Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bye bye Formula!

In mid-August, a very close friend, Carla, made an entry about her experience in finding the perfect growing up milk for her daughter Simone (my goddaughter) who is barely 3 weeks younger than my son Kimi. It was a very good read especially for new mums who have no idea what milk to give their babies when either their breast milk supply is already dried up or when it’s not enough and they need to top up. Of course, I can't help not to comment and share my experience as below.

Finding the right formula is indeed a nightmare for some moms who can’t fully breastfeed due to insufficient milk (like my case) or another reason. I was decided to give Kimi 100% breastmilk during the first three months that he is staying in Geelong, I did not buy any formula prior his arrival. But he was not sleeping very well during his first three days and he seemed to be very hungry so I decided to top up with formula. Choosing the right formula was tricky.

Doctors and maternal child health nurse down under do not recommend any formula milk as much as possible. When asked they usually say that formula milk is just the same for any brand. So, I limited my choices with the brands that I also saw in Manila – it’s either S26 or NAN. My niece and nephew were on NAN HA before so it was easier to decide. I just opted though for the regular NAN 1. Good enough that Kimi doesn’t have allergies. He gulped his first bottle like there was no tomorrow and his tummy liked it too straightaway. Breastmilk and formula took turns in fattening Kimi for the first month. When supply dried up eventhough how much hot soup and hot compress I had, NAN 1 was still reliable to keep Kimi happy.

We moved him to NAN 2 at 6 months and to Neslac Toddler Gold at 13 months as NAN 3 was only being introduced in the market at that time, a bit difficult to find NAN 3. At 16 months, we introduced him to drinking fresh milk from a sippy cup with Neslac in between. He is alright with the fresh milk but he still loves his formula in a bottle. I plan to reduce his bottlefeed to 2 when he turns 18 months — one when he wakes up and one before he sleeps. Ultimately, I want him to love his fresh milk more than his bottle. No flavoured milk though. Not even my favourite strawberry milk.

Yes, it was my intention to put Kimi on cow's milk as advised by the Maternal and Child Health Nurse but not 100% this soon. He just turned 18 months. However, when we went to buy another batch (I usually buy 4 cans at a time) of Neslac Toddler Gold, there was nothing on the shelves at My Chemist, where I usually buy it. I immediately called the attention of the sales assistant to check if they got something in their stock room. There was none. I requested him to phone their other store. Again, nada. In fact, it's no longer in their computer system. It was hopeless as it was already difficult getting a can a few weeks back. A friend even checked in Melbourne. It's indeed already phased out to fully introduce NAN 3.

The battle of choosing the right milk again started and it caught me off-guard. There were very few choices and the brands I'm familiar with are both in vanilla flavour -- NAN 3 and S-26 -- which is not an option. Hubby and I compromised to put Kimi back to NAN 2. Hubby was not keen to moving to another brand as Kimi's tummy may react differently. I bought 1 can of NAN 2 and 1 small pack (good for 4 servings) of Karicare to try. He instantly liked Karicare but he was passing wind throughout the day so hubby was not happy with it. I gave Kimi NAN 2 but he rejected it straightaway - maybe not sweet enough like Neslac and Karicare. Because of that, we decided on giving him cow's milk. I cleaned and packed the bottles, steriliser, and the glass pan exlusively used in boiling water for safekeeping.

The story did not end there. Almost 2 weeks after, I observed that Kimi was losing weight or I just thought so. Out of the blue, I grabbed his bottle from the top of the cupboard and prepared him 60 ml of NAN 2 to try again. He was ecstatic to see the bottle of milk. But when he had a taste, he gave me back the bottle. I tried to offer it to him again and this time he just blurted out "nah." I was still worried he was not getting enough so I decided to buy a can of Karicare 3. I was almost sure he would like it again until I offered it to him. To my surprise he rejected it.

This time instinct tells me that Kimi is alright with the cow's milk. There are just days that he will look thinner when he has not slept much during the day. To other mothers out there, don't be a worry wart like me. Just compliment your kid's cow's milk with healthy food and your child will also be alright. Kids need only 3 servings of dairy food anyway to meet the calcium requirement.

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