This post is part of a series of posts from bloggers with babies who have breastfed. In honor of my journey of breastfeeding ending with my son, I asked five different bloggers to share their breastfeeding stories with us all. This post is part of my breastfeeding experience. My hopes with this series is to share the differences in each woman’s experience. I also want to highlight the fact that not one of these mothers did the same thing in their breastfeeding journey and that all of their babies are beautiful and healthy. Moms— Do the best you can do for you and your child. That is what counts! Check out the other posts from this series and the “More Milk Naturally” ebook giveaway!
Don’t eat that!
The Middle of My Breastfeeding Experience:
Back to Work, Formula, and Solid Foods
The Breastfeeding Journey of Jenni Bost & Baby X
(I’m splitting my story up into parts because I am awfully long-winded.)
4. Did you solely breast feed? Supplement with formula or solid food?
One night when my son was about 2 months old I remember waking up to his cries and a smelly, wet shirt. I changed my shirt and went to feed my son. After feeding him and holding him while he fell back asleep, he suddenly woke and ejected everything that I fed him. I sat and cried as he cried. I cried about the wasted milk. I cried about the lack of sleep. I cried about my son’s pain. And, I cried because I needed to find a clean shirt, once again. I remember thinking then that it would be SO much easier to just heat up a bottle of formula. Everyone suggested I add cereal to my son’s bottle so he’d fill up more and sleep better at night. I thought very hard about it every night when he’d wake like clockwork every 45 minutes.
I abstained from feeding him anything but breast milk for the first 4 months of his life. I really, really wanted breastfeeding to work. But, when I went back to work (as a bartender in a restaurant), I had a lot of trouble pumping enough milk for my son to eat. I did fine for a while because I had stocked up a bunch of milk in the freezer. But, after a while my husband and I decided to do formula on the two nights of the week that I worked.
So, each week my son would drink 4 bottles of formula mixed with breast milk. It helped us extend the life of my dwindling milk supply. Had I not had to pump in the car in front of my restaurant or had a leisurely time to pump…maybe it had been different. But, adding formula to our routine worked for us and kept everyone from being stressed out.
X liked formula just fine. But, he always preferred me. We continued this until he weaned. He was never strictly one or the other since we introduced formula. (Oh, and, we used Soy formula because my son had an intolerance to dairy.)
OH, and we totally tried the cereal in the milk thing and it completely failed for us. Of course, kid still wakes up 3 times a night hungry. Doctor said it is most likely due to the fact that he is growing super fast and needs the extra calories. Who knows!
TIPS for Working Mothers:
1. PUMP like crazy before going back to work to stock up on your milk.
2. Buy a GOOD pump. My first pump broke after 5 weeks. So, there I was with engorged breasts and no way to pump it out. Pumping with your hand hurts, a lot. I bought a Medela Manual Pump and it was heads and shoulders better than my original electric pump. If I had a better pump things might have turned out differently.
3. Make sure you have the time to pump, a comfortable place to pump, and food and water with you. This was the most difficult part for me with my workplace. Working in a restaurant meant that there were not any places that I could pump on the premises other than the only employee restroom. I had the choice of pumping in my car or hearing people knock on the door nearly the entire time I was trying to pump. They gave me as much time to pump as they could, but eating and pumping couldn’t happen in that amount of time.
5. At what age did you introduce solids? Any tips you can give mommies?
Solids…. the rule of thumb is 6 months. There are several good reasons to stick with this. We didn’t. Our son started making all of the classic “signs” that he was ready for solid food. He was also hungry ALL the time. X got his first solid foods around 5 months.
We first started him with a bowl of whole wheat rice cereal. He had two bowls of this before meeting with his doctor. She suggested that we throw the rice cereal out the window and go straight to vegetables. At her suggestion we went through the green vegetables first (no spinach) and then went to the orange veggies. We introduced each new vegetable for three or four days before introducing anything new. We waited until we got through several vegetables before trying fruit because we didn’t want him getting used to the sweetness of the fruit.
Some important things I found out about solids:
Look for signs that your babe is ready for solids–don’t push solids on them early! X was sitting up by himself, able to pick things up with his finger and thumb, had teeth (not a necessity, but a bonus), and mimicked my husband and I as we were eating. He wanted what we had!
Skip the cereal. (I’m not a doctor, please check with your doctor before doing any of this!) Our pediatrician made a good point when discussing the cereal. She said, “We live in a carb-addicted world that is overweight and suffering from weight-related diseases. We wonder why… but, we start our children on carb loaded foods instead of healthier foods!” We took her advice and X had no problem digesting his food.
Don’t worry about getting certain nutrients–yet. If you are breastfeeding (or doing formula) then your child is getting the essential nutrients they need. Use this time to introduce your child to a variety of different (approved) foods and watch for allergic reactions.
Be prepared for the poo to change. It is gross. Just sayin’.
Did you use formula with your child? If so, how did it go?
What did you learn about introducing solids to your baby?
Check back tomorrow for part three of my breastfeeding experience. Thank you for reading!