Friday, September 25, 2009

Breastfeeding vs formula

I thought I was done posting for the day but Evelynn has fallen asleep in my lap and I can't bear to move my sweet little snoozer so here I sit.

When I was pregnant I told myself "Of COURSE I'm going to breastfeed!"  It's without a doubt the best food for baby.  Plus it comes with all that great snuggly bonding time.  Not to mention helping quickly shed that baby weight.

But after the first month I started to realize something wasn't right.  My daughter hadn't regained her birth weight by her first check up and she was crying constantly.  We called her pteridactl baby. I pumped during the day and by evening would have around 4oz of milk in a bottle that my husband would feed Evie.  She'd take all of it and want more.  I knew I was probably only producing an once or two at each feeding.  That's when we realized, she wasn't a fussy baby.  She was hungry! So I called the doctor and he said it was okay to supplement with formula. It was like a tremendous weight had been lifted.

That was the first time I'd even considered that formula was okay for my baby.  But then I started thinking about it.  I heard from my mother that my brother and I were exclusively formula fed.  And I would much rather have Evelynn full, happy, growing and healthy than just be able to brag that she was exclusively breast fed. With the full support of my family and physicians we decided to supplement.

Typically Evelynn nurses until both breasts are emptied and then takes a bottle of formula to make up the difference.  Sometimes she doesn't need the bottle at all and we don't force it on her.  Sometimes she takes an 8oz bottle after nursing.  It just depends.

Since we have started giving formula our lives are dramatically easier and much more pleasant at home.  But when we're out people seem to think what I feed my baby is their business.  There are so many women and sometimes even men out there who condemn me for my choice.  I just want to say to them, "It's great that you (or your wife) didn't have the same issues I did.  I would love to be able to exclusively breastfeed.  But I can't."  I certainly respect their choice.  Why can't they respect mine?

Typically when I have this conversation I get bombarded with "solutions" to my problem.  I've heard everything from staying in bed and nursing all day to special teas.  The only thing that I have found that actually seems to help is pumping for 20 minutes after each feeding to make sure my breasts are completely empty.  Then pumping every hour that she doesn't nurse.  You'd think after all that I would be overflowing but, in fact, I've never pumped more than 4 ounces at a time.  Additionally my supply is ultra sensitive.  If I don't empty my breast one time the supply is drastically cut almost immediately.  You can see how all this would make it difficult to leave the house!

Anyway, I'm sure that's a little TMI.  I just wanted to get that off my chest (no pun intended).  I'm tired of being judged by my fellow mothers. I wish we could all just support one another and respect well intentioned and thoughtful personal decisions.


  1. Hey Amy! It's Allison Domingues...Jason's wife. I just want to commend you on your choice to supplement with formula. I, too, assumed I would breastfeed, but when my daughter was born, (over 6 years ago) as well as my son, (4 years ago) I had tremendous problems with it. I wasn't even able to pump enough to make it worth it, so we switched to exclusive formula feeding. I was at peace for the first time that my babies had full tummies and were growing as they should. And despite what all those who chose to judge me said, my kids have been very healthy to this day. No mother should be condemmed for the choices she makes that are in the best interest of her children. You, after all, know your daughter better than anyone else does. You're just feeding her, for goodness sake. :) If there's one thing I've learned in the 6 years I've been a mother, it is to trust myself and my judgement when it comes to my children despite all the outside advice I get. Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks Allison. It's really good to hear from you. I appreciate the kind words and encouragement. I've seen pictures of the kiddos on Jason's page. They're just adorable! Keep in touch.


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