Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links’. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This post also contains sensitive information for women and breastfeeding.
Sitting in my hospital room at 3AM on the 4th of July. The nurse had just brought in our new baby girl. It was time to eat! So many thoughts rushing through my head and the lactation consultant not returning until tomorrow morning, I was on my own.
The first latch was the hardest. You’re still tired from grueling labor, and you’re not to sure if the baby is actually getting milk or if you actually made milk. Needless to say I stuck her on there and away we went!
I was told 15 minutes on one side 15 on the other. Counting in my head as I kept looking at the clock. Trying to keep her eating without her falling asleep was a bit of a task. How the heck was I supposed to do this for a year and a half or sooner? Oh Lord Help ME!
The Colic Months
Yes, I did say months. You can not be serious?? At around 3 weeks I noticed that my daughter was very very fussy. There would be days that she would just cry and I couldn’t put her down to save my life. Not knowing anything about colic I figured this was something that I just had to deal with.
Definitely not the case. Colic is terrible for babies and I felt so sorry for her. There wasn’t really anything that I could do for her.
After she would eat about an hour later, off the breast she would begin to fuss. It was like a spiral effect.
Not exactly this order but it happened as such I would feed her, burp, rest for a bit then begin crying. I noticed a pattern and I didn’t know if I was feeding her to much, to little or if nothing was coming out!
My mind was going in circles and it was enough to make you feel like you had gone mad.
What you Should know About Breastfeeding
In a perfect world all babies would be able to tolerate breastfeeding. In that respect, all moms would be able to breastfeed their babies for the optimal amount of time. Ladies, this is not the case!
Did you know that at 6 months of age the rate of breastfeeding babies drops dramatically from 84.1% to 58.3%. And even more so leading into the first year???!! The rate of exclusively breastfed babies is only 46.9%. These are facts! It is an actual thing to do what is best for you and for your baby.
LEARN MORE about Breastfeeding Benefits
|Key Breastfeeding Indicators||Current Rates|
|Percentage of infants who are breastfed: Ever.*||84.1|
|Percentage of infants who are breastfed: At 6 months.*||58.3|
|Percentage of infants who are breastfed: At 1 year.*||35.3|
|Percentage of infants who are breastfed: Exclusively through 3 months.*||46.9|
|Percentage of infants who are breastfed: Exclusively through 6 months.*||25.6|
|Percentage of employers that have worksite lactation support programs †||51.0|
|Percentage of breastfed newborns who receive formula supplementation within the first 2 days of life||19.2|
Even though there are many pressures of breastfeeding. Many people will tell you “Breast is Best”, over and over again. For some mom’s breastfeeding may not work various reasons.
Reasons Why Baby Can’t Continue to Breastfeed
As mentioned previously, babies have premature digestive tracts. That being said it is common for babies to get colic, have GERD (gastric reflux), or other issues such as constipation. There are even such instances as mammary hypoplasia of the breast.
This means that the glandular tissue of the breast doesn’t develop properly. Making it nearly impossible for Mom to breastfeed. There are other issues as well that can prohibit or complicate breastfeeding. As Follows:
- Mammary Hypoplasia
- If You are taking medications that can pass to your baby (antiseizure medications, cancer medication, sedative, and pain medications (narcotics).
- Cracked or Bleeding Nipples
- Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C
Special Conditions for Babies not Tolerating Breastfeeding
- Phenylketonuria- cannot tolerate phenylalanine– can take in breastfeeding in moderation
- Maple Syrup urine disease– babies cannot tolerate leucine, isoleucine, and valine that is found in breastmilk and some formulas. This would mean the baby would need a special formula.
- GERD- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease– very common projectile vomiting after feeding. Would be able to tolerate a specialized formula.
- Galactosemia– rare condition that impairs the body from breaking down and processing sugar. When sugar is ingested, it builds up in the blood. Thus being called LACTOSE INTOLERANT– both of my kids suffer from this.
There are many other conditions not listed here. But these are the most common among infants.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding in itself has a tremendous amount of benefits for baby. As such it starts with the first feedings of colostrum. Colostrum is essential for babies after birth. I guess I could have guessed that. Having my first daughter I wasn’t a Registered Nurse yet so there were many unknowns.
Colostrum is in fact the most essential part of the childs first days. It is a milk substance that is produced right before getting your milk in. This substance has so many antibodies and protein in it that fight infections and is basically an antibacterial. It has a ton of fat in it which is super helpful to keep baby full.
It also helps promote growth! Wow just a tad bit of that and we are set! After colostrum your milk comes in. Benefits of breastfeeding include the following:
- High in protein
- Low in sugar
- Contains antibodies to fight infection
- Can help women with weight loss
- Easy to digest
- Prebiotics to support a healthy gut
- nucleotide hormones that assist in sleep and wake cycles
- Bonding time with mom
These are only a few that I have pointed out. Mainly the ones that are of greater importance. With all of these benefits, why is it a challenge to breastfeed? Medela.com Has a great resource page for women that are planning to breastfeed. You can read more about that here!
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Ill go into detail later about my ultimate decision but right now lets touch on some benefits of formula/bottlefeeding. (I honestly don’t know why they call it bottlefeeding. Even When I was breastfeeding I used bottles for breast milk to give my tata’s a break.) Besides the point.
There are in fact numerous benefits to formula feeding your baby. Similar to that of breastfeeding.
- Contains protein
- Also has digestive enzymes
- Comes in lactose-free, soy and other sensitive formulas (as my kids would need)
- contains DHA and added vitamins not produced in breast milk unless ingested by mom
- Designed to ensure adequate growth
- Allows you to know how much your baby is eating
- Allows for bonding with mom and other people as well
I could go on. As you can see there are numerous benefits that are very similar to breast milk that goes into formula also. Nowadays formula has changed drastically to mimic that of breast milk so it is more similar than we think.
The Ultimate Decision
As I stated previously, breastfeeding was essentially a battle from the get go. I truly admire the mom’s can get it right the first time and stick it out! They are my true hero’s! But for us mom’s that maybe that can’t happen for…
I applaud you as well! There is no shame in formula feeding your baby just as such there is no shame in breastfeeding. In and of itself your baby is getting fed and that is all that matters. Ya’ll I stress on this because it was such as hard decision for me to stop breastfeeding.
Ultimately, things changed. It was around month two of breastfeeding, pumping, dumping, repeat. My daughter was so so fussy and I didn’t honestly know that my diet had anything to do with her being grouchy and fighting tummy aches all the time.
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Diet plays a Major Role in Breastfeeding
I tell you this because if you have a terrible diet, as I did and don’t know how to balance coffee and broccoli than ya your baby might be a little cranky. When you have a newborn on your hands and mix that with a lack of sleep, the last thing you think about is “Can I eat that?”.
Figuring out what triggers your baby is also important. For me it was fibrous greens that caused her gas and I was overloading on coffee/caffiene. Heck I couldn’t see straight I needed something to keep my eyes open. This is turn stunted my milk production.
Milk literally stopped coming out of the pump. And drop by drop I would only get a mere ounce at times and let me tell you I was trying to pump often. If you are planning on breastfeeding stick to a healthy diet that is high in protein and moderate in fruits and veggies.
Ladies, there are so many books out there now that are beneficial for breastfeeding moms! Some that guide you through the fussy times and others that offer cooking recipes and so much more. Check this one out, it’s called Eat to Feed, and it’s actually pretty good. It has 80 recipes in it and some valuable information for new mommas as well.
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Factor out the Issues
It wasn’t until about the third doctor’s visit that my doctor talked to me about possible issues with digestion that was causing the problem with our daughter. We struggled with constipation, colic, and GERD. I stressed to her the fact that I wasn’t able to pump much milk and that she was extremely fussy. I needed options!
At that time we made the decision to start her out on formula. Our doctor put her on Enfamil Gentle Ease. And we were told if this wasn’t efficient we would have to do something else. Enfamil has a huge line of baby formulas that are for specific gastric issues in babies. Because not all babies are the same and some do suffer from things such as GERD, colic, digestion intolerances, and much much more.
Needing more coupons for your new little one? Check out this post on Making your life easier after Baby is born for exclusive discounts on baby stuff!
Ease Your Mind
One could say that choosing to formula feed your child is of personal preference. I’d vaguely disagree. Basically because for the most part, it is a personal choice. And a hard one at that. For me, it was a lack of milk production, colicky baby, and not knowing whether or not she was getting enough milk.
You can honestly stress yourself out over this and cause depression. If you haven’t read my story you can do so here. But in retrospect, there were a lot of factors at play that led me to the ultimate decision to continue to formula feed my baby.
If you are stressing about this. please know that you are not alone. It is not wrong to formula feed your child. Feeding is feeding no matter how you look at it and a fed baby is a happy baby.
Do you have any suggestions on breastfeeding that you can contribute? Drop a comment and let me know!
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