Tag Archives: bottle

Weaning: Going with his gut

Baby muesli is his favourite, closely followed by strawberry & banana porridge

The NHS guidelines on weaning are absolute rubbish.

How’s that for a controversial opener? Who do I think I am making such a bold statement? I’m doing this for the first time, I need to do it by the book, right?

If only there was a bloody book. Instead there is a constant flow of conflicting advice which depends on your era, your midwife, your health visitor, your beliefs, your lifestyle, your country and – lest they forget – your baby. The wee man is five months old now and I’ve decided I am absolutely sick fed up of the pressure masquerading as information.

I have worried myself sick over breast feeding and bottle feeding – you know how I feel about the EBF6. I still believe it is a near-impossible goal even for women with tiny babies and massive boobies. So I went with my gut – and against my health visitor – and introduced a bottle at bedtime and then, at 12 weeks, another at lunchtime. When he was 16 weeks I decided to introduce a tiny amount of baby rice. The official advice is to wait til 17 weeks, but the wee man was ten days over so technically I did. He LOVED it and had the best night’s sleep for weeks. A week ago, as he was scoffing the lot and then waking up in the night for a full feed from me and a 7 ounce bottle and¬†wanting to play for hours, I decided maybe he needed a second small bowl after his lunchtime feed. Again, he slept brilliantly. So this direct quote is b*llocks:

Starting solid foods won’t make them any more likely to sleep through.

It also says you should wait until they “stay in a sitting position” before feeding them. My nephew is ten months old and can’t stay in a sitting position. So, again, b*llocks.

I’m coming over all defiant but I have honestly agonised over this decision as much as any other where the single most precious thing in my life is concerned. (Sorry Rod). So I mentioned to a neurologist that I had started him on “just a tiny spoonful” of baby rice at 16 weeks. He smiled at me, shook his head, rolled his eyes slightly and said, “That’s more than fine”. And he has more letters after his name than in it.

So to any mother reading this who has a hungry baby eating way more than the recommended 25 ounces a day, who’s doing her best to still feed him a couple of times a day herself and who believes that sleep is the key to a happy motherhood… I say do it. You know best what your baby needs. Don’t let yourself be bullied by health professionals who are more worried about their next audit than you. Don’t apply health advice to your baby if it feels inherently wrong. Enjoy the joy on his face as you feed him baby muesli and strawberry and banana porridge and hear him go “mmmmmm” and “ooooooh” like a proper adult. Notice how content he is when you are content because you’ve slept a good few hours in a row instead of singing “Twinkle twinkle” 45 times at 3am.

Ah well, it’s just food for thought.

What do you think?

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Bottling it

There is a marathon called the EBF6 – you may be familiar with it.

It stands for Exclusive Breast Feeding for 6 Months and it seems a hell of a lot of mums have been roped into it. Some know they’re not runners and don’t get involved; others find circumstances beyond their control prevent them from competing. A certain number suffer an early injury, and a good few decide a half marathon is more than enough of a challenge. I’m convinced the ones who make it to the finish line arrive limping and exhausted.

Why do we do it to ourselves?

I’m not sure where I fit into the metaphor – I introduced one formula bottle before bedtime at 3 weeks and I have just decided, at 11 and a half weeks, to introduce a second. He’s hungry and I’m sore. But I agonised over the decision. I wondered if I should wait until 12 weeks. Why? Because it sounded better? Because I was worried people would judge me for pulling out a bottle at lunchtime? Because I wanted to keep running until we reached the solids stage? It’s ridiculous.

The honest truth is that, once I made the decision I felt a huge sense of relief. I knew he’d be getting more nourishment (my boobs are on the small side and I’ve always been concerned I wasn’t producing enough) and it freed me. I have my own business and I really need to start easing myself back in. A bottle at lunchtime means my mum can look after him for longer than two hours, or at the weekend Rod can take him away for some daddy time. I’ve never managed to get the wee man to go three hours between feeds with any regularity, so I’ve always had to hover nearby whenever anyone else is helping out. Expressing, before you ask, is a pain in the ass- it took me two weeks to store enough to be able to leave him with my mum overnight!

So I’m trying to make my peace with a compromise. I still give him five feeds a day, so he’s getting all the benefits of breast milk, with the crutch of two formula bottles. Do I still get a medal?

He seems happy enough with the arrangement

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