Before I had children, I would have said that breastmilk is the absolute best choice for feeding a baby, and that a mom should try everything possible to breastfeed…and that if you tried hard enough, you would be able to succeed. However, once I entered the realm of motherhood, and actually experienced the things I had only previously read/observed/seen, I have learned that ideals are not always reality. My youngest baby just turned 10 months old, and I have once again faced the challenges of tongue-ties, latch issues, lack of sufficient supply, colic, fussiness, food sensitives, and more. Some of those subjects will be material for future posts, but I mention them to give you the background as to what inspired this post. As we have worked through these challenges, my husband has encouraged me that perhaps the things we learned will benefit others, so this is an attempt to do just that!
If you’ve struggled with nursing challenges, you totally understand the emotional roller coaster that is included. For some reason, the inability to feed and nurture your baby via the way in which you were designed to nourish him cuts deeply into our mother-hearts. As we tried one thing after another, I also felt like I was mourning a loss…I WANTED to nurse my baby, and I wanted to feed him the best, and know that I was nurturing him both emotionally and physically. I mean, breast milk is the best, right?!? And on top of those emotions (and who is not hormonal and emotional when you have a baby, aren’t sleeping, and are worried about your baby’s health?!?), there are all the questions about what to do, and if you’re going to supplement, what are you going to use??
This is where I want to help! While I know it can take a while before you can look at your situation objectively, there ARE other options available by which you can feed your baby and know that you are giving him something that is actually going to help him thrive and will meet his nutritional needs. I think that moms in the midst of feeding challenges have enough on their plates that they don’t need to add sorting through all the supplement information on top of it. My hope is that I can give you some pointers, and put some information at your fingertips in order to simplify your quest to figure out what is best for you and your baby.
As I spent time researching different options available, here are the three categories that I would recommend checking out:
- Weston Price Foundation Home-Made Formula: (find info here) This is what I used with my second child, who had similar nursing challenges and needed to supplement. At the time of his baby-hood, we lived in a rural area and had access to organic, raw milk from a dairy I trusted. He did really, really well on this formula, and I liked the fact that I knew exactly what was in it, and that it was REAL food. It took a bit to get the rhythm down and purchase all the ingredients, but once the pantry was stocked it didn’t take long to whip it up, and was actually a low-cost option long term. When he reached 6 months he used this formula exclusively until he was eating table foods, and was healthy and happy. Once I used this, I figured my quest for a good supplement was over, but I didn’t count on the individual baby involved! My current baby could not tolerate it made with the milk I had available, and was also unable to tolerate it when made with goats milk. So the research continued as I tried to figure out how to help THIS baby and his own personal needs…
- Mt. Capra Goat Formula: (Info here) As I was continuing to research my options, I came across a number of recommendations for this formula. While it is not made using raw milk, you still assemble it yourself according to a specific recipe, thus allowing you to know exactly what it is in it, and still sticking close to the “real food” ideal. There is a kit available to simplify the process of acquiring all the ingredients, and the Mt. Capra website supplies high quality resources. After my baby didn’t tolerate the goat’s milk, I decided against the investment needed to try this, but it still looks like a really good, healthful option, and I’ve heard that there are many happy, thriving babies using this formula!
- European Formulas: I eventually stumbled across the realm of imported baby formulas from Europe. I’ll warn you, they aren’t cheap. And they are powered (that part still bugs me if I think about it long-what about feeding your children REAL food?!?). But they have been a literal answer to prayer for me and this baby. One of my big objections to using traditional formula is the fact that most of them are sweetened using corn syrup solids. Corn syrup!?!? We don’t even eat that ourselves, so why would I feed it to my little baby? And then there are the issues of soy, additives, and the list goes on. So I was amazed when I realized that there are several options of formula available that are made from organic milk, sweetened with lactose, have pre/probiotics, and are soy free. Instead of repeating information about these formulas myself, I’m going to include some links where you can see the brands available, along with their features and ingredients:
- The first really helpful information I found came from here: European Formula Guide
- This site has a great chart that compares different brands/ingredients, and talks about the processing and European standards: Info and Comparison Chart
- And finally, here’s a more simplified overview of reasons why to consider this option: Overview of European Formulas
I will admit, too, that while powdered formula might not fit my ideal, it has been a helpful simplification to our life! My baby actually really liked the taste, and I happily observed that his diapers were hardly different in texture/smell than the usual breastmilk diapers. At 10 months (he started using formula exclusively at 7 months) he is a solid little guy that is SO much happier than he was before. There are several different suppliers in the US, and I have been happy purchasing from www.buyorganicformula.com. Their customer service has been excellent, and my order always arrives promptly, and I’d highly recommend checking out their site. If you sign up for their mailing list, they will frequently send you coupon codes that can be quite helpful!
My hope is that my experience and time spent searching can help to lift the load for another mom wading through her options! May you be encouraged today, and remember that you can still have a special bond with your baby AND know that you are meeting his/her nutritional needs even if you need do it in a different way than nursing.
I’d love to hear your thoughts-and what worked for you. Please feel free to comment with your own resources, experiences, stories and information-it’s great when we can help each other this way. Thanks for your contribution!