Parenting after 35

introducing formula (a little long, sorry!)

LO is 5 weeks old today, and gaining well on exclusively breast milk. I do pump when possible (which is not much, since I am alone with him most of the time and he freaks out when I put him down, so I can hardly shower or eat, let alone master the complicated and three-handed task of pumping!)  He takes a bottle with no problems, even if we go several days between bottle feedings. I'm feeling pretty good about my choice in Tommee Tippee bottles.

However, I hate pumping, and I'm concerned about my supply when I go back to work in a few weeks and I'll have to pump 2-3x/day. Also, I know it's early, but he doesn't usually sleep more than a 4-hour stretch at night, and that's another thing I'm worried about when it's time to go back to work. We have a few weeks left and he could change a lot in that time, but I don't want to be a zombie ...especially not during my 45-minute commute on the back roads, and definitely not once winter hits those roads.

So, I'm thinking about supplementing with one bottle of formula as his last feeding before bedtime. I will pump when he takes the formula, so I will hopefully keep up my supply and create a stockpile for daycare (aka grandma), just in case there is a supply problem when I'm forced to pump multiple times daily. It seems that formula is not as easily digested so it will keep him fuller longer and he may sleep for a longer stretch.

Does anyone have any experience with this, and if so can you offer any advice? I haven't wanted to discuss formula but I do want to sleep (and I want him to sleep better too), and as long as he's still eating primarily breast milk I think it will be ok, but I kinda need someone to tell me it's fine. Also, any suggestions on type of formula? How much to feed him (he's taking between 3-4 ounces of expressed milk in the bottle and I feel like he could probably eat more)?


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Re: introducing formula (a little long, sorry!)

  • First of all, formula is not poison.  You are not a bad mommy to supplement.  I hated pumping and with my job could only pump once a day and my supply tanked.  I made it to nearly six months and was so happy when I switched over.  He may drink more than 3 to 4 ounces of formula at a time.  My recommendation is don't go for the most expensive stuff unless he has a funky tummy.  I fed Michael Sam's brand and he did great (and at $18 for a 336 liquid ounce container it was worth it).  Just when you pick a brand, stick with it.  Good luck
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  • I did not breastfeed so take my thoughts for what they're worth.  I tried, but it didn't work out so my hat is off to you.  Both my kids were on formula.  We used the regular Similac, but the best formula is whatever works for your baby.  Your pediatrician might have some thoughts on this too.  Though breastmilk is best, formula is not the devil.  

    Both my kids were sleeping much better by the two month mark, so I think you will see a lot of changes in the next few weeks.  

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  • When I stated adding in formula, I gave the same amount as I gave in pumped BM. I used the BJ's brand.  Definitely recommend the generic as it is much cheaper - unless your LO needs a special formula.  I needed to supplement once I went back to work and used up my stash.  I couldn't produce enough.  I was very emotional about it at the time but in hindsight it was not a big deal.
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  • Thanks ladies. I didn't mean to imply that I think formula is bad - I know it's perfectly fine. I think I've always known that I would wind up supplementing - that's just how it goes when your schedule is jam-packed and you can't be a total slave to your kid's feeding schedule. I'm just trying to come to terms with when is the best time/way to supplement.

    Thanks for the tip re BJ's brand formula! And yes, I will ask the ped also.

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  • In regards to FF babies sleeping more than BF, it may work, but there are no guarantees.  DS was BF for the first 9 months, and he did not sleep through the night.  DD would ONLY take a bottle, so BF for 8 weeks , then BF/FF for the next 4, then FF til 12 mos. She did sleep through the night at 8 weeks (and I hope you are so lucky!). I think if a baby is fed through a bottle at night, they drink more, and sleep longer, regardless of the bottle contents.    Good Luck, on transioning  back to work!!  
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  • My goal was to exclusively BF for at least six months, but unfortunately, DS was not gaining enough weight and I was forced to supplement with formula at 3 months.  We used Similac Ready to Feed.  I know it's more expensive, but I just felt like it was the best option for DS.   

    I went back to work at 13 weeks, and was very lucky to have DS STTN at that point.  When I returned to work, everyone said, "Oh, you must be so tired!"  Nope.  I was getting plenty of sleep.  He's always just been a great sleeper.  I continued to nurse in the mornings and at night and pump at work, but I'll be honest, that got harder and harder and I found myself going from pumping 3x a day to 2x a day.  I just felt like my efforts weren't getting enough results.   Everyone is different, but I wanted to nurse when I was home (mornings & evenings) and leave the pumping for the work day. I did keep nursing until 6 months, but as the 6 month mark drew closer, he was definitely getting more formula than breastmilk.  I just couldn't keep up and my freezer stash went the wayside pretty quickly.

    There is a big difference between 5 weeks and 12 weeks (if that's when you're returning to work).  It's totally normal that your LO is still waking up every few hours to eat.  He's still brand new!   I honestly can't remember how much I gave DS, but he's always had a good appetite.

    P.S - Do you have a hands-free bra?  That's a must for easy pumping. 

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  • I have no advice but I wanted to say hi Big Smile

  • First congratulations!

    I feel your pain, pumping while taking care of a newborn can be taxing.  If you don't have one already invest in a Medela expression bustier.  It will allow to pump hands free.  A cheaper alternative is  to cut holes in a sport bra.

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