Breast milk is best for babies up to two years. However, giving your baby formula is not a wrong choice, especially if you are low on milk supply. Fed baby is still Best.
When I gave birth to my baby, I vowed to only provide him with breast milk, which I know was the best food. The first few months were a struggle. I thought that once you had your baby, everything will flow, as what I witnessed from mothers feeding their young ones when I was a little girl. But, It was not the case for me. I struggled to produce milk. I even had to consult lactation experts multiple times – which was expensive but rewarding – that, in a way, helped me build enough.
I consulted with mommy friends as well, and one of them told me that I never forgot – walang makakatalo sa nanay na pursigido (nothing can withstand a mother who perseveres), so that was what I did. I did everything I can to provide for my child. It pumped when he was not latching, even in the wee hours. Everything revolved around me producing milk, and adding to that was the judgment I got from people around, but most of all was the judgement I bestowed upon myself. It was exhausting and sad at the same time. I still got up at night to push myself to do what was “Best.”
I started to pump to prepare my stash weeks before I went back for work. I usually pump at midnight when my baby is asleep. During this time, he wakes up every 3-4 hours. I produced 2-3 ounces at first, and max was 4 (I was happy when I got to this much in one session).
I went back to work
The first week felt like a year. I produced little during my pump session in the office and brought home 8-10 ounces. This was not enough to maintain my stash, which eventually dwindled as weeks passed by. Then we were left with none. I had to double-time with pumping while feeding him at night. I woke up at 11 PM to pump, baby wakes up at 12, then at 3 AM I get up for one more session. I prepare for work at 5 AM.
Sleep? What is sleep? hahaha
There were times when I went to the office, not knowing how I got there. I was a zombie. I was not complaining though, because I know I was doing it for my baby.
Am I feeding him enough? Was the thought that bothered me every time, and it was answered by his growth chart during our visit to the Pedia . YES! well as long as he is gaining wait, everything will be alright.
I continued our everyday routine. This was our daily feeding life until he turned 6 months – I feed him my milk before I leave for work, I pump and bring home no more than 10 ounces – which they used to feed baby A while I am away from home.
On his 6th month, I was relieved that he can now start to eat solids. Together with relief, it was as if my body felt all the fatigue that accumulated all those months, I woke up with a fever. I struggled to open my eyes and it took all my will to get up.
“I am not feeling well” I told my husband
“Go ahead and rest” he told me.
“Should we give Achan formula so you can rest?” he asked
“Yes!” I answered without hesitation. I closed my eyes and allowed sleep to take over.
From that day, we slowly incorporated formula milk to baby A’s diet. We started with 4 oz a day, then the following month it went up to 2 feedings(4 oz per feed), until on his 9th month where we fully gave him formula on his day feeds. At night we try to refrain from giving him formula and stick with breast milk.
The formula we use was Similac. We tried other brand – Lactum – but our baby did not seem to like it. He was not a picky eater as he ate everything we offered him, but with milk, once he knew that it was the brand he did not like, he closed his lips not letting the dede get through. hahaha I sound like a milk brand commercial, but that was what happened, so we stick with our original milk.
No matter what food you give to your child, knowing that your child is growing healthy and happy -breast milk or formula – it does not matter, as long as its what let you sleep at night.
I do not want to jinx it, but Achan is growing healthy and happy each day. A few scrapes and bumps from his kalikutan which is part of his growing up.
It does not make you less of a mother if you give your child formula milk. The love, devotion and attention that you give to your baby is all that matters to him/her.
Good luck mommies, please know that you are one super hero mom and your best is much appreciated by your little one.