Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Solid (as a rock)

Have ya'll seen the new Arrested Development yet? Here are my favorite parts so far:

  • When Argyle kicked his leg toward the heavens with the "Mr. F" motif in the background.
  • Every time Tobias refers to himself as a S.O.
  • Lucille's audition for the musical. 
  • All ANUSTART references.
  • GOB's ringtone.

In conclusion, watch it.

Our household is "solid" right now because we recently started Everett on solid foods.  Our pediatrician recommended we begin with something simple, such as rice cereal. I found this to be a great first food, as it gets mixed with breast milk - a familiar food - and you can change its texture from watery (mostly milk in the first couple feedings) to a bowl full of mush.

If you decide to use rice cereal as your first food of choice, do yourself a favor and modify the instructions on the package. Gerber recommends parents mix 1 TBS of cereal with 5-6 TBS of pumped breast milk. I can tell you from experience that 5-6 TBS of pumped milk is almost 3 ounces. Firstly, who has that much milk to spare? Secondly, who has the time to spoon-feed 3 ounces of milk to a baby? And since you are supposed to breastfeed before offering the cereal, chances are your baby will puke up 3 ounces of liquid gold afterwards (that is, if he is able to eat that much in the first place).

Observation number two: when you use the spoon to wipe baby's mouth and double dip into the container, the food dribbles and drool will make the already goopy mixture incredibly watery. To save yourself stress and money, if you are feeding baby pureed food and do not plan on using the whole container, make sure you put that meal's serving in a separate bowl for serving. The bacteria from baby's mouth taints the food, making it unacceptable to serve at a later meal. Also the slobber leaves a film at the top.

Wait four days between new foods to single out any food allergies.

Vegetables are the next step. We chose this food group because we want to get him used to things that are not sweet. Then we end with fruits and meats. If baby does not "like" a food the first time he tries it, do not give up. I got Everett to down a serving of avocado by alternating spoonfuls of squash (which he loves) and avocado. Interestingly, I read that formula-fed babies are more likely to enjoy the taste of avocado.

Overall, he is loving the experience of exploring new foods and textures. And his parents and sitters are now exploring the new textures coming out of him...

And what does all this solid food mean for us? Well, for one thing I immediately started pumping a little less during the day. In addition, my hair stopped falling out and I started getting acne again. And probably the most frustrating effect was the clogged milk duct.

When one has a clogged duct, the boob is, quite literally, solid as a rock. Everett was latched on Ole Righty for HOURS, with no changes whatsoever. I am not exaggerating, it was HOURS. A day later, I was gently rubbing the affected area, when suddenly milk squirted out in four different directions. It was so much milk that I had to change the sheets. And that little [uncomfortable] problem was solved.

They say that, eventually, breastfeeding is easier than formula feeding. Is this really true?

It is hard. No matter what I feed my child. It is an investment of my time and energy whether I am pumping, breastfeeding, holding a bottle in his mouth, spooning pureed veggies into his mouth, or cleaning the mess he makes while feeding himself. Does it really get easier, or do we just get used to it being hard? Every day I talk to parents who are STRESSED to the max. "Am I feeding my child too much or too little?" "Is my milk supply enough?" "Is my let-down too forceful, or not forceful enough?" "Is the milk I drink giving my baby gas?"

I have tried the method of "not worrying about it." Then I got a clogged duct, so clearly something is off.  But when it comes down to it, I go off what Everett communicates to me. If he still seems hungry after my boobs feel deflated, maybe he just needs a couple spoonfuls of carrots. Or maybe he's bored sucking down the same thing all day, and just wants some variety. The bottom line: although he is much smaller than other babies his age, he is happy and healthy.

As always, Google can be a parent's worst enemy, despite the comfort and entertainment it provides at 3am during the first few weeks of Baby's life. I have to tell myself every day that "this is normal," even though some weirdo who has to write all over BabyCenter.com has no problem pumping 10 ounces of milk 6 times a day. Angellove725, you make the rest of us feel like shit, and you're a freak of nature.

But here are my must-haves (and my 1 want) for starting Bebe on solids.

1. Separate bowl for serving. We use ramekins that were already in our cupboards. Anything that's microwave safe works just as well. Also, when microwaving food, a few seconds is PLENTY.
2. Rubber-tipped spoons. I got the ones that change color if the food is too hot (see notation under #1).
3. Baby Bullet. For a cost-effective and healthy way to serve baby foods, get one of these little guys. I call it "little guy" because he smiles at me.
4. Burp rags and bibs. A friend introduced me to these Aden and Anais gems, which serve as both.
5. If I had a million dollars, I would buy the Bloom high chair. We don't have a million dollars, so we are currently using Everett's bouncy chair. We really need a high chair...
6. Corgi. Dogs are great for cleaning up baby messes. They will even lick baby puke off the floor if you're too busy to clean it up.

Until next time!

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