Deciding how to feed your baby is a personal decision, and there are many reasons parents choose what they do. Some breastfeed, some use formula, and some do a combination of both. I fall into that final category – moms who have done both.
I’ve talked about my breastfeeding journey with Ella before, and for the most part, it has been a great experience. When she was born and latched on right away, I knew we were on the right track. After we got over the initial humps of establishing a good supply and the pain of early nursing, things were easy. I spent my entire maternity leave exclusively nursing and starting to build up a stash of breastmilk for when I went back to work.
I knew from experience that going back to work would be a challenge for me. My supply dwindled with my oldest when I went back to work, but this time? I was ready. I had a different pump, lots of support, and plenty of time and space to pump. I went back to work in February and dutifully pumped 3-4 times a day until last month, when I made the decision to stop. After 7 months of pumping, my milk supply could no longer keep up. With Ella 10 months old, I knew I wouldn’t have enough breastmilk stored to make it to one year and I’d have to introduce formula.
There isn’t a ton of information out there about introducing a breastfed baby to formula. What is out there ranges from giving them only formula in a bottle, to mixing formula with breast milk, to having someone else give the bottle. It’s all based on personal experience and whatever will get your baby to drink formula – after all, it definitely tastes different from breast milk!
We looked at different formulas but eventually landed on using Happy Baby Stage 2 Organic Infant Formula. I liked that it is modeled after breast milk, but also that it’s targeted for older infants and their changing needs. I love that it contains prebiotics (which I take myself) and uses premium organic ingredients. If I’m going to supplement, I want to give Ella the best choice I can, and I am so glad Happy Baby gives me the chance to do that.
So how did we introduce formula to Ella? We went with the mixing method. We started transitioning her when we still had about 60 ounces of breast milk in the freezer so we would have plenty of wiggle room. She typically takes a 5-ounce bottle, so the first bottles had 4 ounces of breast milk to 1 ounce of formula. We slowly upped the amount of formula after a few days, and as of this week, she’s completely on formula while I’m at work with no issues. Since we took it slow, it has thankfully been an easy tranistion.
So am I still nursing? Yes! Ella has had no problem going from breast to bottle, so I am still continuing to nurse her in the morning and at night. I am so thankful that I’ve gotten to keep that part of our routine, and I still have enough milk for those two nursing sessions a day.
Most of all, I’m thankful that formula exists, and that using Happy Baby Stage 2 Organic Infant Formula is helping my girl grow. Without it, I wouldn’t have a successful breastfeeding journey.
Because, yes, a successful breastfeeding journey CAN include formula.