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Breastfeeding Moms Breastfeeding Moms

Switched to Formula and Have Some Questions!

Posted by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 8:03 AM
  • 32 Replies

My daughter is almost four weeks old, and after the doctor visit and a hospital visit, we ended up having to switch to formula. I tried breastfeeding up until now, but her little body was rejecting my milk and she was losing weight. The pediatrician first wanted to try rice cereal, but I can't pump enough to exclusively bottlefeed my milk. So, formula.

Luckily, Similac sent me formula in the mail during my pregnancy and we kept it. Thanks to a friend's recommendation, we started her on the Sensitive formula last night and immediately, no spit-up. Previously, on my milk, the spit up was CONSTANT, in excessive amounts, and full of acid. She would scream for hours because of it. Once we gave her the formula last night, she immediately calmed down and even slept through the entire night. She's taken three bottles since, and has continued to do well. So, I have two questions for you ladies:

1) Is it normal that she's a little constipated? I know her body is adjusting to new stuff, but I want to make sure it's normal and if so, if I can fix/help it. It's only been a day, so I don't expect immediate peaceful transition.

2) How do I let my breastmilk go dry without massive pain or mastitis? I was producing enough to feed her by breast, but not nearly enough by pump (believe me, I tried), so I don't have a small enough of a supply for it to have less risk of infection. I'm currently engorged, since I haven't given her milk in 24 hours. Ouch.

Please note that making the switch to formula was extremely hard for me to cope with, and involved a lot of tears and guilt, but we do believe this is the best for our little one. I tried talking about it in another forum and was told I'm not trying hard enough or really doing everything I can for my daughter, and that really stung and only made me cry even more. Formula was not in the plans, and I would genuinely appreciate real feedback instead of guilt. Thanks, all. :)

by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 8:03 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Ginnygurl97
by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 8:10 AM
2 moms liked this
I don't really have any answers for you, but screw anyone who talks shit to you! They don't know you, your daughter, your situation. You know what is best to do. Good luck mama and I hope your little princess gets feeling good real soon :-)
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mostlymaydays
by Group Mod-Stacy on Feb. 7, 2013 at 8:15 AM
1 mom liked this
It's going to be very difficult to address this in this group without wanting to dig into the root of your problem, hoping to help there with this baby or your next...



But to answer your questions, 1) yes it's expected to see constipation from formula. It's harder to digest and harder to eliminate. 2) Normally when a mom wants to wean we suggest dropping one feeding a week until you're done to avoid engorgement and mastitis. You can try to pump and then gradually eliminate pumping sessions. You can also try to help it along with crinkled cabbage leaves in your bra. You can also go on full estrogen birth control pills.
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jakesmom323
by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 8:22 AM
Yes it is normal to be constipated while on formula because breast milk is already predigested and the formula is not. To wean safely, take a slow approach and take away feedings every week. I BF at nights ad early morning and formula and frozen breast milk during the day. Eventually my stock will run out and my baby does great on formula too. This group will give you some rude advice about switching and listen to your doctor;)
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K8wizzo
by Kate on Feb. 7, 2013 at 8:33 AM

((HUGS)) I know that is such a difficult decision to make.

1.  It's normal.  There's not really a whole lot that you can do right now other than maybe consider some probiotics like culturelle kids powder.

2.  I'm going to post an article about comfort measures for mom during weaning but the MUST DO NOW thing is go pump.  I know that you can't pump a lot, but you need to relieve that pressure.  You NEED to pump or you WILL get mastitis.  I would pump each time that you feel full (might be every 3 hrs right now) and each day try to space those pumping sessions out by another 30 minutes in between them.  It's going to take some time.  Your other option would be to pump now and ask your doctor for some estrogen-containing birth control and you will be dry in a couple of days.  There is a natural tea called no more milk tea made by earth mama angel baby that works as well.  Lots of ideas in the article I'll post, but for now, PUMP.

K8wizzo
by Kate on Feb. 7, 2013 at 8:34 AM

In this case, because baby cannot feed from the breast, the slow weaning needs to be done by pump.  Any milk that you pump can be saved, frozen, and donated to babies in need.

Quoting jakesmom323:

Yes it is normal to be constipated while on formula because breast milk is already predigested and the formula is not. To wean safely, take a slow approach and take away feedings every week. I BF at nights ad early morning and formula and frozen breast milk during the day. Eventually my stock will run out and my baby does great on formula too. This group will give you some rude advice about switching and listen to your doctor;)


K8wizzo
by Kate on Feb. 7, 2013 at 8:34 AM

Comfort measures for mom during weaning

JULY 28, 2011. Posted in: HOW TO WEAN

By Kelly Bonyata, IBCLC, Becky Flora, IBCLC and Paula Yount

Physical comfort | Sadness/depression | Additional information

Physical comfort during weaning

Do not bind your breasts to help your milk “dry up.” This is an outdated practice that can cause plugged ducts, breast infection, or breast abscess.

If your breasts feel full and uncomfortable when you don’t nurse at a specific time, then express just enough milk to relieve the fullness. You can do this by pumping for a couple of minutes or hand expressing. The less milk you remove, the quicker your body will realize it doesn’t need to produce. Sometimes just taking a hot shower will do the job – anything that relieves the fullness is fine. If you are comfortable without expressing at all, that’s okay too.

Do express or pump if you get uncomfortably full. It’s not good for your body to not have any way of relieving the fullness. Pumping or hand expressing just enough milk to relieve discomfort will not prevent your milk supply from decreasing. What causes milk productionto stay the same or increase is adequate milk removal. If only a small amount of milk is removed from the breast, then milk production will decrease. In addition, expressing a little milk will relieve your discomfort and make it less likely that you’ll develop plugged ducts, a breast infection, or an abcess.

These things are commonly used to increase mom’s comfort during the weaning process:

These things are occasionally used to reduce milk supply during the weaning process:

Sadness/depression when weaning

It’s not unusual to feel tearful, sad or mildly depressed after weaning; some moms also experience mood swings. These feelings are usually short-term and should go away in a few weeks. This is caused, in part, by hormonal changes. One of the changes that occurs with weaning is a drop in prolactin levels. Prolactin, the hormone that stimulates milk production, also brings with it a feeling of well-being, calmness and relaxation. The faster the weaning process the more abrupt the shift in hormone levels, and the more likely that you will experience adverse effects. Moms who are forced to wean before they are ready (or for reasons beyond their control) and moms with a history of depression are also more likely to experience depression after weaning.

Even for mothers who feel ready for weaning and wean gradually, there may still be some sense of loss and sadness. Weaning marks the end of a physical oneness with your child, the close of a very special period in your lives. Remember that your child’s strong need for your presence continues, even if it is now expressed in other ways.

 

Additional information

Cabbage for relieving engorgement @ kellymom

Too much milk: Sage and other herbs for decreasing milk supply @ kellymom

Weaning: The Physical Part for Mom by Becky Flora, IBCLC

Weaning as a Natural Process by Brylin Highton, from Leaven, Vol. 36 No. 6, December 2000-January 2001, p. 112-114.

Weaning Video Series #3: Emotions of Mom and Nursling During Weaning from CodeNameMama.com

Depression and Weaning from the Berkeley Parents Network

Weaning and Depression Linked in Many Women by Catherine Pearson

Handouts on Depression by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC

Stuebe AM, Grewen K, Pedersen CA, Propper C, Meltzer-Brody S. Failed lactation and perinatal depression: common problems with shared neuroendocrine mechanisms? J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2012 Mar;21(3):264-72. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Trad PV. The emergence of psychopathology in a previously adaptive mother-infant dyad. Am J Psychother. 1990 Jan;44(1):95-106.

Susman VL, Katz JL. Weaning and depression: another postpartum complication. Am J Psychiatry. 1988 Apr;145(4):498-501.

K8wizzo
by Kate on Feb. 7, 2013 at 8:35 AM

Too much milk: Sage and other herbs for decreasing milk supply

AUGUST 1, 2011. Posted in: HERBS/NATURAL TREATMENTS,HOW TO WEAN,SUPPLY WORRIES

Sage

This is best used only if you are in the process of weaning, though it may also be used in extreme cases of oversupply when the usual measures are not effective. Be careful with this if you are not in the weaning process! Don’t overdo it once you’re seeing some results.

To use dried sage (Salvia officinalis) for reducing milk supply, take 1/4 teaspoon of sage 3x per day for 1-3 days. You can mix the sage in vegetable juice (for example, V-8), but it won’t mix well into other juices. You can also mix it into other foods. If you don’t like the taste of sage, try putting it into a tiny piece of sandwich and swallowing it whole – peanut butter or something else a bit sticky seems to work best for holding the sage in place. Tear off the corner of the sandwich containing the sage (it should be a very small section) and swallow it without chewing (that’s why you need a very small section).

To use sage tea for decreasing milk supply, infuse 1 tablespoon of dried sage in 1 cup of boiling water (or 20g dried sage in 50 ml boiling water). Steep for 5-15 minutes. Drink 1 cup, 2 – 6 times per day.

You can use a tincture of sage instead: 30-60 drops of tincture, 3-6 times a day.

See Sage for additional safety information for nursing moms. 

Cabbage

Green cabbage leaves can also be used topically on the breast to reduce milk supply. Again, be careful with this if you are not in the weaning process. 

Jasmine

Another effective treatment is to apply fresh, crushed jasmine flowers (Jasminum sambac) to the breasts to decrease milk flow. A study has shown this to be effective: Shrivastav P, George K, Balasubramaniam N, Jasper MP, Thomas M, Kanagasabhapathy AS. Suppression of puerperal lactation using jasmine flowers (Jasminum sambac). Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 1988 Feb;28(1):68-71. 

Other herbs

Other herbs that can decrease milk supply: Peppermint (Mentha piperita), Spearmint, Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), Chickweed, Black Walnut, stinging nettles (not nettle – that increases milk supply), Yarrow, Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum), Lemon Balm, Oregano, Periwinkle Herb (Vinca minor), Sorrel (Rumex acetosa).

Sage, peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm, oregano, and cabbage leaves can all be incorporated into a pressed oil (cold pressed or hot) to make massage oils for milk suppression.

Peppermint essential oil has been used traditionally for decreasing milk supply. Peppermint tea is a very weak form of peppermint and only large amounts (quarts) would be expected to decrease milk supply. Some women have successfully used the strong peppermint candies (for example, Altoids® Curiously Strong Peppermints) for decreasing milk supply (a few per day aren’t likely to affect supply, though).

Not herbs, but also @  …

Comfort measures for mom during weaning

Birth control pills are well known for decreasing milk supply, particularly the ones that contain estrogen.

Sudafed (a decongestant) can also decrease milk supply, particularly with regular use.

Lactation suppression

Starshine-bela
by Leah on Feb. 7, 2013 at 8:50 AM
I'm sorry, but you're right, you gotta do what is best for your little one. Good luck. Kudos to you for trying. Some breast milk is better than none at all.
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chicbananas
by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Unfortunately, I can't incorporate my milk. We (husband, doctors, I) think that she's intolerant to my milk itself. :( I just pumped out a lot because I was in a lot of pain and wanted to at least wean myself with pumping. It seems to make sense to me. I just hope she poops soon!


Quoting jakesmom323:

Yes it is normal to be constipated while on formula because breast milk is already predigested and the formula is not. To wean safely, take a slow approach and take away feedings every week. I BF at nights ad early morning and formula and frozen breast milk during the day. Eventually my stock will run out and my baby does great on formula too. This group will give you some rude advice about switching and listen to your doctor;)



chicbananas
by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Thank you for all of the information!


Quoting K8wizzo:

Comfort measures for mom during weaning

JULY 28, 2011. Posted in: HOW TO WEAN

By Kelly Bonyata, IBCLC, Becky Flora, IBCLC and Paula Yount

Physical comfort | Sadness/depression | Additional information

Physical comfort during weaning

Do not bind your breasts to help your milk “dry up.” This is an outdated practice that can cause plugged ducts, breast infection, or breast abscess.

If your breasts feel full and uncomfortable when you don’t nurse at a specific time, then express just enough milk to relieve the fullness. You can do this by pumping for a couple of minutes or hand expressing. The less milk you remove, the quicker your body will realize it doesn’t need to produce. Sometimes just taking a hot shower will do the job – anything that relieves the fullness is fine. If you are comfortable without expressing at all, that’s okay too.

Do express or pump if you get uncomfortably full. It’s not good for your body to not have any way of relieving the fullness. Pumping or hand expressing just enough milk to relieve discomfort will not prevent your milk supply from decreasing. What causes milk productionto stay the same or increase is adequate milk removal. If only a small amount of milk is removed from the breast, then milk production will decrease. In addition, expressing a little milk will relieve your discomfort and make it less likely that you’ll develop plugged ducts, a breast infection, or an abcess.

These things are commonly used to increase mom’s comfort during the weaning process:

These things are occasionally used to reduce milk supply during the weaning process:

Sadness/depression when weaning

It’s not unusual to feel tearful, sad or mildly depressed after weaning; some moms also experience mood swings. These feelings are usually short-term and should go away in a few weeks. This is caused, in part, by hormonal changes. One of the changes that occurs with weaning is a drop in prolactin levels. Prolactin, the hormone that stimulates milk production, also brings with it a feeling of well-being, calmness and relaxation. The faster the weaning process the more abrupt the shift in hormone levels, and the more likely that you will experience adverse effects. Moms who are forced to wean before they are ready (or for reasons beyond their control) and moms with a history of depression are also more likely to experience depression after weaning.

Even for mothers who feel ready for weaning and wean gradually, there may still be some sense of loss and sadness. Weaning marks the end of a physical oneness with your child, the close of a very special period in your lives. Remember that your child’s strong need for your presence continues, even if it is now expressed in other ways.


Additional information

Cabbage for relieving engorgement @ kellymom

Too much milk: Sage and other herbs for decreasing milk supply @ kellymom

Weaning: The Physical Part for Mom by Becky Flora, IBCLC

Weaning as a Natural Process by Brylin Highton, from Leaven, Vol. 36 No. 6, December 2000-January 2001, p. 112-114.

Weaning Video Series #3: Emotions of Mom and Nursling During Weaning from CodeNameMama.com

Depression and Weaning from the Berkeley Parents Network

Weaning and Depression Linked in Many Women by Catherine Pearson

Handouts on Depression by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC

Stuebe AM, Grewen K, Pedersen CA, Propper C, Meltzer-Brody S. Failed lactation and perinatal depression: common problems with shared neuroendocrine mechanisms? J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2012 Mar;21(3):264-72. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Trad PV. The emergence of psychopathology in a previously adaptive mother-infant dyad. Am J Psychother. 1990 Jan;44(1):95-106.

Susman VL, Katz JL. Weaning and depression: another postpartum complication. Am J Psychiatry. 1988 Apr;145(4):498-501.



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