Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Losing the battle of the bottle

This weekend was a bit of a turning point for me in feeding Cameron. DH and I went together to drop off Cameron at school on Friday morning. I work from home most Fridays and it's a nice ritual for us to go together. Plus I wouldn't get to interact with her main teacher unless I had at least one drop off. Miss Tanya works 6 AM - 3 PM shift and I usually do pick up.

I really wanted to talk with Miss Tanya (these Southerners LOVE their "Miss" and "Mister" in front of first names!) because I have become very concerned with Cameron's napping. Or rather I should say her lack of napping. One day I picked her up and she had only slept 50 minutes. 50 minutes! This is from a girl who naps 5 hours a day on the weekend! Grrrr. Anyway, Miss Tanya assured me that they were trying to put Cameron down and swaddled her and rocked her but she just won't sleep. Apparently she will lie in her crib for some "quiet time" but 50% of the time she won't fall asleep. I guess I'll worry about it more if she stops napping for me.

I was also assured that she never cries except when she has been reaching the end of her 4 ounce bottle. It was like a dagger to the heart, people! I have been starving my child. OK, dramatics over. So I have upped her bottles to 5 ounces (3 bottles total at school). And she has been drinking every single drop. What does that mean for me? That she is much less interested in the boob.

Weekdays are fine because I just nurse her twice: wake up and evening. She's always had a final bottle before bed and I'm not messing with that because for 6 nights now she's slept through the night. Damn, I probably shouldn't have written that in case Cameron reads this blog. I pump 3x times and get about 12-13 ounces total. Doing the math I need 19 ounces for school and final bottle leaving me with -6. I have plenty of stored milk that I'm leveraging but that will probably be gone by the time she is six months old.

The bigger problem is that on the weekends Cameron doesn't want to nurse exclusively. She wants the bottle. It gives her more and she works less to get it. And really, who can blame her? I can probably get in an extra nursing session but she'll still want bottles. So it becomes the worst of both worlds. I (or DH) have to give Cameron a bottle and then pump. Basically I'll be doing twice as much work. Is this sustainable? Hell, no. I am considering dropping all pumping once she hits 6 months and nursing 2x and supplementing with formula. But we'll see. Maybe I'll be a glutton for punishment and continue. Plus despite being able to provide only breast milk for 6 months I will still feel like a failure for not making it to a year. I swear this is why women should have a year of maternity leave. It is so damn hard to make breastfeeding work if you work full time. And if WHO and other organizations recommend a year then we really need a year of maternity leave. OK, getting off my soap box.

A couple of questions for my readers. How do I introduce formula? Is it better to mix it with breast milk or just give an entire bottle of it? DH thinks Cameron won't like the taste of formula because she has only ever had breast milk. Is that possible? Will the mixing help with that?


Amanda said...

I would do one bottle of formula and not mix like 1/2 and 1/2, I have heard that that might make her fussy, but you could try both ways and see what she takes to best. Don't be so hard on yourself, if you make it 6 months nursing that is way better than some of us. And technically if you are still nursing 2x a day you are still nursing, if she can get 25% of her milk from you she is still reaping the benefits. Since I went through this struggle at 6 weeks I know how emotionally difficult it can be to ween especially when you really don't want to. But stressing yourself out about it doesn't help and you have to remember if Cameron is happy and healthy thats all that is really important.

confused homemaker said...

I don't have advice on how to do this but I wanted to let you know that you are not and would not be failure. Don't get down on yourself.

Mommy, Esq. said...

Two other things to consider:

1. BF her then offer some formula 2-3 ounces. Then you'll still be nursing. Of course there is the pumping issue (since you may want to pump after but if you are only doing this on the weekends it isn't so bad).

2. Pick ONE bottle a day and make it all formula (be consistent). My kids got formula for bedtime feed but others were breastmilk. If for example you pick her 11 am bottle to be formula give her 6 ounces. You may find she lasts "longer" so you may have to figure out which bottle should be formula to maximize when you BF.

Anectodally I only know one mom who has continued BFing since we've been back at work (but we did get 6 months off). And she has crazy supply. You're doing great. Whatever compromise you come up with you'll get used to and be happy with your choice.

Nicole S. said...

I can't give too much advice on the transition but I will say that my kids had no issue drinking formula when we were on vacation - Mommy Esq. recommended Nestle Good Start and they drank it just like they would have a breast milk bottle.

And I am so with you on the maternity leave thing. I worked for 2 Swedish companies so I knew a lot of Swedes and was so jealous of the stories of maternity and paternity leave. And of course, both companies, although Swedish, did not use the same policy for their American offices...if I keep going, I won't be able to get off my soap box either! grrr...

LauraC said...

I'd recommend trying the first formula bottle in the morning on a weekend. Nate got severely constipated on formula when we first tried it so we had to slowly mix formula and breastmilk together to get his stomach adjusted. Then again they were so much younger! But in general, for working parents, I think the Saturday morning trying something new is always good advice, since it doesn't impact your job or your sleep.

And I agree, technically you are still nursing even if you supplement!

Danielle said...

I have no advice on the formula. I was lucky enough to be able to stay home with Brady.

Just wanted to agree on the year of maternity leave. Six or twelve weeks is a joke in my opinion.

A. said...

Agreed, you are still nursing even if you aren't doing it exclusively. And don't panic. This is stressful, but you'll get through it and Cameron will be happy and healthy no matter what happens.

Do you pump in the evening when Cameron gets her bedtime bottle (or just after)? If you are pumping 3X's a day at work (I think that's what you're doing, right?), but not pumping at home, that might be one way to both up your supply a bit and keep you from dipping too much into your frozen stock.

If you do move to some formula when you feel like your frozen stock is getting low (no need to do it yet, though, IMO), I'd try mixing it half and half first to get Cameron used to the taste and used to digesting it. If Cameron's anything like my kids you may have to experiment a bit with different formulas before finding one she can digest easily. If you can get away with it, start her on a store brand, it's way cheaper (unfortunately, both of my kids had trouble with them so we had to pay for the premium stuff).