I should buy formula!!?? :( — The Bump
Breastfeeding

I should buy formula!!?? :(

So, I'm 35 weeks pregnant and a FTM.  I really want to breastfeed without using formula.  I posted a question on my FB asking what are the "must have" items I should have for my baby.  Well, a few mentioned formula in case I have problems breastfeeding, etc.  I hadn't even thought of that.  Can those who breastfeed give me any tips so that I don't have to use formula.  I know some things are out of my control, but what are the things in my control that I can do? Thank you!!
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Re: I should buy formula!!?? :(

  • It's my understanding that you don't know how bf will go until it's time to do it.  I have been EBF, but I did sign up online with the different formula companies and I rec'd tons of free samples that I can use in case of an emergency.  I would recommend doing that and then it's easy enough to buy more formula if you do end up needing it.
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  • I never kept formula in my house. Unless you live somewhere that you can't go out and buy it at the nearest 7-11 or pharmacy, you do not need to keep it around. It's needless temptation.

    Things you can do:

    1) Know where to ask for help. Find out how to contact a Lactation Consultant and/or the local La Leche League leaders. Put their numbers on the fridge. Vow now that when you don't know what to do, you'll call them and ask us.

    2) Read up on kellymom.com:  http://www.kellymom.com/bf/start/index.html

    3) Expect to do nothing but recover and breastfeed for the first 3 weeks. Eat, sleep, feed the baby. That's it. Don't expect to cook, clean, go out, anything. If you do, it's gravy, and if you don't, it's okay. It gets better.

    4) Try not to worry too much. Some people have a really rough road, and some don't. Honestly, it hurt for a couple seconds at the start of the feed for me for a few weeks, but that's all I had to deal with. It wasn't a big deal, and now it's so easy.

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  • What have you done so far to prepare?

    kellymom.com is a GREAT resource.  It all sounded Greek to me at first, but it has a lot of good info.

    And of course, this board is great.  

    Do you have any specific questions?

    I kept my pregnancy off my FB b/c people always have that crazy advice.  :-)  I will say though, as much as I wanted to BF, I did have a can of formula on hand, just in case.  It comforted me.  I knew that if my baby was hungry, we could feed her.  I didn't want it to end up being a huge deal if we had to use formula - a trip to the store, deciding which brand, etc.  I was 110% committed to BFing and kept LO nursing around the clock pretty much, for the first 6 weeks.  After that - piece of cake!  :-)  

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  • I think I remember hearing that there are actual studies that suggest that having formula in the house "just in case" actually hurts rather than helps the breastfeeding relationship in many cases.  I didn't want it in the house, didn't have it in the house, and haven't ever needed it.  I knew I could get it at the store if I needed it, and that was enough for me. GL!
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  • Thanks ladies!! I will definitely be going over the kellymom website.. I guess I didn't know that there was something I specifically needed to do to prepare.  Being that I'm a FTM, I don't know what to expect as far as breastfeeding since I know everyone is different.  I just was thinking of it as I will breastfeed and formula is not an option.  I'm going to be a SAHM so I don't have to worry about pumping while at work, although I will be getting a pump.  I've heard you shouldn't start pumping for the first few weeks though.. I've already decided that this is what I WANT to do, it was just discouraging to hear people say that they wanted to as well, but weren't able to for some reason..
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  • image jlsimon56:

    What have you done so far to prepare?

    kellymom.com is a GREAT resource.  It all sounded Greek to me at first, but it has a lot of good info.

    And of course, this board is great.  

    Do you have any specific questions?

    I kept my pregnancy off my FB b/c people always have that crazy advice.  :-)  I will say though, as much as I wanted to BF, I did have a can of formula on hand, just in case.  It comforted me.  I knew that if my baby was hungry, we could feed her.  I didn't want it to end up being a huge deal if we had to use formula - a trip to the store, deciding which brand, etc.  I was 110% committed to BFing and kept LO nursing around the clock pretty much, for the first 6 weeks.  After that - piece of cake!  :-)  

     

    Also, I will be taking a breastfeeding class at my hospital:)

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  • image tokenhoser:

    I never kept formula in my house. Unless you live somewhere that you can't go out and buy it at the nearest 7-11 or pharmacy, you do not need to keep it around. It's needless temptation.

    Things you can do:

    1) Know where to ask for help. Find out how to contact a Lactation Consultant and/or the local La Leche League leaders. Put their numbers on the fridge. Vow now that when you don't know what to do, you'll call them and ask us.

    2) Read up on kellymom.com:  http://www.kellymom.com/bf/start/index.html

    3) Expect to do nothing but recover and breastfeed for the first 3 weeks. Eat, sleep, feed the baby. That's it. Don't expect to cook, clean, go out, anything. If you do, it's gravy, and if you don't, it's okay. It gets better.

    4) Try not to worry too much. Some people have a really rough road, and some don't. Honestly, it hurt for a couple seconds at the start of the feed for me for a few weeks, but that's all I had to deal with. It wasn't a big deal, and now it's so easy.

    Ditto!!   Having formula around just makes it that much easier to give in when you are having a rough night - and it's highly likely you'll have a rough night because those early weeks are tough!  But you can do this!  Read as much as you can so you know what to expect and line up support for when you need it.

  • The hospital will likely send you home with some. They sent us home with a free bag of Similac schwag. It's like they're setting you up to fail so they can profit. I had an extremely difficult time with the first 8 weeks or so of breast feeding, but the lactation consultant I worked with was phenomenal and everything eventually worked out. If I had it to do over again, I'd leave the free formula at the hospital! But I guess what I'm saying is no, don't buy emergency formula because you're likely to get plenty for free.

    The best tip that I can offer is to get support from a lactation consultant and other nursing mamas (via La Leche League if necessary). Also, my husband was a wonderful cheerleader. When I was crying with cracked and bleeding nipples, he kept reminding me that I wanted to exclusively breast feed and gently supported me in every way. Also, come back here and post! :D Good luck!

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  • My LCs - at the hospital and at our pediatricians office - have been priceless in my BFing success!  They have the attitude that everyone can BF, although there are some obstacles along the way.  They were all so positive for me when I had my struggles, and NEVER even suggested anything about quitting or supplementing with formula.  When I asked at the BF support group about formula use, I was told NO, It's counter-productive to keeping up your supply. 

    I do have some samples and a small can of handed-down formula in my house, but honestly I'm not even sure where they are now.   8 months and counting.

    I think the best thing you can do to prepare is to set a goal for yourself.  I heard many say that if you make it thru the first 6 weeks, it gets MUCH easier.  I agree, although it took longer than that for me to really feel ok with it.  But, I committed myself to 1 year, and I look back now and am SO proud of how far we've come (baby and I have had more than our share of roadblocks).  

    I also recommend watching videos (online?) of babies BFing.  It's not something I was familiar with (my friends who BF always hid in another room to do so), and even with the class we took at the hospital and all the research I did, I wish I had known more about what it looked and sounded like.  

  • All the above advice is golden! Breastfeeding was my biggest fear going into motherhood and has (thankfully!) been much easier than I was expecting - but I know it's not that way for everyone and I think I have to thank my baby boy for being a natural at it :)

     In regards to having formula, I've heard both sides of the coin. Some say having it in the house readily available makes it easier to cave in and use it, especially during the rough times when you are sure your baby is starving. However, my older sister who gave me tons of great advice and successfully breastfed both her daughters, told me she felt it was comforting and calming to have the formula on hand (though she didn't use it). She said in the throes of breastfeeding and wacky hormones and life changes and sleep deprivation, she could focus more on the task at hand when she knew she had *some* way to feed her child if absolutely necessary; it was one less thing for her to worry about. I think you'll probably know better what is the best solution for you. But either way, I wouldn't buy formula - If you think you want to have some just in case, sign up online at Gerber, Similac, Enfamil, etc to get free... and then donate it to the food shelf or women's shelter (that's what I did). 

    FWIW, I had a ton of free samples in the house and never once used any of it. I

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  • My rule is NO formula in the house. If it's not there, it's not a temptation. I am militant about EBF and never, ever giving formula (for myself, not judging others) and there are still nights I worry LO hasn't had enough. And you know what? After LO sucks on his hands a bit and I fret that I'm starving him, he falls asleep and stays asleep much longer than other nights!

    I would just plan on having LO on the breast as much as possible at the beginning. I fed LO at the slightest hint of a hunger sign and also wore him when we went out (I swear this stimulates milk production) and ended up with "enough milk to feed the entire county" per my LC. BFing is hard. I've battled poor latch, bleeding nipples, oversupply, and having to cut out dairy. I cried soooo many times that first 6 weeks. I am glad I made it through the rough stage and know I can make it the full year now, but I definitely would have caved if we'd had formula in the house.



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  • We didn't buy any- like PPs said, I planned on EBFing- LO had a great latch at the hospital so it never occured to me that it might not work. We did wind up with a bunch of samples from leaving the hospital, her first pedi visit (they knew I was EBFig, but gave it to us for the cooler), and my 6w visit (same as the pedi). We just donated all of it since dd is now 6mos and has 'outgrown' the newborn formula. 
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  • I'm not sure what your friends meant by "just in case," but I had a friend who said the same thing to me when I was pregnant. She explained that she had a medical issue that came up that was resolved by a couple days of formula feeding. She went on to breastfeed for many months afterwards. When my son was born, he had jaundice and my milk was slow in coming. His bilirubin levels were very high and I did have to give him formula for a day. I was insanely hormonal and thought it would be the end of our breastfeeding. It wasn't. He's almost a year and still loves the boob. II have since met many, many breastfeeding women who did have to briefly use formula. I did have some that I bought "just in case." However, I ended up using some given to me by the lactation consultant at my hospital when they discovered the jaundice. They also gave me an SNS system that I was unable to use.

    I hope that you don't need to use formula and that breastfeeding goes smoothly for you. But, if you do happen to need formula briefly, don't feel like you can't breastfeed or that you've failed any way.

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  • I can't say much, and am pretty clueless for the most part but My LO is only 11 days old, and it is a tough thing to get up every 1-3 hours and feed. Especially if, like my LO, they want to nurse for 45 min... barely enough time to eat before another feeding.  

    Get your dh on board and tell him exactly how you need his support.  MY dh has been my life saver. When I thought I wasnt feeding LO enough he calmed my hormones down.  He went out and bough formula so I would have piece of mind and know that I had a way to feed her available (used it once).   I sleep when LO sleeps and if she doesn't go down DH takes her and brings her to me when shes hungry.  

    Its hard, its frustrating, and you will most likely breakdown at some point and cry about it... but it is worth it to know you LO is getting the best and bonding with you as well.  

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  • I don't think you need formula ahead of time, in fact I think that's a bad idea. Formula samples have been shown to reduce breast feeding efforts. I don't think formula is evil, I just think it's unnecessary to buy if you're going to breastfeed. You can do it!
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  • I think whether or not you should have formula on hand "just in case" really depends on your personality. For MOST people, it is either unnecessary or a bad idea. If sending formula to the houses of breastfeeding women didn't ON AVERAGE increase the chances that moms would end up using formula, formula companies wouldn't bother doing it. For me, the best plan was to know in advance where the closest 24 hour store was that carried formula. Turns out the convenience store at the gas station has a small supply. Knowing this meant I never felt a need to keep any in the house... I could quickly go grab some any time of day if I truly needed it. The five minute walk, though, was enough to keep me from making a hasty and emotional decision to give a bottle at 4 am in those early exhausting nights. Do I think having formula would have stopped us from breastfeeding? Probably not. But I did feel that having it wasn't going to make things any easier, even if I ended up with a valid reason to supplement or switch to EFF.
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  • I nursed my DD for 15 months and I am nursing my son right now who is 6 months old. My main piece of advice is Don't give up. I know too many people who just gave up within the first few weeks. It is tough and takes some time getting used to for you and your LO. Make goals for yourself. My long term goal for both of my children was to nurse for 12 months. With my DD, we weren't ready at 12 months to stop so we went to 15 months when we were both done. Also, when LO is first born make some small goals like- I want to get through the first week or two, then the first few months, etc... Surround yourself with people who support you and breastfeeding. My DH is very supportive of me and my mom and in-laws are as well. When you are in the hospital make sure to ask the lactation consultant if you have any questions with latching, etc. Good luck!!
  • I have heard so many "failed breastfeeding" stories from friends and family.  The one thing I hear consistently is that everyone started with "just a little formula" here and there.  Personally, that's never been ok with me.  I have been committed to making it work, and that means extra pumping, fenugreek, and lots of nursing to keep up the supply- but I also have had it pretty easy.  good latch and supply, no issues so far.  Formula sounds like a slippery slope...you start out with just a little, but then your body isn't learning to make enough milk and your supply starts to dwindle.  Don't be scared by peiple telling you that you will "dry up" and fail, because you certainly don't have to.  My friends who "dried up" were all tired of breastfeeding and were already giving formula anyway.

    Surround yourself with supportive breastfeeders who can help.  Tell your DH exactly what to  say to support you on those rough days (for me, it was "you're doing so great. Only 6 months to go. You are amazing for working so hard!). Ultimately, what's important is that your child eats. Any amount of breast milk is better than none, so any time that you can do it is a gift for your baby. And BF doesn't work for everyone.  But just do your best and know that regardless of what your baby is eating, you are an amazing mama. Good luck. :-) 

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  • I have a few free cans of it. I haven't touched a drop of it. For me, it was never a temptation.I would use it if I had to take medicine and couldn't bf or I was out and the milk went sour/spilled and there was no frozen milk.

    In addition to Kellymom, I liked this site: http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/

    I took the class and had an LC at the hospital but was so confused about doing it right the first week. How long, when to switch. To establish a good supply you are going to feel like you have a baby attached to you. Comfy chair and ottoman, + boppy + Netflix TV show marathon made it so much better. It didn't hurt for me, just a little pain at initial latch that went away after a couple of weeks.

    Now, BF is so easy. 5-10 minutes 6-7 times a day. No mixing or cleaning bottles. 

    One mistake that I see friends make is self-diagnosing a supply issue. Then, they supplement and their supply really tanks.  

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  • I bought a can of formula before S was born and just gave it away about two weeks ago. For me, it was comforting to have it in the house. That said, I never even came close to using it.

    There is a great support group run by LCs at our local hospital and I took LO there starting at 4 days old. They explained that your breasts are never really empty and newborns are supposed to eat almost constantly. They are getting plenty for their needs even if it doesn't seem like it. I would see if you can find a support group like that, it was a great help for us.

    Also, I would buy a pump and start pumping as soon as possible. I started at four days or so because I was so engorged. I would pump the side she couldn't nurse on and put it in the fridge. When I ended up with a cracked nipple, I would pump that side while she nursed on the other and give her a bottle if she was still hungry (she had her first bottle at 7 days and we had no issues from it). Honestly, I figured we already had a poor latch since I was bleeding, so it was better to heal then re-establish rather than continue to hurt myself. This allowed me to heal and after three days, I went back to nursing on that side.

    Having the pumped milk also allowed me to have my DH give her a bottle when I felt like I just couldn't get up to feed her again. It was a huge help.

    Also, this is from someone who had no plans on nursing. I went into the hospital planning on pumping only and I wasn't even too sure about that. Now I'm planning on nursing for at least a year. You can do it, just nurse a lot in the beginning and relax, you'll be fine.

     

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  • image tokenhoser:

    I never kept formula in my house. Unless you live somewhere that you can't go out and buy it at the nearest 7-11 or pharmacy, you do not need to keep it around. It's needless temptation.

    Things you can do:

    1) Know where to ask for help. Find out how to contact a Lactation Consultant and/or the local La Leche League leaders. Put their numbers on the fridge. Vow now that when you don't know what to do, you'll call them and ask us.

    2) Read up on kellymom.com:  http://www.kellymom.com/bf/start/index.html

    3) Expect to do nothing but recover and breastfeed for the first 3 weeks. Eat, sleep, feed the baby. That's it. Don't expect to cook, clean, go out, anything. If you do, it's gravy, and if you don't, it's okay. It gets better.

    4) Try not to worry too much. Some people have a really rough road, and some don't. Honestly, it hurt for a couple seconds at the start of the feed for me for a few weeks, but that's all I had to deal with. It wasn't a big deal, and now it's so easy.

    I agree with this 110%. I think that this mentality made the difference between my first son and my second (who is breastfeeding). You need that time to work it out..for sure!

    DS Born 10/05/99 DSS Born 7/11/95 BFP 05/11/10 - Missed M/C, D&C 06/23/10 BFP 8/3/2010 - Ectopic, Methotrexate 8/17/10 BFP 1/27/11- Please God let this heart beat strong. Beta1 17dpo-314 Beta2 20dpo-883 Beta3 22dpo-1861 Beta4 25dpo-5918 DS2 Born 10/07/99 "I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he shall be given over to the LORD." 1Sam1v24to28.
  • You don't need to buy any...the hospital will send you home with plenty of samples.  Unlike many people here, I did give both of my sons formula their first few days of life.  The were ravenous, and the formula took the hunger edge off and then they could suck to their heart's content to stimulate milk production.  My oldest had about 20 mL (he never had any after leaving the hospital) and my youngest probably had a little more.

    I am a working, pumping mom and I nursed my first for a year (exclusively for about 7 months), and I am still nursing my second (exclusively for about 6 months).

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  • image girley75:
    Thanks ladies!! I will definitely be going over the kellymom website.. I guess I didn't know that there was something I specifically needed to do to prepare.  Being that I'm a FTM, I don't know what to expect as far as breastfeeding since I know everyone is different.  I just was thinking of it as I will breastfeed and formula is not an option.  I'm going to be a SAHM so I don't have to worry about pumping while at work, although I will be getting a pump.  I've heard you shouldn't start pumping for the first few weeks though.. I've already decided that this is what I WANT to do, it was just discouraging to hear people say that they wanted to as well, but weren't able to for some reason..

    I was told 6-8 weeks if you can (I don't go back until Feb, when he'll be 5 months, so I could) to really help your supply be established and not have issues with oversupply and engorgement.  I didn't pump at all until he was 10 weeks old, and still had oversupply issues.  Anyway, just a note that I think you're on to something here but I don't see that advice given very often.  Good luck to you!  You'll do great :)  It's hard at first, but it gets easier and it is worth it :) 

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