Another Breastfeeding and Diabetes Update.
It's been almost 17 weeks since BSparl's birthday (yet it's not quite her four month mark yet - weirdness of weeks vs. months). And even though I was planning to only breastfeed until she was about three months old, we're still going.
Part of what's made the decision to continue breastfeeding easier is that I work from our home office. There's no need for me to change out of my comfortable clothes (read: shorts and a t-shirt), I don't need to duck into a side room to use the breast pump, and I'm able to whip it out and feed her whenever I need to. I am very grateful that I'm able to work from home at this point in BSparl's life. I know this would have been a real challenge if I was working in-house at a company right now.
Another reason I want to continue is that the physical pain of breastfeeding is all but gone. I'm not dreading the moment when she latches on (she's learned to be gentle), and since my milk production has leveled off to what's "needed" versus "here's EVERYTHING," I'm not experiencing that wicked pain of being really "full." Also, on a diabetes tip, I'm not experiencing the same caliber of lows I was before. Since I'm making less, my body isn't constantly processing and therefore isn't robbing me of my glucose stores.
The third reason is that I am a huge fan of the convenience. Every morning, I wake up and test my blood sugar first thing (yes, I've been sticking with it!) while Chris gets BSparl out of bed and changes her diaper. And then I feed her. She's total HappyTown in the morning (kicking her legs and grinning wildly) and I love the feeling of closeness in addition to the fact that we don't have to fumble around in the morning with a bottle. (I also hate, hate cleaning out the bottles, so breastfeeding eliminates the need for doing more dishes.)
But it's not all rainbows and unicorns. Breastfeeding does make it harder to have a more mobile schedule (i.e. having BSparl sleep over at her grandparents' houses, or letting me travel for work), so Chris and I, under the advisement of our pediatrician, have been supplementing with formula since just after the twelve week mark. At first, I didn't have a lot of guilt about supplementing because it was only a bottle of formula here and there, but now I'm having sporadic feelings of guilt.
There are a LOT of mixed opinions about baby formula, diabetes notwithstanding. But adding diabetes into the mix? Whole new ballgame. For instance, I've heard that you shouldn't give your infant milk-based formula. That soy is the way to roll if you are a parent with type 1 diabetes. Okay, but then I read many articles about the potential dangers of soy formula, saying that it could harm the baby. Ooooohkay ... and then I asked my doctors (mine and BSparl's) for their opinion, and they couldn't confirm or deny either theory.
Leaving us to wonder what's best.
"Breast is best," gloats the lactation specialist at the hospital.
Sure, breast is best and we did our ... best breast for as long as we could. But now baby girl is almost four months old and due to missing feedings (thanks to low blood sugars, etc), traveling for work (when baby is with a grandparent overnight), and other Life Things, my milk production has slowed down. BSparl needs more and more as she gets bigger and bigger, and I just can't physically keep up. So while "breast may be best," we are continuing to explore different formulas.
Right now, we are finishing up a can of Enfamil "Gentlease" formula, which was recommended by BSparl's pediatrician to help combat the wicked acid reflux our daughter had for a few weeks. But my preference has been to go the organic route, if I can, so we're now switching over to the Earth's Best Organic formula. Yes, the cow's milk one, not the soy one (even though we have both cow's milk and soy versions in the house right now). While avoiding cow's milk has been suggested as best to help avoid type 1 diabetes, I am having a hard time giving my daughter soy formula when the jury appears to be out on the effects of that. There is no definitive answer on what to do, and there's no guarantee that you're going to safely dodge the diabetes bullet. I've mentioned it before, but I was breastfed and my brother and sister were not. Yet I have type 1, and they are fine. Genetics are a crap shoot.
So while we're still breastfeeding for the most part, the bottles are creeping in there. And I'm okay with that. It's about what works best for the family, and so far, this system is working out for us.