i experienced a bout with mommy guilt yesterday, my first since i had to abandon all plans of a natural childbirth and have an induction ending in a c-section. it happened when i decided to…gasp…feed my 3 month old 4 oz of formula.
let me explain.
i have been exclusively breastfeeding since she was born, and plan to nurse for as long as i can*. for the first month i was even able to pump a little extra each day so that we would have a good stockpile in the freezer for when i went back to work. i soon found out that even though pumping an extra 3 oz per day for a month seems like a good stockpile, it dwindles down quickly when you’re having to pull from it multiple times a day. this happened when i went back to work and was in meetings all day. even though i would pump when i got home, the little monkey was usually hungry enough to eat what i pumped that day.
at the end of the month, i have to be in florida for a sales meeting and will be gone for 4 days. we quickly realized that the 45 oz of milk left in the freezer were not going to be enough to feed her while i was gone. i resigned myself to the fact that we would probably have to supplement with formula during that week. after doing a little research, i realized that it might be a bad idea to suddenly start her on formula that week and we were probably better off easing her into it. so i figured that we should probably start supplementing a bottle a day and then gradually increase it until i left. a little breastmilk per day has to be better than none, right?
i pulled out the packages of sample formula that we received and i swore i would never have to use. i was faced with my first decision – do i use the similac sensitive formula for fussiness and gas? or the similac advance complete nutrition? i reached for the sensitive one and started to read the ingredients. i quickly threw it in the trash when i read that the FIRST TWO ingredients were CORN SYRUP SOLIDS and SUCROSE SUGAR!!! i was absolutely in shock. i read the next package ingredients and calmed down a bit when i saw that lactose was the sugar of choice. phew.
then my next dilemma came. what kind of water do i use to mix it? can it be from the fridge filter? does it need to be boiled? what is the fluoride concentration of denver city water?** do i need to buy special “nursery water”?
more questions arose. how do you sterilize bottles? is running them through the dishwasher good enough? do i put in the powder and then the water or the other way around? do i mix it cold and then heat it or mix it with warm water?
am i going to kill my baby if i do this wrong???
i decided to use filtered fridge water, in a bottle from the dishwasher, mixed cold and heated in a warm water bath.
jared gave her the bottle and we held our breath. will she accept this inferior alternative? will it agree with her system or will she be allergic? how is this going to change her poop? is she going to like it better and refuse breastmilk? is she going to need therapy (or cancer drugs) in 30 years because her mommy failed to produce enough of natures perfect food?
she drank it down just fine. so far no adverse reaction and she happily took breastmilk at the next feeding. and i got over the guilt because i’m doing the best i can and making the best decisions based on what works in our family. i’m still going to nurse as often as i can and pump as much as i can, but i’m not going to beat myself up over having to give her 1-2 formula bottles per day. i’m pretty sure it’s better than not giving her enough food.
i think she’s happy.
*although i draw the line when they can start asking for the boob. even though i know this is acceptable in many cultures and can be good for the baby, it kind of creeps me out.
**0.7 mg/l if you’re interested