Just Ridiculous: Giving New Mothers Formula Is Like Giving Trying-to-Quit-Smokers Cigarettes

“A ‘gift’ of formula is like a ‘gift’ of a pack of cigarettes when you’re trying to quit smoking; it will undermine your resolve,” says Peggy O’Mara, editor-in-chief of Mothering magazine.

O’Mara made the comment in support of the fact that Massachusetts has become the second state in the country whose hospitals ban free formula gifts to new moms, in an effort to force encourage moms to breastfeed. Her remarks were excerpted in a TIME magazine article about the formula ban and the Mitt Romney connection (see the article for more on that).

I had to read O’Mara’s remarks three times–was she making a terrible joke? How could she seriously compare formula to cigarettes? It’s incredibly offensive for so many reasons.

For starters, I gave my baby formula, so how dare she even suggest a connection between a toxic cancer-causing product and a nutrient-rich food. I didn’t throw in the towel on breastfeeding because the hospital sent me home with a few free samples. In fact, I transitioned Mason to formula after I struggled for weeks to breastfeed. I finally confessed my anxieties to our pediatrician and he told me to let go of the guilt and switch to a specific brand of formula. He insisted that Mason would be just fine. And you know what? He was absolutely right.

O’Mara is also suggesting that moms lack free will. Using her logic, grocery stores should never offer free samples because some shoppers might be on a diet and the freebies might weaken their resolve to avoid snacking between meals.

It’s ridiculous.

I’m also appalled that Rhode Island and Massachusetts instituted the ban in the first place. Why should the government have that right? And what about moms who can’t breastfeed their babies for health reasons?

Take my twin sister, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis about a decade ago. She gave up her MS meds while she was pregnant, because the particular drug she was taking had been proven harmful to a growing baby, and by 30 weeks her symptoms were so bad I was afraid for her. However, Erin insisted that she would not go back on her medication–nor would she seek an early induction–because she was determined to give birth to a healthy baby girl.

When asked by her ob-gyn whether she was taking a breastfeeding class, Erin explained that her neurologist was urging her to go back on her MS medications immediately after the birth due to her declining health, and therefore she wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. Instead of being supportive, her doctor gave her grief about formula feeding and pressured her to delay taking her medication. Erin called me crying after the appointment, and I told her to ignore the b*tch.

Erin’s efforts paid off and she gave birth to a healthy baby girl at 41 weeks. Fortunately she listened to her neurologist and started her shots, along with an aggressive steroid infusion, immediately after she delivered her baby. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough: Erin had a massive relapse shortly after Natalie was born and was paralyzed for weeks. Imagine what kind of shape she’d be in if she had given in to the pressure to breastfeed.

When did breastfeeding become a tool for bullying?

Photo: Mother feeding a baby a bottle via mathom/Shutterstock.com

He Finally Fed Himself His Own Bottle!

Go Mason — you did it!

The bottle blues are finally over. While Mason was eating his banana and pasta shells filled with cheese and veggies  for dinner tonight, he motioned for his bottle of whole milk.  It was on the counter, just out of his reach. I picked it up and was about to feed it to him when he snatched it from me and fed it to himself. I was so excited I nearly fell off my chair. I started cheering and clapping, Bug laughed but kept drinking away. Then he used his bottle to smash what was left of the pasta on his tray.

Smash away, Bug — just please keep feeding yourself that bottle.

I’ve heard that kids develop new skills fast while in daycare, but this feels like a miracle. Just last week one of Mason’s teachers told me that Bug threw a fit every time they tried to get him to feed himself his own bottle. I stood there, totally embarrassed. I knew that Feed Me Now Fit and it wasn’t pretty. Finally, it all clicked. Who knows why Mason picked tonight to finally take this next step, but mommy and daddy couldn’t be more proud.

Tuesday Timesaver: Cheesy Veggies in 20 Minutes

veggies
Last weekend while we were in Charlotte, North Carolina, I hung out my cousin Tracey. I’ve always adored Tracey but now that we’re both moms we’re even closer. At one point Tracey mentioned that her 2-year-old son Ethan has become a pickier eater as he’s gotten older. Mason will eat just about anything right now but it’s entirely possible that he’ll follow in his big cousin’s footsteps. Many kids turn into picky eaters as toddlers and the boys could be brothers with their blonde hair, fair skin, and blue eyes. (Watching them play together made me yearn to follow in Berit’s footsteps and try for #2!) Tonight I came up with a super easy veggie side dish that I think both boys will love. It’s a medley of cooked veggies tossed in a homemade cheese sauce. I chopped up the veggies then stirred together the cheese sauce as they were cooking. So simple and you can also puree it if your babe isn’t eating chunky food yet. The entire dish came together in just 20 minutes. I’d love to hear what you think if you try it out. What are your go-to side dishes?

Cheesy Veggies

Ingredients

Large carrot
2 cups fresh or frozen broccoli, stems removed
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
Shredded cheddar cheese
Milk, formula, or breastmilk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Directions

1. Wash veggies. Peel carrot and chop into tiny pieces. Chop broccoli into tiny pieces, removing stems.

2. Fill a medium saucepan with water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat until bubbles are soft. Cook carrots and broccoli for 10 minutes or until tender. Add peas to the water for the last 5 minutes.

3. As the veggies are cooking, prepare cheese sauce. Set aside to cool.

4. Drain veggies and rinse in cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel to remove excess water.

5. Combine veggies and cheese sauce in a medium-size bowl. Mix well until veggies and sauce are combined. To puree, dump it all in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

6. Divide veggies into 2 ounce portions and freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.

Yield: 8 two-ounce side dish portions

Baby Cheese Toast with Veggies & Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries

Best for Babies 10+ Months Old

Today has been chill, Mason and I have been reconnecting after our time apart. My boy has been giggling and happy all day, and his appetite has returned following his hunger strike in Washington, DC. For breakfast, he ate a Baby Omelet with Cheese and Banana-Cherry Oatmeal. He napped, we played, and then it was time for lunch. I made two of his faves — crisp toast with melted cheese and healthy cinnamon-spiced sweet potato fries. Both the cheese toast and the healthy fries are great first finger foods — they’re soft and you can chop them up into small pieces. (You can also hide some cooked veggies under the cheese!)

Hope your babe enjoys these recipes as much as Mason does! Try ’em out and let us know what you think:)

 

Baby Cheese Toast with Veggies

Ingredients

Whole Wheat Bread
Shredded Cheddar or Mozzarella Cheese
Chopped veggies (spinach, broccoli, tomato, sweet pepper)
Olive oil

Directions

1. Spray a skillet with olive oil. Cook diced fresh or frozen veggies until soft.
2. Sprinkle cheese and veggies on bread. Toast in a toaster oven until cheese has melted. If you don’t have a toaster oven, spray a baking sheet with olive oil and toast bread on 350 degrees in your oven until the cheese has melted.
2. Cut into tiny pieces, removing crust. Cool, then serve.

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries


Ingredients

Organic sweet potatoes or yams
Ground cinnamon
Olive oil

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Wash and peel sweet potato. Slice into long, thin strips.
3. Arrange strips of sweet potato on a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
4. Bake until sweet potato is soft, about 20 minutes. If you’re cooking for a younger baby, slice fries into tiny pieces or mash with a fork. Cool, then serve.

Baby Cheese Sauce

broccoli_cheeseBest for Babies 8+ Months Old

Today was so delish. It started with two hours of playtime with my boy before work, great coffee, and a great meeting. At lunch, I dug into a juicy turkey burger and crisp fries with one of my fave coworkers. We ate outside, it was so gorgeous today! (Normally I nibble on a salad at my desk, distracted by an endless stream of meetings and deadlines.) Then there was my superfun dinner with Mason and a glass of wine (and girl talk) with a good friend. So delish.

Dinner was the best part. Mason loved his meal of Broccoli and Beef with Cheese Sauce. My inspiration for this dish started with Mason’s new love, broccoli. I wanted him to experience the healthy veggie with one of my old loves, cheese.  I got the cheese sauce recipe from Annabel Karmel’s Top 100 Baby Purees, although I used the basic variation from her book, which only calls for cheddar. I added beef to the mix because it’s an iron-rich source of protein, and it added some heartiness to the meal.

It was all so easy to put together. I already had broccoli and beef purees, along with the cheese sauce, in my freezer. I thawed the stuff then mixed two ounces each of the broccoli and cheese sauce with one ounce of beef. Try it out — and let us know what your babe thinks.

Basic Cheese Sauce from Annabel Karmel’s Top 100 Baby Purees

Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup milk*
1/3 cup grated Cheddar cheese

Directions

Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour to make a smooth paste, and cook for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the milk, bring to a boil, and cook for a few minutes over low heat until thickened and smooth. Stir in the grated cheese until melted.

*I substitute formula instead of milk for the extra nutrients. I also double the recipe to make 16 ounces of sauce so I have extras to freeze.

 

 

OMG, He Finally Ate Green Beans


From Mason’s POV, green beans suck. It doesn’t matter what I mix them with, he just won’t eat them. Or so I thought. Then I discovered YoBaby 3 in 1 meals with green beans and pear. It had never occurred to me to mix green beans with yogurt. Sure, Mason loves his yogurt — I usually make his homemade — but the combo just seemed strange. Could it possibly work? Did the people of YoBaby know something I didn’t? What the hell. I bought some and was honestly shocked when Mason gobbled it up three nights in a row. Perhaps he had no clue the yogurt was harboring the enemy. But who cares? It worked and I’m going to make my own batch of yogurt inspired from the YoBaby blend later this week (recipe below).

How do you get your babe to eat foods he/she doesn’t like?

Pear-Green Bean Yogurt

Ingredients

Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
Organic green beans
Organic pear

Directions

1. Wash and cook green beans (I prefer frozen because fresh can get gritty when pureed). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
2. Wash, peel, and cook pear. Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
3. Combine three ounces of yogurt with 1 ounce each of pureed pear and green beans.
4. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounce portions.
5. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Rich & Creamy Baby Yogurt, 7 Ways


To Mason, yogurt is the ultimate treat. He loves it, I imagine, because it’s luscious, pure, simple, uncomplicated. I love giving him yogurt because it’s wholesome, filled with bone-building calcium and tummy-boosting Probiotics. I also appreciate how versatile yogurt is.  I can serve it alone, or mixed into Mason’s oatmeal. I add peach yogurt to pureed chicken for something a little different. When we move on to other poultry and meat, I’ll mix beef with apple yogurt, turkey with pear yogurt, and lamb with apricot yogurt. This summer, I’ll freeze fruit yogurt into healthy popsicles. Plain yogurt is so easy to customize for your babe. Here are some of Mason’s favorite yogurt recipes to get you started.

Peach Yogurt

Ingredients

Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
1 bag frozen, organic peaches

Directions

1. Cook peaches. Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
2. Combine yogurt and pureed peaches.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2 to 4-ounces portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Pear Yogurt

Ingredients

Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
Organic pear

Directions

1. Wash, peel, and dice pear. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
2. Combine yogurt and pureed pear.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounces portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Banana Yogurt

Ingredients

Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
Organic banana

Directions

1. Peel and slice banana. Puree with pre-mixed formula or water until you reach desired consistency.
2. Combine yogurt and pureed banana.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounce portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Apple Yogurt

Ingredients

Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
Organic Gala apple

Directions

1. Wash, peel, and dice apple. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
2. Combine yogurt and pureed apple.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounce portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Mango Yogurt

Ingredients

Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
Organic mango

Directions

1. Wash, peel, and dice mango. Cook until tender (10-15 minutes). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
2. Combine yogurt and pureed mango.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounce portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Papaya Yogurt

Ingredients
Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
Organic papaya, ripe

Directions

1. Scoop out seeds from the center of papaya, then spoon flesh into a food processor. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
2. Combine yogurt and pureed papaya.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounce portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Apricot Yogurt

Ingredients

Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
Organic apricots

Directions

1. If using fresh apricots, wash, peel, and dice. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency. For dried apricots, dice and cook until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
2. Combine yogurt and apricots.
3. Freeze leftovers for up to up to one month in 2- to 4-ounce portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

*For each of the recipes above, use twice the amount of yogurt (in ounces) that you use of fruit.

If your babe is older than my seven-month-old son, generally between 10 months and a year (check with your pediatrician), you can make your babe’s yogurt with berries. Choose ripe berries and follow the recipe for Banana Yogurt above.

What’s your babe’s favorite flavor of yogurt?