Archives for posts with tag: homemade formula

Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 8.40.24 PMMany moons (and sleepless nights) ago, I wrote a post about my battle with breastfeeding. After five-and-a-half months, I had to completely stop. When the breastfeeding issues peaked, I began to research how to make my own formula. It was a devastating decision at the time, but looking back now, it was definitely the right one for our family.  With the permission of my pediatrician, and under the guidance of my trusted clinical nutritionist, we found an excellent recipe that has since proven to be a complete success.

Now at a year old, I see that my son, Beckett, didn’t just “get by” on his formula, he thrived. Beckett is in the twenty-fifth percentile for weight and ninetieth for height, which is pretty much where he has been since his first four months of life when he was exclusively breastfed. He loves and eats all foods and is allergy-free. He has never been to the doctor for illness. Beckett is strong, active, happy, and everything I hoped he would be despite the switch to the homemade formula early on.

When Beckett reached the one year mark, he seamlessly transitioned from drinking his formula to plain, raw goat milk. I still use the leftover ingredients from the formula recipe for his late morning smoothie so I know he’s still getting the benefits of all the wonderful nutrients that went in each and every bottle. He drinks his milk from a sippy cup and it was very easy to get him off his beloved bottle. The transition was far easier than I imagined! His body has adjusted perfectly.

Before becoming a new mom, I never considered the possibility I’d have issues with breastfeeding. I imagined this perfect little dance between mom and baby with both sides enjoying the benefits and the bond. When it wasn’t going my way, I became a total emotional mess and was convinced that Beckett was going to suffer tremendously because of it. I am sure he experienced my stress and anxiety during that time. It really was a battle in our house with this lady putting far too much pressure on herself to try to make it work. And when it was no longer under my control, I researched an alternative that seemed to be the best choice for our situation.

If you find yourself in a similar boat, please be kind to yourself and know that there are excellent alternatives besides commercial formula, if that doesn’t feel like the best option for you. You aren’t a terrible mother for supplementing or not breastfeeding if you’ve done your best (as I am sure you have – don’t we all try to do what’s best for our kids?) There are great ways to supplement or feed your baby what I believe to be the next best thing to mother’s milk. Having said that, I am in no way suggesting you don’t breastfeed. Breast milk from a healthy mother is definitely the best option. I still would have chosen that path if things had been different, and should I have another child, I hope to breastfeed exclusively for a far longer period of time! Even with all of the many problems I faced while breastfeeding, I really loved it.

In addition to my homemade formula recipe, the Weston A. Price Foundation has created a few other excellent recipes: a similar goat milk recipe to mine, a raw cow’s milk recipe and a lactose-free liver based one for babies that can’t tolerate dairy. I’m not going to lie – it wasn’t an inexpensive choice to make my own formula, but neither is buying the canned stuff! Planning and thinking ahead was an important part of making my own formula.  I traveled with my formula pre-made and frozen in a bag on one trip, and on another trip I made it fresh by packing all of the ingredients so I could whip up a fresh batch once I got to my destination. I treated it just like breast milk as it consisted of many raw ingredients; it never went through x-rays at the airport, never sat out for more than a few hours and I never froze it for more than a couple of months. Like anything with babies, it just meant a little more preparation. It really was easy and quick to make and there was never any resentment on my part. I can proudly say that making my own formula was a process I loved and enjoyed and I hope you have a similar experience, no matter how you choose to feed your baby!

Excellent Resources for Formula feeding (commercial and homemade) and Breastfeeding:

More questions answered on my specific recipe (slightly altered from the Weston Price one) on Organic Thrifty’s Site

FAQs on homemade formula recipes on Weston Price Foundation Site

How-to video for making the same formula recipe that I used

Wonderful Yahoo Group, WAP Healthy Babies, for information and support on making homemade formula with like-minded parents

Fantastic formula feeding support site

Great article for those of you that formula feed and have any feelings of guilt or shame about it (Thanks for this one, Hillary!)

Information on raw milk versus pasteurized

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Written by Lana House

Studio Owner, House Pilates

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Before giving birth to Beckett, every parent had told me that the first weeks of your new baby’s life are the most challenging. Though that was definitely a very difficult time, the next weeks that followed were also quite challenging with one thing being the constant – more struggles with breastfeeding.

At ten weeks post partum my breastfeeding experience took an unexpected turn. As you may have read in my last post, breastfeeding began with many different obstacles for me to overcome. The latest one came when I had the joy of discovering my period had returned less than three months after giving birth. I knew it was a possibility that you could get your period even when exclusively breastfeeding but never in a million years did I expect to get it that quickly after having a baby. If you know me and have read my previous post, From No Period to Pregnant,  you may think it is a bit ironic that I would be one of the few to get my period back so early after having had such challenges getting it regularly not that many years ago. And so alas, the lovely red witch decided to make her grand re-entrance into my life at Beckett’s young age of ten weeks. And boy did she produce all kinds of new problems for my life as a breastfeeding mommy.

When I got my period back, my milk supply almost disappeared completely. It had been going down for the week prior (which apparently happens to those who get their period while breastfeeding) and I wasn’t really aware of it. I didn’t realize Beckett wasn’t getting enough milk until I figured out that he was dehydrated. I noticed he looked thinner so I took him to the doctor and sure enough he had lost almost half a pound. I stressed out and my milk supply was affected even further to the point that I had basically no milk left to feed him. Luckily I had stashed a ton away in my deep freezer when he was first born so I was able to supplement with frozen milk while I worked diligently to get my milk supply back up. The first step I took was to call back my favorite “Boobie Mobile”, My Nursing Coach. Linda, the lactation consultant, recommended I take a medication called, Domperidone, to help get my supply back up. DP is a medication meant for gastrointestinal issues and happens to have the side effect that it stimulates prolactin (milk production) and can increase a nursing mother’s milk supply.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I have always tried to do things the natural way and not the medical way. In my moment of desperation, I began taking Domperidone without a moment’s hesitation. Beckett was still so young and the thought of no longer breastfeeding was devastating. So I started taking the medication immediately and within a couple of days, my supply was back to where it had been before. I was so excited to be able to share this special bond again and yet in the back of my mind a bit concerned about what this medication might do to me over time. I had done a ton of research and with the exception of minor side effects while on it, I learned there have been no long-term effects on the mother; less than .01% of it makes its way into the milk, making it also safe for Baby as well.

Just before Beckett’s four month birthday I was at a crossroads; I needed to decide whether to re-order more medication or try to get off of it and see if I could still produce naturally as I had done so abundantly at the beginning of Beckett’s life. I decided to try and get off of it by slowly cutting back on the dosage. In a matter of days I realized that the only way to keep my supply up at this point would be to continue on DP as my body had become dependent on it. I had an incredible amount of anxiety during this time and wasn’t sleeping well. I was still concerned about the unknown affects it may have on Beckett despite what I had researched since I hadn’t discussed it with his pediatrician before taking it.

Luckily, when I visited the pediatrician that week she gave me her blessing to stay on it and wrote me a prescription. I was an emotional mess in her office that day as I had been having a terrible week of getting Beckett to nurse (he had fallen in love with the bottle when I had to supplement back at ten weeks) and was also having extreme difficulty with getting the milk out with the pump. I told her I had been dealing with a ton of anxiety and mood swings, which we both just figured was due to hormones and the stress of whether or not to continue on the medication.

When the pediatrician returned with my prescription, she mentioned that Domperidone could cause anxiety and/or depression; something NOBODY else had mentioned to me between the lactation consultant and other women that had been on it. My nutritionist and wonderful friend, Debra Delson, further investigated the medication when I mentioned that I was on it and was able to tell me more about what can happen on the drug. I was having major letdown issues (when the milk takes a long time to come out) so much so that Beckett was losing patience and it was constantly a battle with him to breastfeed. I was having difficulty sleeping and was moody and anxious. I dealt with minor stomachaches. I would become engorged and not be able to pump the milk out – all things caused by the medication.

Upon learning this I decided that in order to be the best mom I could be for Beckett, I needed to take care of me as well. It was a heartbreaking decision but I decided staying on the medication wasn’t the right thing to do and would have to give up breastfeeding. I needed to stay true to who I am and what I always preach on House of Health…you are the only person that stays with you for your entire life so you must first take care of YOU and then others!

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the milk didn’t entirely disappear upon quitting breastfeeding. I managed to continue pumping and giving Beckett a decent amount of milk until this past week when I got my period again and the milk supply almost completely diminished. It has been a sad week of packing up my breastfeeding supplies but I keep reminding myself to look at the positive – he had a great start to life with over five months of breast milk and I did the best I could.

There is a lot of pressure on women to breastfeed today. It is wonderful that women are being encouraged to give this gift to their babies but the flip side to it is that it creates tons of guilt when it doesn’t go well and a mom chooses to or is forced to quit. I know women who have had no chance at breastfeeding due to breast surgery, cancer or the baby is allergic to its mother’s milk. I will be the first to admit that before Beckett, I judged women for not nursing; I felt they were robbing children of the amazing nutrition that comes with breastfeeding. I had no idea the challenge that was ahead of me and that sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

It’s amazing what we will do for our children. I was very close to continuing on a path of taking a medication that had already proven to be bad for my physical and mental health just for Beckett’s sake. Even today I sometimes still question whether or not I did the right thing by going off of DP and I ask myself where things went wrong; and then I snap back into reality and remember that I made the right decision and it wasn’t my fault! I tried everything!

As a society, and particularly as moms, we put so much pressure on ourselves to do everything perfectly. Whether you are a parent or not, I hope in reading this you will be kind to yourself about whatever thing that hasn’t gone exactly as planned for you. I had the pregnancy of my dreams, the delivery of my dreams and have a perfect, health, happy baby. Just being able to have a baby at all is such a gift! I’d say I am three for three so it’s time to move forward and focus on taking care of me so I can take care of Beckett.

I am happy to report that I have been making Beckett a homemade formula for the past several weeks. I decided that since quitting breastfeeding freed up some time I wanted to give him what I found to be the next best thing: fresh goat milk based formula. I will post the recipe for those interested in my next post and tell you more about it (and promise it won’t take me as long to post again! Been busy battling breastfeeding 😉 ).

I hope that whatever happens in your life that doesn’t go according to plan, you can find peace within yourself and enjoy the new plan that unfolds. And that you take a second to check yourself before you judge others on their choices because as clichéd as it sounds, you just can’t truly understand another person’s path without walking in their shoes.