Is ff easier?(117 Posts)
I don't mean to start a discussion about whether bf or ff is best (sure both have ups and downs, and I know people often feel strongly about one or the other) but realised that most of the threads on here are about bf problems. Is that because bf is harder and ff easier or because people don't think they'll get support about ff here?
I think FF is easier initially compared to BF which can take a few weeks or so to get in the swing of. However BF after a while comes into its element as there's no need to spend ages sterilising, heating milk or making up bottles. It's all on tap
BF is easier in terms of there being no preparation or storage, clearing up, no waiting or planning. You are more likely to have BF problems than FF problems though.
And when you go to Starbucks to meet your other new Mummy friends, they're having to faff with hot water and health & safety policies, then hold a bottle in mouth whilst coffee goes cold whilst you're onto your second cup - bf gives you a hands free for eating/drinking/reading/changing telly channel...
And how rubbish to stand in kitchen in the early hours waiting for water/milk to heat up. If bf just scoop child out of cot next to your bed.
As previous poster said, easier in the long run once you've got it sussed.
One of the biggest hurdles needed to be overcome re breastfeeding is that no-one is told about it prior to giving birth. There's a generally accepted view that bf is natural & therefore easy. If women were given the proper advice and support prior to and after giving birth, I doubt there'd be as many issues.
Btw I had loads of difficulties with bf and it took 3 months before it became easy. I'm now a BFPSW
I think it really depends on the lady and baby. I've tried both and found ff much easier. I had a big steriliser, and was able to easily prep for the day and take bottles with me when I went out.
The only issue I had was constant questions and negative comments about why I was ff.
BF is hard till you figure out latch/make it through the first few growth spurts/get used to feeding in public. But then you never have to sterilise bottles, never have to make up feeds, never have to worry if you've got enough bottles to last while you're out. It's all there waiting in your boobs! You can choose to express and give bottles - but generally that's a choice. Then you can have best of both worlds.
Both have ups and downs. Neither is always easy.
As you may have seen from previous posts it isn't a simple case of one being easier than the other. It depends on the individual woman, baby, and the level of support the woman has (both practical and emotional).
I had to use some formula when my DS was new born, and I found it a complete faff. Could never be organised enough with washing/sterilising etc. I was much happier when we dropped the formula and were only breastfeeding. No prep or planning needed.
It's also worth bearing in mind that people tend to post on support forums when they have a problem. For each woman having BF problems posting on here there will be dozens who aren't. I also find that lots of people do actually post about formula feeding problems on here.
I've been formula feeding DS, 2.5 months, since 24 hours after birth. Breastfeeding was excruciating. Previous posters must have had a much easier time of it than I did if they think breastfeeding is easier than formula feeding. I am very pleased with ff and have had no negative comments from anyone about it. Btw, and this may be different advice since I live in the US, I do not need to heat the milk or sterilise the bottles. Room temperature for the milk and a wash in hot water is fine for bottles. If you have plenty of bottles it doesn't take long at all to make one up. Ff has allowed my DH to take on a true 50/50 split of childcare (more than 50% now I'm back at work). I'm not sure I'd bother even trying bf if we had another child.
Re-reading the thread, I personally didn't need more info on bf as Gin suggests may be the case for some. I knew all about it, latch problems, tongue tie, failure to thrive, health benefits of bf, etc etc especially from reading Mumsnet. It didn't work because it bloody hurt and I wasn't willing to put up with the agony. No doubt lack of info may be a problem for others, it just wasn't my problem.
One of the biggest hurdles needed to be overcome re breastfeeding is that no-one is told about it prior to giving birth.
Not here! We had bf sessions in the hospital antenatal classes, bf specific sessions at hospital before and after birth, LLL visitors, community MW went through bf in increasing depth as pg progressed. This was all routine NHS where I live, 6 and 3 years ago.
I did both till 5 months and personally I found FF a lot easier. We had a large steriliser so bottles are down in bulk once a day, and a perfect prep machine so there was no faffing about with boiling/cooling water. Out and about we used pre made cartons so also very easy.
That said we had issues with latch and supply (and a very curious baby!) so I can imagine how a baby that just 'gets it' would be a lot easier to BF. I persisted for the health benefits but honestly, it was never easy or enjoyable for me.
I bf dc 1 and 2, but ff dc 3. I found ff easier by a long chalk. I know it's not the right-on thing to say, but that's the truth.
Aside from the faff of preparing bottles etc ff is probably easier, especially if you just buy the pre-made stuff and your baby takes it room temperature! I bf and have had no problems, guess I'm one of the lucky ones whose baby latched on day 1 and I left hospital after one night. But at times it does get stressful when you realise that your baby is completely attached to you and your life kind of revolves around the gaps in between feeds! My DS1 is 12 wks now and goes 3 hrs between feeds and takes a bottle so I'm finding things ok, plus I'm happy feeding in public which I guess can be a challenge for women too. I reckon I'll stop after 6 months though.
What heatherbell said ... less prep but ask me at 3am when DH can't take a turn!
Mind you if you can pump and baby takes a bottle or cup it helps.
Not sure who these hands free bf ladies are. Baby under 3 months ... you hold em!
They both have their positives and negatives when it comes to issues. I FF DC1 and am EBF DC2. I'm finding BF way easier from a being out and about point of view - no stressing about having the right amount of formul and keeping it chilled, all I need is boobs. But then, I can't even have a bath in peace as DH can't settle the baby (she won't take a bottle).
I think FF is easier in the early days, to about 6-8 weeks, after that if you master BF confidently in public etc. then BF is much less faffy etc and I would say easier but after the initial few weeks of getting a good latch, establishing a supply, working through any pain issues etc.
Once you've got bf mastered its a piece of cake and way easier than ff. But the downside is that you're then tied to the baby, you can't have more than a couple of hours off and nights are all down to you.
My first was ff, my second is bf and refuses a bottle, if I ever have a third it will be mix fed from birth. Best of both worlds!!!
"And how rubbish to stand in kitchen in the early hours waiting for water/milk to heat up."
I had a bottle warmer beside my bed. I didn't have to move. Is that not a thing now?
I used to prepare a day's bottles in advance and put them in the fridge, but I don't think that's the recommended procedure any more.
I found formula feeding a doddle. I couldn't imagine being tied down by bf and spending the amount of time doing it that is often required.
Imo bf is easier in the event it goes smoothly. I ff #1 from 1 week, felt terrible about it, #2&3 were bf for 19 months (when I chose to stop they would have carried on I think). Breast feeding #1 for 7 days was harder than feeding #2 and 3 for an almost uninterrupted period of 3 years. Sounds silly but for me it was true. Fwiw I said I would mix feed #3 but in the event I just couldn't be bothered.
I think bf is both more complex and more complicated. That doesn't mean it's "harder".
Most ff issues and questions are easy to read up on and "standard".
Bf issues and questions are far more individual and complicated.
As well as everything mentioned by PPs, it also depends what exactly you're hoping for from those first six months (or first year) with your baby. If you want your independence, need to go back to work, don't want your life or relationship to be altered and to completely negate your every need in favour of that of your baby, then FF is easier, without a doubt. If you want to spend hours sitting feeding your baby, holding them when nobody else can, giving them something that nobody else can, savouring all those moments - the hard as well as the romantic, when 3am exhaustion hits and it's just you and your babe awake and life goes fuzzy round the edges, well, then bf will win out even if it seems harder sometimes.
I admit it caught me by surprise the first time, how much my baby needed me, and that was fucking hard, even when the initial physiological issues were over, but in the long run that was my reward, too. I'm more prepared for it this time round. Yes, BF has benefits in the ease of preparation, cost, portability etc, but it's not as simple as easy versus hard, BF versus FF.
I am looking forward to BF DC2, even whilst I slightly dread the relentlessness of it, but I hated the FF we had to do. I hated faffing with bottles, worrying about germs, temperature, trying to warm bottles when I had a screaming baby, handing my baby over to DH and feeling like I should be doing it even though he technically could (and wanted to). It doesn't feel like a choice to me, so even if BF is harder at times, and I wish I could unequivocally say it was easier, because I heartily believe in it, it's still how I will feed my baby.
Whoops. Sorry for the essay. Pregnant, watching children in need and feeling emotional.
But you only hold with one hand - usually with arm propped up (and if you have a wedgy pillow you can prop baby up on your boob if you want to be totally hands free!
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