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Thread: Time for Formula?

  1. #1

    Question Time for Formula?

    Hi, I am brand new here.

    I have a seven week old little man. He is my third, though there is a 15 year age difference between him and my previous baby! Yep, my surprise baby!

    Anyhow, this poor little guy has been so gassy all day/night every day since he was born. But lately, it has been just relentless. The only place he is happy is at the nipple, yet it just seems to cause him more gas pain, more spitting up.

    I am pumping this poor guy with Mylicon and Gripe Water with little relief.

    The other night, out of desperation in trying to help him feel better, I took out some sample formula I was mailed before he was born and fed it to him. He ate 4 ounces and was so calm, so happy, slept a 6 hour stretch that night without all that pain and crying. It made me wonder if my want to bf him is worth what it seems to be putting him through. It breaks my heart.

    Is it time to stop BF? Or is there something I can do to make it less upsetting for his little tummy?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Time for Formula?

    Hi jlr41709, welcome to the forum. And congratulatiuons!

    I am curious if you breastfed your older children, and if you did how that went, and if you did not, was it due to some particular issue. Any previous breastfeeding issues may not be relevant with subsequent babies but you never know.

    Of course only you can decide if formula is the right choice for your child. According to every medical source I know of, including the AAP, breastmilk is considered the most appropriate substance for infant feeding and consequently, assuming mom wishes to breastfeed, this is what is recommended. It is not recommended to switch to formula (or even, to switch formulas when a baby is already formula fed) due to gas. There is only one medically agreed upon reason to give a breastfed baby any formula and that is if mom does not make enough milk for baby to gain normally. And even then the recommendation is to continue to give baby as much breastmilk as is possibl while supplementing with formula.

    I realize you are seeing a difference with the formula, but this may or may not mean anything about your breastmilk. Even if it does mean something, it does not mean there is no way to make breastfeeding work for baby.

    Many moms who switch to formula decide later on that they wished they had continued to breastfeed, sometimes because of medical concerns in baby that only occur or become evident later. Unfortunately, once a mother stops nursing her child, it can be very hard to get baby nursing again, and of course even harder to get her body to make enough milk again. Not impossible, but very hard, and in some situations it is impossible.

    So if you wish to keep breastfeeding but think there is something about your milk that is making your baby unusually gassy, I would suggest trying some things that may help. Your best bet probably is to see a board certified lactation consultant, but we can also help you troubleshoot here if you like. Just let us know. I have to run right now but if you want to do some troubleshooting let me know and I will have some questions for you.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Time for Formula?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*maddieb View Post
    Hi jlr41709, welcome to the forum. And congratulatiuons!

    I am curious if you breastfed your older children, and if you did how that went, and if you did not, was it due to some particular issue. Any previous breastfeeding issues may not be relevant with subsequent babies but you never know.

    Of course only you can decide if formula is the right choice for your child. According to every medical source I know of, including the AAP, breastmilk is considered the most appropriate substance for infant feeding and consequently, assuming mom wishes to breastfeed, this is what is recommended. It is not recommended to switch to formula (or even, to switch formulas when a baby is already formula fed) due to gas. There is only one medically agreed upon reason to give a breastfed baby any formula and that is if mom does not make enough milk for baby to gain normally. And even then the recommendation is to continue to give baby as much breastmilk as is possibl while supplementing with formula.

    I realize you are seeing a difference with the formula, but this may or may not mean anything about your breastmilk. Even if it does mean something, it does not mean there is no way to make breastfeeding work for baby.

    Many moms who switch to formula decide later on that they wished they had continued to breastfeed, sometimes because of medical concerns in baby that only occur or become evident later. Unfortunately, once a mother stops nursing her child, it can be very hard to get baby nursing again, and of course even harder to get her body to make enough milk again. Not impossible, but very hard, and in some situations it is impossible.

    So if you wish to keep breastfeeding but think there is something about your milk that is making your baby unusually gassy, I would suggest trying some things that may help. Your best bet probably is to see a board certified lactation consultant, but we can also help you troubleshoot here if you like. Just let us know. I have to run right now but if you want to do some troubleshooting let me know and I will have some questions for you.
    I desperately want to nurse him for all the benefits for him that it gives. I successfully nursed my other 2 until a year old. Though they had periodic gas initially, it was nothing like his. I was proud to nurse and even manually pumped one side at a time for a year when I returned to work to keep nursing. I loved everything about it.

    I absolutely would love to get to the bottom of what is causing all this gas for my little guy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Time for Formula?

    Well if you want to breastfeed, please rest assured that no medical organization would say it is better to switch to formula- gas or no gas!

    Ok here are a few questions. I may have more later but we have to start somewhere.

    Do you think you might be making more milk than baby needs, less then baby needs, or about what baby needs? One pretty reliable way to tell would be weight gain- is it fast, average or slow?

    Does baby seem to have any trouble handling milk flow when you nurse- gulping loud, gasping, coughing etc.

    About how many times in 24 hours does baby nurse, and does baby take one side at a time or two (or does it vary.)

    About how long does baby nurse each time (it likely varies, so you can give the variation.)

    About how many times a day does baby poop, and what does it look like? If baby is not pooping every day, how often does baby poop?

    Also FYI at least one study has shown that probiotics seem to help with infant gas. There is no such evidence with gripe water or mylecon.

    Also, what kind of formula was it? I mean, what was the main ingredient- dairy, soy or other?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Time for Formula?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*maddieb View Post
    Well if you want to breastfeed, please rest assured that no medical organization would say it is better to switch to formula- gas or no gas!

    Ok here are a few questions. I may have more later but we have to start somewhere.

    Do you think you might be making more milk than baby needs, less then baby needs, or about what baby needs? One pretty reliable way to tell would be weight gain- is it fast, average or slow?

    Does baby seem to have any trouble handling milk flow when you nurse- gulping loud, gasping, coughing etc.

    About how many times in 24 hours does baby nurse, and does baby take one side at a time or two (or does it vary.)

    About how long does baby nurse each time (it likely varies, so you can give the variation.)

    About how many times a day does baby poop, and what does it look like? If baby is not pooping every day, how often does baby poop?

    Also FYI at least one study has shown that probiotics seem to help with infant gas. There is no such evidence with gripe water or mylecon.

    Also, what kind of formula was it? I mean, what was the main ingredient- dairy, soy or other?
    I would say I am producing average amounts of milk. His growth is right where they want it to be.

    Baby nurses anywhere from 1-3 hours apart during the day and 3-6 hours apart at night. He nurses 7-10 minutes at a time, typically one side but sometimes both.

    Baby poops typically once per day. It's mustard yellowish, runny.

    I fed him SimilacĀ® for Supplementation Ready-to-Feed Liquid Infant Formula-Looks like milk and soy?
    http://www.target.com/p/similac-for-...k/-/A-16822167

    Awesome to know about probiotics. I have never looked into trying that but certainly think it's a great option! THANK YOU!

    Thank you so much for helping me out with this. I want to nurse this little guy and don't want it to hurt his tummy either.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Time for Formula?

    Ok thanks!

    So the one thing that jumps out to me is baby's nursing frequency which seems on the lower-average side for parts of the day. So not too low to be a problem for gain, but low enough that it might help with the gas to nurse more often. At this age, it is normal for a baby to nurse at least 8-12 times in 24 hours, with many nursing sessions in clusters, sometimes as close together as several an hour, with longer sleep stretches of 1-3 hours in between, with some babies also doing maybe one longer stretch of 4-6 hours per 24. This sounds like what your baby is doing pretty much, but going 4-6 hours between nursing with any regularity might be a little on the long side, at least for the early newborn months.

    The reasons this might matter is three- fold.

    One, the act of nursing is not only psychologically comforting, it also moves the bowels, possibly letting gas and waste move through and out more easily.

    Two, the more often a baby eats, the smaller each meal can be. It is easier to digest a smaller meal than a larger meal.

    Three, longer times between nursing sessions means milk builds up in the breasts. When this happens, two things might occur either together or separately. One is the milk flows more quickly, causing baby to gulp, and for some babies, that can cause discomfort. The other is that baby gets more "foremilk." Why does that matter? Well for many babies it does not matter at all. Foremilk only means the milk near the beginning of a nursing session has a little more lactose and a little less fat than milk further along in the nursing session. It is normal. Babies need lots of lactose so the issue is not so much that they are getting too much lactose.

    But for some, they seem to have gastrointestinal discomfort that is linked to "too much at once" lactose filled foremilk, if that makes sense. And this can happen if mom overproduces and/or baby is not nursing with enough frequency for that baby, for part of the day.

    So reducing this possibility of "too much foremilk at once" can be done by encouraging baby nurse more often, and letting baby nurse on one side as long as they like, and letting baby choose if they want one side at a time or both. All act together to bring more "balance" if baby is having a problem in this area.

    When a mom overproduces, that also might cause the "too much lactose at once" problem. In that case, it is fixed the same way, as (if needed) mom's body usually starts reducing milk production naturally at around 2-3 months. If baby is gaining more than 8 ounces a week, you might be overproducing.

    But the "too much lactose at once" problem can also be caused by nursing sessions that are more spaced out even if there is no overproduction.

    Ok so I asked about the formula to see if diet eliminations might be in order. Since I see that the formula is indeed dairy and soy based, and dairy and soy are by far the most common allergens that a baby might encounter and have a problem with through their moms milk, I think you can probably leave diet eliminations on the back burner while you see if it helps at all to increase nursing frequency and to try baby probiotics. Despite the hype about diet, it is actually not all that common for moms diet to be any problem for her nursing baby.

    Many babies simply age out of this kind of thing as well. It can take time for the gut to mature.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; March 27th, 2017 at 05:43 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Time for Formula?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*maddieb View Post
    Ok thanks!

    So the one thing that jumps out to me is baby's nursing frequency which seems on the lower-average side for parts of the day. So not too low to be a problem for gain, but low enough that it might help with the gas to nurse more often. At this age, it is normal for a baby to nurse at least 8-12 times in 24 hours, with many nursing sessions in clusters, sometimes as close together as several an hour, with longer sleep stretches of 1-3 hours in between, with some babies also doing maybe one longer stretch of 4-6 hours per 24. This sounds like what your baby is doing pretty much, but going 4-6 hours between nursing with any regularity might be a little on the long side, at least for the early newborn months.

    The reasons this might matter is three- fold.

    One, the act of nursing is not only psychologically comforting, it also moves the bowels, possibly letting gas and waste move through and out more easily.

    Two, the more often a baby eats, the smaller each meal can be. It is easier to digest a smaller meal than a larger meal.

    Three, longer times between nursing sessions means milk builds up in the breasts. When this happens, two things might occur either together or separately. One is the milk flows more quickly, causing baby to gulp, and for some babies, that can cause discomfort. The other is that baby gets more "foremilk." Why does that matter? Well for many babies it does not matter at all. Foremilk only means the milk near the beginning of a nursing session has a little more lactose and a little less fat than milk further along in the nursing session. It is normal. Babies need lots of lactose so the issue is not so much that they are getting too much lactose.

    But for some, they seem to have gastrointestinal discomfort that is linked to "too much at once" lactose filled foremilk, if that makes sense. And this can happen if mom overproduces and/or baby is not nursing with enough frequency for that baby, for part of the day.

    So reducing this possibility of "too much foremilk at once" can be done by encouraging baby nurse more often, and letting baby nurse on one side as long as they like, and letting baby choose if they want one side at a time or both. All act together to bring more "balance" if baby is having a problem in this area.

    When a mom overproduces, that also might cause the "too much lactose at once" problem. In that case, it is fixed the same way, as (if needed) mom's body usually starts reducing milk production naturally at around 2-3 months. If baby is gaining more than 8 ounces a week, you might be overproducing.

    But the "too much lactose at once" problem can also be caused by nursing sessions that are more spaced out even if there is no overproduction.

    Ok so I asked about the formula to see if diet eliminations might be in order. Since I see that the formula is indeed dairy and soy based, and dairy and soy are by far the most common allergens that a baby might encounter and have a problem with through their moms milk, I think you can probably leave diet eliminations on the back burner while you see if it helps at all to increase nursing frequency and to try baby probiotics. Despite the hype about diet, it is actually not all that common for moms diet to be any problem for her nursing baby.

    Many babies simply age out of this kind of thing as well. It can take time for the gut to mature.
    Thank you so so much. This is extremely helpful! I will try these suggestions and cross my fingers!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Time for Formula?

    Definitely not time for formula- unless, of course, that is what YOU want to do!

    Breastmilk isn't hurting your baby's tummy. I know it can seem like that, especially when a bottle of formula seems to produce a calm, sleeping baby! In my experience, a bottle can "magically" take a baby from fussing to sleeping because a bottle can fill a baby to the brim with minimal effort on the baby's part.

    If I were in your shoes, I would toss the sample formula. The formula companies mail that stuff out hoping to take advantage of situations exactly like yours- the moment when an exhausted mom reaches the end of her rope and is willing to try something-anything!- to make the baby stop crying. Companies know that it doesn't take much frustration and self-doubt for the emergency bottle to become the supplemental bottle, and the supplemental bottle to replace the breast. Don't let the formula company win!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Time for Formula?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Definitely not time for formula- unless, of course, that is what YOU want to do!

    Breastmilk isn't hurting your baby's tummy. I know it can seem like that, especially when a bottle of formula seems to produce a calm, sleeping baby! In my experience, a bottle can "magically" take a baby from fussing to sleeping because a bottle can fill a baby to the brim with minimal effort on the baby's part.

    If I were in your shoes, I would toss the sample formula. The formula companies mail that stuff out hoping to take advantage of situations exactly like yours- the moment when an exhausted mom reaches the end of her rope and is willing to try something-anything!- to make the baby stop crying. Companies know that it doesn't take much frustration and self-doubt for the emergency bottle to become the supplemental bottle, and the supplemental bottle to replace the breast. Don't let the formula company win!
    Yeah....the formula companies only mission in being in those hospital bags? Is to sabotage your breastfeeding relationship so they can make money. Nothing about your baby's bowels suggest an allergy or irritation. Which means that your baby may just be MORE sensitive to gas at this point. But even if that's the case, he will outgrow that and learn to fart without being too upset about it. IN the mean time, also try bicycling his legs and belly massages to push gas out and always always burp the baby!

    Way too lazy for formula

  10. #10

    Default Re: Time for Formula?

    Thank you all. I'm trying not to feel badly for the little guy. He just winces and cries so often in pain. I did go and buy him some probiotic. He's had 2 doses of that and it hasn't seemed to have helped yet, but I am sure it is early to know if it will. I keep nursing and keeping the faith that he will feel better soon. Poor little man.

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