to ask about the REALITY of BF'ing Vs FF'ing(178 Posts)
OK. Not looking to start a bun fight, nor am I looking for any moralising/judging etc.
Situation as follows: 1 DD (3.5) was ebf until she was around 6 months.
I'm now pregnant again. Yes, I'm aware that BF'ing is healthier all round yada, yada.
However, DD did not sleep through the night until she was 2.5. I was frequently up anything between 3 and 10 times per night. I was at breaking point, as was DP. I just cannot allow that to happen again for the sake of everyone's mental and physical health.
A lot of my friend's who also ebf have experienced the same. However, most people I know who FF have had good sleepers. Coincidence?
Also, it was me who took on the vast majority of night wakings with DD as it seemed to be just me who could settle her. Probably because of initial breastfeeding..whereas DP could obviously take over a couple of nights a week if bottle feeding.
There seems to be a complete lack of unbiased advice on this, for obvious reasons..
Can anyone give me the benefit of their experience?
I FF both of mine and they both slept through from 10 weeks. And I got right from the word go one night off when DH did the night feed, and also the chance to go out for an evening with girlfriends etc and were able to leave the dcs overnight with grandparents to have a child free night out. That "freedom" was very important to me.
Just to balance things:
ds1 FF. Slept 12 hours a night from 12 weeks.
dd FF. Fed every three hours until she was a year old, was up at least twice a night until she was 3 and up at 5 am every morning until she started school [bitter]
ds2 BF. By about 4 months was sleeping through from 9 pm with a quick feed at about 2 am. Dropped night feed completely by 6 months. Good sleeper. Still is!
Another factor For your equation is with BF you can just roll over/pick up baby and feed baby. With formula you need to get up, prepare bottle for hungry baby etc.
I coslept so BF did even better in the sleep equation.
BF both of my babies - DD started sleeping through more or less from 6 months. My second baby DS was terrible and kept waking up - now he is 2.5 yrs only just reliably sleeping thro with the occassional once per night winge. I suspect some of DS was me being too "responsive" to him so he did not wake the rest of the house. My husband would no doubt agree with that conclusion that i was crap at getting him to sleep thro. Both exclusively breastfed till about 7 months when i went back to work and started introducing formula. No doubt if i had been better at getting number 2 to sleep thro i would be considered a better mother generally
Ff my ds. he slept through from 6 weeks. 10 - 6/7 and then until about half 10 in the morning. He was sleeping around thr clock by 12 weeks.
oh and I did all my bottles the night before so a quick blast in the microwave and job was a gooden.
Anything was easier than my experience of bf though so I may be bias.
ds, totally bf, slept 10 hours at night at 8 weeks, 12 hours at 10 weeks, still a great seeper 6 years on.
dd, totally bf, woke every 2/3 hours thoughout the night, slept though at 11 months, still a 'light' sleeper now.
imo bf is the lazy option, I could imagine nothing worse than having to get out of bed and make up bottles etc. However I don't think it matters how / what you feed your baby, they will only sleep though when they are ready. Also, with all the will in the world, could you carrying on sleeping whilst your dh is trying to feed / comfort a crying baby? Would he even wake up?
Have you considered mixed feeding?
I don't see how you think breast feeding until 6 months stopped your DD sleeping until she was 2.5. If you want to formula feed so you can share the feeding then do it, but don't expect that your child will sleep through because of it.
Sleeping habits IME depend on the child and how you deal with them waking up at night once they have stopped waking for a feed.
In the very early days I think formula feeding means less sleep as you have to get up make the bottle where as you can breast feed without getting out of bed plus it tends to make you feel sleepy.
I have formula fed all 3 of my daughters from the word go and have absolutely no regrets about it all, it didn't in my experience help them sleep any better. I has one brilliant sleeper, one dreadful and one in between.
Both of mine were FF. DS slept thorough from 20 weeks (7-7), DD slept through from 18 weeks (7-7). A large part of this I am sure was because they were in their own cot and we didn't disturb them.
Best friend BF and her DS still wakes and wants to feed during the night, they co-sleep. He is 2. It is driving her slowly insane.
FF all 3. The older 2 didn't sleep longer than 3/4 hours at a time till they were about 3. Youngest slept like a dream until she moved into her own cot and room at 5 months. She now co sleeps so we can actually rest... Nothing to do with feeding style and everything to do with the baby!
The reality is every baby is different.
Sleeping through the night is about more than just what kind of milk is in their tummy.
Isn't it more about a bit of luck with what temperament your baby has rather than the milk you feed it?
I BF dd until she was 3 months, and she slept through from about 10 days (midnight to 6ish anyway). She was just a very easy baby really, and slept a lot. Still does.
The main difference when I went to formula is that when dd possetted (she was a very possetty baby) it bloody stank when on formula, when it didn't at all when it was bf. In any case never really noticed that formula made her sleep through any longer. And all that bottle washing, milton, making up feeds was a pain in the arse.
DS was EBF till around 5 months, then started weaning, then went onto formula around 7 mths, I can tell you it made absolutely no difference to his sleeping whatsoever
it was crap when EBF, and crap when FF He didn't sleep through till he started walking. And he was late walking.
I don't buy into the idea that feeding method = sleeping ability. Although if you do have a wakeful child I think it's easier to pop them onto the boob than crash about the house making bottles. The only benefit I can see to bottle feeding a poor sleeper is that someone else can feed.
DD was EBF for 5.5 months. She slept through from 13 weeks. Like others, she just stopped waking. Although in fairness she never was bad at night. I had one period of three days where she woke every hour, other than that she only woke twice a night. She was still BF until 9 mos when she decided that bottles were easier and made it easier to look about I'd started mixed feeding when I'd gone back to work at 8mos.
Currently pregnant with DC2 and keeping everything crossed for another sleeper. We're terrified of getting a night time demon this time around as we recognise we got VERY lucky with this one!!
On the basis of my limited experience and that of my friends I think it depends far more on the baby than on what kind of milk you feed it.
Surely if her sleeping pattern were down to the feeding method, once you'd stopped ebf at 6 months her sleep would've changed?
Pat - have you considered mixed feeding? With ds3, I breastfed during the daytime, but his last feed of the evening was formula, and when/if he woke in the night, he had formula.
That way, I think he and I got most of the benefits of breastfeeding, but because formula takes longer to digest, he went longer between feeds at night, and we all got some sleep.
having done both ff is easier.no it's not a faff,not sore,and can share it
I know pro-bf always make out ff is faff,time consuming.it isn't at all
but do whatever works for you.not b pressured or preached to
My dd was exclusively FF from 4 weeks (not my choice, my stupid body didnt produce milk). She is 18 months and still wakes up once most nights. Next time around I hope to BF. My dd was a very sickly baby and seemed to catch every bug going and I cant help but think that if my body had worked properly and I had been able to BF she would have been more protected. I am grateful for formula. It was nice to have something to turn to when I was unable to produce milk. However, I do not think ff is the answer to a good nights sleep. HTH
don't berate self body isn't stupid.good mum isn't defined by mode of feeding
theres more to being mum than mode of feeding
DS1 ebf for 13 months, didn't sleep through til 15 months
DS2 ebf is sleeping though the night and has been since around 9 weeks.
Every baby is different.
My friends ff baby who was born on same day as DS2, she feeds every three hours through the night.
Every baby is different.
My only point is bf'ing is easy if baby decides to feed all the time.
Mama don't berate yourself. It is easy to fall in that mindset - I felt terribly guilty about stopping BF when I went back to work and because I couldn't get a drop out when expressing. I felt awful about it for ages.
But SM is right, feeding your baby is just one tiny aspect of being a mum, it just seems huge at the time. 17 years later I don't feel guilty any more - somewhat wistful (and wished there was something like MN back then to support) but how I fed dd has had no impact in reality.
I wanted to bf right from the start and never considered not doing it. I lasted 10 days and I was sore, he didn't latch on correctly and i was literally mashed to pieces and bleeding. I was stressed out, depressed and very emotional. The second i decided to ff i felt instantly better.
It was just right for us.
However, I felt guilty in my emotional state because EVERYTHING I looked at to do with feeding started off with the sentence that breast milk was best for babies. The formula packet, the emergency ready-to-use milk, the sterilizer instructions, everything online, leaflets from NHS... I could go on. This upset me to be honest. I think it is good that it is promoted and support is available but I felt pressured when I wanted to stop.
I'm glad I did stop, but if I have another baby I will give it another go! I just won't feel bad if it doesn't work out.
I don't find FF much of a faff at all once you get the hang of it. It really doesn't take long to pour ready made into a pre-sterilised bottle in the middle of the night and you always know how much milk the baby has had, which I find reassuring.
BF, on the other hand, I found an enormous faff and I don't know why people say it's free when you take into account the special bras, special tops and the expressing kit -- and the value of your time, because other people can take a turn feeding. I think I would have gone bonkers if it had been entirely my responsibility to feed DD for 6 months.
DD sleeps very well although I agree it can't be as simple as what they eat. DH and I were both formula fed and I sleep fine while he is an insomniac...
Each to their own though.
I ebf my two til.about 4 months. I then gave them formula at night.
Op if you mix feed and give formula in the.night, I recommend taking a sterilized bottle and a carton to bed with you. No faffing, just pour and go (neither of mine bothered about having it warmed).
Good luck.with a great sleeper this time!
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