Shawn Johnson’s Breastfeeding Struggle and Switch to Formula

    Shawn Johnson’s Breastfeeding Struggle and Switch to Formula

    All the training and preparation in the world can go out the window when the newest addition to your team doesn’t want to play ball. That’s exactly what Gold Medal Gymnast Shawn Johnson, and Football Player, Andrew East, learned soon after the birth of their bubbly baby girl, Drew Hazel.

    The typical feeding journey starts by introducing breastfeeding in the hospital. For some, this carries on when you head home, but for others the journey looks a little different – and that’s okay! Shawn and Andrew came home from the hospital with their new baby Drew Hazel and intended to continue their breastfeeding, but Drew had other plans.

    We had this mapped out game plan of this is what we were going to do at every stage. This is how we’re going to feed her; this is how we’re going to raise her, and it wasn’t until after we had Drew, we kind of laughed. It’s not just our decision. Your kid is going to decide a lot of it.”

    Shawn Johnson
    Gold Medal Gymnast and Mom to Drew Hazel

    The First Feedings

    Being a new parent comes with its challenges as well as its rewards, and the first few days are packed with new experiences. The feeding process generally starts with breastmilk in the hospital, with a midwife or nurse there to help educate and initiate first attempts so mom and baby feel comfortable and supported. For some moms, you can nurse as soon as an hour after birth depending on your birthing experience.

    It can be very overwhelming - you’re coming off no sleep and trying to do everything according to plan. The rollercoaster of emotions and uncertainty, especially when it comes to feeding, is normal. During the first 3-4 days your body produces colostrum - the first form of breast milk which is bursting with nutrients your newborn needs for protection against infection as they meet the outside world. But sometimes, breastfeeding can be very challenging for mom and baby. If that happens, there are many paths you can take to keep yourself and baby happy.”

    Dr. Valentine
    healthcare professional and neonatologist

    What Happens When Your Baby Won’t Breastfeed?

    Like many parents out there, Shawn and Andrew recount their arrival home with specific feeding plans that were quickly shifted, saying "as soon as she got home, she decided she wasn’t breastfeeding anymore, and it was just a wrestling match."

    If your baby decides breastfeeding isn’t for them, or if you/your body decide it’s not right for you, don’t worry! You’ll usually have a little experimenting to do to see what works best. Reach out to your pediatrician and nurses for advice. They will likely suggest things like pumping, trying a bottle, supplementing, and/or switch to using formula. It can be very emotional, but rest assured it’s just a matter of trial and error – your baby will let you know what’s working and what’s not – in no uncertain terms.

    In Drew’s case, Shawn and Andrew switched to supplementing with Enfamil EnspireTM, Enfamil’s closest formula to breast milk. Shortly after, they transitioned to supplementing with Enfamil EnspireTM Gentlease, with easy-to-digest gentle proteins and ~15% of the lactose in Enfamil Enspire. Drew went from being unhappy and hungry to all smiles. It took a new approach and the right formula to satisfy the new addition to the East clan and bring peace of mind to the new parents.

    Nourishing Your Baby

    Every parent wants their baby to grow up strong, healthy, and smart – and to go into the world fascinated and ready to explore its wonders. As two people who spent most of their lives in sports, nourishing your body with proper nutrients is nothing new to Shawn and Andrew.

    Ensuring Drew is being fed a great alternative to breast milk when supplementing was imperative. When choosing which formula to go with, "we didn’t take the choice of which formula to use lightly," shares Andrew, "we did a ton of research, a ton of asking around, the pediatrician, the hospital, our community of moms and hands down, the number one recommended choice was Enfamil."

    Supporting Each Other

    Embarking on a new journey with a newborn is no easy feat. Identifying what feeding option works best for you and your baby can be stressful and overwhelming, but know there are many parents out there, like Shawn and Andrew, who have gone through it, too! You are not alone!

    At the end of the day, whether you choose to feed your child with breast milk or baby formula comes down to one thing – something Shawn and Andrew were quick to find out, "It’s your child. It’s your decision, and what works for you as parents and your kid is what’s right for your kid."