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which is the lesser evil: starting solids at 5 months or giving formula to supplement?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
hello!

Please help me! I have a dilemma. I don't have enough milk stored at this point to ensure that my son never gets a supplement. With my daughter, I had over 150 ounces stored until the day I weaned myself from the pump. I was pumping over and beyond what she was eating daily so my stash kept growing. Lo and behold, now I have a son, and boy is his appetite insatiable!! He has me down to 50 ounces of milk already (he's 5 months old) and since I am only pumping 12 ounces a day (from two pumping sessions), and he's taking in 24-30 ounces during a 9 hour period, my stash will soon be gone.

So my question is:

Since it seems unavoidable that he'll have to take a supplement, but I don't know which route to go. Should I start him on solids soon, and still nurse him and give him whatever I do pump (thus avoiding formula). Or is it better to push solids back for a month (at minimum) and give him formula when my stash runs out? I have a good formula that my daughter used as a toddler (Nature's one Organic) so I could do that but I've been so anti-formula that it's hard to reconcile that in my mind.

What should I do?? Show me the research please!!

Thanks in advance!!!!
post #2 of 17
under one yr of age, a babys main nutrition needs to come from milk. solids are just for fun and shouldnt be started before 6 mos. once he hits 6 mos, consider the solid readiness cues:

sits up alone
at least one tooth
grabs at adults food
no gag reflex
pincer grasp

but keep either human or artificial milk the main calorie source til at least a yr.
post #3 of 17
Have you thought about increasing the amount you pump or trying to nurse more when you are at home? You could add in a pumping session at night if your workday doesn't allow it, or you could try mothers' milk tea to increase productivity in your regular nursing sessions. That does seem like the obvious solution, unless there's some reason why that's not possible.

Assuming that won't work, I guess I agree that formula is the way to go. Solids are not meant to take the place of milk, and even if he is ready for them now, they should not decrease the amount of milk he drinks.
post #4 of 17
I agree that it might be worthwhile looking into ways to increase your supply, but barring that, I'd go with formula over solids at that young an age. I find that a lot of babies do more playing with solids than eating them up until the first year.
You're doing a great job providing as much breastmilk as possible for your baby as a working mama. If you have to supplement a little bit with formula at 5 months it's not a failure.
It would be great if there was more milk shares available for whoever needed them, but the reality now is that donated milk is scarce enough that it need to go to the babies that need it medically, like preemies.
post #5 of 17
Ditto on all of the above. Yes, try to work in extra nursings and/or pumpings to increase your supply, but if you still don't have enough, supplement with formula instead of solids. I did the wrong thing--I started my baby on solids at under five months, in part because my milk supply was too low, and now she has food sensitivities--she can't eat the first two foods we gave her: carrots and sweet potatoes.
post #6 of 17

Dr. Newman

Have you read this page on Dr. Jack Newman's site?

http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=...tion&Itemid=17
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much for your replies! To be honest, I learned much of what you've told me back with my daughter but have forgotten most of it.

I just added an extra pumping session today. I usually pump twice, once at 10:30 am and another at 3:30pm. I decided to pump today at 9 am, 12:30pm, and then also 3:30pm to see if I can't catch up with him.

I will definitely forgo the solids. My daughter didn't show an interest until she was 7 months and although he has a much bigger appetite, I agree that solids this young can do much more harm than good.

Thank you all for reminding me!! And Amys35 thanks for that link. I hadn't read that one yet.
post #8 of 17
I was also working when DD was that age (and pumping!). DD's a HUGE eater so I went through some of the same things. I really worked to keep up my supply. Here's what I did:

- woke up early some days and pumped before she woke up
- pumped extra on weekends
- avoided caffeine (or if I HAD to have it, only have a pumping session at work)
- lots of oatmeal, flaxseed, lactation cookies, water, etc
- nursed DD before I left for work and would call MIL when I was leaving work so she'd try and avoid giving DD a bottle if I was going to be home soon.
- I'd try and get extra out at pumping sessions but relatching a few times and breast massage
- if there was absolutely no milk left, I just went home from work (that helped ot make sure that I would remember those extra pumping sessions on the weekends)

I hope that helps and good luck! It sounds like you're doing great so far!
post #9 of 17
30 oz in 9 hours! Is it possible there is some caregiver overfeeding going on? I think 30 oz is near the top of the typical range for a 24-h period. Who is your care provider and are you sure they are pacing appropriately, using alternate soothing methods, etc?

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/bottle-feeding.html

Also could you encourage some reverse cycling? Does your son sttn? If you are not cosleeping, perhaps you could try this to see if he can get more of his nutritional needs met at night, thus decreasing your pumping burden?
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post
30 oz in 9 hours! Is it possible there is some caregiver overfeeding going on? I think 30 oz is near the top of the typical range for a 24-h period. Who is your care provider and are you sure they are pacing appropriately, using alternate soothing methods, etc?

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/bottle-feeding.html

Also could you encourage some reverse cycling? Does your son sttn? If you are not cosleeping, perhaps you could try this to see if he can get more of his nutritional needs met at night, thus decreasing your pumping burden?
This is what I was thinking, as well mambera! Good advice IMO.
post #11 of 17
I started my breastfed daughter on solids in the 4-6 month range, which is what my pediatrician recommended when I was concerned that she was snatching food and sneaking tastes at 10 weeks old. I'd never say, "You need to let your 10 week old baby have food" because that's obviously crazy, right? But my daughter never had any problems, no food sensitivities, no gas or weird poo or tummy aches, and she never pushed food out of her mouth with her tongue (which I often see babies in the 6-9 month range doing.) Every baby is different, and I think if your baby is not ready for solids (many aren't until the 9-12 month range) then formula would be fine.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post
30 oz in 9 hours! Is it possible there is some caregiver overfeeding going on? I think 30 oz is near the top of the typical range for a 24-h period. Who is your care provider and are you sure they are pacing appropriately, using alternate soothing methods, etc?

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/bottle-feeding.html

Also could you encourage some reverse cycling? Does your son sttn? If you are not cosleeping, perhaps you could try this to see if he can get more of his nutritional needs met at night, thus decreasing your pumping burden?
The caregiver is my dad (he’s staying with until summer when my husband, a teacher, is off—so we can avoid daycare for a while) and it’s possible that he’s overfeeding him, but I am not sold on it. The reason is because when I was home on leave, before I ever gave my baby a bottle, he had a fierce appetite that meant I was rarely ever NOT nursing. I mean seriously, he sucked me dry  It didn’t surprise me when he began to eat more than my daughter ever had. 30 ounces is the top that he’s had while I was away. Typically, he eats 22-25 ounces a day while I’m gone. It’s a lot I know, but he’s such a chubby baby and has been since he was about 3-4 weeks old. My son is just plain HUNGRY. He has a horrible temper and when he’s hungry or sleepy, he screams until he gets what he wants. I don’t think one can mistake his cries. He wants food. But, I will see what we can do about maybe holding off a bottle until we’re absolutely sure its food he wants.

We cosleep and he nurses about 3-4 times a night once we all lie down, and about 2-3 times before that in the evenings. My boy can eat that's for sure.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post
30 oz in 9 hours! Is it possible there is some caregiver overfeeding going on? I think 30 oz is near the top of the typical range for a 24-h period. Who is your care provider and are you sure they are pacing appropriately, using alternate soothing methods, etc?
This is my thought as well. At this age, 30 oz is a day's worth of milk, not 9 hours worth. That's what my 7 mo drinks in a full day, give or take an ounce or two.

I'd definitely check how big of a bottle he makes each time (shouldn't be bigger than 4 oz with most BF babies), what cues he uses to determine hunger, whether he pays attention when baby signals fullness, etc.
post #14 of 17
Being that you are so close to hitting that 6 month mark, I would personally try to increase breast milk supply before giving any formula. At 6 months, I would possibly try goat's milk formula (there are some recipes for it online), whole milk yogurt (assuming no milk allergy) or rice cereal instead of formula.
post #15 of 17
As a WOHM, I ended up supplementing with formula at about 3-4 months. At 5.5 months he was very interested in food, so we started him with rice cereal. He didn't get teeth until he was about 10 mos.

Every child is different. If you can do the extra pumpings and things to increase supply, go for it.

IMO, what you supplement with at this age (4-6 mos) is your decision... mostly (your son will have his say in what he'll accept). If you start solids, we did a lot of "real foods" rather than baby food. Extra-soft rice, hand-mashed banana, avocado. I think we might have fed him the first time to help him get the idea, but mostly we let him self-feed. (Yes, most of it got played with and ended up elsewhere.) He got enough into himself to not need quite as much milk.
post #16 of 17
formula is the lesser evil. -- in fact, if it's necessary, it's not evil at all!

you may want to look into milk share.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
I had a talk with my dad and discussed how he may be overfeeding my son. I told him that “average” babies take in way less than what he’s getting. Yesterday he had 23 ounces while I was gone.

My dad said that normally he only feeds him once he’s tried everything else, so that he knows he’s actually hungry and not sleepy, bored, over stimulated, etc. As I mentioned, my son has a way of letting a person know what he wants and it better be coming fast b/c a full-scale tantrum will ensue otherwise. I told him to be conscious of when he’s feeding and how much during each feeding. He said he would and today at noon I called and he’d only had 9 ounces. Hopefully that means by the end of the day he’ll be around 18 ounces which I can meet with my 3 pumping sessions easily. Yesterday, by adding in a 3rd session, I pumped 21 ounces so I think my problem might be solved. We’ll see. Thanks again for the replies.
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