There is just so much to say about breast-feeding; to gather all the information into one place would be a momentous task and personally, I don’t feel too much like Hercules right now.
We have covered what I think is best for sore and cracked nipples, although one thing I would recommend doing is before the baby is born is using a loofa on your nipples when you have a shower. It sounds very odd, I know, but so does a perineal massage and those are a super good idea to avoid a tear or episiotomy! While I still feel breast feeding needs more attention I also don’t want to exclude anyone who does formula feeding exclusively, so we are going to move on and more than likely in the future revisit breast-feeding.
Formula feeding is a great idea for anyone who does not have their milk supply come in for any number of reasons, and it helps breast fed mothers as well! One major advantage to formula feeding is since it is heavier babies on formula tend to sleep longer, and if you still want to breast feed as much as possible you can always supplement a bottle before bed of formula and pump after the baby is asleep, then once more before bed as I did.
One lady I know who had her baby many years ago was not able to breast-feed her little one because the doctors told her that her milk was sour, her son grew up to be a perfectly healthy, happy man. Logan was a formula only baby, never had a drop of milk in his life, and again, perfectly happy and healthy man. Some doctors say that formula fed babies are more likely to be obese when they grow up, but Logan is a very slim man, the only time he had a tiny bit of chub in his cheeks was when he was a baby up until he was probably six or so. If your baby is going to be chubby, he or she will be chubby! Of course, if your baby is tiny, he or she might just be a tiny baby who will grow up into a tall well-defined man or woman, but always speak to your doctor about any weight concerns you may have.
Bottle-feeding can be a challenge in itself, some babies do not latch right away just as breast babies, they might be picky about nipple size and shape, which is something most people don’t expect! If you’re first born was easy as the Padawan is, as long as they can get food they are a happy camper, but not all babies are alike, and some prefer the square nipples to the ergonomic breast shape nipples, and bottle brands change wildly from one to the other. If you are buying new bottles for your second child, or your first, get two or three different types to try, and once you figure out what works for you send your husband out the door to restock; when buying for babies it is never a good idea to buy in bulk before you use them. I recently bought a box of wipes, a different brand then normal and do not like them one bit; diaper are no exception to this rule! When the Padawan was born she was 9lbs 2.4oz which is too big for newborn diapers! Since we were using a cloth service at the time we had to send the whole lot of diapers back and get an emergency drop off of the next size up.
There are many different bottles to choose from as well; and while some people may tell you never to buy plastic bottles that is a personal choice and if you use plastic, as the vast majority are, you will be fine. People are still up in arms about the number seven plastic but due to current health regulations baby bottles have safer materials then most plastic spoons and dishes aimed at toddlers and adults! When buying bottles I would highly recommend any type that has some sort of system in place to release the air, this means less gas to the baby in the long run and can help with colic. A word I shudder to type. Playtex® VentAire® Advanced are great bottles that help to reduce the air baby swallows, and Nuk’s orthodontic wide neck nipple system is fantastic as well. I used both kinds when my Padawan was very young, and it helped immensely with her colic and her gas. I used glass and plastic, big nipples and small nipples, the only thing I have tried only a few times are drop in systems, but I do see the virtues of using that type of bottle. With drop in’s you have significantly more waste in your house, but less to wash when doing the dishes.
With formula there are many different types; a wide range of soy and non-milk based for the lactose intolerant babies, and a variation of the way you can buy and prepare formula. The main three are powder formulas, which you mix with water, concentrate liquid you mix with water and premixed which you just heat and serve to baby. I used all three when we were first starting out; and found that powder formula was by far the most economical to use. Since the Padawan was only getting some once in a blue moon I didn’t want to mix a can of formula that makes approximately 700oz and needs to be used within 48 hours. Powder I could open the can and use it within a month, so no waste and no worrying about using it right away. Premixed I found the cases did not match what the powder and the concentrate could do for either the same price or cheaper. One premade bottle did not make what my baby girl was used to drinking; they only made about 6oz to my regular mix for her of 9oz.
Again I can’t stress enough that you should not buy formula in bulk when you are just starting off, some are hard on babies system, and even if it worked on your first born it might not work for the second, and then you are left with a large amount of formula that will waste away, or upsets your baby’s stomach.
It is recommended that when you start feeding your baby solids you wait until they are six months old, this is said to decrease the chance of allergies when they are older, and since they should have a lessened tongue-thrust extrusion reflex which allows him or her to have more than a liquid diet. By this age they should also have full head control, be able to sit upright and a general interest in food. This is a highly personal choice, we waited until the Padawan was six months old to really start solids, but she had tried out rice cereal from a spoon before that; with either no interest or Mommy having problems with the thought of her eating. It was a long battle to keep her on the mix of small amounts of formula and breast milk before that, Logan had started on chicken soup at three months old, and since he had no issues it was assumed the Padawan wouldn’t either. By doctor’s orders we kept her on the liquid diet, mixing in small amounts of rice cereal to try and fill that giant void that was her belly. Sometimes she could drink up to 13oz in one sitting; a feat that honestly had us dumbstruck.
Some kids start earlier, showing all signs of readiness, trying to eat off the parent’s plate, putting up a fuss when others are eating because they want some, or they might go on a nursing strike after solids are started, prompting weaning sooner than Mom would like. It’s all a personal choice, and sometimes it’s not your but your baby’s, and you have to go along with it because they refuse the breast or bottle. It is recommended that you still give the baby more than just solids, some might want the breast still for a cuddle, and should have a bottle or the breast throughout the day.
We do breakfast of rice cereal, you can buy the pre flavoured or the one with no taste and mix whatever you would like in, then lunch of the homemade baby food and dinner of the homemade baby food, with either a bottle after each meal, or one after lunch and dinner.
When starting out to be cautious one should test out one thing at a time for a few days and watch for any allergic reactions. We jumped right in and lucky for us there were no consequences but we took that calculated risk, just like when we decided that if she slept better on her chest, we would let her.
I sound like a broken record; but what is recommended doesn’t always work for each baby and Mom, and it is entirely up to you how you decide to feed your baby.
With solids you can choose from many options, if you have a food processor or blender you can make your own with absolutely a minimum of effort and money, but you can also choose to purchase baby food packed in jars. When first trying out solids I dabbled with jarred food from the store; but have gone onto making my own for a fraction of the cost. When I did purchase jarred; I bought organic baby food for $0.66 a jar, 14 jars worked out to be around $9, and depending on how you are feeding you baby 14 jars will last either two weeks or one.
You can purchase special baby cups to freeze your homemade food; or use an ice cube tray. I freeze some food, and others I put in a canning jar with the lid on and put it in the fridge. I also found it annoying to use an adult sized bowl for each feeding, and we only had the one little baby bowl, so after using the jarred food I kept the jars and put enough food to fill one, and then fed the Padawan from that. That is also helpful when you are going out the house, stick a jar or two in your diaper bag and you are set!! It also helped cut back waste, and recycling is not only good for us; it’s good for our kids. Something doesn’t come from nothing, and to be responsible for the earth and your carbon foot print is just groovy. Joking aside it is always a good idea to reuse and recycle all that we can to keep our planet fresh for the next generation.
When feeding your baby it is also important to not just feed him or her sweet foods; as this can create a sweet tooth that doesn’t like the taste and therefore refuses to eat vegetables and other savory flavours.