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Is FF really the faff everyone says it is?

(57 Posts)
weeblueberry Sun 07-Jul-13 00:30:09

For various reasons, after 2 months I'm considering switching to mixed feeding.

I'm reading a lot on here about the 'convenience' factor of breastfeeding and how you can feed your baby anywhere without having to mess around with bottles etc. The thing is I'm trying to understand how difficult it actually is.

My daughter is happy taking room temp expressed milk and, during the time in the neo natal ward that she was being topped up with formula, was happy to take that at room temp too. Can I assume that means if she did I wouldn't have to worry about heating bottles etc?

Someone on another thread said a bottle only stays sterilised for two hours. Does that mean you can't be about more than two hours or have I misunderstood?

I'm just trying to get an actual unbiased idea of how difficult formula feeding will actually be because I genuinely don't know how much of the 'its such a hassle' is to do with people trying to convince those on the edge to stay with bfing...

LoveBeingUpAt4InTheMorning Sun 07-Jul-13 04:46:05

If it involves more than getting a breast out then yes it's more hassle.

The thing with bottle feeding is you have to kill as must of the bacteria as you can when you make it, ie hot water, and then reduce the risk of bacteria multiplying ie not waiting too long between making it you and serving it as well as how it's stored. I can't tell you what the current guidelines are however the serving temp has nothing to do with any of it.


ChunkyPickle Sun 07-Jul-13 06:03:57

Speaking as someone who has trouble making sure there's a clean mug to have a cup of tea in, I would find just having clean bottles a pain.

As to making up the milk - the guidelines are all about the fresher the better - you still have to make it up with hot water because it's the powder you're sterilising, not the bottle (bottles can just go through the dishwasher on a hot wash).

If your baby takes room temperature milk, and you want the least fuss, you can buy pre-made bottles which you just screw a nipple onto. That's about as easy as it gets.

Otherwise you have to either take hot water out with you to make up bottles, or make them up and keep them chilled for the amount of time you're out (and then warm them up if your baby doesn't eat chilled)

cupcake78 Sun 07-Jul-13 06:18:07

Personally I don't find it more difficult but I found breastfeeding exhausting and never slept. Putting a bit of extra energy into washing a few bottles each day is an easy payoff.

I don't know where you've got the 2hr rule from. I wonder if its once formula is made up? I personally wouldn't be using it if its not within the hour.

Bottles with cool boiled water remain sterile until they are used. I redo mine every 12 hours so once in a morning, once in an evening all bottles (6) are washed, steam sterilised and filled with water. Stored in the fridge! It takes about 15 mins if that. 10 of which is in the microwave so can do other things while waiting.

Powder is measured out into formula containers and when we need a bottle we add powder, shake, heat to room temp and give.

If we're going out for a day we take the water and powder separate and do exactly the same thing.

Dd sleeps better on formula, no cluster feeding (9 hrs a night 6-3am became quickly unsustainable with other children in the house) so far has been ok on it.

No faffing about the boob in, boob out, in, out, in, out. I found this more of a faff on than bottles. Can wear anything now without the need for vest tops, nursing clips. Don't spend evening stuck to the sofa, undressed with dd screaming because she's starving and ds missing out on mummy time.

We always keep a bought ready made bottle of formula in the car just incase we get caught short.

As long as your very clean, wash your bottles in hot hot, soapy water well, sterilise properly and don't give old formula, baby has as much chance of being ok as any other.

Something to remember, your nipples aren't sterile, neither is the fist/foot/toys baby will chew on.

cupcake78 Sun 07-Jul-13 06:23:02

The powder will never be sterile. It's the risk of listeria that's the main issue but as any decent micro biologist will tell you even boiling water won't kill the listeria in the powder. The current guidelines say use cooled boiled water and make up each bottle. As you need it. The risks occur once the powder hits the water so don't feed baby old formula and keep feeding stuff clean and you'll be fine!

Steffanoid Sun 07-Jul-13 06:28:44

cupcake, im asking a question out of my curiosity as we combi feed, sorry for the hijack OP,

the box of formula says to make it up with water at 70degrees or above, reason being that it will kill the risk of salmonella etc in the powder, is this just them trying to scare me into running the microwave and kettle each feed?

Splatt34 Sun 07-Jul-13 06:30:21

It's fine, just takes getting used to. I combo feed DD1 from 6 to 13 weeks then switched to formula. DD2 is 5 weeks and combo feeding.

We run the sterilizer once a day. Not 100% sure how long they are officially sterile for but there are people who just wash in soapy water. I always make up milk with hot water though. I always have a supply in a thermos (tomee tippee do a change bag size one whose outer shell you can use for cooling). Hot water into bottle, add powder, shake, place in container of cold water, ready to go in minutes.

Out & about for me it's easier than bf. Don't get me wrong, i have no issue bf in public and do, but i find it really difficult to get DD latched discreetly it gets me in a complete flap. Also know from friends as they get bigger they want to look around more at what is going on and are likely to pull off, bat away modesty scarf away and leave you exposed.

I think fewer people would ff if it were a major hassle!

Splatt34 Sun 07-Jul-13 06:34:53

cupcake & steffan cross post (i's clearly feeding time). You really should make the milk with hot water, it is that which will kill any germs in the powder, then cool down to baby's desired temp.

Mapal Sun 07-Jul-13 06:37:36

Agree with above, not doing this is one of the reasons FF babies are much more prone to gastric type illnesses isn't it? Rates of hospitalization for such are much higher in FF babies.

Splatt34 Sun 07-Jul-13 06:43:32

Possibly mapal though mine haven't had d+v, infact DD1 has had far less illness than her ebf friends, she's only seen a doctor twice & one of them was 6 week check.

StillSlightlyCrumpled Sun 07-Jul-13 06:52:25

It becomes routine like anything else though. So whilst it is important to follow the guidelines I didn't find it a faff at all. Not as easy as getting a breast out, but that depends on how easy you found breastfeeding I guess.

wigglesrock Sun 07-Jul-13 07:00:13

I never found it a faff, it's just how I feed my children <shrug>. Although I've never breastfed so I can't compare it.

I'm not sure about the 2 hour thing - I know that once the baby started the bottle I always discarded it after an hour if there was faffing about smile

Ffeeding didn't help my babies sleep any better, but I've never regretted my decision to ff.

LoveBeingUpAt4InTheMorning Sun 07-Jul-13 07:04:57

The best thing for me is there is no getting caught out bf is always ready

Splatt34 Sun 07-Jul-13 07:05:06

If you make up milk with hot water then cool other is ok to use for 2 hours. So if you know they feed at 11 when you'll be out make the bottle at 10 as you are leaving the house.

MorrisZapp Sun 07-Jul-13 07:12:00

We avoided the worst of the faff by using cartons of ready made formula when out and about. Couldn't have been easier.

SoulTrain Sun 07-Jul-13 07:12:46

I agree totally with the health benefits of breast feeding and did do it for a while but agree that DS has not been nearly as ill as his EBF friends. It was the length of time, lack of routine of breast feeding I just could not cope with. I was having hallucinations I was so tired, FF allowed me and DS to get some sleep and over night I began to enjoy my baby. I'm not saying FF is a better option for all but for me it was PERFECT.

I didn't find it a faff, it's just a small routine you've got to get into. This is how we did it, which I believe is the latest WHO guidelines for making up feeds in advance.

1. All bottles are taken apart, cleaned in hot soapy water with a bottle brush and rinsed.

2. Bung them all in the microwave steriliser for 10 minutes. These bottles are now sterile for 24 hours unless the lid of the steriliser is opened.

3. Put kettle on with completely fresh water and put a timer on for 30 minutes. Go and play with DS, eat dinner or whatever.....letting boiled water cool for 30 minutes achieves a temperature of 70 degrees which is perfect for killing bacteria but not burning the formula which kills the nutrients.

4. Take the bottles and measure the scoops into the bottles first. I put the formula in first because found trying to put the formula in over steaming water made the formula go cloggy and wouldn't measure the right amount.

5. Use an empty bottle to measure the right amount of water into the bottles.

6. Shake very well.

7. All bottles into cold water in the kitchen sink for another 30 minutes.

8. Put the bottles in the fridge, they are now fine for 12 hours and can be heated in the microwave as long as you shake well.

I know that sounds long winded but an hour in the morning and evening (and that hour isn't actually doing it as you can see, I could shower in between or have a cuddle with DS) saved me from all night feeding.

Yes it can be a faff going down in the night to warm a bottle, to be honest after a while we used to take a sterilised bottle up to bed with its lid on and a carton but appreciate that's an option some would find too expensive. You mention you are mixed feeding so it is worth weighing up if its just easier to buy the cartons? You can also just take a sterilised bottle out and use cartons as an easy way to feed out and about.

Formula is expensive, and it's a relief when they go onto cows milk at 1 but if you've made the decision to combination feed, you don't really have another option! You just need to work out the most cost effective, hassle free way. As a pp said the most important thing is to make sure the water is hot enough to kill germs.


weeblueberry Sun 07-Jul-13 07:14:36

Thanks everyone smile

Yes unfortunately I'm finding breastfeeding quite difficult so in my case it's not just 'get out a boob' I'm afraid. Having been (ahem) blessed with giant boobs, as well as a baby that unlatches every few minutes, doing it subtly while out and about isn't always possible. Which then makes me nervous, making her nervous etc. Vicious circle...

My two hours comment came from a poster on another thread who said "With ff, I found it made it more difficult to go out, because you had to make sure you had enough sterile bottles and milk/powder until you got back. Considering a sterile bottle only lasts a couple of hours outside the steriliser, it's a pain in the arse." It was the latter I wasn't sure about? Maybe someone can clarify? confused

Boggler Sun 07-Jul-13 07:17:09

If bottle feeding was really a huge faff everyone would bf.

it's like everything else you just need to get into a system, so you've always got a clean sterilised bottle and a spare in case of accidents.

There is a tiny risk of bacteria in the milk powder but I don't think there have never been any incidents of this in uk, but there was an outbreak in a French hospital where they apparently made up batches of formula in a jugblush. If you look up the WHO guidelines on making up formula it explains it all very well, it also states that it is ok to store made up formula in the fridge as long as its been made with 70c water and fast chilled. In other countries the guidelines are different for instance in Australia they say to make it up with cooled boiled water as they see the risk of accidental scalding as higher than the small risk of bacteria.

You can always buy ready made formula for days out.

KingRollo Sun 07-Jul-13 07:18:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Badvoc Sun 07-Jul-13 07:21:04

More so than bf obv but needn't be a major faff.
We used cartons of fmilk so no need to worry about germs as its sterile.
Also used to sterilise 4 bottles at a time and then leave with lids on til needed.
Worked fine for us and ds2.

Badvoc Sun 07-Jul-13 07:22:31

Weeble...that was my experience too. I lasted bf for 2 months with ds2 and, for me, ff was soooo much easier and tbh you do get into a routine with it fairly quickly.
Also it means someone elapse can feed the baby too.

SoulTrain Sun 07-Jul-13 07:24:12

To be honest, if I sterilised a bottle and put the lid on it I'd consider the bottle sterile for the day and take it out with me in the change bag to use with a carton.

I think guidelines are always very strict to allow minimal room for people's interpretation. My HV told me that the more recent guidelines of weaning at 6 months is more to do with people weaning exceptionally early and if the guidelines are 6 months people are more likely to wean between 4-6 months rather than 6 weeks confused.

How old is your baby OP?

MorrisZapp Sun 07-Jul-13 07:29:12

I've never heard the two hour thing. I just took a sterilised bottle out and used it when needed.

Themobstersknife Sun 07-Jul-13 07:29:58

I don't think that the risk is that ff babies will be more ill generally. There is a tiny risk that the baby will be very, very poorly if formula is made incorrectly. Not a risk worth taking in my view.

I bf first time, introduced the odd bottle of formula at about 5 months, which I gradually increased in readiness for going back to work. I found bf easy but the tiredness and lack of routine very difficult at first, but probably from about 2 months, I found it a doddle.

I started bf dd2 but had to switch to formula after 2 weeks. At first I found formula feeding great because she quickly went into a routine, but I became more annoyed by the faff as time went on, and was thoroughly sick of cleaning bottles, sterilising, waiting for the kettle to cool etc by about 6 months.

Dd1 was a much better sleeper than dd2 so if one of your reasons is for baby to sleep better, you might be unlucky and have a nightmare baby like mine who is still not bloody well sleeping throug. To counter other anecdotes, dd1 has a cast iron constitution like me, whereas dd2 is a total puker. I doubt feeding method has anything to do with these things.

LittlePoot Sun 07-Jul-13 07:32:00

Soultrain gives excellent guidance, although with a really new baby I used to make up every bottle as needed and it was only after about 4 or 5 months I made and stored 12 hours worth at a time. If you put the bottles together after sterilising, they're fine for 24 hours-no idea where that 2 hour comment came from. Basically, just do them each day and you'll be fine. Cartoons do make nights and trips out easier, or use boiling water in a thermos flask so it stays hot longer. It is a bit of a faff, although you do get into a routine. I did often wish I could just wap out a boob, but mine didn't work so we switched around 8 weeks after topping up with formula since 3 weeks.

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