Breastmilk vs. soymilk vs. formula

Grrrrr. The amount of information on the Internet is amazing and wonderful, yet staggering and lets face it–occasionally down right confusing.

Elliott is still breastfeeding or drinking expressed milk 5-6 times a day. He hasn’t had a drop of formula yet. I want to stop pumping at work-but I don’t want to stop breastfeeding. So, I have been trying to research the best options to make the transition from breast milk to ‘other’. And to perhaps kick the bottle while we are making the switch.

Elliott was sensitive to dairy products when we first introduced them–yogurt in particular– but his gut seems to be adjusting to the gradual introduction of cheese (and his taste buds love it!). I have never given him anything to drink besides breast milk and water, and like I said he has never had any formula. So, I don’t know how he would tolerate these items. However, since he is only 11 months old–all of the books say not to give your child milk until they are 1 year anyway. This is the first area of confusion. Why is it OK to give your child cows milk products but not cows milk? And why the arbitrary age of 12 months? Does your child’s digestive system miraculously on their 366th day say-bling–you can tolerate cows milk? Or is simply a timeline for when most kids can tolerate it and avoid the potential of allergies later? Or, more poignant–is it suggested to avoid the possibility of parents giving their kids cows milk in place of formula as a cost saving measure?

Well, if I cant give my babe cows milk–that leaves formula or a milk alternative, right? Wanting to research all of my options, I looked on the label of the free can of formula we received in the mail last week and the second ingredient is corn syrup solids. Uhh, no. I cant in good conscious give that to my son because I don’t feel like pumping any more. Caveat: I don’t judge formula feed babies, or a Mom’s decisions to feed formula to their wee ones. I simply can not justify my decision since it is based on selfishness. Aside from that–formula is expensive. The second area of confusion is that the formula can says the age range is for babies 9-24 months. Well, does that mean my baby needs that sort of nutrition until they are 24 months old? Or, is that just a marketing tool to get me to think that feeding my babe formula is the most nutrition option? Or…? Who knows what I haven’t thought of or considered.

That leaves a milk alternative. Our household drinks soy milk. I don’t care for milk, and my husband doesn’t mind soy. So, to save space, money and waste we both drink soy. Can I give my 11 month soy milk? Does it have all of the nutrients and vitamins necessary for his age? Can I replace 5 bottles a week of breast milk with sippy cups of organic unsweetened soy milk? And if so, why is there such a cultural tendency towards cows milk? If I give my baby soy am I forcefully subjecting him to my pseudo-granola lifestyle? Am I giving him a sub-par option? Am I a bad Mom for not offering him REAL (cows) milk?

All of this worry and it doesn’t even touch on the topic of weaning–which I dread the day Elliott decides he isn’t interested in breastfeeding or worse yet–I decide I am not interested in it anymore. If you have experience, advise or suggestions for the best way to navigate this milky pitfall–please comment or email me.

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The contents of my refer

I pumped milk for the first time today. While I am taking 12 weeks off for maternity leave (the max allowed in CA, while still getting paid and having your job protected), I want to be ready for when I go back to work with a strong milk supply built up in the freezer. I was only able to pump on one side due to my little snick-snack wanting to eat off of the other. But, I think I did pretty good for only one side, and it being my first time. I hope it isnt too early to start pumping. I am going to wait to give him a bottle for a couple of more weeks if I can. I am still having a few challanges with breastfeeding, and I want to ensure that we have those out of the way before I bring a bottle into the mix.