Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Research...Decisions....More Research...Leaves Me Feeling Like a Failure

In two weeks, I will begin little Dylan on formula. It will act a supplement and allow me to quick dragging a pump with me every where I go. While I will continue to feed the little guy in the mornings, evenings, and middle of the night (ugh), daytime feedings will change.

When I started Ethan on formula, it was because he wasn't gaining well. He was five months old and had essentially stopped growing. I felt awful that I couldn't provide for my child as I intended, but I didn't question the formula I planned to give him: Enfamil. I later changed to a Member's Mark brand that mimicked Enfamil and a much lower price point. I felt I was giving him a good product. But I felt a lot of things back then that I just don't feel now.

In the four years since Ethan joined our lives, I have changed so much. I am so much more conscious of what I provide to my family. I think of the safety of what they ingest and how best I can ensure they're getting the things they need and avoiding the things they don't. (that isn't to say I'm perfect at it; Ethan has had McDonald's and will eat Halloween candy despite all the GMO crap that's in it).

With Ethan, I wanted to make sure he didn't have any type of sugary snack until he was two. I caught a lot of flack over it, but I stuck to it and I'm glad I did. I will do the same with Dylan. But these days, I'm so aware of the negative effects of things like sodium nitrite and GMO foods and pesticides. While I can't buy everything organic (or I would), I stick with the Dirty Dozen. And I try to limit processed foods.

So this time around, the idea of formula isn't cut and dry. I'm not saying, "I'll go with Enfamil." Partly because I intend to feed Dylan NOTHING but organic foods for as long as possible. But when I look for an organic formula, things get complicated.

Earth's Best seems like a good choice, only there's the whole ARA/DHA debate raging. Apparently, there's only ONE company that does not add ARA/DHA to their formula and the rest use a chemical called Hexane to extract the oils. Sound organic to you?

So why not go with the one NOT using it?

Baby's Only is the only formula that does not add these oils. However, they are meant for a toddler. While many will say that they say the formula is meant for a toddler, they do so only to promote breastfeeding for the first year of life. Others will say it's because they haven't gone through the process of being approved as an "infant" formula. Then you have the whole "ingredient" debate.

Earth's Best starts with Whey Oil and contains lactose. Baby's Only starts with brown rice syrup that has gone through rigorous refining to eliminate the toxic levels of arsenic found in brown rice. But no lactose. Some will say baby shouldn't have the lactose. Others will say lactose is in breast milk.

Then you have the "make your own" debate using goat's milk. Don't even get me started on how back and forth that can get! Some swear by it; others swear it gave their babies health issues. And really, at the end of the day, why is goat's milk any better? It's still NOT meant for humans, right?

The list could go on and on. It leaves a mother that wants to do what's best for her children a little more than disheartened. It makes me wish I could be that mom that says, "if it was good enough for me, then it's good enough for them." But I'm not that mom, so I'm trapped in this psycho-sphere of valid/invalid information. And my pediatrician recommends Earth's Best. But what about the HEXANE?

So as my head continues to spin, I begin to feel like I'm purposely choosing to be a failure. Why? Because there's nothing wrong with my breastfeeding relationship. I'm producing enough milk to sustain Dylan's growth. Why wouldn't I continue?

To sustain that amount, I have to pump AT LEAST three times a day. That's 20 minutes each time. That over an hour. I get to work a half hour late and leave a half hour early. Oh, and I'm supposed to work out in between there somewhere so I can eventually fit back into my pants BEFORE it turns bitter cold outside. Top it with the icky feeling I get EVERY SINGLE TIME I PUMP, and you can see why I would want to give it up.

But what about sacrificing for your child? Is it not enough that I'm going to continue nursing until we are both done with the nursing relationship? Do I have to be Super-Mom? But some mothers would give anything to have the kind of breastfeeding relationship and supply that I have, so am I just being selfish to give it up for my own sake?

You see what I'm dealing with? I'm turning into an insane person. I should be THRILLED that I've made it to 6 months with a 100% exclusively breast fed baby. I have given Dylan the VERY best start to life that I could. Is it so awful to want to ease up? I mean, I'm sleep-deprived, nutrient -depleted, no-longer-a-human shell. Can I get a little of myself back? Some mothers would say, "NO. Your sole purpose is to give to your child." Others would say, "You're a saint for making it this long."

Ultimately, I have to make the decision. And ultimately, I've already cut back to two pumpings a day. And really, there's a small (giant) part of me that hopes that when he starts getting formula, he'll give up at least one night feeding. *sigh*


  1. I never made I was never given the chance to breastfeed Bree. In the hospital, they had her on Enfamil. At home, I bought Similac.

    Knowing what I know now though? I probably would have bought some type of organic formuala, but Similac was already expensive enough at the 25 dollars a week. I would just go with my gut...God gave us those instincts for a reason.

  2. So many decisions to make. Which I could help you. ((HUGS))