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Switching to Formula?

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 

I don't agree with this but am looking to understand why someone might do this.

 

In my mom & baby yoga class two girls are working to switch to formula after successfully breastfeeding. I do not know their reasons for doing this as I have not asked, but have watched them move from breastfeeding in class with their then 6 week old babies to offering formula 7 weeks later. One girl's DS is now 13 weeks and she started formula in the last week or so and it sounds like she is aiming to ween her son completely. The other girl weened her DD 3 or 4 weeks ago and now exclusively formula feeds. This caused an issue one class when her baby was hungry and she couldn't get the tap warm enough to warm the bottle.

 

Listening to their conversations, it sounded like they were hoping FF would encourage their LOs to sleep better/longer at night, but they've since found this not to be so. One was even talking about sleep training and refusing to give her LO a bottle at night so DD wouldn't "expect" it... Didn't sit well with me but I'm not one to tell others how to parent, especially when I'm new at this myself.

 

After successfully feeding from an essentially free and instant source, why would they/you switch to formula after already making it this far in their breastfeeding relationship?

post #2 of 66

Are they returning to work?  I am a teacher and pumping for my 6 month old and it is not easy (time-wise and exhaustion wise) - my almost 5 year old has not yet weaned and I am very committed to breastfeeding but I can definitely see how much easier it would be to leave formula with the babysitter rather than have to pump during the day, panic because I mightn't have enough and get up in the middle of the night to try to wring out a few more ounces, and constantly have to keep a change of clothes on hand in case I spring a leak.

People have all sorts of reasons.

post #3 of 66

in this case it sounds like they are victims of two misconceptions that our society has 1) babies should sleep through the night by 6 months 2) formula will fix any problem you are having with your breastfed baby

 

obviously neither of those are true, but society tries to make new moms believe they are. 

post #4 of 66

Could be many reasons. Some people make it to 6 months and are completely happy with that milestone and stopping. 

For us I got pregnant and my supply went out the window, plus I did not want to tandem nurse at all. My own well being would not have held up to the pregnancy and nursing so it was better for all of us. While I was a bit sad I was happy that I was able to nurse her for 5.5 months before giving DD any formula. 

 

I guess it really shouldn't matter what their reasons are. 

post #5 of 66

Different strokes for different folks.

 

Some people start out only intending to BF for 3 months or 6 months or whatever and once they get to that point they are fine with stopping.

 

Some are returning to work and can not pump.

 

Some, I would imagine, are having a hard time coping with the sort of "all-consumingness" of the BFing relationship.  DS is 10 months and has only just now started eating enough solids/spacing out his nursings long enough that I can feel comfortable leaving him alone with DH without dipping into the precious freezer stash.  But I'm a homebody so it hasn't been so bad.  For someone else with a different personality that could be really, really hard to cope with to the point where it may actually interfere with the woman's ability to be the best mother she can be.

 

I know it can sometimes be hard to see things like that if you are someone (like myself) who cherishes the BFing relationship you have with your DC, but I try to remember that we are all doing what we think is best for our LO's even if those choices are different from parent to parent.

post #6 of 66

This post makes me sad.

 

Sad for all those moms who desperately wanted to breastfeed but had a traumatic birth and a low supply, or a doctor that gave them false information, or an LC that arrived on the scene too late, or a hospital that didn't understand nipple confusion. Those moms who would have given anything for a good healthy breastfeeding start... to watch someone have it all and give it away? That makes me really sad.

post #7 of 66
I'm pleased to see most folks here are at least working to see the other side. I am sadened that they are weening to formula, but also agree that we don't understand there life or even need to.
I wish there was some better was to reach out to moms before it was too late and help correct some of the misconceptions that prompt some ladies to do this. And yet others do it knowing all the facts, at least they breastfed for the first few months, they gave their baby something very special in that time and they will always be better for it.

As a mom who has struggled EVERY day to breast feed my now 5 month old twin, I have fanitized about giving up the fight and just "doing something else" something that does not make me feel rejected, something that does not ask me to stay up late and make my nipples hurt pumping.
but thankfully for better or worse, I understand that formula has it's own cross to bear, it's own hassles and drawbacks, so I am committed to breastfeeding %1000 percent as the lessor of to huge frustrations. I can however really understand that the mass majority of ladies in my shoes with even just slightly less info or slightly less stubbornness would have switched long ago.

MDC conversations tend to the absolute on many things like breastfeeding, there is no absolutes.




"uphill does not even begin to describe my twin breastfeeding experience..."
post #8 of 66

Well, I would hate to see someone who wanted to breastfeed stop doing so because they were misinformed but I would not assume that is the case.  There is a lot of pressure on women to breastfeed, and it's hard for women to say that they just don't want to do it for whatever reason.  So they have reasons or justifications for why they are formula feeding - but the ones that they share may not be their real reason.

 

I switched to formula with both my kids.  DD was 3 mos old and I felt self-conscious about not breastfeeding her, so for a short while if it came up I told people that I stopped because my milk dried up.  Which is true.  My milk dried up because I got on BCP.  I did not want to get on mini-pill since it has such a high failure rate.  My OB warned me that it might reduce my milk supply and if it did, if I stopped taking it my milk should return.  I was OK with that risk - not getting pregnant is more important to me than breastfeeding.  Also this was around the time I returned to work, and I had such a miserable pumping / working experience so I was really OK with it.  My supply went down and I stopped breastfeeding.  I know that there are women who judge me for this, so I just made it sound like I tried and failed to breastfeed.  Then I got over it and stopped worrying about what other people think about me. 

 

So my rambling point is that the reasons that women give for not breastfeeding are not always their true reasons.  In addition to my personal story, I have had friends tell me similar tales.  

 

post #9 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by howeberry View Post

 

After successfully feeding from an essentially free and instant source, why would they/you switch to formula after already making it this far in their breastfeeding relationship?


Breastfeeding is only free if you assume that women's time has no financial value.  But as for other reasons, they include 

  • not enjoying breastfeeding - not pain - just not liking it
  • wanting other people such as father to be able to feed baby
  • hating pumping
  • not being able to pump enough milk
  • having a job
  • needing to travel
  • wanting to sleep through the night - and wanting someone else to feed the baby
  • discomfort in breastfeeding - I had oversupply issues and it was not fun
  • wanting your body to be yours again - not pregnant, nursing, etc
  • being on medications incompatible with breastfeeding
  • wanting to drink / use drugs
  • just not wanting to do it

 

 

post #10 of 66
Yeah I really agree that while breastfeeding often easier and faster than bottles that is not always the case. And it is certainly not free and instant. It takes lots of time and toll, even if it's worth it. the notion that it is free and instant I think sets moms up for failure, they often are not prepared for the task and it's requirements. With some babies it can be a nearly full time job
And then when add pumping and bottles as some ladies need to it gets to be the worse of both worlds. If you say me out NIP happily (they seriously nurse better at the book store than home it feels like) you would never in minute guess how hard my evenings at home are most nights, when my tired babies demand bottles and screen to near choking while a scramble to pump or thaw if I have run out of the frig stash for the day.

Very nearly nothing is free and instant, but many things are worth it!
post #11 of 66

Amen to it being a lot of work and not free.  Just out of pocket I spent $300 on a pump, $200 on nursing bras / tanks, $200 on nursing friendly shirts, $20 on cloth pads for leaking, $10 on lanolin, $20 for thrush medication, $10 to dry clean a silk shirt when I leaked through in a meeting.  Not to mention the time with LC, doctor visit for thrush, time breastfeeding, or time pumping.  

 

I did like breastfeeding but I think we need to be realistic about it.  

post #12 of 66

A year ago, I would've been scratching my head over that one, too. Breast milk is what a baby is designed to eat, it's free, and it burns a ton of calories. Seemed like a no-brainer. And then I had my daughter. 

 

BFing was 1000x harder than I thought it would be. I had supply issues and my baby had latching issues. I was trying to recover from an emergency c-section. I called a LC that was thankfully able to help us. I also had an incredibly supportive DH and mother; they cooked and cleaned and allowed me to do nothing but feed the baby. It took about 8 weeks to get everything ironed out. Those were the hardest 8 weeks of my life (so far). BFing a newborn isn't for wusses. For women returning to work right away, 8 weeks could be your whole maternity leave. I kind of get why other women would jump ship. 

 

I'm glad I stayed on board though. 

post #13 of 66
Thread Starter 

I do understand breastfeeding isn't a cake walk - we had our own issues but it was very important for me to breastfeed my son. I also understand it is not technically free - I too have over-priced nursing bras & tanks, a pump, never mind I eat more than a grown man to feed myself and my baby.

 

Thing is, these girls have successfully breastfed for 3 months. One of their babies is 12 weeks and weighs over 16 lbs on just breast milk! They are past the hard part (IMHO). I know the one who stopped a few weeks ago is not returning to work until the fall.

 

They do seem completely overwhelmed by how demanding a new little can be, so I wouldn't be surprised if that has something to do with their decision to wean.

 

 

post #14 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsFortune View Post

Amen to it being a lot of work and not free.  Just out of pocket I spent $300 on a pump, $200 on nursing bras / tanks, $200 on nursing friendly shirts, $20 on cloth pads for leaking, $10 on lanolin, $20 for thrush medication, $10 to dry clean a silk shirt when I leaked through in a meeting.  Not to mention the time with LC, doctor visit for thrush, time breastfeeding, or time pumping.  

 

I did like breastfeeding but I think we need to be realistic about it.  


Just wanted to second that "amen". I fought like hell and spent a small fortune to breastfeed my DD. She had a weak latch and it took multiple visits with several lactation consultants to get her sucking properly. The first consultation was $120.00 and each follow-up was $70.00. In addition there was the pump and the accompanying paraphernalia (about 500.00). The herbs my LC recommended to boost my supply when I went back to work ($30.00 every two weeks), the Domperidome I needed to take when I couldn't pump enough to keep up with DD's needs ($200.00) a month, plus the bras, tanks, nipple cream, freezer bags, etc, etc... In addition I can't even begin to guess at how many hours I spent pumping, which was always uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful.

 

Please don't misunderstand, I truly believe the time and money were both well spent and have no regrets. I think the benefits of breastfeeding are beyond measure and am delighted and proud to have breastfed my little girl for a year but honestly, I can understand why some mamas may choose to give it up much sooner. I think we do ourselves and other mothers a disservice by not acknowledging the possible hardships involved with breastfeeding. Before I gave birth I assumed it would be the easiest thing in the world, "attach baby to breast, commence bliss". Thousands of dollars and some very sore nipples later, I wish someone, my OB, a nurse, a friend, anyone would have clued me into how much hard work breastfeeding can be. I still would have done it but at least I wouldn't have spent several miserable months thinking I was the only one who had problems.

 

For those mamas who breastfeed with ease, I say congratulations, count your blessings and please try not to judge those of us for whom breastfeeding was or is a financial, physical or emotional struggle. At the end of the day, however we feed our kids doesn't mean we love them any more or less. We're all just trying to find our way and do our best.

 

post #15 of 66

Some people do breastfeed without extra expenses. With my first DD I bought nursing bras. But I would have had to buy some kind of bra anyway. I did buy a pump with my second DD because I was working on Saturdays. The income from working paid for the pump in a little over a month. So it was relatively free.

post #16 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsFortune View Post

Well, I would hate to see someone who wanted to breastfeed stop doing so because they were misinformed but I would not assume that is the case.  There is a lot of pressure on women to breastfeed, and it's hard for women to say that they just don't want to do it for whatever reason.  So they have reasons or justifications for why they are formula feeding - but the ones that they share may not be their real reason.

I completely agree and I'm so glad to see supportive posts about this on MDC.  It can be hard to be a formula feeder in pro-breastfeeding circles, whatever your reasons for it are.  I have to admit I was very judgemental about it before having a baby of my own but I've learned a lot since.  And as a mama who couldn't breastfeed due to low supply, breast refusal, thrush, and latching issues I can honestly say I have nothing against mamas who choose formula for their own reasons.  I know for me giving up on breastfeeding has let me do all those AP things I wanted to do but that the constant pumping (to try and bring up my supply) and the stress of it all was preventing.  Though I still feel like I often have to justify why I'm feeding formula (see above, lol) but I'm working on that!

post #17 of 66

I weaned my first DS at 4 months. Though I will say we didn't exactly have a "successful" start as you mentioned with these women. If I had to name a reason I switched to formula feeding, I guess I would say just complete lack of knowledge. My DS was 4 lb 11 oz and a very small, tired little guy. His latch was lazy, but I didn't understand anything about what that meant at the time. Because I was afraid he wasn't getting enough, I pumped and fed, OFTEN. Sometimes in place of nursing sessions, hence lessening his nursing abilities. I had to return to work at 6 weeks which lead to MORE pump-and-feeds instead of nursing. I wasn't pumping while I was at work (again - serious lack of knowledge here)... I didn't really know I was allowed, much less entitled, and I wasn't prepared at all to do it. I was very young and overwhelmed and just essentially clueless. The fewer nursing and pumping sessions of course lead to low supply, which lead to formula supplements & eventually weaning. I was also on WIC at that time, and they seemed to think weaning was a good idea. I was very mainstream at the time, I thought my experience was pretty typical (in fact, I breastfed longer than any other mom I know IRL to this day). 

 

Now that I have MDC joy.gif & have found myself to be an AP parent, I do things much differently. I knew when I started TTC DD last year that I would find a way to breastfeed successfully and do it for the long haul. I got an LC before she was born and educated myself about typical problems and solutions, what to do to improve hard situations, how to keep my supply when I returned to work & etc. DD will be 4 mo in a few days, so I've made it as far with her as I did with DS and haven't supplemented in anyway. I actually plan for CLW with her. 

 

 

Also, I know I had a much different thought pattern when I was a more mainstream individual. Breastfeeding was HARD and EXHAUSTING and I just didn't really see why in the world I would kill myself like that when I didn't have to.... I genuinely believed that formula was just about as good as breastmilk (Have you read a formula ad lately? They pretty much claim this to be true). I did not sleep train DS, but I do remember thinking STTN was a really important milestone or something like that. My DD actually DOES sleep through the night & it kind of makes me sad... like I'd like more time with her - because my point-of-view has completely changed. I'm just saying, among the zillions of reasons women may choose formula, complete ignorance IS a true possibility. When I had my first DS I didn't know there were women in the US that breastfed past 6 months; literally. 

 

 

Also, as a PP mentioned, it's hard to be a formula feeder around anyone pro-breastfeeding. I still really regret not nursing my DS his due time. But I didn't know what I didn't know... and all I can do now is feed him whole foods & breastfeed DD & any future children. But I still feel the sting when I have to say "DS was formula fed". Don't be too tough on them.

post #18 of 66

I second the "medications that are incompatible with breastfeeding" suggestion.

 

I have an adopted 4mo, and the reason I did not induce lactation is because it would have necessitated weaning myself off of an anti-depressant, a muscle relaxer, and an anti-inflammatory, all of which I desperately need.  While it is unlikely that these women were heavily medicated when they began breastfeeding, it is quite possible that they may have developed postpartum depression, gone on medication to treat it, and are now looking to wean for safety issues.  And this might be particularly hard to admit, especially to other mothers who did not go through postpartum depression.

 

Luckily for me, I have an extremely generous friend with a surplus, so my son is fed formula and donated breastmilk, but I would not be ashamed of my decision were that not the case.  I know that being the best mother I can be involves doing what I can to be mentally and physically healthy, regardless of the effect this has on his feeding.

post #19 of 66


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MsFortune View Post

Amen to it being a lot of work and not free.  Just out of pocket I spent $300 on a pump, $200 on nursing bras / tanks, $200 on nursing friendly shirts, $20 on cloth pads for leaking, $10 on lanolin, $20 for thrush medication, $10 to dry clean a silk shirt when I leaked through in a meeting.  Not to mention the time with LC, doctor visit for thrush, time breastfeeding, or time pumping.  

 

I did like breastfeeding but I think we need to be realistic about it.  


Absolutely. I am still breastfeeding my 12 month DS, but it has cost probably more than formula would have. Besides the nursing tanks, bras, and pads, because I work I also had to buy a double electric pump, and bottles. The Lansinoh milk storage bags are $.10 each and for many months I was freezing 5 a day. I've gotten Mastitis twice, thrush, and a breast abscess (resulting from mastitis) that ended up having to be surgically drained. The lactation consultant was a few hundred dollars (many visits), and the surgery bills were over $1000.

 

post #20 of 66

Most people I know who stopped breastfeeding did so because working and pumping is so hard.

 

I agree it is hard, even when you have a place to pump! I was pumping three times a day at work, then twice at home, and barely getting enough milk to feed DD during the day while I was at work.

 

I have recently began drinking Fenugreek tea all day, and that has helped a lot and cut down on the number of times I needed to pump, I am getting by with two at work and one at home, but if I kept having to pump 5 times a day, I don't know how long I could keep it up!!!

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