It’s been four beautiful months since I welcomed Miss B into the world. As I take a pause and think about what a whirlwind the last few months have been, I also let out a sigh of relief. Some of the hardest days are behind me (at least, when it comes to the issues that newborns are known for – sleeping, pooping and of course feeding).
This is the time when things start to get easier. Baby is in a good routine. The time between night feeds is getting a little bit longer.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t have my own challenges and feelings of frustration. There were times when, at four-in-the-morning feeds, I would be exhausted and wonder why it felt like I was starting from square one again.
Every baby is different
The truth is, every baby is different. And, Miss B made that clear to me. No two babies are the same – there is an aspect of personality that comes along with each newborn that can be enlightening or challenging. Some babies sleep well, some don’t. Some babies thrive on routine, others can go with the flow.
One thing I have come to realize is how important a happy, well fed baby is. Whether breast or bottle fed, a happy baby means a happy mommy. This is why the four-month mark can be such a turning point. Typically the baby has gotten the hang of feedings by this time, and mommy has got that routine down pat.
It’s an important time to take a step back and realize how quickly time goes by. Just as you’re getting the hang of one phase, a new one is knocking at your door. That’s why you need to give yourself all the information possible to be able to make an informed decision for you. Caring for a baby isn’t a one-size fits all approach. This especially applies to feeding, which is what I wanted to cover today with you.
Let’s get started.
According to the World Health Organization, breast milk is an ideal food for babies.
It’s safe, clean and contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses. Breast milk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life.
The truth about breastfeeding is that it’s not always easy. Some babies will latch on without any assistance, and others don’t get the hang of it right away if at all. I have had many friends who couldn’t breastfeed – and others who could. Some choose to not even try, and that’s OK too.
Health experts agree that infant formula is a healthy alternative to breastfeeding.
Infant formula provides babies with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. The best part? There’s numerous formulas that meet the different dietary needs of newborns – cow-milk based, soy-based and protein hydrolysate to name a few.
I’ve heard from mothers who worry that if they don’t breastfeed their newborn, they won’t bond with their baby. That’s simply not true – and I can say that having been around babies my entire adult life as a newborn photographer. The truth is, feeding time – regardless of how it’s done – is a great time to bond with your lil’ one.
It all comes down to what works best for baby.
And then there is a mix of the two – pumping your breast milk and bottle feeding baby.
There are many reasons you might want to pump, hand express breast milk, or feed your baby pumped breast milk. Having expressed breast milk can allow your baby to drink your breast milk from a bottle, which can be convenient for you. It also helps to bring other family members into the feeding routine, such as your husband or grandparents.
If you go the route of pumping breast milk, be sure to set yourself up for success by buying or renting a pump that will allow you to comfortably express milk in a timely way. My favourite is the Medela Symphony double electric breast pump. This hospital grade pump with its research-based pumping programs has been developed specifically to support moms to initiate, build and maintain an adequate milk supply. It’s ideal for long-term and frequent pumping – and great for moms on the go.
At the end of the day…
Sometimes it’s a personal choice, sometimes your body or your baby will make the choice for you.
Maybe mom wants to breastfeed, but baby won’t latch or mom doesn’t have the milk supply.
Or…mom wants to bottle feed ( breast milk or formula), but baby only will take the breast and nothing else in which case mom is literally tied to baby non-stop.
In my case, Miss B only prefers the bottle, doesn’t want the boob at all – no matter how hard I tried… but the bottle has to be breast milk! She doesn’t take any formula whatsoever… so I’m tied to the pump non-stop.
I’d love to know – what baby feeding insights do you have to share?