Baby Feeding In All Ways

If I’m Gluten Free, Will My Baby Be Too?

Gluten free while baby was in my belly. Gluten free while I was breastfeeding. So now that baby is ready for food, does that mean they need to be gluten free too? The questions never stop for any mother, but for us gluten free mommies we’re hyper-critical of our baby’s eating phases for so many good reasons. 

Seeing as we ourselves live strictly gluten free lives, that certainly doesn’t change when baby comes into the picture. In fact it becomes even more important to avoid gluten like it’s a plague since the last thing you need while your pregnant is a violent glutening. So it only makes sense that since our babies aren’t ever exposed to gluten from conception on that they may themselves be gluten free when the time comes for food. Trust me, this question was top of my list while I was pregnant. 

Sure there’s a million genetic reasons why our babies are what they are. But I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that a genetic lottery alone would determine my baby’s food future. That my dietary restrictions would have no conceivable effects on my unborn baby’s future with food. After all, she was eating and not eating everything I was, it was a travesty. Both of my little girls missed out on gluten filled donuts, bagels, hoagies, and pizzas galore while they were in utero and beyond, fun for them huh? Don’t worry, both of them were born a healthy 8 lb and change, early to boot, so this gluten free diet does something for baby’s growth, like miracle grow. But I nevertheless couldn’t help but wonder if they ever would taste the delicious Italian flavors I grew up with. 

Truth is, since very few of us are able to see the future and know exactly what our children’s lives will look like, those questions are still questions. And the best part, even if they eat gluten from their first bite of cereal there’s no telling if one day they’re story will be just like mommy’s. After all, I woke up to a total body change, that took years to diagnose yes, but a drastic change that made a whole grocery store off limits. Prayers that that future they escape. But all I can tell you is what they’re life with food looks like so far. 

My toddler is living a half and half life, filled with gluteny snacks, pastas, and breads, and plenty of gluten free meals too, not out of necessity but merely by convenience. For my safety we limit how much gluten cooking and baking touches our kitchen, not to mention cooking and baking twos of everything is exhausting. As a gluten free mommy to a non-gluten free little girl I’m trying to introduce her to both worlds. She tastes flavors from mine and gobbles up parts of her daddy’s, getting the best from both. And even though food seems to be worry free for her now, I’m on heightened alert at all times. I watch her every bite like a hawk and am ready at any point if we need to make a change. 

For my baby girl, well she’s just starting out. We started her just like her sister, under doctor’s advice, to slowly introduce new foods, giving two to three days between newbies to watch for reactions. And so far, oatmeal, puffs, fruits, and veggies, gluten and gluten free, all seem to be safe. She’s loving it all, except oddly not the fruity flavored oatmeal which I thought would be a huge hit but instead I get that adorable stink face and shutter with disgust. And just like her big sissy, we’ll be keeping her under a microscope too. Her first birthday cake, first solid food dinner, and first Disney snack will all be free of gluten for now! 


Truth is when it comes to our girls we don’t have all of the answers. Actually not even half of the answers. I’ve interrogated the doctors at every appointment about their food habits and each time I’m reminded how well they’ve taken each food so far. Nobody has the answers of what will come but we just take it slow and steady. So maybe their future will be different than mine? Who knows, but I’m here, they’re built in gluten free guide, just in case they need to join mommy on my lonely gluten free boat.



Cheers To Full Baby Bellies No Matter What’s In Those Bottles! My Tips For Formula Feeding!

With our breastfeeding days far behind us now, and our little girl fast approaching 8 months, we’ve definitely hit our formula stride. Formula feeding is definitely easier in some ways but way more expensive and a bit less convenient in others (i.e. when Mommy and her girls venture out alone for a morning of errands and fun and forgets to bring along a lunchtime bottle because she didn’t anticipate that long of a morning, yeah that’s what I mean). Even though you don’t tote along an endless milk supply anymore to prevent uh-oh moments like those, the plus no more pumping, no more thawing, no more freezing, and no more endless stress and worry on this Mommy. I know that the formula is doing its job for my little one and I no longer have the fear of whether my milk is healthy enough, filling enough, if I fed her enough, and so on and so on. 

I am a total advocate for breastmilk don’t get me wrong but for so many mothers it’s just not in the cards. Sadly for so many breastfeeding can feel like you’re fighting a losing battle rather than a blissful experience. And when it comes down to it I’d rather feed my baby formula than have her go hungry if my milk supply is too low. Now that we’re full time formula and food eaters I know that my little girl is full because she’s thriving everyday and growing like a weed. She’s as adorable as they come, strong as a baby bull, and so very smart, so for this little girl (and her big sister too), formula does a baby good.  

Just choosing your formula and figuring out that feeding road can be a task and a half though. With our second little girl we stuck with the same formula that worked for our first which thankfully made her sister equally as happy. But picking out the formula to how to introduce and finally figuring out how much to give can be really tough so I wanted to share some of my tips as a 2 time half breastfeeding/ formula mom.

Step 1, Picking Your Formula

No kidding, there are about fifty different options of formula out there, so where do you start? We always make big decisions like these through the pediatrician. Always start there. See what they recommend, they know your child’s health the best. Don’t be offended, yes we know our babies the best but they know how their systems work and what they need to be the healthiest inside and out. Our pediatrician recommended Gerber Good Start and for us both babies took to it immediately! We’re using Gerber Good Start Gentle most recently which is most similar to breastmilk, nutrient wise.

Step 2, Introducing Your Very First Formula Bottle

This can either go fantastic, eh okay, or be a total no go. My advice, be patient, heed the advice of your pediatrician, and save your frozen breastmilk for this time. Our ped recommended to mix breastmilk and formula when you first offer and gently shift the proportion OR go straight to formula and see what happens.

We did it both ways. With our first baby girl she was so tiny when we had to start formula so we were even more cautious and did half and half. With out second baby girl, she was twice her sister’s age, a whopping 4 months, so we figured we’d give the straight formula a try. Yay for us because she loved in since Day 1. A little suspicious at first but never turned it down. My advice, try straight formula first (unless advised by the doctor not to do so), then try half and half or less formula, and then if baby still isn’t a fan try another formula. Very tough to find the magic formula and make the transition but you will, be patient.

Step 3, How Much? How Often?

Isn’t this the unanswered question that’s plagued mothers for ages. And just so you know, no number that anyone gives you works for all. Every baby really is different. Every pediatrician will tell you that they’ll stop when they’re full but I can tell you both of my girls would’ve drank 10 oz bottles from the start if they could. So we tried it out with 4-5 oz about 5 times a day which seemed to do the trick for the most part. Our little girl was a colic baby from the start, not to mention a non-pacifier baby too, so fussiness was always very hard to distinguish from hunger. But I’m happy to say whatever we were feeding her and the amount seemed to pacify her because soon enough we were out of the over fussy stage and onto just normal baby fussy. 

Feeding babies is tough, no matter how you do it. But with formula, it’s all about trial and error from the start and the downside is it can be very pricey. When they’re available though, coupons will be your best friend, yes $3 can make a huge difference when you’re going through two formula containers a month. Also if you pick a formula your pediatrician recommends they more than likely have samples of those so ASK! Every time you go for your baby check ups ASK for samples, any free bit is a blessing. 

Best of luck formula mommies and babies! Cheers to full baby bellies no matter what’s in those bottles!

Two half breastfed/ formula bed girls loving the Northeast Blizzard of 2016. Well, one more than the other!
Two half breastfed/ formula fed girls loving the Northeast Blizzard of 2016. Well, one more than the other!





Mommy’s Breastfeeding Struggles & Baby’s Colic Just Don’t Mix #MommyConfessions

Wow, the past few weeks have been packed full of activity around here so excuse my absence. But in the middle of all of the chaos, my sweet little baby turned 4 months and my breastfeeding adventure had come to an end. But no worries I’m still feeding my little one aren’t I, so there will be plenty more baby feeding adventures to come, from formula dos an don’ts to introducing food for the first time! For now though, back to my eternal breastfeeding problem that finally caught up to me. 

My first go around at breastfeeding a couple years back was short and anything but sweet. It was stressful, painful, sad, and disappointing, all of which was only exacerbated by my emotional state postpartum. So after only a month of trying my hardest to nurse my brand new baby we had to start introducing formula half of the time to help her with weight gain and supplement my low supply. Soon enough we were full time and I was relieved of my breastfeeding duties all together. Not being able to breastfeed my first go around was heartbreaking, but now, in retrospect, was probably a blessing in disguise. I was beyond stressed about whether or not I was keeping up with baby and her lack of weight gain was just too much for me to handle, especially seeing as my postpartum emotions were far from positive and my physical state was barely 80% by 8 weeks.

This time around though I made it to 4 months with my second baby girl and honestly I loved almost every minute of it. My postpartum emotions were much more positive this time which I’m sure only helped things, but as far as the mechanics behind it all, things just seemed to work a tad bit better. My last experience I was barely making ends meet in the breastfeeding department, so to speak, and this time I seemed to be meeting our little girls needs or at least I hoped so (Bizarre seeing as supply was not much changed since my first baby but apparently every baby’s needs are different, says the doctors and lactation consultatns.). From day one though none of it was easy, besides the obvious demands that stand for any breastfeeding mommy, the stress over my supply was sometimes too much to handle. 

So many factors go into successful breastfeeding, the first and most important is your milk supply obviously, but unfortunately this about 99% genetic, which makes it 99% out of your control. For me, this was the exact issue, along with constant pain, that kept me from breastfeeding my first little girl for more than a month and a half. Thankfully this time the pain was intermittent but making enough milk seemed to be my same story. I fed around the clock, pumped on the off times, and did about as much as I could to establish a good supply and I still only pumped a measly 7 or 8 ounces total from a longer stretch. After many a phone call with my doctor and lactation consultants I learned that there was only so much that I could control in this area and that so much of it was genetic.

Having so little control over yet another aspect of new mommyhood is beyond frustrating. Sure the delivery was out of my hands, but really this had to be too? Seriously, again really? Even though sometimes I feel like my body just fights against me every chance it can I always come back to the same thought, if my girls are healthy and happy, with full bellies, then I’m happy. My emotions and feelings about what I want are minimal and can take a back seat to their health and happiness. So this time around with my emotions in check and my post-delivery recuperation much more positive than before I was able to spend those precious moments with my baby girl and tons of less than precious moments pumping in-between. At the beginning things were going pretty well, even though my baby girl lost the undesirable greater than 10% of her birth rate before we left the hospital just like her sister, but thankfully she had gained it back before too long despite fighting off the jaundice. And once we were back up at the birth weight we seemed to get into a somewhat comfortable feeding rhythm, but with a little girl who was very colicky since her early weeks the next few months were anything but comfortable.   

While I loved every bit of my quiet snuggle time and convenience of feeding her anywhere and everywhere without a bottle and formula in tow, the constant worry of whether our little girl was screaming because she was still hungry never left my mind. Not to mention the stress of whether my milk was filling enough for her seeing as I eat a very restrictive gluten free diet which truthfully didn’t fill me half of the time. Maybe these things were silly, especially given the constant reassurance from the pediatrician that since she was gaining weight all was good in that area, but anytime you have a baby who doesn’t seem satisfied you begin to search for fault anywhere, most likely within yourself. And trust me that added stress and worry certainly doesn’t help an already struggling milk supply. So after three months of breastfeeding we decided to start adding in some formula and see if that helped tame the fussiness.

Just as we had hoped, adding in just one bottle of formula a day seemed to help but didn’t take all of the fussiness away which with a colicky baby would make sense. No matter, we stuck with the one bottle of formula a day while mommy fed the rest of the day which gave her the best of both worlds. But after two family colds that made my milk supply drop even more we decided to retire the breastfeeding at 4 months, use up the rest of the frozen breastmilk, and then turn to formula full time. And even though we’re still on the fussier side, my baby girl seems plenty satisfied, making this mommy happier than ever. 

It was a whirlwind first few months as a new mommy of two that was more positive than my previous postpartum experience but more challenging in so many different ways. Nothing kills a mother more than a helpless, tiny newborn who’s cries don’t seem to be soothed by anything, not even her mommy’s hugs. For me, my first few months with my littlest girl were beautiful in so many ways but heartbreaking in so many others. From jaundice and weight gain issues for the first month to inconsolable colicky crying for the next few months my world was shaken, but being a mother to these amazing little girls who show me so much love in every way they can has given me the strength to do everything I can for them. I’m strong for them because of them. Through all of the worry in those first months all I needed was just to look into my baby girl’s big blue eyes and instantly know that all would be okay. And even though I’ll never know if it was coincidence that my baby girl’s fussiness seemed to go away when we switched to formula full time or if she just outgrew the colic which just so happens seems to occur at 4 months, none of it matters now. It’s all just part of her story, our story really, and those breastfeeding moments that I shared with both of my girls no matter how short they were, I’ll never forget and will always hold a special place in my heart.

And as you can see, formula fed, breastfed, or a little bit of both, my girls are both healthy and happy, just the way I hoped they would be! I just love my little kangaroo and sea turtle!

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