This post has been a long time in the making. And I write it to maybe help some other folks in a similar situation. So that being said….
With Beatrix and Hudson I wasn’t able to breast feed them, I had a breast reduction when I was 19 and as a result I couldn’t breast feed, and I tried. Oh boy did I try. With Trixie I pumped 10X a day for 4 months, with zero results. Also took vast quantities of of fenugreek and domperidone (and reglan) with no results. With Hudson I had a little milk, enough to get the flange of the pump wet, but not enough to collect in the bottle. Again with the herbs and drugs, and no results. Both of them were born with a great latch, and happily tried to nurse. (Trixie did lose her latch while in the NICU and with patience and a lot of stubbornness I was able to restore her latch.) Anyhow both of them were formula babies. Both had issues with formula. With Beatrix I found her issues were mostly around the additives in the formula, the extra DHA and ARA seemed to bother her the most, so I was able to find a very plain formula (Nestle Good Start in the purple can). She had the least problems with this formula, but it still wasn’t the best, but she survived. With Hudson he had issues with the milk in the formulas, but I was not going to put him on soy, so we found the formula that bothered him the least, and that was the Kirkland brand. With both I tried organic formulas, and both did well on goat’s milk formulas, but sadly those are really hard to find here. Now we fast forward to the future and both kids have issues with milk, with Hudson having the worst issues. I blame formula. I’m sure there are some genetics at play there too, but I think being on cheap formula didn’t help, and by cheap I mean the cheap ingredients that all formula makers use, and I also understand that most babies have no issues. I was just super lucky.
So now with Maizie coming along I started doing some research to figure out what to do, since I was worried for this baby and her having the same issues the others had. I was lucky this time though, that I have a very small supply of milk, I have enough for a few half feedings a day. Mostly I keep up with the breast feeding for the immune boosting benefits, and the host of other benefits that come with breast feeding. Also, I love it. I knew I’d need forumula though, so I did research and came across a recipe to make it myself. And if you know me, you know this appeals to me. I can control the ingredients, I can control the quality! So I did more research, read lots of stories of how babies thrived on this formula, and read stories of how babies were taken from their parents because they made their own formula. (I did not find any stories of how babies were taken from their parents for using this particular recipe.) Anyhow I took the plunge and bought the ingredients. I’m not going to list them here, just use your favourite search engine and search for WAPF homemade formula, I use the cow milk one.) And wouldn’t you know, my baby is thriving on this recipe. I make a few alterations: I cut the nutritional yeast in 1/2, use a little bit more of the probiotic powder in her blend, and I use the optional high vitamin butter oil. (This keeps the pediatrician happy as it supplies the extra vitamins he feels that all babies need, I like it too.) So far Maizie is my least pukey baby, which is nice! She’s my chubbiest baby, which is nice! I really like that I can control what’s going on with her gut. We still use a powdered formula for when we travel and as a result she gets constipated every time. I try to give her a bottle of the powdered stuff occationally to make sure she stays used to it, and I have no idea if this is the right thing to do or not. But there is the constipation when she is on it, but it resolved in a day of being on her regular formula. All in all I am happy with our system.
A lot of folks question my sanity because I make her formula from scratch, but really it doesn’t take much time at all. I can make enough for a day in about 10 minutes, which includes washing the nipples. (I use the playtex bottles with the drop in liners, this formula is greasy!) I could double up, but I like to make it fresh, but if I know I have an extra busy day coming up I’ll double the recipe. I think if you mix up the powdered formula and bottle that, it wouldn’t take much less time than I spend now, so really, I’m not THAT crazy after all.
On to breast feeding. Yes I’ve read that book. Sadly I didn’t get much from it. I haven’t read it recently. I do remember, though, that with each pregnancy and to a lesser extent with each menstrual period, you grow more duct work, so over time you can reconnect your nipples to your milk ducts. Clearly that’s what’s happened for me. I can only anticipate how much better it will be for baby the fourth. But for now I can supply her with what I’d guess to be 6 or so ounces a day. Maybe more, I’m not sure. I can pump 2 ounces reliably, and we all know that a baby is more efficient than a pump. Maizie nurses a handful of times every day, and if she’s really hungry she’ll pop off when my supply drops and demand a bottle. If she’s not too hungry, she’ll comfort suck, and I know she’s getting something because I hear her swallowing intermittently. I know that with some persistence I can increase my supply, but I have 2 other children, I don’t have the time to be pinned under a baby for the hours needed, plus, OUCH! Much of our breast feeding is at night, and we went a long stretch of not needing bottles at night at all. Right now though, we’re not so lucky, although I think we’re in a growth spurt. Luckily though, Maizie has a most excellent latch and can side lie nurse really well, so I get to sleep. (And then wake up very dehydrated!) As for when I nurse her, there is every morning, I try to do a mid day nursing session where we just chill and nurse for a good block of time, but that’s not always possible, but I can always squeeze in some nursing time. I also generally get some in at dinner-ish and always at bed time. Some days there’s more and some days less. When I was trying to work out how to supplement and nurse I was told to nurse then bottle feed. Eventually that gave way as that took the better part of an hour, and I found it to not work for us, it’s much better to do more mini feeds, frequently, and bottle feeds at a separate time. I wonder how other folks do it, but this is what works for us. I do still take Domperidone, having gone to Canada to get a 6 month supply, and I took lots of fenugreek, but I was taking such a massive amount, it was clear that it wasn’t doing much for me, or had already done all it would. From what I understand, the same is true with Domperidone, it will do what it will and that’s all, and you can stop taking it at that point, but I’m not sure. I’m not willing to risk it and am still taking it.
All in all I had a patched together system of breast feeding, bottle feeding with homemade formula and a small amount of commercial formula.
It’s working for us.
After all, those cheeks, they tell a story.