Many people might be confused as to which method of feeding your newborn is best. So here is a little compare and contrast...starting with a history about formula...

According to Wikipedia 'in 1912, the Mead Johnson Company released a milk additive called Dextri-Maltose. This formula was made available to mothers only by physicians. In 1919, milkfats were replaced with a blend of animal and vegetable fats as part of the continued drive to closer simulate human milk. This formula was called SMA for "simulated milk adapted."[11]In the late 1920s, Alfred Bosworth released Similac (for "similar to lactation"), and Mead Johnson released Sobee.[11] Several other formulas were released over the next few decades, but commercial formulas did not begin to seriously compete with evaporated milk formulas until the 1950s. The reformulation and concentration of Similac in 1951, and the introduction (by Mead Johnson) of Enfamil in 1959 were accompanied by marketing campaigns that provided inexpensive formula to hospitals and pediatricians.[11] By the early 1960s, commercial formulas were more commonly used than evaporated milk formulas in the United States, which all but vanished in the 1970s. By the early 1970s, over 75% of American babies were fed on formulas, almost entirely commercially produced.[4]'...
When formulas first came out they were primarily marketed to doctors as a way for mothers who could not afford a wet nurse to be able to feed their babies. There were several homemade versions that were used but as the process became commercialized people started to realize the monitary gains that could be made. So it was in the 1930's that a campaign was waged to try to convince mothers that their breast milk was not enough and that they needed to feed their babies formula to keep them healthy. What were the arguments they used? That formula fed babies gain more weight (must be a good thing), that its convenient for the busy housewife (which is true), and that its more nutritionally complete (not necessarily).

Weight Gain
Obviously weight gain is a good thing with babies. It signals that they are healthy and are getting enough to eat. Getting enough to eat also helps ensure the proper development of their brain, eyes and nervous system as well as their bones and organs, because believe it or not those things are still not completely formed when an infant is born. Those structures and organs continue to develop for a little while after birth before they are considered fully formed, they are only formed enough at birth to allow the infant to survive outside the womb. In fact, at birth babies dont even have knee caps. Those dont fully develop till the child is around 2 yrs old. This is also why babies cannot see very far when they first start opening their eyes more, they can only see about 6-8 inches away from their face at birth, just far enough to see mom's face. So yes, weight gain is a good thing, but here is why you have to be careful about it...

Too Much of a Good Thing can be Bad
So why should you be careful about a baby's weight gain? "There's more and more evidence that infants who gain weight rapidly during the first four months or year of life are at much greater risk of becoming overweight or obese" says  Nicolas Stettler, a pediatrician from the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, in an interview with NPR as seen on http://www.npr.org/2011/01/24/133110606/some-baby-formulas-may-cause-faster-weight-gain . 

The article also says 'Stettler points to studies both in the U.S. and Europe that show rapid weight gain, including a study at his hospital, which showed infants who experienced rapid weight gain during the first four months of life were five times more likely to be obese by age 20. And, as children, Stettler says, there are more associated health problems, including liver abnormalities along with elevated blood sugars and high cholesterol.'

In the article it is also said that studies show bottle fed babies, on average, gain 2 lbs more by about 7 months than breastfed babies, but it would appear that there are differences between formulas and not all bottle fed babies gain so much extra weight, but we will explore that in a minute. 

Why is Formula Bad?
Most formulas are cow-milk based formulas. Most adults drink cow milk without any issue so how could that be bad for baby? What the general populace doesnt know, and even some doctors will deny this, is that most children experience lactose intolerance. This intolerance usually goes away by about 1 yr, and is the exact reason why pediatricians recommend that you wait till a child is 12 months or older to give them full cow's milk. Many pediatricians will site that there are bacteria and other organisms in milk that a young child's digestive system cannot handle and by 1 yr their system matured enough to deal with it and that may well be true, but difficulty digesting lactose is also a major contributing factor why we are told to hold off on milk. So why is it ok to give them a powdered version?! The fact is that most babies will actually have more runny stools on formula, particularly if they are given formula too soon (usually before 5 months). However, most parents don't notice this as diapers for the first few months are usually runny anyway. Once baby's poop is supposed to be firming up the baby's system has usually adjusted to cows milk so the regular changes in consistency will still be seen. This is also why some doctors stand by the theory that children do not have issues with cowmilk based formulas. 

This issue with lactose is also considered a major cause of colic. According to National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (or NDDIC) at  http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/lactoseintolerance/#symptoms:

People with lactose intolerance may feel uncomfortable 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming milk and milk products. Symptoms range from mild to severe, based on the amount of lactose consumed and the amount a person can tolerate.

Common symptoms include
  • abdominal pain
  • abdominal bloating
  • gas
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
If you were an infant wouldn't those things cause you to cry, possibly for a few hours at a time until the discomfort passed? Granted there are other causes of colic but digestive upset is the most common culprit and usually the suggested treatment for formula fed babies is to put the baby on a pre-digested protein formula and/or give them a probiotic containing Lactobacillus acidophilus or Lactobacillus reuteri. What is one of the main functions of these two bacteria? To aid in the digestion of milk protein. The use of these two particular bacteria is also a common treatment for adults with lactose intolerance...which is why it baffles me that lactose intolerance in young children, particularly infants, is not a more widely accepted cause of colic, at least as far as the medical profession is concerned. Mothers have known this for generations but the physician-worshiping society created in the 1950's -the same phenomena behind people believing that smoking was good for you because 'Dr. So N. So' said it is- that still exists in some part today, would have you believe that colic is still largely unexplained. I beg you, don't drink their cool-aide! Dr. Spock had it right when he said in his ground breaking book The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Carethat the parents are the real experts in child rearing, and that 'you know more than you think you do'. If you switch from breastfeeding to formula and your baby becomes more fussy, you can guarantee that your baby'd belly doesn't like it. 

Also, babies tend to over eat when being fed on cow milk based formulas. Studies are unclear on why this is but its believed that there is some sort of deficiency in the milk based formula that makes baby think they need to eat more of it to satisfy whatever requirement is not being met. Over eating is another cause of colic, or at least extra fussiness. 

Is All Formula Bad?
Certainly not. In fact, formula in general is really quite safe and generally nutritionally complete, you just have to be smart about how you give it to your baby. In the first several months if you are unable to breastfeed, for whatever reason, you should always try to give your baby the pre-digested protein formulas. These formulas are still cow-milk based but the proteins have been broken up to be more easily digested. It is believed that this form of milk protein is actually most similar to the proteins found in human milk and is easier on the belly and actually gives baby that full feeling sooner than regular formula. This could be due to the whole milk protein requiring more time to digest into the same composition as the pre-digested version, therefore taking longer for baby to get the message that their belly is full. 

Side Note: You might ask why baby doesn't get full when the milk fills to a certain point in their stomach, and the easy answer is that the sphincter at the top of the stomach is not fully formed, nor is the stomach lining fully mature, till baby is around 3-5 months old, and since it doesn't always function properly baby sometimes has a hard time telling when they are actually full. This is also why babies spit up so much in the first few months, because the sphincter does not close all the way and pressure on the belly after feeding, or too much movement, can cause the contents of their stomach to come up involuntarily. This is why moms instinctively want to hold baby for a little while after feeding them, because it helps cut down on how much baby spits up.

But to get back to the main point, babies that are fed on pre-digested protein formulas also do not experience the increased weight gains seen in infants that are fed whole protein cow-milk based formulas, which is healthier for baby and is easier on your wallet too since baby wont grow out of their clothes quite so fast. This pattern of weight gain more closely resembles the gains seen in breastfed infants. 

A good brand to use, though it is a little spendy, is Enfamil's Gentlease. Thats what I first started feeding Elsa after I stopped breastfeeding at 9 months, I wanted to breastfeed till 1 year but she started biting me. Anyway, so I started her out on regular formula but she spit up a lot and was MUCH fussier and spit up more frequently than she had on breastmilk. So I switched her to Gentlease and within a week she was back to her sunshiny happy self and the fits of colic were greatly reduced. A cheap version of Enfamil Gentlease can be purchased at Target. Its their store brand up & up, and it contains 'partially broken down proteins specially produced for a newborn's sensitive stomach'. Its suitable for babies 0-12 months and is just as good as Enfamil but at a lower price. Im sure Walmart probably has something similar but I don't really shop there so I cant speak for quality or price, so you may want to do your own comparison.

Once your baby is a bit older, usually around 5-6 months, you can start making the transition from that to the regular formula, but do it slowly, adding it to their current formula till you've switched over completely. If you notice increased fussiness then back down on the ratio a bit and stay there till your baby has recovered then continue upping the ratio. Why do it slowly? Changing your baby's diet too quickly can result in diarrhea or other digestive discomfort. Going slowly lets the bowels develop the bacteria needed for proper digestion of that food, its the same with pureed and solid foods. However, it is perfectly acceptable to continue with the pre-digested protein formula for the duration of the child's formula feeding and make the transition with regular milk instead of whole protein cow milk formulas.

If your baby is not gaining enough weight on breast milk or the pre-digested protein formulas then your pediatrician may recommend that you switch to a regular formula and that's totally fine, in fact I would encourage you to listen to your doctor on that one. Not gaining enough weight can be just as problematic for your child as gaining too much weight. As breast feeding it justas beneficial fir mom as it is for baby, you can do half your feedings from the bottle with formula and half at the breast, or if you need to express more milk for comfort reasons as well as wanting to still give your baby the added benefits of mother's milk you can pump and use the breast milk as the medium for mixing the formula. 

Is Formula Nutritionally Complete?
Most of them probably are. In fact, the information doctors commonly used when arguing the case for formula feeding was that vitamins A, D and C do not transfer very well through breast milk and usually breast fed babies are prescribed a tri-vitamin drop to compensate. Does this mean that breast milk is deficient? Not at all. It means mom is deficient, at least in those three vitamins. Building a baby takes a lot out of mom, and after those 9 months, even if you have been on a good prenatal vitamin the whole time, your vitamin reserves are pretty low. This is why continuing to take a prenatal vitamin is so important even after you've delivered, your baby needs those nutrients, and if they aren't getting enough then your body will steal it from your own personal stores. Once you run out baby wont be getting enough. If baby is getting those vitamins from an external source then milk production will be less stressful on mom's body. So formula feeding is just as beneficial for mom, nutrition wise, as it can be for baby. 

Why is Breast Best?
On breastisbest.com there is a pretty decent list of benefits to breast feeding, they are pretty succinct so I'll let them tell you: 
  • Breast-fed babies have lower rates of medical problems, including diarrhea, rashes, allergies, and ear infections.
  • Breast-fed babies have a lower rate of hospital admissions.
  • Human milk contains good amounts of lactose, fatty acids, and amino acids.
  • Breast feeding transfers the mother’s antibodies to the baby. A majority of the cells in breast milk are actually cells that kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi… hence the fewer hospital admissions and fewer ear infections, etc.
  • Human milk is custom designed – a mother’s milk has antibodies specific to her own environment… the same environment of the baby.
  • Babies are not allergic to breast milk (although they can be allergic to something a mother eats… in this case, the mother simply needs to stop eating that item). Babies can be allergic to certain types of formula.
  • Human milk (straight from the breast) is sterile, already warmed, and ready to drink.
  • Human milk is free! Of course, there are certain costs associated with breast feeding, including the price of breast pumps (if used), nursing pads, and nursing bras, etc.
  • Sucking milk from the breast promotes good jaw development.
  • Bonding between mother and infant. Of course, holding the infant while bottle-feeding him or her can also lead to bonding. Human contact is important!
  • Mothers do not have to worry about buying and mixing expensive formula.
  • Breast pumps make it possible for a mother to go back to work and continue to breast feed her baby.
  • It is more difficult to get pregnant while nursing (it is, however, still possible!) If a mother has been nursing continually for less than six months and has not menstruated during that time, it is unlikely she will get pregnant. However, to be on the safe side, a couple should still use additional protection.

Some other benefits not listed here is that mothers that breastfeed experience more rapid loss of pregnancy weight, reduced risk of cancers of the female reproductive organs including the breasts, as well as better mental health and reduced risks of osteoporosis, according to http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/breastfeeding/why-breast-best/7-ways-breastfeeding-benefits-mothers.

I can speak from personal experience that breast feeding does, in fact, promote better mental health. I did suffer from post partum depression, but that didn't kick in until about 6 months after giving birth, and was more due to deficiencies in iron and vitamin D than anything else. But before the depression set in I was amazingly happy and my relationship with John was incredible. It seemed as if everything was right with the world. Had I been practicing better eating and nutritional habits perhaps that feeling would have lasted longer, and I certainly intend to find out when we get around to having baby #2.

As for increased weight loss while breast feeding, that is definitely true. I lost all my baby weight within a week of delivery. Granted, I didn't gain that much weight to begin with but with your first baby it is not uncommon to lose most, if not all your baby weight, within the first 2-3 months...but ONLY if you're breastfeeding, and/or doing some kind of diet/exercise routine. Baby weight generally will not come off unaided, some of it will but that weight generally was from the baby, placenta, and the increased blood volume developed while pregnant. My weight loss was relatively effortless but I was breast feeding exclusively and maintaining a normal calorie diet (meaning normal calories for my non-pregnant self), so whatever fat was needed for my milk was taken from the fat stores I had built up while building my baby.

I think breastfeeding is weird and am uncomfortable with it, what are my options?
This is a really easy question to answer. You can pump and store breast milk in your freezer and feed baby with a bottle, you can pump it and feed baby right away, or you can formula feed. Simple as that. 

If you're refusing to breast feed because you're worried about what it will do to the shape of your breasts, or you don't want to get stretch marks on them? Well guess what? You're selfish, or at least overly worried about it, and you're screwed. 

Breast feeding can be an amazing experience for any mother, whether you're a seasoned pro or a newbie, I highly recommend it. And its tremendously beneficial to your baby, a well as having benefits for you. So why would you want to deny yourself and your baby of that opportunity just to suit your vanity? Sounds pretty messed up to me, maybe you should talk to a professional about that. 

Also, during pregnancy, your breasts WILL increase in size because your body is gearing up to have to feed that baby in your belly once its on the outside. I went from a pathetic B cup to almost a D by the time I delivered and went up to a DD once my milk came in. That great of a size jump may be on the high end of the typical scale but you can expect to see at least a 1-3 cup size difference between your pre-pregnancy and post-delivery breasts. So if your breasts are going to get stretched out anyway, why not keep the milk and let your baby reap the benefits? Even if you never put baby to breast your body can still sense that the baby is there and your milk WILL come in anyway. When your milk comes in you will see another 1-2 cup size difference on top of whatever increases you saw during pregnancy. Once your milk regulates, or dries up, you'll go down a few sizes. I went back to a B cup, from a DD at my largest, after weaning my daughter. 

Do I have stretch marks? Yes. Are my breasts a slightly different shape now? Yes. Does it bother me? Not really, but I am one of the lucky few that has very light colored stretch marks so they are hardly visible. Does my husband love me less or like my breasts less because they look different? Absolutely not. In fact, despite his protestations and his remarks about how ugly post-pregnancy breasts are, he actually likes my breasts more now than he did before...breasts with a little more elasticity can be more fun than your high and tight pre-pregnancy breasts. I'll leave the meaning of that to the imagination. If your husband is bothered by the change in your breasts, or they really bother you, then my advice to you is to try to become comfortable with the way nature does things and just accept that these are the prices you pay for motherhood. If that isn't enough for you then start saving your pennies for a boob job, and maybe even a psychologist because clearly someone has self-esteem issues (sorry if that sounds harsh but its true, most of the women who undergo drastic plastic surgery suffer from some pretty deep seeded self image problems). 

Side Note: Wait to have any breast or belly augmentations done till you're certain you're finished having children. Breast implants have to be redone every so many years anyway but if you have a baby after getting implants then you may end up having to get them redone sooner than you had planned to. If you wait till you're done having children then you'll be less likely to need to get them redone sooner, and you'll have more extra skin to work with if you're looking to undergo a drastic size increase. As for belly work, that's pretty self explanatory. If you had a lot of excess skin after your first pregnancy, chances are you're going to have some excess skin from the next one. If you have that skin removed then your belly job is going to need to be redone after the next baby. So save yourself some money and a few risky operations and just wait till you've had as many kids as you'd like to have to get that kind of work done.

I cant produce (enough) milk, but still want to feed my baby on breast milk, how can I do that?
This might sound weird, but you can actually hire a wet nurse, in a manner of speaking. There are women out there that actually choose to continue producing milk even after their children have been weaned. Some women are unfortunate enough to have a condition in which their breasts just don't ever stop producing. And there are women out there that despite having normal nursing habits, their milk never regulates and they produce way more than their child will eat. It is possible to buy milk from these women. There are websites devoted to buying breast milk from other mothers. These women can go through organizations that require testing to make sure the milk is free of pathogens and other milk borne illnesses or disease, and there are others that are freelance and do not test but I would highly recommend going through a reputable source for breast milk as it could have some pretty serious repercussions on your child's health. Here are some links to pages that look legit, but you should still research it before making any decisions:http://www.onlythebreast.com/ 
https://www.hmbana.org/ 


If you would like to become a milk donor a few sites that look good are:http://www.helpinghandsbank.comhttp://www.onlythebreast.com/https://www.hmbana.org/http://www.nationalmilkbank.org/ 

How can I produce more milk?
There supposedly are a number of teas and herbal remedies that are supposed to help the body produce more milk, but as I have never tried any of them I really cant say much about their effectiveness or safety. But I do know that many women who experience a low flow of milk usually benefit from 6 things: 
  1. Drink more water: If you're dehydrated then your body doesn't have enough moisture to make milk.
  2. Take more vitamins: If you're malnourished then your body doesn't have enough nutrients to keep your body running, let alone make milk for your baby. You body knows it needs to feed your baby and will make sacrifices to ensure it can do that but there comes a point where self preservation kicks in and your body will actually stop producing milk to save itself.
  3. Stop working out so hard: I know some of you very athletic women have major issues with how much you weigh and pregnancy weight is no different for you but working out too hard or too soon can stifle milk production. Wait till you're at least 3 months post-partum, when your milk production should be well established, to start working out harder. And remember to stay hydrated.
  4. Eat healthy: This means don't eat too much but more importantly it means don't eat too little. Just as being vitamin deficient can cause you to stop producing milk, so can not taking in enough proteins, fats, and calories.
  5. Avoid certain foods: According to  http://www.milkmakers.com foods that can actually decrease milk production (when consumed in large quantities) are parsley, the topical application of cabbage leaves, peppermint and spearmint (particularly in teas or as essential oils), sage and oregano, and alcohol or any type. These food should be avoided by those with supply issue but are a great remedy for those with an overabundance or are trying to wean.
  6. Pump: Using a breast pumping occasionally, between feedings, or instead of feedings, can tell your body that there is an increased demand for milk and should start stepping up your production. In order to achieve this you should try to pump the breast dry, or at least a bit more than what your baby usually will consume. Your body is all about supply and demand, if there is increased demand then the supply should follow.

If those 6 things dot help then you should see your doctor to find out if there are any other methods you can try or if there are any medications that might be of benefit. Some medications can actually cause decreased milk production so be sure to check with your doctor to see if you might be on any that would have that affect. Most cold and allergy medicines will reduce milk production, hence your doctor's advice to avoid them but are relatively safe to be taken once your milk is well established.
Anyway, whether you choose to breast feed or bottle feed, be it formula or mothers milk, the regular physical contact a baby receives during feedings are absolutely essential and promotes emotional stability and independence in your child. So whenever possible avoid using the prop and walk method (leaving the child in a seat or crib with bottle propped up so you can walk away and do something else). Children who are well loved and interacted with on a regular basis have more normal and healthy development than babies who do not. In fact, in one controversial Russian study it was discovered that infants will become sick and die if they are not played with enough, even if their nutritional and sanitation needs are met. Babies that are given just the bare minimum of attention were usually poorly behaved and/or developmentally delayed if they were not otherwise handicapped. But, as one can imagine, the children who were well cared for, talked to, played with, and cuddled -the things most parents enjoy doing- were much healthier, had fewer behavioral issues, and in some cases were even advanced for their age. So interaction, especially with your newborn, is vital to good health and mental development.

So there you have it. In my opinion breast is best, but there are ways to still have a happy, healthy, and less colicky baby, even if you are unable to breast feed. And remember, nothing is perfect, so learn to have fun with it!
 


Comments

Nicole Harris
01/23/2012 3:37pm

Ok so I totally agree that Breast is best, but i will say both my boys had to be formula feed :( I was so into nursing and with Logen i was able to nurse for 2 weeks and stuggled, my milk usually come in before i deliver is is sorta rare, but bc this happens i get reall engorged and really full and he wouldnt eat as much or as fast, for instance with both boys i was pumping every half hour and getting almost 12 oz PER breast of milk. With Logen i only got 2 breast infections and if you have ever had them it is like the flu 10x worse, the doctor gave me a small perscription that helped but in a week i was dried up, so i thought it was the perscription meds that did it, so i decided to try with Tanner, now with Tanner i was able to nurse him for 1 week and then went to pumping bc again i was so full that the milk would squirt him in the face or come out to quick causing him to choke so i tried pumping and in a couse of 2 weeks i had 5 breast infections, i could sit in the shower and massage my breast and see where the milk was clogged, in one breast it was clogged in 3 different places, well this time i was bond and determined to not take antibiotics so i suffered through highs tempts that were at least 105 adn lower for 2-3 days at a time just bc i didnt want to lose my milk, as painful as it was i kept pumping and by the end of two weeks i went from being able to pump 12oz PER breast to barely 1 oz per breast, i tried everything to get it to come back and i was dried up. :( So with that i had to formula feed both my boys Logen could handle the cheap Target brand, and yes i agree they do gain weight lol my logen was 23 lbs at 6 months, now he is nice and slender though lol, Tanner on the other hand took 6 months before i could find the right formula and it was GoodStarts version of Gentlese, but it couldnt bc the bargain kind it was werid, but yes he too as you can see in pictures gained weight too lol haha

Reply
The Imperfect Marriage
01/23/2012 7:03pm

Yes, unfortunately, sometimes the milk just doesn't regulate and for the sake of preventing infections sometimes you have to stop breastfeeding. I wonder if maybe you were pumping too much?... I had the same issue of getting regularly engorged and I would pump to reduce the pain but that just made me produce more. I actually was able to feed Elsa on breast milk for almost another 2 months after weaning her from the breast with how much extra milk I had pumped off. What helped with that was I had to walk around the house with a dish towel in my sports bra and just let myself leak,in fact I had to sleep with two towels under my chest at night to keep from leaking through onto the bed. I also would massage the breast or cover it with a warm wash cloth to have some of the milk let down on its own before feeding to prevent Elsa from choking and gagging. It was uncomfortable and I was sick of being damp all the time but after a few weeks of just letting myself leak things regulated. As for having your milk come in BEFORE delivery... I really don't know anything about that but I can understand how that would complicate things a little. I hope you have an easier time of it with the next one! Good luck!

Reply



Leave a Reply