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Monday, July 28, 2014

Tips For Picking the Formula That's Right For Baby

We are SO excited to be Similac StrongMom Ambassadors and sponsored blog partners. This post is sponsored but please know that our opinions are our own and we write every post from the heart. Please see below for additional disclosure. 

We are not strangers to how controversial a topic like formula feeding can be...or even breastfeeding for that matter. No matter what you do, someone will tell you that you aren't doing it right. We are so excited to partner with Similac to bring Moms helpful information to guide them through both breastfeeding AND formula feeding. 

Long time followers of our blog know that both Ashleys have breastfed all their kids. So far we've each had 1 baby that required some formula feeding. In both of our cases it was our first and we were working but the decision to feed a baby formula comes in all shapes and sizes

Feeding my daughter formula was a necessity after she refused to latch as a newborn. I made the decision to exclusively pump for her but I couldn't keep up with supply and demand in those first few weeks. We needed to use formula...something I didn't even look into before having her. I was so set on breastfeeding...why would I have researched formula?! 

So I did what any new mom recovering from a c-section with no clue in the world what she was doing would do- I sent Daddy to the store for formula. He was gone for awhile, I'm pretty sure he just stared at the cans in amazement of what in the WORLD to buy. But when he got home he was sure proud to be able to feed his baby girl. :)

Luckily for you Similac, with the help of Dr. Sue Hubbard (aka "The Kid's Doctor"), have given us five helpful tips for selecting the formula that's right for you and your baby-

Figure out your lifestyle needs and which form of formula will support them. 
In our case power formula worked well, but some families prefer the connivence of the ready to feed stuff. Some factors you may want to consider- price, how often you will use formula and what's best for you when you are on the go. 

Understand the ingredients. 
The FDA regulates all formula so you can rest easy there, but that doesn't mean all formula is created equal. Some formulas offer the basics (think carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals...etc) while others, like Similac, offer formulas with additional nutrients to support things like eye development. 

Although my son never took formula, I'm also more aware of the need for formulas based on different ingredients like soy. My guy had a dairy intolerance (no ice cream for Momma for a year!) and would have had to be on a special formula to avoid having allergy issues. 

Be mindful of your water source. 
We used nursery water to mix my daughter's formula at first just because we had no clue what we were doing. After speaking with her doctor, we discovered our tap water was perfectly fine to use. If you are worried about your water source, talk with your baby's pediatrician and/or use nursery water until you get the "ok". 

Watch and learn.
It can take your baby anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to get adjusted to a formula. If your baby seems uncomfortable, gassy, has a nasty diaper rash...etc they might be having a reaction to their food. These are the exact signs that my son had when we discovered his dairy intolerance. In my case a diet change was necessary but with a formula fed baby, consult your doctor and see if they have any suggestions for a gentler formula or different brand. 

Consider your baby's age. 
It's typical in the U.S. for parents to start introducing solid food to their babies as early as 6 months. Although breast milk and/or formula should still be their primary source of nutrition, baby will benefit from nutrients found in some of those first foods (think green beans, sweet potatoes, apples...etc). Stage 2 formulas have additional protein, vitamin C and calcium to complement the diet of a baby that has started solid food. 

And one last piece of advice- try not to stress out about it too much. If baby is getting fed and seems happy - you are doing a great job! 

Similac sponsored with bloggers like us for its StrongMom Ambassador Program. As a part of this program, we receive compensation for our time. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac's policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Free At Last!

World Breastfeeding Week is coming up (first week in August) and it got me thinking...My name is Ashley and my son was a boob-oholic. It has been 7 months since his last drink.

Do you hear that? It is 1,000 fireworks going off in celebration of this event. I don't know why it has hit me all of a sudden but just this week I have realized I'm no longer attached.

I can go anywhere. ANYWHERE I want. And be gone for as long as I want knowing that he won't starve while I'm gone and claw at my shirt when I get back!

I can take MEDICINE again people. Real, actual drugs. Not just Tylenol. I can take Nyquil, Afrin and all the Sudafed I want! This is a game changer for more sipping apple cider cocktails to relive sinus pressure. No more "all natural" remedies because I have to. Sweet relief and peaceful sleeping coming my way next time I'm sick.

No more milk stains and nursing bras. No more snaps and excessive buttons. I can wear whatever I want without having to worry about an access point. I'm going to wear a turtleneck with a belt on top just because I CAN.

And something I've been waiting to do since I was 4 months pregnant- comfortable stomach sleeping. FINALLY!!! I don't have to feel like I have two rocks pressed against my chest or sleep hugging a pillow.

I promised myself if I made it to a year and exclusively nursed/pumped that I could go get a massage. Have I done it yet? No. I've been so busy and it keeps getting put on the back burner. I WILL do this before the end of the ladies need to hold me accountable on this! For now I'll just do my happy dance that I am FREE AT LAST!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Getting Siblings Adjusted to a New Baby

Helping Siblings get adjusted to their new baby is not something to take lightly!  

This adjustment period isn't just hard on the new mommy and daddy but also (sometimes more difficult) on the siblings.

I have been very fortunate for my kids to have an easy transition...but that doesn't mean it didn't come without its challenges.

When Addelyn (#2) was born, Grayden was only 26 months old.   

He wasn't too thrilled he learned about her arrival...

And although he loved the idea of her, she came as quite a shock to his routine!

He threw many temper tantrums the first few weeks.  Especially since it was the middle of winter and we had nowhere to go!

Soon he learned to she wasn't leaving and life became easier! 

As for Braylon (#3) entering our lives...the kids were older.  Grayden was 5 and Addelyn, 3.   They were able to control and understand their emotions a little better.  They were able to communicate to us that they felt sad we were holding the baby all the time instead of playing more.  We had to sit down and have many conversations about how we loved them but the baby needed our attention right now. My husband and I divided and conquered whenever we were both home.  And I did the unthinkable (for me) and put the baby down throughout the day so I could play a game 1:1 with the older kids.  We did lots of arts and crafts and Eric took them to do lots of special things the first few weeks. 

Chicago Fire Soccer Game

Mini-Glee Camp

Sprinklers With Friends

The kids absolutely adore their baby brother!  

BUT--We are still adjusting!!  
Today I folded laundry with one hand as I held a crying baby and consoled a 5 year old who was sad I wasn't playing a board game with him.  

Honestly, at the end of each day I feel like a freaking rock star.  

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