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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
You know, I hear it sooo much. How bf is alot easier than ff.I know that it is a good way to try to convince a woman that bf IS really much better. And once you get past the hurdles of the ear ly weeks, it is all smooth sailing. And I agree for most cases. After it has been established it is usually not a prob. Buuut, there are times when it is. Me, for example.

I had supply issues after dd was born and it tooks weeks to build up what milk did not come in. I was going feeding by feeding at times. But I was informed enough to know there was no way my child was bieng formula fed if I could help it.

I work part time. Dh and I are not doing too well and I would like to move out. But I do not pump well. It often takes me four sessions to get a 5 ounce bottle. If I had to work full time(which I would need to do to support my kids alone, even with child support)I would lose my supply. It takes me a couple of my days off to get things back to normal.

Then, my dh is unwilling to help with cooking too much. And often that is the hour when ds wants to eat often, (he still cluster feeds some before bedtime) and he will not take a bottle so I can get my kids fed(I dont give a damn about dh). Sooo, dinner is usually late. I guess I could start it earlier, but after dinner I still have two other kids to get ready for bed. Dh never helps there either. He wuold rather feed a baby so he can sit. But again, ds does not take the bottle.

Then there is the sitter, she has trouble with him sometimes and tells me I need to give him a bottle on my days off so he will not be fussy for her on Mondays.

Then of c ourse, I HAVE to take him with me to the store, because he will get fussy while I am gone and dh does not know how to cope with him(he requires me to nurse him to sleep when tired). So my poor dd never gets to go with me.

I would not think of weaning because I know this will pass and I know it is well worth all the turbulence. Buut, there are mothers out there who are less able to cope. Of course, new mothers are overwhelmed trying to adjust to becoming a parent anyway.

What I am agetting at is that mothers who were told how much easier it is try and find it really difficult are probably likely to think they are not doing it right, baby is not happy etc etc, and give up. Women who may not be as well informed as me and the others here who still have issues with it at 8 months may think that it will never get better and baby is unhappy because maybe she does not have enough milk when really baby is just really attached to her. Well, you get the idea, I am not good with words here. I suck at it.

I did not mean to make this about me, and it ISN'T. I just wanted to give an example of difficulties one can experieince that make them throw in the towel.
 

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I can honestly say that I don't recall anyone ever telling me it was easy. As a matter of fact, I don't recall getting any advice from anyone about it.

I completely agree that in the beginning, there were so many times when I was ready to throw in the towel, but I'm so thankful that I stuck with it. It was a deep seeded desire for me (thank goodness!).

Each new mom I meet (or mom to be) I tell them that it's really tough in the beginning, but that one day it will just become second nature to them and they will forget it was ever difficult.

I do agree that at certain times during the day, bf'ing could be seen as more difficult than bottle feeding (when you want to have someone else feed babe) but the night time feedings more than make up for it
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Icequeen_in_ak
but the night time feedings more than make up for it

Oooh, I sooo agree. No one has to get up to feed baby. I can't imagine waking up to make a bottle and trying to stay awake to make sure baby does not choke on what drips out from the nipple.
 

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I agree that if a pg women is told that bf'ing is easier then ff'ing that it can set them up for becoming ff'ing. If that's all they're told and they try bf'ing and it hurts or the baby is eating all the time, etc and they feel it isn't easy but ff'ing would be then alot of them go to formula. If they're told it is easier AFTER the first 6-8weeks and to hang in there, and they have support around them then they're more likely to have a long bf'ing relationship.
 

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I am VERY pro BF and am currently tandem nursing my 2 year old and 8 month old so you know I am dedicated.

I didn't have any major issues breastfeeding any of my 4 children, only one case of mastitis with #2, and some supply issues with #3 but otherwise smooth sailing technically speaking.


HOWEVER, I think overall breastfeeding IS harder
I hate saying that because I know there are so many times BFing is easier - no bottles to clean, pack, formula to buy etc. BUT if my 8 month old was FF it is likely she would be sleeping through the night because it would take her tummy longer to break down the crap in Formula.
: Yes, I might have to get up and make a bottle in the middle of the night - once - but I breastfeed 3-6 times a night and she often times won't just lay there and BF and let me sleep - many times I have to sit up and cradle her or it's an exercise of pulling off and screaming.

If I was FFing it would be easier for DH when I leave for my weekly 3 hours of alone time (the only time I ever leave the kids), it would also be easier for DH and I to go on a date which is something we haven't done alone since #4 was born.


Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change a thing. I know I have it easier because the girls don't get sick, they rarely spit up and I don't have to worry about all the hassles of forumula but BFing isn't easy by a long shot.

Keri
 

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I totally agree with you that BF can be very hard (and not just in the early weeks). I'm sure there are times when all BF mothers wish they could just hand the baby over to someone else to feed with a bottle.

I think this falls in the same category as "All BF babies are never sick". We all know BF babies that can have cold after cold, ear infection after ear infection (just as there are many FF babies who are never sick).

Any absolute is wrong- no matter what side of the argument it's coming from. Blanket statements never fit everyone.

I do think that the "BF is easier that FF" mentality is around to combat the FF pushers who say by giving a bottle, you are free and having a great and easy time of things.

I think it's better to tell expectant moms that "BF is easy once you get the hang of it" rather than PP nurses telling teen moms not to bother, b/c bottle-feeding is easier and scientific (only b/c the PP nurses don't want to bother teaching someone they think will not get the hang of it as fast). Or family members telling single parents that things would be so much easier if they'd just give the baby a bottle b/c BF is so hard on your body and spirit. I can't tell you how many mothers (of all ages) I've met who find out too late that BF can be easy and is the healthiest for their babies- these are mothers who had really wanted to breastfeed but were told not to by people whose opinions mattered to them, or were simply pressured into stopping/never getting to try.
:

It is unfortunate that we have to sell BF to mothers. And by selling it as being easy (past the early weeks), we just might get a few more mothers to succeed than we would have without selling it that way.
 

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Breastfeeding has always been a breeze for me so I don't thinkI would be misleading anyoen by saying it's easier cause for me it was and is. I formula fed my firstborna dn it was such a hassle. I've never had any problems nursing my girls so of course I think that nuring is easier. I do tell mamas that nursing is something that needs to be learned and may have it's hurdles but if you get past the first six weeks you are good iMO.
 

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it was a bit of a bite to keep reading over and over how it's so easy, and that it only hurts if there's something wrong with you or latch or something. it wouldve been nice to read that hey, it can be really hard in the first weeks/months, as in, cracked bloody nipple hard, but after you get past it, and get the hang of it, it's the easiest thing in the world.

run by posting...
 

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I think breastfeeding *is* harder. I know it is! But it is also so worth it. The best things in life I have found are challenging. Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done, but obviously soooo worth it. Breastfeeding for me was just more of that.

There were times when I would be breastfeeding my 2 year old for the 3rd time in one night and I would make myself feel better just thing about how hard this was, but here I was doing it anyway--and I felt a certain pride in that.

I formula fed our last child because we adopted her from China and she was almost a year old when she came home to us (also, it would have been impossible for me to breastfeed at that point as I was on medication for an ovarian problem I had). It was so much easier--even the night time bottles. My husband and I could take turns, and the formula seemed to hold her much longer between feedings than breastmilk.

The years I spent breastfeeding were the most difficult and rewarding of my life for many reasons.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Gidget
What I am agetting at is that mothers who were told how much easier it is try and find it really difficult are probably likely to think they are not doing it right, baby is not happy etc etc, and give up. Women who may not be as well informed as me and the others here who still have issues with it at 8 months may think that it will never get better and baby is unhappy because maybe she does not have enough milk when really baby is just really attached to her. Well, you get the idea, I am not good with words here. I suck at it.

I did not mean to make this about me, and it ISN'T. I just wanted to give an example of difficulties one can experieince that make them throw in the towel.
Yes, this is a good point. A while ago I started wondering why we don't push the whole "easy" "cheap" "simple" angle more and stories like yours help me understand the flaws in doing this.

I still think it *can* be all of these things but I now think it's best to include words like "possibly" and include stories of challenges and tips on how to handle them.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by *Erin*
it was a bit of a bite to keep reading over and over how it's so easy, and that it only hurts if there's something wrong with you or latch or something. it wouldve been nice to read that hey, it can be really hard in the first weeks/months, as in, cracked bloody nipple hard, but after you get past it, and get the hang of it, it's the easiest thing in the world.

run by posting...
I'm sorry it was so hard for you

I wasn't trying to be insensitive but I have to be honest and I can only speak from my experiance. I realize it can be hard sometimes and I try to let mamas know that it doesn't come so easy for everyone,.
 

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Breastfeeding is easy for some the way that running 3 miles is easy for some. Some have to really work at it, for some it's never a very enjoyable activity. Others find it a breeze, find it wakes them up and energizes them, need a morning run like a cup of coffee.

I wish women talked about breastfeeding more like running or other athletics. Even women who don't *love* running, even those who struggle a lot at first all talk about the benefits, the sense of accomplishment, of having done something good. And the great thing about breastfeeding is that the 'good' we do is for two people.

When women talk about starting to run for the first time, the emphasis is on a)get good equipment, b) develop a plan, c) get support (a running buddy, a coach), and d) it may be difficult at the beginning, but it gets easier and the payoff is tremendous.

We are athletes!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by chicagomom
Breastfeeding is easy for some the way that running 3 miles is easy for some. Some have to really work at it, for some it's never a very enjoyable activity. Others find it a breeze, find it wakes them up and energizes them, need a morning run like a cup of coffee.

I love this.

Personally, I've never had any trouble breastfeeding -- it truely has been easy. I realize this is not the case for everyone, but I would hate to see people set up for failure too. I think that, many times, it's not *breastfeeding* itself that is so hard, but that other circumstances interfere with bfing--things like work schedules or family stress, or diet, or lack of support, yk? Not always, but lots of the time, that's what I'm hearing.

I think that, rather than stress all that could go "wrong," I'd like to see us (society) stress the importance of support to nursing mothers--for instance, anyone can put a bottle of formula together, but a nursing mom needs a relaxed, unhurried atmosphere and needs to be nourished and well hydrated and rested in order to nurse. Moms ought to have that.
 

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I attended some LLL meetings before birthing my DD to try and prepare myself for what was toc ome. I had no idea how hard it was going to be. I definitely will tell anyone who asks about the trials and difficulties that go with bf, but I will also tell them of the wonderful experience it is.
 

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Quote:
Breastfeeding is easy for some the way that running 3 miles is easy for some. Some have to really work at it, for some it's never a very enjoyable activity. Others find it a breeze, find it wakes them up and energizes them, need a morning run like a cup of coffee.
I wish women talked about breastfeeding more like running or other athletics. Even women who don't *love* running, even those who struggle a lot at first all talk about the benefits, the sense of accomplishment, of having done something good. And the great thing about breastfeeding is that the 'good' we do is for two people.
What a good point! I like this analogy. I've done it both ways, and I think bf was more convient, but not neccessarily easier. I think there is a difference. FF was frought with frustration (leaky bottles, rushing to get bottle ready before baby is out of control, premixing a batch of formula every day) and clutter (dirty bottles everywhere, diaperbag *stuffed* with bottles for day trips), not to mention regret that bf hadn't worked out for us. *BUT* feedings were fast and easy, dh or another relative could feed the baby, she slept through the night early (though not all ff babies do), and I could wear my dresses! BF was hard at first -- so hard the first time that I gave up, plenty hard the second time, but not as bad and I had more info/support, so it worked out. Once we got into the groove, I loved it -- one had is free when bf (not so with bottles unless you prop, which I wouldn't do), no mess, easy nightime feedings, nothing to carry with you on outings, sweet smelling baby, sling nursing, etc. Except for the longer period of night waking, I would definately say it was more convenient for me after the first 6 - 8 weeks to bf and almost as easy.

And when it comes to night waking, don't forget -- a greater % of parents who ff are probably willing to CIO at some point, so those babes (especially older ones) sleeping through the night aren't necessarily doing so because of formula. An older bf baby can be trained to sleep through the night as well if the parents use CIO (which I am NOT advocating -- just saying that technically it's a seperate issue, or could be.)
 

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I think if you add up the total amount of "work" over time, breastfeeding would come up with fewer hours. However, the perception can be that ff is easier, because those work hours can be spread over many people, while every single bfing hour's work is done by the mom.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by thyme
I think if you add up the total amount of "work" over time, breastfeeding would come up with fewer hours. However, the perception can be that ff is easier, because those work hours can be spread over many people, while every single bfing hour's work is done by the mom.

Not necessarily. I'm one of those wackos that is unable to nurse my second baby for physical reasons. So, I'm pumping. I guess I have the worst of both worlds. I spend hours and hours a day hooked up to the pump. But I also have to spend a ton of time washing bottles, pump parts, nipples, etc. Not to mention feeding dd her bottle in a loving, attached way.

For me, breastfeeding is much harder this time around. And it wasn't a picnic for the first couple of months with dd1. It took us a long time to find a rhythm, get the latch right, and get her nursing well. It was easier once we did, but there were many times I felt totally touched out and just exhausted. She was a high needs baby, and wanted to nurse all the time. That would have been unlikely if she had been ff, and I could have split the duty with dh. It was, at times, very emotionally draining.

So, my question, is, how do we convince people that sometimes it is very, very difficult to BF. Sometimes, the problems to nurse are insurmountable, and pumping exclusively is necessary. And yet, it is still important to do. Even in the face of such adversity, it is still the way to go.

I'm trying to live by example, and not act like I am doing anything heroic, kwim? I will say, "Emily can't nurse, so I have to pump for her." I'm acting like nursing is the norm, but if that doesn't work out, pumping is the second choice.

Bec
 

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I think like some other posters have said that I think its wiser to tell moms it might be hard in the beginning and give them examples of what "might" happen and then give them solutions to those problems and then also tell them that if they get past the 6 week mark that it WILL be easier then.

I hear of bad bfing experiences all the time, irl and online. I think the reason for this is that people don't come online and say, "hey, bfing is soooo easy for us" THey think its the norm, and keep quiet. We hear and try to support those moms that are having difficulties and thats what we see a lot here. People don't usually brag how easing bfing is irl either.

I had an AWFUL and TERRIBLE experience trying to teach my stubborn boy how to nurse....oh GOD it was terrible. THe kid didn't latch for 14 days. I finger fed him pumped milk ( which I had from day 1) in a syringe until he finally latched. Then I spent the next 3 months STILL going to the LC ( thank GOD for Kaiser's LC clinic) because he still wasn't nursing well. It was a nightmare. BUT----- Friends and family seeing me go through what I have gone through and what I did to give my ds breastmilk has been the best advocate for bfing. I have people tell me that they couldn't give up on bfing because they would feel guilty knowing what I went through and didn't quit. I have had people see how wonderful the bfing relationship between my ds and I has developed and it has given them hope to continue.

I think if we are honest that it can be hard and it is able to be overcome is the best message we can give to new moms.
 
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