I consider myself a fairly confident person. I make decisions with minimal thought, and I don’t care a whole lot what other people think of those decisions as long as I’m comfortable with them. I wear whatever I like, I eat what I feel like, and I go out without doing my hair.
But let me tell you, there is nothing that can shake your confidence in your decision making ability, your parenting ability, and your awareness of health and wellness than making the decision to feed your baby formula.
I had my first daughter almost 5 years ago now and didn’t feel even marginal guilt at switching from breastfeeding to formula around 7 months. With my son two years later, the breastfeeding movement had continued to gather steam, but I enjoyed nursing him and had no problem waiting almost a year before switching to bottles. Now, another two years after that, I can’t even believe how much angst and guilt I felt about switching my 5 month old to formula.
Yes, I can breastfeed. Yes, he seems to be getting enough and is completely happy – at least, he was until about 2 weeks ago. He now eats every two hours, pretty much day and night. I don’t believe any single person should be awake that often, baby or adult. He’s in the third percentile for height and weight – that means he’s heavier than exactly 3% of babies his age. With a 6’6″ daddy, that seems a bit strange. He also no longer naps during the day. Period. How is that even possible? He seems to think I am part snack bar, part teething ring, and let me tell you unequivocally, I AM NEITHER OF THOSE THINGS. There are not enough ALL-CAPS in the world for how I feel about being a teething ring.
Yet even as I write this, I feel like I am whining, making excuses, and copping out by buying formula and boiling up some bottles. Maybe it’s because I kind of am? But it could just as easily be the intense propaganda-type hype surrounding breastfeeding in our culture. Even the very first line of directions on the formula can instructs me in bold about how much better breastfeeding would be. Do they not want me to buy their product?
I absolutely believe that those who can should, that it’s healthiest for baby and mom, and that it’s truly a miracle that our body can care for a baby so perfectly. But at what point do you say, “This is killing me, and not doing my baby any favours either”. I think for every pound my baby gains, I lose two pounds of nutrients and a couple more in frustration and discomfort. I eat and drink almost non-stop, yet I’m still hungry and thirsty, and I’m still losing weight. I don’t think my body is currently able to support two people, and I have to be ok with that. Maybe I can do half and half, and maybe I have to call breastfeeding quits at 5 months and be thankful I lasted that long.
Maybe I need to go shopping, because buying new clothes while I’m skinny, without having to worry about how accessible my boobs will be, is sure to cheer me up ;)
Really, it’s been less than two days since we introduced occasional bottles, and my happy, giggly, napping baby is back. My happy, giggly, napping self is very close behind. So let’s make a deal: you don’t judge me for bottle feeding my baby and I won’t judge you for letting your baby “cry it out” at night. Fair fair?
And now, because writing my feelings makes me hungry, let’s make some fantastic potatoes. Potatoes that make you want potatoes as your main course – your only course. Potatoes your kids will ask for every night. Potatoes your husband will wish there were more of. Bacon and Gouda potatoes.
And I won’t judge you if you don’t twice bake your potatoes. Let’s be honest – I did it for the pictures, but the majority of the time my “twice-baked” potatoes are actually once-boiled-and-once-baked potatoes. Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it for a blog post, though :)
The easiest way to do these babies is to forget about the skins, boil your potatoes, mash them as directed, transfer to a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until heated through. This way, they can also be made in advance, refrigerated or frozen, and reheated in the oven in time for dinner. A version of these makes an appearance at every family gathering I have with my sisters, and they are always a hit. You can also make them in the morning and throw ’em in the slow cooker on keep warm and they will be waiting patiently for you when you’re ready to eat. Having people over for dinner never looked easier.
PS. Thanks to my sister-in-law Corien for sending over the Gouda cheese :) It was very much enjoyed!
- 4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
- 3 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
- ¾ cup shredded Gouda cheese, divided
- 1 green onion, chopped
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp garlic salt (optional)
- Place washed potatoes on microwave safe plate lined with paper towels. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork and put another piece of paper towel on top. Microwave on full power for 6 minutes. Rotate potatoes and microwave for another 4-6 minutes, until done (they will be tender and pierce easily with a fork).
- Let cool enough to handle, then cut carefully in half lengthwise with a serrated knife.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Scoop out as much potato as possible into a medium bowl while leaving the skin intact. Spray the skins lightly with baking spray and sprinkle with salt if desired. (The spray will help them crisp up despite the indignity of microwaving :))
- Mash the potato you scooped out with butter, milk, salt, and garlic salt, if using. I like to use my hand beaters for this step. When they're completely smooth, stir in the chopped green onion (reserve a few pieces for garnish) and ¼ cup of the gouda cheese.
- Place shells on a lightly greased baking sheet and return mashed potatoes to shells (or transfer to oven safe baking dish if you prefer). Top with bacon, remaining cheese, and reserved bits of green onion. Bake for 5 minutes, until heated through and cheese is melted. If you want to crisp up the bacon a bit more, broil for an additional minute. Serve hot.