Formula discrimination and reflux babies

I honestly never thought I would be discriminated against for NOT breastfeeding. For years, I have seen articles and signs supporting breastfeeding and heard of sit-ins at stores that weren’t breastfeeding friendly so I guess I figured those mothers were the ones being discriminated against. Well, it turns out it goes both ways.
In the beginning, I pumped like crazy and the twins were fed my milk and supplemented with donor milk while at the hospital. When they came home, I still wasn’t producing quite enough so we supplemented with a small amount of formula. I pumped for around 6 weeks when we switched them to all formula because I was crazy tired trying to bottle feed two preemies my pumped breast milk while also dealing with horrible reflux. Of course with reflux, they may spit up every single mL that they drink but could I produce enough on demand to replace it immediately? Hell no. It even got to the point with their projectile “spitting up” that their pediatrician thought either they had a milk protein allergy or pyloric stenosis (where the muscle at the bottom of the stomach blocks the transfer of food to the small intestines). After putting them on a hypoallergenic formula and monitoring them constantly it was discovered it really was *just* reflux. But if I try to explain all this to singleton wielding mothers who are stay-at-home moms and exclusively breast feed I get informed that their baby will be healthier and smarter than mine and that I’m not doing my duty as a mother by giving them that nasty formula that is soooo unnatural and what do I think I’m doing sending them off to daycare while I work a full-time job? I guess good mothers don’t work at all (and by work I mean leaving the house and having a job that is paid, yes I know being a stay-at-home mom is work too).
Since when is it okay to bash someone for formula feeding? You’d think since people have worked so hard to make breastfeeding in public less taboo that they would understand a woman’s CHOICE to use formula. Yes, I know breast milk is better for babies et cetera but how was I to continue giving breast milk when I had to pump it because my babies never got the hang of breastfeeding no matter who I had helping (friends, family, lactation consultant, doctor, nor nurses could accomplish it) and they just spit up most everything anyway. Not to mention the utter and complete lack of sleep. I was pumping, then feeding, then cleaning up spit up and changing outfits, and then feeding again, and maybe again. And then pumping, and feeding, and on and on. There were times I passed out as soon as DH got home from work and he would use our meager supply of frozen breast milk to feed the babies. I honestly would get dizzy and start to black out from being so exhausted which was dangerous for my babies with me being the only one home during the day with absolutely no help and no one useful to call for help. I did do one thing that helped ease my extreme guilt of switching to formula though. While I was weaning myself off of pumping/breastfeeding, I saved all that milk to use when they are holding down feedings better. I know it won’t be tailored to their specific needs at the time but at least it will be something.
As far as the reflux goes, it is being treated with Zantac, the use of Dr. Brown’s bottles (vacuum-free feeding), being elevated while feeding, no tight clothing or tight diapers, being elevated while sleeping (in rock ‘n plays), and constantly trying to burp them and not laying them down at all (even elevated) until at least 30 minutes after a feeding. All these measures do help but we still have incidents every day. And if they cough, get hiccoughs, fart, burp, or sneeze they are at risk of exploding. Or if they are moved around too much. People tend to think I’m joking when I compare them to a can of pop that could explode if you shake it too much but I am actually serious (as people have realized when they get covered in smelly formula). Reflux is a lot of work to control and we still don’t have a handle on it. I will be ever so glad when I can say they went a day spit-up free.

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One thought on “Formula discrimination and reflux babies

  1. I think that it would do everyone good to remember that the bottom line is to make sure your baby is fed. Whether that is formula, breast milk or a combo of the two – it shouldn’t matter. Everyone comes to their own choice about their issues for different reasons – and it isn’t anyone elses business! My goal was to make it to 6 months breastfeeding..and we have had to supplement with formula since i’ve been back at work because i just can’t pump the same amount he can nurse and get. I’m almost to my 6 month goal and I still feel this “guilt” about making the switch to more formula than breast milk, and I’m like where is this coming from? It’s sucky that moms do this to each other. No one is better than anyone else. Sounds like you were going to lose your mind and health if you had to keep trying to breastfeed, I would have switched to formula as well. In the end- your babies are being fed and that is what matters most!!!

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