Nursing Baby Past One

There are so many myths and stigmas surrounding breastfeeding toddlers. Why? Well that's a complicated answer left for much more space than one blog allows. Below is one woman’s (my dear friend, actually) musings on “extended” breastfeeding (really though, why don’t we just call it breastfeeding….that’s all it is!).


As my husband, in-laws, and I moved through the furniture store looking for a glider they wanted to gift me as a new mother, I carefully balanced my newborn in my arms while trying to fix her latch under a receiving blanket. My mother-in-law casually took the blanket and said, “you don’t need this.” It was the most liberating thing she could have done. I didn’t know this at the time, but breastfeeding would become the next thirteen years of my life. The sooner I learned to worry about the comfort of myself and my baby—the better.

There is evidence to suggest that as long as a breastfeeding relationship continues, it will provide nutrition as well as immunological protection.

But you know those studies they did that said that hugging is healthy? The breastfeeding studies were like that for me, confirming what I had already been witnessing and was my own common sense. Anthropological work has already told us that when natural weaning occurs it is closer to when the first molars begin to appear. 

My best friend’s three-year-old recently had surgery. Her tonsils, and adenoids were removed, and she had an epiglottoplasty. Getting medicine into a groggy three-year-old is difficult, let alone keeping her hydrated. Since they still have nursing relationship, she is able to get food and liquid into her daughter’s body, all while feeding her antibodies and stem cells for quicker healing. Her recovery time was much shorter than it was supposed to be. Of course, this is anecdotal, but still, there it is. 

The WHO and Unicef recommends breastfeeding to two years and beyond.

When my children turned two, they still needed to nurse. When a child is nursing at three, they are nursing less frequently. And by four and five, it isn’t often. But when my four-year-old had a violent stomach virus, holding them and feeding them from the milk I made just for them, kept them hydrated and helped them to recover quicker. 


Something to consider is that extended breastfeeding (breastfeeding beyond one year) simply be called breastfeeding. When it is tagged “extended,” that eludes to there being a norm, and this falling outside of that norm.

This human-derived term creates a definitive line: once you pass day three-hundred and sixty-five, you are into the new territory and your baby’s body will be done with your milk, which will likewise become unusable. You may self-destruct. 

When we went to the library and my preschooler would touch everything (no hyperbole here, folks) and put everything into their mouths. I was relaxed, knowing I would still be feeding them immunity. When they became sick with fever I could taker refuge in knowing that I was hydrating them, comforting them, and once again feeding antibodies to their immature immune systems. 

Nursing an older child will coo them to sleep. It continues to nourish them. When they get hurt it calms them. While they are learning this big world, it centers them and tells them there is a safe place of refuge within their mother, still, and always. Our children grow, it is what they were designed to do. No one is going to nurse until they leave for college, and that equation is ridiculous. They will always wean, and when that day comes it is bittersweet. 

I know many women who nursed beyond three and, often, they were made to feel ashamed—to hide. Our culture has decided they can name the ways in which a woman’s body works.

They have decided that breasts are innately sexual in nature. They grossly pervert the feeding of a human child when that is the crux of humanity’s existence!  Just as you can be a mother and a lover—breasts can play a dual-role, as well. 

Nursing my children into two, three, four, and five was an evolution of gift. Always changing, never looking the same, just like the breastmilk itself—altering to the needs of the situation. I say take the covers off. Take away the fear or need to hide while feeding your child. Don’t let the dictation of a woman’s body seep further into the clutches of this culture. Let women go where they will and let them feed their child where and how they like, and please let’s normalize the image of a woman feeding an infant as far into their future as they see fit, all while loving and supporting them. If you see a mama nursing, take her a water and tell her what a gift she is. 


3 Easy Crock-Pot Meals for Those Postpartum Days

Postpartum parent? Busy mama? Working parent? Single Parent? Anyone too busy to make a meal? I got you.

Here are my three favorite, minimal ingredient recipes you can just toss into a crock pot and walk away from.

Mongolian Steak

The give-me-iron-please recipe you didn’t know you needed.

If you need some red meat in your life, this is going to make your mouth water. All you need is some flank steak, green onions, some shredded carrots, some sauces you probably already have in your fridge, and you’re good to go! Somehow the ginger, Sriracha, soy sauce, etc marries into this delicious, tangy recipe.

Macaroni and Cheese

Postpartum comfort food sent down from the cheese gods.

You can find MANY Mac n Cheese recipes on the internet with Velveeta. This one uses cream cheese, and it makes all the difference. This recipe isn’t exactly, ahem healthy, but nothing hits the spot like comfort food, especially when it is easy to make. All you need is macaroni noodles, a few different kinds of cheese, evaporated milk, whole milk, and some spices (annnnndddddd if you have green onions left over from the Mongolian Beef—boom, garnish. You’re welcome).

Meatballs

The three ingredient holy-crap-where-have-you-been meatballs you can eat easily with one hand.

Grape Jelly. BBQ Sauce. Bag of frozen meatballs. Go. I want to meet whoever first took their chance on mixing together jelly and BBQ sauce and shake their hand. This recipe is so easy and very freezable (and un-freezable) for those mamas like me who like to graze constantly throughout the day.

I am not a chef, which is why these recipes are so great. Any schmo can put some ingredients together. All you need is a ClickList order at Kroger (or Instacart Delivery) and about 10-20 minutes to throw some ingredients into the crockpot.

The role of a Postpartum Doula is to get new parents into a comfortable routine of life with a new addition to the family. People think of us when they need newborn care and recovery from birth, but we can also swoop in to help make sure you are eating! Go on over to the Services page to see a list of what we can provide.

Don’t forget to nourish that postpartum body!

Don’t forget to nourish that postpartum body!

Fed is best, but how do I know if my baby is getting enough?

One of the hardest parts of having a newborn is being able to tell whether or not baby has eaten enough.

Bottle feeding makes it easier for parents to see how many ounces baby has gotten, but in the first few days of establishing a milk supply (if you decide to breastfeed), it’s so important to feed from the breast. Doing so tells the body how much milk to make.

It is, therefore, important to feed often. You can’t feed your baby too much from the breast! With that being said, breastfeeding doesn’t come easily and oftentimes, mamas don’t know if their baby is getting enough (wouldn’t it be nice if bellies had measuring cups in them?!).

At first, a newborn needs only 1-3 ounces of breastmilk every 2-3 hours during the day, and to go no longer than 4 hours at night without eating. For formula, babies eat around 3 ounces and can sometimes sleep longer stretches because formula take longer to metabolize. As a rule, babies really shouldn’t go longer than 4 hours without eating the first few weeks of life until they gain back their birth weight.

The info-graph below has a few cues to look out for when trying to figure out if baby has eaten enough—it’s ALL about the output!

Kellymom was a great resource to me for all of my new mom feeding questions, mostly surrounding breastfeeding. You can visit her here.

newborns gotta eat!

newborns gotta eat!

...and the winning bottle goes to...

Well it isn’t that simple, unfortunately. If one bottle was unanimously better than the others, that’s all we would have to buy at Target and on Amazon. Fortunately there are a lot of good bottles for different babies and their very real preferences. Below I’ve have explored some options so you don’t have to. I’ve written just a brief summary about each bottle. Enjoy!

First and foremost—WHEN to introduce a bottle is half of the secret. Waiting too long to introduce one and baby won’t be as willing (they’ll prefer the breast). There is a sweet spot around the 6th week of life. Around that time, mom and baby have established a breastfeeding bond. A bottle then won’t impede the that relationship, 9 times out of 10. This is what I recommend mamas do before going back to work, to those who just want to get away for an hour or two, and for dads who want to feed baby too. This also allows for enough time for parents to figure out which bottles work and which won’t.

The next issue is HOW to feed. Many bottles, no matter what brand, do not have a slow flow. It’s the nipple that controls flow. A bottle that flows too quickly gets baby the milk faster than mom (and this is one reasons baby may prefer a bottle over mama—faster milk!). A way to slow down the feeding without worrying about bottles or nipples is to Pace Bottle Feed. You can watch a video on how to do that here.

Ok, now onto the bottles. Thank you for your patience. There are so many bottles, but only a few worth talking about. Let’s break them down.

A few bottle with valves, odd shapes, and other gimmicks-

Munchkin Latch- Design kills the performance in this one. This bottle has an anti-colic blue valve at the bottom to regulate flow. Not only does this bottle have a tendency to leak if you put it in the warmer, the nipple is so soft it collapses easily on a vigorous eater.

Tommee Tippee- This bottle is compact, easy to clean because of its wide mouth (the gimmicky shape is an advantage here!), and doesn’t have extra parts that aren’t difficult to clean or assemble.

Dr. Browns- Although this bottle touts minimizing air entering the baby’s mouth, there are just too many small, hard-to-clean moveable parts to make that feature worth while. This bottle takes a while to assemble and is not fun to take on the go. With that being said, it has been my go-to. As a new mom, I bought into anything that would minimize those colicky, gassy screams post-meal. In hindsight, it didn’t help my daughter swallowing air!

Avent- Voted top bottle by Babylist, Today’s Parents, and many other magazines. It is easy to assemble, easy to find, and reasonably priced.

Bottles that come with your pump-

Medela and Spectra- Very simple bottles, cheap and they come with your pump! The spectra lids do not fit very well on the bottle and loosen on their own causing spills. The Medela model leaks from the nipple, and it collapses mid-feeding as well, which I obviously don’t need to say is frustrating for all parties involved.

Bottles with bags-

Kiinde and other bottles, where the bag is inserted are not actually easier and less time-consuming feeding methods. If anything Kiinde and other bottles like it are harder. These bottles only work with one kind of bag and those bags are expensive. They work only in the kiinde bottle warmer. The bag leaves some milk behind that’s difficult to suck out for baby. If all of those excite you, this is the right bottle!

Verdict- For parents who don’t know where to begin, don’t want to spend too much, or solve a puzzle when standing over their sink, the answer is Tommy Tippee or Avent. The rest seems to be more work than they’re worth!

Bottles not mentioned are Comotomo, Mam, among many others.

Today’s Parent wrote a similar article, explored more bottles, and came to some different conclusions. Read more here!

Photocredit to Today’s Parent

Photocredit to Today’s Parent

Source: https://www.todaysparent.com/product-revie...