We have reached the point of our stay in the NICU where we are focused on teaching and supporting our daughter in her progression towards feeding from a bottle. She struggles with this because of a few things. She has slight oral aversion. She also has natal teeth that are loose and hurt when she attempts to suck on a nipple of a bottle (or a breast with a nipple shield). Because of this, she continues to be fed via an NG tube despite being stable otherwise. We’re trying to remain focused and positive, but it is incredibly frustrating for your otherwise healthy infant to be at the hospital surrounded by alarms and stress instead of getting to go home. We are SO ready for her to be able to come home.
The nurse practitioner came to check on her this afternoon, and she informed me that she will be increasing our daughter’s feed volume by 3 MLs tomorrow. That officially surpasses my average production of breast milk per pump. This was really disheartening for a couple reasons. This means that our daughter will have 3 more MLs that she has to attempt to get down 8 times before she can be eligible for discharge. It also means that I am 3 MLs short on breast milk production, meaning that even though I’ve tried power pumping, pumping 8 times a day, drinking massive amounts of water, eating entire batches of lactation cookies, that my supply will not be enough to keep up with her growth. Since she won’t successfully latch to breastfeed anymore, I have no draw to increase my supply. A pump just does not provide as much stimulation as a live, hungry infant. Seeing this reality fast approaching, I began to do research on formulas. I really hate that our daughter has been subject to formula, but I understand its necessity for premature babies. They currently have her a formula called Alimentum. This stuff smells AWFUL. Our daughter turns her face away from it when she gets to “sniff” it with OT. She never did that when she was originally offered just my breast milk. Babies are smarter than a lot of people give them credit for. I swear that she does not like the stuff, but our hospital seems to have an agreement with Similac (and Pampers) where they push Similac products. They have informed us that when we are discharged, we will be required to fortify (or supplement really at this point) my breast milk with NeoSure. I, however, do not have a loyality to Similac products. If she is going to have to have formula after we get out of the world of chemicals, pain, and stress, we are going to get as close as possible to momma’s milk as possible, and that means we are going ORGANIC folks. I have started researching organic formulas that have similar elements that NeoSure does so that I can present my case to the Neos and NP before we get discharged. The first organic formula I looked at was from the Honest Company. I noticed that they bragged that their formula did not have DHA/ARA in it. This exposed a conflict in the world of formula that I had no idea existed. Apparently the synthetic extraction of DHA and ARA have hazards innate to them that leave their use under suspicion. While this discovery is disconcerting, her prematurity indicates that she will require DHA/ARA to supplement her diet since she won’t be getting full mommy’s milk. Don’t get me wrong – I will continue to try breastfeeding (and pumping…), but it won’t be enough volume for a baby that is growing as quickly as she is. The next formula I investigated was Earth’s Best Sensitivity Infant Formula. The reviews on this are mainly good. They seem to have about the same amount of 4-5 star reviews as Similac’s Alimentum. The reviews on NeoSure seem to suggest that they cause a lot of dietary issues (gas, constipation), and our daughter has experienced enough GI issues to last her a lifetime.
This review/write-up seemed to have some pretty good information about organic forumla: Incredible Infant Organic Formula Write Up.
After reading reviews from moms on all kinds of websites, it seems that Earth’s Best is the best option for us because of price range, sensitivity option, and organic nature.