Goodbye Medela, Hello Similac: The End of an Era

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Breastmilk or formula? Probably one of the most controversial topics next to the Kennedy assassination. Well, as for me, I had to say goodbye Juggernauts at 2 months. I was really lucky that Noob Baby was great at nursing. She learned quickly and didn’t have any latch problems right from the get-go.

I started pumping along with regular nursing at around 2-3 weeks so that Noob Daddy could help with feeding. It was also the only way I could get out and run errands, go grocery shopping, and really just breathe. We were also lucky that she learned to take the bottle in just a few tries…no nipple confusion!

*Tip: If you plan to have your baby take a bottle in the future, start practicing at about 2-3 weeks. Waiting too long for fear of nipple confusion might actually work against you. Babies would much rather snuggle up next to mommy than take a bottle.*

Life for the first 2 months was a polygamous marriage between nursing and my Medela Pump In Style. During this time, I was freezing milk but also trying not to overpump. However, one thing we never associated with nursing was Noob Baby’s lovely Explosive Poops! She would have diaper blow-outs constantly, no matter what diaper or size. Her tummy was distended and hollow sounding. We thought her grunting and arching back was just her signature look.

Well, around that time, we spotted some blood in her diaper. After referencing my books, I narrowed the situation down to her either having a tear in her bum or having an allergy to something in my milk. After a trip to the doc, I was told she most likely had a milk protein allergy. For a week, I cut out some fish and proteins from my diet. But, no luck…still the same thing in her diaper. It was possible that she was sensitive to dairy, but the idea of going totally dairy-free seemed so daunting.

So, on our follow-up visit to the doc, we were given samples of Similac Alimentum (hypoallergenic formula for protein allergies). By the way, they might as well just cut up your credit cards as you pay for formula. It’s like feeding her gold dust. Anyway, the immediate change was amazing. By the next day, Noob Baby was smiling and babbling a lot more. I heard tons of cooing and the grunts and arching stopped almost completely. Obviously the consistency of her poop changed as well (breastmilk = mustard seedy, formula = mud). But, diaper blowouts were a distant memory. Her big bloaty belly returned to a normal size.

I was feeling a sense of relief that she seemed relieved as well. But, I still felt a sadness about quitting nursing, and I had a crap ton load of breastmilk in my freezer. So, after about 10 days on the Alimentum, we were given the green light to switch back to breastmilk (the doc thought maybe her tummy just needed a break). It took just a couple feeding for us to see the difference again. She was groaning and straining and all the explosive gas came back. I knew then that it was the end of an era.

As a formula-fed baby myself, I never really thought much of breastfeeding except for all the wonderful health benefits. I have to admit, I didn’t feel more of a bond with Noob Baby just because I was nursing. We were still able to cuddle and stare at each other with the bottle. But, I did feel a deep sense of guilt and loss when I stopped. Eventually, those mixed emotions got better. And it certainly helps when you are no longer chained to the breastpump, or your boobs don’t feel like they’re gonna cause a nuclear explosion.

I forgot to mention earlier that I also had an overactive letdown (gross I know). So, Noob Baby was constantly gulping and thrashing when we nursed. That contributed to her gas and discomfort during nursing. For you women out there with an OL, I feel your pain. It’s one of those situations where even my lactation consultant seemed at a loss. We tried all kinds of “creative” nursing positions, none of which were truly a solution to the problem.

So, anyway…I’ll end this post with a shout-out to the often-overlooked, rarely-mentioned mom:
Exclusively Pumping Moms! I praise your commitment, love, and discipline, discipline, discipline! This is something I started to do before we eventually switched her to formula, and it takes so much dedication. XOXO

Comments

  1. 5

    Just came across your site yesterday and it has really helped me. I am right in the middle of that emotional decision between continuing to try and breastfeed/pump or just formula feed. This is my second child with tongue tie and I really wanted things to be different this time. I struggled through the pain the first 3 weeks then finally went to a lactation consultant. I had my son’s tongue tie clipped after her recommendation and thought nursing would become miraculously better. I thought wrong. It is still very painful and I am still miserable. I went back to lactation consultant today and she gave me plenty of suggestions and exercises to do, but with a 4 yr old needing my attention too I don’t think it is feasible. I am certainly upset and guilty for having to switch to formula but I know it is best for my family. It is nice to read about other mothers who have also gone through this tough decision. Thank for your stories. I have added it to my reading list so keep them coming!!

  2. 6

    I just found your site, too. I’m interested in lots of the topics. Thanks. I’m nursing and pumping and giving the occasional formula bottle for my twins. Thanks for the shout out, since I’m exclusively pumping for my daughter for 5 months now, while my son get a combo of all of the above.

  3. 7

    Just came across this post – an oldie but goodie! I am a noob mommy to my 6 week old son and unbeknownst to me became an exclusive pumping mommy when nursing didn’t quite work out for us. This sh–t is hard and in the meantime have to deal with the guilt and grief of not being able to have that “bond” with my baby. That on top of comments from others who wonder why I don’t work harder on that magical latch. Thanks for the shout out btw as I don’t think there is enough credit and resources given to those moms out there who exclusively pump. Everyday is a challenge and most days I just want to throw in the towel and say goodbye to Medela. As a formula fed baby as well, I share the same sentiments as you described about breastfeeding.

    Finally, I’m curious as to whether you had a similar situation and result with NB 2.0 – whether she had the same protein allergy and how long you continued to breastfeed. I always wonder what it might be like for me the second time around as I cannot fathom having to go through the same ordeal again.

    Thanks for your blog and all the wonderful stories and information you share.

    • 8

      Annie – Thanks for asking about NB2.0. I kept meaning to write about my breastfeeding woes with her, and of course, life got in the way! Breastfeeding the second time around was actually even more difficult for me. I was an oversupplier and ridiculously engorged for the first month. Everything was painful, including hugging and carrying both noobs. I decided to throw in the towel for everyone’s happiness and especially for my comfort. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us, but hopefully the second time around for others can be a much better experience! What does matter though, is that NB2.0 is happy and healthy! The best part…now that she’s 1, we’re all done with formula too! Yahoo!

  4. 9

    It is such an emotional decision. Breastmilk or formula? When to give up breastfeeding? I am torn every day (I have a 7 month old baby girl) between wanting my body and freedom back, even if just for an afternoon, and wanting the best for my baby. I am unfortunate enough to have a baby who has been refusing to take a bottle since she was 3 weeks old. So it has been me, and only me feeding her. She has now started solids and suddenly I am struggling with her newfound independence.

    Respect for all mums out there who have to make these decisions and stick with them in the face of judgmental family and friends.

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