll take 2 and my husband will take 2…

I’m writing this because I want others to know, sometimes it’s ok to feel sorry for yourself.  Sometimes it’s ok to be angry.  Really angry.  Sometimes it’s ok to eat gallons of Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked.

In general, I let things roll of my back pretty easily and quickly.  When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease I was sad for approximately a week, then I picked up and moved on.  Even after the miscarriage, I just wanted to move on and try again.  Well, I’m sick of trying to be optimistic in the place I’m currently in.

I’m sick of seeing negative tests.  I’m sick of being at the doctor every morning.  I’m sick of waiting on blood test results.  I’m sick of being poked by needles.

Oh, what's that?  Another picture of me in the hospital?  Yep, I have albums and albums of them.

Oh, what’s that? Another picture of me in the hospital? Yep, I have albums and albums of them.

That was the final strike for me.  I’m allowing myself to be angry this week.  I deserve for something positive to happen.  I need something positive to happen.

I’m praying that next time I write, I’m doing so with both eyes, a happy stomach, and a much better outlook on life but for now, it’s ok to be down.  It’s important to acknowledge that sometimes things just suck.

Thanks for reading, thanks for your support, happier times must be ahead…


Having a Plan

I think one of the most intolerable things about infertility treatments is all the waiting.  I’m not just referring to the dreaded two week wait.  Waiting also comes into play when deciding when it is time to move on.

I think one of the toughest questions in life is, when is it time to give up?  It happens in relationships, jobs, and of course infertility land.  For me it started with deciding whether to move away from my OB-GYN to an RE.  I felt like if I made the jump, there was no going back.  I spent a year and a half at the OB-GYN before I finally decided I needed to move on, and even then, the only reason I did was because my OB-GYN refused to continue with the cyst I had on my ovary.

When I switched to my RE, I immediately realized I had waited way too long to move on.  She pointed out I should switch to Femara for less side-effects, that I needed to be on Metformin for my PCOS, and that my vitamin D was dangerously low.  The scary part is that the Metformin and the vitamin D is very important in keeping a healthy pregnancy.  Had I not gone to her, I could have gotten pregnant and risked the health of that baby.

So, we started on the Femara, with an HCG trigger shot, and just timing everything perfectly.  After 2 months that wasn’t working.  It wasn’t that 2 months is a long time, but when you add that to how long I was on Clomid, I felt like this wasn’t ever going to work.  How long do you wait before moving on to IUI?

After the two months, we decided to give the IUI a try.  We stayed on the same medicine but just added the IUI to the mix.  After that didn’t work for two months, I was completely lost.  Again, two tries isn’t a ton of time, but it comes down to looking at it in reference to the whole picture.  We are coming up on 2 years of trying, with only one pregnancy to show for it.

Time isn’t the only factor.  The toll it is taking on my well-being is a whole different issue.  I have Crohn’s Disease.  The medicines I take for infertility constantly make me sick.  This means I have been sick for 2 years.  How long do I continue to torture my body before we move on to the next level of treatments.

We got our last negative IUI result a day before Christmas.  Every negative test I have had, has fallen on a Holiday.  Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and our Anniversary.  I have long grown accustomed to seeing the negative result, and continuing on with my day, because or else I would probably never accomplish anything.  Usually however, the negative test nags at the back of my mind.  For some reason, the Christmas test was different.  I felt a huge wave of peace.  I just knew what we needed to do.

I called my husband up to our room (we were staying at my parents), and told him that we needed to move to IVF.  The wave of peace I felt was having a plan.  I knew that I wasn’t going to continue to string myself along month after month with low grade treatments.  I knew we needed to move on.

The idea of moving on to IVF is usually terrifying for people.  It is a sad realization that your babies won’t be created the way you dreamed of growing up.  For me, I felt relief.  I was terrified of never being strong enough to make the jump, and I finally felt that peace I needed to do so.

We had our IVF consult a week or so ago, and since then I have continued to feel peaceful.  Speaking to our doctor about our plan, and having it all set out, put my mind at ease.  I no longer had to stare into an unknown future.

For those of you reading that do not know when the time to move on is, I will say this, you will know.  I had such an overcoming feeling that this was the right thing to do.  I never had that the previous months.  You will know when it is time to move on to the next stage of treatment.  I’m not saying to give up, but I am saying, do not keep hurting yourself with lower grade treatments, just because IVF sounds scary.  Once you get a plan in place, you will feel excited and confident in your decision.

Keep going.  Don’t give up.  Listen to yourself.  You know what is best for yourself!


The Problem With Hope

Faith and Fear require the same thing.  They both ask you to believe in something that hasn't happened.

Faith and Fear require the same thing. They both ask you to believe in something that hasn’t happened.

When we first started to try to get pregnant, every new cycle brought a wave of hope.  I still had a belief that everything would be ok, and every month I just KNEW I was pregnant.  I never was.  One person can only take being let down sometimes before they have to build up a defense.

So I eliminated hope.  Every month my husband would say “I just feel so good about this”, and I would respond “well don’t, it’s not going to work”.  That sounds awful, but it is all I had to get me through.

In my mind if I refused to ever get excited and hopeful, my heart wouldn’t break at the end.  The problem is, that’s not how it works.  I can pretend to be super negative and say that this cycle won’t work, but every negative test brings a new level of sadness.

Getting rid of hope didn’t get rid of the pain.  The defense I put in place was not working.  The problem with hope is that it sneaks in, no matter how hard you try to keep it out.  By not saying my hopes aloud didn’t stop them from creeping into my mind ever single time.

It’s not that I am giving up faith.  I believe faith and hope are very different.  I still have faith that eventually this will work.  I just don’t have hope that it will happen anytime soon.

Every night when I go to bed I pray.  The past year, when my prayers haven’t been immediately answered, I have assumed god is punishing me.  It hurts because I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.  Why does everyone around me get pregnant but I can’t no matter what I do.  Then I get upset because my husband is going to be the absolute best dad, and I try to reason with god.  “God you can be mad at me, but please don’t punish my husband.”

After a lot of thinking, I realize that isn’t the case.  God isn’t punishing me.  He’s not like that.  The problem is, he doesn’t answer our prayers on our time schedule.

Faith and hope are very different.  I have faith, but having hope seems far too scary for me.  Hope means putting my heart on a platter to be destroyed.  Faith means trusting in god.

How do you handle keeping your hopes in check?  Do you have new hope every month or are you like me and stay guarded?

I have FAITH that each of you out there will have your prayers answered.

The Secret Sisterhood of Miscarriage

When we got pregnant for the first time, I knew immediately something was wrong.  Because of this, I knew to keep the news between my husband and I.  We were planning on telling our families at the 8 week mark, when we would be with them in person.  We live in Georgia and our families live in Virginia and Illinois.

I single-handedly bought out all of Clearblue and First Response's stock.  You're welcome investors.  With how much I spend, I'm going to look into buying stock.

I single-handedly bought out all of Clearblue and First Response’s stock. You’re welcome investors. With how much I spend, I’m going to look into buying stock.

I was so excited, and even though I felt something was off, I couldn’t help but look up cute ways to announce pregnancy to your family.  Each time I found a new adorable way, I got more and more excited.

Then I miscarried.  All of the sudden, keeping the news to ourselves felt very very lonely.  I wanted to have the support of my friends and family but I also wanted to keep our TTC process a secret.  I eventually broke down and told my mom, but only because she knew something was up.

Why is it that women that miscarry are so ashamed?  Is it because it is just too hard to talk about?  For me I felt like I didn’t want to make others feel awkward.  How ridiculous is that?  I was the one suffering but I didn’t want to put others in the position to not know what to say.

We only shared what happened to our direct family a couple weeks ago.  Even then, I felt weird telling them.  As I expected, they had no idea what to say.  What is the right thing to say?

If it hadn’t been for the community I found online, I would have had no support outside of my husband.  I pray that each of us out there that have suffered a loss of a baby learn to speak up and find support, no matter how awkward it is at first.  What I have found is that when you share your experience, most people have a story to share back to you.

If you had a miscarriage, did you keep the news to yourself?  How did you handle finding support during such a hard time?

Thinking of all of you in the sisterhood, know that you are not alone!


Introduction To Our Journey


Hey!  I guess I should start with the basics.  My name is Elise, I’m 26, from Chicago, living in Atlanta, married, and trying to have a baby.  That last part is what is important for this blog.

When I was 19 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, and I always thought that would be the biggest challenge I would face.  Wow, was I wrong.  About 2 years ago my husband and I got baby fever.  Actually, my husband got baby fever, and I agreed we were ready.  I remember thinking that the second we decided to try, I would get pregnant.  I was even completely shocked when I got a negative on a test the first month.  Little did I know, that first month was just the beginning of a much longer journey.

When I first suspected something was wrong, I immediately went to the doctor.  She told me the phrase that would come to be mentioned in nearly every aspect of this battle, “you’re so young”.  She said due to my age, she wouldn’t do any testing until we’d tried for a year without success.  I knew in my heart I’d be back.

A year later I returned and was official diagnosed with infertility.  After testing we quickly determined I had PCOS but the good news was my tubes were clear and my husband did his part and was “well above average”, as he loves to brag.  The doctor prescribed Clomid and so began our first steps in the world of infertility.

The first month the Clomid did nothing, and I did not ovulate.  However, the second month a miracle happened.  The first time I ovulated in over a year, I was pregnant.  I couldn’t believe it.  What luck!  I took at least 10 pregnancy tests before telling my husband.


I used our dogs to announce the pregnancy to my husband. I dressed them up and sent them to greet him when he opened the door.  Their faces say it all, “god I hate you woman”. 

However, I knew something was wrong immediately.  I started spotting before I even took the pregnancy test.  When I called my doctor she told me to take it easy for the weekend and come in on Monday for an HCG draw.  When I went in on Monday the spotting had slowed, and I was feeling hopeful.  The labs came back at 95 and she told me that was perfect for being 4 weeks pregnant.  I came in again in 48 hours to make sure that the HCG had doubled, and thankfully it had.  A few weeks later I was bent over in extreme pain.  I was 100% sure it was just my Crohn’s Disease acting up so I took a bath and tried to numb the pain with a heating pad.  When I went to the bathroom, I saw bright red blood.  I knew immediately.  The pain I was feeling was me miscarrying.  I called my doctor and the told me that some women experience bleeding their whole pregnancy. The bleeding stopped quickly after it started, and I tried to calm down.  That night I took a pregnancy test and the line appeared to be slightly lighter than the test I had taken the morning prior.  My husband tried to calm me down and say that it could just be a fluke, that maybe my urine wasn’t as concentrated as it was in the morning.  The next morning I took another test.  It had again faded.  That weekend, as I laid by the pool, I officially began to miscarry.  We tracked my HCG down to 0 and were told to take a month off.

That was the first and last true pregnancy I have had.  Since then we have moved to an amazing RE and despite huge amounts of time and effort (not to mention money), we haven’t been able to achieve a second pregnancy.  My RE was also able to diagnose me with Endometriosis.  For those keeping track that means I have Crohn’s Disease, PCOS, and Endo.

Despite the struggles we have had, we refuse to give up.  Our next step is IVF which we are starting this month.  This blog will follow our journey to achieve our dream of having a baby.  I’m lucky that my husband is 100% on board for whatever I want to do.  He puts no limits on what we will do to have a family.

Please feel free to follow along, comment, ask questions, and contact me if you need support.

Thank you so much for reading!