Notes For My Sister On Having A Baby: Formula Is Just Food
Hey FPC! Today the Seattle City Council passed a breastfeeding ordinance that "makes it illegal for businesses and other entities to ask nursing moms to stop, cover up or move to a different location in public areas." Our fine city has made the right to breastfeed your child a protected civil right! Yay Seattle!
Of course, this only reminds me that I need to write the post about bottlefeeding. HEH.
For some people, for plenty of different reasons, breastfeeding just doesn't work. There are so many different ways it might not work that I seriously wonder how the human race just didn't STARVE in infancy. (Then I remember there were wet nurses and they were probably fine with the whole breastfeeding set up and then I start to feel sad for them because it kind of sounds like the worst job ever. Except maybe not? Like maybe they were Kept Women? You know? Lots of treats? OKAY I DIGRESS.)
Seems like most women TRY breastfeeding and then, for the ones who struggle with it and ultimately decide to go the formula route, most of them feel like Horrible Mothers. At least at first. Because shoot, if people are going around making it a PROTECTED CIVIL RIGHT, what's wrong with YOU?
But when I was feeling like a failure because I was going to start giving Emma formula to give my body a break from the pain, I remember taking it to Twitter (THERE'S a good recommendation! Get thee a Twitter account!) and I'm pretty sure it was Emily who said something I will remember forever: Formula is just food!
You know me, FPC. I can turn anything to Superdrama, especially if I can perceive myself somehow Failing Spectacularly, etc. You are not so neurotic. If you are in this position YOU will be fine. BUT JUST IN CASE! Just in case I will tell you: Formula is not how good you are as a mother! Formula is just food!
So anyway. Have some bottles. You'll want them even if you're breastfeeding. Well, I guess there are those ladies who don't mind being the cafeteria 24/7 but I was not one of them and it improved my quality of life four trillion percent when Phillip could do one of the nighttime feedings. We use Avent bottles, but does it matter? I don't think so. Especially now that they're all BPA free. How things change between your first kid and your third kid!
I've heard that you want to introduce the bottle at about 2 weeks old? Is that right? (This applies to breastfeeding too, obvs.) I'm sure this varies. People say if you do it earlier it confuses the baby? Nipple confusion? Jack we had to give a bottle right away because he was just too tiny to latch. We waited too long with Molly, though, and I think she was 6 or 7 months old before she took a bottle. WOE WAS ME. Emma got a bottle in the hospital and never seemed confused to me. So. I don't know. Just something to think about.
The worst thing about bottles, in my opinion, is washing them. I HATE WASHING BOTTLES. Seriously. Phillip and I have actual fights over this task. Having one of those bottle brushes and a drying rack makes it a little less horrible.
Munchkin makes these little formula holder thingies. So you can measure out three servings of formula and tote it around in your diaper bag. Easier (and cuter!) than a plastic bag with a scoop.
With Jack we bought Special Filtered Water and freaked about the temperature and the foaminess or NOT foaminess of the formula. With Emma we, uh, use tap water, we don't worry too much about if it's cold (she still drinks it!) and we are often combining random bottles and sticking them in the fridge. We hope she'll still be accepted to college.
We use store brand formula. As far as I can tell, it is EXACTLY THE SAME as the formula that costs twice (TWICE) as much. We're really lucky that all our babies were just fine with whatever formula we happened to give them. Not all parents are so lucky. (There's a good tip for 4am when the baby is on her seventeenth wakeup: someone somewhere has it worse than you.)
Pay attention to how hard your baby is sucking to get the milk out. Don't be like Phillip and me and realize you should have moved up to the 3 month nipple size (bigger holes) at, oh, six months. Oops.
Don't be afraid to talk about it. As you know, I am Fairly Transparent and when it comes to breastfeeding talk I don't even think before I say, "Ugh, not my favorite" and I've had more than a handful of New Moms look at me with Shock - right before they say, "me either". Solidarity! It's fun!
The breast/bottle thing feels like SUCH A BIG DEAL when your baby is tiny. It is a big deal. I don't mean to belittle it or say it isn't important or that it doesn't matter. I think it really does matter. I think your own hopes and expectations for how you feed your baby are huge, and how it all plays out can leave a big mark on your psyche, and all the other new moms you hang out with are bringing their own issues to the table, and then if you have the INTERNET it can put even more pressure on you. But one day that baby will be eating grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and carping at you all day long for fruit snacks and how long you breastfed or whatever went down with bottlefeeding will feel like a Really Long Time Ago.
Or maybe that's just me. WHATEVS.
I know you are cool with this, FPC. But just in case you are not. Formula is just food.
Got any bottlefeeding tips for the FPC? I've been writing this with one hand, while watching The Voice, while avoiding the dinner dishes, and keeping track of Twitter conversations. I'm SURE I haven't even scratched the surface.