Wouldn’t it be great if dinner cooked itself?
It practically can. The catch? You actually have to use that Instant Pot that you bought on Prime Day and never actually opened. But I’ll make it easy for you.
Your friends talked you into it (“Frozen meat in an hour! Perfect hard-boiled eggs!”) and you went for it, but if the learning curve felt too steep, I understand.
The recipes are full of acronyms, the cooking times feel misleading, and what if the recipe doesn’t turn out? It feels safer to cook dinner the way you normally do, even if it takes longer, to guarantee you’ll have a meal instead of hangry kids and an emergency situation on your hands.
On the other hand, it’s MAGIC. I am not A Person Who Burns Dinner — or I wasn’t, until I had a second baby. Then it was charred quinoa 3 times in a MONTH. I was seriously having an identity crisis.
Once I started using the Instant Pot, it freed me up to be present with my kids while dinner almost cooked itself. No burning, no stirring, just making an obstacle course out of the couch cushions until it was time to set the table.
This could be you! (Ridiculous kid activity is optional -- grab a glass of wine and put on Moana for the 937th time if that’s how you roll. I won’t judge!) But the Instant Pot in your closet, still in the box, isn’t cooking you anything.
In less than half an hour, you could be up and running with that not-so-scary new appliance. Depending on what time it is, you could even make dinner in it tonight.
Why should you believe me?
I was skeptical of the cult-like devotion of my friends at first, too, but I finally bought an Instant Pot. I’m a control freak who never used my crock pot, and now I use my Instant Pot multiple times per week — sometimes even twice per day.
I’m the first to admit that I’m a giant nerd, so I researched the crap out of this thing. I read the manual. I read how-to guides on all the big blogs, and a few small ones. I wanted brown rice, and I wanted it now. As I kept explaining the basics to more and more friends, I suggested holding a hands-on class in San Diego. Logistics were complicated and non-local friends asked for an online option, so here we are.
What will you get out of this class?
It’s meant to be straightforward to get you cooking ASAP! The 3 time-saving videos will cover:
- My Instant Pot love story
- What the Instant Pot can (and can’t) do
- The buttons, bells, and whistles and what they do
- How to read Instant Pot recipes
- A walk-through of the cooking process
- And 6 basic recipes that are so simple, you can start cooking that same day
You also get a handout with some helpful charts, recipes, and highlights from the class.
And that’s it! In half an hour, you could say bye bye to that hectic mealtime rush and be ready to cook your first Instant Pot dish with confidence.
"I got my Instant Pot last year and I love it -- I use it all the time!
I just wish I had a time machine so I could have taken this class before I opened it. It would have saved a ton of time, and my life would have been so much easier."
- Becca Ribbing, mom of 2
The class is available instantly! Watch at your convenience.
CLICK HERE to buy. Your investment is just $47.
You swear you just gave birth eight seconds ago, but suddenly your baby is rolling over and eyeballing that burrito in your hands. Your pediatrician/sister/mother-in-law is telling you to start feeding your baby solids last week, but you're not so sure he or she is ready. You spent about 3 minutes on Google, saw so much conflicting advice you decided you'd rather do laundry, put down your phone, and haven't looked back.
That's how I felt when my oldest turned 3 months old and I realized I had limited time to figure out a plan. Would I make my own organic purees, or buy them at the store? Are those pouch things OK or filled with mold or what? Fruits first or veggies? What’s this “baby-led weaning” thing I keep hearing about? After I grew and nourished this small human from my own body up until now, would our nursing relationship change once food was introduced? *cue nervous hand-wringing*
- Maybe you've heard of baby-led weaning but aren't sure what it is, how it works, or how to start.
- Maybe you're worried about offering table foods so early - won't your baby choke?
- Maybe you started your other kid(s) with purees, but they're picky and you want to try something else.
- Maybe you're breastfeeding and are concerned about maintaining your milk supply once your baby starts eating.
- And maybe you know you have to give food eventually but just want someone to tell you what to do without researching it all yourself.
You're tired enough already. Keeping another human alive is hard work. All you want is to know The Right Way to do this because you’re trying to be the best mom you can possibly be.
If so, this class is for you.
Instead of asking your mom group, talking to your pediatrician, buying 3 books and a baby food making machine (plus all those little trays for the freezer - are they BPA-free?), joining 6 more Facebook groups, and trying to figure out if peanut butter is truly evil or not, you can just take this course.
Save time, precious sleep-deprived brain cells, and yourself from judgmental Facebook comments.
Afterward, you'll have all the information you need to start feeding your baby with confidence. You'll understand the research and statistics behind the concepts, and have step-by-step instructions and lists of foods to offer by age and stage. It's all read and summarized for you because mom brain is real.
Why listen to me instead of my mom/friend/pediatrician?
Before I was a mom, I was a health coach. When my first son was born, I applied my love of nutrition nerdery to figuring out how to set my son for success with healthy food. I really wanted there to be *one best way* so I knew I was doing it right.
The amount of conflicting information and opinions was overwhelming.
I came across the concept of Baby Led Weaning, read as much as I could find, and decided to try it -- along with purees. My son threw up purees, so that was the end of that experiment. BLW it was.
Friends started to ask me about our experience, so I told them (I have lots of opinions). Week after week at my mom group, I'd explain the idea, and if they asked questions I didn't know the answer to, I tried to find out.
After reading several books, what felt like a million websites, and every related study I could find, the information I compiled grew into a class I've taught locally here in San Diego since 2015. I’ve boiled all that information down into an easily digestible approach so you can make informed choices that are best for your family.
Your mom/friend/pediatrician means well, but they’re telling you what they did. To be fair, I tell you what I did, too, but as one example (and with two kids who had unique journeys).
Over 100 local families have attended my classes. And no matter where you live, now you can, too!
"I didn't know baby led weaning was a thing when I had my first daughter, but I wanted to try it out with my second. I was too sleep-deprived to read long books or dig around for tips online -- I needed to learn from a mom who had already figured everything out.
Stacy is that mom! Her class helped me learn what I needed to know quickly, Through BLW I've seen my baby explore her curiosity about food and learn to confidently and safely feed herself."
- Jules Taggart, mom of 2
When parents leave my classes, the most common theme I hear is that they actually feel prepared. It's scary to be entirely responsible for the survival and well-being of a tiny person! Simply becoming a parent does not mean any of us know what we're doing. At least this way you have a roadmap for success in this area.
And I made it as easy as possible for you. After holding several "live" online classes, I realized that time zones and scheduling were for the birds (or people without kids).
- Watch from the comfort of your own home/job (I won't tell). No need to drive to class!
- Content is broken into short segments for nap time viewing convenience (the longest video is 16 minutes).
- Share the information with your partner or baby's caregiver.
- Rewatch as needed. Less pressure to remember the info.
- Transcripts are included so you can read ahead, or stay quiet during nap time.
- PDF handout has the most important points so you don't have to remember them. Print it out if you'd like!
- Free content updates when new recommendations come out.
- The difference between BLW and spoon-feeding purees
- The signs that your baby is ready to start solid foods (or not)
- Myths about feeding solids
- The best foods to start with and how to prepare them
- Foods to avoid for health and safety
- How to approach allergenic foods based on current research
- Tips and tricks to make food as fun and as little work as possible
"We planned to wait until our son was 6 months old to introduce solid foods, so I signed up for Stacy's class because I wanted to go into his 4 month pediatric appointment armed with up-to-date, accurate information about starting solids. I get bogged down reading ALL THE THINGS, and trusted Stacy to do the research for me and present me with the perfect guide to baby-led weaning: nothing more and nothing less than I needed to read. She did!
At 13 months my son continues to be an adventurous eater, devouring any and everything we give him. I recommend BLW to all of my friends who are parents, if for no other reason than it's just so easy. When we noticed our son had an egg sensitivity, Stacy helped us navigate that, too.
I hope we never have a picky eater (haha!), but if we do, I look forward to taking her toddler classes in the future!"
- Anni Metz, mom of one
You're just trying to be the best parent you can be, but there's a lot of conflicting advice out there. It's much easier to start solids once you have a foundation of knowledge so you actually feel like you know what you're doing.
It's about as close to a manual as you get with parenting.
Imagine yourself eating your own (warm!) food while your baby sits in his or her highchair eating the same thing. No slaving away batch-cooking vats of organic mush (do you even know where those freezer cube tray things ended up?), just serve dinner and enjoy mealtime together.
It's really that easy! (I go into more detail, I promise.)
The investment for the course is $75 which includes all course updates for free (I update my handouts every month or two as new research emerges).
That's actually a little less than seats in my live class for 2, plus gas, parking, and lunch. Plus you can pause and rewind!
All you have to do is CLICK HERE to register. You'll check out, then enter your name and email to get access to the course.
If you still have individual concerns that I don't address in the class, I also offer private feeding consultations over the phone or video conference. I would love to support you and your baby's health.
Feminism often gets a bad rap as something for lesbian femi-nazis, so suggesting you consider feminist parenting could sound extreme.
That is, until you realize that this craaaaazy idea simply mean that women should have the same social, educational, and economic opportunities as men.
It might be easy to see why people would want to raise feminist daughters - girls have a pretty vested interest in their own futures - but what may not be as obvious is how imperative it is that we raise feminist sons, as well.
As the mother of two boys, 2016 has been a rough ride. When my youngest was a baby I was relieved that I didn't have to deal with all the "baggage" that comes with a daughter and all the media pressure about weight and body image and clothes and all that. Then I learned that rape culture was so prevalent that raising a son who wasn't a rapist was more challenging that I must think.
At first I didn't realize that some of the things I did were feminist, they just made sense. Instilling a sense of body autonomy and teaching consent were practical things to do, but the more I understood about them, the more importance they had. When you have young kids it sounds like a slippery slope to compare haircuts and hugging grandma to rape culture, but it's not.
I'm no expert in this area. Intersectionality still makes my head spin a bit. I'm white and straight raising white sons, so this technically impacts them least of all.
And that's why it's so important to me.
You practically need a new college minor to sift through the literature around this, so here's a Cliffs Notes version of a crash course - a compilation of list articles with enough info to get you started. We're all making it up as we go anyway, but at least you'll have a foundation.
“DEAR IJEAWELE, OR A FEMINIST MANIFESTO IN FIFTEEN SUGGESTIONS” by Chimamanda Adichie
10 Ways Feminist Parents Raise Strong-Willed Boys To Be Amazing Men by Sabrina Joy Stevents
10 Things Feminist Moms Do Differently Than Any Other Parents by Jamie Kenney
11 Way to Raise a Feminist Son Because Feminism Is Good for Everyone by Britni de la Cretaz
5 Ways I Practice Intersectional Feminist Parenting by Akilah S. Richards
Why I Am Raising My Child to Be a Feminist and Why I Think You Should Too by Dan Arel
21 Ways to Raise a Feminist Child by Lyndsay
Want to Be a Feminist Parent? 4 Goals to Consider by Paige Lucas-Stannard
9 Way to Teach Consent to Your Toddler Before They're Old Enough to Explain It by Sarah Bunton
This is not exhaustive, but if we make an effort to listen and learn, and model that for our kids, we're on the right track.
My first birth almost three and a half years ago was an unmedicated vaginal birth in a hospital. We had a doula and everything went well. He was born just under 12 hours from my first contraction which got steadily faster and stronger until he was born.
I'll post more about the process of deciding on a homebirth another time, but this baby was born in our bedroom. I loved birthing at home. I'm also glad I hired Ariel Dolfo Photography to capture our birth since it went by so fast I barely remember it!
My first son was born at 40 weeks and 6 days, so I wasn't in a rush. I didn't feel "ready" yet when my due date rolled around.
Sunday I was 40+4, and the first time I felt like the baby was coming very soon was at 4am when I woke up to a few mild contractions. I didn't bother waking my husband up as they subsided and I went back to sleep.
We got up fairly early and I let him know that I thought "today is the day."
If you've ever found yourself sweating and on the brink of tears in the back of your car trying to shove your child as gently as possible into their car seat after 30 minutes of struggle and hysteria in 90 degree weather, you're not alone.
I've been there more times than I care to admit.
Then I read the book Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen. I tried a few of his suggestions. Within a few days, it got easier. He didn't struggle as much. It didn't take as long. I wasn't crying. It was like magic.
Cohen is both a play therapist and a dad. I appreciated his perspective as a professional mixed with his personal experiences at home with his own daughter.
How is your relationship with food? Do you get enough veggies? Do you stress eat? Are you a sugar addict?
This isn't to judge you - most of us struggle with food in some way or another. I'm not immune, either, I just have more tools than the average person.
After working with health coaching clients who still struggle after twenty or thirty years, when it came time to feed my son solids, I wanted to do it "right." Time for some research.
When most of us picture introducing solids, I'd imagine this is the image that comes to mind:
Most parents start their babies on solids waaaaaaaaaaay too early
Most pediatricians recommend introducing solids around 4 to 6 months. The American Association of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend exclusively formula or breastmilk until 6 months.
A 2013 study from the AAP showed that in a sample of over 1300 people, "40.4% of mothers introduced solid foods before age 4 months. The most commonly cited reasons for early introduction of solid food were as follows: “My baby was old enough,” “My baby seemed hungry,” “I wanted to feed my baby something in addition to breast milk or formula,” “My baby wanted the food I ate,” “A doctor or other health care professional said my baby should begin eating solid food,” and “It would help my baby sleep longer at night.”"
I started my son a little after 6 months (he had a cold so we waited until he wasn't congested). In retrospect I would have waited even longer. He was sitting up decently but didn't have a developed pincer grasp (ability to hold something between two fingertips). I was planning to offer a mix of purees and finger foods, but he threw up applesauce and I got tired of cleaning it up.
So we went with straight Baby Led Weaning (BLW). And I'm so glad we did.
Why Baby Led Weaning Was Best For Us
The "weaning" here is the British term. Americans tend to think of weaning for babies as "stopping breastmilk consumption" as opposed to "gradually reducing breastmilk consumption by introducing solids." So if you prefer the term "baby led solids," go for it.
Our decision came down to a few things:
- I'm lazy. I was skeptical of commercial baby food but didn't really want to make my own. BLW meant we could offer the same (or very similar) foods to what we ate.
- I have strong feelings about bodily autonomy for kids (and everyone), so giving my son control over how and what he ate held a lot of appeal.
- In my coaching practice I've spent a lot of time helping clients re-learn how to listen to their own bodies, so it made sense to me to let my son tune into his own hunger signals instead of me trying to guess.
- A major reason to start with purees is because babies push food out due to their tongue thrust reflex - their natural protection against choking. If you wait until their tongue thrust reflex is gone (a sign that they're developmentally ready to eat solid food), they can simply eat table food.
- When you start with purees, babies learn to swallow first, then chew. With BLW they chew first, then learn to swallow. They'll eventually get chunky or finger foods, so why not just start there?
Now at 3 years old, my son eats a wide variety of foods. He loves fish, mushrooms, and seaweed just as much as macaroni and cheese. He eats chlorella tablets like they're candy. He also eats candy, but asks for a few pieces and then moves on.
Is it because of his personality, or because of how we introduced and offered food from the start? I don't know for sure, but there isn't much I'll change this fall when it comes time to start our second baby on solid food.
Want to know more?
If you're near San Diego with a baby around 3-9 months, I would love to see you at one of my monthly in-person classes in Hillcrest.
Doesn't work with your schedule or live too far away? Now you can now take the class anytime from anywhere!
The online version of Introducing Solids with Baby Led Weaning is ready to go. Just CLICK HERE for more information.
I would love to support you.
noun: doula, plural noun: doulas
1. a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born
I've only had 3 major fights with my husband in over a decade spent together. One was about artichokes. Another was about fabric scissors. The third was an actual shouting match - 5 years before I was even pregnant - while walking down the street in downtown Minneapolis about doulas.
"I don't like doulas," my husband sniffed.
"What? Why? What do you even know about doulas?"
"What do they even DO? I think they're annoying. Why would you need one? Isn't that what the doctor is for?"
"YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT."
Fast forward to 2013.
"Honey," my husband chirped, "my co-worker's wife is pregnant! I asked if they had interviewed doulas yet. He had never even heard of them, so I told him they have to have one."
Doula literally comes from the Greek term for "woman servant," and a doula serves as support for you (AND your partner) during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period.
Why would you want a doula?
The presence of a doula has been shown to reduce labor times and improve birth outcomes for both mother and baby. My favorite statistic is that even a doula simply sitting in a chair in the room without actively doing anything else has improved outcomes! Amazing.
The real question is why wouldn't you have one?
A big factor for us was that we didn't know which midwife or OB would be at our son's birth. Knowing my personality and my desire for an unmedicated birth, I knew that having someone I trusted and felt comfortable with would be key for me to relax. We had also never experienced birth before and wanted someone on our team, not the hospital's, to help guide us through it.
What does a doula do (and not do)?
A doula does NOT advocate or speak for you. She is there to support you. Some doulas are massage therapists and may offer bodywork, give counterpressure during contractions, offer aromatherapy options and other comfort measures. Our doula was instrumental in guiding us through early labor and helping us decide when to leave for the hospital. What was most valuable for us as first time parents was her experience of witnessing birth to let us know what was normal.
I still say she was 80% for my husband and 20% for me.
A doula does not speak on your behalf. She may say something like, "You said you didn't want an epidural. The nurse is offering one. Do you want to try to get through a few more contractions before you decide?" Or she may say, "You said you didn't want an epidural, but it's been a long time and you seem really tired. Do you want to discuss your options?"
Where do you find a doula?
A trusted friend or family member can be a doula, but it should be someone you're comfortable with since they'll be present when you're in a vulnerable state during labor.
DONA is the group that certifies trained doulas, and you can search for a local match who is available around your due date at DoulaMatch.net. It doesn't make them a better choice necessarily, it just verifies that they have training and some experience.
How do you pick?
We found a list of local doulas, visited their websites, contacted several to make sure they were available, and interviewed 3 doulas. We really liked them all, but we chose the one who provided what we felt was the personality we needed in the delivery room. I'm very organized and responsible, so I wanted someone with a softer presence.
Many cities have doula meet-and-greet events so you can mix and mingle with a group of doulas and decide who you might want to interview. Then of course their schedule and pricing needs to be a good fit.
People are sometimes surprised at the cost of doula support, but they can only take so many clients due to the unpredictability of birth. Most also offer prenatal and postpartum support, may have additional lactation training, and probably need childcare for their own kids for the potentially long-haul of your labor.
Some may work on a sliding scale, offer payment plans or trades, or there may be student doulas in your area with less experience and a lower cost. Several we met offer discounts for homebirths since they're not always covered by insurance. The earlier you make a decision, the earlier you can budget for it.
When my husband and I started talking about trying for another baby, one of his first questions was, "Do we just have the same doula again? Is that a thing?"
But do I NEED a doula?
Of course not. And some women prefer their mother, sister, or friend to act in a similar capacity.
But if you have the option, I can't think of a reason NOT to have that additional help.
Did you have a doula at your birth?
If your baby is approaching the 4-6 month range, it's time to start thinking about feeding your baby solid foods. But where to start?
Many pediatricians still recommend spoon-feeding purees to your infant, but what if there was a method that involved less work for you and built a better foundation for a healthy relationship with food for your child?
Enter baby-led weaning.
Starting solids doesn't have to involve jars of gross mush or hours steaming, pureeing, and freezing cubes yourself.
Baby led weaning follows your child's own cues for readiness to set him or her up with a healthy relationship to food and their body.
In this 90-minute class we will cover:
- when the ideal time is to start solids and why
- what foods are best for what ages
- how and when to introduce allergenic foods
You'll form a foundation for confidently feeding your baby, and receive a list of suggested items to buy, and a chart of when to introduce which foods.
The class is an hour and a half and includes time for questions so you can ask about specific situations for your child. Best of all, you can join from the comfort of your home via phone. I will also record the class in case your baby wakes up and you have to step away so you can listen later. The recording, along with an emailed handout of notes will give you a reference as you progress on your feeding journey.