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The Bottle Conundrum

Certified lactation consultant Freda Rosenfeld debunks the age-old myth of nipple confusion.

The Bottle Conundrum

For most new moms, the question of breast or bottle seems black and white...at least before the baby arrives. In reality, the feeding frenzy is a murky shade of gray, and most moms end up with a combination of nursing and bottle-feeding, whether by choice or necessity. For a nursing mom, introducing a bottle to a suckling newborn can be a tricky prospect, fraught with the fear of “nipple confusion.” Fear not, says certified lactation consultant Freda Rosenfeld. “For the most part nipple confusion is really nipple preference,” says Rosenfeld, who’s been coined the “Breast Whisperer” in many NYC social circles. “It’s not confusion, it’s hunger.”

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Rosenfeld likens nursing vs. bottle feeding to cooking vs. eating out. Either your baby is a Julia Child baby, and cooking (i.e. nursing) comes easily, or your baby is not a great chef (i.e. not a strong sucker) and a restaurant is preferable. “If your baby is a ‘Julia Child’ sucker, breast or bottle shouldn’t matter. But if your baby isn’t a good sucker, it might prefer a bottle to the breast. Your baby wants whatever is easier and whatever feeds faster.”

With the right tactics, Rosenfeld says, a new mom can find a happy medium between the breast and the bottle. Here she gives us some tips.

What are some instances that could require a woman to have to introduce a bottle?

There are a lot of reasons a nursing mom might need to start bottle-feeding. For one, there’s the mom’s health or the baby’s health; if a baby is not gaining weight, we need to deliver food. There could be an emergency where the mom needs to go out and someone else has to feed the baby, or a mom eventually needs to go back to work.

What are your strategies for introducing a bottle that will enable continued success in nursing?

When you start bottle-feeding, I encourage the mom not to be the one who gives the bottle, and let someone else do it. That way the baby doesn’t see the mom and associate nursing. I also recommend making sure that the flow of the bottle is consistent with the flow of the mother. If mom is a steady-flow milk producer, the bottle should be steady flow. If it flows too fast, the baby will always want to eat that way and feel frustrated by the slower pace of nursing. The shape of the nipple on the bottle should also be similar to the mother’s nipple.

Is there a right amount of time to wait before introducing a bottle? Is it possible for bottle-feeding and breast-feeding to co-exist from day one?

If everything is going well with nursing, I encourage moms to wait two weeks before introducing a bottle so that your baby nurses as much as possible during that time to allow you to make as much milk as you can. But everyone has different needs. If supplementing with a bottle makes a woman enjoy her nursing and having a better experience, that mom should be able to use a bottle. If a mom wants to nurse for a year or more, and go straight from breast to cup, that’s also acceptable. As long as your baby is thriving, that’s the most important thing.

Some moms report that their baby has difficulty taking a bottle after nursing. What advice would you give to make the transition more successful?

If you know you’re going back to work, start introducing a bottle sooner rather than later. I recommend introducing a bottle by six weeks. If your child is having trouble taking the bottle, you can use certain feeding cues. Like start playing music when you’re nursing, then use that same piece of music when you use a bottle. In 22 years, I have only seen two babies that wouldn’t take a bottle. Some of them have taken two weeks or a month to take it, but virtually everyone takes the bottle.

How do you feel about pacifiers?

I love pacifiers. So far, there is no scientific evidence that pacifier use affects nursing. And babies that use pacifiers have reduced rates of SIDS, strengthened digestive systems and more. Pacifier use can be positive, and a pacifier can be very relaxing. Babies are suckers -- that’s how they relax their spinal column and strengthen their gut. If the baby hasn't eaten for awhile, he or she should nurse before being offered the pacifier, but if it's been less then an hour since eating, it's fine to try it. Mom should use a pacifier around the shape of her nipple. And when it comes to pacifiers, use it and don’t abuse it.

Photo by KRISTY MAY PHOTOGRAPHY

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Research indicates that family vacations are essential. They make our, kids (and us) happier and build bonds and memories.

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