Our Rainbow

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The switch to formula

While I was pregnant and planning everything, when it came to feeding I was indifferent. Maybe that's not the right word; I was open to breast feeding but not tied to it in my head. I was also open to formula feeding. Ultimately, I figured I'd try breast feeding and if it worked, great, if not, that's fine too. I knew that breast feeding gives the best to baby so of course I wanted to do that but wasn't going to stress if it didn't work out.

Not many people in our family (past generations) breast fed their babies so I didn't have their experiences/stories/advice to go on. Maybe that's a good thing because oftentimes "advice" is pushed on us new mommas as if we don't have a clue. I'm one who reads, reads, and reads some more to become as knowledgeable as I can be. I also have some friends with lots of experience and they helped without being too overbearing.

I was one of the lucky ones because baby Rose latched on during the first hour of her life outside the womb.  I never had cracked nipples or mastitis or engorgement. I didn't leak uncontrollably or have clogged ducts. I guess that's why it added to the guilt I had when I decided to wean her and switch to formula. It felt like I was not only betraying Rose, but my body too.

You hear people say how great the bonding is, blah, blah, blah... Well it's so true! It took me a week and a half to finally "rip the band-aid" so to speak and slowly wean her off. I'll be returning to work in the very near future and decided it would be too difficult to pump at work.  The fact that Rose has been sleeping through the night since she was 8 weeks old (yay!!) and being at work all day means my milk supply would certainly diminish. It already started to with her sleeping through the night. I would get up at 2 am to pump so I was still not getting sleep even though Rose was.

Rose was just shy of two months old when I made the switch. I remember the very last time I breast fed her. It was her first morning feeding on Thursday, March 15th, the day before she turned 8 weeks. We were in her room in the rocking chair and I felt so, so sad.

It's amazing what hormones can do to a new mom! It wasn't like I was losing her but it felt like it. There's a connection with breast feeding that I don't think you can feel through bottle feeding. At least that is my experience. I said previously that I never dealt with engorgement but that's not entirely accurate. I did have it when I weaned her off the breast. It hurt. A lot! A few times I pumped just a little so I could relieve some pressure and get some sleep but it was horrible! Rock hard & huge (for little me) and very painful. It took about a week for me to stop leaking and for the soreness to go away.

Rose only turned her head towards my chest a few times (which was gut-wrenching guilt-wise). One night I had a breakdown, just sobbing over it. Tim brought me some perspective on the matter. He said I would eventually have weaned her off (whether it be at 2 months, 6 months, a year...) so the separation anxiety I was feeling would be there whenever I did it.  He was right, so I stuck to my decision.

If I were a stay at home mom I know I'd still be breast feeding today. Rose is on her second type of formula, a sensitive formula given to us by her pediatrician for her gas & tummy issues. The poopy diapers with formula are NASTY! I was half-tempted to go back to BF'ing for that reason alone! And the bottle preparation is a major pain in my opinion. It was so much easier to just lift up my shirt. Now when she's hungry she freaks out if it takes too long to get her a bottle. I try occasionally to have it prepared when I 'think' she will be ready for more, but babies are unpredictable at times. I prefer to let HER tell me when she's hungry.  This is how I know when she is:
From Our Rainbow
Here she is, enjoying a bottle:
From Our Rainbow
Rose is a hungry little hippo as I call her... She was eating 3-4 oz at a time but this week she's been wanting more like 5-6 oz. She's a growing girl, and formula is going to get costly!!

I've come to realize that the emotions and fears I was having didn't last long and that I'm still able to bond with her in other ways. Fortunately it wasn't difficult to make the switch for Rose. She accepted a bottle and formula without issues. We have a very happy baby and she gives me smiles all throughout the day. We just have to bond in other ways now.

Here we are playing on her play mat:
From Our Rainbow
From Our Rainbow

And here's a couple pics of her not smiling but still just as cute in my totally unbiased mind, haha!
From Our Rainbow
From Our Rainbow

I think with our next baby I'll attempt to breast feed just a little longer but we'll see. :)


  1. I was the exact same way with sloane... If it worked, great. If not, no biggie. I actually hated it and did my best to stick it out for a month. Same plan with Kellan. If it works, fantastic, but I'm not going to make myself miserable just to do it. Glad it was a good experience for you!

    Adorable pics! So glad things are going well!!

  2. I cried and felt so guilty when I stopped pumping at 5 & 1/2 months for my preemie. I guess even though I never experienced "baby at chest" so its not quite the same but I felt bad knowing how good it was for her and not being able to keep up with her demands. I am happy at least you went for as long as you can, some moms don't do it at all. I believe all women should at least make a true attempt for babies sake...but that's me. I think you have valid reason to wean and I think she enjoyed it while it lasted. :) Hugs-

  3. I never had the joy of Violet on my breast she just had the hardest time latching. So I've pumped for the last 11 weeks. It got really hard when I returned to work 3 weeks ago and I've had to sumplement with formula. Awesome job for doing it for as long as you could. It's so hard being a working mom. Good luck with everything!! Rose is beautiful! Our little flowers are only 4 days apart!! :)