Whether you are getting ready to introduce the bottle or transition baby to daycare, what follows are a host of helpful resources on bottle feeding for the breastfed baby you'll want to have your finger on.
What is paced bottle feeding?
When you think of bottle feeding, the image of a baby reclined nearly horizontal in a caregiver’s arms with the bottle angled down into the baby’s mouth is perhaps the traditional picture that comes to mind. However, this may not be the best approach to bottle feeding your infant, especially if that infant is fed from a bottle only when away from the breastfeeding parent and fed from the breast when together.
Why paced bottle feeding matters?
From the infant’s perspective, breastfeeding takes a lot more effort. Where a bottle can give a fast steady stream with minimal work, the breast has an ebb and flow and requires work for the baby to draw down more milk. When an otherwise breastfed baby is fed via bottle feeding - reclined and bottle angled for a steady flow of milk - that baby may then become impatient when she returns to the breast.
If you’ve ever eaten a meal too quickly, you know that it often takes awhile for your stomach to send your brain the message that you should slow down or be finished. The same goes for babies and bottle-feeding. Where the effort of breastfeeding and pauses in milk flow give the baby on the breast the opportunity to tune into those cues, bottles offered without a paced feeding approach run the risk of continually overfeeding baby.
If baby is overfed via bottle, it can mean a cranky, uncomfortable baby. It may also give the breastfeeding parent the impression that there isn’t enough milk for the baby and make it difficult for pumping to match the amount of milk baby consumes when away from the parent.
If your baby’s caregiver is unfamiliar with paced feeding or more accustomed to feeding formula fed bottles, it may be important to offer resources and education so that your baby is fed in a manner that works with your breastfeeding goals. For example, it is common to offer formula fed babies larger bottles, whereas breastfed babies often thrive with smaller bottles offered more frequently to better mimic their experience when at the breast. For more on how much expressed milk a baby needs, see Kellymom’s explanation of the recommendation for 1-1.5 oz per hour away.
If you are looking for solid information on pumping and maintaining supply, Nancy Mohrbacher’s discussion of the “Magic Number” is a helpful read.
How to paced feed - a collection of resources
Here is a whole collection of written and video resources that explain and demonstrate the paced bottle feeding approach. If you find yourself needing to communicate with your baby’s caregiver about this method, these are awesome resources you can share.
Kellymom on how to bottle feed a breastfed baby
Nancy Mohrbacher on paced feeding for the caregiver
Paced Bottle Feeding Video 1
Paced Bottle Feeding Video 2
Paced Bottle Feeding Video 3
Want more support in the childbearing year? Nested Mama offers breastfeeding education, doula support, sleep consultations, and more. Connect with Nested Mama on Facebook or Instagram for more tips and helpful information.
Wiessinger, Diane, et. al. Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Families. New York: Ballantine Books, 2014. Print.
In a nutshell:
If you've ever paged through LLL's hefty The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, you will find many similarities in Sweet Sleep. Most notably, the authors attempt to bring you the intimacy of a support meeting but in book form by speaking directly to "you" the reader and filling the pages with first-person accounts of sleep struggles and successes. While most sleep books on the market focus on training your baby or scheduling feeds, Sweet Sleep offers a different perspective on nighttime parenting.
The book opens with a checklist of The Safe Sleep Seven. If met, these seven requirements "make your bed as SIDS-safe as a crib and greatly reduce other risks in just a few steps" (3). Indeed, Sweet Sleep suggests that if you can meet these criteria, bedsharing may provide a low-risk option to get more rest while meeting your baby's needs for nourishment and attachment.
The middle sections of the book work through developmentally normal expectations for the naps and nighttimes of your nursling at all ages and stages. Throughout it all, the book maintains that needs for nighttime nursing and reassurance are normal into toddlerhood. The book saves the nitty-gritty work of wading through research that often is cited to warn against bedsharing for the end of the book and makes a thorough but accessible argument in support of their view. The book concludes with a guide to handle any negative responses you may receive from family and friends.
For those who meet the Safe Sleep Seven criteria, Sweet Sleep provides a welcome perspective different from most sleep advice books on the market. If you are a breastfeeding parent and committed to responsive, attachment-promoting parenting, this book could provide much needed reassurance.
Other quotes of note:
"Our immature babies don't have much choice in how they behave. But we as mothers, with our fully-developed brains, can choose our behaviors. Our brilliant little still-developing babies, who are helpless without us, count on us to choose well. We're not just filling their stomachs; we're feeding their souls. And our own" (44).
"All children move out of your bed and your room and sleep through the night, without your having to do a thing. Sometimes you can make it faster with well-timed nudging. Sometimes you need a change for your own sake. And sometimes the best approach is no approach . . . yet (or maybe ever). The essence of nudging is that you can always relax about it for now and trust that time - with or without a little nudge - will take care of it. It will" (193).
"Probably the single best tip is to step outside each day, even if it's raining or snowing. Throw your shoulders back, look up, and take a couple of deep breaths. You're one of billions of mothers, now and across time. You're built strong, and you're built competent. You're going to find happiness and skills that you never knew you had in you. Even if it doesn't feel like it yet" (239).
Are you finding yourself exhausted and looking for sleep support? Nested Mama offers a heart-centered holistic approach to family sleep. Learn how you can get the support you need today and the rest you need tonight.
Looking for a way to stay active that is specifically tailored to the changing needs of a pregnant body? Prenatal yoga offer a chance to build strength and flexibility even as your body changes and your belly grows. And, prenatal yoga classes are an awesome chance to meet and bond with others who are expecting a little one.
Not sure how to find the right class for you? Check out these awesome options we have for prenatal yoga classes in the Corridor! Click the links to find out studio info and read below to hear from the prenatal yoga instructors why they are passionate about what they do.
The goal of prenatal yoga is to help guide the body through pregnancy in a healthy and intentional way. Prenatal yoga helps prep your body for the act of labor but also helps keep your body comfortable as it changes in dramatic ways. We work on encouraging pelvic floor strength and intentional movement to maintain strength and mobility. As a facilitator I support all choices and birth preferences. I also provide information on various resources for pregnancy, delivery and postpartum life. I LOVE being able to part of the journeys of soon to be moms and am so honored to be part of this beautiful community in Iowa City.
I have been teaching yoga for many years and the reason why I specialized in prenatal yoga was how it tailors to the expecting mama. Most people know what yoga is, the physical postures, meditation and breath, which are all needed in labor and birth. However, prenatal yoga takes it a step further, the connection and relationship between mama and her baby(ies). Preparing for labor is physical but even more emotional, which is something mamas don't hear much about. In prenatal yoga I am able to teach and show mamas different poses they are able to utilize in labor and birth but also guide them through breath and meditation to listen to their own body and tune into baby, too. Another cool aspect of prenatal yoga is the community. Mamas come together each week, on a different journey in their pregnancy, but they are all expecting! They are able to ask one another questions, give advice in a safe space, from trusting mamas they have come to know each week.
At balance kids & family yoga we pride ourselves in creating a community of moms and soon-to-be moms who share resources, information, and experiences, while build a lasting support system for one another. Supporting mamas to be the healthiest and happiest version of themselves during this very special time in their lives is what I love most.
My combined prenatal & postnatal classes are designed to expertly guide mom-to-be through a gentle, modified yoga practice with your changing body in mind. Experience relief from aches and pains commonly associated with pregnancy, while building strength, flexibility and confidence in preparation for labor and delivery. This class is also great for the new mom to gently ease back into a practice or a fitness routine post delivery.
I believe that empowering women to trust their bodies and tap into their breath as they prepare mentally, physically, and spiritually for labor is so important, as these tools can translate equally well into preparation for parenthood as well as life skills that serve us on and off the mat. I truly hope that each and every woman leaves my studio feeling relaxed yet rejuvenated, stronger, and more confident, knowing that they are the perfect person for the job of becoming mama to their precious bundle. Just breathe mamas, you got this.
As a new mother, I found so much peace and community by attending prenatal and baby yoga classes in Iowa City (Sweet Feet Yoga). When I moved up to the Cedar Rapids metro, I found myself wanting to create the same environment and community around pregnancy, birth, and motherhood to support a family’s growth through the transition. Within the last year, I became certified as a prenatal and children’s yoga (3 months – 5 years) instructor through Dana Robinson at Sweet Feet Yoga. And today, I am now the owner/instructor of Sage Nest Yoga, where I teach Baby & Me, Tots, and Tykes yoga. In July 2018, I will begin teaching prenatal yoga on Wednesday evenings in Marion.
I love that our yoga practice builds community, gives us time to bond with our sweet babies, and allows us to be breathe and be active together!
My approach to prenatal and postnatal yoga weaves together ancient wisdom and modern women. My classes are designed to help mamas prepare for birth and beyond in body, mind and spirit. You can expect a practice focused on the breath with opportunities for meditation, pranayama, relaxation, alignment based movement and a sacred space to connect with other mamas. The season, weather, time of day and energy of the room are all integrated in my classes. My passion for supporting women in pregnancy and postpartum comes from my own motherhood journey. I hopes to help mamas feel empowered to make the best decisions for their individual needs and families. I completed my RYT200 at Hothouse Yoga in Iowa City and have since studied at Prajna Yoga in Santa Fe and completed my level 1 RPYT with Hannah Muse at the Mount Madonna Institute in Santa Cruz. My postnatal class is open to mamas up to two years postpartum. I ask kindly that babes only up to crawling join mama and after that for mamas to come solo.
Looking for more resources as you move through pregnancy and transition into life with baby? Nested Mama offers prenatal and postpartum doula support, childbirth education, breastfeeding education, eco baby consultations, and infant sleep education. Connect with Nested Mama on Facebook or Instagram to get more tips and insight into pregnancy and life with baby in the Corridor.
Starting Solids: FAQ’s and resources
It happens like this. You’ve had your baby, and life is a whirlwind. You and baby both start to come out of the 4th trimester, life seems a little more predictable, and breastfeeding or bottle feeding or pumping or combo feeding evens out.
You’re finally getting the hang of this motherhood thing - go you!
Then you realize what is on the horizon - solids! Even though you just figured out this whole feeding the baby thing, you’ve got to figure it out - again.
You’ve got relatives saying I fed my baby solids at X point and he was such a happy baby - you should feed your baby NOW.
Or my babies all slept through the night at X weeks and never made a peep - you should feed your baby NOW.
It’s overwhelming, for sure. But, don’t worry. I’ve got you. What follows are a whole host of resources to help you navigate these questions.
***Always consult your pediatrician or doctor when in doubt about baby’s growth and development. These resources do not replace medical advice.***
Frequent Concerns About Starting Solids
My mother/aunt/grandmother/neighbor/babysitter said they fed solids to their baby at x months.
Yes, anyone who parented in a previous generation likely started solids much much earlier than current recommendations. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies receive breastmilk or formula exclusively until 6 months.
My doctor said I could start offering my baby food before 6 months.
If your pediatrician recommends a different start (say 4 months), you can ask why they suggest something different than the recommendation given by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Perhaps there is something specific to your baby’s particular situation that should be weighed when assessing risks and benefits to a different plan. Regardless, ask questions until you feel you have the answers you need.
My mother/aunt/grandmother/friend/check out lady at the grocery store says solids will help my breastfed baby sleep through the night.
Breast milk is the most bioavailable food for your baby - that does mean it is digested quickly. That said, babies wake for all kinds of reasons - teething, reassurance, thirst, hunger, discomfort, developmental changes, and so forth. The answer on sleep and solids, according to research is no - this is not a magic button for longer stretches of baby sleep. Instead, know that night waking is developmentally normal and baby will sleep longer without a feed or reassurance when he or she is ready. If you are looking for a holistic approach to family sleep, you can read more about Nested Mama Infant Sleep Education here.
My baby nurses frequently - should I start solids to stretch out feedings?
Even after starting solids, breastmilk or formula should remain your baby’s primary source of nutrition. Your baby may nurse as frequently (or even more frequently when going through growth spurts, teething, or illness) even after starting solids. Eating is a new skill, and offering breast milk before solids will make sure that the transition is gradual and baby’s nutritional needs are met throughout that transition.
So and so told me that I have to start feeding baby cereal to my baby now.
As with starting solids earlier, past generations began feeding baby solids with cereal. Some still advocate this practice because it is fortified with iron. Formula is also fortified with iron. If you are wondering if your breastfed baby should start with cereal because of concern for iron, here is a great resource from Kellymom. More recently, many suggest you not feed baby cereal as it isn’t particularly nutrient dense, and offering other iron rich foods is always an option.
Do I have to introduce solids in specific order to prevent allergies?
The most recent recommendations from the AAP suggest that limiting certain allergens should be done only if there is a family history of allergies. If this is not the case for your family, common allergen foods are fine to introduce post 6 months and signs of readiness. Honey, however, should be avoided until after age 1 because of possible bacteria. If you have any concerns about specific foods, allergies, and your family, it is best to consult with your doctor.
I hear some people talk about baby self-feeding or baby-led weaning (BLW). What does that mean?
For the past several generations, it has been commonplace to introduce baby to solid food by offering pureed food that is then spooned into baby’s mouth without requiring chewing. More recently, an approach termed baby-led weaning has become a prominent alternative to feeding purees.
With BLW, you begin solids when baby meets certain signs of readiness and offer appropriately sized, soft foods. While starting with purees focuses on baby eating before learning to chew, BLW advocates babies work on chewing, mashing, holding, squishing, spitting, and the intricate dance of mouth and tongue muscles first, without stress on how much they actually consume. With breastmilk or formula still the main source of nutrition in the first year, BLW allows for a gradual, child-led transition into solids. Advocates of this approach highlight that their babies enjoy a wide variety of tastes and textures from the start, and it makes for easier meals because baby eats what you eat (with some mindfulness to size and softness of food) from the start.
I’m interested in BLW, but I’m terrified my baby will choke.
It is important to note that babies can choke on both purees and table foods. When deciding if BLW is the right way to offer solids for your family, it may be helpful to explore the difference between choking and gagging. Gagging occurs when a piece of food triggers a reflex - in babies, that reflex is triggered more forward in the mouth than adults. Gagging is a normal part of exploring food and doesn’t indicate choking is occuring. You can learn more about the difference between the two here.
Ultimately, go with the approach to solids that works best for you family - trust your gut!
When anticipating the arrival of our first child, we took learning about the birth process very seriously. A constant (and rotating) stack of books about childbirth sat on our night stands, and I made use of our Amazon Prime membership to readily order those books I wanted to add to our family library.
We even took a 12-week childbirth class and readily did the reading and homework required. An academic by training, I thought if I could amass all the right knowledge, I could conqueror the unknown and feel ready for baby.
While I was grateful for the birth knowledge I gained, in hindsight I wished I would have spent more time actively preparing for what came after. Birth, as they say, is just the beginning, and we had so much to learn.
With all that in mind, I'm so thrilled to offer this Planning for Postpartum Workshop. This course doesn't replace childbirth education. Instead, it fill a much needed gap in how we view postpartum and prepare for the changes that come in the days, weeks, and months after baby's birth. The course is a workshop, because having conversations with your partner and defining your goals and your specific plan are important. The workshop gives you the tools and space you need to make the plan - the plan itself is totally unique to your family and what you need to flourish.
Ready for the ease that comes with knowing you are prepared for postpartum? Register for the next Planning for Postpartum workshop!
Looking for more support as you transition into life with baby? See the full range of Nested Mama services - doula support, breastfeeding education, childbirth education, eco baby consultations, and infant sleep education.
Over the course of a pregnancy, the body goes through a lot of changes that can leave you feeling uncomfortable or tense. A massage sounds good anytime, but in pregnancy you want to make sure you choose a massage therapist experienced in prenatal massage.
Luckily, the Corridor is home to a wonderful array of talented massage therapists who have the experience and skills to pamper you in your pregnancy.
I have been sharing touch and movement techniques along with patient advocacy for optimal labor, birth and recovery as a birth doula for 21 years both in hospital and in home births. I am the Pregnancy Massage Instructor at East West School of Integrative Healing Arts and have been teaching other massage therapists about physiological birth and techniques to promote healthy birth since 2007. I also offer community classes in Infant and Labor Support Massage Techniques for birthing couples to empower you with safe, effective hands on techniques that support your optimal experience. I recently became a LPN and I am working in elderly and end of life care as a nurse. I gave birth to my two children at home with the support of midwives. The pleasure and ease I learned is possible in birthing has inspired me to share these tools with new families. In addition to birth and postpartum doula services, I am available for private birth planning, massage therapy, energy medicine and healing consultation.
Over the past six years working as a pregnancy and birth doula, I have become increasingly more passionate about healing and therapeutic touch through massage therapy. The need to care for a woman’s pregnant body and mind is such a key part of feeling comfortable, healthy, and cared for during her pregnancy journey. So many changes, both physically and emotionally. Massage can help connect a woman to her changing body, relax sore and tight muscles, increase circulation, and calm anxiety and lower stress.
I added massage therapy to my practice because I feel that these things can make an incredible difference in the well being of expectant, as well as new mamas. Being in birth work throughout my career I have education, knowledge, and experience with pregnancy which allows me to safely and effectively care for and provide massage to women prenatally.
My life's work is rooted in supported women through their mothering journey. I love this time in life and am so honored to support women in birth, breastfeeding and in massage therapy.
Pregnancy is such a wonderful opportunity to grow in your sense of connection to, and appreciation for, your body. As a bodyworker, my goal with prenatal massage is not just to ease the discomfort of sore muscles, but to help each person to feel the vibrancy of their own embodiment: to feel more relaxed, more spacious, more grounded, and more in tune with themselves and their growing baby. I believe that as we befriend our bodies, we begin to have more self-compassion, and our connection to our inner wisdom grows. This sets a wonderful foundation for birth and parenting.
In addition to massage, I offer craniosacral therapy and Reiki energy healing, which are safe, gentle, and powerfully healing modalities for pregnancy.
Other Corridor options for prenatal massage:
Roots Massage and Yoga in Marion
Hands in Harmony in Cedar Rapids & Mt. Vernon
Pregnant and looking for more support as you transition into parenthood? Nested Mama offers services to inform, support, and empower your family.
Head on over to the Doulas of Iowa City blog for a post discussing the benefits of prenatal chiropractic care and what to expect when you visit Dr. Jordan Long at Robinson Family Wellness.
Looking to connect with doulas, childbirth educators, and more? Come to our next Meet the Doulas of Iowa City, and learn more about the services our member businesses offer to pregnant, birthing, and postpartum families. And, if you can't make the event, contact any of our member businesses for a free consultation.
Like a switch flipping, summer is here. Our days are longer and move with the sun. We adventure in the morning, rest in the heat of the day, and maximize our evening hours biking to the neighborhood park after dinner.
When the seasons change, I’m always struck suddenly with the changes in my children, and I find myself taking stock of how quickly it seems their baby days passed by. My once timid oldest hangs confidently upside down from the monkey bars. My middle guy tackles sliding down the pole without any help. And my sweet once-baby-now-toddler stretches out her tether to my side as she explores.
While relishing the summer heat with a splash pad/park/picnic morning, I found myself squinting past the water spray to see my youngest investigating an old tree stump on the other side of the splash pad. Amazed at her adventurous wanderings, my friend remarked that she seemed like a completely different and more independent kiddo than the last time we got together a few weeks previously.
I had to agree. It wasn’t long ago that she journeyed no father than a 5-foot radius from my feet. But here she was, confidently navigating the splash pad and nearby play structure with stops back to the home base of our picnic blanket in between.
In the course I’m taking to become a Certified Infant Sleep Educator, we’ve been learning about the evolution of parenting ideas across the past century and the way in which our culture still voices truisms of early 20th century “experts” whose underlying philosophy we’d no doubt reject in a heartbeat -- such as John B. Watson's childcare writings that prohibited hugging and kissing your children beyond one nightly peck on the forehead. The legacy of that and other behaviorist ideas about children can be found in these pearls of wisdom that one hears or reads about so often:
“Don’t let him use you as a pacifier.”
“You can’t always pick her up when she cries.”
“You need to train him to be more independent.”
“If you hold her too much, you’ll spoil her.”
“You’re just making a rod for your own back by getting up with him at night.”
“Ignore her when she cries. She’ll get the message that she can’t get anything by crying.”
Behind all of these commonplace observations lies one great fear - that by showing our little babes too much affection, we undermine their ability to successfully separate from their caregivers as children and later adults. In this view, independence must be taught, separation must be imposed, and emotions must be squelched in pursuit of toughening our children for life ahead.
So what about my almost Miss 2 who suddenly felt comfortable exploring the splash pad and playground instead of staying in my lap or my arms? What lessons did I teach her to make this independence flourish?
Or rather, no lessons on independence, per se.
Topping the list of the lessons I hope she has learned so far in her nearly 730 days earthside are the following:
That her parents are always there when she needs us.
That our laps, our arms, or our voices will be there whenever she needs reassurance.
That we respond to her distress whether the sun or the moon lights the sky.
That we will listen to her feelings with empathy and respect.
That we will set boundaries to keep her safe and hold them with love.
That we make mistakes, but we also ask for forgiveness and work to make things right.
Like the picnic blanket at the park offered her a home base from which to check in and depart, the closeness of our relationship offers her the steady support to explore and embrace the work of growing up. We don’t need to force her to explore or to grow. When she’s ready, she’ll do it just fine.
In fact, our house fairly echoes with declarations of “I do it MYSELF.” All. Day. Long.
Even as she needs the closeness of a parent to drift off to sleep, she needs the space to experiment with her own capability, but on her own time. Instead of demanding that she take a step toward independence and feeling frustrated when she pushes back, I wait with confidence. And, I leverage the help of a spouse and self-care time when my own frustrations or triggers get in the way of me parenting her with the patience that confidence requires.
Because in a way, I’m parenting myself as I parent her and my other children. Instead of living in a place of fear and opposition, I choose to give confidence to her, and in the process, to myself. That she is enough and right where she needs to be, and I am enough, too.
Are you looking for support as you grow your family? Check out the full range of Nested Mama services, including doula support, childbirth education, eco baby consultations, and infant sleep education.
Looking for more support as you move through your pregnancy and prepare for baby? Nested Mama offers prenatal doula support services to help you relax, settle in, and feel confident as you transition into parenthood.
Wondering what prenatal doula support services would look like for you? As with all Nested Mama services, prenatal doula support is tailored to your specific needs and concerns. See the info graphic below for an idea of what prenatal doula support can include.
Best of all, prenatal doula services can be bundled with Nested Mama childbirth education, eco baby consultations, infant sleep education, breastfeeding education and postpartum doula services.
Got questions? Contact Nested Mama or explore the Nested Mama website for more info.
Johanna received a Ph.D. in English in 2014. Now a postpartum doula and educator of childbirth, breastfeeding, and infant sleep, she blogs about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting.