Starting formula after 6 months of breast feeding

User - posted on 01/06/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )

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I am starting by 6 month old on formula after exclusively breast feeding. I am barely pumping enough to keep up with her for daycare. I am obsessed with the amount of milk I either do or do not have and have not been able to leave my child with anyone to even do errands. I am starting to feel slightly depressed and isolated due to fact that I have not been able to get out except to work because I don't have enough pumped milk to have someone give her a bottle. I am feeling sooooo guilty and my anxiety level is through the roof because I feel so selfish. This finally will allow me to get to that Monday night pilates class that I have wanted to attend. I still plan on breast feeding in the morning and at night but the guilt is consuming me. Has anyone else felt this way or have any advise on how to ease the transition?

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Jessica - posted on 01/07/2009

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You are definitely not alone in how you feel!!! I breastfed exclusively until he was 10 months. Since I went back to work when he was 3 months, I was basically attached to my pump for what felt like forever. I started to resent my pump and I was always stressing about having enough for him for daycare.  Finally, something clicked and I realized that it was not the end of the world if we supplemented with formula. The first day we did that, I felt the weight of the world lifted off of my shoulders.  At 11 months, we stopped nursing completly. I felt guilty and I cried and was down about it for a few days. But, my son is fine, he transitioned fine, and my life is SOOOO much less stressful then it was before.



You are not selfish in any way for feeling the way you do. As mom's, we give 120% of ourselves to our kids and to our family. We are allowed to just want a weebit of our lives back, even if it is just our body for a little while. :) Hang in there! You are not alone.

Deb - posted on 01/07/2009

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Michele,
Don't despair. Here are three tips:
1) Don't obsess. Time is better spent coo-ing with your baby or taking care of yourself.
2) Drink more water. All the time.
3) Babies will not starve themselves. With my second child, my nanny used to call me freaking out to breastfeed every two hours and like you, I couldn't get anything done and wondered why I was paying the nanny. I finally told her to figure it out, she was the professional. And figure it out she did! She gave my 6-month old daughter a sippy cup with water, then switched it out to formula. She ate enough to get her through the day, until my breasts showed up at 5 o'clock. She's 5 years old today and just fine. ;)

Sharon - posted on 01/07/2009

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Hi Michelle. At one time I was a lactation counselor and there are several things that struck me in your post. First - DON'T FEEL GUILTY! You gave your child six months of the best food for him or her. Great job!!!



Second, breastfeeding works based on supply and demand - the more you pump/nurse (the demand) the more milk you'll have (the supply), and vice versa. If you want to keep your supply available for more than a morning and night feeding, you'll have to pump throughout the day. (For milk to flow, you have to relax, so try some breathing exercises or anything to relax before you start and think about your baby while you pump. Truly, it makes the milk flow!) Breastmilk can be stored for quite some time in the freezer and thawed in a bowl of warm water (never in the microwave) prior to feeding.



For the first few weeks of transitioning, try to have someone else give the baby a bottle of either only breastmilk, a combination of breastmilk and formula, or only formula during those times where you will typically be away from the baby and continue to breastfeed in the morning and night as you planned. Having someone other than you try to bottlefeed makes it easier. The hardest part of the transition is that babies don't have to work so hard to get milk from a bottle, so they become lazy. Don't be alarmed if your baby ends up refusing your breast all together (not all do, just know that it could happen) because the bottle is easier.



I breastfed for just over eleven months, when my son developed an ear infection (the first of 2 ever and he's almost 11) and refused. We went cold turkey and it was hell - on me. We transitioned directly to a cup and skipped the bottle at that point. I wasn't ready to stop, but he was, which made the transition VERY easy. Just be patient and kind to yourself and know that you are doing the best you can and you'll get through it.

User - posted on 01/06/2009

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Hi, Michele. Much to my dismay, I had to stop breastfeeding when my baby was 3 months old because I never produced much. My baby had a great latch and she fed really well. I did everything everyone told me to do (pills, water, rest, less stress, feedings every two hours) , but I still had trouble producing. I was always needing to supplement with formula because she was never content after our feeds. (and I would do 20 minutes on each side) Every mom is different. Of course I felt a smidge guilty, but I tried not to feel too bad because I knew having some breastmilk in her little body was better than having none at all. My doctor said the most important time to breastfeed is in the first two months - that's where most of the nutrients are released. Don't ever let anyone get you down on your decision. Do what works for you and your lifestyle. My baby has been on formula and she's no worse off. She's almost 8 months old. She grows just as well as other babies, she hasn't been super sick (just one cold) and she's not "overweight" as some would make you believe babies are who drink formula. She's in the 75 percentile. 17.5 lbs and 27" long. She drinks 26 - 32 oz. of formula a day. (with one to two solid feeds)

I think breastfeeding up until 6 months is great! I wish I could have made it that long. You're doing a great job. Don't feel guilty. I've known plenty of moms who stop because of their personal reasons. Some of these women had plenty of milk, they totally admitted it was about them being able to get out and about...bottom line is, your baby is going to be just fine.

Nicole - posted on 07/02/2011

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All these posts are so helpful. I am going threw this myself I have a six month old and I have been pumping exclusively because she never learned to latch. In order to keep up with her I have had to pump every hour sometimes and it is starting to kill me. I just feel so guilty giving her formula though and these posts have really helped me realize if I am spending all my time pumping and none with my sweet little girl then that is probably not worth the sacrifice.

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Amanda - posted on 01/07/2009

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Michele,



    I had the same feelings when I ws contemplating stopping. I felt like I was failing as a mother and was hurting my son. I had to stop when I returned to work. I went back after 6 weeks off, and by the time he was 8 weeks I was so upset because I wasn't able to pump at work as often as I needed to. I was going 10-12 hours without pumping at times. So painful and frustrating. I just stopped cold-turkey. I was depressed and anxious for about a week when I stopped. Then, it passed and I realized he was just as happy and healthy even though I wasn't nursing anymore. Just giving your daughter a morning and evening feeding will continue your strong bonding experiences and give her the immunity you carry in your milk. Those feelings will pass, I promise. ;-)

Amy - posted on 01/07/2009

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ok first of all dont stress it makes it worse for you and baby second of all I agree with all the other posts and stress might be making it hard on you to produce I had a hard time with producing for both my kids and stress made less milk i know in my area they sell a tea called Mothers Milk Tea I used that and it helped me and may other moms I have talked to it is all natural and nothing in it can harm the baby you can also try Fenugreek it is an herbal pill that you take 3pills 3times a day and that helped me too i used both with great results but if you want to wein to formula that is your choice and there is nothing wrong with that you dont have to completely stop BF you can still at night and when you are home but formula for everyone else to give the baby just try not to give it yourself have everyone else do the bottle it will work out and what ever is best for you is what is best for you Good luck and I hope I helped and sorry for the novel

Catherine - posted on 01/07/2009

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I am going through the exact same thing with my 5 month old. You are not alone! I have agonized and cried many times over this decision, but trying to pump enough to keep up with daycare was completely consuming my life. I finally had to realize that the stress level over pumping and having enough breast milk was starting to affect every aspect of my life, including my marriage, and that couldn't be good for my son. I'm slowly transitioning him - he has only had 3 bottles of formula so far - but he seems to be handling it just fine, so I'm trying to feel ok about it.

Tara - posted on 01/07/2009

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I had to stop breastfeeding my daughter at just under 3 months. I had a breast reduction about 10 years ago and although I was making enough milk, she just couldn't get it out fast enough because some of the ducts were severed with the reduction I had.  I tried pumping and had okay results, but having absolutely no sleep, high stress and a colicky baby, I just couldn't keep up.  I decided to stop pumping and supplementing with formula and just go straight to formula just before she turned 3 months.  She's a happy, healthy baby now, and my doctor said that the first three months are the most important anyway.



 



I have to say it's wonderful you've managed to breast-feed for as long as you have.  I can definitely say that stress is a huge factor in milk production, so trying to de-stress is a really good way to keep doing some breastfeeding.  Don't feel guilty for needing to start supplementing with formula - only you know what is best for you and your family, and don't let anyone tell you different.  Your daughter is beautiful, and is obviously a healthy, happy baby.



 



Keep your chin up, she's going to start wanting to look at baby food soon anyway :)

Jessica - posted on 01/06/2009

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I agree with all previous posts--you have given your baby so much!  My daughter had breast milk for two months and my son got none.  They are both healthy, beautiful children and are developing just as they should.  I remember the guilt I felt when my daughter had her last bottle of breast milk, but kept telling myself that she had already gotten more than many babies (like my son!)  Happy mom=happy baby/family.  You must take care of yourself and once you do that, everyone will be in good shape.  She is beautiful!

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Hi Michele! A friend of mine, who is a pediatrician, says every bit of breast milk counts! You've done a great job of making it to six months. And you've covered the most important months too. Your baby may already be (or soon be) eating more, and her nursings would naturally taper off during the last half of the year anyway. Don't beat yourself up. All my siblings and I were formula fed, and we are just fine. 

Gaye - posted on 01/06/2009

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Breastfeeding is wonderful but not the only way to bond with a baby or keep them healthy.  I nursed my daughter for 4 1/2 months when she stopped the whole thing.  She was rarely ill.  My son nursed for 13 months and he was sick all the time. 



Most importantly though, having me healthy and feeling good about myself helped us bond.  When you're stressed, you have nothing left to give and it adversely affects the time with your baby.

Emily - posted on 01/06/2009

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Please try to relax - this alone may be contributing to your milk production. Transitions are hard enough and we are so hard on ourselves to begin with. You are doing great and you have given her so much already - you need to be able to give something to you or you could resent your beautiful baby girl.
To increase milk production here is what I did - Took fenugreek(More Milk Plus - tastes like dirt but seemed to work well); drank a beer or half a beer nightly, made sure i was drinking enough water and supplemented one bottle per day until my son was 6months old (he was an early solid food eater at 5 months so the solid food was taking formula's place and I had enough milk for him). You could also try to start feeding her solid foods and then you would also have enough breast milk for her.
Pumping is hard too - make sure your pump is working at proper strength. Some women;s breasts do not respond well to the pump either.
You have GOT to take care of you!!!!! Best of luck.

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