Exclusive Pumping, Baby-Led Weaning, Healthy Eating

Well, I made it. I exclusively pumped for 11 months. Lydia was fed exclusive breastmilk (fortified with neosure) until she was 6 months old. At that time, she needed more than what I was producing. I thought I had done a brilliant job of storing about 3 months worth of breastmilk in the freezer. Lo and behold, I had extra lipase in the breastmilk. You guessed it, Lydia hated the stuff and I had to throw it all out.

I think I cried. And kept it all for about a month before I could bear to part with it all. Pumping is just about the only thing I had control over in the NICU. The nurses were constantly asking about how the pumping was going. I think some of it was because it really is so important for the baby. And the other part of it is it's the only thing that I could do.
By about 10 months, Lydia was taking 4 bottles a day, with about one of those being breastmilk.

At 14 months, almost a year adjusted, she was almost entirely on whole milk and completely off the neosure. By 15 months, she had transitioned off the bottle onto the sippy cup - the one with a straw no less. Of course, Lydia doesn't do things by halves and often likes to skip a few steps. My how time flies.

Lydia was fed fortified breastmilk until the very end. We fortified with neosure and even when she moved to whole milk, we would use the neosure to make her porridge in the morning. We finally finished our last can of neosure at the end of February 2010. It was another step away from preemie baby, and a step towards Lydia.

30ml=1oz... Old habits die hard!

In the first week 1-3ml every 3 hours

1 month: feeding 7-9 times a day. 30-60ml at a time, every 3 hours, Average of 300ml a day

2 months: feeding 7-9 times a day. Average of 400ml a day

3 months: Average of 475-550ml a day

4 months (1 month adjusted): Average of 450 - 700 ml a day

5 months (2 months adjusted): feeding 7-8 times a day. Average of 450 - 700ml a day

7 months (4 months adjusted): feeding 5-7 times a day. Average of 550-650ml a day

8 months (5 months adjusted): feeding 4-5 times a day. Average of 600-700ml a day

9 months (6 months adjusted): Average of 650 - 800ml a day, tried avocado

10 months (7 months adjusted): Average of 675 - 900ml a day, tried carrots, green beans, pear, banana, broccoli

We waited til 6 months adjusted, and for developmental signs that Lydia was ready for solids. Once she was sitting up, reaching for food and putting it into her mouth, we began baby-led weaning. This method of introducing solids means no purees, no exclusive spoon-feeding (at least to start) and letting your child try a large variety of foods. Purees are often introduced before the age of 6 months, which is why the food needs to be pureed. Before 6 months of age, babies often cannot hold their own food and put it in their mouths.

By cutting the food into little hand-sized strips, or just letting Lydia put her hands in mushy food (okay, that's messy...lol), she will learn textures, learn how to move food around her mouth and let us know when she is full. It also means no fighting to try to feed her when she doesn't want to be fed. We follow her lead and let her eat as little or as much as she wants. It's really a lot of experimentation. Food before 1 is for fun as her main nutrition before the age of 1 (adjusted) will be breastmilk and formula.

16 months (13 months adjusted): Lydia started drinking whole milk for every meal at about 13 months actual. She did not have any issues other than a bit more spit up at the start when she was getting used to getting off the bottle. She now drinks anywhere from 16-24oz of milk a day, and about 8oz of water throughout the day. She eats all types of food: veggies, fruit, oatmeal, yoghurt, a bit of whole grain bread, hummus, a bit of cheese on occasion, all types of meat, all types of seafood. She still isn't feeding herself much, although she did just start putting the spoon or fork in her mouth if I put food on it.