I never imagined that I would be that exclusive-breastfeeding mom, for as long as I was, but I was – for 10 whole months with my daughter! If you’re able to do it, breastfeed as long as you can – it really is the best nourishment you can give your baby (especially when you yourself are eating healthy as well). Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely not for everyone! And, by no means do I judge anyone who formula-feeds their baby. I know first hand how difficult and straight-up painful the first several weeks are. The first time around, it was actually painful for almost 6 weeks – yes, 6 agonizing weeks! And, the second time around with my son, was actually worse because I developed mastitis…three times within the first 3 weeks! But, if you can power through the pain (and in my case, the infection) it really is pretty magical (and easy once you get the hang of it)! I was very fortunate that I was able to breastfeed my daughter for as long as I did. She actually received breastmilk until she was 14 months old – when my doctor advised me to wean her because I was pregnant with my son!
My daughter was about 9 months old when my milk supply began to significantly dwindle. I just wasn’t producing enough to keep up with the necessary amount of breastmilk to fill her last bottle each night*. We actually completely went through my fully-stocked-freezer supply! So, it was time to introduce formula. If you’ve been through it, you know that this transition can be very difficult on mama! I remember feeling extremely guilty that I was no longer able to produce what she needed. So, the search for the right infant formula began! Sadly, who knew you actually need to search for a safe baby formula!? It’s true! I was horrified to learn about all the “nasty” ingredients (i.e. GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics, sugar, corn syrup, soy, preservatives, etc.) found in so many of the ever-so-popular US mass-marketed infant formulas out there!
As if the guilt wasn’t enough, I started feeling anxious and completely overwhelmed about having to add formula into my daughter’s diet. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon Gimme The Good Stuff, that I finally gained some relief and hope! Maia, at Gimme The Good Stuff, does an excellent job and laying out the good, the bad, and the sneaky stuff in just about every product category a conscious mom could hope for! Obviously, my search started with safe formula.
After reading up on and researching Maia’s recommendations on infant formula, I narrowed my favorites down to two European brands – Holle and Hipp. We decided to go with Hipp’s Follow-On formula. The main reason being that the Follow On milk didn’t appear to have the aluminum issues/fears that some of their other formulas had. However, if we needed infant formula when she was younger, we most likely would’ve gone with Holle.
If you too decide to try Holle or Hipp, you’ll quickly discover how difficult (and expensive) it is to find! Luckily, sites like Little World Organics and Munchin Organics exist! We ordered our formula from Lacey at Little World Organics. She is absolutely wonderful, knowledgeable and so incredibly helpful! I definitely recommend ordering through her. However, please note that inventory is limited, so order early!
Fortunately, for me (both emotionally and financially) I did not have to quit breastfeeding cold-turkey. I was actually able to continue breastfeeding and only supplement with formula once a day, where I mixed ½ breastmilk + ½ Hipp infant formula. I was a little worried that she’d notice the difference and start refusing her last bottle. To my surprise, she didn’t seem to notice a difference! And drank it all right up!
I just hope, my milk supply continues to hold up for my 3 month old son! However, if it doesn’t, it will be sad, but it’s comforting to know that there actually is safe infant formula out there to lessen blow. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? I sure think so!
*we fed our daughter a bottle of breastmilk every night since the time she was breastfeeding well (about 2 weeks old), for 2 reasons:
- To ensure she got enough milk during her last feeding before bed. She would cluster feed at night and I barely produced just enough for her as it was, so I pretty much ran out of milk before she went to bed!
- To ensure that she wasn’t solely dependent on me! Let’s be honest, mama need an occasional break from nursing, and making sure your baby tolerates a bottle well makes that break (and glass of wine) possible!