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IS Breastfeeding "Easier" than FF?

post #1 of 420
Thread Starter 
I want to start this by saying that I am NOT trying to advocate formula feeding. I strongly believe that breast milk is the best for a child.


I hear mom's IRL and on MDC say that Breastfeeding is SOOO much easier than formula feeding.

I have also read this in a lot of breastfeeding literature.

I found it to be completely untrue, and I am wondering *What* makes people feel that breast feeding is "Easier"?

I had to switch to formula when DS was 5 months old. Long story, and the reasons why are beside the point.

Formula feeding was sooo much easier. It took about 10 percent of the time that breast feeding did and was much more convenient. We used a fresh goats milk formula that we made at home. When we would go out we would bring a really small cooler bag for the bottle, and a thermos of hot water to heat it up with. Yes, that part (bringing more stuff) is harder than breast feeding. But it was so much easier to heat a bottle and be done feeding him in five minutes versus the amount of time (at least 30 minutes) it would have taken to breastfeed him. And I didn't have to worry about nursing bras or breast pads or leaking breasts. I could also ask DP to give him the bottle which is not an option if you are bfing.

Middle of the night feedings were the same thing....keep a little cooler bag right next to the bed with pre made bottles and a thermos of hot water to heat it. I took 2 minutes from the time Owen woke to the time he had his bottle, and I didn't even have to get out of bed. He would be done and ready to go back to sleep within 5 minutes.

With Formula, anyone can help out. It doesn't have to be you who feeds the baby every time. You can actually get a few hours of sleep or go out somewhere without the baby for a while if you need to without having to pump (which was a disaster for us )

I just think it is silly not to acknowledge that there are MANY things about formula feeding that make it much easier for the mom.

That is why a lot of people switch to formula...because they are overwhelmed and it is sooo much easier than breastfeeding.

I have a good friend who has been breastfeeding for the last 2.5 yrs. She has 2 Bio kids that have been Bf'd exclusively, ages 2 yo and 10 mo.
She and I have argued (nicely) about this exact thing for about a year now. She insisted that she couldn't understand why anyone would think formula was easier.
Well, she just adopted an infant, and she is doing Goat milk formula for the first time and she can't BELIEVE how much easier it is. She had just thought that FF would be harder because all the pro breastfeeding literature says that it is.
She and I were talking about this and I thought it would be interesting to get some other opinions.

I would especially like to hear if there are ppl who have done both and found breastfeeding to be much easier over all.

Again, this is not meant to imply in any way that formula is better, or that people should switch to formula w.out a medical reason!!


I just think that if we are going to try to convince someone to bf instead of ff then we should be honest.
Breastfeeding is a huge sacrifice and commitment. It is worth it 150%, and is wonderful for Mom and Baby.
It is the healthiest thing for a baby to eat.
It is really hard work.
post #2 of 420
um...with my four kids, only one would have been easier with formula...and that's ONLY because i had to pump to feed her.

all that bottle-cleaning...all that heating...all that mixing...

when my little ones would wake in the middle of the night, i'd roll over and give them a breast. getting up to fix and warm a bottle would drive me NUTS! i HATED that!

my kids were pretty efficient, they didn't take any longer to nurse than they did to bottle-feed...i'd wonder if the flow was too fast if they had. twenty minutes, tops, with no getting up...no cleaning...no fixing...did i mention no cleaning?

no bottles to buy...or find in the couch...no big diaper bags, just a couple tossed in my bag...
post #3 of 420
I've done both, with the same child. Now, I was never able to exclusively BF, so take this w/ a grain of salt.

I found BF much easier. When I finally got DS to nurse, it was mostly at night. He had an oral aversion and didn't fight BFing while asleep. I could just turn over and get 7 hrs of sleep!

FF required me to heat the bottle, sterilize equipment(including my pump) several times a day. PITA. Buy the formula, mix the formula. DS never ate consistent amounts, so I was either throwing the formula out or trying to heat/ make more with a screaming baby. Time really was of the essence.

Now, I didn't have much support and I was pumping what I could for DS. Maybe I got an ounce a day? BFing saved my sanity. It was certainly difficult to do (for us) but worthwhile.
post #4 of 420
Speaking as a mom who was able to breastfeed for a while but switched to formula (not going to go into my story here - that's not the point) - I feel that breastfeeding would have been much more convenient:
- can feed wherever, whenever, don't need to wonder if you packed all your feeding supplies in the diaper bag
- you don't have to worry about when you're going to run out, or where to buy on sale, who's got it on sale, and do I have a coupon somewhere?
- there are nipples to wash but it's no big deal since you're in the shower anyway
- no having to make bottles!

I really think that breastfeeding is way more convenient than formula feeding.
post #5 of 420
I have bf three children. One of which had to go on formula at 2months. Yes, bf is easier. Of course, it's very subjective and it depends. Some people have difficulties, like I did with ds. If I would have had support, I would like to think that I wouldn't have had such a tough time.

But even with my problems, it is still 100% easier.

I did not find one single thing while bottlefeeding that made it easier or better. Period. Formula feeding was a huge PIA in every regard.
post #6 of 420
I don't see how preparing anything and then washing it afterwards, etc. is easier than Simply putting a hungry baby to your breast instantly satifying him. I mean really, i can't see how that could even be considered not the simplest thing ever!

Also, I think I can stand the "sacrifice" of the extra 30 minutes it takes to feed and nourish my child with my milk that is made for him and sustains him and give him the BEST possible start in life.

In regards to night time, my LO is right beside me in bed and as soon as he stirs= Boom! Breast in mouth and we are both back to sleep in a few minutes. No Big Deal!

I don't need anything when I go anywhere besides a few dipes. Wow, I really just can't believe that anyone would think that ff could possibly be easier.
I mean, unless you have medical problems that prevent bf, I think maybe saying it is easier might justify for making excuses. Sorry, but that is my opinion.
post #7 of 420
I haven't had to formula feed (yet -- may have to at some point) but it sounds like what makes bf easier for some does not apply to/for others...

For example, I have to wash pump parts so washing bottles versus pump parts is no different. And we have to use bottles during the day since I work outside the house and DS is at a center so we're still cleaning nipples.

Also, since we can't seem to get the hang of nursing in public, I feel pretty limited in what I can do when, etc. Also, I don't want to miss a feeding because it was such an ordeal to build my supply. And I can only pump once while at work all day so I'm constantly worried about losing my supply. I'm starting to feel pretty "tied down" now after only 4 months.

Anyway, just wanted to say that I'm plugging along because I know ebf is a gift I'm giving my DS, one my mom couldn't give to me, and I'll keep doing it as long as I can but I really think in some circumstances it can actually be MUCH more work -- with fewer "benefits" for the parents.

Also, DS refuses to sleep nurse (we can't co-sleep for med reasons so I tried bringing him to our bed then putting him back in his bassinet that's next to our bed) so I have to get up for night feedings. I'm not encouraging him to sleep through the night though because of the supply issues...
post #8 of 420
I agree with you... I FF my first and BF my 2nd and 3rd and while I LOVE BFing and wouldnt trade it for anything, it sure as heck is not easier than FFing.
post #9 of 420
My first child was formula fed and my 3 week old is exclusively breastfed. So far, breastfeeding is WAY easier. Whenever she's hungry my breasts are right there, no going down to the kitchen in the middle of the cold night to prepare bottles, no having to worry about making bottles when I'm out and about, no worrying about the temperature of the milk, etc...

The ONLY thing I liked better about FF was that DH could do night feedings but that still doesn't make it worth it for me and I could always pump if I really needed him to feed her.
post #10 of 420
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodearthmama View Post
I don't see how preparing anything and then washing it afterwards, etc. is easier than Simply putting a hungry baby to your breast instantly satifying him. I mean really, i can't see how that could even be considered not the simplest thing ever!

Also, I think I can stand the "sacrifice" of the extra 30 minutes it takes to feed and nourish my child with my milk that is made for him and sustains him and give him the BEST possible start in life.

In regards to night time, my LO is right beside me in bed and as soon as he stirs= Boom! Breast in mouth and we are both back to sleep in a few minutes. No Big Deal!

I don't need anything when I go anywhere besides a few dipes. Wow, I really just can't believe that anyone would think that ff could possibly be easier.
I mean, unless you have medical problems that prevent bf, I think maybe saying it is easier might justify for making excuses. Sorry, but that is my opinion.
Exactly.
post #11 of 420
Of course, there are issues that can make breastfeeding difficult, but "lift shirt, attach baby" is really really simple. My husband *hates* it when I'm away and he has to give our son bottles. 2 minutes to prepare something is a loooooong time to a hungry baby. And leaky breasts and breast pads irritating, but that passes eventually.

Being able to let someone else feed the baby every once in awhile (especially during the first few weeks) would have been really lovely, though.

I guess I would say that breastfeeding IS easier, but in the early days it's not always easy.
post #12 of 420
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodearthmama View Post
I don't see how preparing anything and then washing it afterwards, etc. is easier than Simply putting a hungry baby to your breast instantly satifying him. I mean really, i can't see how that could even be considered not the simplest thing ever!

Also, I think I can stand the "sacrifice" of the extra 30 minutes it takes to feed and nourish my child with my milk that is made for him and sustains him and give him the BEST possible start in life.

In regards to night time, my LO is right beside me in bed and as soon as he stirs= Boom! Breast in mouth and we are both back to sleep in a few minutes. No Big Deal!

I don't need anything when I go anywhere besides a few dipes. Wow, I really just can't believe that anyone would think that ff could possibly be easier.
I mean, unless you have medical problems that prevent bf, I think maybe saying it is easier might justify for making excuses. Sorry, but that is my opinion.

But if it isn't easier then why do women switch to formula when there aren't medical reasons?

Also, it is easier to spend 5 minutes versus 30 feeding your child. Not saying it is better, but it is EASIER which is what I am talking about. Not whether or not it's worth the sacrifice. Of course it's worth it!! ITA with that.
post #13 of 420
Quote:
Originally Posted by prothyraia View Post

Being able to let someone else feed the baby every once in awhile (especially during the first few weeks) would have been really lovely, though.

I guess I would say that breastfeeding IS easier, but in the early days it's not always easy.
:
post #14 of 420
Quote:
Originally Posted by dubfam View Post
Also, it is easier to spend 5 minutes versus 30 feeding your child. Not saying it is better, but it is EASIER which is what I am talking about. Not whether or not it's worth the sacrifice. Of course it's worth it!! ITA with that.
Sure 5 minutes may seem easier(and maybe you have to feed less often) but ask yourself what are the physiological reasons for this? Because formula is not the perfect food for a baby and it does not digest as easily and so it sits in babies gut longer so baby "feels" fuller. Not becuase they don't need to feed as frequently, but because formula does not digest like breastmilk and is sitting in their guts making them feel full.

Also, because you can't really discuss one aspect without the other, are things that seem easier really easier(like you are suggesting that formula can be easier than breastfeeding)? Sure, it is easy for me to whip out a box of lovely kraft mac and cheese for the kids. It is easier and quicker to cook, but what of the nutrition value? Sure, they may fill up, but just because it is easier to fill up on quick processed foods in the short term, doesn't mean it is easier in the long term(depressing the immune system with less than adequate nutrition).

Look at the fact that the U.S. simultaneously has both an obesity epidemic and a malnutrion epidemic going on. Sure, people are full. Full of proccessed foods that meet little if any nutritional standards.

It's also easier to not workout and excercise than it is to do that. Just because something is easier isn't really a good justification for it to be done.

Maybe it does seem easier to ff than to breastfeed, but are the long term health consequences worth it? If you look at the total life of a person, instead of just ff at infancy, formula is so far from being easier, in fact it's much more costly.

Just smells like a red herring to me.
post #15 of 420
I've done both since I had to supplement the first few months. I thought breastfeeding was much harder in the beginning, especially when your LO wants to nurse around the clock. I kind of hate the breastfeeding is easier argument, since I think women feel duped (at least I did) when it turns out to be a struggle and your nipples feel like they are going to fall off from 24 hour nursing.

However, at this point (DS is 9 months) it really is sooooo much easier. One of the biggest things I like about breastfeeding is being able to do it hands-free. Right now I am typing this very post with a nursing baby on my lap. Have you ever tried holding a bottle, a baby, and typing at the same time? Not really possible.

It also is a great way to put him to sleep. I hear about formula feeding parents having elaborate bedtime routines that involve rocking, singing, cyring, etc. while I just have to latch DS on at night while I read a book and he's out within 20 minutes or so.

As for people helping with formula feeding - great if you *have* help, but my DH was deployed for the first 4 months after birth and I had no family here at all. I was the one getting up no matter what, so it wouldn't have saved me any time/effort. In any case the work is not really lessened, you're just spreading it around (assuming you have a willing partner and lots of help).
post #16 of 420
To answer the op. I personally think breastfeeding was far easier. Although the only thing I have to compare it to is reheating pumped breastmilk. But I have many friends who ff and between health, digestion issues, and the sheer cost of formula alone(meaning extra hours to work, again disputing the ff ios easier claim), washing bottles, preparing bottles in the middle of the night. Nah, I'll take nursing every hour on the hour over that any day. Sorry, but my sleep(and my money, and mine and my babies health) was far to important and I wasn't about to be making any bottles in the middle of the night. Nursing was far easier for me.
post #17 of 420
I always found BF relatively easy, but I am a SAHM, who has always been comfortable nursing in public, and mastered breastfeeding in every carrier I own, and I don't own a stroller, or a car. I can definitely see how a mom who needs to work outside the home, or needs to pump, or isn't comfortable with nip, or has to actually sit quietly for the whole feeding each time, or whatever, might find FF easier, because in those cases it wouldn't be as simple as lift shirt, latch on baby. I have super high admiration for women who need to work outside the home, but are dedicated to ebf too, it sounds like a lot of work!
post #18 of 420
Quote:
Originally Posted by studentmama View Post
Sure 5 minutes may seem easier(and maybe you have to feed less often) but ask yourself what are the physiological reasons for this? Because formula is not the perfect food for a baby and it does not digest as easily and so it sits in babies gut longer so baby "feels" fuller. Not becuase they don't need to feed as frequently, but because formula does not digest like breastmilk and is sitting in their guts making them feel full.

Also, because you can't really discuss one aspect without the other, are things that seem easier really easier(like you are suggesting that formula can be easier than breastfeeding)? Sure, it is easy for me to whip out a box of lovely kraft mac and cheese for the kids. It is easier and quicker to cook, but what of the nutrition value? Sure, they may fill up, but just because it is easier to fill up on quick processed foods in the short term, doesn't mean it is easier in the long term(depressing the immune system with less than adequate nutrition).

Look at the fact that the U.S. simultaneously has both an obesity epidemic and a malnutrion epidemic going on. Sure, people are full. Full of proccessed foods that meet little if any nutritional standards.

It's also easier to not workout and excercise than it is to do that. Just because something is easier isn't really a good justification for it to be done.

Maybe it does seem easier to ff than to breastfeed, but are the long term health consequences worth it? If you look at the total life of a person, instead of just ff at infancy, formula is so far from being easier, in fact it's much more costly.

Just smells like a red herring to me.
I agree. Love this post.
post #19 of 420
I also wanted to bring up the issue of travel. Breastfeeding wins there.

We spent a week in Tokyo a few months ago and it was so awesome not to have to worry about packing enough formula or cleaning bottles in a hotel room. I didn't have to worry about taking enough bottles out while sight seeing or wondering if there would be clean water available somewhere.

The flight was also a breeze since I nursed the whole time. I'd see other moms bottle feed their babies and they would still be fussy and there was really no way for them to calm them down on the plane.
post #20 of 420
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by studentmama View Post
Sure 5 minutes may seem easier(and maybe you have to feed less often) but ask yourself what are the physiological reasons for this? Because formula is not the perfect food for a baby and it does not digest as easily and so it sits in babies gut longer so baby "feels" fuller. Not becuase they don't need to feed as frequently, but because formula does not digest like breastmilk and is sitting in their guts making them feel full.
No.....it is because they are getting the milk much quicker through a bottle. Also, formula is not the equivalent of Kraft. My son drank Fresh, Local Goats milk that was supplemented with flax seed oil etc.
he digested the Goat's milk much easier than my breast milk.
I never said that he fed LESS FREQUENTLY because he didn't. He ate the same amount whether it was Breast Milk or Goats Milk.
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