Supplementing with formula — The Bump
Babies: 3 - 6 Months

Supplementing with formula

Hi Mommies! Here's the scoop; my little gal is 4.5 months old and has never been an easy baby! She was really colicky the first few weeks of her life till I changed my diet and cut out all dairy and soy as well as taking it easy on the onions, peppers, garlic, etc. We saw a vast improvement although she still spits up quite a bit for hours after eating. It's separated spit up as well,  typically it's clear rather than creamy, sometimes it has curds in it. I haven't worried much about it since she's growing and not crying/fussing like she was. She even sleeps now; HALLELUJAH!

Beginning in January she's started going to daycare 3x a week and is having a hard time adjusting. One of the only things that calms her is eating and I've been pumping as much as I can to leave extra milk for her but I'm basically running out. When she's home with me for the 8-5pm time frame she eats typically only 3 times with one little short nursing session added in some days. At daycare she's been going through 4 bottles and now I'm having to send 5! I can't keep up and I'm nervous about adding formula since she's had such a bad dairy and soy reaction.

Has anyone had a breast milk only no soy no dairy baby go on formula? It seems like all of them have casien or soy in them. Even the hypoallergenic ones! What type of formula did you use and how did you begin adding it in? I'm thinking of mixing it in with the milk to start but I'm terrified of provoking another colicky reaction. The intolerance is still there as I tried to add in some soy to my diet a week ago and she reacted to it. The formula is so expensive I don't want to try a bunch of different ones! Not to mention putting her through the pain of the ensuing belly aches while we try to find one that works! Thanks for any info you guys may have.

Re: Supplementing with formula

  • The hypoallergenic formulas have the proteins broken down, so many babies with dairy/soy intolerance can handle it, but they can be a problem for some babies, especially those with an allergy. Ask your pediatrician about prescription formulas that are actually free of dairy and soy. You can also try adjusting how daycare feeds her. Are they doing paced bottle feeding? Are you using the slowest flow nipple available? Can they offer smaller bottles more frequently? These strategies may make her consume less breastmilk while at daycare and eliminate or reduce the need for formula.
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  • Can you try to ask them to utilize other methods to soothe? Over-feeding (no matter if it's formula or BM) can cause reflux that is a vicious cycle. Will she take a bink or a lovey with mommy scent all over it?

    It's not that I'm advocating not feeding her-- if she's hungry-- by all means, go for it. Over feeding can create issues like you describe. Fussy does NOT always equal hungry. Sometimes they want affection & comfort sucking.

    My advice is to work with the care givers to do other soothing methods rather than stuffing her full of milk.

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  • Thanks Ladies; they've been trying the paced bottle feeding but it doesn't seem to be working. I'd like to make it through the next month & a half without moving to formula but feel like I want to try adding it in slowly before it's absolutely necessary to get her little body used to it and to find the right one. We've left blankets and things that smell like us there and it helps but doesn't fix it. I'm going to try the hypoallergenic formulas to take some of the pressure off in the meantime. I keep hearing about these ladies with oh-so-much milk and it makes me crazy! I wish I had that problem!!!
  • I had been pumping enough starting out so hubby could take LO and give him a bottle for at least one feeding a day so I could sleep. Once LO was about two months old we had to look at supplementing. I could still usually get enough for a partial bottle and then just finished with a small bottle of formula. Over time we decided with our doctor to move to formula full time and just gradually weaned. When I nursed I'd nurse for the first half of the feeding and then after I'd burp him halfway we'd finish with the formula.

    As for trying different ones. When samples we're available we just looked for the smallest and least expensive package we could find. When it was available I really liked the small packs of ready-to-feed bottles for this. Within one or two feedings we could usually tell whether or not it would be tolerated and if it wasn't, the left over bottles were passed on to someone else that could use it. It felt like less waste that way.

    I feel reluctant to share specifics because no matter how I write it it feels like I'm advocating for formula and that's not what I'm wanting to do at all. Our LO had malabsorption issues with breastmilk. I was already off dairy and soy for my own health and the doctor was advising against my changing my diet farther (baby and I see the same doctor so he was aware of both sides). He kept growing and putting on some weight but he was so sick all the time; vomiting, dehydrated and hungry all the time and what did make it through was horrible diarrhea (even compared with the loose breastfed stools you'd expect). We went through pacing feedings and all the tips for treating reflux and everything it seemed we could do outside of medicating. We checked with a lactation consultant to ensure latch was correct and the doctor even checked to make sure he didn't have even a partial blockage.

    Since he wasn't having allergy symptoms we tried partially-hydrolyzed protein formula first (we had free samples of a few different kinds and brands) and that seemed to be what he needed. His doctor agreed and over time we've have found other brands he does even better with. We usually knew within one or two feedings if he'd do well with it but occasionally it took longer (one we decided against after it started giving him painful constipation) and there's one kind that he doesn't like the taste and will refuse (in ready-to-feed but not powder). It didn't fit with what we had decided was best for us but there's one brand I've seen that even had a partially-hydrolyzed formula (milk-based I believe) for supplementation. Maybe that would be something for you to consider trying since you are just looking to supplement?
  • PS-- formula is ok to advocate for. Being pro-feed-the-kid does not equal not supporting breast feeding.

    I support feeding all babies. I advocate doing it in whatever combination or method that works for the individual child/family.

    I love breastfeeding but my daughter was formula fed & she rules. My son is breast fed & is equally awesome.


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