One of the first things I learned about being a new parent is that everyone has an opinion on the best way to raise a child, or your child. Some great advice is shared, some nosy advice is shared, and some people just like talking. I want to be clear when I say this: to each their own. Unless it’s some gross form of neglect, I’m of the opinion that every baby is so different, you really just need to find what works for you and your family. So I’m absolutely not judging here.
Eli has never been a good sleeper. Since day 1 he’s been making my nights a living hell! For the first five months, Hubs and I were literally living in a zombie-like state. It was no bueno. I was given oodles of advice – and believe, I asked ANYONE for advice – and the most common advice was to put rice cereal in formula and stuff the boy. As a new mom, dead set on breastfeeding, initially this horrified me. But one evening, feeling like I’d pretty much do anything for an hour of sleep, I gave it a shot. It failed miserably and only led to me feeling like a jerk and a constipated baby. Maybe this method works for some, but it didn’t work for us. Since I was up all night anyway, I researched as much as I could and of course spoke to my pediatrician, who stated this clearly:
Sleeping is a physiological milestone.
That means some babies sleep 4-5 hour stretches in the first couple of weeks. Others (lucky us) don’t reach that milestone until months later. It happens eventually. You get through it. Eli still isn’t a champion sleeper, but most nights he’ll sleep 4-5 hour stretches and it’s very doable for me.
But I digress. This post is about food.
Now that Eli is nearing 8 months, I’m constantly being asked if he’s eating yet. My answer is, “Sometimes.” Pediatricians recommend that infants drink only breastmilk or formula until 6 months of age. They also agree that prior 1 years old, babies really don’t require anything beyond milk nutritionally. Being that he has the entire rest of his life to eat, I’m just in no rush to feed him. Yes, he eats. Sometimes a tablespoon of sweet potatoes, or a whole serving of pureed bananas. But I don’t force him. If he enjoys it and it keeps his interest, we keep going; I absolutely am not going to force feed my son.
Anyone who has met him, or lifted him, will not be worrying whether or not he’s hungry. He’s a solid kid, and is currently in the 96% percentile for height, weight, and head circumference. His eyes are bright, he’s happy (most of the time), and now that he’s mobile, there’s no stopping him.
I still breastfeed, and supplement with organic formula, because I’m VERY over pumping all the time, and my milk production has slowed a little bit. Plus, I like the convenience of being able to make a bottle here and there, for those times when I’ve had a couple glasses of wine, or if I need someone else to feed him. This works for us, and I’m happy. I’m glad he’s getting as much breastmilk as I can give him, and I’m glad that he’s healthy and thriving. That’s all any mom wants, right? A happy and healthy little kid.
Am I giving Eli juice or rice cereal now? No. I’m not giving myself sugar and try hard to stay away from processed food for a reason: it’s just not good for you. Plus, anything that can potentially constipate my kid is completely out of the question – he is a TERROR when he can’t poop. Again, you have to find what works for you.