This is a picture of my daughter when she was 17 days old. She was barely 6 pounds and struggling to get back to her birth weight. I was nursing her around the clock, pumping for the spare 20 minutes I had in between and trying to feed her pumped milk in a bottle. When I wasn’t doing that, I was attending every lactation group in town or having a consultant come to my house to try and help.
It was a complete and utter nightmare, and this went on for the first 6 weeks of her life.
To say I wanted to give up on breastfeeding was an understatement. To say it was the hardest thing I’d ever done in my life was an understatement.
However, we overcame all of our obstacles, and I went on to breastfeed her for another beautiful, glorious 14 months.
How did we do it?
One day when Sailor was 6 weeks old her crying was relentless, and she would want to nurse around the clock and be screaming her head off when she wasn’t- it wasn’t much different than any other day, but I think I had hit the end of my rope. My sister was over trying to help me, and I just looked at her and said “Something is not right. This cannot be right.” Even though we had been to the pediatrician several times regarding her breastfeeding/weight gain struggle and tried many different things (gripe water, probiotic drops, double feeding, etc..), I decided to call and tell them I needed to be seen immediately because there was just something off with my baby.
They got me in that afternoon, and Sailor wailed during the entire appointment. My pediatrician agreed that something was not right and made the suggestion that would end up being the single thing that saved our breastfeeding journey and my sanity: “I think we need to try giving her formula”.
This was a hard pill for me to swallow because I was extremely adamant about exclusively breastfeeding, and I was not into the idea of formula at all. I didn’t know a lot about formula at the time, but I knew enough about nutrition to know that breastmilk was all I wanted to be going into the vulnerable, tiny body of my 6-week-old.
However, I was desperate, so I said ok, and the doctor went to get a 4 oz bottle of the ready-to-feed Similac formula. She propped Sailor up, stuck the bottle in her mouth, and within less than 2 minutes Sailor had devoured the entire bottle without coming up for a breath. The pediatrician was shocked at how fast she drank the bottle given the fact that I had just sat in the office nursing her for 20 minutes prior to that.
We knew immediately that there was something going on with my milk, and Sailor was clearly not getting what she needed from it. My pediatrician gave me Similac sample bottles and a “formula supplementation” schedule and sent us on our way. Sailor fell asleep on the way home, transferred out of the car for the first time in her 6 weeks of life, and proceeded to be out cold for another 4 hours—the longest stretch she had slept since she’d been born.
Even though I didn’t want to, I knew we were going to have to start incorporating formula into our daily feeding routine. I knew that there were other, better formulas on the market than the one we had- I recalled a friend of mine had even had some imported from Europe- but my brain could not possibly process or take on anything else. I was so overwhelmed. We had already given her Similac, it had worked, she liked it, and my doctor obviously stood behind it since she had sent us home with 100+ oz.
I texted my husband to explain everything that happened that day and asked that when he got home to put masking tape over the ingredients on all of the bottles—again, I just knew too much about nutrition and ingredients, and I did not want to lose sleep over what was in this formula.
We went on to supplement Sailor with formula for 2 weeks, she gained several pounds and was a completely different baby. By the time she was 8 weeks, she was nursing efficiently and no longer needed formula to supplement my milk.
It truly felt like a miracle, and I absolutely credit formula as the reason that I was able to breastfeed Sailor at all and for as long as I did.
Knowing what I know now, I wish that I wouldn’t have been so naïve in the beginning to think that I would never feed my baby formula. By being uninformed I ended up making a rushed decision and one out of desperation.
With the arrival of baby number two on the horizon, I will absolutely be prepared with formula this time around. Since I am more prepared, I have had time to do the research and look into better, higher quality formulas.
For me, that means I will be sourcing European formula, where they have much stricter standards than the U.S. for ingredients allowed and their organic farming practices.
I am so excited to share this information with you, so that you can be completely informed when deciding what formula to use for your baby.
I am also excited to be partnering with Hermosa Organic Baby, a local Southbay company that imports European formula using the safest practices and highest standard than most U.S. companies, and you can have it delivered straight to your doorstep within 2-3 days.
Stay tuned for all we have to come- including a Q&A with the founder so you can find out anything and everything you want to know about European baby formula (and why it is superior to the U.S.!)