Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Baby Items for the First Year: Feeding

This post is a continuation of a "Baby Items for the First Year" series. In it, I'm sharing items that we've found to be essential as well as those that we've not found necessary. Every Mama's list is going to look different based on preferences and lifestyle. The following is simply what we've found useful for our two children. 

We've already covered BATHINGSLEEPING, TRAVELING and so today we'll focus on FEEDING.

*Note: This post contains an affiliate link to I am a personal affiliate with, and as such receive a small compensation for each product purchased through the link provided. (Thank you!).  


     Before we begin, I should highlight that I have done a wide variety when it came to feeding each of my babies. Each child has been a different situation, which called for a different response. So, this may not be a complete view of any particular method exclusively. You can read more about our breastfeeding story here

  • Waterproof Sleeved Bib- I purchased several of the standard terrycloth bibs initially, but messes always seemed to make their way to places beyond the bib's coverage. Since the material is absorbent versus waterproof, I was constantly having to wash them in the laundry. I then found a wonderful full size bib that covers all needed areas and simply wipes clean! This particular bib is a bit more pricey, but I've considered it well worth the cost. (It's certainly a great value compared to the cost of stained clothing!). I then got rid of all our other bibs and we just use this one for each child. After use, I simply wipe it down with a wet cloth and hang it on the back of the children's chairs. Occasionally, they need a good cleaning and I'll either wash them with the handwashing dishes or toss it in the laundry, and then back on their chairs to dry. I highly recommend this one bib! (Note: we also use them as art smocks for messy projects).
  • Weighted Flexi Straw Trainer Cup- We have had zero success with sippy cups with a simple spout. Neither of my children have grasped the concept of turning the cup (and their heads) back to get the liquid out of the cup. I also tried offering them a straw cup, but they had difficulty with it too because they couldn't get anything out of it when they'd move and the milk or water would also move away from the straw end in the cup. Then, I found the Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Flexi Straw Trainer Cup, Blue, 7 Ounce! This cup has a flexible straw and weight at the bottom so that regardless of how they moved it would always remain in the liquid. These cups have been amazing. I've even suggested them to friends who had babies who refused to switch from a bottle to a cup, but yet they took to this particular cup! We keep three of these cups in the cabinet: one for milk, one for water, and one to be an extra. 
  • High Chair- I initially borrowed a highchair. I thought the folding feature was fantastic (as well as the fact that it was free to me at the time!). We hated this chair. It had a simple bucket seat that wasn't contoured for little bodies and only a three point buckle, and so the fit was awful. We would have to stuff towels and whatnot around Tennyson for quite a while to keep him properly positioned in the seat. We also constantly tripped over the wide-span of the legs. After use, I discovered that a highchair that folds for easy storage was nonsense, because we were always using it and so it was always out. So, for our second child, I returned the borrowed chair and purchased the Fisher-Price Spacesaver High Chair. It was a rather expensive purchase, but we have thoroughly enjoyed it and feel as though it was money well spent. I liked how it attached to our chairs, which saves us space in our small home. It also has three seat settings (recline, upright, and booster), which allows us to use this one seat from infant to toddler. I highly recommend this chair for a highchair option!
  • Bottles- My babies have both refused a bottle. Once they were comfortable with breastfeeding, they have responded to a bottle as though it was the greatest insult. So, we moved from nursing to the weighted straw cup when it was time to wean Tennyson. Annelise is warming up to the idea of a bottle, and for her we're using the NUK Butterflies Orthodontic Bottle. It's really been a game of trial and error though when introducing a bottle or a cup!
---the following is a list of items I found helpful for breastfeeding ---
  • Breast Pump - Prior to my first baby, I purchased a basic breast pump thinking that it wouldn't see much use because I was going to exclusively breastfeed. Well, that plan along with many others were changed when my baby was born premature. I then needed a high quality breast pump because it would have to establish my milk supply while my baby was in the NICU and really too weak to do so himself. Fortunately, the lactation consultant knew that according to new government regulations all mamas who desire to breastfeed but have babies born with some sort of barrier are issued a high quality breast pump free of charge. I'm so grateful for the pump I received ($425 value at the time!) because I used it constantly. After establishing a supply with the pump, I became dependent on it because my supply was so excessively high (I actually donated milk and fed two babies!). We used that frozen pumped milk for several months after I was no longer allowed to nurse due to expecting my second baby. It was a wonderful resource! I don't know much about pumps due to mine having been provided. I do know that quality makes a difference (though you probably don't need a $425 pump!). I have heard of other insurances covering pumps. I have friends who are teachers and their pumps have been free through insurance. I highly recommend calling your insurance company to learn of any coverage that may be available. 
  • Breastmilk Storage Bags- We went through these like crazy! When I donated milk, she would bring me a box of milk storage bags in exchange for filled bags! haha. I haven't used as many for my second child because I haven't pumped and stored like I did with my first (after being dependent on the pump for every feed for six months, I was not interested in even seeing the pump the second time around! haha). 
  • Disposable Nursing Pads- I tend to have a forceful letdown, and so I don't just leak at those times, I pour. Add an ample milk supply, and I can easily go through a box of 100 disposable nursing pads in a week during the early months when supply is establishing. These boxes cost about $12, so that expense has been significant at times. I tried resuable cloth nursing pads, but they were super bulky and would saturate and wick onto my clothing. So, I just stuck to the disposable ones. Fortunately, at around 5-6 months my supply backs off a bit and I'm able to make one box stretch two or even three weeks. I know some women that don't need nursing pads at all. It just depends on your body. 
  • Nursing Cover- I adore the full coverage of my nursing cover. The wonderful aspect of the poncho style is that no matter what I'm wearing or how wiggly the baby is I'm always covered. Breastfeeding is natural and all about the baby, but I still prefer to maintain full modesty. 
  • Nice to have: 
    • Mesh Food Feeder- These make a perfect tool for soothing teething gums! I fill the pouch with frozen peas or corn, which surround and soothe sore gums better than any other teething tool! When they're thawed and soft, I simply toss the contents, rinse it out and refill! 
    • Reusable Food Pouch- We have used these on occasions such as traveling. These are a fantastic alternative to those pricier pouches found in the store. Simply fill it with the desired food, and you're ready to go without having to fuss over a jar and spoon. We've also used them to transport things like hummus, yogurt, peanut butter etc. when traveling, so they have great use beyond the baby years!
    • Travel plate- Tennyson decided he was ready for real food only at about 11 months, and so anytime we would eat out we would bring along this collapsible plate and offer him bits of our dinner plate onto his. It has been wonderfully convenient!

Things We Didn't Need:
     We've not needed things like terrycloth bibs (as mentioned above), bottle warmer, bottle/cup/pump sterilizer, drying rack, or even a nursing pillow (Boppy). To dry the cups, I simply lay them on the towel that is used for air drying all our handwash dishes. We were told by the NICU that as long as your home environment is clean and the bottles/pump parts are thoroughly washed with warm soapy water after use, they don't have to go through a sterilization process. If there is any question about those conditions, they will then recommend sterilizing feeding items. 
     I have a Boppy, but have rarely used it and found it to take up too much space in our small home. 

Up Next:
  • dressing
  • diapering
  • playing
  • healthcare/ grooming

1 comment:

  1. Great list! I love our "highchair" that clips onto our kitchen table. something freestanding would have taken up too much space in our old apartment. But the spacesaver may have been a good option for us too! I used our boppy a ton, as my daughter had trouble nursing and would nurse for 45 minutes when she was a newborn. I just couldn't hold her up that long! I used it for tummy time, propping her up while I folded laundry or did other chores, or I even put it around her when she was just learning to sit for when she fell over:) I love the style of that nursing cover! SO much easier to use than anything else I've seen. My daughter would never nurse under one though :(


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