Gabby Allen

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January 18, 2013
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Gabby Allen: Breastfeeding and formula, can they coexist?

With my son being a little over six months old, it was time for another round of shots and a check up. I usually don’t like going to the doctor, but we’ve found one that we really like. I’m going to call her Dr. Momtastic.

During his check-up, I was dismayed to find out he had lost 3 ounces in the past three months. Since a baby his age is only supposed to be gaining weight, obviously this wasn’t good news. I knew it meant my breastfed baby would have to be put on formula.

Dr. Momtastic confirmed this for me. She, of course, didn’t just come out and say, “Your baby needs formula.” That’s what makes her so awesome; she has this way of saying things that makes bad news not so bad. She said to me, “There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re a really good mom. This kind of thing just happens.”

In my book, “You’re a good mom,” is a really high compliment, especially coming from someone I respect.

She went on to say that the same thing happened to her with one of her children. As with me, her baby developed a bigger appetite, and she didn’t have enough milk to keep up with it. Her recommendation was that I feed him formula mixed with what breast milk I am able to pump. That way, the transition will hopefully be a little easier on him.

I’m a fairly logical person. Thanks to this and Dr. Momtastic's kind words, I didn’t have the overwhelming feeling of inadequacy that I know some moms experience when faced with these types of problems. As Dr. Momtastic said, these things happen. I have to accept that this is the way it is, lower my shoulder and carry on. Besides, I now feel very grateful that I live during a time that a supplement like formula is readily available.

Dr. Momtastic wrote down the brand of formula I needed, per my request. All I knew about formula is that there are a million different kinds. Off to the closest store I went (the store that I and the majority of Douglas County hates going to.) After finding the appropriate section, “Holy ****!” was my less than subtle exclamation. That stuff is so expensive I’m just going to assume that it’s made out of baby unicorn tears and dwarven beard hair.

As soon as I got home, I thawed the breast milk I had in the freezer. It’s a good thing I had a little bit saved because I can’t always pump 3 ounces of that stuff all willy nilly. I added some formula and gave Flynn his bottle, and he took it like a champ. In fact, he pretty much took over! He, of course, had the confused brow furrow he always gets after trying something new, but after that all was golden.

I could chastise myself for not realizing the reason he was waking up five or six times per night was because he was hungry. I could also chastise myself for the time I pinched him with his car seat buckle, the time I made one of his fingers bleed while clipping his nails, and the time I nearly fell down the stairs with him in my arms. The list goes on and on, and will continue to grow. The point is, we as parents make a lot of mistakes, and the only reason we should feel guilty over it is if we fail to learn from those mistakes. Really, it’s a wonder our firstborns survive us!

Thus far, Flynn has responded to the formula beautifully, and is back to being my happy baby. He sleeps better, and, as a result, my husband and I sleep better, too!

I’m going to try some things to get my milk supply up. I’m very blessed to be surrounded by some veteran breast feeders who have given me a lot of good suggestions. Nursing will definitely continue along with extra pumping, and a daily dose of Mother’s Milk Tea. I also need to drink more water (probably less coffee), and be better about eating breakfast.

It’s my hope that Flynn will be able to go back to breast milk and baby food, as I’d really rather not have him on formula. If my attempts at boosting my milk supply fail, that’s just the way that will be, too. I only remain grateful that for the first six months of his life he was able to breastfeed well, and reap all the benefits from doing so.

Gabby Allen is married with a son. Read her Fridays on Douglas County Moms.

I could chastise myself for not realizing the reason he was waking up five or six times per night was because he was hungry. I could also chastise myself for the time I pinched him with his car seat buckle, the time I made one of his fingers bleed while clipping his nails, and the time I nearly fell down the stairs with him in my arms.


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The News-Review Updated Nov 18, 2013 07:23PM Published Jan 29, 2013 08:17AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.