I’ve called several formula companies to find out if any of their infant formulas are vegetarian, and it’s kind of freaking me out, the response. So far I’ve called the 3 major brands – Enfamil, Similac, and Nestle. I might call around to some of the store brand ones, but in reality it’s the major brands that are probably going to be what I’ll be using if it comes down to having to supplement (and the other ones are probably the same, anyway).
I should start off by saying that my ‘plan’ is to breastfeed exclusively, as I did with Andrew. Formula never once touched his lips and I never had any problems with my milk supply in the 18.5 months that I nursed him. However, it can be a lot more complicated when you have 2 babies at once, or at least this is what I’ve been told by my doctor, from research, and from talking to moms of twins. I KNOW it will be challenging – think about it, 2 babies latched to a breast each at the same time, or pumping for one and nursing the other, constant pumping when they’re not feeding, and somehow I’m also supposed to have time to spend with Andrew AND to get things done around the house…yeah, that sounds slightly complicated! Especially in the very beginning, I’m going to have to pump every 2 hours from everything I’ve been told/read. EVERY 2 HOURS, and that’s just to keep my supply up for the high demand of 2 babies!
It’s not going to be easy, though I’m going to strive to make it work, since ultimately MY milk is what I would prefer the babies be getting, and one of the biggest reasons for this is that I would like to be able to start them off vegetarian.
Donor milk is an option, but to me that’s the same as using non-vegetarian infant formula, because there’s no way of knowing if the donor was vegetarian or not. Likely they would not be. Also, like I said a while back when I was writing about this the first time, I don’t like the idea of some other woman’s milk feeding MY babies. Call me territorial, but it just doesn’t work for this Momma! So if it comes down to needing to supplement – say if one of the babies isn’t taking well to nursing, or needs the extra boost that formula gives in combination with breast milk, which can often happen with twins…I’m going to have to resort to formula.
So I called Enfamil first. They were super friendly, I was very impressed by the level of customer service I received. The woman I talked to said that their only completely vegetarian-based formula is the soy formula. (I’m still not totally sure how I feel about a soy based formula, but at least it’s fully vegetarian – and I suppose if it’s something I was only using on occasion but not half to the majority of the time, I don’t have a problem with it…I just don’t know if ‘too much soy’ for an infant is a good thing or not? There are mixed reviews on this). Anyway…I was happy to at least know there is an option there, and I can sign up for a ‘twins program’ once they arrive and I can send in proof of their births, in which case they would send me 2 free samples of the formula of my choice, as well as coupons for some major discounts on future purchases. I still feel uneasy about the whole using formula thing, but I felt good about the conversation I had with the representative at Enfamil.
Next I called Similac, and as soon as I asked if any of their formulas are completely vegetarian, I was hung up on. NOT a good sign. I didn’t bother calling back because I don’t believe it was a bad connection, I really do think they hung up on me. Not sure what they’d be trying to hide there? But I obviously won’t be using Similac.
Third, I called Nestle Baby, and when I asked if any of their newborn formulas are vegetarian, ‘No’ was the full response.
I know that if it comes down to it, I can use a non-vegetarian formula and, like I’ve said before, it doesn’t mean my babies aren’t going to be vegetarian. It’s not like they’d be fed a hunk of steak or something if they’re getting a non-vegetarian source of Omega 3’s or what have you. But…I still don’t feel good about the idea of starting my babies off in a way that makes me feel uneasy.
I should look into what health food stores carry as well, but realistically that stuff will be SO expensive, and that kind of freaks me out, because the formula you get at the grocery store is already insanely priced – particularly when you consider it’s TWO babies, not one, that would be using it. Double the already expensive price! YIKES.
I’m trying not to worry about it too much, since ultimately at this point there’s nothing I can do – I don’t know if the twins will need to be supplemented or not. I will strive for not, and go from there. I just wish this didn’t have to be so complicated!