The last time I did a post about nursing and troubleshooting your breast pump (see here), I got a lot of great feedback and even MORE questions. I decided I would compose some of the most frequently asked mama questions following my last post. These questions have everything to do with mommin’, nursing, biting, tantrums, etc. And I promise, I will keep them coming, as long as you all keep those questions coming!
My baby has teeth and has started biting me during nursing sessions. How can I get him/her to stop doing this so we can both enjoy nursing again?
I feel like all of us go through this and it is such a trying time! I had a hard time relaxing, therefore delayed letdown, therefore more biting. It was a bad cycle. I actually asked this exact question when I was having trouble and was told so many different things. What worked for me took a couple of times, but each time Cam bit me, I jumped and screamed (um, duh). It scared him and he would start crying. I then would say “NO” and end our nursing session. He was NOT a happy camper, but I stuck to it. This way, he/she will associate biting with no more milk. After a couple times of doing this (maybe 4 or 5?) he never did it again.
My husband and I want to go out to eat with our baby, as a family, but we are scared of them throwing a tantrum or crying in the middle of the restaurant. What do you do to make it work?
This is totally up to you. My husband and I chose to start taking Cam out at a young age so that he’s somewhat used to it. It may not make a huge difference, but I feel that it’s helped us in the long run. When he was a newborn, I would just carry him in my sollybaby wrap, so he was all snuggled and happily sleeping while we ate. He is SO active now at 10 months old- wanting to crawl everywhere, get into everything, etc, so it has become a little more challenging to take him out. Our first big rule is to make sure he napped right before we leave to go out to eat. He adjusts to being awake while he’s in the car and by the time we get to the restaurant he’s usually in a playful mood. I said usually. Normally, when we go out, we get a highchair and put it close to the table. We bring a lot of snacks, toys, etc to try and keep him occupied. That does not always work, but it’s worth a shot. Cam likes to play with his own toys for about 5 mins, then he’s ready to get into something else. We’re those bad parents that will hand him random things (safe, of course), for him to touch and explore. We are dealing with mister curious, here. It usually helps us out in the long run. Then, of course, he wants to eat our food. Basically, there’s no “easy” way to do this. Kids are kids and they’re unpredictable.
How do you make your own baby food when starting solids? What all can they eat?
I kind of went into this blind and just figured it out along the way. I had registered for a Baby Bullet at my baby shower and received one. When Cam was around 5.5 months I started busting that thing out. It came with a handy little book that explained different things they can eat at that time. We skipped over the rice cereal stage and I exclusively breastfed until he was 6 months. My pediatrician said he was doing very well on the growth chart, so he did not have to do any rice cereal. When Cam was 6 months I tried doing BLW (baby led weaning), where babies feed themselves. Cam was NOT into this. Some babies are, and some aren’t. Just do what works best for you and your family and don’t listen to other moms tell you what’s “better” for your baby. I started pureeing with the Baby Bullet and it’s a lot of work, but I loved doing it! I would boil or steam fruits and veggies to soften them, then throw them in the Baby Bullet with some of my breastmilk to make a nice puree. At this early stage they can have fruits, veggies, avocado, sweet potato, etc. There is information about this on babybullet.com. I would usually buy a lot of fresh produce and spend every Sunday prepping Cam’s food for the week. It’s good in the fridge for about 4-5 days, so I would make enough for his week at daycare, then freeze the rest.
What foods should we avoid before the first year?
I am probably the wrong person to ask this question. Mark and I let Cam try anything- and I mean anything. We love food and we want him to grow up experiencing new things. Babies cannot properly digest cow’s milk before 1 year, so that is something we definitely avoided. As a tip from my SIL, when we do start cow’s milk, we should consider mixing breastmilk with cow’s milk 50/50 so it’s not a drastic change. We were also told by our pediatrician to definitely expose Cam to peanut butter and eggs before 1 year. This way, his chance of developing an allergy is drastically reduced. He LOVES peanut butter. I started mixing it in his purees with fruit like bananas or apples! Obviously avoid foods that are choking hazards like hot dogs- that’s a big one! Give them small pieces!
How do you get a “freezer stash” of breast milk?
This is a catch-22 sometimes. I had oversupply issues for the first couple months postpartum. It’s good in the sense that I was able to build a “freezer stash”, but bad because it left me engorged constantly and in a lot of pain at the beginning. It finally sorted itself out and I was able to continue building a “stash” by pumping before I went to bed (but Cam was already asleep for the night). I started doing this when he was about 6 weeks old. Knowing Cam went to bed around 7:30 or 8PM and would sleep until 6:30 or 7AM, I would pump around 9:30PM before bed. I NEVER got up in the middle of the night to pump. If Cam woke more frequently during the night, I would have made myself get up and pump in the middle of the night to keep my body used to a feeding during the night. However, he didn’t, so I did not do that. Everyone is different in how they want to do this. See my pumping tip in this blog post regarding increasing supply and when/how to “dry pump”.
How did you get your baby to sleep through the night?
Luck, pure luck. I really do feel that God blessed us with a good sleeper because my pregnancy was not your typical “blissful” pregnancy. We had no schedule, sleep training, or plan. Mark and I are pretty relaxed parents and just fly by the seat of our pants. Cam slept in our room in the bassinet until he was about 6 weeks old. Then, one night we just looked at eachother and said “let’s try the crib tonight”. He struggled at first and we did our own “cry it out” method. Don’t judge, people- everyone has their own way of doing things and this is one of them. If he cried 5-6 minutes or more, I would go get him and comfort nurse him. I only needed to do this maybe 2-3x, ever. He usually would stop crying after about 3-5 mins and fall asleep. I made sure he was fed, changed, and tightly swaddled (which he loved). I never co-slept with Cam. I think our saving grace was the sound machine on “white noise”. We still use it to this day and he is 10 months old! Our other tip would be getting Pampers Nighttime Dry diapers. They soak up everything very quickly, leaving your baby feeling dry. It may not work for everyone, but we noticed a huge difference for Cam. Another big thing that worked out for us in our opinion is that Cam never took a pacifier. My friends whose babies take pacifiers say that they’ll wake up searching for them. We’ve never had this issue. Cam just sucks his fingers. In our case, it was all about patience, being relaxed and knowing not EVERYTHING goes to plan, and creating a soothing environment for Cam. Now, as soon as he wants to nap, he wants his crib! As soon as he hits the mattress, he’s usually out.