I was so proud that I never had to give Dominic formula. Probably too proud, because it came back and bit me in the a**. It’s not that I think formula is bad, it’s just that it felt like a real accomplishment to go 11+ months of strictly breastfeeding (and solids, of course).
I had to give up on the hope of doing the same for Baby Z. Like I said in my last post, he just wasn’t gaining weight. At 6 weeks old, he was only about 8 oz over birth weight (note that he lost almost 1 lb while we were in the hospital, just over the “acceptable” amount). So, last week, I tearily agreed with my pediatrician that it was time to supplement with formula. I just didn’t want my little boy to be hungry.
But I was terrified. Nic weaned himself the moment I introduced whole milk, and my mom has always said that I weaned myself when she introduced formula. I wasn’t ready to let go of nursing, and fortunately, I haven’t had to. The plan was to give Baby Z 0.5-1 oz of formula after each breast milk feeding. He gobbled that up and I end up giving him 2 oz after each feeding. I felt good about this plan because we weren’t replacing breastfeeding with formula, we were just giving him a little extra to eat.
It worked. From Friday to Monday, he gained 8.5 oz! I think that’s got to be a record for baby weight gain! I was so so so relieved, and it felt good that I had made the right decision to supplement.
I do want to make it clear that I haven’t given up on breastfeeding. In fact, I’m trying harder than ever. I’m pumping multiple times a day (to stimulate production and allow me to supplement with my own milk), even if that means pumping at 2:30 am. And I’m making sure each breastfeeding really counts. I realized that I was trying to feed Baby Z “on the go” too much. He can’t eat every meal while I’m walking through Home Depot or sitting in the sandbox. He needs dedicated, concentrated nursing time—just me, him and the boppy on the couch. It’s been hard to make this work with Nic’s school schedule and my need to work and unpack, but I needed to make Baby Z a priority. And I feel horribly guilty that I wasn’t making him my #1 priority from the start.
With all that’s going on in our lives, a toddler, a newborn, a move and no real maternity leave, it’s been hard to balance everything. This weight gain issue has been a reality check for me and has forced me to put things on hold a bit for the sake of my baby. My sweet little man is worth the hundred or so unread emails in my inbox, he’s worth the stacks of boxes in my garage, he’s even worth telling Nic that mommy is busy right now and he can play animals by himself.
So Baby Z, mommy is making a promise to you: I will do whatever it takes to get you what you need, you deserve it.
A smile like this deserves mommy's undivided attention!