Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weaning to Formula

I nursed my 5 1/2 month old daughter exclusively up until two weeks ago when I made the emotion-filled decision to switch some of her feedings to formula. She is teething like crazy and although there are no pearly whites yet, she bites down when nursing and turns her head away (insert tears in my eyes). I was trying to correct her by saying "ah-ah" or making her let go, but let's face it, she's still an infant. She also was craving more milk than I was producing which made me feel defeated each time I had to go to the freezer to defrost some milk. Plus, I was no longer getting a let down when I was pumping, so my freezer supply was diminishing rapidly (insert feelings of failure and inadequacy)!

It got to the point that I was dreading each nursing session and getting easily frustrated. A grumpy attitude is not how I want to go into cuddle sessions with my sweet girl. My husband was supportive and we began the search for formula. We decided to go with Earth's Best Organic Formula.

It has DHA in it, but leaves out lots of chemicals that the average formula contains (we don't usually buy organic, but it wasn't that much more expensive than Similac or Enfanmil). Emma was used to drinking breastmilk from a bottle (which I read that getting them to take a bottle is half the battle of weaning), and she hasn't shown any tension to taking formula. I started by immediately cutting out nursing feedings 2 and 4 (out of 5 each day). After 4 days, I cut out feeding number 3, and for the last week I have been only nursing morning and evening and I feel fantastic. I'm no longer dreading nursing, but feel confident in the fact that I am still giving my daughter the excellent nutrients that breastmilk provides.

I felt very nervous to share this with other breastfeeding mom's. All I read about weaning online was along the lines of: "Never wean!", "My daughter is 3 years old and I'm ready to wean, now what?" and the like. But over the last week I have shared this with 3 ladies who were all super supportive and encouraging and two of them shared that they had struggled with the same emotions! So now I am putting it here for all the world to see: I am nursing twice a day and I am happy!

If you are still able to breastfeed your one year old or even your two year old--way to go! The time commitment and nutrients that you are providing your child is most admirable! If you are struggling with breastfeeding (and, like me, are still struggling even after talking to a lactation consultant) I am here to tell you that you do not need to feel guilty! If breastfeeding is keeping you from being the best mother you can be, then make an informed decision (not one judged by hormones--thank you for helping me with this, husband!) and go for it! I wish someone had told me that it's not all or nothing. Cut out one feeding for a few days and if you like it, cut out another. If not, you can still go back! Cutting out one or even two feedings does not prohibit you from nursing exclusively again if you want to (like when I forgot formula and just decided to breast feed again for that feeding. It took longer, but eventually I got a let down and everyone was happy). You can do it!

1 comment:

  1. Don't feel guilty! You need to do what you think it best for your little one. A long-term nursing relationship is wonderful, but something it is just not what you (or your baby) need/want. My mom famously talks about crying herself to sleep when, at 6 months old, I refused to nurse anymore. I only wanted formula. She felt so rejected! But she realized she could still have a wonderful bond with me, and maybe even a better bond since I was a happy baby, if she just used formula.
    Thanks for sharing!


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