The freezer stash is HISTORY. Gone. Nadda. I used the last of it on Tuesday. As I stated here, I was prepared and OK with it. I had a can of formula in the cabinet waiting for when I needed it. I decided on Earth's Best Infant Formula. I chose it because that is the brand of food I normally buy, and I liked that it was organic. Also, it seemed reasonably priced. However, I wasn't too concerned about the price, since I am only supplementing with formula and don't have to buy a ton. I got the powder versus the ready to eat, because the powder can be open for a month. The ready to eat has to be used within a couple of days after being opened.
Currently, Ben is having three 5 oz. bottles each day at daycare. I also send in a fourth 4 oz. bottle "just in case," but that one typically comes home with me. Yesterday, I only had 13.5 oz. of breast milk. So I did two 5 oz. bottles of breastmilk, one 6 oz. bottle of formula, and one 3.5 oz. bottle of breast milk as the "extra." I made the formula bottle 6 oz. because it was just easier measuring that way, since it is one scoop of powder for every 2 oz. I figured if he didn't drink the whole thing and they threw some out, I could care less because it was just formula. How liberating!
I labeled which bottle was formula and chatted with the caretaker about in the morning. I didn't instruct her when to give him the formula bottle. She ended up giving him that one first, which I was fine with because he always has three bottles so I knew he would get the other two breast milk ones. The 4th "extra" bottle, I took home and used today. She reported that he drank the formula with no problems, had all six oz, and took a two hour nap afterwards. I like the sound of that.
This morning I had 12 oz. of breast milk. I knew that I wanted to use all of the breast milk, because he doesn't go back to daycare until Monday (tomorrow is my flex day). So I sent two 5 oz. bottles of breast milk, one 6 oz. bottle of mixed formula and breast milk, and one "extra" 4 oz. bottle of formula. I read that it is fine to mix formula and breast milk in the same bottle. The disadvantage of this is that you have to use formula within an hour of heating it up. So if the baby doesn't drink the whole bottle within an hour, you have to throw it out. If there happens to be breast milk mixed in, you lose the breast milk. However, they have had to throw out breast milk before that he hasn't finished, so I am sort of used to it. Also, lately Ben has been finishing his bottles, so I don't think that it too much of a risk. I guess I will find out!
One issue I am trying to figure out is what to do about that extra "just in case" bottle. For instance, that bottle was just formula today. I see that happening in the future a lot - having enough breast milk or almost enough for the three bottles, but not the extra one. It seems wasteful to make a bottle of formula each day to just throw out. I am not sure what to do about this. If you have any suggestions, let me know!
As an aside, my pumping production has taken a huge nosedive this week. I have only been pumping 9-10 oz. each day. I think this is a combination of several factors: (1) I have been sick and last week I took some decongestants. (2) I spent the night away from Ben for the first time (see here). I pumped, but I think it still cost me. (3) I have stopped pumping at home in the evenings. I just got sick of it and didn't produce much then anyways. (4) Ben has been nursing less when I am with him on the weekends. He still has a strong nursing sesh first thing in the morning, but not much after that until the afternoon. Probably due to his food intake going up. I bought some new membranes for my pumping parts today, so hopefully that helps! I'll keep ya posted!
So Ben is regularly getting formula now. I could see it coming on the horizon for a while. I almost never pumped the amount that he actually drank at daycare, and my freezer stash was bound to run out at some point. He is seven months old now, so I feel pretty good about it. More than anything, I am thankful that formula exists. I think it is safe to say that I have done almost every reasonable thing I could think of to keep up breastfeeding/pumping while working (although something I wouldn't do, here). If formula didn't exist, I wouldn't be able to work at this point, because Ben would not have enough to eat. I plan on continuing to breastfeed and pump, only supplementing what I am not able to make. I am sure at some point, I will pump less at work, and then not at all, when Ben gets older. I need to research the weaning process to figure it all out. I am sure I will do a post about it! ;)