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 EBF my DDs for quite a short period of time - just 2 weeks with DD1 (she had oesophageal reflux and wasn't gaining weight adequately, so we were advised to use a particular formula) and with DD2, just 4 weeks because after giving it a try, I really, really disliked how my breasts physically altered because of BF (amongst other reasons). I found it uncomfotable, exhausting. I kept getting a blocked duct so my left breast was rock solid for most of those 4 weeks and DD2 really didn't like taking milk from that breast, despite my
agonising efforts. We were all happier once she was on her boccy.
DD1 was a terrible sleeper due to te reflux, despite being FF. It didn't start to get better until she was near 1yo. She's almost 4yo now and her sleep has been excellet for about 1yr.
DD2 is 10mo and has wakeful episodes. It's not usually for food, but for a cuddle (my squadge likes lots of cuddles!)
What I would say is that with FF babies, you know exactly how much milk they've had and, as they tend to feel fuller for longer, they usually go 3-4 hours between feeds, rather than 2-2.5 in my short experience.
Don't rush to make the decision to FF as once your milk goes, it's gone. Maybe EBF and see how it goes - you can then mix feed if EBF doesn't work for you (mixed feeding is good to BF during the day, then FF at night). Don't feel guilty if you want to completely FF - your baby will still have all the nourishment s/he needs!
If you do ff at night, use the cartons- don't need warming, or mixing, just pour and go. You can do powder in the day to keep price reasonable.
I bf'd until 7 weeks (tongue tie + mastitis put an end to this) dd slept through from 3 months BUT as a bf and ff baby was always a good sleeper, wake for 1 feed then snuffle back to sleep. I think it is more baby than bottle that results in good sleep, but wish you luck either way.
Also, could you mix feed? So bf in day but last feed of the day is formula? That way coud be "fuller for longer" and means DH can help out. That's how we switched from bf to ff, starting with the 11pm feed.
I ebf ds1 who slept through at eight months - he was mixed fed by then as I weaned using formula for baby rice at 6 months.
Dd didn't sleep through till 16 months, she was ebf with no mix feed.
Ds2 slept through at nine months and was ebf with no mix feeds either.
I think it depends on the baby more than what you feed them. Ds1 has a cousin the same age who was bottle fed, she did sleep through two months before he did, but didn't get on very well with formula so still occasionally woke until she was one as she suffered from indigestion. They are both now five and ds1 is by far the better sleeper, so while your baby may sleep through more quickly with formula, their long-term ability to sleep might be more pot luck.
I hope you get one of the ones who sleeps through from the start - I always wanted one of those!
And yy to not feeling guilty, your baby, your body, your sanity ...your choice!
Mine went like this:
Ds1 ebf - slept thru from 9 wks
Ds2 ebf - slept thru from 6 mths
Ds3 ebf - slept thru from erm about 2.6
FF can be easy, once you know how to make up feeds in advance, and take full advantage of cartons. I've done mixed feeding, EBF and now soley on formula.
But...it is SO expensive. I use the cheapest formula I can find (£7.99) - at the moment, LO will use 1-2 boxes of powder a week. But he did go through a phase of 3 boxes a week for about a month - that's £24 a week! TBH I cannot wait until he's off formula altogether in April.
ff DS from birth and he was the worst sleeper, I had to get a bed in his nursery as there was just no way 2 of us could of coped with no sleep.
DD is 7 months and slept through from 3-4 weeks ( 8-10hrs ) I expressed exclusively for 1 month then mix feed until a few weeks ago and now she is 100% formula and foods, she still sleeps through unless she is ill.
I think it is down to each baby, some are sleepers, some are not.
DS was also a big napper in the day where as DD has very shirt naps and is more alert than DS was at this age.
As many others have said I think it is all dependent on the baby. I know my mum FF my brother and I and whilst I slept through from 6 weeks my brother didn't sleep properly until he was about three years old..
I have three. 1 and 2 I found Bf incredibly hard, had a lot of latching problems and PND aswell so gave up with both after a couple of weeks. #1 slept through from 6 months but from about 3 months he only woke for one feed at about 3 a.m. #2 slept through from 2 months.
Now my third is 6mo and ebf. I enjoy bf and find it a lot more convenient and obviously a ton cheaper! Plus I always felt guilty for giving up with my first two and feel really proud that i've been successful this time But we are having all kinds of issues with her. I don't like to think its the bf that has done it though and rather is just her personality.. She won't be put down. At all. If you put her down she screams as if she is being murdered. Some nights she will be up every hour.. exhausting. But like I said I know my own mum had the same issues with my db so I like to think its nothing to do with bf..
Only you can decide though. They say formula takes longer to digest hence why they sleep longer btw. I do know some ff babies that don't sleep though..
I bf my two for six weeks then went onto mixed feeding and they thrived and slept pretty well so I had stamina to cope and felt human within 3 months of birth. Whether I bf or ff the night wakings were dealt with by yours truly as DH was working mad hours. After 6 months I stopped bf altogether and really don't think anyone should feel embarrassed or awkward about their parenting choices.
Hats off to anyone who has a slumbering babe, I really think it's luck of the draw.
Thanks folks. Think I'm going to ebf for the first few weeks, then mix feed from there on in.
Thanks for the wishes of a good sleeper!
Oh, and mine fed twice in the (normally going straight back to sleep) until he was 6 months, then started sleeping 12 hours straight. Now back to waking at 5am and up and down during the nights. I don't think formula/solids have made much difference.
X post Donkeys.
Sounds like a good plan.
I agree about BFing being the easy option. I'd hate to be faffing around, getting out of bed and making feeds up in the middle of the night!
I ff my first and she was a good sleeper. Edf my second and he was a good sleeper.
I breastfeed for most of my sons first eight months. Although introduced a bottle on day three, and he continued to have one bottle a day for the entire eights months (sometimes more).
He was a dream sleeper. First few weeks he woke frequently during the night as a big hungry baby, but soon the wakings reduced.
I now have a 2.5 yr old that has 1.5 hr afternoon nap, down at 7 and I wake him at 8 (closer to 9 at the weekends).
I honestly that it has very little to do with what you are feeding your baby, and more to do with routine. We did a relaxed version of gina ford from about a week in and really really worked for us.
Expecting my scone in two weeks, and DH and I are desperate to replicate exactly what we did with our first, although appreciate that all babies are different.
Formula is extortionate. When my eldest was on it (he's nearly three) it cost us £7.50 a carton and we thought that was expensive- I had a look the other day and its up to £9.50...
Unfortunately you just can't deem that you won't allow it to happen again. I see so many posters thinking their small babies and toddlers are abnormal or naughty for not sleeping through. I think good decent sleep is the exception rather than the rule, and a lot is down to luck. I ebf all 3 of mine. Dd slept a about 9 months, ds at 2.5, and ds2 is 10 months and still wakes up 4 or 5 timesa night. It's shattering. But it's life with a baby. I've tried all sorts, the boy just needs feeding, I feel like I've spent the last 10 months almost exclusively with my norks out. But it's still easier than ff imo. I don't see that you can blame bfing on not sleeping when you hadn't fed her for two years when she finally slept through.
DD now 3, slept through from 8 months, or if she didn't sleep through I didn't wake. We coslept though, so I never had to get up for night feeds. I went back to work full time when she was 14 weeks so it was the best way for us to cope with night wakings.
DS1 was EBF up to 6.5 months, he started sleeping through at 5.5 months.
DS2 was EBF up to 4.5 months (I had to stop for medical reasons). Ff did bugger all for his sleeping habits, he continued to wake up twice a night as before. It did screw up my sleep even more though, as I had to get up to make up the bottles. Now, a month later, he gets up once but I give him a dummy and don't feed him (he doesn't complain). I wouldn't have done that if I was still EBF, because with formula I know he's getting enough during the day. Bottom line though, if I could still BF I would, I found it considerably easier.
I think it's child dependant. Mine was ebf and slept through regularly from 14m. Friends was FF and slept through regularly from 14m.
Personally I think it must be easier (assuming you have no issues bfing) to bf in the night rather than have to think about making up bottles etc?
I find the 'yada yada yada' dismissive remarks about the health benefits of bf puzzling. Bf is the best thing for your baby so why not just do that? I also don't get the do what's best for your baby remarks - how about doing what is best for baby and breastfeeding?!
Dd was ff from 2 weeks and slept 8hrs/ night from 3 months old. Most of my friends bf. Some of them have babies that sleep well, some don't.
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