(and dummies / pacifiers and soothers)
Feeding comes in many shapes and forms. Whether its solely breastfeeding or formula feeding you’ll soon have to discover solids and cows milk. There is so much to know and so many things to consider at every stage of baby and toddler days. It can be overwhelming.
I’ve put together this section of the guide to help you familiarise yourself with what you may need. I make no judgment on the manner in which you choose to feed your baby. None at all!!
I’m going to first just give you my thoughts on the reality of feeding a baby. Read this first because it is an honest account and you will want to recall these thoughts in the earlier days or the earlier mornings.
The reality of feeding a baby
Feeding is not easy for everyone. I’m really sorry, I hope I’m not the first to say this to you. It starts with baby feeding – whether it is or isn’t breastfeeding and then its the solids fight. Let me just set the record straight on a few things (in my humble opinion):
- Breastfeeding may be best but only if it is possible for you and the baby. If its not possible for whatever reason whether that is a physiological, psychological, biological, geographical just making sure your baby is loved and fed is the most important. Nothing else. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about the choices you make, your baby’s needs or what transpires. Some women can feed, some babies can feed and some women can’t and some babies won’t. No two babies are alike.
- Some days feeding will be great and some days will be bad. Actually, let me re-phrase, some feeds will be good, some feeds will be bad. Thats from breast-feeding to formula feeding to the introduction of solids.
- Things get easier. It will just take practice and you will get plenty of practice 🙂 Push through but not if it takes you to breaking point.
- Remember its not just you who is new to this. The other team member is a little baby who is completely new to this too and very easily distracted.
There are a lot of us out there who felt judged for whatever reason.
Whether it is the feeding choice we made, the birthing choice we made or the point at which we introduced solids. There will always be people who advise you, criticise you, judge you.
Whether thats intentionally or unintentionally but just as much as those people exist there are hundreds of thousands of mums who have gone through difficult times and we all stand with you. Just reach out if you’re feeling down!
Now to the information imparting part of the post 🙂
What to buy when you’re expecting – Feeding, bottles and dummies / pacifiers / soothers too
We’ll start with the F-word – formula.
From Day 1
Even if you are intent on breastfeeding your baby I would suggest that you prepare for the worst. The worst being that for some reason you can’t and your little one has to be bottle feed. In these instances you can express and then store it for your little one or if you can’t express then you will use formula.
Some hospitals will have formula available, the hospital we had our children at did not use the formula that we wanted to use so we had to buy our own and have it on hand in case we couldn’t breastfeed. Don’t buy a big tin though – just get the smallest one you can in case you don’t use it because you can’t return formula.
Choosing a formula
There are so many different brands of formula. So many! Where on earth do you start. Well, we started in googling the best formula that was available in our country and then went with that. “Best” was determined by the nutritional value and international reviews. This sounds gross but what does it do to your little one’s tummies in terms of vomit and poo return rate. Excellent strategy. We used S26 Gold and it worked perfectly for our oldest.
No two babies are alike
Naturally when baby number 2 arrived I bought the same formula expecting the same results. What an error. Of course the littlest didn’t like it – she hated it. I don’t know if it was her taste buds that made her hate it or whether she genuinely couldn’t stomach it. She would vomit it up everytime.
So we had to make a quick change. Eventually we went through 4 different types of formula until we realised that she only takes ‘Lactose Intolerant’ Nestle NAN formula. That is exactly what she fed on for 6 months andloved for a year.
After a year I managed to switch her onto a different brand – the one I tried to offer her initially and she was fine with it. Is that not just typical.
DUMMIES / PACIFIERS / SOOTHERS
Dummies – to use or not to use
I know lots of parents are adverse to dummies but it is honestly a choice you make. My thinking is that when I need him to stop the dummy I will take it away from him. If he was sucking his thumb I would have to cut it off to get it away from him 🙂
What I have been told by the dentist we have visited here in Australia is that a dummy doesn’t have the strength to push your child’s teeth out of alignment. Unfortunately, their finger when sucking it does have the strength and the ability to push the kids’ teeth out.
How many to buy
You may want to get four dummies / soothers / pacifiers. Two packs of two is generally how dummies are sold. Don’t buy more because he may hate it to start with or the brand may not work for him.
What we buy
We use the brand Avent and have loved it. There are also three different categories of dummies in the Avent range but we use what is called the ‘Free Flow’ because it is
a) orthodontic; and
b) has extra gaps in the plastic
which limits the rash around his mouth because it doesn’t create a vacuum and further doesn’t trap as much moisture, the other Avent types don’t have as many breathing holes.
The Avent dummies are more expensive than most – they were in the same price bracket at the NUK dummies. In South Africa the best price I found was Baby City (as with most of the products) and in Australia I have had to buy them whenever I find them because they are so difficult to find. My favourite cost cutting exercise is buying them on Amazon.com from the US (because they are HALF the price) and then convincing friends and family members to bring them over.
Be careful to avoid “Nipple Confusion”
Whichever brand you choose you MUST make sure you are consistent. The bottles and the dummies must be the same brand, this avoids ‘nipple confusion’. What ‘nipple confusion’ entails is too many different shapes being put in your child’s mouth – as it is you’ve got a breast or bottle which is one nib so try keep the bottle and the dummy the same so that none are rejected.
What’s a Dummy Tree
There is also this great invention called a dummy tree which you can use to steriliser the dummies / pacifiers / soothers in the microwave once you have washed them.
As I learnt from my initial freakout, there are hundreds of different types, brands and sizes of bottles. We use Avent. I am NOT affiliated. I just loved the clean lines of the bottle (A-type personality over here) and that there were different colours for girls and boys.
The different sizes of bottles
There are two sizes of bottles, we have used both. Initially the bigger bottles will be too big for your little one as you won’t be giving them more than 120ml which is the maximum volume the small bottle holds. You will need between 4 – 6 bottles at the start because you don’t feed them out of the same bottle twice and you don’t want to spend your other time washing bottles.
You will only need to move onto the bigger bottle after a few months.
The bottles I use
The following pertains to the Avent bottles (I don’t have experience with any other)(if someone else does, I would love your feedback to share with the readers so please do leave a comment):
- The bottles themselves come with lids, teats, the thing the teat sits in and in some cases an anti-colic ring (the older Avent bottles used to have this but the newer ones don’t). You dont need to buy extras until you notice that the teet is discolouring in which case you can buy the teets by themselves.
- Now teats themselves also come in a variety – they have different flow speeds. With the small bottles you buy, open up the bottle, take out the teat and you will see a number on it and you will see that it has a very slow flow because your baby is still learning to suck. As they grow up you will notice they get frustrated about the milk not coming quickly enough – then you know to move onto the next speed teat. There are 4 stages that you can progress through.
How to clean your bottles
You will also need a bottle steriliser, we bought the brand that matched the bottles (the Avent one) for home but then a cheap one for when we travelled and i’m not sure what the difference is really.
You will also need a good bottle brush but you can get these pretty cheap. We wash our bottles with antibacterial dishwashing liquid and then rinse with boiling water and sterlize them.
*** WASHING BOTTLES AND DUMMIES: we were taught you wash them in anti-bacterial liquid dish washing liquid. Then rinse them out thoroughly and sterilise them.
Why to buy a pump
I didn’t want to get one because they were so so expensive but I did and I’m really glad because there are times when you are so exhausted that you can’t bring yourself to fight with the baby to get him to have a full feed.
Do not get a manual breast pump – you will die. If you can afford it it must be electric and work on batteries and plugged into the wall so that you can use it when you’re at home and when you’re out. It is really uncomfortable to be stuck somewhere needing to express and being unable to. It is so so sore.
What we bought
We did so much research on these and eventually bought the Medela which is a bright yellow breast pump. In hindsight if it wasn’t so expensive I would have bought the double but we went with the single pump. The picture below is of the one I bought back in 2012.
Whatever you get you have to get one that has two settings because that is how your baby is going to feed.
With the breast pumps they try sell you all the bottles, storage devices etc but don’t waste money on it. Pump into the bottle you get with the pump and then pour it into your normal bottles. What we did to remember which milk was the oldest (time wise) we would put a masking tape sticker on it with the date and time that the milk was expressed and then stick it in the fridge or freezer.
Are you pregnant or have a new baby? Congratulations! If you enjoyed this post, have a look through the rest in the series. I really hope you find these beneficial and if you do, that you will share them.