Breast Feeding vs. Formula

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Joined: 07/09/11
Posts: 798
Breast Feeding vs. Formula

I'm just curious as to whether anyone has decided to use formula and not breast feed and why you made that decision? I'm really struggling with breast feeding and it's just become a frustrating ordeal for both me and Liam. I also find it extremely time consuming at this point with the latching issues, pumping, etc.

If you're using formula, what are you using?

If you're breast feeding, how often? Do you supplement with formula? Do you pump, too?

BrokenPsyche's picture
Joined: 11/28/11
Posts: 192

My milk was taking its time coming in, so for the first few days I opted to supplement with formula. Now that my milk is in we are still having issues breast feeding (she doesnt latch for long, her nasal passages are really narrow so its hard to find a position she can breath well in, and my boobs are huge and she is super small!) and while I try to stay patient, it does take a toll. So right now I am breast feeding but also pumping so if we have a bad session, I know I can at least give her a bottle of breast milk. The ideal outcome is to breastfeed during the day and bottle feed breast milk for night feedings. The only tough time about pumping is trying to not just keep up with her but get ahead so I have a few meals worth not just one on hand. I know for a new mom it can take several months to really get the hang of breastfeeding and j am lucky to have a very supportive husband and midwife. But I do think that pumping gives me a large sense of relief. I don't feel as much of an urgency to get things working, but rather I can take my time and work at my little girls pace. I will say though I am much more sympathetic to moms who use formula because without the support I do have, I dont think I would be able to BF. good luck and remember whatever choice you make will be the right one. I howstly think you have to trust your instinct and know your limits. If pregnancy and baby have and are teaching me anything it's that you have to be able to let go of your expectations and roll with the changes. *HUGS!!!*

Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1316

I'm still pregnant... but with DS I breastfed exclusively and rarely pumped. He has never taken a bottle. I remember for the first few weeks he nursed for an hour - off for an hour - nursed for an hour - off for an hour. It was a LOT, but it was worth it. Breastfeeding was a challenge at first, but it became SO EASY!!! Once we both got the hang of it it was the best thing we ever kept up.
He's still nursing at 23mo! I expect to tandem nurse once New Baby arrives.

Military Mom's picture
Joined: 09/09/04
Posts: 369

Right now I am sort of in the process of weaning myself... the babies have been getting formula supplemented but as of now they get majority breastmilk via pump. My situation was they both can latch just fine but they got spoiled I think from the bottle feeding in the NICU and liked the instant gratification and didnt want to work for it so even though my milk came in fine, mostly Anthony would suckle for a minute or two and then shake his head sife to side like where is the milk and I just ended up pumping and bottle feeding but for me- with twins esp- its too much to feed, burp and change two babies at night then turn around and pump plus I am choosing to eat, sleep, clean or do other things sometimes instead of pumping and I am not producing quite enough for both and have been supplementing with Similac Advance which is what the hospital supplemented with. Plus my nipples are KILLING me, that pump works wonderful and after the first minute when my nipples go numb LOL its fine but that first minute, it feels like they are on FIRE, they hurt and burn so bad.... I cant even imagine trying to go back to work in a few weeks and then pump after staying up for a feeding. I feel like I did my best and they did get breatmilk the first month but for me and my sanity, it has proven to be too much.

jaimelr's picture
Joined: 01/09/10
Posts: 217

My mom is a maternity nurse and while she thinks b/fing is best for baby - she thinks that the very best is ensuring you do whatever works for you and baby. There is no sense not enjoying your time with baby.

I bfed DS until he was 20'ish months old (only once before bed). I never used formula. I am bf'ing this time again. The nipple tenderness took close to 12 weeks to entirely vanish with DS. With DD this time it has reduced significantly within 4 weeks - but it was toe-curling pain for the first couple weeks (my nipples had blisters on the ends despite good latching, etc). I definitely found that bf'ing was easy once we got through the first month or two - you always had everything you needed with you!

As for pumping - with DS I would pump on one side while DS fed on the other. (I capitalized on an 8 week grow spurt and started pumping as DS started eating less of the increased milk supply). I would typically just pump for a period of time to build up a reserve in the freezer (which we rarely used) and then would stop pumping. I used pumped milk a lot with rice cereal when we introduced solids. With DD I am feeding her on one side and using a "milkies" to catch the let down on the other side at almost every feed and I am getting 1-4 ounces each feed. Then I switch DD onto the "milkies" side and she eats there too. (Why waste it?). So after 3 weeks of this I have about 30 x 6 oz bags of milk in the freezer - no pumping!

Good luck in whatever you decide - don't let anyone else decide for you.

momW's picture
Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 5634

Right now I'm nursing every hour to hour and a half or there abouts. Sometimes it's a bigger space but not often. With my last 3 kids it's always a lot of nursing in the beginning few weeks and then they get it spaced out enough to get true breaks. Nursing is hard work in the beginning, it really is but it does pays off if you can hold out. Obviously it's your decision and whatever you decide is what you need to do but make sure before you do anything. I quit bf'ing my oldest when she was 2 weeks old, I had no idea it was going to be so hard and I wished so much after I weaned her and realized I had to work harder to bottle feed her and I missed having that bond with her that I had stuck with it. Good luck.

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

I've never used formula for my 4... Although I had a nightmare of a time with DS2 for the first month (colds, mastitis, thrush right off the hop, difficult latching), and I am a huge advocate of the benefits of BFing, I seriously considered using formula because it was simply horrible - up all night crying because it hurt so much. I stuck with it when I did the math of how much it cost to formula feed, though.

Have you tried seeing a lactation consultant for your issues? Have you tried laid-back breastfeeding? Both of those combined with antibiotics, anti-fungal meds and judicious use of a nipple shield solved my issues. Normally i would try to avoid all of the above, but with DS2 it was simply a mess and he hadn't gained hardly any weight in his first month. After that, he took off!

Joined: 07/09/11
Posts: 798

It's not getting any better... During the day, I offer the breast during every feed. He latches better on one than the other and it happens to be the one that's producing more milk at this point. I'm still not producing much at all, though, and it's so frustrating. I do my best to pump during each feed as well to try to increase my supply but it doesn't seem to be working. I've decided not to offer the breast during the nights because he just gets so frustrated and we both need our sleep! I don't know what else to do. He's still freaking out if he doesn't get the bottle right away when he's hungry and, at almost the three week mark, I'm wondering if it's worth it and if it will even get any better! I'm now finding he has gas because of the formula (I think) and am thinking about switching formulas. I just feel so bad for him and want feeding to be pleasant for him rather than how it is now... I'm not really sure what else to do!

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

Have you tried seeing a lactation consultant for your issues? Have you tried laid-back breastfeeding? Both of those combined with antibiotics, anti-fungal meds and judicious use of a nipple shield solved my issues. Normally i would try to avoid all of the above, but with DS2 it was simply a mess and he hadn't gained hardly any weight in his first month. After that, he took off!

I would check out all the above now! Someone to guide you along this path will help!

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

"B-BABY" wrote:

It's not getting any better... During the day, I offer the breast during every feed. He latches better on one than the other and it happens to be the one that's producing more milk at this point. I'm still not producing much at all, though, and it's so frustrating. I do my best to pump during each feed as well to try to increase my supply but it doesn't seem to be working. I've decided not to offer the breast during the nights because he just gets so frustrated and we both need our sleep! I don't know what else to do. He's still freaking out if he doesn't get the bottle right away when he's hungry and, at almost the three week mark, I'm wondering if it's worth it and if it will even get any better! I'm now finding he has gas because of the formula (I think) and am thinking about switching formulas. I just feel so bad for him and want feeding to be pleasant for him rather than how it is now... I'm not really sure what else to do!

READ THIS FIRST: http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/content.php?pagename=doc-WBD

I would seriously find a lactation consultant. I would also try a nipple shield. I may repeat what others have said, but here we go:
1) The more baby nurses, the more milk you will produce. Using a pump is NOT the same as baby nursing. I find that my supply decreases when I use my pump, and I have a hospital grade pump. So not nursing at night (as frustrating as it is), will not help your supply issues. You should be nursing/pumping at this age at least every 3-4 hours (all 4of mine have nursed about every 2-3 hours max for the first month or 2).

2) Watch the videos by Dr. Jack Newman on proper latch technique. WORK ON IT. Breastfeeding Videos

3) Realize that it frequently takes 3-6weeks to get breastfeeding established properly. It's normal!

4) Try getting your milk to let down before you latch on baby. "milk yourself" for a little bit prior to latching on baby. This will reduce his frustration.

5) Using a nipple shield is frustrating, but worth it short term. It's easier to nurse on a nipple shield, so baby might not get as frustrated. Try to only do it short term, though. Some babies decide they won't go back to the boob...

6) Try "taking the edge off". Start a feeding with a small amount of "easy" nursing (use the nipple shield). Once that huge hunger has worn off, latch baby on without. make the "easy" nursing shorter and shorter.

7) Some people suggest getting rid of the bottle completely and using a small tube that goes in the bottle and over your shoulder to the breast and in baby's mouth. ( Inserting A Lactation Aid ). You latch baby on and baby basically feeds through the straw, while stimulating milk production at the same time. Definitely the best way, but some people don't have the patience.

8 ) There are various herbs that can increase your milk production - in particular a combination of fenugreek and blessed thistle. (Herbal Remedies for Milk Supply )

9) There are a million info sheets here: Breastfeeding Information

10) Keep in mind all the positives of sticking with BFing. You will get through this!

Joined: 11/17/06
Posts: 437

It's a really personal choice - breastfeeding or formula feeding. Many women chose either for a variety of reasons. If you can stick it out - breastfeeding definitely has benefits over formula feeding.

This is my first chance getting to breastfeed past the first few days and it's definitely been stressful. There have been times that I wanted to give up and do formula feeding because it seems like the easier option. What I have done is set myself small goals and work to meet each one. Gavin does get about 2-6oz of formula a day supplemented. I was pretty upset at first but now I am just grateful that the majority of what he is getting is breast milk.

Remember, you aren't alone. It's not easy at first and definitely frustrating but it does get easier. Even at three weeks I feel much more relaxed about it than we did the first and second weeks. And you aren't the only one learning how to breastfeed so is Liam. Smile

Hope things are getting better!

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