Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Leah's first solids & first EFF day

For those of you not versed in new mom lingo...EFF is exclusively formula fed (as compared to EBF - exclusively breast fed).

Yes, that's right, I think Leah is weaned. She seems to be preferring bottle to breast lately anyway. I realize that I would like to get my body back, be able to drink again, and be able to leave Leah for more than 2 hours without the stress of pumping or worrying that formula feeding will ruin my milk supply...oh wait, that last one already happened. Leah has been getting about 2 bottles of formula a day for a couple weeks now. That combined with her distractedness (age appropriate - she's just so aware there's a world around her now) and teething pain that seems worse from nursing than a bottle has really weakened my milk supply. So my options are to wean or to work really hard to get my supply back up. I've been wholeheartedly debating this with myself. I wasn't exactly mentally prepared to just abruptly stop nursing like this...I thought it would be a gradual 2 month process. But I hate pumping. And I hate fighting with Leah to make her take the breast when she's so obviously more full and happy after a bottle. And along with the reasons listed above...I think the universe is telling me that it's okay to wean at not quite 6 months.

So I haven't nursed since her 4 a.m. wake-up yesterday...and I'm not engorged. If I do become engorged at some point, then I will need to be in pain...and I'm certainly not getting the pump back out if I can help it. But barring that, we are done. My plan is to try to get Leah on a 4 8-ounce bottle a day schedule. Hopefully I can mimic a friend of mine who does 7, 11, 3, 7. That sounds pretty darn good after nursing approximately every 2 hours by day and once at night.

And yes, on a much more exciting note we started solids yesterday. Solids really means a really liquidy mush called "rice cereal." The cereal itself looks like little granules in a canister, but to begin I mixed a teaspoon of it with 4 teaspoons of formula (prepared from powder/water). It was really liquidy, but still solid enough to feed with a spoon. Since we were a bit rushed to get to music class in the morning I waited to have this meal after Leah's morning nap - so it was around noon.

No surprise...she loved it. She's been showing all the signs...sitting up well, watching us eat, seeming hungry often. When that first spoonful went into her mouth she made a funny curious face and wasn't sure what to do with it. Second spoonful was a bit better. By number three she had her mouth open awaiting the spoon and was doing her best to swallow instead of letting the food dribble out. Shafi worked from home yesterday, which ended up being an added bonus, because he got to both take pictures and partake in the feeding fun.

Turns out he's better at it than I am (which he oh-so-humbly - yes, read sarcasm there - pointed out to me when we went to bed last night). I was taking a spoonful and putting it just a little into her mouth to let it sort of drip off the spoon. He was taking just a little bit on the tip of the spoon and putting it a bit further in so that it was less likely to fall back out of her mouth. Turns out that's what you're supposed to do. Not sure how he knew that and I didn't...instinct I guess. You can see from the pictures below that his version was a lot less messy than mine. Although I would argue that mine was more fun. :)

When we were almost done with the 5 teaspoons of "solid food" (1+4=5), Leah abruptly lost interest, shutting her mouth and refusing the spoon. But she then took about 6.5 ounces of an 8 ounce bottle of formula, so it wasn't that she was full. Not sure how that equation works, but apparently it's normal baby behavior to have had enough before being full and then wanting a bottle. So now I'm supposed to gradually increase the amount of rice cereal and in a month or two she should take 3 to 9 tablespoons of cereal in 2 to 3 feedings - plus adding veggies/fruits, then meat, etc.

And the most exciting thing of all...Leah slept through the night. Not sure whether it was the solids or the formula, but she went to sleep around 7:30 p.m. and it's now 6:30 in the morning and she hasn't been up. She did cry out for about a minute around 11:30 p.m. I ignored it and then went and checked on her a few minutes after she had stopped and she was back asleep. Of course I woke up at 4 and have not been able to fall back to sleep (hence the early morning blogging). I have checked on her several times...she's breathing. I don't want to count my chickens too early or anything, but it's possible that we've made it to sleeping through the night just shy of her 6 month birthday. Wow! I'm so excited by the possibility. Hopefully tonight I can actually benefit from that and get a full night's sleep myself.

The first bite ("Hmm..what's this thing going in my mouth and what am I supposed to do with it?"):

The results ("Tastes okay, but I'm still not quite sure what to do."):

The 2nd spoonful headed to the mouth ("I guess I'm supposed to open up now?"):

A few bites later ("Oh, I'm supposed to eat this stuff. OK, now give me more. In fact, I think I can do it myself - give me that spoon."):

Halfway through ("I sure do like to eat!"):

And an added bonus - a little video of Shafi feeding Leah - this was taken about halfway through - obviously after she'd gotten the hang of it - and of course it shows Shafi's true aptitude for baby feeding:

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