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Experiences of breastfeeding and expressing

(19 Posts)
NuggetNewall2016 Tue 24-Nov-15 13:01:24

Hi everyone! This is my first ever post which is kind of exciting!

I was wondering what are people's experiences of breastfeeding and also bottle feeding expressed milk? I've always been in the breastfeeding camp, I personally feel (but respect other people's different feelings) that it will be the best for my little one when they make their appearance. However, bottle feeding does have it perks, as I think it would give a little bit more flexibility at feeding times, I know my husband would love to be able to feed our baby, and as someone who is rather anxious about breastfeeding in public I think I would feel a lot more comfortable with a bottle.

The questions I have really are these:
Do babies manage well with both boobs and bottles?
Does it make life easier?
What is the downside of feeding this way?

Thanks!
Shelley (26 weeks and counting!)

Rinceoir Tue 24-Nov-15 13:06:44

I think it would be a lot easier to breastfeed when out and about than use a bottle. I was terrified to breastfeed on public but it's actually fine, baby covers the nipple and clothes easily arranged to cover the rest of the breast. As for expressing, not everyone finds it easy to express. I had no trouble expressing but my DD wouldn't entertain the use of a bottler; however I know plenty of babies have no problem switching between the two.

youlemming Tue 24-Nov-15 13:11:19

It's a good idea to have both options as it not only means you can share feeding with a partner but will give you some flexibility to spend time away from baby at some point.
The recommendation is to get breastfeeding established first so not to get confusion between nipple and teat, so maybe around 4 wks depending on how it's going try a bottle.
I would definitely try giving a bottle relatively frequently so the baby gets used to it, I didn't with DD2 and now struggling to get her to taken one and go back to work after Xmas!

Micah Tue 24-Nov-15 13:15:01

Do babies manage well with both boobs and bottles?

Sometimes. Problem is you can't tell whether your baby is going to be one that happily takes both boob and bottle, or whether they may refuse one in favour of the other. Unfortunately, by the time you figure it out, the baby might have chosen and you find yourself only able to bottle feed or breast feed.

Does it make life easier?

Not IME. Expressing is a PITA, often you can't get much milk out (it takes practice, and some people can't express at all) which leads to supply concerns. As it's not as effective as a baby, it can lead to a reduction in your supply. You'll have to express when you give a bottle anyway, to keep your supply up. So what's the point when it's easier just to feed the baby.

What is the downside of feeding this way?

Having all the downsides of both bottle feeding and breastfeeding. Having to faff with bottles and sterilising, and having to take it all with you when you go out. Affecting your supply, or having a baby that prefers bottles, so you have to give up breastfeeding sooner than you'd choose. Impacting on your confidence- babies often prefer bottles and drain them quickly as it's less work for them- so it's easy to think you don't have enough milk or are doing something wrong.

IME the best way to breastfeed, and get breastfeeding established is to breastfeed. Bottles and expressing complicate things and often add to the worries over supply, frequent feeding etc. Once the baby is 3 months + and you're both in the swing of things, then I'd think about introducing a bottle if you want. I didn't as it was simply easier to feed.

WiIdfire Tue 24-Nov-15 13:15:17

Keep an open mind until the little one arrives - they will have their own ideas! My baby is happy with boob or bottle, some struggle with boob, some wont take a bottle. There are some events where a bottle is easier, it is nice for dad to feed and it means I can go out, but on the other hand it is an extra hassle expressing, and its more washing up.

Best thing is not to decide for sure, try both (after 6 weeks to allow milk to establish) and see what happens. That way you wont be disappointed.

mouldycheesefan Tue 24-Nov-15 13:17:17

I did this, bottle feeding with expressed milk. It's great for other people such as dh to be able to feed the baby and share the night feeds. Downside is the sterilising etc.

I only did it for six weeks then switched to formula.

Good luck whatever you do

SouthYarraYobbo Tue 24-Nov-15 14:23:58

Bf definitely. I'm currently expressing for dd2 and while it hasn't been too bad i bf dd1 and it is easier

Having said that l plan to move to formula in a few weeks and l think bottle feeding then will be much easier than bf (for me!) as dd1 was a snacker and spent a lot of time on the boob which was a pain.

I am also enjoying the routine that i am able to get into with dd2 and her bottles.

But expressing is a faff.

KatharinaRosalie Tue 24-Nov-15 14:54:07

It's quite common to let a BF baby have an occasional bottle, when you need to be away for a while. Advantages being, obviously, that you can be away from the baby and somone else can do the feed.

Personally I would not bother with bottles when out and about. First you need to express, carry it with you, keep cool, then find a way to warm up, worry about full boobs and skipping a feed affecting your supply etc etc. So much faff. It's so much easier just to BF - everything is with you, right temperature and if you're a bit shy, maybe a cover would be a solution?

Racheyg Tue 24-Nov-15 20:49:44

Expressing is hard work, so mums get a lot of milk some dont.....I fall into the dont camp. I still express every now and again but bf is so easy. I have a freezer full of milk which I'm trying to use up before it goes off.

Bonus with bottling is oh/family members can help.

With ds1 I was very nervous about bf in public now with ds2 I will feed anywhere with no shame. I just wear layed clothing.

Good luck with your pregnancy

Diddlydokey Tue 24-Nov-15 20:59:45

After my first experience I would plan to mix feed from the outset. I found bf relentless and painful - nipples and let down both had me in tears. I felt like I couldn't hold him without him wanting to be fed which was frustrating.

FF has huge benefits in terms of sleep, sharing the load, being in public was easier for me but this is individual. I liked being able to go out without the baby too. Washing 6 bottles a day and running the steriliser once was an easy switch!!

Good luck, I hope it's as painless as possible for you

Touchacat Tue 24-Nov-15 22:53:27

I EBF without expressing for first few weeks. I was exhausted as dd was a full on feeder night and day and not a sleeper. So I started expressing and my husband would do the 'final' feed in the evening allowing me to go to bed early (ish) and catch some sleep before the night time feeds began. For me, this is absolutely the best reason to combine bf and bottles. I guess we avoided the nipple confusion stage, not sure about that but dd didn't have an issue with bottles thankfully.
Taking bottles to feed out would be a faff, I'd recommend just taking your boobs. I was anxious about bf in public but you quickly learn not to give a hoot cos baby needs feeding and that's what important. And you'll find places to go where you feel comfortable doing it, positions, clothing, covers etc.
good luck with it all!

Caterina99 Wed 25-Nov-15 00:50:35

I bf, expressed and Ff due to low supply. Expressing is a pain. My DS had bottle top ups from less than 2 weeks, and never seemed to mind which way he was fed.

The problem with expressing is its time consuming especially if you have sole care of a baby, you don't often get that much milk, you have to faff about with bottles and cleaning the pump parts etc. the good points are someone else can feed the baby and it can give your boobs a rest if necessary.

TitusAndromedon Wed 25-Nov-15 01:15:07

I would just keep an open mind. I planned to EBF my twins, introducing bottles of expressed BF after four weeks or so. I write this from a hospital bed because one twin has jaundice and they both lost too much weight in the first few days because they weren't feeding well. We've been carefully monitoring their feeds for a few days now, and I'm offering the breast as well as giving expressed milk topped up with formula because my supply can't yet meet their demand.

There is lots of good breastfeeding support, but when I told midwives in hospital and my community midwife my concerns about them feeding insufficiently, no one said that we may need to deviate from the plan and start introducing bottles to ensure they were getting fed. Lots of people tried to help them latch on, but there weren't clear solutions when they didn't. I have found introducing bottles and formula incredibly difficult and I feel like I've failed them before they're even a week old.

If I could start again, I think I would plan to breastfeed but be more open minded from the very start. If it helps, we're using the Tommee Tippee Easyflow Slow Flow nipples (or called something like that). We introduced them today and tonight one of then twins still latched on to me and fed for about twenty minutes. It's anecdotal, of course, but it does suggest that there are cases where breast and bottle can both be offered with success.

NickyEds Wed 25-Nov-15 14:20:40

I'm currently mix feeding dd who is 18 weeks. We bf most of the time but she has a bedtime ff. I express only if I absolutely have to- I've had evenings out and come home after dd has gone to sleep for the night so I've needed to express for comfort. Expressing is a total pita for me, all sterilising and assembling and it makes me feel nauseousconfused.

Do babies manage well with both boobs and bottles?

Mine both have. Ds was mix fed too but more due to a crappy start not establishing bf so he had more f. I think he started to show a preference for bottles at around 5 months but I wanted to stop bf at 6 months so I went with it. I personally am far more worried about my baby not taking a bottle than the other way around. I saw several friends who ebf for 6 months then tried to offer a bottle and their babies refused. This led to them having to bf for longer than they wanted and not being able to get out as much as they would like- obviously if you're not bothered about bf indefinitely then it wouldn't matter!

Does it make life easier?

For me mix feeding with some f makes my life much easier.

What is the downside of feeding this way?

I suppose if you're proposing to bf and feed expressed milk the downside will definitely be finding time and opportunity to express. In the early days your baby will probably feed very frequently so "gaps" that you can express in are few and far between. When your supply regulates you might find you don't get much milk- I get around 2.5-3 oz in 15 minutes pumping and I reckon that's pretty good so I'd need to find time/energy/inclination to do that maybe 3 times to get a full feed.

As for feeding out and about I think bf is easier.Dd will only have f warm so I'd have to find somewhere to warm it. At weekends we tend to set off out in the morning and not come home until teatime so I'd have to carry 3 or 4 bottles and 3/4 cartons of f. It's just more stuff to cart about! also I've never tried it yet but I think if I gave dd a bottle of ebm/f whilst we were out for the day my boobs would get a bit uncomfortable. If I missed two feeds I expect they'd hurt and leak!

mrswishywashy Wed 25-Nov-15 20:26:54

I'm one month in and currently mixed feeding due to a rocky start with me being ill. I had planned to offer expressed milk once a day from early on at the moment we are breast feeding, expressing when I can and baby has 2-3 bottles a day of either expressed milk or formula.

So far baby will take both but she finds it easier with bottle and I expect will start to favour it.

Does it make life easier? Well it helped me recover and helped with babies weight gain and jaundice. But it is hard work trying to fit in time to express then clean bottles. It's all a bit chaotic. I also only express 20-40mls per session so not even a full feed.

The downside for me is that it's so chaotic and now I don't trust my supply so rely on top ups.

Dixiechick17 Thu 26-Nov-15 05:10:41

I have breastfed for the last six months and introduced one bottle of expressed milk from week 1. I've always had a very good milk supply so only needed to express once a day to get my night time bottle.

I find breastfeeding much easier when out and about rather than the faff of the bottle.

It made it easier in the beginning as breastfeeding was quite painful in the first two weeks and that one bottle a day gave my nipples a couple of hours break, if I hadn't I porbq would have given up breastfeeding.

kittyvet Thu 26-Nov-15 06:16:06

I am still breastfeeding my 14 month old. It was tough, painful and emotional in the beginning but it's the most wonderful experience. And I know other people might differ, it's best for baby. I can soothe any worry or concern. Teething no problem! I tried expressing and did ok but my daughter never took a bottle. We have used a doidy cup since she was 3mths. No nipple confusion. Her dad has learned to feed her with this. In the early days he helped in other ways like nappy changes, winding her for me, bath time. I did the inputs he did the outputs at night so to speak! I would definitely get to a breast feeding support group. They are incredible emotional support and knowledge base, you meet other mums and you get used to feeding in public in a supportive environment! I used to be quite shy but will whip them out anywhere now lol!

mrswishywashy Thu 26-Nov-15 19:36:16

Sure breast is best but is it really best for baby and mum and family when it's not going well. I hit my lowest point last night after three hours of solid crying where my baby didn't want to feed just screamed. When she did eventually settle for an hour my first thoughts when she stirred was "I don't even want to look at her". My poor one month old baby we've struggled and struggled and I'm doing everything that has been advised by many lactation consultants. Is it really best that we struggle on just because breast milk is best? Does it mean I'm not strong enough or good enough to have a child because I'm considering moving to formula?

Unless someone has struggled and I mean really struggled to breast feed their baby then they need to be very careful about advocating breast is best.

I did attend another bfing clinic today to ask for advice. On hearing what's happened over the past month and hearing all that I've tried to implement bfing the consultant said maybe I'm one of the few that can't make enough to feed their baby. I do have a new plan to try, I don't know where it will end up I'm not sure how long I can continue like this but before giving up I really need to get to a place where I can see feeding my baby by any means is a "wonderful experience". It's absolutely would destroying to hand breast feeding pushed down my throat all the time when I'm doing every thing I can to make it work and it's just not.

SouthYarraYobbo Thu 26-Nov-15 20:10:54

Mrs flowers that was me with dd1. It was utterly soul destroying. I am currently mix feeding dd2 formula and expressed breast milk due to dd2 tongue tie and the difference in experiences is amazing.

I felt like l couldn't give up trying to bf dd1 even though she went flying down the centiles chart...everyone kept saying keep going. So l did.

I am secretly pleased that bf didn't succeed this time due to dd2 and not me iykwlm. I would have liked it to work but the fact the 'blame' isn't mine is a relief.

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