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help with the practical positives and negatives of formula feeding

(261 Posts)
KnackeredMerrily Thu 18-Dec-14 11:57:08

I'm currently breastfeeding my week old but we are struggling with putting weight on and jaundice.

I've been here before with my first son, and the first months of his life with feeding him 20 times a day and expressing top up feeds. The idea of doing it again makes me want to curl up into a ball and weep.

But, I've never gone through the practicalities of formula feeding either. What is it like? How do you make feeds up in advance? Is it a fiddle travelling with bottles and keeping them warm and wondering how much they've had? Is one formula better than another?

I am well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding so I don't need to hear that slant. I'm just wondering what the day to day life is like when FF

JingleBellSniffer Thu 18-Dec-14 12:04:26

I suspect formula is very good for your baby - yes it has chemicals in it, but it has all the chemicals your baby needs, and it may even have chemicals your baby needs that your breastmilk doesn't have.

Keeping them warm is a case of jusy asking for a jug of hot water while you're out. SMA is the main one, then cow and gate follow up smile

mrsnec Thu 18-Dec-14 12:21:38

I bf dd for a while and gave up for the same reasons you say.

We don't have a steriliser. I use a large tuppaware box and sterilising tabs.

Kettle is always full of cooled boiled water and there's always a bottle ready.

I take a bottle out with me made up and the bag has another bottle of ready made in it and a sachet of powder just in case.

As long as the bottle isn't too hot I don't worry too much about temperature.

Dd has 4 feeds a day of aptamil and one of frisolac comfort.

My pediatrician recommended doing what I'm doing. Dd also hypoglycemic as well and said at least this way you can keep track of what she's getting.

Other people can help too.dh does the last feed of the day for example as I like my sleep! Good luck!

bubalou Thu 18-Dec-14 12:25:32

Please don't get down.

DS was tongue tied so after trying to feed him for over a week, him losing weight and me screaming in pain with bleeding nipples (tmi - but he was unable to latch so was 'chewing' instead).

I put him on a bottle and he loved it. I also continued to express for the next mont until it dried up.

There's lots of conflicting advice as per how to prep and store milk etc. DS is 6 so it was a while back but we would sterilise bottles - boil water and fill the bottles with it, then you refrigerate the water. When you want to make up a bottle you add the powder to the water in the bottle and then heat up by placing in a jug of hot water.

It was never a faff I found. I had tommee tippee bottles and a flask that went with it which went in my changing bag and heated the bottle up when I was out and about. I hate people asking for hot water in places - its a pain and most of the time unnecessary if you have a flask.

Don't put so much pressure on yourself. Do what is right for you and your baby. smile

GothicRainbow Thu 18-Dec-14 12:26:18

We ff our DS from 6 weeks old and used the tommee tippee prep machine for at home and then cartons for out and about. Was very easy - the only extra bit is the washing and sterilising of the bottles.

We found the best bottles to use were Dr Brown but I think that can be abit trial and error for you and your baby.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Thu 18-Dec-14 12:27:30

I make up four feeds at a time, as my microwave steriliser (which is marvellous!)holds four.

I then feed ds roughly three hourly in the day. He has his bottles at room temp. When I go out, I leave the house after a feed and take two premade bottles with me, so I know I can be out nine hours if I need.

DH and I take turns with the night feeds (although he now just feeds once at 4am), and we also alternate lie ins on a weekend.

I love FFng. I tried BFing DS, and DD before him, and hated it.

Szeli Thu 18-Dec-14 12:39:26

love formula used ready made when out as theres no need to warm it. initally i even used throwaway bottles too.

making up formula is easy too. either make all the bottles up in the morning and refridgerate or you can make them up as and when but for me that took too long.

so long as the powder has been mixed with boiling water to kill the nasties you've cracked it

mrsnec Thu 18-Dec-14 12:44:23

I use dr brown's bottles too. Another vote here. On a negative point I would say the main downside is the cost and that I felt like a failure at the start but there are too many positives to mention!

SlipperyLizard Thu 18-Dec-14 12:46:11

Szeli is spot on - the powder must be mixed with water hot enough to kill any bacteria in it (a lot of people don't realise that).

I've bf and ff, and loved the "freedom" of ff - not being the only one who could do feeds etc. Out and about the cartons are the easiest option.

Theboodythatrocked Thu 18-Dec-14 12:47:34

Go for it op.

Used to make 4 up at a time like Hacked

Do what suits you. smile

IHeartChristmasMoomies Thu 18-Dec-14 12:48:41

We used a cold steriliser and a hot one. Normally would put about 8 in the cold one and then in the evening would part make up bottles - normally boiling water to 6oz. These would be fridged when cool.

Then during the day, we would top up with 2oz of boiling water and put in the powder, this made sure the milk was just the right temp to feed straight away. If going out, I would make up a boiling hot bottle and it would be just about right when I needed it (as the babies would normally sleep longer in car/bus).

It was a faff, but so much easier than breast feeding twins! I know you are supposed to make them up from boiling, but we never had a problem doing it our way, the HV didn't have a problem with it, and it was just so much easier than having to cool down a red hot bottle when you've got a screaming baby.

Breast feeding is hard for some, and it's not necessary. Look after yourself as well as baby, and if that means formula feeding, then I say go for it.

twinklexx Thu 18-Dec-14 12:50:28

I am currently ff dd. I have the tommee tippee perfect prep machine for at home so make the feeds as required.
Current guidelines say that the powder must be mixed with boiling water to kill the bugs and that feeds are to be discarded 2 hours after making them.
when I go out, I use different options. Take a flask of boiling water, powder dispenser, empty bottle and make the bottles up as needed. I ask for a jug of cold water to cool the bottle.

you can use the ready made cartons and I serve them at whatever temp they are at. Otherwise I make one up and take it with me.

To begin with, I followed the instructions on the packet with amounts and times but I found fairly quickly that my gut instinct was good and I was able to alter accordingly.
I found it less faff than breastfeeding but that may be because my experience of bf was horrific!
I was also v organised at making sure I washed the bottles the night before so they were ready througout the day

monkeytroubles Thu 18-Dec-14 12:51:51

We got a Tommee Tippee perfect prep machine, amazing gadget, you just put the powder in, press a couple of buttons and you get water at exactly the right temp. It's safe (delivers a shot of boiling water first) easy and no constantly boiling the kettle and waiting for bottles to cool etc. They're not cheap but we felt it was so worth it, especially for night time feedings or when baby is really hungry/miserable and doesn't want to wait. All our friends with babies ended up getting one as soon as they saw how easy it was.

We tended to use the little bottles of ready made formula for when out and about or on holiday, they're a bit more expensive but just found it so much easier and DD was happy to drink it at room temp. Other times we just packed a flask of hot water in the changing bag. Most pubs, restaurants etc are happy to give you a jug of hot water though.

I would say the only thing that was a bit of a hassle was the sterilising but even that is easy enough really. We had a microwave steriliser that could fit six bottles at a time and our bottles were dishwasher safe so not a lot of effort really.

Quitelikely Thu 18-Dec-14 12:53:22

If you want to try it out can I suggest to pop to your local supermarket a buy a cheap bottle and pre made carton of milk or a large bottle of it.

Soak the bottle in red hot water, fill up a few ounces, say 2 and then serve! I've got no doubt your baby will take it.

You don't have to totally switch to formula some folk do both.

A good time for formula is bed time so that you and baby get a decent rest. Then bf during the day

MrsMaker83 Thu 18-Dec-14 12:55:48

I formula my daughter from birth, and it could not have gone better.

We make up a days worth of formula and store in bottles in the fridge.(Goes against guidelines but it works fine for us). The guidelines say bottles should be made fresh for each feed. Do whatever you prefer, as long as the powder is added to BOILING water.

At feeding time we put a bottle in the electric bottle warmer, takes about five minutes. Putting in a jug of boiling water works as well. Formula can also be served at room temperature, though my daughter seems to prefer it warm and it seems to settle her down to sleep better when its warm.

When out and about we take a tommee tippee flask out with us to warm up bottles.

We have a steamer steriliser, but there are cheaper alternatives that work as well.

A few bottles alongside the usual dishes to be washed, and about ten minutes a day filling the steriliser and preparing the next days bottles really isn't any trouble. I don't understand why so many people remark on how much time and effort it takes. Obviously there is way more prep than breastfeeding, but it isn't hugely time consuming for me.

Don't be down, do whatever is easiest and best for you all! smile

GailLondon Thu 18-Dec-14 12:56:44

You will be totally fine and will definitely find it easier than BF'ing 20 times a day plus expressing on top.

No need to warm up the milk at any point, just give it at room temperature all the time.

PrincessTheresaofLiechtenstein Thu 18-Dec-14 12:59:28

There are clear guidelines on how to make bottles safely and some of the advice on this thread is outdated, sorry.

If you cannot make each bottle as needed (because timings of feeds are unpredictable and you can't wait for the milk to cool), then the next safest thing is to make up bottles for the day with water that's no less that 70 degrees and put straight in the back of the fridge, then warmed as needed. Using room temp water carries a risk.

Also, follow on milk not required.

SpidersInTheBox Thu 18-Dec-14 13:00:34

Just do what works for you. Honestly it's nobody elses business how you choose to feed your baby.

I ff my DTs. Best decision for me. It was easy and I had a much easier time of it than friends that choose to bf.

I used to steralise all bottles in the evening and fill with boiled water. Then for every feed just add the formula and give it a shake and give it to them room temp. I never warmed a bottle. My pediatric nurse friend did the same with her DTs. She told me that if you do it like this then any bacteria doesn't get a chance to grow, that's why you put the formula in at the last minute iyswim. All the DTs are incredibly healthy and rarely even have a sniffle. Lots of the f feeding mums I know also did this, but few would say this to anyone that didn't because people can get a bit weird about it.

You can get little tommee tippee formula pots so when out I used to take a few bottles (filled with the cooled boiled water obviously) and a few of the little pots with the correct amount of formula and just make them up when needed.

The electric steraliser I had was TT and held 8 bottles. It took about 5 minutes to do them all.

It's very easy to get into a routine with ff and both mine dropped night feeds at 22 weeks (their choice, they just stopped drinking it).

Mmolly2013 Thu 18-Dec-14 13:00:40

I use aptamil ready made big bottles, so no faffing about with powder. baby hasn't been sick once and he's 4 months old. formula if made slightly wrong can make a baby sick so also saves that from happening with ready made

Neverbuyheliumbalonz Thu 18-Dec-14 13:01:41

I am a seasoned FFder these days! smile

I echo the others who say do not beat yourself up about it, a few months years from now it will seem so unimportant.

Have a read of this, it's very useful:

THe most important thing is that you make the bottles with water that is at least 70 degrees (but not freshly boiled). It's not the water (in this country at least) that is dangerous, but the powder, there is no point in doing it wit cooked boiled water as its still not safe.

This is what I do:
-Boil the kettle and put the microwave steriliser on with 4 bottles in (the max it will hold)
-Leave the kettle for about half an hour (which also allows time for the steriliser to cool down a bit as well - dont open he steriliser though until you need it)
-Measure out however many scoops you need - tommee tippee do these little containers that I think are designed for taking powder out and about, but I use them to pre measure how many scoops I need (so if I am using 7oz of water, I need 7'scoops). I do this because I found that if I just scooped straight out of the carton into the bottle then steam from the water made the scoop damp and the powder would stick to it and the measures might not be accurate, plus I thought a damp scoop back in the carton wouldn't be good and I couldn't be doing wit washing/drying it after every use.
-pour the required amount of water into the bottle and then put the powder in. Lid on give it a shake, repeat for the other 3 bottles.
-put the bottles into a pan of iced water (I use ice packs) and leave until they are cold.
-put straight into the back of the fridge and make sure they are used within 24 hours.
- when you need one I use the microwave put in a bowl of hot water to warm.

Obvioisly if you need more than 4 in 24 hours which you will do at the beginning, you will need to do this twice a day.

For going out I sterilise a bottle, put the lid on immediately and then bring a little bottle of the pre made stuff.

Oh and Cow and Gate and Aptamil are completely the same apparently, but C and G is significantly cheaper (I used it second time around).

I can't think of any negatives really from a practical point of view anyway.

divingoffthebalcony Thu 18-Dec-14 13:02:30

I used pre made cartons. Expensive, but worth it for my peace of mind. It's sterile, so no worries about having made up the formula with water at the wrong temperature. DD was also happy to have it at room temp, so no hassles when out and about. Just needed to remember a sterilised bottle and scissors.

Neverbuyheliumbalonz Thu 18-Dec-14 13:03:06

*cooled boiled water, not cooked!

Aherdofmims Thu 18-Dec-14 13:04:10

Just to add both of mine were happy to drink formula at room temperature or even from the fridge.

When my dd was a baby you could make up 24 hours worth and keep in fridge (but not in the door). I imagine the only reason the advice has changed is that people would stretch this to several days, whereas if they say feed immediately after making people will only stretch this out to a couple of hours (I am only guessing at this reasoning!).

StatisticallyChallenged Thu 18-Dec-14 13:04:43

One thing to add to that, if you are making a days up then refrigerating you have to flash cool them - ie get the bottles standing in or under cold water so they cool ASAP, then put them in the fridge. That's the method recommended if you can't make fresh each time and is in the guidelines for childcare settings.

Neverbuyheliumbalonz Thu 18-Dec-14 13:05:11

I realise m massively long post makes FFing seem like a right faff, its really not, I can pretty much do it with my eyes closed now! I just wanted to get in all the details and things I learnt along the way!

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