Here is the disclaimer for this post. While of course I believe that breastfeeding is by far and away 1 million times superior to formula, I also know that there are moms who end up having to supplement with formula for one reason or another, maybe they have a medical condition, or an adopted child (though I recommend finding donated breastmilk or using raw milk formula if possible, I could write more about that later). That said, I really think it is the exception, it is really rare for a mom not to be physically able to nurse her baby, especially if she is getting the right information and support (unfortunately not everyone is).
OK that said. I heard about a disturbing new formula that is being put out by Enfamil. Have y'all heard of this thing? It is called "Restful" and it is for nighttime feeding. And here is what it does . . . according to their site, it is "specially designed to help babies feel full longer and sleep better" and "it thickens gently in baby's tummy and digests slowly".
Does anyone else find this extremely disturbing and just plain wrong? It sounds like a diet pill . . . "designed to make you feel full longer so you eat less". I'm sure you have heard those diet ads. That is exactly what this is doing. It is thickening in baby's tummy so that they feel full longer so that they don't wake up as often needing to eat and disturbing your precious sleep. Wow! What some companies won't do to make money? This is not just completely unnatural but I would go so far as to argue that this is potentially dangerous. Babies wake at night for a reason, not just because they are hungry but because they need us. I think it is part of an instinctual survival type thing, they don't want to be alone. But I googled this and found that some even think that this could lead to an increase of SIDS. I know it seems far-reaching, but if you think about it, SIDS seems to occur more often when babies are in a deep sleep, and this product would seem to encourage that by expanding in the tummy to make them feel full, thus helping to prevent them from feeling hungry which would naturally cause them to wake.
I can see some moms finding this product very appealing. I mean I am sure getting up multiple times at night is very tiring. But after 5 kids I can tell you that I have only gotten up in the middle of the night with a baby a handful of times . . . seriously! I breastfeed and co-sleep. So when baby stirs to nurse (they don't even cry) I can latch them on and go back to sleep. Sure it took me a while to get used to it when I had my first, but it is so natural and eventually became like second nature. I am with them constantly, I hear them breathing, I know if something is wrong, I am right there!! Shoot I have ALL the kids still in the bed, and I would argue that I still get way more sleep than the mom who doesn't co-sleep! It is just downright easy!
OK here starts my little rant . . . . about this "Restful" formula . . . we are really a screwed up society if we buy into this!! It kind of goes along with the age old question that every new mom is asked by everyone once their baby is born . . . "is he sleeping through the night yet?" WHY is sleeping through the night so important? WHY is this some type of milestone that most moms feel they have to reach? Sometimes I think people just ask this out of habit, because they want to ask us something. I used to get asked this question all the time and I was baffled . . . ummm, before having kids *I* didn't always sleep through the night, LOL!! I know, I know, we do miss out on sleep when baby wakes up at night, and it is an adjustment, but that is part of being a parent!! But it is like the moment a baby is born, moms are looking for ways to get their lives back to the way they were before baby. Sorry folks, that isn't going to happen!
People talk about how important sleep is, how important it is to 'train' baby to sleep. Why? Why must we train them to sleep . . . is something wrong with them? I mean they know when they are hungry, and we feed them . . . they know when they want to be held, and we hold them . . . they fuss when they are tired, and we rock, nurse, and sometimes (especially if they have reflux or gas etc) we will pace the floor to help them calm down to sleep. And they wake up again because they are hungry or uncomfortable, or they want to be near us and they are lonely etc. This is the nature of babies. Beautiful little people who need loads of attention and love all the time. We are not parents just during the day. Parenting is a 24 hr a day job, and that includes NIGHTS! Are we really so desperate that we need a magic formula to help our babies sleep longer?
Yes it is hard! Parenting in general is hard. It can be tiring and frustrating and sometimes we would love to just be able to use the bathroom in peace! And believe me, I have been known to at times exclaim "Calgon, take me away!!" (most of y'all are hopefully old enough to remember that, LOL). But when you have a baby, they come first because they are so helpless and so needy and they cannot wait or reason or understand. During my writing this Thrace (who is 3mo old and lying next to me) has woken up 4x and though I may be in the middle of a thought or sentence and I do NOT want to stop writing, I stop and nurse him (or give him my pinky to suck when he just nursed a ton and spit up 10 min before, LOL). Because that is just what I do, that is my job. And if you look at things from a different perspective, as overwhelming as it can be, you know that as mothers and fathers, we are the most important part of their lives. What a privilege that is!
Some of my kids have been better sleepers than others but none of them sleep as well alone as they do with me (or on me). Why? because they are BABIES, they are completely helpless, their whole being screams to be close to us, to be held, to be protected by us. We are their only source of food, we provide comfort. They know our voice, our smell they are bonded to US. For young babies, they spent the majority of their lives inside our bodies. Why on earth would they not want to be with us every second of their short lives on the outside? So what do we moms do? Lets see . . . we spend most of our time trying to schedule their feedings, trying to get them used to not being held too much and ignoring their calls for us (don't want to spoil them right?) and trying to get them to to sleep through the night so we can sleep undisturbed and shoot, if a formula comes along that will help with that, then woohoo!! Lets buy it!!
As a mom who carries her babies everywhere, nurses them till they are ready to wean, sleeps with them, nurses them throughout the night, and answers their calls promptly, I can attest to the fact that they DO learn to sleep through the night on their own eventually, . . . when they are mentally and physically ready to do so. I help them sleep and do things to encourage sleep (sleeping with them, making them warm and comfortable, wearing them often, keeping them close). But I don't have to 'train' them to sleep, they always end up doing it on their own in their own time when they have matured a little (and every one is different in this way).
I encourage you to respect these little people the way that they are. Respect their little bodies, how God designed them. Respect the fact that they need us so much and those ingrained needs are a part of every fiber of their being.
What an amazing thing to have a person who needs us and loves us so desperately. And they don't just need and love us because we give them food, but because we are their parents. These little people who can spot you across the room, who know your voice when you think you are out of earshot, who look to you for comfort when a stranger is near and who can't stand for you to even leave the room. They do grow, they mature and change, this is but a brief moment in life. We don't need a formula to help make parenting easier . . . we need to simply cherish every moment!!