Sunday, November 7, 2010


Since Thursday I've applied some hindsight to Sprout's behaviour in the past few weeks. I have realized that there were some signs he may not have needed the top-up every time:

  • He stopped opening his mouth & taking the bottle eagerly.
  • When he didn't seem that interested, we'd persist at trying to feed him a bottle then he'd eventually take it after a few minutes.
  • Sometimes he'd even push the nipple out with his tongue when we tried to get it in there & just refuse entirely. (I initially thought this was because the bottles were room temperature & he wanted it heated up)
  • The day that we drove to Kelowna to visit Oma & Opa he refused the bottle completely--no matter what temperature it was--four out of six feedings . 
  • He started spitting up more after every meal.
  • He started to go four or even five hours between feedings during the day.
  • He gradually took less & less during his 'first breakfast', to the point that we stopped even bothering with a top-up.
  • The average amount of supplement he was taking was gradually declining over the past few weeks (yes, I graphed it)

It's a bit difficult to shift my mindset to one of believing that I really can feed him all by myself, with no extra formula. Since the first week that we had to start supplementing with formula or donor milk, I have been on an emotional roller coaster. Some days I would be hopeful that we'd eventually get off the formula & I could breastfeed exclusively. The next day I'd feel inadequate, depressed & sure that my breasts would disappoint me. I tried not to dwell on what I'd done wrong those first two weeks before we knew he wasn't getting enough, but it was hard not to blame myself. I couldn't see any progress most of the time & every small change would send me into a great mood or an emotional tailspin. My breasts leaked: yay! More milk! They didn't feel full before a feeding: no! Less milk! Sprout didn't want his top-up: yay! More milk! He drank four ounces of top-up at the next feeding: no! Less milk!

So with all that in mind, plus Dr. Lin's 'blessing', we are no longer offering his bottle of formula every time without fail. Thursday after the appointment, Linnaeus only wanted a top-up two out of four feedings. Friday he only had one bottle. Saturday he took a top-up once again, but only drank half of the two ounces we offered. He's feeding a bit more often during the day, but still sleeping fairly well at night. I no longer have 2-3 hours between feedings to do things or go places, but I couldn't be happier that this seems to be working so far.

The other change to our 'plan' is that I've cut my Domperidone dosage in half. There is a little niggling worry in the back of my mind that my milk supply is only due to the medication & I may not be able to make sufficient milk without it. Of all the drugs to become dependent on... Sheesh! But I'm trying to think positively, drink lots of water & Lactation Tea & get enough rest to help make more milk.

I've read that supplementing with formula has a detrimental effect on milk supply & eventually leads to weaning off the breast early. Now I think I understand completely why that is. If you constantly offer formula after every feeding, it's exhausting & sets the baby up to eat less frequently. Less frequent breastfeeding means your body will decrease milk production accordingly & you'll keep having to feed as much, if not more formula. I imagine that losing faith in your body's ability to produce enough to feed your child must also negatively affect milk production. After struggling with breastfeeding, bottle feeding then pumping for weeks or months, I'm not surprised that women decide to just bottle feed formula for their own sanity. AND a lot of women have doctors or family or friends who probably don't support breastfeeding as much as they should.

Breastfeeding this little boy is one of the hardest things I've had to deal with in my life. Not the hardest, but it's up there. If my months of struggle are rewarded & I never again have to give my money to Nestle for baby formula, I will be incredibly happy.


  1. I totally can relate 100% to your emotional roller coaster. I try and remind myself that some breast milk is still better than no breast milk, and I soldier on. I have been topping up more the past few days b/c Sophia is going down percentile curves on the growth chart (weight for age). So even when she's not whining for it, I offer the bottle. We'll see if she gains a little bit more weight this week.

  2. Aargh, the percentiles... I haven't added Sprout's latest weight to his chart. It's great to have so many resources available to us & to keep on top of our children's progress, but sometimes I think it would be better to do things the way it used to be: babies didn't get weighed after birth until they were a month old or more. I don't think they got weighed anywhere near as often after that either.

    All the charts & information just make us worry more, sometimes...


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