Wednesday, August 21, 2013

PAIL monthly theme: feeding babies

  • How did you feed your baby?
    • Primarily breast milk at the breast with the first one and even moreso (so far) with the second. Bottles while at daycare as one might imagine, except that time my pump got stolen and we couldn't afford one for a week when I snuck over to daycare instead of eating lunch myself to feed the baby. It was miserable.
  • If you exclusively breastfed your child, how long did you do it? Did you have a “goal” for length of time, or did you just wing it?
    • The goal with the kid was a year and she was sick when we got to a year so we plugged along at it until 13 months when I was done. So done. I needed the 2.5 hours a day back to study for finals. I think she would have been happy to continue, as would I except for the horrid pumping. Ugh pumping. Now? My goal is next week and maybe as long as October and then we'll see.
  • If you formula fed, how did you choose the formula brand? What are your suggestions for finding the best brand for your child?
    • In my dream world, we could switch to formula whenever it suited us so I am super curious about this. In the real world, I have to fight to continue nursing until at least a year or close to it so Little Monster can then transition to other sorts of milk.
  • Did you research breastfeeding prior to your child(ren)’s birth?
    • Yes. I took a class that was me and the educator and mostly weird, I read the La Leche League book and was tempted to throw it at someone who wrote it for the minimal information on how to pump and still nurse and the shaming of non-stay at home moms. Ugh.
  • Did your method of feeding your child(ren) differ from what you had hoped/planned to do? How did that make you feel?
    • That is a complicated question. I'd hoped that nursing would go well. It did eventually for the kid (we hit our stride at 4 months or so) and immediately with Little Monster, but I really don't like nursing. It is just uncomfortable for me. I would have loved to nurse for 6 months and then try to transition to formula this time (and it could be the thrush talking, but probably not completely). Yep I am selfish but I just don't like adding to my discomfort level all the time. We've had our latch checked and it's great, it's just me and presumably that awful Raynault's. I guess it makes me feel super ambivalent about the whole thing. Maybe if nursing felt like a choice rather than a desperate grab for a way to keep the baby fed without bankrupting the family it would feel different.
  • If you worked outside the home during the first year, how did that affect your decision?
    • Most of the time I was in school after the kid turned 6 months old I really wanted to be done pumping. Every day I wanted to be done. I was so glad to have a group of ladies with teens who had nursed their babies who cheered me on, visited with me while I washed pump stuff in the bathroom, and were just awesome. This time, no cheering section but I've been home much more. We'll see how things go in January when I'm back in school full time.
  • What would you tell an expectant mom about the realities of breastfeeding & formula feeding? Is there something you wish you’d have been told?
    • I never know how to react to the non-rude but turn and walk away because I'm nursing people. Mostly I ignore them because it's about them and not me. The other thing I wish I'd known about nursing was just seeing more women actually holding babies who were eating. Positioning is something people can tell you about and diagram, but until you actually see the baby in action, it's hard to figure out properly. That's why I nurse Little Monster everywhere we get the chance without a cover. Someone is watching and needs to learn what's going on. I suppose now that YouTube is a thing, you could find some good videos to remedy this. Our internet before the kid was born was a dirt track to the internet super highway so videos weren't really an option.
  • Do you feel your “preferred” method to feed your child was affected by how those around you feed their babies?
    • No because we still know very few people with babies. Also yes a little bit because my in-laws get up and walk out of the room if the baby is nursing. Being supportive in word is fine but it's weird to be talking, the baby starts yelling, and then suddenly she and I are alone because she's eating. I often strategically fed the kid before we'd visit so we didn't get walked out on too often. My extended family is totally unimpressed and ignores nursing because it's a normal part of life and totally not worth commenting on.
  • How much (in your estimation) did you spend on feeding your child for his/her first year of life? (pumping supplies / formula cost / lactation consultants / etc)
    • First pump: about $65 as insurance co-pay
    • Second pump: $250
    • Nursing bras: $140
    • Spare pump parts: about $60 (across both kids)
    • Bottles: about $50 with the kid, about the same with Little Monster because in the 4 moves in between their births the bottles all vanished. Arg.
    • Lactation consultant: Free and paid for by a grant the first time, free and paid for by the hospital the second.
    • Milk storage box: $8
    • Milk storage bags: about $20 for 120 of them
    • Total so far: $643
  • How did the transition to solids go?
    • Well... not so awesome. We made purees for the kid and she was never that into solids after the purees. Even things she loved as purees she loathed 6 months later as solids. It coincided with us being broke and not having the healthiest options available to us, so the kid doesn't eat all that many veggies or fruits or meats or anything besides her favorite selection of about 10 things. She refuses to try new things.
    •  Since we are trying again with the second baby, we are just doing baby led weaning. It's easier for everyone and it is making the kid nominally more interested in trying new foods to either set a good example for the baby or because it looks appealing once the baby has it. This is going wonderfully well and we will keep it up.
    • I have also decided not to panic about allergies because... well, why? All of mine were adult onset anyway so there's limited risk of the baby having any at all. Plus we are savvy and can easily assess if there's been an allergic reaction as we are seasoned parents of an allergic kid (please FSM no really scary reactions. Hives I can handle but more? Eeeep).
    • We are about a month into baby led weaning and everyone is happy with it, aside from the baby who gets thirsty with her meals and then has to wait to nurse. We also don't have a proper high chair and Little Monster doesn't sit up on her own just yet so the booster means a lot of tipping over and fussing.


  1. Wow, I can't believe your in-laws just walk out of the room whenever you nurse. My husband was a little weirded out the first time I nursed in front of his parents, and then he got over it b/c I didn't make a big deal of it and neither did they.

    I love Baby Led Weaning!

    1. I have the feeling that the in-laws think they're being helpful by not distracting the baby, except that neither of my girls is super distract-able while nursing. Short of a loud sneeze, nothing distracts Little Monster and she only eats for 5-7 minutes anyway so it isn't such a long time to avoid being distracting... whatever. It isn't worth a fight.

  2. Looks like you had some rough moments with various levels of support, good for you for hanging in as long as you did. Looks like our costs were similar too.
    Was interested to read about solids because that's where we are now. The problem for us with baby led weaning, even though there are less tears he throws things on the floor. I am tearing my hair out at the moment and feel like I will be breast feeding forever!

    1. Reading the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook that just came from the library, they point out several times (a page) that food is for fun until about 9 months and that little kid nutrition is spread out over a week or more, so on any given day they may eat nothing or tons. I find that's still true with the 5 year old. Yesterday she ate triple her usual and the day before ate like 3 bites. Try not to make a big deal of eating or it becomes a huge deal (in our case anyway).

  3. This. THIS!

    "I read the La Leche League book and was tempted to throw it at someone who wrote it for the minimal information on how to pump and still nurse and the shaming of non-stay at home moms. Ugh."

    I got this message from pretty much every breastfeeding support class or meeting or book. It drove me crazy and made me not want to breastfeed at all. I felt like by participating in breastfeeding I was somehow supporting the ideals I was encountering. That attitude really turned me off to the whole thing completely.

    I appreciate you sharing your ambivalence toward breastfeeding. I've felt similarly about it and I feel that not many people have similar experiences, or at least they don't share them. Hearing that other people have felt unsure about their breastfeeding relationship is nice to hear.

    1. I feel like we need a good book about how to make breastfeeding work with pumping and also a change in the culture of support people. With most women working outside the home at least some, then it makes sense to me to find ways to support women in pumping and nursing if it suits them and their babies. I'll put it on my list of things to write about in my spare time!

      I'd also bet lots of people are more ambivalent or don't stick with it forever but it's one of those things you don't talk about (much like all the other dark underbelly parts of parenting as well). It's a shame we can't talk about reality instead of glossing over the hard parts or the emotionally neutral parts of life. I suppose just starting to do so is helpful. Breaks the silence and stuff.

  4. My ILs are kind of weird about it too. My SIL in particular, she's pregnant with her 3rd now and mentioned that she will always wear a cover while breastfeeding the baby in front of her two children (3 and 6). Umm, WTF? I don't get it!! WHY?

    I really hope that BLW works for us this time around, I'd love to read some posts on what first foods you choose, etc!

  5. I can't believe that someone stole your pump?! Besides be just plain mean it isn't even sanitary! Ugh what is wrong with people? And yes, pumping does pretty much suck. I think that EBF would be so much easier than worrying about pumping times, bottles, and frozen milk, but what can you do if you can't be with baby 24/7, right? Thanks for sharing!!