Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Formula = Not Unicorn Tears

Brace yourselves.  Or as Samuel L. Jackson would say,

"Hold on to your butts."

(Sorry, am I the only one who quotes Jurassic Park!?)

I have a fan.

Now wipe that shocked look off your face and let's all give a round of applause to my one fan, "J."

She is a new mom, living in Florida.  And she looks like a freaking super model or really, really classy porn star. (By the way you should take that as a compliment.  Because that is totally how I meant it.)

Super, super beautiful. 

Her long blond locks are always styled to perfection and she has a gorg baby boy. 

Sounds like Ms. "J" has been having a rough time lately.

Because being a new mom can be hard on a gal.  And that's just the truth. 

This shit ain't for the weak.  (I apologize, I'm kind of stuck in Samuel L. Jackson mode now.  I'm trying to turn it off.)

SO, I have had a request to write a little something about formula. 

And, if there's anything I can do to help out a fellow mom in need, well I'm damn well gonna do it.

So if you don't give a toot about hearing about formula, then go on your merry way and we'll see ya when we see ya. 

I am going to preface this whole discussion with this:

If you find yourself looking for formula because you tried breastfeeding and it didn't work out, or you breastfed as long as you could and now you are weaning baby, or you breastfed and now baby is weaning him or herself, or you're going back to work, or you just don't want to breastfeed, etc;

First of all, STOP CRYING.

That is step one.

(Cause, Lawwd knows, it can be hard.)

Put the baby down.  Wipe your tears and have a cocktail, girl.

We are celebrating.  No matter what you did, you tried.  And now you're moving onwards and upwards and your baby is going to be fine.

Better than fine, in fact.

Your baby will be fat and happy and smart and healthy. 

So, relax. 

Now, I'll tell you what I know (which might not really be more than the average Joe, but I will open up the floor to comments at the end; so hopefully if we pool our brains (?) we can all get something out of this!)

There are many, many brands of formula.  This can be extremely overwhelming for the formula newbie.  Because as a new mom, you want to make sure you are buying "the best."  And you will find that no one is going to be able to tell you what is "the best."  Because they are all good, and they will all nourish your baby.  The government has regulated baby formula, so each kind has to meet specific standards.  We began using Enfamil with my son, solely because those were the samples they sent us home with from the hospital. 

It could have just as easily been Similac. 

People have asked me in the past what kind of formula we use in the intensive care nursery, so for what it's worth, we mostly use Enfamil products in my nursery.  But we do stock Similac.  So don't take that as one being better than the other.  We are also sending many babies home now on the Gerber Good Start formula.  This is the formula that WICC is now using, so that's one I'm seeing more and more of.  There are also specialized (read, very expensive) formulas out there for infants with milk allergies, etc.

Now that you've chosen which brand you prefer, there are ten different options within that brand... 


As always, first consult with your pediatrician and see if he or she has any specific recommendations that would be particularly good for your baby. 

(And if you have a premature infant, or received special dietary instructions for your infant when it was discharged from the hospital, ALWAYS follow those directions.)

Adeline uses the Target brand Gentlease.

She was a farty little thing in the beginning, so we opted to try out the Gentlease formula which claims to help with gas and be easier to digest.  Just like "Gripe water" or Mylicon drops whether it actually makes that much of a difference is debatable. 

But, you will find, as a new parent you will cling to any shred of hope.  And then you will convince yourself that it is getting better. 

It's a survival technique.

And no, you did not read that wrong.  I did say we used the Target brand. 

Many new parents find it economically easier to buy generic formula.  I know people that have used Costco's generic formula as well.


(Geez, I feel like I'm yelling at you guys a lot in this post.  Sorry, I guess I'm just super impassioned by this discussion.)

You may find that you are not in charge of what your little Duke or Duchess drinks, anyhow.  The little tots can be picky!  You may be forced to give them whatever they will deign to drink.  For this reason I do not recommend buying a specific kind in bulk until you are sure that your baby will drink it.

(Same goes for baby bottles and pacifiers.  But that's a whole different post.)

If you are really struggling to find a formula that your baby finds agreeable, because baby is used to your breastmilk, you may try mixing them together to ease them into the new menu.

Ex.  If you're making a four ounce bottle, mix three ounces breastmilk and one ounce formula.  Keep decreasing the amount of breastmilk and increasing the ratio of formula.  They just may need a little time to adjust.

(We had to do the same thing with Henry when it was time to switch from formula to whole milk.  And it did work.)

I would not use this mixing strategy if, by doctor's orders, you need to have your baby on higher calorie formula.  Breastmilk and standard formula are both 20 calories/ounce, so mixing them will not change the net caloric intake.  If you are mixing plain breastmilk with a higher calorie formula it will dilute the caloric value.  And for little teeny-weenies that is not what we want.

We want fat babies!

Many new parents also find that their baby's poop-a-dupe changes drastically with the switch to or addition of formula.

And this is not uncommon.

Addie's poops turned army green.  A little off-putting, but completely normal. 

You will find there is a vast, vast range of what is considered normal in baby poop.  The color or consistency may change, and the frequency may definitely change. 

As always, if you have any concern, call your pediatrician. 

Lord knows.  I make our pediatrician work.

(Bloody stools, or stool that looks like coffee grounds = never normal.  Get your ass to el doctor.)

Since babies don't just chew on the powder, we have to mix it with water.

(God, babies.  So high maintenance.)

We use the jugs of baby water from the store. 

Much of this depends on the water in your area and the age of your home.  There can be varying levels of different elements in tap water that you may not want your baby to have.

We used tap water with Henry. 

We use bottled water for the princess.

Both children are perfect.  (In my ever-so-humble opinion.)

If you do decide to use tap water, let the faucet run a bit before you fill up your bottle, just to flush out the water that was sitting in your pipes. 

(Be a good person and save it to water your plants or something.)

It is not advised to use warm tap water for bottle mixing.  Use cold water and then a bottle warmer if you must.

Sorry this is getting long and boring.  But you have a baby now.  So, I'm guessing your days of fast-living are over, anyhow. 

So I'll just go on.

Breastmilk, like unicorn tears, has special properties. 

Freshly pumped breastmilk can sit out unrefrigerated for a period of time.

Mixed formula can not.

The directions say to mix what is needed for the feeding and discard unused after feeding or within one hour.

You guys be good and read the directions. 

Sometimes.  When God has his back turned because he's busy dealing with Lindsey Lohan or comforting a brokenhearted Taylor Swift; I will put a full fresh four ounce bottle back in the refrigerator after Addie takes two pulls off it and then decides she's not interested. 

This is against the rules.  I'm probably going to Hell.  But I do not let it sit out and I do not keep it in the refrigerator for more than three hours.  I will rewarm it for her next feed.  (I would not do this for a premature infant, newborn or other baby that may be more sensitive.)

Addie's a hoss.

Someone can write me a comment telling me about how I'm going to give her dysentery or make her explode or something and I promise I'll stop.

I just die a little inside when I have to poor that much formula down the sink.  I just see the money slidin' down the drain.

[Goodbye nice things See ya never.]

So I've written you a book.  About formula.

And still not addressed many things. 

But that's life.

Please feel free to leave additional questions, or PLEASE leave comments if you feel you have further wisdom to share.  Or tell me that I'm a fucking wing-nut and I'm completely wrong.  I adore those comments. 

Thanks "J" for reading and making me feel like a celebrity.

Just keep on keepin' on.  You got this, girl.