Funtainer

 

I’ve been resisting purchasing a Funtainer bottle for the longest time because they are so expensive at almost S$60 compared to less than S$15 for normal BPA free bottles. Yes it is a vacuum flask but I didn’t need the temperature keeping capabilities, until recently. As faithful readers of this blog (yes, all 3 of you: dad, mum and hubby) would know, Sophia does not drink formula milk but guzzles down 3 full cups of freshmilk a day. So when planning for my trip, a very big consideration is how to bring milk around without it spoiling. Of course, I’m sure milk is available everywhere in Australia, except for the outback which us city folks are obviously not going to with a baby in tow, but there are the flights and such so we thought it made sense to bring milk out in a thermos.

What a great decision we made! Sophia loves her new Funtainer bottle to bits and will only drink from it. What is it that appeals to her I have no idea. Perhaps she finds the flower prints pretty. Perhaps its easy to drink from. The first day we gave it to her, she drank non stop! That day we changed many diapers.

This is not an advertorial but I am one satisfied customer. Kudos!

Big-spoon

The little girl is now fascinated with big spoons. And the way she says big *pause* poon is so cute. The interesting thing is, she actually feeds herself better with big chinese spoons better than with her small spoons because they are deeper so food has a lower tendancy to fall on on the way from the bowl to her mouth but once it reaches she can tilt it such that her upper lip can sweep food into her mouth – bingo. She’s now consistently asking for “big-spoon” at meals. Here’s the baby eating noodles with her biiig spoon:

 

Yay, big spoon!

Yums!

Happy baby!

Now switch over to a baby spoon:

Hmm.. What am I supposed to do with this?

Yay! She can drink milk without a bottle

Drinking from a straw cup

 

I’ve been reluctant to wean Sophia off the bottle even though she’s drinking water very well with a straw cup now because (i) she seldom drinks more than about 30ml of water at a go and (ii) when she doesn’t want to drink she’ll deliberately take in a mouthful and spit it out. I’m not too keen on wasting precious breast milk that way. However, today I went out with a bottle of milk but forgot to bring the teat for the bottle so I poured the milk into her straw cup and kept my fingers very tightly crossed. To my pleasant surprise, she finished all 220ml of the milk! I totally didn’t expect it as I always thought that the straw was too thin so she would never finish much liquid from it simply because it takes too much effort. I guess it just goes to show that we should never say never.

It may just be beginner’s luck this time but at least I know its technically possible so after Sophia turns 1, the cow’s milk that she gets will be served in cups. Hopefully I don’t have to grapple with issues of bottle attachment and misaligned teeth and jaws from excessive bottle use ūüôā

Weaning guide

For the control freaks out there, this is not for you. Perhaps you should try Gina Ford. This is a general rules, practical, what-worked-for-me type of guide.

1) When?

There are tonnes of guides out there that will give you a list of signs to watch out for – ability to sit upright, loss of tongue thrust instinct, interest in adult food, seeming to be hungry all the time etc. Watch out for them but I would say, unless your baby appears really impatient, just wait the full 6 months, especially if you are exclusively breastfeeding. They have a lifetime of solid food ahead of them, but only so much time when they are fully beastfed. Even if you supplement or are exclusively bottle feeding, there is a host of reason to delay solids till 6 months and¬†tonnes of resources out there to convince you of the truth of this. Still, each baby is different and guidelines are guidelines. Even if you waited patiently the full 9 months, there is no guarantee your baby will be ready (mine wasn’t initially) and conversely if you baby is indeed ready¬†a day shy of 6¬†months, don’t be so rigid and insist on the magic 6 months!

The baby is just part of the equation though. You, the adult feeding him/her, is the other part and feel free to pick a day most convenient for you. I found saturday most convenient because it gave me 2 days to oberve how she took to food before buying ingredients and batch making for the rest of the week and leaving instructions with the grandpa (her main caregiver) on what to give her.

2) When (time of the day)

The next “when”.¬†I followed Gina Ford’s advice of starting with the 11am, which turned out to be a good thing because even now that she is taking 3 meals, she eats best at the noon feed, which must mean she’s hungriest or somehow most inclined to eat solids at that time. I very quickly moved to 3 feeds a day though.

3) How?

There are 2 main ways, the baby led weaning way and the puree way. And there’s nothing to say you can’t mix the 2.

With baby led weaning your baby will learn to self feed much faster. The claim is also that they will be better eaters because the theory is that they are given bits of the parents’ food but I find that in my context if I were to do that she will either end up consuming way too much sodium or having only rice and bread, neither of which is healthy. There are also a lot of things that baby just can’t manage on their own for a long time like green leafies, unless you puree them, so baby led weaning excludes a lot of foods. But end of the day, as long as you try to include as much variety as possible, it should be fine. The basic idea is to cut up soft foods into chip shaped sizes initially then smaller cubes as they gain more psycho motor skills, and¬†be prepared for the mess. There are¬†few rules with BLW. The basic premise is that babies will be able to eat it if they are ready, and not if they are not (eg not being able to pick up a grape if they are still likely to choke on it). I would recommend a huge dose of common sense though, like not giving baby a peanut anyway, just in case the theory fails and baby does manage to pick it up.

With purees, just steam then blend. Simple, especially if you have a steamer blender like the philips one. Other methods of cooking are also fine but again use common sense, frying is probably a bad idea, baking things like sweet potatoes is probably a good idea. I would avoid the microwave if possible simply because I’m still not convinced what it does to the food and it is very likely that at least some of the nutrients that would be retained by steaming would be destroyed by the microwave.

4) What

I initially poured through the lists of what to introduce when but after a while threw them out and just went with gut feel. I would say avoid shellfish and peanuts for the first year and no salt and sugar. For the rest, anything goes, just ensure variety.

5) How to start

Most traditional texts say start with rice cereal. My belief is there is no reason why you can’t start with something else. I would recommend something that is not sweet though, wouldn’t want the baby to come to expect solids to be sweet. Most texts also say that the consistency should be very runny but I found this difficult to handle and generally just flows out whereas with a thicker consistency my baby is more able to keep it in her mouth and eventually bring it back to swallow. The trick though, is to ensure there are no lumps initially. So even if you’re starting with avocado, better blend it. My mashed avocadoes had lumps which Sophia didn’t appreciate.

Clearly I started with purees, if you are going with baby led weaning, just strip down baby to diapers or put on an apron styled bib, leave a few pieces of food on the high chair tray and wait. It may help if you walk away.

6) After the beginning

For the first 3 weeks, I would go with veges and grains only. No fruit, no meat.

In week 4 introduce some chicken stock if you’re going with purees

After week 5, bring on the meat as mains and fruit as dessert/breakfast.

Once baby is eating substantial amounts, I try to ensure that for dinner half her portion is meat and the other half vege. For breakfast she gets fruit with wholegrain cereal.

Most asian families progress to porridge after baby is about 8 months old. I’m not a fan because proportionally there is too much carb, even if a lot of ingredients are added. If you are keen of going down this track (which I personally did for a while too), I recommend using wholegrains as the base instead of white rice and vary the grains – quinoa, amaranth, millet, rolled oats are all good choices.

There. Here’s the weaning guide according to Elaine.

Solid food adventure

Sophia started her first taste of dolid food on¬†30 June¬†2011. A few days earlier than the exclusive breastfeeding guideline of 6 months but seriously, she eats so little that I don’t think it makes any difference. We had avocadoes that were ripening at home and on 30 June they looked perfect. We all know how avocadoes go from ripe to overripe faster than you can say “eat it now” so I made the executive decision to feed it to her while it looked perfectly green and yellow. The first time I probably didn’t mash it up well enough so it ended up all being pushed out of her mouth by her tongue. Subsequently I mixed it up really well with breastmilk so it was kind of like gravy but still most of it comes out as green dribble. We heard just one loud gulp so we think she must have swallowed some at least. One can only hope.

After 2 days of avocados the avocados got overripe so we moved on to brown rice cereal. It seemed to come out with dribble as well, especially when I mix it with too much milk. She also seemed to like to bite on the spoon more than eat the food. But this morning the slightly thicker mash seems to disappear in her mouth so she must have eaten it. Yay! I really hope Sophia will be a good eater.

Search for the perfect bottle

I started my mothering career with 4 purchased bottles and 2 bottles from the hospital: 2x avent PP 250ml bottles, 1x standard NUK glass 150ml bottle, 1x pigeon wide neck glass 250ml bottle and 2x brandless glass bottles with disposable rubber teats from the hospital. Along the way, I acquired a couple of wide neck NUK bottles and medela nipples to go with medela’s storage bottles. Unfortunately I have yet to find the perfect bottle among these and the search continues. Below is my review of the various bottles:

Avent: Teat too stiff and squarish for baby to latch on properly and leaks if not screwed on right.

Pigeon glass: Initially ok but eventually baby rejected the stiff teat after getting used to the breast. Also leukocytes will stick to glass so using glass bottles to feed breastmilk is actually a waste of the good stuff.

NUK standard: Right from the start baby had problems latching on, probably because she is not used to the small teat compared to the gigantic breast. Also there is the glass issue.

NUK wide neck PP bottles: The bottle that created and solved my bottle rejection problem. The S sized rubber teat had a hole much too small for Sophia to suck and so after a very long and difficult session with it, she rejected all bottles. However, as we continued our bottle training, the M sized silicon teat was the one with most success. Even when she was refusing to drink, she was willing to allow it to stay in her mouth and would push it around with the tongue or chew on it. The other bottles provoked loud screams the moment they go near her mouth. However, the vent simply refused to work for me. Regardless of how I try to open the vent by rolling it, pulling it, poking a toothpick through it, screwing the bottle cap less tightly (tried everything from real tight to so loose it leaks), the teat would just collapse as air cannot enter. The vent has only worked a grand total of 3 times for me.

Medela bottles: S sized is too small for Sophia and she needs to work too hard. The M sized is a bit too large and she seems to have difficulty keeping up Рshe huffs and puffs her way through but finishes very quickly. Also, the new medela bottles go soft after being sterilised. The old ones that came with the pump did not have this problem. Also, since starting with these bottles, Sophia started throwing up about 2 hours after the 11am feed the past 2 days and I wonder whether it has anything to do with the bottles.

Conclusion so far is the NUK wide neck and medela M teats will do but the search for a perfect bottle continues. Trying Playtex ventaire and will update. Also may try pigeon again and if she’s willing to suck, may get her the training cup with the same type of nipple and let her progress to spout.