Power-Packed: Baby formula and protein powder

The best nutrition, I believe, comes from natural sources. We adults thrive on naturally grown meats, fish, whole grains and produce, for example. Our young babies thrive on our breast milk. But we live in a time and place where science also thrives. Food science has given us other sources of macronutrients. Some I accept without question. Others leave a bad taste in my mouth (ha ha). While protein supplements are a great option for me, I am not as accepting of formula supplementation for my young one. It appears that what is good for this goose is not good for her gosling (LOL).

A high protein diet is essential in bodybuilding. Protein helps build lean muscle and increases the body’s fat burning ability. When I was training for competition, I would aim for at least 130 grams of protein each day. Maintaining a moderately high protein diet is also a helpful weight loss tactic for non-meat heads.  Many experts suggest that proteins account for 30% of the daily diet. Whether you’re aiming for 100 or 150 grams of protein per day, it can be hard to get it all from natural food sources. That’s where protein supplements come in.

There are many brands and products on the market. There are protein powders made from whey, egg, soy, rice and even hemp. There are different grades of quality. There are different flavours. The powder form is perfect for making shakes or mixing into meals. The ready-to-drink shakes make great quick portable snacks. There are all-natural and vegan options. There are also formulae with perhaps more questionable ingredients.

I’ve personally been fond of Allmax Isoflex and Myoplex shakes with a soft spot for chocolate. But once I became pregnant, I packed away my protein powders. Yes, I had been consuming the presumably artificial ingredients for many months without question. Regardless, I was not willing to pass these on to my growing baby.

As a nursing mother, I am still abstaining from the muscle-building supplements. Some new moms await the day they can down a full-bodied wine or a stout glass of tonic. Me, I look forward to a thick chocolaty shake packed with 40 grams of protein. I’ve recently learned about 100% natural products from Vega and North Coast Naturals. I’m still a bit hesitant. I may give Vega a try or I may just wait out the three months until my little one is weaned.

Now while I’m generally accepting of protein supplements for moi, infant formula for the babe is another story. I chose to breastfeed for a few reasons. Mainly, it seemed the natural healthy, God-designed thing to do. And I certainly appreciated the convenience and cost-efficiency. I know that formula has benefited millions of babies. Still, I questioned how man could make a substance to replace breast milk. What is it made of? Funny enough, I’ve never asked the same about protein powders.

I never considered using formula until my daughter was almost six months old. It was a particularly tiring time. I thought maybe supplementing would give me a break from marathon nursing. In the end, I never bothered. Is it just me or does preparing half-and-half bottles sound like even more work?

I’ve had “an emergency” tin of formula in my cupboard for months. You know, so in case I get hit by a bus or run away with Vin Diesel, baby would be fed. It wasn’t until May that we actually opened it. No, I didn’t meet Vin. I had a “Sex and the City 2” date with the girls and wasn’t sure I’d make it home on time for a feeding. Hubby would only prepare it if he really had to.

I returned home from the movie and got the full report from hubby. My daughter had indeed tried the formula. “Did she drink it? Did she like it? How much did she have?”, I drilled. I had unexpected and admittedly irrational feelings. I felt that for the first time in almost eight months, someone rather something other than me had nourished my baby. Huh! I never felt that way about protein shakes. In a weird way I felt hurt, betrayed and maybe a little unneeded. I took my baby into my arms and could smell the scent of another on her. Seriously. It was like smelling perfume on a cheating boyfriend.

Now don’t get me wrong. I see absolutely nothing wrong with choosing to supplement. It just wasn’t the choice for me. And I know that some women don’t have much choice at all. I count myself lucky that I’ve had a successful and  (mostly) pleasurable breastfeeding experience.

That said, we’ve kept the formula on hand for the times when my boob is not. I can’t say that I’ve warmed up to it at all. Funny enough, neither has my daughter. She’s never had more than an ounce or so. I like to think her rejection of the packaged product is a silent sign of support for Mama.

There’s no rational explanation for this one. It’s just the way I feel. May science help lead me to bodybuilding Pro status. May nature help my baby build a strong healthy body. Amen!

How do you feel about nutritional supplements for yourself and/or baby?


1 Comment

Filed under Nutrition, Uncategorized

One response to “Power-Packed: Baby formula and protein powder

  1. Pauline

    Another great post!
    I’m with you, Debbie. I could never understand the appeal of formula – especially at 3:00 am when I could just pull out the boob rather than go heat up formula. (Of course, I understand that for some women it is a necessity and can even be a medical need. So I am not trying to say that I’m against formula at all. Just not for me.)
    I actually remember the first time we gave Lily a pacifier – this was a controversial idea for us but at the time we felt we needed it. Anyway, when I saw her so comforted by this plastic nipple, I felt positive jealous! LOL! I was irrational enough to think she wouldn’t love me anymore! Possessive much? lol
    I didn’t take nutritional supplements at that time, so not sure how I would feel about taking them while I nursed but I can tell you that Rein used to use Vega daily, and from everything we know about it, it’s truly vegan and doesn’t contain chemicals. But I understand your hesitation completely 🙂

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