Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Switching from breastfeeding to formula with a CMPA baby: My Experience

In my post The End of Dairy Free Breastfeeding: My Experience, I discuss how I came to the decision to stop breastfeeding Matilda and the emotions of making such a big change. 

Once the decision was made, I had to determine how I was going to do this. My GP advised me to make the change gradually, increasing the volume of extensively hydrolysed formula each day. I was to start with one feed per day and gradually increase it every few days. 

Matilda had always happily taken expressed breastmilk from a bottle without hesitation so I thought switching from breast to bottle would be easy. I soon found out I thought wrong!

Day 1, I excitedly made up her first bottle, cradled Matilda in my arms and offered it to her. She just looked up at me with her big blue eyes and kept her mouth tightly shut. Maybe she wasn't hungry. So I wait until she showed signs of needing a feed and tried again. This time she screamed at me! What was wrong? Whenever I offered her a bottle of breastmilk she would grab it excitedly and gulp down the whole bottle without coming up for air. Matilda was so worked up, I knew it just wasn't going to happen today, so I put the bottle aside and feed her at breast. She calmed down, fed happily and fell asleep. It's ok, it was just the first try, I would try again tomorrow.

The next day however was no different and I ended up breastfeeding her again after another failed attempt. Was I giving in too easily? Is weaning her off breast really the right decision? I decided to do my research. The first formula we were prescribed was Nutramigen and if you have ever smelt it, you will know it has a very unpleasant stench. Kind of like wet peeled potatoes. Maybe it was the smell putting her off. I read about other mums' experience of using Nutramgien and there were several things they commonly recommended to try which they had found worked.

These were:
1. Mixing small amounts of the formula into breastmilk and gradually increasing the amount of    formula in mixture until it consists of formula only.
2. To add a small amount of vanilla essence to the formula to make it sweeter like breastmilk and to help mask the smell. 
3. Completely withhold breastfeeding until they were hungry enough to take it.
4.  'Dream feed,' the formula while they slept to get them used to the taste.

The first option made the most sense, so I started there. I mixed 1oz of formula with 6oz of breastmilk and offered it to her. It was such a small amount of formula I was sure she would take it. But once again she refused. I tried this method a couple more times but will no success. It was time to try option two. 

I didn't like the idea of adding vanilla essence to the formula. I was concerned that it would give Matilda a sweet tooth but I needed to try something different and a lot of mums had claimed they had great success with this method. So I cautiously added one small drop of vanilla to her formula bottle. It certainly made it smell better. Maybe this was it...or maybe not! Once again Matilda just wasn't interested. This time she had attempted to try the bottle, but after one taste, she turned away grimacing. It was progress I suppose and maybe one that would have worked if I had continued to try but in the end I decided just to try another tactic. 

The idea of completely withholding breastfeeding until the baby is so hungry they would take it, didn't sit easy with me. I had seen Matilda is pain and discomfort when she was reacting to the cows' milk protein in my breastmilk and I couldn't bare the thought of her in any kind of distress again. So I decided to skip this step and move straight on to the final suggestion...dream feeding!

I waited until the evening, Matilda had been breastfeed before going down to bed and was due to wake up within the hour for her next feed. I made up the bottle of Nutramigen and gently pressed it against her lips. To my surprise, and relief, she began to suck. Result! She managed 2oz before she fully woke and refused any more. I then breastfeed her to finish off her feed and she gently dozed back off. I was so happy to find something that worked. Unfortunately, as I have mentioned before,  Matilda had a reaction to the Nutramigen, which apparently is very rare and we had to move onto Neocate, an Amino Acid based formula. (For more information on formula options for babies with CMPA see my page Bottle Feeding Dairy Free: Formula Options)

The new formula still had a slight smell but it was nothing compared to the Nutramigen. I decided to keep with the dream feeding tactic and within a couple of days Matilda was happily taking her bottles while she was awake without any ill effects. I continued to combination feed until we were both ready to fully stop breastfeeding. She now is completely bottle fed, happy, healthy and meeting above and beyond her milestones.

1 comment:

  1. Just came across this while searching for information on baby bottles. Although this isn't entirely related, but now I can see how this is going to benefit moms especially those still new to parenting and not experienced at all.


The End of Dairy Free Breastfeeding: My Experience

Breastfeeding is a wonderful thing to do if you can, for yourself and for your child. But lets face it, it can be hard. I was completely u...