Alternatives to baby formula - experiences?

(35 Posts)
RebeccaJames Thu 30-Jan-14 17:13:09

Hi all. My 7-week-old is currently both BF and formula-fed. My milk doesn't seem to quite be enough for him so I'm trying to do both at the same time for as long as possible so that he keeps getting the goodness of my milk.

Today I saw my chiropractor, who said 'don't give him formula - it's full of rubbish. Give him goat's milk'. Now I came home and Googled it and while I see his point about the rubbish in formula (shocked!), I don't feel comfortable giving him watered-down goat's milk at this stage.

I Googled 'alternatives to formula' and there are recipes out there, but they don't have regular ingredients and they are pretty labour-intensive (i.e. one of the ingredients is 'home-made whey', so you have to make stuff even before you make stuff, if you see what I mean). So I wondered if anyone here uses any alternatives. Now that I've seen what is in formula I would really like to find something. I could try upping my breast milk but I didn't have enough with DS1 either and my baby was perpetually hungry until we topped up.

Anyone with any views/ideas/experience on this?

QueenofKelsingra Thu 30-Jan-14 17:53:42

the OP did not ask your opinions on whether she should be trying to return to exclusive BF. Some of us, despite all our efforts cannot supply enough or good enough quality milk to exclusively feed our children and people saying 'just take away the formula and the baby will increase your supply' DOES NOT HELP. the decision is traumatic enough as it is.

OP, dont feel bullied about this, i have 3 children, they all lost over 1lb off their birth weights and despite me feeding on demand, skin to skin, eating the foods that are supposed to increase supply and pumping not one of them gained more than 1 or 2oz here and there and then usually lost it again. finally a sensible GP helped me realise that i was starving my babies. they fed well, perked up and gained good weight once i started mix feeding, trust that you are doing the right thing for your baby by mix feeding.

However i would advise against anything other than the usual formula. it is safe and babies thrive on it, as yours is evidently now doing. stick to the mix feeding with regular formula.

JewelFairies Thu 30-Jan-14 17:59:32

There is nothing wrong with topping up and it is a lot more common than people think. In the not too distant past babies died or went to a wet nurse. Why did that happen if everyone has such clever breasts?

Makesamesswhenstressed and gamerchick - If I had trusted my 'clever breasts' my baby would have died. I wish people (not you personally) would stop insisting every mother can breast feed if she only tries hard enough. It contributed to my pnd to feel like a total failure so this is a sensitive topic for me.

lilyaldrin Thu 30-Jan-14 18:00:01

The only alternative to formula milk is breastmilk though. If the OP wants to stop using formula then her only option is to return to exclusive breastfeeding - anything else would be harmful for her baby. That's not bullying, it's just being clear about the options.

Agree that the chiropractor shouldn't be commenting on things he has no experience or training in! Especially when it's regarding a tiny baby's health.

JewelFairies Thu 30-Jan-14 18:00:12

Queen - cross post.

Poloholo Thu 30-Jan-14 18:15:26

Also OP have you had the baby checked for tongue tie by someone properly qualified? A very common problem often missed that makes the transfer of milk much harder for the baby. If he has it, it can normally be snipped - I've known many babies who have had poor weight gain on BF thrive after this has been spotted and dealt with.

gamerchick Thu 30-Jan-14 18:32:33

The only alternative to formula milk is breastmilk though. If the OP wants to stop using formula then her only option is to return to exclusive breastfeeding - anything else would be harmful for her baby. That's not bullying, it's just being clear about the options

Indeed ^^

If it was a post about alternative formulas then I would have just passed it by.. homemade formula isn't a good option and as above the only other alternative other than a milk bank is going back to breastfeeding.

I'm sorry to hear that Jewel.

minipie Thu 30-Jan-14 18:43:27

I'm not a massive fan of the ingredients of formula either OP.

BUT I would far, far rather give my baby formula if BF didn't work out than anything else. Formula has at least been "tested" on millions of babies and we know its long term effects (and they don't seem to be negative, not quite as good as EBF probably but nothing bad or dangerous). We have no idea what effect watered down goats milk or "homemade formula" would have.

I agree with checking for tongue tie (esp if you also had problems with DC1 as it runs in families) and doing whatever you can to increase your BF supply - then topping up with formula if you need to, without guilt.

makesamesswhenstressed Thu 30-Jan-14 18:52:44

What gamerchick said. As I said (repeatedly) in my post - those were all options for helping increase supply IF THAT'S WHAT THE OP WANTED. If she wants to feed her baby formula then fine, but if she wants an alternative to formula she needs to do everything she can to boost supply because that's the only other option.

I really hate people thinking I'm making a judgment call on how they feed/fed their baby/ies. I don't give a flying fart how someone chooses to feed, as long as they are not forced down a particular path because of lack of support and information.

RebeccaJames Thu 30-Jan-14 21:51:58

It's OK - I don't feel bullied but it is hard to hear that my boobs know what they're doing, etc. HVs and lactation consultants said that to me last time, that there's no such thing as undersupply and people just think that but it isn't so. My children do gain weight when EBF'd but very slowly, which combined with extremely short sleep cycles and lack of alert time makes me lose confidence. I also had/have an underdeveloped breast (for which I had surgery), so I always think that must be connected with milk production.

After this thread I'm half tempted to take bubba into bed for a few days and see if I can get back to EBF but I'm also scared of busting a gut and it being all in vain. I felt like such a failure last time, as QueenofKelsingra described, and already do this time. Obviously nobody can advise me whether to do that or not, but I appreciate the responses here that give me something to mull over. I'm v. tired and emotional and so desperate to do the right thing for my little scrap.

I don't like formula because of the monstrously long list of chemical-y ingredients and what I've read online, but I do accept that it's the only alternative. I had just never heard of goat's milk for babies before, or home-made formula, and because I'm a bake-your-own-bread kind of gal, I wondered if it was just something I hadn't come across before but was maybe quite common. I see from the responses here that it is not. I wouldn't give anything to my baby without looking into it thoroughly first and I already see now that it's not something to pursue further. Bit embarrassed now, actually, that I thought it might be a goer! blush

As to my chiro not having the right to advise on baby feeding, all I can say is in our situation it does not feel wrong or crossing any lines. He is just a fan of natural everything (where possible of course), and he knows that we are that way inclined too. We often discuss those things. He has often helped us with medical problems that otherwise would have been medicated by standard medicine (unnecessarily, in my view). My mother was literally crippled by sciatica for a year, and the NHS was at a loss how to help and was planning on operating with only a moderate chance of success, but within 5 sessions with Keith she was up and about, active, going to the gym and gardening. We therefore do have a lot of faith! But I know chiro is controversial and there is no point going into the ins and outs of it here grin.

Melonbreath Thu 30-Jan-14 22:02:42

Ocado do goats milk formula although I'm not sure if it's for little babies.

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