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to ask about the REALITY of BF'ing Vs FF'ing

(178 Posts)
PatButchersEarring Wed 13-Feb-13 16:05:29

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?

smellysocksandchickenpox Wed 13-Feb-13 16:43:03

I BF DD, she was one of the first babies in our group to sleep though and still sleeps beautifully! howEVERRR I regret BFing her because I took "BFing friendly" antibiotics which gave her a horrible thrush colonisation and long term IBSishness - tummy is very senstive since the antibiotics/thrush

DS is still very wee, it's early days! BFing again but he is doing his longer sleeps at night, from midnights we get a 3 hour stint, then a feed, then a 4 hour stint (sometimes the other way round with the 4 hour one first), which IMO is pretty good going for a newborn - feeds about every 2 hours in the day, SOMETIMES a 3 hour gap but it's usually 2, sometimes 1.

PatButchersEarring Wed 13-Feb-13 16:44:40

gimme. You sound like the condescending (and childless) MW which has been forcing the BF issue down my throat. (No pun intended!)

It is not just about what is nutritionally (slightly) better for the newborn baby, but about weighing up what's in the best interests for the whole family- including me having the energy to be able to effectively parent my DD.

Also bear in mind that FF may be easier short term, but it is just short term. Imagine that you FF and get a brilliant sleeper, so think you're sorted. Then what if you end up with a "difficult" older child because of something that could have potentially been "fixed" by BF? And what if they were going to be a good sleeper regardless of how they were fed? (btw, my ds1 has asthma and ds2 eczema, both ebf, so I know its not as simple as that, but I hope you can see what I mean?)

Passmethecrisps Wed 13-Feb-13 16:49:26

I know what you are saying gimme. I couldn't breastfeed and it broke my heart because I knew it was the best thing. However, I think what the OP is saying is that she knows this fully and doesn't need it repeated.

As for what is best for baby the effects of sleep deprivation on parents is fairly likely not to be good for baby.

My tuppence worth is that I expressed for a fortnight so never got the benefits of breastfeeding but all the faff of formula. When we moved from BF to FF there was no change to her sleeping pattern. However, she has always been a very good sleeper and now at 13 weeks sleeps from 11:00 to 7:30 or later sometimes.

I would hesitate to jump on the idea that FF means better sleeping. The digestive problems that formula can sometimes cause could surely create a baby who finds sleeping hard.

At the end of the day if the baby is hungry he or she will wake to eat. My DD is ambivalent about food and likes sleeping. Next one could be the opposite.

WileyRoadRunner Wed 13-Feb-13 16:50:42

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?!

gimme did you miss the point where OP said she was aware of all of that and didn't want ^ this kind of post confused

Oh and btw, I have a "normal" sleeping toddler and the youngest is not sleeping great at the moment (goes down okay, goes back off in the night okay, but seems to think 4am is time to get up hmm ) its hard, but not impossible, and like everything, it will pass won't it? smile

LoonyRationalist Wed 13-Feb-13 16:52:32

DD1 was EBF, slept 8 hrs a night from 8 weeks old,Cluster feed tp 9pm then slept 9 - 11pm feed then slept 11.30-7.30am.

I shan't depress you with DD2, safe to say she didn't sleep. I knew enough to sleep when dd1 was at pre-school and go to bed v.v. early by then though.

I truly believe that it depends on the baby not the type of milk.

Passmethecrisps Wed 13-Feb-13 16:52:41

Oh an OP I think your plan of mixed feeding is grand. It should give you a chance to at least feel as if you are givin both a go.0

WileyRoadRunner Wed 13-Feb-13 16:54:02

OP I FF both of mine.

DD1 was a great sleeper at 6 weeks onwards.

DD2 was a good sleeper until about a year then bad until she was about 2.5. I think it really depends on the baby.

FF is expensive, lots of faffing with bottles and carting them around. BUT on the plus side you can share feeds with your DH.

Perhaps you could see how you go with EBF then switch to formula if it isn't working for you?

ouryve Wed 13-Feb-13 16:54:14

I combination fed DS1 for 18 months and EBF DS2, who didn't wean until 27 months. Even with the night wakings, breastfeeding in the night was far easier than having to go downstairs and faff about with bottles. There's no sterilisation involved with EBF and it's an awful lot cheaper.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Wed 13-Feb-13 17:03:31

I don't know. I've not tried FF. I bf ds1 till 16 mo, ds2 till he went to school (4 and 3/4) and am now bfing ds3 who is 6 weeks.

Tbh, it wasn't so much the sleeping that worried me, it's the easiness of it - give me a choice between waking 3 times in a night, feeding in bed and going bac to sleep, and getting up once in the night, sterilising a bottle, warming it and then going back to bed, and I would choose the multiple bfs.

Just basically because you can do it all day, anywhere, any time, they have nicer smelling poo and I think it helps their immune system somewhat. And using it for comfort etc.

It's horses for courses. Mine have all slept nicely pretty early on, couldn't say how early because I didn't really notice, having them in bed next to me it all sort of blurred into one and they settled really well, there wasn't any toing and froing into another room etc which would have driven me batshit.

skaen Wed 13-Feb-13 17:04:37

Ff'd DD. up 3 times per night until 18 months and then once a night until she was 3ish.

Bf'd DS. He has always woken once a night but from age 2 tends to trot into our room and curl himself up on my feet, no feeding.

KitCat26 Wed 13-Feb-13 17:04:54

DD1 BF for 6-8wks then FF (problems with BF absolutely wrecked me). She slept through (7-7 with a dream feed at 11pm) from 11 weeks.

DD2 BF for 1 wk found it just as hard as the first time but couldn't afford to be a total wreck again. FF from 1 week, slept through (again 7-7 with a deam feed at 11pm) from 12 weeks.

Both good sleepers, though that could be luck. Won't test the theory with a third though!

IgnoringTheChildren Wed 13-Feb-13 17:06:27

I BF both of mine - DS1 was sleeping through (7-6ish) from about 4 months, DS2 took a lot longer (I stopped the night feeds when he was 13 months ish but he'd still wake in the night and need my DH or I to settle him until fairly recently - he's 2 now).

BubblegumPie mentioned co-sleeping - I wouldn't have considered it with DS1 but it's what got me through the first 6 months with DS2 and I'd do it from the start if we have another baby never going to happen according to DH

After many sleepless nights I was feeling really down and had really had enough of BF. DH was sleeping in the spare room during the week and I started feeding DS2 while lying down in bed and leaving him next to me when he fell asleep (as moving him woke him up). Although I was tired I was "aware" of DS2 in bed - even though I'd fall asleep while he was feeding I wouldn't roll over/move around (something that concerned me about the idea of co-sleeping) and would stay in one position. I realised we were both getting a lot more sleep and researched co-sleeping properly to make sure he was safe.

In the end I had the cot "side-car" to the bed (ordinary drop-side cot, took the drop side off and raised the matress up to the level of our matress) so that I could share a bed with DH again. DS2 went to sleep in his cot but when he woke I could pull him to me to feed him back to sleep without having to wake up properly myself and we were all much happier!

We stopped around 6/7 months as it was clear that it wasn't working so well anymore, so although DS2 was still waking once or twice most nights we all (well not DS1 as he slept through everything anyway!) got more sleep when he was in his own room.

I wasn't actually intending on writing so much when I started this! Anyway hopefully it's something to think about - it might not be for you but like I said, I'd never have considered it before having to cope with DS2!

BTW I think that the main reasons for the difference in sleeping between DS1 and 2 were due to the fact that DS1 would suck a dummy and then his fingers so could settle himself back to sleep if he wasn't hungry, whereas the only thing DS2 would accept in his mouth was my boob!

havingamadmoment Wed 13-Feb-13 17:06:35

I totally FF my first three children and totally BF my last two. The two experience were very different. My FF children were more to a schedule (I fed on demand but they seemed to settle into their own routines after a matter of a couple of weeks). They slept through the night from about 4 months on and in the day I had a lot of time where they would sit in boucy chairs, or lie on the mats etc. In a way it was easier than my BFed babies who were always near me - being held or in a sling, they didnt sleep well unless co sleeping (withing cms of my boob!) and I was more tied to them.

However reading the bare facts it seems as though BFing was a nightmare compared to FF in reality I wish I had ffed the first three - the realtionship for me was totally different, with Bfing I felt very close to the babies, I loved the way they wanted to be near me and of course I didnt love them MORE but it WAS different - for me. I dont want that to sound liek I have a prob with FF I dont but just my experience.

If I could go back to my first three I would BF.

Startail Wed 13-Feb-13 17:06:52

Far too long ago to remember the details all I do know is BFing is just 1000x less hassle whether the middle of the night, going out for the day or away for a week.

No shelling out £8 a tin and the fussing with bottles, sterilising, keeping cool and warming up milk.

I've no idea when either of mine slept through, no idea why people make such a fuss about this. DD1 bottle fed quickly and went back to her cot, DD2 dreamily BF while I snoozed and stayed in our bed a lot longer, before being returned to her cot. Neither were a great problem once they weren't very small.

DCs gradually wake less in the night and you might not feed them, but undisturbed sleep is never guaranteed. My 11 yo had a nightmare and came in for a cuddle the other night.

havingamadmoment Wed 13-Feb-13 17:07:07

Oh and from a sleepign point of view my BF dc4 didnt sleep through until 13 months and 12 month dc5 still isnt smile.

Flisspaps Wed 13-Feb-13 17:07:28

DD was FF from 7wo.

She was shit at sleeping until 14mo.

havingamadmoment Wed 13-Feb-13 17:08:04

sorry that should be wish i hadnt ffd not wish I had !

RememberTheGoodTimes Wed 13-Feb-13 17:14:08

I know a few mums whose baby who was ebf slept through the night from 3 weeks onwards (by that I mean the whole night).
And quite a few mums who FF and whose baby didn't slepp properly until they were over 2yo.

ds1 was FF and slept through at 3 months old (ie woke up only once at 5.00am).
ds2 didn't need a feed from around 5~6 months old but did need comfort during the night (several ties a night) until he was over 2 yo. As I didn't feed him (even though he was ebf) during these night, bf or ff wouldn't have a jot of difference.

The reality is that whether your baby sleep through the night or not is a lot down to his temperament. You won't know until the baby is born (or later tbh). I would start to bf and then see how it goes. It's easier to introduce ff than to start bfing.

WorraLiberty Wed 13-Feb-13 17:14:43

FF all 3 of mine

DS1 - Didn't sleep through til about 18 months

DS2 - Slept through from about 8 weeks

DS3 - Slept through from 7 weeks

DS2 and 3 have much more chilled and relaxed personalities than DS1 so I wonder if that plays a part?

I FF both of mine and neither went more than 5 hours without waking until about 9 months. Neither did 7 -6 until they were about 2.5. <yawns>

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Wed 13-Feb-13 17:18:37

I might add that ds3, who is bf, slept for 6 hours on the go the other night. In fact I think it's been two nights running. I can't quite remember though, I'm too tired!

ghoulelocks Wed 13-Feb-13 17:18:41

ds- FF, post term, big and chubby

nightmare, up 3-4 times over a year. Nearly killed me traipsing cold flat at night with bottles. Wouldn't settle back down. Nearly lost it/ depressed

dd- EBF, now 8 weeks never up more than twice, sometimes once. Co-sleeping so don't even get out of my warm bed. Fall asleep minutes after latching her on.

Quite pissed off I believed all my family and I never knew ebf could be so bloody easy,love popping out on a whim with nothing but a pack of wipes and a nappy in my handbag.

ghoulelocks Wed 13-Feb-13 17:20:08

oh and dd was prem too

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