Bonding with baby

 

I was reading an article online about breastfeeding, and the effect it has in regards to bonding with your baby.  And it sparked me to write this post.  I’ll keep it short and sweet, otherwise I’ll feel like I’m rambling on, and I just wanted to express my thought(s) on this topic.

I was (or am) fortunate enough to first of all have children, and secondly to produce sufficient milk for them to thrive on.  With my first son, I exclusively breastfed and didn’t pump on the strong recommendation of my doctor at the time.  When it came time for him to transition into solids, I wasn’t able to pump enough milk to mix with his rice cereals, and the purées that we made for him.  With our second son, because of unforeseen circumstances, I am now exclusively pumping (and he is not latched or breastfed, although he is on 100% breastmilk pumped from me).  After he was born, he lost a lot of weight, which led to my doctor’s recommendation to breastfeed, followed by pumping to make sure I had enough milk for him.  (It turned out that I was making lots of milk, he just wasn’t absorbing it properly and efficiently enough to gain weight).  So I’m a mom who both exclusively breastfed my first, and exclusively bottle fed my second, so I feel like I can have an opinion on this topic since I’ve experienced both.  And here’s my conclusion:

What causes a bond between a parent and child, isn’t breastfeeding, or your ability (or inability for that matter) to provide breastmilk to your child, its about unconditional love, and believing in them.  Adoptive parents, dads, foster parents, in-laws, etc., can create bonds much stronger than moms who merely breastfeed but don’t provide in other facets of life, such as giving your children your time and attention.  Being a parent and creating a bond with your child goes far beyond the first year of your child’s life when they’re on breastmilk or formula.  People spend so much time talking about “breast is best”, but one of the doctors I encountered when my second son was ill, said it best: “breast is best, but fed is better”.  No one has spoken more truer words.  Who cares what or how you feed your kid.  I’ve seen my husband interact with my son, and no one can convince me that you need to breastfeed to create a bond with your child.  My husband has a bond with our older son (who was exclusively breastfed) equal to, if not stronger, than the bond I have with him and I can tell you from experience, it takes a lot more time, love and dedication to create and maintain a bond with your child than the act of breastfeeding.

And on another note, breastfeeding hurt like a mofo, so I didn’t bond with my son over breastfeeding, we bonded over other stuff.

With that, I’ll leave you with some humour by David Sopp on the do’s and don’t’s of bonding with your baby.  Enjoy!

10 Month Update

This is a little late, but here is my blog post about our son’s development at 10-months.

Linden weighed in at 17lbs 13oz and 27.5″ at his 10-month check up with the doctor.  He is a little guy, but is growing well, and is healthy so we have nothing to worry about in that regard.  He is no longer breastfeeding – he is purely on puréed foods and drinking water (no milk or juice).  We do give him homemade popsicles made of apple or pear water (the left over water from when we steam his food) to help with his teething.  This also ensures he gets lots of fluids for these hot summer days.  Stopping breastfeeding was actually a lot easier than I had anticipated.  We were feeding him puréed foods 3 times a day, and breastfeeding pretty much just before bed to help him to fall asleep.  Usually, my husband gives him a bath before bed, and while he’s doing that, I’ll go have a shower.  One day, I took longer in the shower (or Linden was quicker in the bath), so my husband sat with our son, and Linden just fell asleep for the night.  And that was the end of breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding was always a horrible experience for me – it was painful and uncomfortable – so I definitely do not have any thoughts of missing the “bonding”.  Bonding – schmonding.  It hurt, it was a pain (literally and figuratively), and it just downright sucked. Good riddance to that!

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Family Photo at the Beach

He is still on puréed foods, which I thought he would be moving on to more solid foods by now.  I think he just got a slightly later start because he didn’t get his first tooth till he was 9.5 months old.  We have tried giving him small cut up pieces of soft foods (like banana and avocado), but he just swallowed them whole which almost ended up in a trip to emergency.  He managed to get it down though since it was a softer fruit, so all was good.  We have decided not to push the issue until he is ready.  He eats Baby Mum-mums though, and knows to chew those (although they mostly dissolve).  He didn’t take a liking at all to meats, so he’s eating quinoa mixed in with his vegetables, and flavoured tofu (an awesome suggestion from a friend of ours who had the same experience with their baby not liking meat).

He now has 4 teeth – 2 at the top, and 2 at the bottom.  The bottom ones came in first, and we didn’t even know they were breaking through until he put my finger in his mouth and bit my finger.  I was surprised to find two little teeth at the bottom.  They never seemed to really bother him.  The first top tooth however, bled a fair amount when it broke through the gum, and the second top tooth gave him a bit of a rough time.  Although after we saw it, we know why – the thing is huge!  He had a few restless nights because of that beast!  I’m sure every baby is different, they all get their teeth at different times/ages, and they all react differently when the teeth come through.  Linden (and we) were fortunate that they didn’t hurt him that much.

For those of you following my blog, we enrolled Linden in a Baby Sign Language program when he was 6 months old, and we have been going since then.  He absolutely loves the classes, and has (finally) made some progress.  His first sign was ‘milk’ (at about 8 months old), and he now can sign ‘light’, ‘dog’ (although since our dog’s name is Snowy, he signs ‘dog’ when you say ‘Snowy’), he waives hello and can clap.  We are currently working on getting him to sign ‘book’, and ‘thank you’.  He also loves music, and “dances” whenever he hears music or if you sing to him.


He is doing really well in swimming, and private lessons have paid off – although the
lessons were expensive, they were worth every penny.  We enrolled Linden in private swim lessons with Swim Clo Aquatics since they were the only swim school I could find who would take babies under 6 months.  Now that he’s older and enrolled in public classes, he’s miles ahead of the other kids who are much older than him.  (I’m not trying to brag, I’m just explaining why the private lessons were worth it).  In the pool, he can swim (short distances, maybe like 5-7 feet) from my husband to me and vice versa, he can turn over from his back to his front and vice versa, he can be fully submerged, he kicks his legs (to actually swim), he splashes his hands on the surface of the water if you tell him to, and if you say “reach for the edge”, he reaches for the edge of the pool and hangs on.  The main difference between the private lessons and the lessons from the local community centres, is that in the private lessons, they focus a lot on water safety and actually getting your child to learn to swim and learn the basics.  Its very repetitive, but the results show.  In the community centre program, they’re more about having a ton of fun, lots of songs and games for the little ones.  They both run the same program (Red Cross Preschool program from Starfish to Whale).

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Linden’s First Canada Day (he didn’t consume any alcohol – the beer can is sealed).  Plus, we wouldn’t waste a beer on him!

Outside of the pool, he’s gotten really good at crawling, and can climb up 2 whole flights of stairs.  In fact, he loves to climb the stairs, that if you pick him up, he lets you know of his dismay.  So we just follow closely behind him and let him tire himself out!  He loves going to MyGym where he gets to sing and do circle time, and then I take him and let him climb up all their apparatus and crawl through wobbly tunnels, play on their swings, go zip-lining, climb ladders and go down slides, and then has his independent time (which he totally sucks at).  He does however, love to share, which we normally encourage, but he loves to share his food (particularly Baby Mum-mums with our dog Snowy), so although he don’t want our dog taking his food, we figure that sharing is a good thing for him to learn for now.

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Linden rock climbing at MyGym

Lastly, he’s sleeping through the night, from 8:30pm till about 6:30 (sometimes 7) am.  Its been so nice to be able to sleep again!

And thats about it for his updates!

Adding Quinoa – Recipes

We haven’t had very much luck feeding our 10 month old (meat) proteins such as chicken, fish, turkey, etc so we decided we would try adding quinoa to most of his purees, and this was a success.  This is a great option for any other parents out there who are at a loss of how to feed your infant protein.

We use the Beaba Babybook machine for almost all of our cooking.  We purchased a rice/pasta/grain insert for the Babycook for $6.99 and it has been awesome.  Having a 10 month old who literally can’t sit still, makes it extremely difficult to cook quinoa on a stovetop – I burnt the first batch because I wasn’t watching it and the water all got absorbed, and when I finished the second batch (properly cooked), I left it on the counter and didn’t get a chance to “prep” it and put it away, so I ended up having to throw it out.  So, having the insert for the Babycook has been a lifesaver.

I found the best ratios for cooking quinoa in the Beaba was 1/4 cup of (raw) quinoa, to 1/2 cup of water (in with the quinoa in the insert), and then fill the Beaba Babycook to level 3.  (Yes, you need to add water to the quinoa as well as the Babycook).  It takes about 15 min for it to finish steaming, and voila, you have perfectly cooked quinoa!  (If you want it more el dante, just add less water to the quinoa, but the ratio provided above was perfect for baby food).  While this was steaming, I cut up some carrots and put it on the other side of the Beaba to cook/steam.  When those were done, I added the quinoa to the carrots, and then pureed it all together.  It was seriously the easiest thing.  And Linden doesn’t mind it, in fact he loves it.  The quinoa thickens the carrots (or anything else you mix it with such as apples, pears, etc) so keep that in mind when mixing it with other foods.  It adds 6 grams of protein per cup – not that he gets that much quinoa in the amount of food he eats, but it definitely adds something so that helps.

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So, there you have it – adding protein into their diet without adding meat (if you have an infant who won’t eat meat yet).

 

Baby Purée Recipes

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My last blog post went over our 3 staple purées, so this one will touch on the next 3 that our son eats often.  Zucchini purée, Apple/Kiwi/Zucchini purée and Mango purée.

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Zucchini Purée  (Prep Time:  2-5 min   |   Cook Time:  10-15 min)

2-3 zucchinis, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Fill the Beaba to the number 2 mark, place cut zucchini into the steaming basket and let it steam.  (about 10-15 min)
Pour water into a cup and save it
Pour zucchini from the basket into the plastic blender piece.
Blend until smooth and no lumps are visible.  If you need to add liquid, use the saved (excess water) from when it was steaming.  Zucchini’s have a very high water content, so I never found that I needed the excess water for this recipe.
* Tip:  You can use breastmilk or formula to add nutrition, but I usually only add this when I’m ready to serve the food for our infant, so it keeps longer in the fridge.

Apple / Kiwi / Zucchini Purée  (Prep Time:  10 min   |    Cook Time:  20 min)

2 apples (I use Pink Lady or Ambrosia), peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Fill the Beaba to the number 3 mark, place cut apples into the steaming basket and let it steam.  (about 15-20 min)
Pour water into a cup and save it.
Set Aside.

2 Kiwis, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Fill a small bowl with hot water, and place kiwis in water to soak about 5-10 min.
This softens up the kiwis so your purée isn’t lumpy.  I don’t know if you really need to soak them, but I do.
When ready to blend everything, drain the kiwis from the water.

1 zucchini, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Fill the Beaba to the number 2 mark, place cut zucchini into the steaming basket and let it steam.  (about 10-15 min)
Discard of any excess water.

Place the steamed apples, kiwis and zucchini into the plastic blender part of the Beaba (this can be done in a Baby Bullet or any other kind of blender or food processor).  Blend until smooth, and no lumps are visible.  If you need to add liquid, use the water saved from the apples as this probably has better flavour than the zucchini.

Mango Purée   (Prep Time:  5-7 minutes  |  Cook Time:  Does not require cooking)

1 large sweet mango.  Peel the mango and cut the flesh into 1/2 inch or 1 inch cubes.
Place in Baby Bullet and blend until smooth and no lumps are visible.
Restrain from eating it yourself.

 

An Intro to Homemade Baby Purées

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My husband and I wanted to make sure that our 8 month old son gets the healthiest choices when it comes to what he puts in his mouth, so we figured that homemade would be our best choice.  Sure, we occasionally give him stuff out of a store bought packet, but we try not to if we don’t have to.  Since I’m still on maternity leave, we have this option, so I intend to take advantage of it while I can.  And I’m so thankful to be in Canada, where our maternity leave is 1 year.  But thats enough about that.

My husband and I invested in  a Babycook Beaba, and although it was expensive (even on sale), I feel it was worth every penny.  If you’re in Canada, TJ’s Kids sometimes has select colours on sale for $169 (for the double) or $149 for the single.  I would recommend the double if you can get it, since we normally do a bunch of his foods at one shot.

Below are a couple of our “staple” recipes, and storage instructions.


Pear Purée (Prep Time:  5-10 min   |    Cook Time:  15-20min)

3 Bartlett Pears, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Fill the Beaba to the number 3 mark, place cut pears into the steaming basket and let it steam.  (about 15-20 min)
Pour water into a cup and save it
Pour pears from the basket into the plastic blender piece.
Blend until smooth and no lumps are visible.  If you need to add liquid, use the saved (excess water) from when it was steaming.
* Tip:  You can use breastmilk or formula to add nutrition, but I usually only add this when I’m ready to serve the food for our infant, so it keeps longer in the fridge.

Apple Purée  (Prep Time:  5-10 min   |    Cook Time:  15-20min)

3 Apples (I use Pink Lady or Ambrosia) peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Fill the Beaba to the number 3 mark, place cut apples into the steaming basket and let it steam.  (about 15-20 min)
Pour water into a cup and save it
Pour apples from the basket into the plastic blender piece.
Blend until smooth and no lumps are visible.  If you need to add liquid, use the saved (excess water) from when it was steaming.
* Tip:  You can use breastmilk or formula to add nutrition, but I usually only add this when I’m ready to serve the food for our infant, so it keeps longer in the fridge.

Sweet Potato Purée (Prep Time:  10min     |   Cook Time:  15-20 min)

1 Jumbo Sweet Potato (if you scratch the skin off with your fingernail, they should be orange underneath, not white).  In Canada, the grocery stores mix them up and call them yams, but they’re not actually yams.  Peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.  If you’re using a regular sweet potato, then you’ll probably need 2.
Fill the Beaba to the number 3 mark, place cut sweet potatoes into the steaming basket and let it steam.  (about 15-20 min)
Pour water into a cup and save it
Pour sweet potatoes from the basket into the plastic blender piece.
Blend until smooth and no lumps are visible.  You will most likely need to add liquid to this recipe since sweet potatoes don’t have as much water content as fruits.  Use the liquid that was saved from steaming, since it will retain all the nutrients from the sweet potato.
* Tip:  You can use breastmilk or formula to add nutrition, but I usually only add this when I’m ready to serve the food for our infant, so it keeps longer in the fridge.


These 3 are my staple purées for our 8 month old son, but he has been eating these since he was 5 months old.  Pears are good on their digestive system, and apparently are supposed to help them poop if they’re a little “clogged” (if you know what I mean).

We normally feed fruits to our son in the mornings and afternoons (breakfast and lunch), since they have a higher sugar content, and try to avoid giving him too many fruits at night (or for dinner), since we don’t want him wired at bedtime!  So, for evening or dinner feeds, we try to give him more of the vegetable purées, and maybe one fruit option.

So a typical breakfast or lunch for our 8 month old will consist of 4 different things, oatmeal cereal (mixed with expressed breastmilk), and 2 fruit purées, and a vegetable purée.  And a typical dinner for him will usually consist of oatmeal cereal, sweet potatoes, and 2 veggie purées.

For anyone wondering about the oatmeal cereal that we use, we typically buy the Heinz brand since it offers a higher fibre content, so we don’t have to worry too much about him being constipated since we know he’s getting a lot of fibre.

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Heinz brand oatmeal cereal.  Make sure you buy the appropriate stage of oatmeal cereal for your baby

And as a side note, see the photo below for recommendations on how long puréed foods should last in the fridge.  You can also freeze some of the purées if you don’t think you’ll use them up before they will go bad.  Frozen purées make for good (but messy) teethers for your little one.

We normally just store all the purées in tupperware and label with the date and description so we know how long its been in the fridge.  We also occasionally store some of the food in those food snack bags – we purchased the Infantino Squeeze Station off Amazon for $16 and it was seriously one of the greatest investments we made.  I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to have homemade purées readily available for feeding on the go, or if you just want a different storing option.

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Baby’s Eating and Sleeping Schedule

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Food purées for our 8 month old

Linden is now just over 8 months, and I thought I would write a post on his eating and sleeping schedule, since it seems to be a popular topic on my Instagram account.  At Linden’s 5 month check up with our family doctor, we were told that he was showing signs (whatever those were) that he was interested in eating.  So, we started him off with rice cereal or oatmeal cereal, and a couple of purées.  We were advised to introduce solids to him individually (in case he had any reactions to certain foods), and to make sure that he drinks lots of water throughout the day, so as to prevent the possibility of him getting constipated.

The first foods we introduced were pears, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal cereal.  We fed him once a day (in the later evenings), and he was still being breastfed throughout the day and night.  We just thought that if he had a full meal just before bedtime, he would be full throughout the night.  And we were mistaken.  Also, we noticed that with the once-a-day feedings, Linden was only pooping (on average) once a week, but he wasn’t constipated by any means.  We still thought this was odd though, since its not natural to only poop once a week, and also, he was being mostly breastfed, and when he was exclusively on breastmilk, he pooped everyday.  We didn’t realize until his 7 month check up, that all our concerns over were basically caused by us!   (Although, the whole pooping once a week thing was nice because it saved us a ton on baby wipes!!)  The pooping once a week thing is normal I guess if you’re only feeding one solid meal a day – I didn’t ask why, but our doctor said it was normal.

At the 7 month check up, since Linden was a little on the lower side of the weight scale, our doctor advised us to start him on 3 solid meals a day, which would have 2 effects: 1) he would sleep longer through the night; and 2) he would poop more often.  And both turned out to be true.  We were told that one big meal a day wouldn’t sustain a baby’s hunger, and that having 3 consistent meals throughout the day would fill him up, and therefore, he wouldn’t wake up hungry in the middle of the night.  This didn’t only make sense, it was true.  And now he also poops about once to twice a day.  Lastly, at this checkup, I asked our doctor when Linden would be able to start eating actual solid foods (not purées), and she said basically when he has teeth.  She went on to explain that she has resuscitated too many babies in the ER and its not a pretty site, so she advised against it until they have teeth and can properly break down food.  Made sense to me.  She said we can try giving him some of those baby crackers (and she made sure we knew to give him BABY crackers, not crackers for adults since their little organs can’t properly digest adult crackers), but when I bought a pack, they didn’t seem to dissolve all that quickly in my mouth so I was cautious about giving him any so I have held off on those for now.

So, if you’re wondering what our typical day looks like, here it is.  And keep in mind that we don’t actually have a “set” bedtime or nap time, because lets face it, life happens, but this is more or less how it is:

IMG_85607:30am – 8am  Linden usually wakes up for the day
8:30am               Linden eats breakfast (oatmeal cereal and 2-3 different fruit purées)
9:00am – 10am  Linden plays
10:15am-noon  Linden naps
12:30pm              Linden eats lunch (oatmeal cereal, fruit purée, veggie purée and sweet potatoes)
1-6pm                 Life happens, and he usually will have a (1 hour) nap
6:30pm               Linden eats dinner (oatmeal cereal, sweet potatoes, veggie purées)
7:30pm               My husband and I have dinner
8:45pm – 9:15pm  Linden plays
9:15pm                Linden has a bath (which is part of his bedtime routine)
9:30pm               Linden is breastfed and then goes to sleep for the night
9:45pm               Linden is usually passed out by now
6:00am               Sometimes, Linden wakes up for a feed, and then goes back to sleep until about 7:30 or 8am when he wakes up for the day.

 

Listed below are the foods that he basically eats, and the foods that we have tried feeding him:IMG_4016

Fruits

  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Mangoes
  • Kiwi
  • Prunes
  • Bananas*
  • Watermelon*

Vegetables

  • Zucchini
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Avocados*
  • Spinach*

Meats

  • Chicken*

Other

  • Rice Cereal (Stage 1)
  • Oatmeal Cereal (Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3)
  • Oatmeal Cereal (flavoured, banana, apple and raisin)

~All rice cereal is prepared with expressed breast milk~

*Starred items are foods that we made or gave to him and he doesn’t like them.

And when we make his purées, we normally just steam them, and if we need to liquify or soften it up, we use the water that the foods were cooked in.  If we need to soften the food before we feed him, then we will add either water or expressed breastmilk at that point so that the food lasts longer in the fridge.

So there you have it, our 8 month old’s eating schedule and sleep schedule.  I will post blogs with recipes of the purées that we make him in case anyone is interested in those as well.