Breastfeeding vs. Formula: When baby formula is a tough but necessary decision
My daughter may be half a year away from two years old, but it wasn’t long ago that she was on formula.
As I’ve written on this blog previously, I had a difficult time with breastfeeding and although I was able to produce SOME milk, it just wasn’t enough to feed her. I was happy that I was able to give her a little breastmilk, which my father called “baby aspirin” so I wouldn’t feel so bad about it because it was at least good for her no matter how small the dose. However, the mom guilt hit me hard and, by the way, I am the first to shout from the rooftops that breastfeeding guilt needs to end. Is your child healthy, happy, and fed? These are the most important questions for you to answer in your newborn’s life.
A friend of mine swore by Lebenswert organic formula, which is made in Germany and as close to breastmilk (in my opinion) as you can get. I remember how doctor’s offices, lactation specialists, and every single mommy expo or store gave free samples (tons of them) of other brands with less than favorable ingredients. We used the freebies up in the beginning but to add to the challenges, our little one was showing signs of reflux. She was spitting up ALL THE TIME and loads of it. I had her three weeks early after a spike in blood pressure resulted in being induced. I was told that the lower esophageal sphincter muscle can be underdeveloped as a result of an earlier birth. Still, we found ourselves switching to numerous formulas recommend by the pediatrician that were made for reflux — some were soy-based, some corn-based, and she didn’t really like any of them.
How I chose the right formula
Sometimes reflux is a result of having an allergy to cow milk and if that has been determined, giving your baby cow milk of any form is not recommended but there are certainly hypoallergenic formulas that are easier for digestion. In our case, Miah’s doctor didn’t believe she had an allergy to dairy; she didn’t present any other symptoms of it. He said she would outgrow this issue over time. He dealt with it before with one of his kiddos and chose to wait it out instead of doing medication and eventually his child grew out of it. For us, giving the medication he prescribed at our discretion was not easy to administer and we always felt funny about it anyway.
Here’s the thing: we were so DONE with the switching when we realized that, no matter what we tried, Miah was always fussier, and her temperament wasn’t as good when not on Lebenswert. She stopped spitting up as much over time anyway. We felt it was a better option to keep her generally happy and we made sure we had plenty of burp cloths around! We kept her on Lebenswert through all three stages and by the second stage she wasn’t spitting up. To this day my girl has always been as strong as an ox! She sat up at four months and was walking by 10 months.
To gain even more perspective, I really would like for you to read my friend Carla’s account of her realizations of breastfeeding her third child later in her life. Check it out on her site The Older Mom here: How to Decide Whether to Supplement | From Breastfeeding to Bottle Without Guilt. She has incredible insight about motherhood and this is an area she also worked through personally. I highly recommend that post to help ease other worries around your decision.
Where to buy European organic formula
The major takeaway here is that if you have to do formula, make sure you are getting the best you can provide your baby. European formulas are known for being a cleaner and less-ingredient options, however they are not usually available on store shelves. That is why you have to find a trusted distributor. I happened upon a little company called Huggable and when I saw their mission, I wanted to be a part of it. I ordered my own formula, even though Miah isn’t on it anymore — I can always stir it in her smoothies! I just wanted to see how they presented themselves and I was instantly in love! They even sent a formula mixing guide, which is something I never got from any other online distributor.
It’s worth checking out if you are also as picky as I am about what I give my girl although, admittedly, she’s a toddler now so I’ve certainly let her eat Cheez-its! Ha!