Thursday, February 14, 2013

this stuff is freakin awesome!

Itty bitty Kingston...about 12 hours old. 20mL of Similac NeoSure per feeding or else it was forced down his tube. The napkin under his chin was for when he threw up. Which he did, every time.

I got rid of my children's first pediatrician when she told me I "might as well get the boys used to formula, as moms of twins rarely have success breastfeeding"....mmm hmmm....
Blogging and nursing....can't do that with bottles and two 3 month olds!
Well here I am 15 weeks later doing just fine...through bottles, pacifiers, NICU feeding tubes, forced formula, and the challenge of keeping 2 tiny humans alive and thriving...I understand it's not easy at first, hell some times it feels damn near impossible, but man is it worth it.

HOLY WHOA!!! It's like powdered Doritos!
My guys were born early and had to spend a week in the NICU. During that time they were on a strict 3 hour feeding schedule. Every mL they ate was closely monitored and recorded. I was told I could nurse, but blood tests would need to be done twice daily, so pumping and bottles would be best. That's what I did. Some nurses felt that the 2 extra calorie per ounce "NeoSure" by Similac was better than breastmilk....that's what my kiddos were fed much of the time. They HATED it. They would take forever eating it, choke on it, spit it up, etc. But if it was my milk? They ate it quickly and fell asleep. Needless to say they lost a lot of weight in the hospital. All that choking and force feeding takes a lot out of you! They lost about a pound each...and when you're only 6 pounds to begin with, that's a lot! After 3 weeks at home though, nursing on demand, they had gained over 2 pounds each...and they didn't get a drop of formula.

Here's a tiny little note to new moms..........
It's not for a lack of trying on the formula company's part though! I mean jeez, every time I opened the mailbox there was another "care package" from Gerber, Similac, or Enfamil. Each FULL of FREEEEEE formula, lots of coupons, ice packs, cooler bags, free bottles, pregnancy journals, baby books, and more! Their branding was all over the house! I will say that inside these mailings there was always a very tiny part of the page that reminded mothers that breast feeding was recommended. Very, very tiny part of a page. Oh and check out how the heart symbol stands for FORMULA!
Oh and I love how the mailings always include an insert that gives information about breast milk being best for the first 6 months, and then a weaning schedule (which gets you down to nursing just once a day in ONLY 13 days!?  I feel like this encourages women to give up nursing at that point, no? Funny, since the world health organization recommends breast milk for a least the first 2 years of life....
Some free similac crap
It's no secret breast milk has benefits that far outweigh formula. Between the antibodies that you are passing along, the fact that it is created specifically for your baby, and at the very least the fact that it's free (?!) It's sort of hard to argue with mother nature... You squirt it on a scratch and it's healed. You can't overfeed with it. It's super transportable once's good for 4 to 6 hours at room temperature! It keeps in a feezer for MONTHS! If you pump and bottle feed, these things don't really even need to be sanitized (talking "need" here...I'm sure you'll still sanitize, but in a pinch you're fine!) All of the leukocytes found in breast milk are what makes it so darn awesome. They are living cells that are only found in breast milk.  They help fight infection.  It is the antibodies, living cells, enzymes, and hormones that make breast milk ideal.  These cannot be added to formula.
my fridge

my freezer (stupid similac ice packs)

Want to know what else is in there? (borrowed from


Human milk contains two types of proteins: whey and casein.  Approximately 60% is whey, while 40% is casein.  This balance of the proteins allows for quick and easy digestion.  If artificial milk, also called formula, has a greater percentage of casein, it will be more difficult for the baby to digest.  Approximately 60-80% of all protein in human milk is whey protein.  These proteins have great infection-protection properties.
Listed below are specific proteins that are found in breast milk and their benefits:
  • Lactoferrin inhibits the growth of iron-dependent bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.  This inhibits certain organisms, such as coliforms and yeast, that require iron.
  • Secretory IgA also works to protect the infant from viruses and bacteria, specifically those that the baby, mom, and family are exposed to.  It also helps to protect against E. Coli and possibly allergies.  Other immunoglobulins, including IgG and IgM, in breast milk also help protect against bacterial and viral infections.  Eating fish can help increase the amount of these proteins in your breast milk.
  • Lysozyme is an enzyme that protects the infant against E. Coli and Salmonella. It also promotes the growth of healthy intestinal flora and has anti-inflammatory functions.
  • Bifidus factor supports the growth of lactobacillus.  Lactobacillus is a beneficial bacteria that protects the baby against harmful bacteria by creating an acidic environment where it cannot survive


Human milk also contains fats that are essential for the health of your baby.  It is necessary for brain development, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and is a primary calorie source.  Long chain fatty acids are needed for brain, retina, and nervous system development.  They are deposited in the brain during the last trimester of pregnancy and are also found in breast milk.


The amount and types of vitamins in breast milk is directly related to the mother’s vitamin intake.  This is why it is essential that she gets adequate nutrition, including vitamins.  Fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K, are all vital to the infant’s health.  Water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, and panthothenic acid are also essential.  Because of the need for these vitamins, many healthcare providers and lactation consultants will have nursing mothers continue on prenatal vitamins.


Lactose is the primary carbohydrate found in human milk.  It accounts for approximately 40% of the total calories provided by breast milk.  Lactose helps to decrease the amount of unhealthy bacteria in the stomach, which improves the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.  It helps to fight disease and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the stomach.

Seriously...the stuff is awesome.

Now here's the deal, in the first few days after delivery you're not going to make much. You may only have drops! I did. I didn't even write down (as the hospital wanted me to) how much I made the first 24 hours...because it was too little to measure, but it was so important that my babies got it. That stuff, the thick yellow first drops, it's called colostrum.
Day 3...about 25mL total during one pumping for my guys to share...and I was THRILLED!

What is colostrum? How does it benefit my baby? (borrowed from

Your breasts produce colostrum beginning during pregnancy and continuing through the early days of breastfeeding. This special milk is yellow to orange in color and thick and sticky. It is low in fat, and high in carbohydrates, protein, and antibodies to help keep your baby healthy. Colostrum is extremely easy to digest, and is therefore the perfect first food for your baby. It is low in volume (measurable in teaspoons rather than ounces), but high in concentrated nutrition for the newborn. Colostrum has a laxative effect on the baby, helping him pass his early stools, which aids in the excretion of excess bilirubin and helps prevent jaundice.
When your baby is breastfed early and often, your breasts will begin producing mature milk around the third or fourth day after birth. Your milk will then increase in volume and will generally begin to appear thinner and whiter (more opaque) in color. In those first few days it is extremely important to breastfeed your newborn at least 8-12 times each 24 hours, and more often is even better. This allows your baby to get all the benefits of the colostrum and also stimulates production of a plentiful supply of mature milk. Frequent breastfeeding also helps prevent engorgement.
Your colostrum provides not only perfect nutrition tailored to the needs of your newborn, but also large amounts of living cells which will defend your baby against many harmful agents. The concentration of immune factors is much higher in colostrum than in mature milk.
Colostrum actually works as a natural and 100% safe vaccine. It contains large quantities of an antibody called secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) which is a new substance to the newborn. Before your baby was born, he received the benefit of another antibody, called IgG, through your placenta. IgG worked through the baby's circulatory system, but IgA protects the baby in the places most likely to come under attack from germs, namely the mucous membranes in the throat, lungs, and intestines.
Colostrum has an especially important role to play in the baby's gastrointestinal tract. A newborn's intestines are very permeable. Colostrum seals the holes by "painting" the gastrointestinal tract with a barrier which mostly prevents foreign substances from penetrating and possibly sensitizing a baby to foods the mother has eaten.
Colostrum also contains high concentrations of leukocytes, protective white cells which can destroy disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
The colostrum gradually changes to mature milk during the first two weeks after birth. During this transition, the concentrations of the antibodies in your milk decrease, but your milk volume greatly increases. The disease-fighting properties of human milk do not disappear with the colostrum. In fact, as long as your baby receives your milk, he will receive immunological protection against many different viruses and bacteria.

Stomach capacity of the newborn (SOOOO IMPORTANT!)

When mothers hear that colostrum is measurable in teaspoons rather than ounces, they often wonder if that can really be enough for their babies. The short answer is that colostrum is the only food healthy, full-term babies need. The following is an explanation:
A 1 day old baby's stomach capacity is about 5-7 ml, or about the size of a marble. Interestingly, researchers have found that the day-old newborn's stomach does not stretch to hold more. Since the walls of the newborn's stomach stays firm, extra milk is most often expelled (spit up). Your colostrum is just the right amount for your baby's first feedings!
By day 3, the newborn's stomach capacity has grown to about 0.75-1 oz, or about the size of a "shooter" marble. Small, frequent feedings assure that your baby takes in all the milk he needs.
Around day 7, the newborn's stomach capacity is now about 1.5-2 oz, or about the size of a ping-pong ball. Continued frequent feeding will assure that your baby takes in all the milk he needs, and your milk production meets his demands.
Infant Stomach Capacity
Infant Stomach Capacity

The more milk your body thinks you need, the more it will try to make. With the proper latch (or pump) your body will (in most cases) eventually adjust to make enough milk for your baby (or babies). DO NOT blindly believe that you don't have enough just because you aren't producing bottle fulls. And once your body does adjust, most women get a couple ounces when pumping. And that's awesome! Your baby is always more efficient than a pump. If you pump 2 ounces, your baby might be able to get 3 or 4! Also, many pediatricians still use formula fed baby growth charts, and may tell you that your healthy breastfed baby is in a low weight or height percentile. Probably not. If your child is growing out their clothes, peeing normally, smiling, and happy then chances are things are fine. Not every baby is going to be a sumo wrestler, and that's totally normal.
Notice how I didn't fill in Day1? It was only drops! And all those numbers are mL. I was made only 2 ounces total on Day 2, and that is considered a lot!

I'm going to stop now before I mention anything about formula recalls due to "bug parts" being found in there......we'll leave it at the fact that even moms who smoke regularly are advised to breastfeed their babies before giving formula, by the American Association of Pediatrics!  Breast milk is that awesome.

**No part of this blog is meant to insult any moms. I am trying to shed some light on the formula companies' sneaky little ways of making formula seem so enticing and so easy. So many new mothers are not guided properly on how to nurse, how to pump, normal amounts, etc. and are left believe "they don't have enough milk" or that they "can't" breastfeed. It's crap. Now you know. Know better, do better.

1 comment:

  1. Haha .... All I just thought is that Hunter is totally a sumo wrestler baby. But thankfully I refused to let the hospital put that junk food in a bottle stuff otherwise known as formula into his body even when I was rehospitalized with infections from my c-section complications. It really is true, your body is amazing and you can feed your baby with Breastmilk through all sorts of hurdles.