Monday, February 27, 2012

Lack of information

I don't outwardly broadcast this information, but a few months ago we decided to bottle-feed Aubrey.  Because of the medication Mommy is on (and can't really get off of), I decided I didn't want to pass on that medication and any of its possible side effects to Aubrey through breastmilk after consulting with my OB.  I was hoping to breastfeed, mostly so I could get that bonding time with her, and I was disappointed when he told me the side effects she could experience.  But I made a decision that I thought was in her best interest. 

However, once I made that decision, it seemed we started getting more and more opinions on it.  It was much like the c-section thing.  Everyone had an opinion.  Most of these opinions were from people who weren't aware of my heart condition, and of course, once I snapped at them and told them about it, they backed off.  But I kept hearing comments like "oh, I've heard that's not a good way to have a baby."  Or "OH, so you're having her the easy way?"  (Side note:  From the recovery I've been going through, I can testify to the fact that a c-section certainly is NOT an easy way.  Not in the slightest.)  I'm the kind of person who soaks up comments like that and lets them get to me.  I feel guilty like I'm somehow being an inadequate mother or letting her down already.  It's amazing to me the gall people have to just spout out opinions without seeming to care. 

But the opinions and judgment didn't just come from outsiders.  When we were in the hospital, believe it or not, they came from the OB nurses who cared for me and Aubrey.  And even in the hospital my bathroom there was this huge poster from La Leche League detailing why breastfeeding is best and why bottles are bad.  Not something I'd necessarily want to see when I'm already insecure about it. 

But the thing that has really surprised me and irritated me is the lack of information about it.  When you breastfeed, they provide lactation consultants to help you and give you information on what to do, how to do it, etc.  But with formula, they just gave us a case of formula and we were just to feed her.  No guidance, nothing. She took to the formula okay in the hospital, but when we got home, we switched her from the pre-made liquid she got at the hospital to different brands we received in samples in the mail that were in powdered form.  Last Wednesday we were up all night with her crying, just inconsolable, and spitting up everything she ate.  The poor could tell she was in pain every time she spat up.  It broke my heart, and it also freaked me out, being a new mother.  When we called the doctor the next day we were told that apparently we weren't feeding her enough (we were going off the limited information on how much to feed her we received in the hospital) and told to just go back to what she had in the hospital.  So T and I took to the Internet, trying to find any and all information we could get.  But there isn't much out there. 

It's just frustrating because of the lack of information out there for formula-fed babies.  I hate that right now I have to just try different types to see what she likes because, well, she's suffering in the meantime.  It's not like she can look at me and say "hey, Mom...this formula?  Not making me feel so good."  Doctors don't really know that much about formula or at least mine doesn't, and it would have been immensely helpful if, while at the hospital, we got some kind of information on what to do and what to expect.

So I'll get off my soapbox for the time being.  But I needed to complain.  Are there any others out there who share the same frustration?  Just curious or maybe I'm being wouldn't be the first time, that's for sure :-) 

Today Aubrey is getting her professional pictures done for announcements.  I'll be sure to share those when we get them!



  1. First of all, congrats on getting home! Must be great to shake off the hospital stay. I was a c-section myself and got tired of the "easy way" comments myself. And with Sprite, we had to bottle feed as well as the breast since I wasn't producing enough. And yes, we had to go through so many types of formula to find the right one that agreed with her. It's a hard process, and unfortunately, there is no expert advice out there, only the mom advice of those who have been through it themselves. Aubrey is going to make both you and T experts in no time and you'll be dishing it out yourself, but you're still in the meeting phase right now and learning each other's habits. Two months down the road, pull this post up and read it again. I'm sure you'll be an old hat by then. :-)
    Hugs to you all!

  2. Yikes! That's a bummer. Did you take any classes before on parenting, labor and bringing baby home at your hospital? I'm surprised they didn't cover that there. Jeesh! Good luck!!!!

  3. I am so sorry you have to had to feel like an inadequate mother. It is the worst feeling, but sadly, it will not be the last time. Especially with a daughter! :-) C-sections are not easy, and no one who has ever had one through no choice of their own thinks they are. Just remember that everyone talks through their own experience and very few have the capacity to understand the other side of things. I also had to bottle feed after two weeks with both kids. I got mastitis, and had to abruptly stop. But before then we had been supplementing with formula because they weren't getting enough. I remember being in the hospital with a crying baby, Jeremy was at wit's end, Mason was crying her eyes out, and the nurse just told me to give her a bottle because she thought she was hungry. We did it, and felt horrible about it. The lactation consultants the next day gave us the riot act about nipple confusion and all this stuff. I felt awful, and was so mad at the lactation consultants pushing it down my throat.

    As for formula, we solely used Nestle's Good Start. Again, it is what works best for your baby, so keep trying. Hang in there. Like Sprite's Keeper said, all of this pain will be a distant memory in just a few short months.

  4. The LeLeche League reminds me of PETA (I hope I don't insult any of your friends) but that is what I felt like 25 years ago! I received the best information about formula feeding from WIC. However, they too pushed breast feeding. My baby couldn't latch on and was going hungry, so she got a bottle. I held her in the exact same position I would have if I were breast feeding, taught her papa (that's what she calls her father) to hold her the same way. She could see our faces, she could feel our love, she bonded with both of us.

    As Robin says, it is trial and error to find the formula that works best for her. WIC had us giving my baby formula with added iron which caused her to be constipated, then they had us add Karo was all so weird. I didn't give her the formula with extra iron, she got the iron in her baby vitamins and I had the doctor run a chem test to be certain she was getting enough, she was. He agreed with me that it would be overdoing it to give her the formula with added iron. I don't even know what's out there anymore. I know we gave her Enfamil ready-to-go just because it was so much easier.

    People are cruel sometimes. They don't understand their words and don't stop to think outside their own experiences. It isn't that they can't, it is simply that they don't. I had to be induced, and was told that I took the easy way out! I wouldn't wish that torture on my worst enemy! I had friends who had, had c-section's so I knew then (and now) that it is major surgery and in no way is it the "easy" way. There is so much more to be healed when you have a c-section.

    You know why you can't breast feed. You do know what is best for YOUR baby. Don't let others impose their ideas on you, don't allow their so-called expertise make you feel guilty for doing what you have to do. You will have to be her advocate, remember, you carried her for 9+ months, you are the one who see's her day and night. Go with your gut feeling, it is amazing how often that is right. If you want to know ways I have had to advocate for my daughter email me. But remember, she is your daughter not the doctor's, not the nurses, not the lactation consultants, etc. right now, you are the expert on your daughter and you have it in you. Don't be afraid to ask other mothers who have been "through it" but don't be afraid to ultimately trust your gut.

    Raising a little girl is an adventure, a fabulous adventure, and sometimes a scary one. But you will be so glad that you are on this adventure!

  5. I'm so sorry! I know this time in the parenting process can be really frustrating.

    As a mother who breastfed the first kid and bottle fed the second, I can promise you there is no difference in bond. Both those girls love their mama like crazy and it really made no difference. The fact is you are still meeting their needs constantly and being there for them, that is what creates the bond!

    Finding the right formula is really tricky. It seems everyone I know has to go through several before that one works. And to make matters more complicated, it takes babies body several days to adjust to each new one and if you don't give them the time to adjust you are on a constant state of change that can be quite upsetting for all.

    Norah gets really constipated on formula. She would strain and cry and try to poop and NOTHING, over and over. She was also super gassy and puking from straining so much. It was no fun. We ended up liking Enfamil Gentlease best but it was so expensive!! I found that Target sold an Up & Up version of this, a large purple & white can for $19.99, often on sale for less.

    Good luck finding which one works for Aubrey, it's a process. I know this is frustrating but you will figure it out soon!

    Snuggle that little baby and everything will seem right with the world!

  6. I too had to formula feed because of meds I take. And even still, I got a zillion and one comments after each of my children were born. Why don't I just *try* being off of my brain tumor meds so that I could bf the baby for even a little while. Hailey had zero feeding issues (or health issues, period). Liam was terrible colicky and would scream 24/7. Finn had severe reflux. They refuse to medicate for reflux unless the baby is losing weight at our doc's office, and he wasn't, but he was MISERABLE. After trying every single formula out there, they finally they put him on Zantac, Reglan and had us add rice cereal into his formula to weigh it down in his belly at 2 months old. It took a couple of weeks after that for his tummy to settle down, but he did well after that. Britta has struggled with feeding/vomiting/everything under the sun from day one. Some tricks we've learned along the way with the 4 of them are Dr. Brown's bottles are worth the money. They majorly cut down on reflux/colic/spitting up. Even though they are pricey and a pain to clean. Enfamil makes a "Gentle Ease" that is already partially broken down formula so it is easier to digest. Target and Walmart both make a store brand that is about half the price, as well. With Liam and Finn, we gave them gas drops before most feedings to help keep their stomach's settled. Our docs always told us we could give them up to 12 times a day, but we did about 5-6 I'd say. We've learned that though some babies can be happy spitters (they spit up a great deal, but it does not seem to effect them...) (Britta is like this now at home, she's all well but still spits up a good bit). They shouldn't be in pain doing so, and they shouldn't be projectile vomiting. Okay, sorry for all of the rambling! Feel good about your choice to ff, you did make the right choice for YOUR family. Hang in there, mama! Can't wait to see her pics from her photo-shoot! :)

  7. Argh!!! This angers me so much!! I too have not been able to breastfeed my kids and I hate the stares I got. I had a pushy lactation consultant at the hospital that actually made me cry. I have also said it's not fair that on the side of formula cans it says "breastmilk is best" First of all you are a great mom for putting your child above your own need to breastfeed! I think that shows so much love on your part. Secondly I have tried a gagillion formulas so if you need anything email me and I will give you my cell phone number to text or call me. instead of adding syrup try the hydrolyzed formula. It has partially broken down whey protein so it's easier on baby's tummy. We used the target brand with our first and it helped so much. And as far as bonding goes you can still have those moments with Aubrey. I never felt like I didn't bond with my boys because they were bottle fed. Instead I made those moments just as special. Try nestling her cheek against your chest skin to skin to still have that bond. Also it could be the bottle you are using. She may not like the bottle or nipple or both. Hang in there and I too am a c section momma. Having a baby is NEVER easy no matter how they are delivered and no woman is ever less of a woman for how they labor and birth. I am proud of you-


Comments make me smile so leave a comment if you're stopping by!