Help this young child get nutrition
January 3, 2008 8:25 AM   Subscribe

best baby formula? ... the child is seven months old and just stopping breast-feeding. Several formulas have been tied -- including Similiac, GoodStart and Enfimil -- without success, as the baby does not like them and spits them out. Any suggestions on a nourishing formula? What should be tried? Is this just a transition situation? Should we keep trying the above formulas or go a different route? Thx.
posted by terrier319 to Human Relations (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
By "just stopped breast-feeding," do you mean the baby abruptly stopped on his or her own (which might just be a nursing strike), or do you mean that the mother recently stopped nursing the baby? People will have different advice depending on which the situation is.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:52 AM on January 3, 2008

I meant that the mother stopped breast feeding by choice.
posted by terrier319 at 8:57 AM on January 3, 2008

There isn't enough detail in the question to know why the mother stopped breast feeding. But, if she is still producing an adequate supply of milk, you might consider investing in a pump (you can rent them). Being able to pump the milk and freeze it for later use is more convenient than breast feeding and will still provide the child with what he is used to.
posted by oddman at 9:01 AM on January 3, 2008

Maybe the mom could pump a little to relieve pressure and mix it with the formulas. That's how a relative got her little one to start on cow's milk.

Maybe also have someone else do the feeding? Same relative went to a conference and the (year old) kidlet accepted cow's milk from grandma.

Powdered formulas can be gritty if not mixed right. Maybe try some premixed at first. More expensive, but it's something.

Baby may be old enough for cereals or mushed bananas - make that a larger part of the meals.

The one last thing: is this a gradual stoppage, or is mom needing to stop cold? If it's abrupt, it's going to be pretty hard, so be prepared for a lot of noise.
posted by lysdexic at 9:03 AM on January 3, 2008

And did the mother stop abruptly? Or has she been working on weaning the baby gradually? My children never took a bottle - or anything other than breast milk. But at the same time, I didn't try very hard either.

If the baby has stopped breast feeding abruptly, the baby will most likely not like the taste of formula, especially if baby has never had it before (also, has baby had a bottle before?).

If the baby has not had a bottle before it is a hard hard transition to go from nursing to being bottle fed and being bottle fed with formula.

The Similac, GoodStart and Enfimil are all good and I would stick with those. The baby will have to eat at some point and if all that is available is the Similac, GoodStart and Enfimil, the baby will take it. Getting to that point, though, can be difficult and almost heart-breaking.
posted by Sassyfras at 9:03 AM on January 3, 2008

Mostly people recommend a gradual weaning, both for the mom's hormone health and for the baby's successful transition. We like Symilac Organic, FWIW. Having tasted breast milk and formula, I understand the kid being upset.
posted by pomegranate at 9:05 AM on January 3, 2008

Also, was the baby ever bottle-fed (with pumped breast milk)? If not, the bottle itself could be part of the problem. When I first needed to start my baby on the bottle when starting daycare, despite using pumped breast milk he wouldn't take a bottle for at least a week.
posted by pammo at 9:14 AM on January 3, 2008

Both our kids went to ProSoBe once breast-feeding/pumping became inconvenient for mom. It's soy-based, non dairy. They seemed to do just fine with it.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:16 AM on January 3, 2008

Try googling "infant won't take formula" for lots of related links.

All commercial formulas are basically the same and none of them taste like breast milk. The baby understandably prefers breast milk, so it's a difficult transition regardless of the brand of formula.

Pumping breast milk and mixing increasing amounts of formula into it may help, assuming the baby will take a bottle of breast milk. If the bottle is the problem, this link has lots of suggestions. Having someone other than the mother give the baby the bottle, mixing formula with cereal or fruit, and making sure that the formula is body temperature may help as well. I would recommend checking with your pediatrician before starting a soy based formula as the phyto-estrogens in soy formulas may be implicated in the (very) early onset of puberty.

I have known several families who had serious difficulty suddenly weaning their infants from exclusively breastfeeding to formula from a bottle. Although babies can be incredibly stubborn about making the change, they all eventually got it and are thriving today.
posted by zoel at 9:38 AM on January 3, 2008

My daughter never took to formula after breast feeding. She had been a huge feeder, and was actually a bit overweight; after she stopped breast feeding at 6 months old, she didn't gain any weight (though she continued growing in height) for 2 months or so. Our pediatrician was pretty much unconcerned. Since my daughter started out the weaning period with a lot of extra weight (she was 20 pounds at six months), the doc saw it all as a correction. My daughter eventually took to cereal (mixed at first with frozen breast milk), then tore into the Cheerios starting around 8 months. It was a scary time for us parents, but my girl turned out fine.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:43 AM on January 3, 2008

Our baby had about a week or two of half-formula, half-breast milk during the transition. Then again he was frequently bottle-fed breast milk from about 6 weeks old so the transition to full time bottles wasn't hard on him. As others have said, this might be part of your problem.

Sort of related: I've heard that formula, whether store brand or name brand, are almost exactly the same thing due to strict FDA regulation. I don't know if it's true or not but our kid gets the store brand and we save $12-$15 per can of the powdered stuff...
posted by the christopher hundreds at 9:48 AM on January 3, 2008

FWIW, I'm a pediatrician, so I hope this helps.

Most of the answers above are spot-on.

Ideally, a transition would be best (e.g., mixing formula and breastmilk). However, if the mother is not interested in pumping to elaborate some breast milk to do this, then the two choices are cows milk based formulas and soy formulas. Eventually, the child will drink something. Most small children aren't particularly interested in self-starvation or dehydration. It might take a few days of trying, but stick with it.

It is important, however, not to switch over directly to plain cows milk, since this can cause some degree of GI irritation in some children with microscopic bleeding and anemia.

As for the differences between forumulas, they're all essentially the same. I feed my 9 month old Costco brand since it's much less expensive and functionally equivalent.

If the child really won't take formula, the modulating the diet to make sure that the child gets sufficient amounts of dairy, iron and vitamins is a last resort. Yogurt is often well accepted/tolerated by kids. Adding butter to foods, and making sure that the child takes a multivitamin with iron (e.g., PolyViSol). Child brain/eye development depends on fat and protein, so these two need to be in abundance.
posted by scblackman at 10:41 AM on January 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

Old wives tale in Ireland, YMMV.
Breast milk tends to be sweeter than formula, so they added a little sugar to the formula to ease switching over. Very small amounts over two weeks made a difference when my son had to be weaned in 2 short weeks at 6 1/2 months. We tapered it off every day so by the 14th day there was no additional sugar.

Also maybe the child won't take the bottle teat, try alternatives to a traditional teat?
posted by Wilder at 11:06 AM on January 3, 2008

There are formulas available that are partially broken down - Enfamil GentleEase and Carnation Good Start (the latter tastes significantly fresher). They're easier to digest.

Also, my son had a very strong preference for Earth's Best organic formula over any other brand.
posted by Caviar at 11:29 AM on January 3, 2008

I would also second the comment about the bottles. We use BornFree and they have two or three nipple sizes, maybe go with the middle size at that age - the baby may not be getting enough with each suck on the bottles she's using now and so it may just be frustrating.
posted by pomegranate at 2:11 PM on January 3, 2008

I'd be sure to steer away from any formula that has soy as a major ingredient. Not only are their phytoestrogens in the soy (albeit no long term studies have been found that those can cause harm or deleterious affects on a developing human) but soy can also bind with calcium and some other minerals. And as a cultural note, many, many women around the world had and do breastfeed significantly longer than we do in European countries.
posted by ZaneJ. at 8:03 PM on January 14, 2008

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