Friday, November 18, 2016

How to make a bottle of formula: Creating the least amount of air bubbles

As a mom of now two formula fed babies (despite my best efforts to breastfeed) I'm stunned by the lack of education on how to best make a bottle of formula. Maybe it's because formula is discouraged or people feel it's pretty straightforward, but I truly feel that for those who need to use formula there aren't a lot of sources on how to best make formula.

So, it seems pretty simple right? Follow the directions on the back of the formula container: one scoop per two ounces of water in a bottle, vigorously shake to make sure there aren't clumps, then feed.

Except the air bubbles, oh the air bubbles that are produced when you use this method no matter the formula type or brand; they are a ginormous pain. Well, I'm here to tell you, there's a better way to make a bottle and create as few air bubbles as possible. Because let's be honest, burping a baby is really not an enjoyable experience and neither is a gassy baby.

Of course one of the most important things to reduce air intake by baby is the kind of bottle you are using. I'm a huge proponent of Dr. Brown's bottles. They really do help reduce the amount of air  swallowed and makes for a less gassy baby; especially if baby suffers from colic or acid reflux. But, regardless of the bottle you are using, you can reduce the amount of air bubbles introduced into the formula by how you make the bottle. Below is my own technique that significantly reduces the amount of air bubbles my own babes swallow, and I think will work for your baby as well.

For this example I'm making a bottle of four ounces using Kirkland infant formula and Dr. Brown's natural flow bottles.
  1. Prepare sterilized bottle with 4 oz. of warm water (approx. 120 mL)
  2. Shake or stir formula container to uncompact the formula granules
  3. Scoop first unpacked scoop of formula into the bottle
  4. Swirl the bottle holding from the neck of the bottle
  5. Scoop second unpacked scoop of formula into the bottle
  6. Swirl again
  7. Fasten lid and nipple
  8. Check for clumps by tilting bottle to the side
  9. Feed

The key is to make sure the formula is unpacked, and to swirl the bottle after each individual scoop is introduced. These tricks help to immediately let the formula start integrating with the water, and ensuring it's unpacked reduces the amount of clumps you would experience normally because you are introducing easily separated formula instead of compacted formula. I usually stir or gently shake the package or can of formula to make sure it's not compacted (make sure the lid is secured!) before every bottle I make and then scoop out what I need. It's critical to shake or stir the container at the halfway point as the bottom half will be much more compacted compared the top half.

Packed vs.


Worst case scenario if there are still clumps:
  1. If possible wait 5 or so minutes and then re-swirl. Oftentimes the formula just needs more time to integrate with the water.
  2. If it's not possible to wait, try as gently as possible to shake the bottle side to side, NEVER shake up and down/vertically so that the formula is going up into the nipple of the bottle. If there are still clumps: begin feeding baby and then after a couple minutes remove the bottle and re-swirl, and then shake side to side again if you must.
Do this ↑
Not this ↓
    Below is what happens when you swirl vs. shake bottles to get rid of clumps. Hugh difference!
Not shaken               vs.                  Shaken

I'm sure you'll have success with this and the great thing is it's incredibly easy to do. I rarely ever have to actually shake a bottle anymore to get rid of clumps, and as you can see in the photo above you can make less air bubbles depending on how you make the bottle. Best of luck and power to the mamas, you are superwomen!

Your baby will thank you!

*All the opinions expressed in this post are my own, and I have not been paid or endorsed to say them by either Dr. Brown or Costco

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Potty Training Hilton

Guys, this experience has shown me that motherhood is not for the faint of heart. Really REALLY not for the faint of heart.
We first tried potty training last November when I found out I was pregnant with Graham. Hilton was not even two, but I had read all these inspirational blog posts about how they had their infant potty trained and how glorious it was, and unicorns danced around, fairies sprinkled dust on them and all was right with the world because they got their baby potty trained so easily. Well, back to reality. That doesn't happen in normal households. Sorry, but not sorry, potty training is ridiculously difficult!
I'm pretty sure it was after he pooped on the floor for the second time the first day of 'naked weekend  day  morning of potty training' that I threw in the towel. Then the second time we decided maybe he needed a more gradual adjustment of training opportunities to learn in the spring, so we bought pull ups. In bulk. He never initiated wanting to go to the bathroom unless we made him, and he started to purposefully fight us on even going during his bedtime routine. So we gave up. I couldn't help but think, I'm going to have two children in diapers for another two years at least!
About two weeks before the end of my maternity leave Hilton all of a sudden started telling me he needed to go to the bathroom. Whether it was that he all of a sudden gained the ability to hold his bladder longer, or peer pressure from being around lots of little friends that were also potty training, I didn't care. We dove right into potty training and haven't looked back. We started out spending an entire day watching movies while filling him up with lots of liquids (whatever he wanted, soda pop even), and a fair amount of junk food and treats.
And then after the first couple days of enthusiasm of getting M&M's for peeing in the potty weren't quite as inspiring he started having accidents again. Thank heaven's for BabyCenter because all of those 'potty training in a weekend' blogs were so lacking information on what to do. A big recommendation from the Baby Center article about potty training was to place the emphasis on being dry, not successfully peeing. You see, Hilton could always ALWAYS pee in the toilet after an accident. So do I reward him for going successfully in the potty even though he just peed on the floor? I was torn. But Baby Center gave some examples of how to encourage staying dry, not just going potty in the toilet. Enter the sticker chart.
I never thought he would be so motivated by stickers, nor did I think I would ever buy stickers to keep in our house (I HATE HATE HATE stickers - that's another story) but it has totally worked. He gets a sticker when he is dry before going to the potty and he gets M&M's for going potty in the toilet. Once he gets ten stickers (AKA ten times of being dry) he gets a prize from the prize bucket. These include glow in the dark sticks, hot wheels cars, and balloons to name a few.
So far we've been potty training for four weeks and he still has random accidents maybe once every other day when he gets distracted by playing or a movie; but watching some Daniel Tiger and Elmo videos on YouTube about stopping playing and going to the bathroom helps quite a bit. As Daniel says, "When you gotta go, stop, and go right away! Flush and wash and be on your way." Catchy, I know. You'll thank me later. Or, maybe not after watching it ten times.

Probably the thing that Hilton has enjoyed the most since starting potty training is learning to pee while standing up (thank you Jared for teaching him that), which is so helpful when we're out and don't have his potty seat in public this makes it so he can still go potty without getting pee all over his pants. Hallelujah! Of course, this new trick has been used in not necessary situations such as in the...backyard. But I don't think our neighbors mind too much. Hopefully. Boys will be boys right? 
Anyways, I think we're well on our way to having a successfully potty trained little man and I'm so grateful to Preschool and my mom for assisting us with this process. Hopefully soon we will have a munchkin who will always tell us when he needs to go and not us forcing bribing him to go every hour or so. It's a work in progress, but I'm feeling positive about it. Go potty training mom's of the world, you are rock stars!

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Camping Men

Jared was determined that Hilton should have his first camping experience before it got too cold. So the last Saturday night of my maternity leave Jared bravely set up the tent, got all the blankets and sleeping bags set up and went out for a night under the stars with Hilton.

I quite seriously jokingly pointed out that I would enjoy the night from my warm tempur pedic bed and said I'd see them back in the house around 1am. But to my surprise Hilton lasted ALL night long! Poor Jared was awake most of the night but Hilton had a great time and they both came walking in at 7:30am saying it was a fun experience. Hilton even said he wanted to do it again, Jared however said they'd probably wait until next summer. I was so impressed to say the least and glad that they got to have a fun man bonding experience before life got turned upside down again with me going back to work.

I'm sure Jared looks forward to many fun scouts and young men's camping experiences now, I know he's going to enjoy having boys as they grow up. And I'm glad they get a dad that's so adventurous and who loves the outdoors!

Monday, November 07, 2016

Graham Robert: 3 Months

I cannot believe I no longer have a newborn! Good news is he is still squishy and loves being held so I get tons of cuddles and I love it. Even if he won't fall asleep on my chest anymore, he has to be rocked to sleep and I love it. Graham has definitely expressed his interest in the world and constantly wants to be held facing out or over your shoulder so he can see what is going on. Heaven forbid you stop moving for a period of time. The baby carrier has really come in handy, especially on Saturday's when chores still have to get done. He loves going on walks, mainly in the baby carrier instead of the stroller so that he can actually see where you are going. He's getting a little heavy for that though.

Of note poor baby Graham got two infected ingrown toenails on the inside of his big toes and they had to be extracted. I won't post pictures but it was completely the most traumatic experience of either of my children to date. They gave him a local anesthetic but I don't think it was really working so as they were cutting out the toenails and I was holding him in place he was just writhing and it was so hard to see him in so much pain. They are however better now and I'm hoping that they will grow back no problem. Thank goodness it happened when he was such a young baby and probably won't remember that experience.

Currently Graham:
  • Weighs 14.6 lbs
  • Wearing 6 month size clothing
  • Wearing size 2 diapers, but we're about to move him to size 3
  • Eats 3-3.5oz every 3 hours most days some days he is incredibly fussy and doesn't want more than 1-2 oz. every hour - we're figuring it out
  • Still waking up around 2-3am
  • No longer likes to be laying down for his baths
  • Still has eczema so I got special Aveeno lotion and baby wash for eczema which is helping
  • Hair loss has stopped thank goodness
  • Cradle cap got really bad and I had to start using Head and Shoulders once a week
  • Loves to talk and smiles whenever he is talked to
  • Is such a happy baby and we love having him in our family!
We've been so blessed with this little one, he is easy going for the most part and goes with the flow. He has gotten used to his crazy energetic brother and I think will be the calmer of the two although I'm sure they'll get into tons of mischief. And he's just so stinking adorable I just can't help myself. If all babies we're as good as Graham we'd have a million couple more of them.

Thursday, November 03, 2016


So we've officially had two little men in our lives for a quarter of a year (it sounds longer than three months right?) and I wanted to write our experience so far with two so we remember it if ever we forget.

Two is hard. No joke. Two is also fun, no joke. Two has seriously made me have to up my multitasking and preparation game like no other. The baby is sleeping? Start lunch for Hilton. Hilton is napping? Feed Graham and get in the one chance of tummy time all day. Both children are napping? I have no clue what to do with myself other than walk around and try to get things done that I can't do when I have one child at my feet and another in my arms...or go to bathroom for the first time of the day and then watch some Netflix. I can't truthfully admit say how I use my time when both children are napping, I can only say it goes by very quickly.

Hilton still shows his love for Graham, and frequently asks to hold him. He is rather wary of Graham and afraid of hurting him I think, but as long as we assist he's happy to give loves and (soft) hugs and kisses to his brother. He's so sweet and tender with Graham - normally - and I can already tell he will be such a great big brother. Hilton also becomes very concerned when Graham is crying which is so tender, he always says, 'Mommy, baby Graham is crying, can I go give him his binkie?' or, 'Can I go get him Mom?' and he often likes to come into the nursery while I'm putting Graham down for a nap. He's learned to be very quiet and whisper when I'm putting Graham to sleep. Hilton will often go fetch Graham's binkie or blanket if I ask him, he got a little confused about which diaper he was supposed to get and brought me one of his instead but he really is such a sweet little helper for me.

Graham has learned that watching Hilton play is rather entertaining as long as Hilton doesn't get in a throwing-Legos-for-fun-while-giggling kind of mood. There's usually some collateral damage when Hilton gets hyper (also maybe why he's afraid of hurting Graham) but Graham loves cooing at Hilton and it's clear he tracks him from across the room. Graham I think will be the calmer of the two, he gets a really stunned look on his face when Hilton screams or squeals loudly and surprisingly doesn't react to Hilton's loudness. Graham usually jibber jabber's in his carseat and Hilton watches him closely which is so sweet. Hopefully car rides with two stays sweet!

As much work as having two so close together is, I've loved it and I think it will continue to get better and more rewarding as they get older. Especially once they can really start playing together. I'm excited to see what good brothers they will be in life, and I love to see how different their personalities already are. I hope they are ying and yang for each other and that they have each others backs.

This is Graham's confused face. 'Mom why do you have me still swaddled and are not holding me?' 

Sharing his toys with Graham. Such a sweet big brother!

Look at how Graham looks at Hilton! I just love it

Helping mom by getting the wipes

The first time Hilton requested to hold Graham after being home since the hospital. Hilton was a little scared initially, but I think having Graham smiling up at him really helped. Hilton now frequently says, 'I love you baby Graham'

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Halloween 2016

Hilton man learned to growl this year and delights in doing it to 'scare' people (and invisible monsters) all the time. We figured being a lion would be a perfect fit to show off his new skill. Instead he became a little bit of a cowardly lion while trick-or-treating because he was afraid things would jump out at him on the doorsteps at houses, but it was a fun time and I love seeing him so cute and into being dressed up...even if I did have to bribe him with candy to put on his costume.

Poor Graham was going to be a monkey, but he ended up napping through Halloween which was OK because it meant we got to have a bit more fun with Hilton

p.s. I'm not entirely sure why I had a stink eye in this photo, but we'll just say I was super excited to smile for the camera...either that or Jared was pulling some kind of shenanigans from behind the photo taker...