I’m Having A Baby. Now What?! Breastfeeding Edition Pt. 2
Can you believe I have been a mom of two for almost a year now? This totally makes me a pro so I decided to give you legit & not funny hardy, har, har tips about being pregnant & being a mom. The first post in this series was Breastfeeding Edition Part 1. And now for Part 2
Should my baby also be getting a bottle of formula? If you are planning to exclusively breastfeed your baby there is NO reason that you will need to supplement with formula. Phoenix was what the doctors called a “slow weight gainer” & it was recommended to us to supplement him with one to two bottles a day. I begrudgingly did it & he didn’t gain any faster. Looking back I wouldn’t supplement Phoenix at all. But If you feel your baby is not gaining weight like she should or she seems to never be content after a feeding try upping your feedings for the day and increase your intake of healthy foods & foods that can help boost milk production. But if your baby is gaining weight, meeting milestones & content after a feeding there is no reason you will need to add in a bottle of formula unless you choose too.
Should I be pumping? If you ever want to spend time away from your baby for longer than two hours then by all means pump or be ok with a bottle of formula every once in a while. Some women pump religiously even if they don’t work or don’t leave their babies all the time. But pumping is a lot of work & I didn’t like having to remember to work pumping sessions into my day. If your plan is to be exclusively breastfeeding with maybe one bottle a day then take 2 or 3 weeks to be tied to your pump & pump after each nursing session to build up a stash. After that do a stash session once every other month or more if you think you need to.
How often should I feed my baby? Babies usually need to eat every 2 hours or if you are Caspian less! In the early days your baby will eat between 8-12 times a day for as little as 5 minutes a session to up to 30 minutes. Try to feed your baby before he gets really fussy. Look for cues that your baby is ready to eat like rooting, sticking out their tongue, opening & closing their mouth, or sucking motions. Our schedules have always been baby-led & I would feed on demand. It’s important to remember that babies have small stomachs so its normal for them to want to eat a lot. That is just what babies do! Your baby wanting to nurse often is not a sign of low milk supply. As your baby gets older they will start to fall into their own schedule that will be about every 3-4 hours between a feed. But if you notice that your baby who used to be able to go 4 hours without eating has shortened that to every 2 hours or even 1 hour it is a sign of a growth spurt-which are usually at 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months. Just indulge them! I used the Baby Connect app with Caspian to help keep track of when the last time he ate, how long & which side.
When should I start giving my baby solid food? The AAP recommends that you do not introduce solid foods until at least 6 months of age. Delaying solids until then reduces the risk of allergies, rashes & gut related issues. Whenever you do decide to start your baby on solids he should be able to hold his head up & be able to sit in a highchair. If you determine your baby is ready to start solids you can start the traditional way by offering your baby purees or you can do something called baby-led weaning. BLW is completely skipping the spoon & pureed foods & offering your baby appropriate sized (soft) chunk food right out the gate. If you choose to do BLW make sure your baby is able to grasp the food first. Good first foods (for either the traditional or BLW way) are avocados, apples, bananas, carrots, squash, and plums. Along with a whole host of other foods! With both boys I would give them a wide variety of food. If it could be cut small & wasn’t spicy I gave it to them. I did follow some rules though. I stayed away from foods known to cause allergies like peanuts, strawberries, & eggs until right at a year or a little after. I also stayed away from foods like citrus fruit & other acidic foods because they can cause diaper rash. Try my favorite resource KellyMom for more about solids.
When should I wean my baby? Whenever YOU and your baby are ready to. However, the longer you breastfeed the more benefits your baby will get. Even The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until age 2. Some may tell you that after 6 months or even a year that there are no longer benefits to breastfeeding. But that is a lie! The longer you breastfeed the benefits become more significant & long-lasting for both you & baby! However, weaning is a necessary part of your baby’s life & your life. So the best time to wean is whenever your baby is ready. When you first start solids you always offer breast first. When you are ready to start weaning you can start offering solid food first at a feeding instead of your breast. You may also consider dropping some feedings during the day and offering a bottle of cow or almond milk instead of nursing.
Is breastfeeding the easiest & best choice? No it is not always the easiest choice. Sometimes I wish I could just grab a bottle & some formula and roll back to sleep or go away for the weekend with my husband without bringing a pump. When my babies were younger (Caspian especially) it was taxing to always be the one who had to be on because I was the one with the tits. Always being grabbed on & constantly needed can be exhausting. But you know what? Breastfeeding is also the easiest choice I can grab & go. I don’t need to worry about making sure I have enough formula, clean bottles, or filtered water. I don’t have to worry about who’s going to hold the bottle. If I’m using my Ergo I can nurse & still move around. Slings, Wraps, or baby carries are amazing for hands free nursing. I’ve nursed in the movies in my Ergo, in Yoga, shopping, & while taking a picture of my sister & Rob Kardashian at the mall. And when in doubt…just nurse! I don’t have to play 20 questions with Caspian when he’s upset I just offer him boob & that usually satiates him. And is it always the best choice? Yes & Yes & Yes!
For more breastfeeding tips you can check out Part 1 of my Breastfeeding tips. Included are my favorite resources & breastfeeding essentials.
More information & Cool links
Kissing & Breastfeeding (this is AMAZING!)
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