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Bottle Feeding Questions

(40 Posts)
RosiePosie Mon 11-Jul-05 07:41:41

I thought long and hard about whether to post these questions, because I know in the past such posts have tended to spark a breast v bottle debate (yawn). Please may I say before I begin that I breastfed my dd for 19 months, in fact I have only just stopped since I found out I am pregnant again. So, I know what it is like to breastfeed. I know what it is like to breastfeed for quite a long time. However, since becoming pregnant again, the thought of going through it all again is making me feel weary. The breastfeeding was okay, I didn't love it, at times it got on my nerves, but I did it for 19 months. I just wanted to make it clear, that I'm coming at my idea to bottlefeed this time as an informed and experienced ex-breastfeeder, so please no trying to get me to change my mind! Anyhow, my decicion isn't a final one. I may well decide to breastfeed again once the baby is here. I just feel that maybe it will be easier for me emotionally and physically to bottlefeed this time ( the pregnancy was unplanned and I'm struggling with the two children I have already ). So, explanations and justifications over with, on to the questions:
1) If I don't breastfeed, what can I expect to happen to my boobs once my milk comes in? How long will they be engorged and painful for? Am I likely to contract mastitis?
2) Do I need to buy the little 4 or 5 oz bottles to begin with, or can I get away with the large ones from birth ( worried about all the extra air in the bottle, I guess ).
3) Bottle recommendations please. I'm not fussed about Avent - I think the silicone teats are too hard.

And if you have any other words of wisdom regarding bottle feeding, I would appreciate it. Thanks.

Nik72 Mon 11-Jul-05 08:09:28

I've heard good things about Nuk bottles & teats though I just use avent. I can't see a good reason why you can't use big bottles from the start though the 4oz ones are quite handy - once baby's older they're great for giving cooled boiled water in all this heat.
Not sure how long it'll take for your boobs to settle as I switched to bottle feeding after a couple of months of BF but have always heard that you should wear a really supportive bra, take plenty ibuprofen if it's sore and not express. My boobs to a week to settle after I stopped.
Hope that helps.

KiwiKate Mon 11-Jul-05 08:30:51

I don't see the difference between a big or small bottle. A little or a lot of extra air in the bottle probably won't make much difference.

If you are unsure whether you want to breast/bottle - you could always start off doing a bit of both. That'll give you the flexibility, and also give you a chance to up the bottles and decrease the breast over a week or two. I understand from friends who did this that a gradual switch over is better (less painful) on the boobs, than not starting at all. Also this reduces the chances of mastitis, as you do release some of the pressure by doing a bit of feeding, but not doing so much as to increase your supply. It also means that if you decide to breast feed, you can always build up your supply by cutting out some of the bottles, and/or cutting bottles out completely. It also means that you don't have to make a decision now when you don't know how you'll be feeling about it at the time (hopefully take some of the pressure off yourself).

If you decide not to breast feed at all, you can get some medication (your midwife will be able to advise) to dry up your supply.

Good luck with the new baby. And don't feel guilty about your feeding decision. You have to do what is best for you. After all, you'll be able to be the best mum by doing whatever is going to deminish your stress. Many people won't understand, but remember that there are many mothers who cannot BF for many reasons, and their babies turn out fine.

KiwiKate Mon 11-Jul-05 08:32:25

I don't see the difference between a big or small bottle. A little or a lot of extra air in the bottle probably won't make much difference.

If you are unsure whether you want to breast/bottle - you could always start off doing a bit of both. That'll give you the flexibility, and also give you a chance to up the bottles and decrease the breast over a week or two. I understand from friends who did this that a gradual switch over is better (less painful) on the boobs, than not starting at all. Also this reduces the chances of mastitis, as you do release some of the pressure by doing a bit of feeding, but not doing so much as to increase your supply. It also means that if you decide to breast feed, you can always build up your supply by cutting out some of the bottles, and/or cutting bottles out completely. It also means that you don't have to make a decision now when you don't know how you'll be feeling about it at the time (hopefully take some of the pressure off yourself).

If you decide not to breast feed at all, you can get some medication (your midwife will be able to advise) to dry up your supply.

Good luck with the new baby. And don't feel guilty about your feeding decision. You have to do what is best for you. After all, you'll be able to be the best mum by doing whatever is going to deminish your stress. Many people won't understand, but remember that there are many mothers who cannot BF for many reasons, and their babies turn out fine.

tiktok Mon 11-Jul-05 08:51:34

No, you can't get medication to dry up your supply....in the UK this is very rarely given (though it may be given in other countries) unless there is a very pressing need for it (baby has died and mother very upset at milk remaining). The reason is there is a risk of major side effects.

It's also not a good idea to do a bit of both from the beginning. Far from keeping options open, this tends to close off the option to breastfeed.

With no breastfeeding at all, breasts are likely to be uncomfortable for a few days, but you can help that with a very supportive bra. Mastitis is very unlikely.

Hope this helps.

vkone Mon 11-Jul-05 08:51:44

Hi there, not sure about the breastmilk thing, mine dried up gradually, but as to bottles I have to agree with you on the Avent teats, they choked my son when feeding. The best ones I found after trying a few was Tommee Tippee, they have soft nubby teats which best mimiced my nipples (IE could be squashed flat AND they fit in any wide necked bottle. I actually prefer the Avent bottle itself as the lids are flat (make great first cups). I got loads of TT bottles with their microwave/cold water steriliser - Tesco £13 (ended up nuking a steriliser so had to buy another) and use a mixture of TT and Avent bottles with TT teats.

I have to say one of the benefits of using TT was that when we went round to mothers meetups I didn't get the bottles confused as I was the only one using them!

Littlefish Mon 11-Jul-05 09:07:24

I used the B Free (Dr Browns) bottles when I was mixing breast and bottle feeding, and then just used the bottles. They were recommended by a breast feeding counsellor as they have very soft teats. They also have a special tube system in them which helps to stop colic happening. I just used the 8oz bottles from the beginning. The only pain is that due to all the extra bottle bits, you can only sterilise 4 at a time in a normal 6 bottle steam steriliser.

I only breastfed for about a month due to lots of nipple and milk infections. I stopped very suddenly and although I had a couple of days when my breasts felt very engorged and uncomfortable, it was nothing compared with the terrible pain and sickness I had with mastitis. You can always take ibruprofen to help with any discomfort.

KiwiKate Mon 11-Jul-05 09:19:37

I have to disagree with you there Tiktok about partial bottle feeding drying up you breast supply. I did both (for reasons I won't go into), and it was great. Really took the stress out of it. I ended up doing 80% BF until 7 months.

Women who have stopped BF for a few weeks can rebuild their supply (see La Leche for details) so it stands to reason that if you are replacing only a few feeds with bottle (as opposed to not feeding at all) then you can rebuild the supply if you wanted to (or maintain it at that partial feeding level). Of course, your supply will not be as good as if you solely BF. And of course, it may not be as easy to rebuild Bmilk supply as it would be if you didn't introduce a bottle at all - but RosiePosie is not sure she wants to breastfeed at all, so this is a compromise that might suit her needs. It will certainly be easier for her to rebuild her supply if she misses some feeds, than if she does not BF at all for a few weeks and then decides she actually does want to BF.

Many women do not realise that BF does not have to be an "all or nothing" situation. Most prefer to solely BF (and I certainly would have preferred not to have had to do any bottle feeds at all, but in my situation it was just not possible), but there is the option of doing both. Most BF info you read tells you that all your milk will dry up if you replace even one feed a day with a bottle, but my experience (and the experience of others I have subequently spoken to) shows that this is not the case. While we did not have the same level of Bmilk as mum's who only did BFeeding we were not aiming to (for a variety of reasons). This does not close off your BF options and certainly gives you more of an option than if you don't do any BF at all to start off with.

Being an experienced BFeeder RosiePosie will know that the less she BF's the less her supply will be.

RosiePosie Mon 11-Jul-05 09:31:32

Thanks for all your replies, very much appreciated. Actually, yes I know all about mixed feeding too. I mixed fed my first born for 4 months before changing over completely to formula. I did find my supply decreased, but he was obviously still getting some breast milk for quite some time. I know that if I do introduce bottles early on it will be because I have decided that I don't want to breastfeed long term again. I won't take the decision lightly. I worked very hard in the early months to ensure that I didn't introduce bottles with my second born and she was exclusively bf for nearly six months before I introduced solids. I'm just wondering, is it unusual to have breastfed well into the second year and to not have enjoyed it? I'm just not sure I want to do it all over again, especially so soon. Whatever I decide, I was certainly planning on giving the baby colostrum, and then probably mix-feeding for atleast a few weeks.

tiktok Mon 11-Jul-05 09:32:48

KK - I said it 'tends to' close off the option to breastfeed. I didn't say it would. Your original post reflected your own experience, confidently stating mixed feeding from the start gives 'flexibility'.

If someone wants to keep the option of breastfeeding open, then they are not well advised to 'do a bit of both'. I'm not going to write loads on that - there is a ton of evidence from research and from what we know about the physiology of breastfeeding that backs it up. 'Bf only' at the start is more likely to get the production line going. For many women, tailor making an 80 per cent supply or a 50 per cent supply or whatever is just not possible....not at the beginning. Later, it gets easier.

KiwiKate Mon 11-Jul-05 13:38:56

I do know of some women who have not enjoyed breastfeeding. I think most who do not enjoy it don't really like to say so openly.

I guess you need to do whatever is best for you.

TikTok, I take your point, but being stressed/feeling pressured into making an early decision is just as likely to cause a decrease in supply.

tiktok Mon 11-Jul-05 14:01:05

KK - that's just not true.

Being stressed or pressured has been known to cause a temporary change in the let down reflux. It will not impact on supply. It certainly will not impact on supply as much as starting off feeding by combining breast and formula.

I'm sorry if I am appearng to contradict you, but on three separate occasions today you have given false information - I'm sure from the best of motives, but even so.....

aloha Mon 11-Jul-05 14:19:27

I have to say, when I was pregnant with dd I wasn't thrilled to bits at the thought of breastfeeding again. I have to admit I did sometimes think of it as just one of those things you do for your baby for their benefit, like changing their nappies frequently. Even now, I sometimes find myself dreaming on not breastfeeding, having better bras and being able to get some Botox (superficial, moi?), but other times I really love breastfeeding and seeing that sweet dozy face and feeling her cuddle into me. But the fact is, I don't do it for me, I do it for her, so I don't feel I have to love doing it. I'm a lot less crazy about changing nappies, but I do that too! I'm just trying to say, probably clumsily, that you don't have to love breastfeeding to do it, and it's isn't abnormal not to be thrilled at the very thought of it.
I just read so much about it, there was no way I couldn't breastfeed. I set myself little targets, do it until next week, until the end of the month, until six months (I'm now thinking eight months...watch this space!)
I mixed fed ds and it did work quite well, but I had so much milk that it wasn't true, and I know that isn't the case for many other people. I didn't realise until I found MN how many people started bottling and then found they had no milk.

aloha Mon 11-Jul-05 14:21:20

If I started breastfeeding thinking I'd have to do it for nearly two years, it would have put me off too!

tiktok Mon 11-Jul-05 14:34:57

Well put, aloha. I think women who breastfeed without really liking it deserve encouragement and support. Maybe they don't always want to hear that what's 'best' for them is inevitably 'best' for their babies (sometimes said here on MN). Maybe they want to choose to do something they are not very keen on!

aloha Mon 11-Jul-05 14:41:44

BTW, I didn't answer your questions because I don't know about engorgement or how long it lasts, I'm sure a big bottle would be fine from the start, and lastly my ds had no preference re bottles and dd rejects them all!

jambot Mon 11-Jul-05 15:21:52

After a week of very unsuccessful breast feeding I went onto bottle feeding. My doctor gave me a tablet which I took over 3 days. It stopped my milk supply without any engorgement or pain. I had to make sure that the baby didn't go near my breasts as the smallest suck can start production all over again.

Windermere Mon 11-Jul-05 15:22:18

RosiePosie. I only managed to breastfeed exclusively for 3 days and then mixed feeding for 2 days as ds would just not suck. In answer to your questions: 1) Probably just me but I did not get engorged or painful breasts when my milk came in, I did not even realise it had come in until my midwife pointed it out.
2) I used large bottles and ds did not have any problems with wind.
3) I used the mothercare bottles that you sterilise in the microwave, definitely my best buy and so much easier than fiddling around with a steriliser.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Windermere Mon 11-Jul-05 15:24:19

I meant to say 2 weeks.

Done Mon 11-Jul-05 15:38:52

I fed my first for over 1yr. My 2nd didn't go quite to plan and after a few days where she got no milk from me I switched to bottles. I still had leaky boobs when DD was 8 months old! Yet when I stopped feeding DS1 after more than 1yr they dried up straight away.

tiktok Mon 11-Jul-05 16:09:11

jambot - you aren't in the UK, I know. In the UK, the tablets you describe are hardly ever prescribed.

KiwiKate Mon 11-Jul-05 22:25:04

RP while some women have problems with engorgement, others don't - so this might not be an issue for you at all. I have heard of some women putting cabbage leaves in the fridge to make them cool, and then putting them on the breast for relief from pain (not sure how effective this is).

TT notes that in the UK it is very rare to be given medicine to dry up your supply - but if you have a severe problem you can get it - so at least you know that you can get this if you have a severe problem.

I agree with TT & Aloha about the idea of having to BF for 2 years! Perhaps thinking about it week-by-week as you go along will make it all easier? You might find that once you start, you do want to breastfeed after all, and none of the other issues really become a problem for you.

TT, I have not given "false" information. Just explained my experiences and that of women I know re mixing bottle & breast, and also regarding stress on feeding. Your experiences might be different, but that does not make mine or those I know of any less valid. We are here to share ALL information, and it is precisely this individual-type experience that mass-studies do not reveal that some women find helpful on MN. The mass studies do not reveal each invidual situation and cannot reveal the circumstances of each woman taking part.

whimsicaltrifle Mon 11-Jul-05 22:28:02

KiwiKate, Tiktok is a very wise breastfeeding counsellor with far more than just personal experience to recount

Angeliz Mon 11-Jul-05 22:31:19

I had terrible engorgment after both babies (bottlefed both). I have to be honest (sorry RosiePosie) and say that for ME that was much worse than actually giving birth and i rang the hospital in tears the first time and they wouldn't give me anything.
It lasted about 2 long day during which i could hardly even hold my girls.
My sister however has two bosy and had absolutely no problems with her breasts! (bottlefed too)

Angeliz Mon 11-Jul-05 22:31:47

Came on here in tears the second time!!

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