Breastfeeding doesn’t always go smoothly. You may have a low supply. It might really hurt, even after you have worked with a lactation consultant several times. Or your baby might be allergic or intolerant to what you are eating, so your baby suffers with pain and reflux due to allergies, milk-soy-protein intolerance and/or other protein intolerance.
This requires you to either put your sweet bundle on formula or modify your diet. Both are big decisions. Before you make that decision for you and your baby, you should consider the following:
Breastfeeding is the “gold-standard” of nutrition for your baby. Nothing is a good substitute and nothing can compare to it. It is more easily digested than formula (as long as you are not eating foods that he is intolerant to), acts as a natural antacid, and is the perfect blend of proteins, vitamins and calories. Breast milk is also chocked full of antibodies – breastfed babies statistically get fewer respiratory illnesses and ear infections, and are generally hospitalized less. Breastfed babies also are less likely to develop asthma and allergies.
Some studies show that breasted babies have higher IQ scores than non-breastfed babies, have lower incidences of SIDS, and are less likely to be obese or have diabetes later in life. The list of the benefits goes on and on.
However, when it doesn’t go well, we luckily live in a day and age that we are not trying to find a goat or wet nurse that can do the job for us. It goes without saying, but formula is outrageously expensive. It may not seem like it at first, but wait ’til your precious bundle is a 15 or 20-pound eating machine, and you are going through two or three cans of formula a week. If your baby is MSPI or PI, your baby will likely be on hypoallergenic formula that will range from $35 to $60 plus per container – that’s right container, not case. And these containers have fewer ounces per canister than the regular run-of-the-mill formulas you can buy at Target or Walmart.
To add to the expense, your baby may not be able to tolerate formula – even the most broken-down, amino-acid based formulas. You may find yourself bouncing from one formula to the next, hoping to find one that works for your precious bundle. It’s also common to find formulas that work for one or two weeks in which baby develops an intolerance, and you find yourself back to where you started – trying to figure out how to make your hurting baby comfortable and sleeping again.
Choosing to breastfeed or formula feed is an important decision that you should not take lightly. For many women with “normal” babies, it’s not an issue; however, for parents of protein intolerant babies it can be a situation where there is no easy solution or answers. Only you can make that decision, but before you do, it’s important that you make an informed one. Please research it, pray about it, and understand the possible consequences of either choice. Feel free to read about my breastfeeding journey here.