I have always been curious about how people live their lives, even more so now that I am a parent and thus constantly looking for ways to get through, if not necessarily improve. For the next few weeks – or until I get tired of it – I’ll be sharing (way too many) details about our life with a kid.
Javi is just shy of six months old.
For the past few months, we’ve been in a pretty solid every-three-ish-hours formula routine. Javi eats Enfamil Gentlease formula, and though it’s expensive, attempts at switching him to two generic versions were deemed a total failure. The Sam’s Club version got him all hopped up like he was on a sugar high; the Target version caused fountains of spit-up. So, we order it from Amazon and don’t mind the cost. Hell, we pay for premium dog food, right? We switched to Gentlease during that period when your eight-week old infant is fussy and you have no idea why so you try everything to just FIX IT. He would probably do fine on regular infant formula now, but we’re far too chicken to mess up a good thing by trying to switch, and his pediatrician says we gain nothing by doing it, so why bother?
Our parenting mantra: keep doing it while it works, and when it stops working, do something different.
We now use Dr. Brown’s bottles in the 8 ounce size after trying Breastflow and Avent, and finally realizing why everyone else puts up with the little pieces that make up a Dr. Brown system. They work. We have a cheap generic dishwasher basket for all the parts except the nipples; those stand up in a little basket that came with our dishwasher. I don’t know what it’s intent was, but it’s perfect for holding them upright so they get really clean.
So, the three hour schedule: I can’t take credit for it. We were feeding him really often (REALLY often) before we started day care at 10 weeks, and within two to three weeks he was on an every three hours-ish schedule. I’m certain some crying and fussing was involved in getting him there, but it’s been good for him to go longer than an hour without eating (we were such suckers) and we avoided crying and fussing (literally, I would cry when he would cry back then).
He wakes up between 6 and 7 in the morning and gets one bottle with an extra ounce of apple juice for digestive reasons. Around 9-ish he gets another, then he eats the next two at day care (say, noon-ish and three-ish), then a final bottle at or around bedtime. If he’s hungry before bedtime and it’s clear he’s not also tired, we’ll give him a bottle early and then just a few extra ounces during our bedtime routine.
He eats around 6 ounces of formula at a time. During growth spurts, he’ll suck them dry, taking in somewhere around 30 ounces in a day. Once that passes, he’ll leave an ounce in every bottle for a while, bringing the total down to 25-ish ounces.
We started flirting with solid-ish foods after his four month pediatrician visit, mostly for fun until very recently when he made it clear to us that it was time to take this thing to the next level. (He did this by being really disinterested in his bottles for a few days.) By this point he’d had sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and pears, all roasted and smushed by me because I’d rather do that than go to the store when I get a whim to feed my kid smushy food.
(It’s so easy. Cut the suckers in half and lay them cut side down on foil or in a pan, then roast at 350 until they’re soft and smushy. Mash them with a fork or run them through a cheapo $8 manual food mill, add a little apple juice to get to the right consistency, and freeze in little dollops. I add spices too because that’s fun, cinnamon to sweet potatoes and ginger to pears. When you’re ready to use one, pop a frozen dollop in a bowl and defrost, then add cereal and formula to get the consistency right again. It’s pretty tasty.)
Because we’re pretty easy-going, his day care peeps tried oatmeal cereal with him one day and then mixed grains with sweet potatoes and apples another. The first got an “eh” response; the second got “ohmygod this stuff is great!” in baby terms. Technically the mixed grains are a “level three” cereal, but nothing went wrong and he likes it, so I’ve kept feeding it to him.
I let him try to feed himself if he wants, with a spoon or his hands or (in a particularly funny moment today) by dipping his face into the bowl like a puppy. Why not? Worst case, he gags a bit, then is more careful with the spoon next time, or snorts sweet potatoes and then laughs. And while we do own baby spoons, he chews on them and thus they are never to be found when needed for their actual purpose, so we use real spoons. At day care they use full-sized disposable plastic spoons.
Once the bottle disinterest happened, it was time to have an actual plan lest he start trading fun food for the nutritional benefit of formula, so as of yesterday, he gets the first bottle as per usual, the second bottle is 4 oz followed by a mix of cereal and something I’ve smushed with some formula added, then he gets the third and fourth bottles at day care, and the final bottle at bedtime. I’ve managed to quell the urges I have to spike his formula with spices for variety for now.
I’m choosing to feed him the smushy stuff at home, not at day care, because a) then I have some control over making sure he gets formula first and then food and b) I can never find containers I can send food to day care in and c) it’s fun and I want to keep the fun stuff here, thankyouverymuch. Plus, he makes a mess while in his pj’s, which I fully support, and I just wipe him down and change him before sending him in a cute outfit that’ll stay somewhat clean until he comes home (or pees on it).
I’m guessing we’ll keep doing this one-food-a-day thing until he tells us he’s ready for more, then we’ll add a second meal…? We’ll see.