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A Look at the First Year of Life

For the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. has taken a hard look at how -- practically speaking -- we're feeding our infants and putting them to sleep. The study, which looks at singleton babies, comes courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It appears in this month's issue of Pediatrics.

The study isn't without its flaws, which are acknowledged heavily throughout the 100-page report. For instance, moreso than in other national samplings, the parents who participated in the study tend to have more education and to be older, as well as middle income, white and employed.

Still, the sampling gives some indication of our "norm:"

* You give birth and are breastfeeding, but your baby is supplemented with infant formula in the hospital. Other than at the hospital, your baby receives only breastmilk until age 4 months.

* If you stopped nursing in the first two months, your reason was because you experienced lactation problems such as an inability to latch or suck properly or you felt you breastmilk didn't fill your baby up.

* If you fed your child formula, you were not taught how to prepare or store it by a health professional. You may have thought that powdered and ready-to-feed formulas were equally unlikely to contain germs (not true). You did not always wash hands with soap before preparing formula and you may not have adequately washed bottle nipples. About 1 in 3 of you heated formula bottles in the microwave.

* Your baby sleeps in the same room as mom for the first three months (recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics). During that time mom and baby were likely to lie down and sleep together (not recommended). About a quarter of us did not put our infants to sleep on their backs at 3 months old.

* You introduced cereal between your baby's fourth and fifth months of life.

* Even with some servings of iron-fortified cereal (most likely less than the doctor-recommended amount), your breastfed child is not getting enough iron. And you're not supplementing with iron drops.

* Fruits and vegetables entered your child's diet between ages 5 months and 6 months.

* After your child turned 6 months, you turned from exclusively nursing or mixing breastmilk and formula to all formula.

* Your child began eating meat or a meat substitute around 8 months.

* If you stopped nursing between 3 months and 8 months, your reason was either that you felt your milk was no longer satisfying your baby, that you didn't have enough milk or that your baby began to wean himself. If you stopped nursing after 9 months, baby biting might have been your reason in addition to those previously mentioned.

* Cheese and yogurt entered your child's diet around the age of 10 months and cows' milk at 1 year.

* By age 1, your child was consuming foods high in sugar and fat but low in nutritional value -- such as sweetened drinks, french fries, cookies, cakes, or candies -- at least weekly in addition to a diet of cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats and milk products.

So, does all this match up with your children's first years? Does any of this surprise you or did you find yourself nodding in agreement with most of it?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  October 7, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies
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Comments


With the exception of the formula my firstborn was given while I dealt with my milk coming in late, I exclusively breastfed both kids for 6 months. Also, both kids continued to nurse for almost 3 years. I definitely see the benefit of that now, in terms of their overall health.

Neither of them wanted anything to do with rice cereal, ever. I even made my own baby food for a while. I did wait until around 10 months to introduce yogurt and cheese. I disagree with the last statement "By age 1, your child was consuming foods high in sugar and fat but low in nutritional value -- such as sweetened drinks, french fries, cookies, cakes, or candies -- at least weekly in addition to a diet of cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats and milk products." There were definitely occasional french fries and cookies, but nowhere nearly weekly. Fast food is also something that we've been diligent about. Reading "Fast Food Nation" and watching that Simpson episode where the same machine with the same goop cranks out burgers, fries and shakes -- they've stayed with me . . .

School lunches are another thing. When I volunteer at my child's school, I see so much junk in kids' lunches, I wonder when my son will come home asking for Doritos and Lunchables and sodas. So far he hasn't, but I'm sure that day is coming.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | October 7, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Stacey, now I'm wondering which is more likely to contain germs, powdered or ready-to-feed formulas?

Posted by: a1icia | October 7, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Stacey, now I'm wondering which is more likely to contain germs, powdered or ready-to-feed formulas?

Posted by: a1icia | October 7, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

We spoiled our babies. They drank right from the tap from 1 to 3 years old and slept anywhere they wanted.

For the most part we followed most of the main stream recommendations for our first. When she dropped her pacifier on the floor, we washed it off with soap and water before giving it back to her. Our last one, heck, we just let him eat dirt, figured it was good for him.

Babies ain't that fragile, not our babies anyway.

And yes, all our kids ate birthday cake on their first, at least I think so, I don't really remember, but every single one of them loved, loved, loved bananas and cantaloupe.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | October 7, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm a little surprised to see how early most kids are starting solids. I always thought 6 months was the earliest infants are supposed to be eating cereal, fruits, etc.

I'm also a little surprised by the junk food stats. I seem to recall that first bite of birthday cake being a big deal for almost all the families in our playgroup, since it was the baby's first introduction to sweets. Cookies were few and far between, and candy didn't make an appearance at all until the Halloween right before the kids turned 2.

Posted by: newsahm | October 7, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

"You may have thought that powdered and ready-to-feed formulas were equally unlikely to contain germs (not true). You did not always wash hands with soap before preparing formula and you may not have adequately washed bottle nipples."

How many sanitized their personal nipples before feeding. Goodness.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 7, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Our two boys had only breastmilk for the first six months and continued to nurse past their second birthdays. We never bought formula or baby food - they eat what we eat with slight changes to seasoning and presentation.

This, of course, forced us to eat healthier foods made at home. I think we're all better off. Kids learn how and what to eat in those months before they have their first bite and the parents (caregivers) are their teachers.

The kids still get the junk at birthday parties, at other peoples homes and when we're on the road but this hasn't derailed their good eating habits.

In other words, we got lucky. Luck helps a lot in parenting.

Posted by: inrosslyn | October 7, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I remembered seeing a baby out with his mom with what appeared to be Kool Aide in his bottle. Yikes!

My kids drank breast milk only the first four months, then cereal, mashed up fruits and veggies, then onto the regular stuff.

We should all be trying to figure out how to get the gov't to clean up percholate from the drinking water. It's rocket fuel and it's everywhere. If you feed your baby formula, it's just one more thing to worry about. Don't get too smug breastfeeding moms....percholate is in our breastmilk too, because we are drinking...the nation's crappy water supply.

Let's write our Congressmen that we want clean water and food that doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup or cross hybrid franken food from Monsanto, the company that's tinkering with food DNA.

As for the person who asked who sanitized their personal nipples before breastfeeding...if you knew ANYTHING about breastfeeding, you'd know that showering everyday is all the sterilization you need before feeding your baby. Plus, mom's nipples are alive and getting blood pumped around etc. Mom's body is fighting off germs that attempt to grow there, etc. There's never "old milk" sitting around, it all gets passed to the baby, a steady supply ready to go. In other words, milk doesn't go bad when it's sitting in the body" - a plastic nipple, however, is just a place for germs to grow which can make your child very sick.

Posted by: catweasel3 | October 7, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

A1icia:

Here's the info straight from the report: formula. In an examination of infant formula issues, Labiner-Wolfe et al found
that most mothers believed that the 3 forms of infant formula (powdered, liquid concentrate, and ready-to-feed) are equally likely to contain germs, although powdered formula is not a commercially sterile product and the other forms are.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | October 7, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

The funniest book is Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year by Anne Lamott!!! Hilarious and poignant.

Posted by: MissMay | October 7, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

The funniest book is Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year by Anne Lamott!!! Hilarious and poignant.

Posted by: MissMay | October 7, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

"if you knew ANYTHING about breastfeeding, you'd know that showering everyday is all the sterilization you need before feeding your baby. Plus, mom's nipples are alive and getting blood pumped around etc. Mom's body is fighting off germs that attempt to grow there, etc"

YIKES, it was a joke! I was making a point about the oversterilization of our environments. No need to yell this early - take a deep breath and relax, its a blog.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 7, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"showering
everyday is all the sterilization you need before feeding your baby."

And how many new moms have the luxury of showering every day, 7 times a week, 52 weeks a year?

BTW: There is a higher concentration of germs and bacteria on the mouthpiece of your phone than on the average toilet seat.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | October 7, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

My kids were nursed for about 13 months. They were fed solid foods at about 5-6 mos. The oldest slept thru the night at 12 weeks, when he started to get up in the middle of the night at 5 mos, that was when he got solids. The other one didn't really sleep through the night til almost 2.
I did supplement, all throughout, but not much. In the hospital, my oldest was small and had low blood sugar, so the dr. recommended formula. That's what it hit me: they don't put poison in it - I'm committed to nursing, and I will, but sometimes, people need help.
So we supplemented a little. Mostly I didn't buy any formula, just got free samples from the dr. on visits and that was enough.
We don't do many sweets, even now, definitely no fast food, the only time the kids have been is when someone else is watching them.
I haven't eaten mcdonald's since high school. Burger king now has a garden burger, so that's my huge indulgence, but that's maybe once a year...
workingmomX: last year, in kindergarten, I figured we'd make my sons meals, no big deal. But he was completely enthralled with 'buying lunch.' It was just something completely new to him. So we have the rule that he can buy lunch one day a week, and it works out to be fridays. But sometimes we forget, and he brings his lunch. We had to have large talks about what other kids take to school, and how we don't buy lunchables and why. Tough discussion - cause I didn't want him to then go back to his friends and chastise them that his mom said what they eat isn't healthy! But he's good, and he understands and so far, it works well. I think him buying lunch once a week also gives him some say, and he gets the opportunity to get what he wants, and learn about what is healthy and what is not (and he buys strawberry milk, and a slushee, and juice - I can't believe they allow the kids to get three drinks!).

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 7, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and the reason that I went past a year is cause when the kids cried in the AM cause they were hungry, I didn't want to get them breakfast, so I nursed them. Once they were able to wait a little bit for breakfast, I stopped.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 7, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

So interesting. My answers are probably different because I had a 50 week maternity leave.

So, I exclusively breastfed to 7.5 months (because of some serious allergies that run in the family to wheat and dairy). We extended nursed past 3, although really just a bit the last year. That was for allergies and due to ear infections, and just the whole child-led weaning bit.

The first cereal we introduced was oatmeal, followed by barley. We did give iron + vit d drops, but I have to admit it was not entirely daily.

We introduced turkey in there somewhere so probably yes around 9 months. We held off on cow's milk until about 15 months, due to the allergies again, but if I remember right he had plain yoghurt before then.

We introduced sweet potatoes pretty quickly and did fruit a bit later (even though breastmilk is plenty sweet).

My son's first birthday was the first time we introduced anything that sweet and he HATED it and cried until we got him some peas. French fries didn't come until a lot later - probably 20 months, and that was a grandparent. However around 2 we did ease up and he probably does have something like that about once a week at this point - especially since we are in High Birthday Party Season right now.

Sleeping: we had a co-sleeper separate from our bed until about 6 months, then a crib next to our bed until about a year, at which point we co-slept until 2.5 when my son abruptly decided to sleep in his own bed. At this point he sleeps in his own bed about 80% of the night and then comes in with us for the last couple of hrs.

Posted by: Shandra1 | October 7, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

With the exception of the first week, my daughter was completely formula fed until age 1, with the introduction of solids at about 6 months. I couldn't care less about whether or not women breastfeed because I don't think it makes a huge difference. My daughter has never had an ear infection while my friends' kids who were exclusively breastfed for six months have had numerous ear infections, and my daughter does not have asthma and she is not overweight either. In fact, she's in the 40th percentile for weight even though she does have some chips and cookies weekly and fast food about three times a month. Outside of normal checkups, we've only been to the pediatrician once for what daycare thought might be an ear infection, which wasn't. And I don't spend extra money on organic food either.

The important thing is that I say no when I think she's had enough of a certain type of food, and she gets plenty of sleep and physical activity as well as fruit, veggies, and meat, which she loves.

Yes, there is such a thing as a healthy child who wasn't breastfed and eats cookies and fast food occassionally.

Posted by: gypsyrom1 | October 7, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

atlmom: Have to laugh about the lunchables/health chat ... particularly after putting together an online grocery store for our childhood obesity project that shows lunchables are just about the worst thing you can feed kids. I've had the same kind of talks with my kids about reading labels, healthy/not healthy foods and lunchables. They've surprised me by really understanding the concept at early ages and have managed not to criticize others. That may be because all the girls are giving my six-year-old the Star Wars toys from their Lunchables boxes ;-)

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | October 7, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Oh my goodness! I didn't know they have toys in there too! Wow, then my kid's doing great, since he's only asked for them a few times.
He LOVES mcdonald's cause you get toys there. My husband's cousins take them there when they babysit, sometimes. I think it's fine - and I dont' want to take them, and clearly it's not going to kill them..

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 7, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

This really makes me feel a little bit better about my parenting. I frequently have "I am a terrible mother" moments. I do the best that I can do, but sometimes I feel that I should do more.
We started cereal at about 5 months and he started to eat it at about 6 months. I breastfed for almost 10 months (with very minimal formula suppliments) and stopped because my milk significantly decreased. I took herbals to try to increase it and I was pumping 4 times per day at work and it was just horribly stressful.
We started whole milk at 1 year.
My son had his first cake at his 1 year B-day party. It was homemade and not very sweet, so he liked it. He is 14 months now and had never had cookies or candy, but he has had Cheetos and french fries and pizza and pretty much anything else that we occasionally eat. I don't think these things are so bad on occassion and most of the time we all eat a pretty healthful, balanced diet.
We have had some trouble with sleeping. Our son has never been a great sleeper (neither am I, so this could be hereditary). Once in a while he will sleep through the whole night, but usually he wakes up crying sometime between midnight and 2 am and I bring him to bed with us. If he wakes up earlier in the night, I will cuddle him for a while and then put him back in his own bed - sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. I take heart in believing that a time will come when he won't want to sleep with Mom and Dad - hopefully this occurs before he's a teenager!
Whew! Sorry for the long post, but it's very nice to feel less alone in all this!

Posted by: VaLGaL | October 7, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

My daughter was exclusively on the breast for 4 months, then supplemented as I dried up. (Pumping wasn't working.) By 6 months, I was dry and she was on 100% powdered formula. We washed the nipples well, but not necessarily our hands. You're supposed to drink the stuff in an hour, and your kid's mouth is introducing plenty of bacteria. Why such panic over the hand washing? I'm also a bit surprised at how many babies are supplemented at the hospital. I guess people (medical staff or otherwise) don't think your body knows what it's doing. Yep, it's going to look like your baby is losing a lot of weight, especially if it's bloated from all the fluids that are pushed during an epidural.

My daughter was out of our room as quickly as possible. She was at our bedside in a bassinet and was incredibly loud. She snorted and snuffed, and no one slept. We were all better off with her in a different room. She started sleeping on her stomach as soon as she could roll over. She still sleeps that way.

We gave her cereal at 5 months. They let you know when they're ready. If they spit it out, they aren't ready. If they gobble it down, they are. She was on formula at that point, so no need for iron supplements. Fruits and veggies came shortly thereafter, with meat at about 8 months. I'm not sure when we started dairy, but it was around the time the study indicated.

I totally disagree with the junk food. The birthday cake was her first sweet, and even now she may get animal crackers at most once a week. Ditto for the fries. She'll only drink milk and water, so there are no sugary drinks. I think that has more to do with how we eat than anything.

Posted by: atb2 | October 7, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to mention that in my post: Try like heck to avoid the hospital. We decided to birth at home with a midwife to avoid all of the interventions and formula pushing. ("you want what's best for your baby, right?" - gack!)

Posted by: inrosslyn | October 7, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

To inrosslyn,

I don't know what hospital you went to, but there was absolutely no formula pushing at Anne Arundel Medical Center. They didn't even offer it once and did whatever was necessary to help me breastfeed. They even have the baby room with the mother to encourage on demand breastfeeding. And I needed a c-section, which I don't recommend having done at home. And even if I hadn't needed a c-section, I would never consider giving birth at home unless it was an absolute emergency. Even if the mother is fine, there's no way to tell if the infant is going to need medical attention beyond what a midwife can provide.

Posted by: gypsyrom1 | October 7, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

"I couldn't care less about whether or not women breastfeed because I don't think it makes a huge difference."

It isn't about what you think, honey. It's about what the research proves. Breast is best for so many reasons we don't have enough space to list them. You can be okay with your choice but let's not kid ourselves here.

Posted by: wtf123 | October 7, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"I don't know what hospital you went to, but there was absolutely no formula pushing at Anne Arundel Medical Center. They didn't even offer it once and did whatever was necessary to help me breastfeed."

Then you were incredibly lucky. One of the least surprising things mentioned in Stacy's post is how many babies get formula in the hospital. When DD was born (in a hospital that gives plenty of lip service to nursing), I was amazed at how much pressure there was to use formula. When my daughter was 12 hours old, I was told I was starving her and that she needed formula (even though I was nursing pretty much every hour or so). When I expressed a determination to nurse, we were sent home with pounds and pounds of formula "just in case," and dire warnings that DD and I would probably never be able to nurse exclusively.

I know now that my experience was far from unique. At least 1/2 of the women I know had similar experiences at the hospital, and a fair number of them never were able to wean their kids off the formula.

I have absolutely nothing against formula and I couldn't care less how parents choose to feed their babies. But it drives me nuts when professionals who should know better pressure women into feeding their infants in a certain way (whether by pressuring them to nurse or by forcing formula).

Posted by: newsahm | October 7, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

This post is great. I'm reading it while holding my 7-week old daughter.

I'm fascinated that most babies are supplemented at the hospital. Most books say babies can do without full milk for several days, so it seems like hospitals aren't taking any chances with dehydration. Seems like it could undermine breastfeeding (and Mom's confidence) unless its done at the breast.

We supplemented my daughter at the breast on the 4th day because she had lost a tad more than 10% of her body weight and seemed to have fewer we diapers. She was born by c-section at Inova Fairfax, and my milk wasn't in yet. The lactation specialists there are AWESOME and knew by the volume of colostrum that my milk was almost in. However, the staff doc recommended supplementing WAY too much formula at every feeding--she would have choked on the 30 ml each time! The nurse was also not helpful. Luckily, the wonderful lactation ladies intervened and negotiated with them to reduce to 15 ml every other feeding, and taught me to supplement at the breast with a feeding tube and to pump to help my milk.

She was totally right--We left the next day, my milk came in that night, and by one week my babe had already regained her birth weight. So, I guess in retrospect, maybe she didn't really need that supplementation. But at the time we were worried about dehydration, so no regrets.

Those lactation specialists at Inova Fairfax are ANGELS.

Posted by: hillmannic | October 7, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I breastfed both my girls and can't remember when I introduced other foods. I do remember grinding up our own babyfood. I've always tried to offer them healthy food and I eat pretty low on the food chain myself. I've got one kid who eats mostly like I do and one kid who loves red meat, salty potato chips, McDonald's food. Where did this come from? Makes me think that more than upbringing is involved when it comes to tastes in food.

Posted by: annenh | October 7, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

formula pushers, pharmaceutical reps, drug dealers, they all have the same business model: The first doses are free!

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | October 7, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm not surprised by the sleeping results in the survey. My 7-week old daughter often sleeps with us from 3 am-10 am.

I know this isn't good and I feel guilty everyday for doing it. I try to make the bed safer by removing covers and keeping her away from pillows and holding her, on her back, next to me. She just won't sleep in her crib or cradle more than 15 minutes without breathing heavy, moaning, and acting panicked. I've tried leaving her in there, but sh cries every 45 minutes and then no one gets any sleep at all---especially her.

I know people say newborns sleep restlessly, but when she sleeps in my arms or next to me in the bed, she sleeps long and quietly. So I know she just hates sleeping in her cradle next to our bed. It was enough of a struggle getting her on her back, she used to only want to sleep in a boppy and hated her back, so at least there's that.

Any recommendation from experienced parents? I'm not one of those moms who won't put her down, but after putting her to bed at 10 am and by 3 am she still hasn't really slept and has been panicky breathing all night, I just can't take it any more.

Posted by: hillmannic | October 7, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Ahhh, and here coming condescending lactation activistis (I'm pretty sure gypsymom isn't your "honey" so save the tone).
My daughter didn't receive any breastmilk and, like gypsymom's kid, has lived to tell about it. It ain't crack, folks. I don't care whether someone chooses to BF or not but kids CAN thrive w/o breastfeeding. THe benefits are after all statistical and not a guarantee (I know plenty of breastfed babies who haven't thrived half as well as my girl).


The fact is, with most kids, an everything in moderation approach will result in healthy kids. Yes, my daughter got cereal at 4.5 mos, and fruits/veggies shortly thereafter. She was onto 100% solids by 8 mos. (she refused pureed by that point).

She gets occasional sweets and juice, but in very small amounts.

We are an active family that spends a lot of time outdoors and going places.

She is healthy, happy and rarely sick. She is well above average in height and slender. Whatever. it works for us and for her. There is no one equation for do X and you'll have a healthy child.

Posted by: liledjen4901 | October 7, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

You give birth and are breastfeeding, but your baby is supplemented with infant formula in the hospital. Other than at the hospital, your baby receives only breastmilk until age 4 months.

This is rings true for me. My son and daughter both got formula in the hospital because my milk did not come in immediately, and both babies were born hungry. However, my son also got mostly formula at home for a couple of weeks afterwards (was having nursing issues which eventually got worked out) and then we supplemented formula for a while longer, eventually going only to the breast as I was able to increase my supply. I think this was partly because I had never nursed a baby and did not know what I was doing. When I had my daughter, she nursed exclusively for the first 4 months (except for the hospital stay).

* If you stopped nursing in the first two months, your reason was because you experienced lactation problems such as an inability to latch or suck properly or you felt you breastmilk didn't fill your baby up.

I did not stop nursing, but if I had, this would have been the reason. Luckily, we worked through it with the first baby.

* You may have thought that powdered and ready-to-feed formulas were equally unlikely to contain germs (not true).

I did not realize until after the fact that powdered milk is not the same as bottled formula, and that young babies should only get bottled formula in the first few weeks. Luckily, nothing bad happened.

* During that time mom and baby were likely to lie down and sleep together (not recommended).

I think that's a bunch of hooey. I always took my babies to bed with me, and highly recommend it.


* After your child turned 6 months, you turned from exclusively nursing or mixing breastmilk and formula to all formula.

Nope. I began using rice cereal in the milk at 6 months, to thicken it up a little, but I stay away from formula because the smell nauseates me.


* If you stopped nursing between 3 months and 8 months, your reason was either that you felt your milk was no longer satisfying your baby, that you didn't have enough milk or that your baby began to wean himself. If you stopped nursing after 9 months, baby biting might have been your reason in addition to those previously mentioned.

Nope. I never felt the need to stop nursing just because it did not entirely meet the baby's nutritional needs. I just continued to nurse and began supplementing with other foods. Biting has occurred a couple of times, but not frequently enough to make me wean. Babies are smart. They learn soon enough not to bite the breast that feeds them.

* By age 1, your child was consuming foods high in sugar and fat but low in nutritional value -- such as sweetened drinks, french fries, cookies, cakes, or candies -- at least weekly in addition to a diet of cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats and milk products.

I don't think that's true for us. Our babies did not eat sweets that young, although my son did like fruit juice. My daughter prefers water.

So, does all this match up with your children's first years? Does any of this surprise you or did you find yourself nodding in agreement with most of it?

Posted by: emily8 | October 7, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

hillmanic,
Trust your instincts. Babies have been sleeping next to their mothers since we were all cavemen and women and somehow the human race has survived. Your daughter knows where she feels safe. Another idea: If you clamp a crib to the side of your bed (remove the side facing the bed and fill in any gap between the beds) you should eventually be able to ease her away from your side -- and eventually out the door into her own bed.

Posted by: annenh | October 7, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"Then you were incredibly lucky. One of the least surprising things mentioned in Stacy's post is how many babies get formula in the hospital. "

I think that is changing. Both my kids were born at Holy Cross Hospital, the first in 2000 and the second in 2008. The hospital offered formula both times (although I could hardly say it was pushed) and also offered help with nursing. The difference though, was that in 2007, the hospital supplied each maternity room with a pump, a lactation consultant visited every day, and you actually had to ask for formula if you wanted it. There was no take home bag filled with formula in 2007, as there had been in 2000. In addition, in 2007, the hospital gave me a lot of accessories for pumping, including some tubes, bottles, storage bags, nipple guards, etc. So I would say that it was pushing nursing rather than formula (a good thing, in my book).

Posted by: emily8 | October 7, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I keep going back to the supplementing in the hospital. You milk isn't SUPPOSED to come in right away! The colostrum has a function. I delivered at Shady Grove, and there was no formula pushing, and my milk didn't come in for 4 days. As long as they're wetting, they're fine. Their bellies are the size of a walnut! Why the need to jam them full? My kid would have hurled it all back up anyway. It's a big deal to me because it really can ruin a mom's chance to breastfeed. If she's told she "can't" do it or isn't doing it "right" by a medical professional, that can really sabotage the effort, and that sucks if it's really something she wants to do.

Posted by: atb2 | October 7, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"Any recommendation from experienced parents?"

hillmannic, just quit feeling guilty about sleeping with your baby. They are warm and cuddly, like a big teddy bear, and if you like it and appreciate the convenience, go right ahead. it's like everybody is doing it now anyway.

Also come this winter, you can turn the heat down a few more degrees at night. So there you go, the family bonds, gets a good night's sleep, and you can help save the planet all at the same time!

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | October 7, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Also for Hillmanic,
I didn't mean to sound like some kind of expert. I should say : It worked for me! Did this with both my kids and had no problems getting them to move to their own beds when the time was right. It's almost like we built a level of trust over time. At first they needed to know I was right there next to them to feel safe. Then they could trust I was there because they could hear me breathing. Eventually, they could sleep even if they couldn't feel me/hear me/see me. (Now they complain they can hear me snore from down the hall!)

Posted by: annenh | October 7, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Any recommendation from experienced parents? I'm not one of those moms who won't put her down, but after putting her to bed at 10 am and by 3 am she still hasn't really slept and has been panicky breathing all night, I just can't take it any more.

Hillmannic - My recommendation is to go ahead and sleep with the baby if it works for you. And stop feeling guilty. As long as you remove blankets and quilts and other such things, you will be fine. And enjoy it. There is nothing sweeter than sleeping with your newborn. I did it with both my children and cherish the memories.

Posted by: emily8 | October 7, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Hillmannic - my best recommendation is to swaddle, swaddle them tighter than you might think. Some of the waking may be due to their startle reflex. Swaddling can give them that same cozy feeling w/o the risks of SIDS that come from sleeping in your bed. Put a bassinett or clip on crib beside your bed so you are there and don't have to get up. Also, check out the news for the latest research on fans helping reduce the incidence of SIDS by moving the air around. Don't forget to trust your instincts, if she only seems happy when held upright, she may also have some reflux, ask your MD> Good luck.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 7, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I too was encouraged to supplement with formula in the hospital. However, I was also encouraged to pump in the hospital until my milk came in as my son had difficulty latching. Once we left the hospital, we would try nursing, but then still had to pump and feed my son the expressed milk. After about a month of this, I was able to nurse him exclusively. No one tells you how difficult it can be to breastfeed. But with patience and support from others, it can be done. I am still nursing him at 10 months, but only about 3 times a day. Otherwise, he eats lots of solids.

Posted by: LikeaPanda | October 7, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

To wtf3123:

Do not call me "Honey". It may make you feel superior to patronize me, but it certainly does not make you superior. I said I don't think breastfeeding makes a "huge" difference. Yes, it may help in some ways but there are too many exceptions to the rule for it to be the panecea to all health problems that many people claim it to be. The fact that the majority of my entire generation (born early to mid-70s) was almost entirely formula fed is pretty good empirical evidence that breastfeeding doesn't fix everything.

Posted by: gypsyrom1 | October 7, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Any recommendation from experienced parents? I'm not one of those moms who won't put her down, but after putting her to bed at 10 am and by 3 am she still hasn't really slept and has been panicky breathing all night, I just can't take it any more.

Hillmanic -- I think you should do what works and not read or at least bother heeding anything anyone else says. If you both co-sleep well, by all means have at it for as long as you want. Your baby is only 7 weeks old. I coslept with my babies for months and months and loved it. My sister still co-sleeps with her two year old.

There is a lot of talk about what you should and shouldn't do, but you seem an educated, well-informed person and are therefore probably capable of making the best decisions for your child. If I could give any gift to mothers, it would be to stop second guessing ourselves.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | October 7, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

To Hillmanic:

My daughter also did not like sleeping in her crib for the first three months, but she did always fall asleep in her car seat, which did not force her to lie flat on her back like the crib did. So, I just snapped the car seat on to the stroller frame and let her sleep in that next to my bed. It was also nice since there was no way she could roll over onto her tummy or fall out due to the straps.

Posted by: gypsyrom1 | October 7, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The best baby expert out there is Dr. Sears. He's got 8 kids and has been a pediatrician for decades. His books recommend co-sleeping! Check out "The Baby Book" or anything in the Sears baby series. There's no reason to feel guilty about it. But you do need to do it safely.

I bought a co-sleeper and kept our son next to us for the first 3 weeks, and it worked beautifully. At 3 weeks, he moved into his crib (which is just down the hall, only about 15 steps from our bed!) Babies need for their cries to be responded to quickly, so you want them as near to you as possible. We had a hard time sleeping with him right next to us, since he snuffles and snorts and breathes really loudly, so just down the hall is perfect for us.

It's up to you as a parent to advocate for your child and your choices. My son had jaundice and went back to the hospital on the 4th day to spend some time under the bili lights. The doctor's orders were for formula, since jaundice makes them too sleepy to suck well, and fluid throughput is what ultimately rids the body of the bilirubin. I asked the nurse, "Does he need formula, or does he just need high fluid intake?" They just needed to monitor his fluid intake, so I pumped and fed him exclusively breast milk while we were there. You can always refuse whatever you're not comfortable with!

Posted by: newslinks1 | October 7, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"It's a big deal to me because it really can ruin a mom's chance to breastfeed. If she's told she "can't" do it or isn't doing it "right" by a medical professional, that can really sabotage the effort, and that sucks if it's really something she wants to do."

Exactly. That's what makes me mad about my experience and about what's happened to a lot of my friends. I will admit that I'm also mad at myself for how things happened, because I knew better and was still cowed when confronted with a set of adamant nurses. I'm hoping that when baby #2 arrives in February, I'll be more prepared and able to stand up for myself and my daughter.

Posted by: newsahm | October 7, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Some better ideas for new discussions:

How your children impact your marriage
How your the state of your marriage impacts your children
Getting along with the inlaws during the holidays
Getting through the witching hours (6-9 pm on weeknights)
Extracurriculars - how much is too much or not enough?

Posted by: emily8 | October 7, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"Exactly. That's what makes me mad about my experience and about what's happened to a lot of my friends."

I know how hard it can be to stand up to an opinionated nurse. I kind of had the opposite experience with my daughter. The hospital's lactation consultant began to lecture me about the dangers of supplementing with formula when I told her that I was doing this because the baby was hungry and crying all the time. I just told her that I would ask for her advice when I needed it, and that I was busy at the moment and did not need her help. So she left. The next day, I talked with a different consultant who had a better bedside manner, and I did find some of her tips helpful. I just don't appreciate being lectured. Sometimes, you just have to stand up for yourself.

Posted by: emily8 | October 7, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Can I remember that far back? Just barely.

Older son was born in 92, and there was no formula offered to him - that I know of anyway. He was in NICU for about 6-7 hours of the 24 we were told he'd be held there for observation. As soon as they figured out his lungs were fine - because his constant screaming was disturbing all the premies - he was moved to my room. I wasn't even really awake or aware yet - still dopey from general anesthesia for a crash C-section and morphine for pain.

Anyway, after about three hours, I was self-aware enough to refuse any more morphine, and I was ready to try to hold my baby without too much fear that I'd drop him in my drugged-out condition.

And then the lactation consultant walked into the room... Some of them are pretty lame and useless (like the one we got when younger son was born), but this one was awesome. We had the little guy latched on and nursing like an old pro in just a few minutes. She was totally cool about explaining everything, colostrum, switching sides during feedings, using a "football" hold so the baby wasn't on top of my surgery incision. The next day my milk came in, and we never had a problem.

(I hate to say things like this, because I *know* it's a lot harder for many/most new moms.)

Younger son was born at the same hospital five years later, and they had the same policies - all babies rooming with mothers unless there was a medical need, no formula unless the mother requested it, lactation consultants checking on each mom-and-baby at least a couple of times a day.

Both kids were exclusively breastfed until about 5 or 5 1/2 months. Then I stopped pumping at work, and they started getting formula during the workday, but still getting mommy-milk the rest of the time.

After a week or two, and no reactions to formula, they got their first cereals. Every week they'd get a new food to try, fruits and vegetables after cereals, then meats.

Older son did get iron drops from about two weeks old until he was eating good amounts of iron-rich cereal. After the placental abruption, he didn't get all the extra blood stored in the placenta like most normally-born babies, so he was considered slightly anemic from birth. Younger son got no suppliments.

Weaning was very different for the two boys. Older son decided he was done with me at about 9 months. I kept trying to get him to nurse for another month, until I finally got the hint. Younger son was forced to wean at 21 months when I had to take an out-of-state contract to avoid unemployment. I *really* don't recommend that weaning method! It was awful for both of us.

We did use powdered formula - completely unaware of any differences in bacterial content. I can't say how good the bottle and nipple washing was, because that was DH's responsibility while I was at work.

Anyway, thanks for that little trip into the past. They were good, easy babies, and I remember those times fondly.

Posted by: SueMc | October 7, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, all, for your help and advice. Sorry to hijack the thread, but you have helped me!

I agree with the poster who said "they never talk about how hard breastfeeding is." I agree, and would add, they also don't tell you how hard it can be to teach them to sleep. I read all the books and knew "back to sleep," sleeping in sacks, nothing in the cradle, etc. Its just my little baby hasn't read all those same books!!! She isn't having any of it.

She has at least learned to sleep on her back now, its just she isn't having any of the sleeping next to us in the cradle at night. I should probably buy a co-sleeper that attaches to the bed and try to move her over slowly, as someone suggested.

It does feel so good to have her in my arms and cuddle up at night. But its hard when you hear the advice, and like me, always try to listen to doctors. I do love the feeling of sleeping with her and don't want to feel guilty---but I'm just so worried something bad will happen.

So, either she'll learn to sleep on her own, or mom has to learn to feel less worried & guilty.

Posted by: hillmannic | October 7, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

To gypsyrom1: Thanks for the ideas with the car seat/reflux. I don't think she has reflux as such, but she does spit up a lot sometimes. But it doesn't seem to give her any discomfort, its just a "laundry problem" for us. And she doesn't like being in the carseat unless its moving, unfortunately. Maybe we can try this again.

Posted by: hillmannic | October 7, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, MoxieMom1. Swaddling has given us some success early on. First home from hospital, she would sleep swaddled TIGHT in the boppy pillow during the day. She was small (6 pounds) and couldn't move or wiggle at all when swaddled in it. But she got bigger and could break the swaddle and wiggle, so that wasn't safe anymore.

We bought the miracle blanket, which sometimes works for a few minutes (sometimes with a sleep positioner), but then she starts to SCREAM when she can't move her arms or body. So its sleep for a few minutes, then scream.

I attribute some of this to her being born early and not wanting to "straighten out yet" (she was born at 37 1/2 weeks cause of my preeclampsia). Even swaddled tight as a bug in the hospital, she HATED sleeping in the bassinet. She would stick her legs straight up in the air when she was on her back and cry, which was both funny and sad.

Posted by: hillmannic | October 7, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

hillmannic - Ireally would recommend asking about reflux. Both of my kids were 5 wks. early and had refulx and would not sleep unless held upright. They did not spit up a lot so they can have refulx w/o super vomiting. Just pay attention to if she is happy up or down. good luck.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 7, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

The problem with co-sleeping is that "cavemen" did not have duvets, pillows, and sheets. Look at the stats: SIDS is way down since doctors have been pushing the idea of no blankets, no pillows, put them down on their backs. That said, I did have my newborn daughter in bed with me a decent amount. I would frequently bring my daughter to bed to nurse lying down in the middle of the night, then keep her there until morning. I had her tightly swaddled (the "Miracle Blanket" lived up to its name), slept in the middle of the bed on the edge of the pillow, kept my duvet down at waist level and tucked under my belly, and slept on my side with an arm wrapped around the baby. Maternal hormones help keep you sleeping lightly, and I think it probably helps from that perspective if you are exclusively breastfeeding. I'm pretty sure your hormones go back to normal more quickly if you are not, anyway. Our pediatrician said she could not endorse co-sleeping, but that if we were going to, the baby should sleep on the outside, not in the middle of the bed. Men are more likely to roll over onto an infant and not wake up, so NO middle of the bed. Apart from that, she slept near our bed (past 6 months, per AAP recommendations): in a car seat until 3 months (our pediatrician recommended it, although there is some evidence that it may contribute to positional asphyxia if they are too upright), then in a Pack-n-play at the foot of our bed. I also exclusively breastfed for 6 months and continued until 12 months. It worked great for us.

AAP recs are based on solid research, not stuff they make up. Co-sleeping IS more dangerous on average, and the more research is done on breastfeeding, the better it looks compared to formula. But if you don't follow the recs to the letter, I don't doubt that you are doing what is best for your baby, your sanity, and your own unique situation. People will feel the need to tell you the way they did things is the best possible way, but don't let anyone judge you.

Posted by: stalkeyedfly | October 7, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

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