I think the biggest challenge facing any first time mom is the “feeding”. I only breastfed the princess for 3 days due to lots of complications so she was on formula from birth. I had been very positive about the whole breastfeeding thing and really planned on doing it after going to the ante natal classes and hearing how the Limerick Maternity had such a great breastfeeding rate and how the support was second to none so this was the way I was going to go, besides if I didn’t I was a bad mom, all the books said so. So it came as a big shock when the princess wouldn’t latch on – ouch, ouch, ouch, it was an even bigger shock that she was 10lbs and needed a cow to feed her and that there was only 1 breastfeeding nurse trying to show a packed hospital how to do it. The support they had all talked about was just not there, you nearly need a nurse per patient when starting out it is so difficult, I know this is not possible but I think there is unbelievable pressure on moms to breastfeed and they need support.
So she continued on formula when we came home but was so hungry, she used to feed every 2 hours so at 5 weeks we changed her to hungry baby and after a weekend of lots of nasty wind she thrived on it. I know they say “breast is best” and I have no doubt it is and would have loved to have continued with it but formula isn’t all that bad and your baby can still be healthy. The princess didn’t even have a cold or a temperature for the first 10 months, she was never sick whereas my sister who breastfed for 4 months had a constantly sick baby so it really depends on the child. I know a lot of people feel guilty over not breastfeeding but I never did, I tried, it didn’t work so I used formula and she’s here to tell the tale.
It’s a given that formula fed babies start solids a bit earlier than breastfed babies and if you have an Italian MIL like mine with a sooner the better attitude, it will happen on the dot of 16 weeks. A lot of people use the Annabel Karmel book of weaning but that didn’t happen in my house. I started her with a bit of rice for a couple of days and then the MIL arrived with a bag full of food for her first meal. Now I had read that you are supposed to introduce foods gradually but this obviously doesn’t happen in Italy as a pot with a small piece of carrot, courgette, potato and veal was put on the cooker with a drop of olive oil, cooked, liquidised, some more olive oil and grated Parmesan added and off we went and the princess loved it. She had no problems at all and took to solids so quickly. I basically stuck to a couple of variations
- veal, carrot, courgette and potato
- chicken, broccoli, potato, peeled tomato
- fish(sole or cod), peas, potato and onion
- broccoli, cauliflower, courgette, carrot and potato.
- lots and lots of baby pasta!! I usually gave it to her with home-made tomato sauce or bolognese as she got older but a really handy one is a triangle of laughing cow and parmesan!
To be honest I never varied from these and never bothered freezing either, I used to cook fresh every 2 days as it only took a few minutes to do anyway so this suited me while I was at home. She had the usual snacks of yogurts, biscotti, toast etc.
One of the most important things when feeding babies in Italy is to add grated Parmesan and olive oil to everything, I don’t think she ever had a dinner without it, even when she started in the creche I had to bring some Parmesan for them, they even had to put it on her chicken curry(yuk). It’s not something we do here in Ireland but I would recommend it as they are getting extra calcium and we all know the benefits of olive oil plus it gives the food a nice flavour, my sister used to finish off the princess’ dinner as she used to say it was so tasty:) I started her on fruit straight away too giving her some pureed apple and pear with a squeeze of fresh orange juice and lemon juice. I didn’t give her too much banana as it can cause constipation and it’s not recommended you give strawberries until 1 so she basically had the same fruit mix everyday. The one thing I never used was jars, it just wasn’t for me, I did use the odd dessert but that was it.
The one issue we did have was that she would never take water, I even tried it with a bit of sugar when she was constipated(this works really well btw) but she would only take a little, even now there is no way she will drink water, only “juicchi” or “in-up(grandparents tut tut!! I was adamant she wouldn’t get any junk in her first year and she didn’t have chocolate until she was 14 months even though it was a battle with everyone to stop them giving it to her! I’m glad I enforced it now because babies have this pre-programmed chip in their little heads that makes them want junk all the time once they start talking and making choices.
Re the bottles I put her onto follow on milk once she turned one and had her down to 2 bottles a day since 9 months. She didn’t like cow’s milk so I just continued with aptimal, they advise to switch to a sippy cup when they turn 1 but that’s easier said than done, we never used a soother so this was her only comfort so there was no chance of her giving the “baba” up just because the books say so!!!
Feeding in year 2 to follow which is a whole different scenario all together as they no longer just eat what you give them, ahh the good ole days!! Now it’s
the princess(standing in front of treats press) – “what does tessia(alessia) want”?? with a sneaky smile!
me – nothing from that press, how about a banana??
the princess(without sneaky smile) – mammmeeeee tessia not want nana, I want to see that press, I want choclaaaatee!!!
me – NO!!
princess – whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…………….