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questions about BF cf to FF

(28 Posts)
WobblyPig Sun 13-Sep-09 20:28:21

This has probably been asked time and time again but re: advantages of BF cf to FF - is it that formula is actively harmful or that breastmilk is actively protective.
Is the risk graded i.e. risks increase as the amount of FF increases? If so how much could you get ' away with' without increasing health risks? Is there a threshold level of formula exposure or lack of BF ? If so is this different for all the health issues E.G. eczema cf obesity or IQ?

Sorry to fire off so many questions.

laneyjay Mon 14-Sep-09 20:03:02

BF- Pass antibodies to your baby, high fat content and right balance of nutrients. This also changes as your babies requirements change. Bf babies are generally less likely to suffer from stomach upsets and you shouldn't have any intolerance problems. For you there is thought to be some increased resistance/protection against certain cancers. FF isn't harmful its just not breast milk which experts will always say is best. The cows milk in formula can cause intolerance problems with some babies and its Iron content is low so formula is fortified with lots of added vitamins. Research seems to suggest BF babies may grow up to have higher IQ but I'm not sure how they quantify or qualify that. As for Bf its very convenient, no sterilising, can express if you want to and its free. Also very helpful in losing your weight naturally post pregnancy. If you are asking this because you are unsure about whether you want to breast feed I would suggest that you give it a go. I wasn't overly keen at the thought of it during my pregnancy but said I would try and except for the first couple of days it has been very easy. Still feeding my 10 month old Dd morning and night. Hope this has helped.

hanaflowerhatestheDM Mon 14-Sep-09 20:10:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BertieBotts Mon 14-Sep-09 20:16:35

Breastfeeding is the biological norm, so FF is an inferior substitute (and therefore harmful, though that is a strong word to use IMO) in comparison.

I know that "every breastfeed makes a difference", so yes, I think it is a sliding scale.

Interesting article here relating to your first point.

WobblyPig Mon 14-Sep-09 21:02:30

I am BF at moment. We have survived tongue -tie; expressing for 5 weeks and then direct breast-feeding. But have a very sicky baby - regurg x30/day ? reflux ? milk-protein allergy and she won't take any meds via syringe or spoon. It has therefore been suggested that I convert to bottle-feeding so that the meds can be given in the bottle. I can't face expressing again and therefore I am questioning whether or not I switch to formula.
She is a happy baby but is slowly drifting away from her 50th centile on which she stayed til about 9 weeks.
Just need a feel for whether I would be truely compromising her health by going to FF or whether in the long run really what happens for the rest of her life will be more important than the choice of feeding at this stage.

thisisyesterday Mon 14-Sep-09 21:12:06

wobbly, i think that the absolute best thing you can do for HER is to carry on breastfeeding.
she has health issues, in particular with her gut, and i would say that breastmilk is the best thing for a child with allergies/intoleraces.

also, babies with reflux are often much better being breastfed because it is digested a LOT quicker and thus there is less to be brought back up.

bertiebotts is correct. breastfeeding is the norm, it is THE food for your baby. thus, formula is an inferior product. your baby is more likely to be ill, or become ill later in life.

how old is she? if her weight is being plotted on the old charts then this happens to a lot of babies. they gain quickly and then start to plateau, which can look like a drop on the charts but is in fact normal.
what they want to be looking at if they are worried are the "thrive lines" not the centiles.

thisisyesterday Mon 14-Sep-09 21:14:10

has she been diagnosed with reflux or is it just a suspicion at the moment?
i only ask because i was reading the breastfeeding atlas the other day which is a book aimed at health professionals to understand more about breastfeeding and there was an interesting bit in there saying that actually it really doens' tmatter how often and how much a baby pukes up after feeds as long as it isn't in discomfort and isn't suffering other health issues (ie dropping a lot of weight)

another question too, sorry, has she actuially lost weight? or is she just slowing down? how often do you have her weighed? it isnt recommended to weigh a baby more than once a month

thisisyesterday Mon 14-Sep-09 21:16:16

sorry, i can't stayt away lol i keep thinking of different things to add.

for the meds, would you be happy expressing say, once a day?
i used to do this for a friend of mine and found that if i expressed first thing in the morning i'd get around 5-6oz.

if you could do something similar you could then just use a small amount to mix with the meds and give in a bottle either before/during her normal feeds direct from the breast.

you wouldn't necessarily have to express exclusively. in fact, can the meds not just be given via a bottle?

IsItMeOr Mon 14-Sep-09 21:19:55

WobblyPig - I always understood that the more you can BF the better, but the occasional bottle of formula is not going to detract from the BF benefits, but I'm no expert. But if you are trying to give her medication that she needs, won't that be your over-riding consideration? Does she need to have them with every feed? Could you try expressing a little to mix the meds with and starting off each feed with that in a bottle, and then giving her the rest straight from your breast? Or doing the same with a little formula if you can't bear expressing? That way, presumably she'd still get most of the BF benefit, without you having a major hassle?

Sorry if that's a bit of a ramble, but wanted to try to help!

WobblyPig Mon 14-Sep-09 21:33:59

She is four months. She is shifting from 50th centile ( birth to 9 weeks) to 30-35th so nothing too dramatic. I get her weighed once every 2-3 weeks on HV advice. The vomiting/reflux varies from day to day but it is the first thing she does after opening her eyes in the morning and it continues from there for between 20-30 times a day.
The HV suggested using infacol and gaviscon every feed or a least 6 times a day.
The alternative was to try food earlier than 6 months as that as suggested to help any regurg.
I am still unsure as to whether it is reflux or milk protein allergy.

Penethea Mon 14-Sep-09 21:36:07

Hello WobblyPig - to echo thisisyesterday, ds has reflux and has meds three times a day before feeds. I am bfing but just before the feed I hand express a tiny amount of milk into the meds in a bottle and give it straight away.

There is still the hassle of sterilising etc. unfortunately but it does make giving the meds much much easier as like you we have had no joy with syringe or spoon.

WobblyPig Mon 14-Sep-09 21:39:20

Thanks for suggestion we will give that ago. Would just love her to stop vomiting cos she's a dream of a baby otherwise.

thisisyesterday Mon 14-Sep-09 21:39:31

hmm, ds2 has a dairy intolerance and he was fairly sicky, cleared up oince i stopped eating dairy, so you could try that?

the other thing, bearing that in mind, is that you would have to be prescribed a special formla too (nutramigen or neocate)

thisisyesterday Mon 14-Sep-09 21:41:56

wobbly is she very sick, or just a bit?

i mean, remmeber that some babies are just sicky, so that by itself i don't think is necessarily an indication of reflux. I believe, but am happy tyo be corrected!, that reflux-y babies are very difficult to feed because it makes them so uncomfortable, unhappy being laid down because it makes more come up... things like that.

i would say that ds3 who, as far as we know, doesn't have any allerigies or anything like that, probably is sick after each feed, quite often will be sick a bit in between feeds too

WobblyPig Mon 14-Sep-09 21:43:07

Am completely dairy-free and that did initally help the vomiting but now has worsened again. I wonder whether soya in my diet could be causing a problem?
I am finding the HVs and GP not very helpful about the milk protein allergy suggestion and they insist that it is probably reflux - I'm not sure.

MoonlightMcKenzie Mon 14-Sep-09 21:44:34

Sorry have to dash but:

BF babies all slow down weight gain at between 4-5 months.

Most 4-5 month babies change their feeding patterns due to their developmental stage. It can be challenging.

Almost all babies have reflux, but there are different grades that's all. Provided the baby isn't in pain and is still gaining, even slowly, there is no need for concern.

Milk protein allergy for a bf baby is very VERY unlikely.

WobblyPig Mon 14-Sep-09 21:45:58

Thisisyersterday - the sickness varies but can be small amounts dribbling form the sides of her mouth or forceful larger volumes. But it is constant - going through 4 changes of clothes a day with a permanently wet front and yoghourty-look.

WobblyPig Mon 14-Sep-09 21:49:43

Thanks Moonlight - she did get given formula by very annoying midwives in hospital who practically kidnapped her from me and shovelled it into her - I was really cross with them cos I didn't think she needed it.

thisisyesterday Mon 14-Sep-09 21:52:50

i think mine have all done that. i think that unless it's clearly causing her discomfort or if she is losing weight i wouldn't worry that much tbh!

you're into the bib phase! think mine were constantly in bibs from about 4-10 months lol

NellyTheElephant Mon 14-Sep-09 22:20:39

Just a reply regarding the sick thing. DD1 and DS were (are) both VERY sicky babies - by which I mean they constantly posseted up / regurgitated. Not just straight after feeds (although they did that too, every burp brought up a fair bit of sick with it) but all the time (easily 20x a day), sometimes a little dribble, sometimes much more. It didn't stop completely until DD1 was properly weaned (i.e around 8 or 9 months when she was on 3 proper meals a day). She is now 4 and a half and has no food intolerances or issues in that regard. I do not have a single photo of her as a baby in which she is not wearing some ghastly stained sicky bib! DS is currently 5 months and still going. However, they both were / are happy, healthy, contented babies, slept well and settled into predictable routines. It clearly didn't bother them or affect their feeding and they had good weight gain. Funnily enough it never crossed my mind to try any medication as they were clearly happy and well despite this.

So my question would be: other than the sick being very annoying (I had to constantly change clothes, mine and the babies', and was forever scrubbing the carpet) is there any particular reason why this is worrying you or why you think there is something wrong? You say she is a dream baby and that although her weight gain has slowed she hasn't actually lost any weight, so on the face of it everything sounds like it's OK. DD2 didn't do this at all, yet all 3 were bf. With DD1 I started giving regular formula bottles from around 3 months (not because of the sick), which made no difference whatsoever to the sick situation.

WobblyPig Mon 14-Sep-09 22:44:53

Only the weigth issue bothers me - laundry I can cope with . I am just not sure what to make of the centile business.

tiktok Mon 14-Sep-09 23:41:05

Wobbly - the 30th-35th centile is one not actually marked on any of the charts, though mathematically it exists, naturally

The centile down from the 50th is the 25th, and after that it's the 9th. Beyond the early weeks, no one worries about healthy babies who hover within 2 centile lines, in your case that would be no one sensible raising an eyebrow unless your baby hits the 9th centile and even then, it wd only be to check all was well (as it almost always is).

In any case, it's about now that the newer charts are showing the beginnings of a difference from the old ones ie showing bf babies as a tad lighter, perfectly physiologically.

So on yr figures, there's nothing to suggest Baby Wobbly is showing anything but a normal, healthy weight and growth.

A baby who shows some food sensitivity, esp to dairy, really is best off being bf, you know

MoonlightMcKenzie Tue 15-Sep-09 14:04:24

Wobbly, I hardly ever weigh Baby Moonlight, but when I did once after a long break I was surprised to find that she had dropped 2 percentile lines. I had a sensible HV who was at pains to tell me that 'there is clearly nothing wrong with THAT baby' as she was alert and demanding attention etc.

The HV need not have bothered though because being my second and having a first with 'real' problems I was not phased at all.

It's hard not to see the percentile charts as some kind of meaningful measurement, but really it is just a way of flagging up problems, not measuring attainment. It isn't a competition. 100% isn't a target and less than 50% doesn't mean your child will do less well in life than average iyswim.

Hard not to worry sometimes because it is the only concrete thing you have to measure your child by, but it really doesn't sound like you have anything to worry about.

If you like you can offer more feeds a day, just to give your baby an opportunity for a snack, since the 4-5month stage is very distracting for them and they are developing control of their hunger to prioritise other things in the new and exciting world. (often this means catching up during the night though).

IsItMeOr Tue 15-Sep-09 16:45:16

Wise words from Moonlight.

jellybeans Tue 15-Sep-09 17:19:39

My DS has severe reflux and I also had problems breastfeeding, but stuck with it and was very glad I did, DS still mostly bf at 10 months now. Tried a few formulas when desperate and none helped the reflux. Tried dairy free for 4 weeks too, no difference.

I was the same re wondering if the meds could be easier to give in a bottle but we got used to mixing a sachet of gaviscon with 5mls cool boiled water and sometimes with expressed milk and syringing it before a feed. DS also has other meds for reflux and we gave it in apple purree from 20 weeks. Early weaning didn' help DS reflux, made it worse if anything.

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