A Guide to Bottle Feeding Your Baby

Why Bottles Make This Mama Happy

A Guide to Bottle Feeding Your Baby

A Guide to Bottle Feeding Your Baby

Once upon a time there was a baby who loved her mama's boob. But her mama loved her freedom. She loved doing yoga on Wednesday nights. She loved going to movies with her girlfriends on the weekends. And, she loved (once in a while) to have a civilized dinner out with her hubby. Sadly, none of these things involved her baby. But all required she bring her boobs along with her.

Enter the bottle!

When this mama discovered a bottle her baby was happy to drink from, her freedom was granted.

Fill it with breast milk or formula and baby is fed. Fill it with water and baby's thirst is quenched.

A happy baby.

And a happy mama!

But with so many bottles to choose from, how do you know what type of bottle is best?

I was given the opportunity to try out the Playtex offering, and I must say, I've been more than impressed. Since my baby is primarily breast fed, it was really important for me—at first anyway—that the bottle I used not cause "nipple confusion." That means finding a nipple that's as close to the real thing as possible with a similar "flow." Enter the Playtex Nurser with Drop-Ins Liners.

The Playtex Nurser With Drop-Ins Liners

These bottles have a number of appealing features. First, the NaturaLatch Nipple is designed to mimic the breast and the breastfeeding process. With a wide, textured base similar to the boob, it encourages baby to latch-on like she would your own nipple. For my baby, it worked like a charm! She had no trouble switching between this bottle and my breast. We started with the slow flow nipple around one month, ensuring she still had to work for the milk, then switched to fast flow as she got a bit older, around five months. Around the same time, we transitioned from bottles of pumped milk (The Breast Milk Storage Kit allows you to pump, store, and feed with one Drop-Ins Liner) to bottles of formula—and the transition was seamless.

My favourite feature of these bottles is the Drop-Ins Liners and this is why. You know that little thing called bottle cleaning? The task that takes a whole lot of time; time you'd rather spend reading a book or watching shows on your PVR. Well, some of that cleaning can be avoided, thanks to the simplicity of these disposable liners. When it's time to feed baby, you simply pop a pre-sterilized disposable liner into the bottle, fill with breast milk or formula, put the cap and nipple in place, and feed. When the bottle is finished you pull out the liner and throw it in the trash. It does mean a bit more waste, which can weigh on the mind of an eco-conscious mama, but considering the amount of dishes in my sink and the number of items on my 'to-do' list, this little convenience is like a gift to myself (and to my husband, who often gets stuck cleaning the bottles!).

Another great feature of these liners is that they're designed to collapse as baby drinks to keep air from mixing with the milk. This means less gas for baby. Happier baby = happier mama! The only thing to consider when choosing these bottles is that liners cost extra, so once you've bought the bottles, you have to continue to stock up on liners. Personally, I think this is a small price worth paying for convenience.

Side note: When I was a baby, my mom fed me with Playtex bottles with disposable liners. In those days you had to 'burp' the liner, pushing on it to eliminate the gas bubbles before feeding baby. Flash forward to 2013, my mom is babysitting my baby girl and I leave her with a bottle. Despite my warning, my mom feels she must 'burp' the bottle (perhaps for old time's sake). With milk all over the floor, she was finally able to admit that just a few things have changed in the 33 years since I was a baby!

*This is my uncle feeding me a bottle during one of his first stints as babysitter circa 1981. 

The Playtex VentAire

Now that my baby girl is nine months old, there's another bottle that I find myself reaching for more often. It's called the VentAire. And while it may look a bit crooked—it's really quite straightforward to use.

These bottles are pretty awesome for a number of reasons. First, in the words of Playtex: the Advanced Micro-channel Technology Venting System allows the bottle to vent through the bottom so NO AIR mixes with breast milk or formula. That's a lot of words, but if it means less gas for my baby, I'm happy! Second, the angled bottle allows for semi-upright feeding which helps prevent ear infections—sounds good to me! And, finally, the slim design makes it really easy for baby to pick up and hold.

My kiddo is getting the hang of it...all by herself!

This is what they mean by semi-upright feeding, which works a bit better with mommy's help.

I've been really pleased with both types of Playtex bottles and find myself using them interchangeably now. Freedom makes me a much happier mommy. And so I say: Yay for bottles!


My Top Three Intentions for 2014

Bring It On New Year...I'm Ready For Ya!

My Top Three Intentions for 2014

So it's the first week of January and I finally have some time to sit down and think about what I want for this new year. Pre-kids, I would have been more organized and would have gotten around to setting goals or at least thinking about resolutions while it was still December. But not anymore! The last few weeks of December were spent trying to keep my kids entertained and busy during the holidays after our plans to go to Ottawa were called off due to the crazy ice storm. Amidst play dates, and movies, and trips to the Science Centre, and the Aquarium, and Disney on Ice, there was very little time for introspection. 

Then all of a sudden it was January 1.

The new year was upon me and I was freaking out. I had no idea what my resolutions were, what I wanted to accomplish, or what 2014 would even look like. My inner control freak got the best of me and I started to panic. There were just too many unknowns and I felt totally disorganized.

But after a weekend filled with me-time and two nights out without my kids, I'm seeing things more clearly now.

I finally have some childcare in place for my little Fiona. And it looks like it's going to work out well, at least for now. I have an exciting idea for a new business and a set of brainstorming sessions booked into my calendar. I have both girls signed up for classes that will allow me to have fun with them. And, I have a super supportive husband who is willing to stand by me as I figure out how my untraditional work-life-kids 'balance' will balance out this year.

2014 isn't looking so daunting after all.

And, with that, I've decided to set 3 INTENTIONS for 2014. These are all things that will inevitably lead to more happiness and joy for me and my kids. And, why not? As the character Amy (Amy Adams) in the movie Her so aptly put it: "We are only here briefly, and in this moment I want to allow myself joy."

So, here they are:

1. I'm making peace with my disorganized self. Yes, I'd love to be the kind of mom who always has healthy snacks cut up and on hand when I'm out with my kids and they get hungry. I'd love to have a morning routine that is fluid, stress-free, and consistent. I'd love to have designated days/hours that I focus on work, and nothing else. I'd love to have a neatly packed diaper bag ready every morning when I set out for the day. I'd love to not be running to Target in a panic when I've just used the last diaper, searching frantically for my kid's lost hat, feeding my baby water from the lid of my water bottle because I forgot her sippy cup again... (you get the picture)

But it's time to accept the fact that I'm just not that mom.

So instead of beating myself up when life gets chaotic, this year I'm vowing to love my disorganized self, just the way I am.

Being disorganized means I have a more exciting, spontaneous, and go-with-the-flow kind of life. I make last minute plans. I break plans when I just don't feel up to them. I multi-task like it's nobody's business. And, I stumble upon things all the time: exciting opportunities, new friends, creative ideas. Being disorganized keeps life interesting and it keeps me on my toes. It also keeps life interesting for my kids, and makes them more flexible and adaptable. They nap on the go. They eat whatever is available when we stop to pick up a snack. They learn to adjust their expectations when plans change last minute. And they embrace the adventure! So while being disorganized may seem like it's a bad thing, I know it doesn't have to be.

If I want more joy in my life, then I'm just going to have to wear the "disorganized mom" badge proudly. Because in some ways I'm very organized (my kid was signed up for summer camp in November) and in other ways I'll never be! So this year I'm making disorganized the new organized.

2. I'm vowing to stop yelling. I yell when I'm stressed. I yell when I'm not feeling good enough about myself. I yell when I'm drained and haven't been taking care of myself. I yell because I feel resentful. I yell because my fuse is too short. Frankly, I yell way too much. And, I feel terrible about it.

So, this is the year to end yelling. My kids will be 1 and 4 this year. I know I've just begun to experience the chaos. Things are going to get more insane before they get calmer...and I need a better approach to handling them. No one likes a mom who yells. No one likes a wife who yells. I read this blog post, The Important Thing About Yelling, and it totally inspired me. I'm guilty of freaking out at my toddler, of lambasting my husband, and of being a Bitch for no apparent reason (I like to blame hormones!). But, I really don't like myself when I behave that way. So, in order to stop the yelling I know what I have to do. I need to dedicate more time to taking care of myself, to taking breaks when I need them, to spending time on my own without my kids and not feeling guilty about it, to asking for help, to loving my own flaws, to accepting that thing won't be perfect, and to knowing that my toddler is going to be emotional and moody and crazy at times, and I don't have to respond in the same way. I need more OM in my life.

This intention is going to take work, but it's something I'm committed to. I want to be the kind of mom who can breathe through a crisis without freaking out, and who can let go of anger and frustration, rather than letting it boil up inside. I'm going to stop yelling! And, I think it will make life a whole lot more enjoyable.

3. I'm embracing abundance and prosperity...because I'm worth it! It's taken me a really long time to become comfortable with charging a rate for my work that I feel good about. In journalism school we were taught not to expect much when it came to making money. Journalists and writers are underpaid and that's just the way it is. I've never believed that I could actually make a lot of money doing what I love to do. Well, enough of that! I want to shop without feeling guilty. I want to sign my kids up for classes and camps without worrying that they're too expensive. I want to treat my friends to lunch. I want to treat myself to a day at the spa. I want to make generous donations and help those in need. I want to earn enough money to live the life I want. And why not? It's time to start valuing myself and the work I do. It's time to really believe that prosperity is possible. I've always been afraid to dream big when it came to money. But, that fear has been holding me back. This year will be a big year. I will have all the money I need. I will do work that I love to earn that money. It won't be hard, or stressful. It will be pleasant, and enjoyable, and rewarding. I'm going for it...all the way.

With these lofty intentions set, it looks like I'm going to have a big year ahead of me. How about you? What will your 2014 look like?