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Do you tell moms breastfeeding is easier than formula feeding? - Page 4

post #61 of 90

As a mom who has done both, Id never tell anyone that breastfeeding is easier. 

 

 

I nursed DD until 18 months, and it was easy peasy after we hit 6 weeks. Although, until she was one she never slept longer than 45 minutes at a time.

I nursed DS for his whole life and we never had a problem. 

My twins were preterm, and I EPed for them for 8 weeks, and then we switched to nursing. They nursed for a couple of months and I sat in a chair completely covered with babies while my house fell apart, my diet went to crap,  my business fell apart, and my 3 year old was starved for attention.  And as a result of all that, my marriage went into a terrible rut. SO, now we almost exclusively formula feed and everyone is much happier. And the first night we gave formula my twins have slept 8 hours at night, and have done so every night since, giving me the ability to (sort of) think like a human being again.

 

So, I am probably one of those moms who would have said that "breastfeeding is easier because you dont have to wash bottles or mix formula".  And that was easy to say, never having done it myself. 

 

Breastfeeding at night is easier IF you cosleep. 

Breastfeeding is easier IF you arent constantly battling supply issues and feeling like you arent good enough. 

Bottles dont really have to be boiled after the first couple of weeks and it doesnt take that long to clean them. 
It's really not that hard to mix formula while you are half asleep. Put two scoops in the bottle before you go to bed and add water. 

 

If someone asked me who was 9 months pregnant and considering nursing, of course I wouldnt tell them "oh, feed your baby formula, they'll sleep through the night," but I also wouldnt tell them how easy peasy nursing is- because every situation is different, every newborn is different. 

post #62 of 90
Roisin123 ... I hear you completely.
post #63 of 90

I want to disclaim that I do think there are benefits to FF even in "uncomplicated" cases, especially if you WOH full-time, but in general I think uncomplicated BF seems like it's much easier than uncomplicated FF (which I guess would be when you start off with the perfect formula and have zero digestive issues).

 

When DD was 3 months old, I went to a BFing support group and (aside from the leaders), I was the woman with the most BFing experience, LOL...  Anyway, since it was mostly pregnant FTMs-to-be, this subject came up and one of the leaders said (for most women) FFing was easier than BFing for the first 40 days, and then BFing was easier.  I'd say that sums it up for me, and probably for the vast majority of women with any sort of cultural and/or personal support.  I didn't have a lot of such support, but some.

 

It has NOT been easy for me, but not super-hard since she was ~40 days old or so.  And I can't imagine having to get out of bed at night for any reason!  Since maybe 6-8 weeks (DD is 4.5+ months), we haven't even sat up in bed except for maybe 1 potty trip per night, which I need, too (we EC).  So if you co-sleep and have no special challenges, I think BFing wins, hands-down. 

 

And another aspect-- speaking only for myself here, I believe it is very likely to be much easier much sooner for any subsequent babies (barring preemies, twins, SN, etc.)  So, there's that, too-- once you have one under your belt, I believe in the majority of cases, you reap the benefits (in terms of ease) with every successive child.

post #64 of 90

Well, I have had both easy BFing and difficult BFing, but overall, I would say that once your supply is established and your nipples stop hurting (meaning about after 3 weeks or so for me), it is definitely easier.  Two of my kids had formula as infants, one because he was a preemie in the NICU and he was my first and I had NO HELP from anyone to learn how to pump the first few days, my second because I had emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix when she was 7 days old.  I hadn't had time to pump/freeze any milk yet, and I was on so much medication in the hospital that I had to pump and discard the milk, so hubby had to give her formula at home for several days.  She hated it and threw up every time!  I am thankful that formula was available to me in those situations, but now that I have the benefit of more experience, and a more relaxed life-style, my other 5 were exclusively BF'd and never even had a bottle of pumped milk.  They were just always with me and I fed them when needed, weaning when the next baby was conceived.  In fact, I am trying to wean my 26month old currently, but he wants no part of it!!  I am already 5 months pregnant, but it looks like we may end up tandem nursing, which I've never done before.

 

For my family, BFing is definitely easier, and I would encourage other moms to give it their best try, but I recognize that for some (especially working moms) it may just not work out.  I would also say, though, that I think many moms are sold short by their health professionals when they are told they have "low supply" and should just stop nursing.  There are so many things one can try to increase milk supply naturally, but most health care providers are unaware of them ( oatmeal, mother's milk tea, kangaroo care, fenugreek, and so on).  We need to give these moms more support than they are getting so that their BFing experience can be successful.

post #65 of 90

well nurse can be easy  but it is not allways the best for the baby i had two i breastfeed and one i did not cause i did not get enough milk in to do so i wish i had but it is ok cause i did not find cleaning the bottles all that hard as pull my boob out in the middle of the store or work so she could eat

post #66 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by demeter888 View Post

I also get tired of people going on about how great breastfeeding is; I even had a guy at airport security who inspected my frozen breastmilk start telling me how it's the best thing I can do for my baby.  I am tired of people assuming that I need a lecture or pep talk of any kind regarding breastfeeding when it's really none of their business what/when/how I feed my child. 

Yeah, that's why I never bought the cards that some people hand out.  It just feels patronizing.

post #67 of 90

I had this conversation holding my sobbing friend in my arms, totally shattered into the 4th week of BFing that was not going well, feeling so ashamed and guilty for wanting to supplement with formula.  I told her that formula wasn't going to make her life easier, but you know what?  It did.  She gives a bottle of formula at noon and before bed and her baby sleeps and doesn't cry.  Mommy is relieved and can  now get some sleep. 

post #68 of 90

For me breastfeeding has definitely been easy, and I have told people that; however, I know BFing is not always easy. We've been very fortunate! 

post #69 of 90

I wouldn't say that categorically, no. I say that it is easier in some ways (no being out of the house and realizing, crap, forgot the bottle, ran out of formula, there's no clean water, etc., or midnight bottle-making), but harder in others (nursing away from home can be tough for so many reasons, and not being able to easily leave your baby, for example). I definitely believe it's worth it, and as some have mentioned, I do not always choose what is easiest in raising my child, but what is best. Since I have the ability to provide my child with breastmilk, I do. I'm also a big advocate of telling people about the wonders of lactation consultants. Nursing was hellish off and on (mostly on) for the first 2.5 months until I finally got in to see a lactation consultant. That was a huge game-changer for me.

 

I guess it depends on who you talk to, but I'm definitely one who heard mostly roses and unicorns about breastfeeding before having my son, and I wish I had heard more about how it takes time to get into your groove. Then again, maybe I just didn't want to hear it. It's hard to know. I can say once I started breastfeeding, I was very disappointed in my breastfeeding books. Neither of them had the word "pain" in their index. I was having pain (SEVERE pain!) both during nursing and between nursing sessions, and all they could offer was that I might feel a little "discomfort". Not at all helpful.

post #70 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyscience View PostNeither of them had the word "pain" in their index. I was having pain (SEVERE pain!) both during nursing and between nursing sessions, and all they could offer was that I might feel a little "discomfort". Not at all helpful.

I think that's largely a result of the medical impact. As far as I can tell, the only time medical professionals use the word "pain" is in pain management, which they administer after determining one's level of "discomfort". (Yes - I'm jaded...I've had post-op pain referred to as discomfort, had the pain of an infected crack in my nipple referred to as discomfort, etc. The term "discomfort" means something very different in medical - and related - circles than it does in the real world, imo.)

post #71 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyscience View PostNeither of them had the word "pain" in their index. I was having pain (SEVERE pain!) both during nursing and between nursing sessions, and all they could offer was that I might feel a little "discomfort". Not at all helpful.

I think that's largely a result of the medical impact. As far as I can tell, the only time medical professionals use the word "pain" is in pain management, which they administer after determining one's level of "discomfort". (Yes - I'm jaded...I've had post-op pain referred to as discomfort, had the pain of an infected crack in my nipple referred to as discomfort, etc. The term "discomfort" means something very different in medical - and related - circles than it does in the real world, imo.)


Interesting point. Maybe it makes medical people feel better to call it discomfort, but to the rest of us in the real world, it hurts a lot more than that! I expected better from LLL and Dr. Sears, but I honestly wouldn't recommend either book at this point. Way too much candles and soft music and not nearly enough realism.


Edited by monkeyscience - 7/26/13 at 12:33pm
post #72 of 90
Amen to the discomfort bs! I personally will not lie to clients in such a way. "Discomfort" is when you're cramped into a tiny airplane seat. If you are crying and rocking back and forth, it's pain!
post #73 of 90

I see prescriptions from time to time for pain medicine that say to take as needed for "discomfort" and that makes me wonder if the patient really understands what the doctor is getting at with that instruction. 

post #74 of 90

I find Dr. Newman's book about breastfeeding to be the most frank. I think he does mention pain.

 

YMMV. Breastfeeding never hurt for me.

post #75 of 90
I doubt breastfeeding would have hurt much if there hadn't been problems I wasn't aware of initially. To this day, the LC I saw is the only person I've ever heard mention you can get dermatitis from lanolin, or from disposable nursing pads.
post #76 of 90

I attended a breastfeeding group for a while run by an IBCLC. She is the only person I've ever heard say that if you have flat nipples you're more likely to have pain with nursing and have it take longer to go away. Since I apparently have flat nipples, this would have been nice to know earlier in the process. This didn't even come up in group until well after my problems had resolved themselves... but I'd seen at least two LCs in the hospital who hadn't said anything, and I'd never read anything anywhere.

post #77 of 90
Nursing became physically neutral (no longer painful) when my guy hit around three months. I had awesome lactation consultants, wonderful LLL support, and no interfering issues such as supply, nipple shape, latch problems. None.

It just really hurt for a quarter of a year.

Down the road, I had a couple of go-rounds with extremely sharp, needle-like pain during nursing. Nystatin cleared it up within a couple days on each occasion. Visually, I was asympomatic of a yeast problem, and I never would have suspected it unless my LLL leader explained what it might be. My HCP gave me the script and it was magic.
post #78 of 90

 I wouldn't tell someone it's easier, it's all opinion.  What I do tell moms is first to check the health benefits of both mother and baby, then read about bf, attend some lll meetings if possible, and in general realize it's not going to be "easy" for everyone.  Not to give up at the first sign of trouble, but seek help.  Those first 6 wks are hard no matter what, and if there are complications, you need to have support and know who to call. You may have to supplement, you may be able to wean off it, you may have to stop bf.  Everyone's different.  

post #79 of 90

I was involved in a conversation like this between two people and one was trying to convince the other to breastfeed.  She stated that it was easier than formula.  I've done both and I have to say that breastfeeding was a lot easier on me, but not because of convenience.  It was actually harder to get the hang of breastfeeding because I had very little help.  I had a great supply when it came to actual feedings, but using a breast pump was not very easy for me at all.  I really didn't have any time to pump because DD was constantly hungry and that made it hard for anyone else to bond with DD when it came to feeding time.  And I'd hear that as a major complaint from the MIL because she didn't want to bond any other way with her granddaughter.  The pump also seemed to reduce my milk flow too. 

 

However, having said all of that, there were some huge pluses for me.  I have Fibro and my pain levels decreased due to breastfeeding.  I actually felt so good, that I was able to maintain a pretty normal routine at home literally right after getting out of the hospital and started to visit people after a being home just three days.  I didn't have that with my first.  I did bottle fed her.  It took a couple of weeks for me to feel strong enough even to venture out of the house for an hour.  I remember feeling very weak and tired with my first one and visiting people in the mall that I worked at was very difficult.

 

I also had a hard time carrying everything around.  Many times my husband was not with me when I had the children in tow and it was MUCH easier to carry a bag without formula in it, especially if we were going somewhere for several hours.  I would have to bring the can and that sucker is big and heavy when it's newly opened.  Of course, I always got the big can because it was cheaper to do so, and that was part of the problem, but the smaller ones were pretty hefty too.  Many times we'd buy smaller cans and keep them over at both sets of grandparents' houses.  I even had one at Great Grandma's house too.  And that was an extra expense which at times was not really easy. 

post #80 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by buko View Post
When DD was 3 months old, I went to a BFing support group and (aside from the leaders), I was the woman with the most BFing experience, LOL...  Anyway, since it was mostly pregnant FTMs-to-be, this subject came up and one of the leaders said (for most women) FFing was easier than BFing for the first 40 days, and then BFing was easier.  I'd say that sums it up for me, and probably for the vast majority of women with any sort of cultural and/or personal support.  I didn't have a lot of such support, but some.

 

This was not my experience, and after reading so many similar replies I'm realizing I was in the minority.  DS latched on within minutes of being born, and almost 3 1/2 years later he's still going strong.  I had a little pain from sore nipples very early on, but it really wasn't too bad.  I had more milk than I knew what to do with, but that seemed like a minor inconvenience.  The inconvenient part started for me when DS was 6 months old and I had to go back to work full time.  I had arranged to be able to take him into the office with me a couple of days a week, and then I'd just shut the door and nurse when I needed to. That was occasionally awkward, with a student or colleague wanting to talk to me right when DS needed to nurse.  But it was doable.  What was really tough was the other two days when I left DS home with DH and worked long, 13 or 14 hour days with all of my teaching crammed into those days.  (That was how I was able to negotiate bringing him in on the days I wasn't teaching).  It meant that during those very long days, I never truly had a break.  I'd get to the office, after an hour commute, close the door and pump.  Then I'd get ready to teach a class, teach the class, return to my office and pump.  Then I'd go teach another class, etc. etc, all day long.  There was probably just as much washing and such, and I had to carry the breastpump, the bottles, the freezer pack (because I didn't have a fridge to store the milk in), the cleaning wipes with me.  And then there were the awkward moments when I would have finished pumping, wiped off the pump parts, and set them out to air dry when a student or colleague knocked on my door.  I don't really have a problem NIP, but I felt really uncomfortable about having a professional conversation with pumping paraphernalia lying around.  And there were the really awkward moments when I was pumping and our janitor, a really nice guy who just can't catch a clue on this one issue, would knock on my closed, locked door, and then proceed to unlock it and come on in while I was nursing. So no, at those moments I don't think breastfeeding was easier than formula feeding.  It took a lot of determination and hard work, and even with that said I have to acknowledge that I had it easier than some mamas.  I did have a private office that I could use.  I did have plenty of milk.  I did have a supportive husband who was home with our son for those two days each week and was committed to not giving him anything but my milk.  But easy? no.  I kept doing it because I felt it was the best thing for me and my baby.  And yes, I have to put myself in there, too.  It was best for me because after working those long days I meant I could go home and nurse my son and we would reconnect after what felt like a very long separation. 

 

so overall I would say my experience with breastfeeding has been wonderful.  And for the most part I think it was probably more convenient than FF, but not during those difficult periods when I had to pump at work, or at conferences, or while travelling.  Worth it still, but not always easy.

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