What are your thoughts on formula along the side of breastfeeding? Do you think exclusively breastfeeding is better or do you do both? If you use formula, which brand do you feel is the most nourishing and safe for baby?

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I think supplementing is fine, as long as you have an established milk supply. I supplemented with both my boys , but continued to breastfeed exclusivley at night towards the end of thier first year. As far as what kind of formula, I used what WIC gave me (goodstart) because I couldn't afford anything else. I know there are some organic formulas that may be better for your baby. You should maybe look online. I know Earth's Best has a formula. Good luck to you!
Thank you for sharing, Rachel :)
I personally don't supplement with formula. I love breastfeeding and have been able to breastfeed each of my 5 children exclusively for at least 6 months, and continued to breastfeed past a year. Some of my babies have had the occasional formula feeding (from a well-meaning grandma) and have had horrible tummy problems afterward. My youngest took a few weeks to fully recover after having formula for just one feeding. I know of many other babies who have formula and don't have any problems with it, so my kids may just be extra sensitive compared to other babies. I also pump to have a bottle of breastmilk available in the fridge in case I need to step out without the baby for a few hours. I introduce the bottle at about 3 weeks old and give one bottle of breastmilk per day to get the baby used to taking the bottle. That helps alleviate the need to breastfeed at every feeding and gives me a little more flexibility.

My sister has really struggled with her milk supply. She has had to supplement with formula to make sure her babies got enough to grow, but she continues to pump at each formula feeding, to try to boost her breastmilk supply. She only turns to formula when her milk supply is not enough to satisfy the baby, and she pumps to get it back up. She's found that things like stress and dehydration have really impacted her milk supply, so she has to pay close attention to those factors in her life so she can produce enough milk to breastfeed exclusively. It's taken a lot of work on her part, but she has really benefitted from it and her babies have thrived.

I think each mom needs to find the right balance for her. I think if you're able to produce enough breastmilk for your baby then exclusive breastfeeding is the best way to go.
Thank you :)
I've been exclusively breastfeeding my daughter for almost 12 months now. She has had one bottle of breastmilk when she was 3 weeks old and she got such a bad tummy ache I vowed to never give her one again no matter how hard it was. And the journey hasn't been entirely easy. I had sore, cracked nipples for the first 4 weeks and even to this day I still nurse every 2-3 hours at night. I just know the sacrifices that I'm making for my baby are the best for her and I. I am proud that I've stuck with it this long and will continue as long as she needs my milk. I beleive that every mother has to make an informed decision that they feel good about when it comes to their baby. There is no right or wrong when you have been educated and you know what you're choosing is best for your child.
I think that exclusively breastfeeding is most definitely the optimal choice, if it is possible, and better for mom and baby. If pumping and feeding in a bottle is an option, that would be next best. If formula is needed (as is can be for some), I would highly recommend not doing soy, stick with organic if possible, and if the baby is affected by dairy allergy (which is more and more common these days) an alternative such as donor breastmilk (from a mom with a dairy-free diet), homeade formula (using goatsmilk is a popular one) or Neocate might be necessary.

Hope this helps!
Exclusively breastfeeding is best in my opinion, and then giving bottles of expressed milk is second followed by formula supplementing. Supplementing formula can have hurt your supply and if done too much some babies start to refuse the breast because the bottle is easier to get milk out of. I have seen formula/bottles ruin or severely damage a lot of breastfeeding relationships. That being said if you are doing it because you are not producing enough and your baby needs food, of course you should supplement.
I agree that breast is best. I feel for moms whose milk supply isnt sufficient, but there is usually an underlying reason for that...whether mom is not resting enough (off feet and napping with baby) to dehydration and nutrition deficiency. There are many natural things you can supplement with to help increase your milk supply until the underlying problem gets fixed. We are made to feed our babies and with that foundational understanding, we can nourish them at the breast and provide all their nutritional needs for minimally the first 6 months. Everything else has the potential to hinder the baby's delicate balance of gut flora....the very balance their underdeveloped immune systems need (80% of our immune systems are in our gut and that is not fully developed until age 2-3). Without breastmilk and especially with commercialized formula powders, the gut flora of a formula-fed child resembles that of an older child which means it is forced, prematurely, to digest things the gut is not ready to digest.

I agree with the homemade, organic formulas as Jen suggested. There is a great recipe in the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.
I am grateful to have had an extremely successful breastfeeding relationship with my daughter for 13 months (and going strong!). Watching her grow and absolutely thrive has shown me that we're doing the right thing.

I personally believe breast is best. I think the sole purpose of a breast is to feed a child. The body is such a miraculously designed instrument - one that we're far from understanding. Our children receive from our breasts not just the foods we eat, but so much more.

Breast milk has proven to contain healing properties including "anti-bacterial," (fighting off infection) and I've heard breastfed babies have stronger immune systems.

I so feel for women who have a hard time breastfeeding. It must be absolute torture. Heartbreaking.

I would advise a breast milk bank before formula if possible. And then if formula is the only option due to complications, I would say absolutely go for something as wholesome and organic.
Just about all of it the same. IMO if you start supplementing early on and do it failr often, your breastfeeding realtionship won't last very long or as long as it could have. I returned to work when Cohen was 6 weeks and pumping was a pain but i did it. i pumped for work for a year and continued to nurse him for almost 2.5 years when he self weaned. However, IF i couldn't pump much for work i would still breastfeed at home if that's how it went for me.
Exclusively breastfeeding is always best. There are cases where supplementation with infant formula is absolutely necessary for the sake of the baby and to save the long term breastfeeding relationship. Of course we all know that mother’s own milk and donor’s milk are preferred over formula, unfortunately, the price of donor milk can be prohibitive for long term supplementation. Educated and informed decisions are always the way to go; that’s what “empowering” means. If the parents have done their homework and know about the risks of formula feeding, but exclusive breastfeeding is not an option (which is not uncommon nowadays in this world, where both parents have to work outside the home, non breastfeeding friendly corporations, the lack of breastfeeding legislation in some states, pressure and lack of support from coworkers and so called friends, not to mention family members) they have done their best..kudos to them.

If a family is considering breastfeeding and using formula because they don't know the risks of formula feeding, the mother has a health condition, fears about breastfeeding being painful, family pressure, etc., I would encourage the couple to educate themselves prenatally so they can make a well informed decision. Things such as attending a breastfeeding class, (make sure it covers the baby behavior and the early days), remembering that a baby isn’t always hungry because he cries, and/or by contacting a lactation consultant who can assess their unique situation and identify red flags for possible breastfeeding problems. It doesn't have to be an LC in private practice; there are many organizations up there that offer free breastfeeding help such as WIC, free clinics, etc. However, when looking, make sure she has the IBCLC credential. Anticipatory guidance is key and has to be done prenatally.

If I were to supplement my child with infant formula, I would use the ready to feed kind since the powered formulas are not sterile. I also would love to share an article published in the New York Times regarding organic formula.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/19/us/19formula.html?_r=2&sq=org...

Saray
www.mothersutopia.org
Thank you, Saray and everyone!

I am personally going on my 24th month of breastfeeding my daughter Bella, but have raised this question due to the fact that I am observing a lot of guilt and judgement of mothers on both sides. As a health practitioner and baby planning consultant, i was curious to get your prespective, as I had a few clients contact me who were feeling guilty and disappointed that they did not live up to their expectations of breastfeeding. Like all of you, my goal is to educate and support my clients, but not impose my way or experience on them. I am there to be fully supportive without expectations of a particular outcome. It makes me so happy that everyone here is objective and supportive when breastfeeding become a great challenge for some new moms :)

Thanks again!
Warmly,
Mary

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