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Breastfeeding or Breast milk benefits - confused

(26 Posts)
BoyMeetsWorld Tue 12-Nov-13 22:23:07

Hopefully this is the right place for this?

I'm getting really confused. With all the stuff about the £200 vouchers in the news today, the bf versus ff debate is back with a heated vengeance.

I don't want to get into that or the pros / cons etc. I can definitely see both sides and am not passionate about either. My choice will be for v personal reasons & I thoroughly support all women to decide whatever is best for them.

But I do have a question that I can't find an answer to anywhere. All and studies about how bf is so much superior & arms against a load of ailments ff doesn't...supposing this is all unarguably true, would the same apply to expressed milk fed from a bottle or does it actually have to come from the boob directly to work?

If from the boob, please could somebody explain why?

Thank you!

SteamWisher Tue 12-Nov-13 22:26:50

It's not a claim that BM is superior, it is a fact.

It doesn't just contain nutrients, it contains antibodies for immunity too. Formula does not and I suggest you read what formula is made of (very interesting actually).

Breastfeeding isn't just about nutrition. It's about connecting with your baby too. I am biased and found bf a much more bonding experience than bottle feeding.

BM from a bottle beats formula IMO. But BM from a boob is better as no contamination risk plus better for cuddling baby.

Wigeon Tue 12-Nov-13 22:28:51

The health benefits of breast milk are exactly the same, whether from a bottle or a breast. The composition of BM does change though, so I suppose it's even more ideal if fed immediately from the breast, because then it's just right for the baby at that moment. has loads of evidence-based info. Why do you ask?

gamerchick Tue 12-Nov-13 22:32:44

One thing I'll tell you..

A mother is her baby's own personal chemist.. baby passes on lurgies to the mother.. The mother makes antibodies which she then passes on through her milk.. via the breast.

Breastmilk changes to suit baby as baby grows.. milk expressed at 6 weeks wouldn't give what that baby needs at 6 month. Breastmilk is tailor made for each individual baby.. There is no one size fits all like there is with formula.

The chemist thing is the biggy for me.. only via the breast.

Bakingtins Tue 12-Nov-13 22:33:57

You'd get the same benefits from feeding expressed breastmilk from a bottle. I'm not sure why you'd want to as anything other than an occasional thing though? All the hassle of bottle feeding plus the hassle of expressing. I have nothing but respect for mums who manage it for premmie or sick babies who for whatever reason can't latch on, but it is hard work.

tiktok Tue 12-Nov-13 22:38:11

Breastmilk is also tailor-made for that baby at that time - if a mother comes into contact with harmful pathogens, her breastmilk has specific antibodies to that pathogen, thus protecting her baby the very next time he feeds. This means that breastmilk given by bottle at some later time will not be quite so immediate in its protection.

The other aspect of all this is that the baby at the breast feeding dircectly has control over his intake - the baby being fed by a bottle not so much.

merrygiant Tue 12-Nov-13 22:41:07

There's more evidence now that the close nurturing contact that takes place when bf has benefits to baby's self esteem and social development. The mother is the only one who can bf and this one-on-one aspect is important for strong attachment too.

I think the £200 vouchers might turn some heads to bf who wouldn't otherwise try it but it does seem to undermine those who tried but were unsuccessful. Those mums would benefit from £200 extra on postnatal bf support.

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 13-Nov-13 03:36:53

I fed DD BM, F and EBM so no axe to grind. I was told, and correct me if I am wrong, that if you had one twin on one and another on the other, the breasts regulate their temperature based on the temperature of 'their' baby. So, feverish twin one gets a cool boob and cold twin two gets a warm one. Bloody amazing, boobs.

ZuleikaD Wed 13-Nov-13 06:30:23

Yeah, breastmilk's awesome. Another one for not knowing why you'd want to put EBM in a bottle. All the faffing with sterilising and warming it up at 2am when the baby just needs a quick drink.

ShoeLaRue Wed 13-Nov-13 06:42:38

Hopefully Tiktok will correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that breastfeeding directly also affects the development of the palate over the longer term, helping the teeth to space correctly - with ff babies more likely to have teeth over crowding later in life.

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 13-Nov-13 08:23:25

MrsTerryPratchett - that's really interesting.

I wanted to know because I have a major bf aversion - yes spoken to counsellors etc but it makes me v ill & depressed, have difficulty even talking about it so I've been advised not to even try this time which is a huge weight off my shoulders.

However, I'm certainly not disputing the benefits of breast milk so will be expressing as much as possible. Therefore just wondered whether the whole 'breast milk is superior' argument only applied if it came from the boob or if it's just as good from a bottle.

Obv the whole 'bonding' argument is blown out the water for me - it would be detrimental rather than helpful. So I'm just bothered about nutritional & protective value. I'm super obsessive about cleanliness anyway so will be making sure all bottles are sterilised properly etc...

forgetmenots Wed 13-Nov-13 09:52:11

Breastmilk and bf is a genuinely amazing thing that completely blows my mind the more I learn.

However (ahem) for those of us who were unable to (big fat failures like me!) - formula is pretty amazing given the science involved. It just isn't designed for your specific child in the way your breast milk is.

I really hope bf works for you OP, I mixed fed for a bit and expressing is a faff, but every drop is a good thing for you and baby. Don't beat yourself up though if it isn't for you or LO.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 13-Nov-13 09:54:51

Expressed breastmilk will still have many of the benefits of breastfeeding, but will not be up to the minute IYSWIM. Eg breast milk changes composition between day and night (to encourage sleep)

tiktok Wed 13-Nov-13 10:29:46

Yes, palate differences seen in ff/bf babies, and dental development is different.

There are differences between bottle feeding (whatever's in the bottle) and direct breastfeeding.

However, the nutritional differences (between bottle feeding ebm and direct) will be small and probably undetectable in an individual baby....research includes ebm and and makes no distinction, so the baby is breastfed.

Expressing is not an easy thing to do long term, but it is worth it, and the pride and connection mothers may feel in doing it for their babies is a lovely thing, too.

To bottle feed in a 'breastfeeding style' means being responsive to the baby's needs (so you feed according to cues), holding the baby very close (skin to skin when you can), restricting the people who give the baby a bottle - make sure one (the mum, usually) is the main bottle giver, and other friends and relatives are not permitted to pass the baby round to 'have a go'.

Good luck, *BoymeetsWorld' - hope it goes well smile

forgetmenots Wed 13-Nov-13 10:38:31

Great advice as ever tiktok- just want to second 'bottle feeding in a breastfeeding style' as positive for those who have chosen to ff (or have to). My DS (mixed fed now eff at 5 months) still pulls my top down (like a bf baby!) because he wants a snuggle.

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 13-Nov-13 16:31:02

Thanks Tiktok that's some really great advice & the fact EBM is mixed in with BF in the research makes me feel a lot better - as I can't bf without major stress hopefully I can do the next best thing. Now just hope my milk supply is sufficient if relying purely on expressing :s

mrsmartin1984 Wed 13-Nov-13 19:17:42

BM changes depending on the baby at that time. If it's hot, it will be more watery, if cold then thicker. BM for prem babies are higher in fat because they need it. And for sick babies BM has antibodies to fight infection. And it changes as baby gets older.

Also the act of breastfeeding prevents ear infections and BFed babies are easier to wean because the act more resembles chewing rather then like sucking through a straw (bottle feeding)

EBM doesn't do that however it is far better then formula.

ZuleikaD Thu 14-Nov-13 05:46:35

A good friend of mine couldn't breastfeed the first time and fed exclusively EBM - she did have to express every couple of hours around the clock though. She went with breastfeeding the second time - I think she had better support.

MoominsYonisAreScary Thu 14-Nov-13 06:02:55

I couldnt bf ds3, he was 8 weeks prem and although I had plenty of support he just didnt want to latch. Trying to bf was just distressing him, not something you want with a baby who is struggling to maintain their temp and put on weight.

Expressing is the biggest pain in my opinion and ive bf, ff and expressed. Its hard work but worth doing if you can. I expressed for 3 months.

MigGril Thu 14-Nov-13 06:05:20

There is a good section on for mums who have to express. I think it would be well worth a read for you. it'll give you all the info about when to express to help your supply and so on. And well done for wanting to give your baby the best start.

IamGluezilla Thu 14-Nov-13 14:56:20

When I had No.2 in wintertime, I used express milk into a cup for her big sister. It would still be warm Nd I do think she was getting some antibodies/other good stuff.

Expressing to feed is hard work though. I used do it once a day whilst feeding DD1 so she could have an extra bottle at bedtime. Worth the effort, but would not fancy it for every bottle.

ReallyTired Thu 14-Nov-13 21:34:30

Feeding a baby expressed milk is very hard work and most people cannot produce enough milk by expressing to feed their baby. I think that expressed milk would be as good as breastmilk supplied by a breast. The only problem you have is the logistics of pumping so much milk.

Breastmilk in the early days makes a far bigger difference than at any other time. You cannot get artifical colustrum so if you can express the colustrom and give it by cup/ bottle then it will really help your baby.

The benefits of breastfeeding get less as the baby gets older. It is important to keep the benefits of breastfeeding in proportion. In some situations formula is best

MoominsYonisAreScary Thu 14-Nov-13 22:04:09

And a good electric breast pump is a must id say!

Fuzzymum1 Sat 16-Nov-13 23:17:08

I fed my DS3 expressed BM for 19 months - I had low supply (thanks undiagnosed at the time PCOS) and he was impatient and refused to BF. I took lots of supplements to maintain what supply I did have and it was hard work, I hated the pump but was determined that he would have BM. He is now almost 7 and has never had a single course of antibiotics - no ear infections at all in fact. DS1 and DS2 were mostly formula fed and had constant ear and chest infections as babies and toddlers. Obviously I can't say for sure that DS3 has been healthier because of my BM but I'd like to think it at least partially contributed to it.

adagio Sat 16-Nov-13 23:32:59

I expressed in the early days to boost supply and then to get stock in the freezer; I must say, it was hard going, I spent pretty much every waking moment with baby on one side pump on the other, then swap. (She lost a lot of weight in the first week or so).

I cannot imagine when I would have found time, in those first few days, to give the bottle too - she was on the breast for about 45-60 minutes per feed and feeding every 2 hours - i.e. only off the boob for max an hour, day and night. I am sure very child is different, but I think it might be tough for you - but so worth it in terms of benefits to the baby. I also found that my early milk was very low volume - pump for an hour and get maybe 25ml. I would add this massively improved (as in 100ml in ten mins eventually, until I stopped bothering and decided after 6 months to go boob only or if I'm not available, SMA), its just those first couple of weeks which were really hard going.

Colostrum I understand is thicker and harder to pump; get advice from a professional, but I imagine there may be a better way to extract and administer colostrum? A syringe perhaps, or stronger pump?

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