My breastfeeding/formula feeding story is over at Fearless Formula Feeder today. Suzanne Barston's book, Bottled Up, was something I stumbled across during early pregnancy and read. The resources she offers on formula feeding were invaluable as we made the transition from breastmilk to formula, and I was much less distraught about the choice because I'd read a more thorough discussion of some of the studies on breastfeeding vs. formula feeding. My submission to FFF ends shortly after we made the switch to formula and saw the drastic difference 2-3 bottles a day had made in our child. Here's where we are now:
E. is nine months old. Several days ago, she took her first, unaided, unsupported steps. She still definitely prefers help when walking, but she's not far from taking off running on her own. She's still a tiny child, but she was less than six pounds when she popped out, so that's not suprising. She's about fifteen pounds now, and on track to triple her birthweight over the next few months, just like the books say she should.
She loves food. Yesterday she tried eggplant for the first time and was pretty interested in it. The list of solid foods she can eat is growing, and so far, she has no food allergies. We've tried her on a number of the major potential allergens and nothing's been a problem yet.
We're down to one breastfeed a day. Back in February, I learned that I had gallstones and would require surgery to have my gallbladder removed. I started slowly dropping our daytime breastfeeds because I knew it would be easier afterwards if she wasn't as dependent on the breast by then. The "morning snack" feed went easily, but the afternoon one, the one she relied on to propel her into her afternoon nap, took more convincing. In the process, she discovered soothers (Canadian word for pacifiers, for any Americans reading), and now uses those to get to sleep, rather than nursing or a bottle. Once we were down to breastfeeding only in the evenings, night, and early morning, I called it good for the moment. Then she dropped her middle-of-the-night breastfeed, followed by the early morning one. The evening breastfeed is the only one left. She seems to want to make sure the breasts are still there, but isn't as into it as she used to be. The feeds don't last long, and she keeps getting distracted. She isn't quite ready to stop, but I don't yet know how much longer it will be.
My surgery was just over a week ago. The first three evenings after, I didn't nurse E. Between the incisions on my abdomen and the codeine in my pain medication, it just didn't seem like a good idea. Once I'd switched over to normal Tylenol, I put her back on the breast. I'm still making milk, which sort of surprised me. We'll see how much longer she keeps going with it. I don't want to nurse past a year, but I'm willing to keep going until then.
She's pretty happy about formula. She can hold a bottle on her own now, and often, after she finishes it, she lies back on her pillow (handy use for a breastfeeding pillow, by the way), and sings to the empty bottle. She gets grouchy when she sees me mixing it up and she's not getting it fast enough, or when it's too cold for her taste.
We've ended up with the Costco brand of formula. If you just need regular formula, or even sensitive formula, this is definitely a great way to go, pricewise. The stuff they sell at the Costcos here in Canada appears to be fairly similar to Similac, which was the one E. responded to best. Our go with the Nestle samples was not encouraging--she didn't like it and the formula made her extremely gassy. The one time we tried the Costco formula from the States, we discovered it was weirdly frothy and came in smaller canisters than the kind here in Canada (other than that, it was fine).
Formula's been a good fit for us. E. rarely gets sick, and is gaining weight normally. She often ends up being a little skinny around the middle because she'll have a growth spurt and get taller, but her arms and legs have an appropriate amount of baby chubbiness. She's finally willing to sleep most of the night on her own in the crib, though we're still convincing her it's safe to fall asleep on her own. My worries now mostly revolve around whether or not she'll find something on the floor I've missed and eat it or whether she's going to start climbing soon, not about whether or not she's starving.
Our Milk Saga? Not really so much of a saga anymore. Drama gone. Baby happy. Parents sane. Life is good.