She Says… Confirmation

Confirmation that I made the right decision about breastfeeding: Owen gained 10+ oz in the last 7 days. That’s more than he gained in the previous 20 days.

We’re figuring out the whole bottle feeding thing. It’s quite a routine! There’s definitely an element of convenience that is lost now that I can’t just lift up my shirt and feed my kid when I’m out. Oh wait, I could never really just lift up my shirt and feed my kid without screaming, crying, back arching, coughing, burping, and squirming. That wasn’t really all that convenient either. So I’m slowly but surely getting the hang of prepping bottles, pumping while playing with Owen, and remembering how long breastmilk is allowed to sit out before it goes bad.

My goal is to pump for him full-time (at least for now). Yesterday my milk supply just couldn’t keep up with his intake, so we had to supplement with something at the end of the day. Our options were to supplement with frozen milk that I had pumped back when I was eating dairy (we’re still in the middle of a no-dairy trial to test if Owen has a sensitivity/intolerance to cow’s milk proteins) or try out a hypoallergenic, non-dairy formula. A friend gave me two cans of Nutramigen, which is a hypoallergenic formula, just in case I needed them, and that seemed to be the best option that wouldn’t mess up our dairy test (which has been quite a struggle for me, so I’d REALLY like to keep the control as dairy-free as possible so I can add it back in a few days). So, reluctantly, I mixed up a bottle from that powder for Owen’s bedtime. People in my new Mommy Group said yesterday that formula may help him sleep longer, so I should definitely give it at night. I was hesitant to try something new that might upset our awesome bedtime routine (Owen is a perfect little angel at bedtime and generally goes right to sleep after eating with no rocking or crying), but Benjamin insisted. We are bound to try it sometime if my milk supply is just under what he’s eating.

It smelled awful. Like medicine. And do you know the worst part? The main ingredient is CORN SYRUP. Wha??? Yes. Apparently breastmilk has a lot of natural sugars, and some formulas replace those sugars with CORN SYRUP. Ugh. I have changed my diet significantly over the last few years to include very few processed foods in an effort to reduce my intake of corn derivitives (among other things). And now I’m feeding my baby corn syrup in powder form? Not so sure I like that. Maybe it’s because it’s dairy free? I’ll have to do some research on that.

Anyway, despite my disgust with the product, we tried. I put it in Owen’s mouth and watched. His brow furrowed. His little eyes looked up at me quizzically. Then his mouth opened as he gagged and dryheaved. I was both relieved (that he preferred my milk to anything else) and saddened (what in the world am I going to feed him if my milk supply can’t keep up?). After a few more tries, he drank it just fine, although he didn’t seem thrilled about it. He didn’t eat as much as he normally does, but he had eaten not too long before, so I’m going to blame it on that rather than the fact that he could’t stomach it. He did NOT sleep slonger (at least not this time), and woke up at 1:30am. Generally he’s been waking up around 2:30 and then sleeping until morning, except on the rare occasion that he regresses back to waking up twice a night, and wakes up again at 5:00am or so. I gave him a bottle of breastmilk at 1:30am, and HE’S STILL ASLEEP RIGHT NOW (and it’s 8:30am, and I have been awake for an hour and a half, thinking he was about to wake up). Nice.

Did others have this experience with your babies gagging/disliking formula? What did you do?

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13 responses to “She Says… Confirmation

  1. Oh Kate, I totally get it. When my daughter was born (Sept 8th) my milk took TEN DAYS to come in. She was born at 7# and then when the homecare nurse came at day#4, she was 5#14oz?!! I almost died. Right then and there all of my idealistic ideas of “breastfeeding only, no formula for this kid and no bottles until 4 weeks” FLEW out the window. At that point, all I cared about was a thriving, chubby baby who was full and happy. We gave her the first bottle of formula (and my heart did break a little) and she GOBBLED it down, became a happier kid, and then when we went THE NEXT DAY for her weight check at the pediatrician, she had gained like 6 oz?! Oh the relief and the new perspective one can have when the simple needs in life need to be met. Luckily, my milk eventually came in and we have a giant, chubby, beautiful 7 week old now :)
    I applaud your efforts and your determination to keep Owen happy and healthy…I hope you have given yourself some credit for all you have been through. I wish you guys nothing but smooth sailing from here on out :)

  2. My boy HATED formula. HATED it. In all forms. He gagged. He dry-heaved. He spat it out. He shook his head and tried to get away from me. It wasn’t a bottle – he took breastmilk in a bottle. I tried to give up breastfeeding at six months. Obviously, he wasn’t going down easily. One of the things suggested to me was to mix breastmilk and formula. Maybe that will work for you. My little turkey could tell. I’m still breastfeeding and we’ve just had a first birthday party. There IS light at the end of the tunnel, though, because he likes cow’s milk! I hope that you are able to find a balance!!! I wasn’t a good pumper either and wouldn’t have been able to keep up. Good luck!

  3. I’m so glad that Owen is at least taking a bottle well and that he is okay with formula. His weight gain has been great!!! Stupid breastfeeding is stressful and our bodies just don’t often keep up with what our little ones need. :(

  4. My milk took ten days to come in too and even then I never was able to produce enough so we have been supplementing with formula from the beginning. We use Earth’s Best organic dairy formula. Babies Only makes an organic lactose-free formula that does not contain corn syrup. Do not feel guilty about supplementing with formula, you are doing what is best for Owen.

  5. My baby gags and refuses formula almost daily. In fact, it usually takes me an hour to get her to eat 4-5 oz (and she’s 5 months old next week). We’re taking her to Children’s Hospital about this issue, so I don’t have any helpful suggestions. My only helpful suggestion is to try not to stress, if only because the baby will pick up on that.

    I do find that bouncing the baby on a fitness ball while offering her the bottle does make her take it, even though it’s filled with stinky hypoallergenic formula :)

  6. Also, the Alimentum ready to feed doesn’t have corn syrup. From my understanding, the corn solids are added to make the powder, which can irritate some babies’ stomachs.

  7. The first time I gave my son straight formula, he SCREAMED. Like, “woman, what is this garbage?” My husband came home right when I was giving him the bottle and Ben was crying, I was crying…it was a bad scene. So per my pedi’s advice, I mixed it with breastmilk to get him used to it. Started with 3:1 BM: formula, then 1:1. then 1:3…you get the idea. Took a few days but now he gobbles it down with no problem.

    You’re right though, the stuff smells awful.

  8. With my oldest, our pediatrician recommended formula after feeding because of mild jaundice. I did it grudgingly, but was thankful when she never took it. Then when I went back to work, she refused bottles of breast milk too. We mixed a little formula in her bottles (three ounces of breast milk to 1 ounce of formula) for awhile and then stepped it down until she was drinking just breast milk. Perhaps the same would work for you, in reverse, so the taste is worked into his palette more slowly. Best wishes!

  9. When I went back to work, my milk supply diminished drastically. :( We’ve had to supplement with formula. I’ve found that my little guy will only take the formula if it’s warm. (He takes bottled breastmilk at any temp.) I have noticed though he has some reflux when he’s fed my frozen breastmilk. Anyone else have similar issue?

  10. Your story has been so comforting to me, because I feel so alone in what I am going through. My baby boy is 5 weeks old today, and breastfeeding hasn’t worked. I’m like you, I’ve always been “good at stuff” so failing at this has been quite an emotional tragedy for me. My sweet boy ended up in ICU for 5 days just five days after he was born for dehydration and hypothermia due to him not getting enough from me (I had NO idea- talk about mommy guilt). We tried and tried breastfeeding while supplementing with breastmilk and formula, and finally, about a week ago, I quit. I was an emotional wreck, and physically the pain left me in tears and I dreaded every 2 hours when I would have to feed him. I decided I wanted to enjoy this newborn phase and again like you said, the goal is to FEED THE BABY. I tried exclusively pumping for a few days, but 2 clogged ducts, not even close to enough production, and more exhaustion later, I gave that up too. I wanted more than anything to give my baby breastmilk, but I want to be a good, rested, happy mommy more. My boy started out not really digging the formula, but now he eats it like a champ and is gaining weight like crazy (when we went into ICU he weighed 4 lbs 9 oz, now he’s up to 7 lbs 12 oz!). We are using Gerber Good Start. So, thank you for sharing your story and just know I am cheering for you- I really hope you can continue the pumping for your sweet boy, but if not, that’s ok too.

  11. My baby first had formula at 5 months. She loved it. She still breastfeeds and she loves that too. She will eat anything I give her! I think I am a lucky one…knock on wood.

  12. I came to the same decision not that long ago, but becuase my supply is so low I have to suppliment with formula. I tried him one one tim when he was a few days old as my milk wouldn’t come in. He HATED it ang gagged and pulled his head away. Like owen he eventually took it, but wasn’t happy. So in those early days after my milk started to come in I mixed up only half the amount of formula needed and put in half breast milk. Its advised not to do that, but the only reason is because if baby doesn’t drink it all you are wasting precious milk.

    However Hunter took the milk easier as it tasted like something he knew. We were able to increase my supply and he was breastfeed for a few months, and it has now dropped again. This time we brought a more expensive brand of formula (the first time was a very cheap one) and he seems to be taking it a lot better than he did in the beginning. I think they just need to get used to the taste. Its harder if you are doing both as they will continue to remember what breastmilk tastes like and will want that instead.

  13. I’m so glad that owen is thriving on this new feeding routine. I’ve been EBF Nora, but I go back to work on Monday (yikes) and am afraid that I won’t be able to keep up my supply by pumping. I’ve done some research into formula and found Baby’s Only. It doesn’t have corn syrup (brown rice syrup instead) or DHA/ARA extracted using hexane or other chemicals. We’ve given her one bottle and she took it just fine. Hoping not to use it, but will without regret if need be.

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