Here are some tips to help you navigate the process for the best results. For almost all children, a quiet space and a calm, patient parent can be the most important ingredients for success!
1. Without exception, follow the nursing diet that is posted on most infant websites.
2. Be aware of any known allergies in the families of both parents. Take those foods out of your diet for the first year. You can begin testing for possible reactions once they are starting their second year. Do these tests one food at a time.
3. When following the diet, do not ingest an excessive amount of any one group i.e. fruits. This could cause your infant to either reject the breast milk or have a harder time digesting it.
4. Also be aware of any foods that are allowed but that you know you have a harder time digesting. We feel these situations are often labeled as “colic”. Try a change of diet vs. medication.
5. Make sure you, the mom are getting plenty of sleep!
6. Make sure you are not offering your infant a nursing option every time they are uncomfortable or challenging in any way. Doing so may create a “snacker” instead of a “full food eater”. This is not only hard to correct, but will also have an impact on their sleep pattern, turning them into cat nappers instead of well rested sleepers.
7. If they begin to fuss somewhere near two hours after a feed, distract them with a toy, a new location, interactive play, a new book, until it is at least three hours since a feed. Do not put them in a swing or provide any motion. They may doze off and defeat the purpose of correcting their feeding pattern.
8. Sometimes it is too easy to rely on breastfeeding during the fussy time since it is so easily available.
9. If your infant is in the final quarter of their first year, you may want to consider “topping them off”. By the end of the day, you may not be producing enough milk to satisfy them for 10 to 12 hours. This is highly a recommended strategy as everyone benefits from a full night’s sleep. It is not unusual for parents to adopt this strategy at an earlier age.
10. If this is not your first child, develop a role and plan for your older child so they can be involved directly and not be demanding your attention. This can turn breastfeeding into a very difficult time otherwise.
a. Give them specific tasks.
b. New books to read.
c. Even a special iPad time could be useful.
d. They need to know they are still important
1. The first thing to consider is whether there are any dairy allergies in both parents’ families. This is very common. We have also seen infants who have had a hard time digesting cow’s milk. Even though they may not actually be allergic to it. If your infant is spitting up, cramping, having difficult bowel movements, consider an alternative.
2. You will want to start with a bottle feeding system that provides a specific nipple for newborns. There are some available that are patterned off a mother’s breast.
3. Usually when they are in their third of fourth month, this type of nipple may not be allowing enough milk flow and therefore is making your infant work too hard to get enough nourishment. They may quit or fall asleep before they are full. This could interfere with your infant creating a good feeding and sleep schedule. If they are showing hunger signs within two hours, this could be the reason.
4. There are bottle feeding systems available with soft nipples for their full first year. This could prevent your infant turning their nipple into a teething ring instead of a source of nutrition. We recently had this experience and solved the problem by going online seeking a soft nipple system for an older infant.
There is no hard and fast rule for when a parent should stop breast feeding or bottle feeding their child. Decisions can be influenced by experiences or culture or preference.
We have always recommended that parents begin preparing their infant prior to their first birthday to master drinking from a small cup with no top. We begin by sitting with them and helping them hold it. Many of them have it mastered by the 1st quarter of their 2nd year.
One of the best benefits is that it allows their tongue and check muscles to begin developing for the mastery of speech. Remaining too long in a system that promotes sucking can delay that development.
It also gives the child an important message that they are no longer an infant and will successfully begin mastering the toddler world.
Even with all the challenges involved every day, it is an exciting wonder.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is all about the family!