“I think you should look at supplementing.”
Seven little words that can break the spirit of a breastfeeding mom in seconds. And yet, they are words that breastfeeding moms hear more often than one would think.
Throughout my youngest daughter’s life, I have heard comments about supplementing fairly regularly.
“What would it hurt?”
“It would be good for you to be able to make sure she is getting full.”
And my favorite, “She is so skinny, maybe it will help her to beef up a bit.”
As breastfeeding moms, we are already being faced with challenges on a regular basis. Keeping up our supply. Keeping up with babies sometimes constant feeding schedule. Tailing our other children while having a baby constantly attached. Things can get pretty rough.
On top of all of this, hearing that we may not be adequate performing with something that is supposed to happen naturally can be devastating. So how is it that you transition into supplementing your baby without feeling like a complete failure?
For me, I found that it was a learning process for both me and my baby. Over the last month and a half, we have come a long way. I am here to tell you though, it took some major realizations to get here.
So what have I learned during this process? A couple of things actually.
It is a Relief to let Someone Else Feed the Baby
I love nursing. Seriously, I do.
However, my little Ellie has a very high metabolism. (She gets that from her father who can eat the whole bag of donuts that I gain five pounds looking at.) This being said, there were weeks when all we did was nurse. Weeks that I felt like I was doing a great mom thing by being able to feed my baby, but that I also felt like I was going crazy doing so. It was a struggle at times to go to the bathroom by myself. I would hear the baby cry and instantly, I knew she needed me, again.
Ellie was six months old before she was even allowed to stay more than two hours with anyone but me. This was soley because of our nursing relationship.(Ok, and in part my mom anxiety, but it was mostly the nursing). Sure I would pump and send milk with her, but pumps have never been able to pull the amount of milk that she does, so even pumping enough for one feeding would take 3-4 sessions. Needless to say, it was tiring.
When we started supplementing, I was allowed a bit more breathing room. My husband was able to make a bottle, and feed the baby with minimal fuss. This meant that I could take a bath by myself and regain a bit of my independence. (Ok, so we know that is false, I have two other kids.)
All joking aside, it was a relief to let someone else take care of her biggest need for a feeding.
I Knew Baby was Full
Now do not get me wrong here. I spent six months exclusively breastfeeding and I know that my baby was getting what she needed during that time period. But there was always a bit of doubt in my mind. Doubt that maybe her constant nursing was not her cluster feeding. Maybe she wasn’t going through a growth spurt, and that wasn’t the reason that she was nursing for hours on end. What if some of these questions I was being asked had some validity to them? Maybe, my baby was not getting enough.
Once I started supplementing, I no longer had that doubt. While we nurse the majority of the day, Ellie also takes two 4 ounce bottles of formula to supplement. Once we started doing this, I was able to see that while she does sometimes finish both bottles, most of the time, she is only finishes one. Comparing this to our nursing schedule, I would say that she probably was getting enough all along. By supplementing however, I was able to actually see this for myself, which really put my worries to rest.
It Feels better to be able to Supplement with a Brand you Trust
When it comes to formula, everyone has heard of certain brands. The big box brands. Simulac, Enfamil, Gerber.
While I am not here to say that there is anything necessarily that is wrong with those brands, (I fed them all to my son when he was a baby), it can certainly be scary trying to choose the right one for your baby. Going from feeding breast milk that you produce, and know all of the ingredients to, to feeding your baby something that is artificially manufactured can be down right nerve-wrecking. This is especially true in a world full of processed foods that you are constantly being warned against.
This is where I found Happy Baby Organic Infant Formula to be a lifesaver. (Yes, you read that right, organic formula!) Not only can I read, spell, and understand all of the ingredients on the label of this formula, but I can tell that Happy Family actually had mom’s like me in mind when they made this product. No GMO’s, no corn syrup solids, added prebiotics for my babies digestive health(4 times the amount that other formula’s use), and DHA and ARA included? Yes please! I found that I actually felt good about giving this to my Ellie, rather than having guilt from supplementing. It was a game changer for sure.
It is possible to Supplement with Formula that is Closer to Breast Milk
When we make the choice to about how to feed our babies, we have our own reasons for making that decision. While everyone makes their own choice, we all want to ensure that our children are getting the best nutrition that they can, right?
Something else I learned when starting supplementing is that there are formulas that are closer to the composition breast milk than others. Happy Baby Organic Infant Formula again impressed me by proving that even though I wasn’t exclusively nursing my baby, Ellie was still able to get key vitamins and nutrients that are found in my milk. This is because they made sure to include them in their formula. I want nothing more than for my baby to be getting as close to the real thing as possible when she is supplementing. With Happy Baby, I feel like I am able to give her that.
There is ALWAYS Support Out there No Matter How you Feed
Perhaps the most important thing that I learned when starting supplementing, is that there is always feeding support out there. No matter how you are feeding your baby, there is always someone out there to help if you have questions, doubts, or even if you just need a word of encouragement. From doctors to feeding specialists, even down to calling your own momma, help is only a phone call away if you find yourself in need.
Regardless of your baby feeding status, if you have questions pertaining to nursing or baby nutrition, Happy Family has a team of lactation specialists and Cornell-Certified nutritionists available to chat with you. They are the only formula brand to offer this service at this time, and I am so excited for you to check it out!. It is comforting to me to know that Happy Family is so committed to my babies nutrition that they want to ensure that I, along with other moms, have access to a team of professionals to help with any questions that I may have. I mean, seriously guys, who else do you know that cares so much that they want your questions answered, even if the answer isn’t necessarily about their product?
Well momma, I know that it is not an easy thing to consider when you are told that supplementing may be best. I am here to tell you though, it does not have to be as scary as you think. Sit back, take a breath, and do your research. Find the brand out there that is best for you and your family, and feel good about what you are feeding your baby.I love the time that I still have to nurse my little Ellie, but I also love that I feel good about the supplementation she is getting.
What helped you to ease into supplementing? Did you have any struggles? Let me know in the comments below!