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Bottle or breast feed?

(86 Posts)
justanotheryoungmother Thu 05-Jan-17 23:08:39

Hello everyone,

I'm currently pregnant with my first child, almost six months, and I haven't decided if I will breast or bottle feed.
My midwife keeps advocating breastfeeding, whilst my mum is against it because it'll allegedly ruin the shape of my breasts (I'm 19), and she doesn't want them to get ruined.
My boyfriend (not sure what the Mumsnet terminology is yet) would like me to breastfeed as apparently that has nutrients that formula milk doesn't have, but I'm not convinced that's him trying to avoid night feeds shock
I'm not really asking about the scientific benefits to either, as I can find that out, but can people let me know what their personal experiences were/are with either? One thing I'm concerned about is having to be careful about what I eat if I breast fed- don't get me wrong, I'm not planning on drinking with a newborn at all but there are foods that I'd still have to be careful about, which seems a hassle.

Any opinions welcome smile

Somedays Thu 05-Jan-17 23:14:04

I had my first at your age and breast fed til he was a year old. It took a bit of getting used to, but ultimately was way more convenient than bottle feeding for me, and cut down on some of the judgment I was getting for being a "young mother".

There's not much you have to avoid when breastfeeding - only alcohol and some medications, I certainly never avoided any foods!

Oneofthe3percent Thu 05-Jan-17 23:17:11

Do what you feel is best.

I bottle fed both times. The first time around I was only 17 and wasn't prepared for how difficult breastfeeding is. I didn't receive any breastfeeding advice from the midwife or health visitors so didn't realise there was support out there. I gave up within a week because I couldn't bear the pain.

The second time I thought it would be easier, I had more support and understood how latching on worked more. Despite that, I still only lasted about 4 weeks because I just found it really hard. I thought I was following all of the guidelines but I still couldn't seem to get it right. I think it could be because I had to combine-feed in the hospital when he was born (on the advice of the doctors) so it made establishing a good feed difficult.

My point is, you're not really warned that much about how difficult breastfeeding can be. Some people take to it like a duck to water, others have to work hard at it. It is your body and your choice. Not your mother's (shape of your breasts?! Your body is going to change with a baby anyway, your breasts are the least of you worries), not your partner's choice and not the midwife's either.

Uiscebeatha85 Thu 05-Jan-17 23:20:08

What food do you think you need to be careful about eating when you're breastfeeding? There are very few things you need to limit, I think swordfish and caffeine is one of the only things.

Your mum is concerned you'll wreck your boobs and doesn't want you to breastfeed? confused breastfeeding doesn't wreck your boobs, pregnancy can alter them yes but bf will not ruin them.

Pros and cons to both bf and formula but ultimately bf is the gold standard for your baby. It's difficult in the beginning but gets easier and is handier than formula in a lot of ways as no need to faff with bottles and sterilising.

HeCantBeSerious Thu 05-Jan-17 23:20:23

Mine got (expressed) breastmilk in bottles.

Breastfeeding doesn't ruin boobs, by the way. It's pregnancy and it's a bit late to be worrying about that now!

Get reading up about breastfeeding before making your mind up. It's a bit like getting 2000 calories a day from real food v slimfast.

Foggymist Thu 05-Jan-17 23:21:15

Your boyfriend has a great attitude and is well informed smile Your mum's reason is pretty poor and not even correct tbh. Pregnancy is what changes breast shape/fullness, not so much breastfeeding. Some women get much fuller larger breasts when pregnant, some get stretch marks, others get neither like me, didn't even go up a cup size! Mine look exactly the same after 20 months of breastfeeding so far.

Breastmilk does have nutrients that formula doesn't, and it changes composition depending on how hot the weather is (to keep baby hydrated), what bugs or illnesses baby might get etc. It's also free and perfect for lazy people like me, no getting out of bed to make bottles at 3am, just whip out a boob and latch baby on...and then hand baby to your boyfriend for winding and changing if you don't want him dodging night feeds completely smile

Crumbs1 Thu 05-Jan-17 23:22:26

I breastfed six babies (including twins) for over two years each. The first few weeks were sometimes tough with bleeding nipples and blocked ducts/mastitis but I don't doubt it was worth the gritted teeth.
It is cheaper, much much easier, better health wise for baby and mother and just complete pleasure when it works well. Really, really special times that a bottle cannot replicate.
My boobs still look good and I am wrong side of 50!

Gingergin Thu 05-Jan-17 23:24:58

Besides the obvious points about it being best - Breastfeeding is so much easier, I'm far too lazy to faff with bottles, too much washing up and worrying about measuring out powder etc! Also can just whip my boob out as soon as hes fussy, no getting up in the night to make a bottle up.
He won't do night feeds but he can wait on you, bring you snacks and drinks and do all the chores that you can't!! Or mine does anyway grin
And it's a lovely way to bond and have snuggles with your newborn, I love it (most of the time!)

Uiscebeatha85 Thu 05-Jan-17 23:26:24

Crumbs so you've bf for more than 12 years in total? Amazing, 🎩 off to you

Aliveinwanderland Thu 05-Jan-17 23:26:49

I was over precious about breastfeeding but thought I would give it a try.

10 weeks on and after a difficult first 2 weeks it's now so much easier and more convenient. Instantly available, not need to worry about sterilising everything or making bottles properly and an instant calmer when DS is a bit cranky.

Foggymist Thu 05-Jan-17 23:27:11

Oh and you can eat what you like usually, you can also drink a bit of alcohol. You can cosleep too which is lovely.

I forgot to add my experience. I had a traumatic emcs at 37 weeks with my son, he was in special care and I thought because he had formula there breastfeeding was over before it started. Luckily I persevered and fed him when I was well enough to visit, and we're still going strong. It's been an amazing part of parenthood, often its been the only thing that's gone right when everything else is going wrong for me. It was great when he was little and not on solids, didn't have to worry about bringing bottles or food anywhere, couldn't forget boobs!!

NameChange30 Thu 05-Jan-17 23:28:07

"my mum is against it because it'll allegedly ruin the shape of my breasts (I'm 19), and she doesn't want them to get ruined."

What the fuck?! Your mum is talking bollocks and it's none of her business anyway.

Do your research on breastfeeding, look up the evidence and be guided by that rather than the opinions of people who don't know what they're talking about.

I was on the fence about breastfeeding but having learned more about the benefits, I've decided that I definitely want to try it. I'd still like to be able to leave the baby sometimes so I will try to express some milk as well. But I am now convinced that breast milk is the way to go - if you can breastfeed (and some women do have problems and don't get enough support, so I don't blame them for formula feeding instead).

Becciilouisex3 Thu 05-Jan-17 23:29:16

It's whatever is best for each individual mom.

I planned to breastfeed but although my son latched well in the hospital, when we got home he wasn't interested it seemed. He'd gone 6 hours without eating and was acting completely uninterested in the breast. In the end, I was so worried about how long he'd gone without feeding that I bought some formula. He took it immediately and so he was obviously hungry even though he was uninterested in the breast.

Bottle works for me. I know exactly how much my son is taking and how often and me and my partner can share feeds.

Also, breastfed babies generally feed a lot more often than bottle fed so it can be quite demanding although very rewarding, I loved the very few feeds I got with my son!

It's completely up to you but whatever you choose it's generally encouraged for you to express the first few days of breast milk as its colostrum which has a lot of nutrients and can help baby build his/her immune system when they enter the world! Although you don't have to do this if you don't want to smile

Make the best choice for you and don't give into pressure to do what other people tell you to do or not to do. Good luck flowers

Uiscebeatha85 Thu 05-Jan-17 23:29:50

If you breastfeed you'll also have a chuckle when you see your baby doing the funny rooting thing when they move their head about with their mouth open when they're hungry and beside your boob grin

chatnanny Thu 05-Jan-17 23:32:56

In terms of your figure, think about all
the calories you give away to the baby when breast feeding, definitely helps with the uterus contracting back and regaining your shape.
I do think you have to really want to breast feed to achieve it though and in those tricky early days there's nothing worse than one voice undermining you. But if you can do it there's no bottles, no mixing feeds, no trips to the kitchen in the night.
Do your research and then make up your mind and stick to it either way.

SparkleShinyGlitter Thu 05-Jan-17 23:34:01

I would say at least try breast feeding

I had my first baby in August and I had a very relaxed attitude I'd try breast feeding but if it didn't work ok then I'd bottle feed- no pressure on myself!
I gave it a go and it was ok. DD is now 5 months and mixed feed and has 2 breast feeds a day the rest is formula.

By the way I ate everything like I normal would when breastfeeding I also have the odd glass of wine

MuppetsChristmasCarol Thu 05-Jan-17 23:34:28

You can tell your mum that my boobs look awesome, thank you very much! I always wanted to breastfeed because it gives baby some of your immunity against colds etc in the first few weeks and it is better for babies than bottle feeding.

I found it hard to start off with - no one warned me it could be painful - but now at 5 months it's so easy! No getting out of bed for late night feeds, when leaving the house I don't need to worry about bottles or sterilising and letting a baby breastfeed is a great way to sooth an upset baby.

However, it does mean that I can't leave the baby for very long (fine by me, I don't want to leave him much and I'm the one on maternity leave) and I do all the night wakings (but again, I'm not at work so I think it's only fair I do most of the night stuff). You do also have to adapt to having a tiny baby feeding from you every hour or so in the first few weeks.

Does your Mum want you to bottle-feed just so she can feed the baby, I wonder? My MIL often makes comments about it being a shame I'm not bottle feeding so she can't have a turn. hmm

justanotheryoungmother Thu 05-Jan-17 23:34:42

Thank you so much everyone for your replies, it really is helping the decision making!smile

The thing regarding my mum isn't as weird as I may have made it out to be- in hindsight it sounds a bit weird, but what I meant was I had a relatively nice figure prior pregnancy, and my mum is just worried that on top of my figure being affected, this is another thing that will be as well, and she's just trying to prevent that as I'm young smile

My figure isn't my concern at all by the way!smile

BertieBotts Thu 05-Jan-17 23:38:33

It is pregnancy which ruins your boobs, not breastfeeding!

However I think being young helps with this. I was pregnant at 19 too, breastfed for four years (!) and still have nice perky boobs, and I quite like the shape of them too!

Other posters are right that you don't need to be careful about what you eat, that's a myth. The only thing that's a problem is if you take drugs (which you wouldn't want to do around a baby anyway confused) or if you're on certain medications, but even most medications have a breastfeeding friendly alternative.

I really liked breastfeeding because I'm not a very organised person and it was great not having to worry about having anything ready in advance or think about how long it had been since he last fed, it was always there, ready and available and if he wanted more he could have more, it was easy for me. That's not to say it's always easy, and it can be difficult to get started, I found it useful to look up lots of information about what to expect, what's normal and where to look for for help in advance. The mumsnet infant feeding board is great for this, BTW, and someone normally replies even at 3am. And your midwife might know of a breastfeeding support group you could attend, I'm sure you'd be welcome even if you're not sure yet. It might be good to meet some mums who are right in the thick of things and see what they say about it.

I think at the end of the day it comes down to personal preference. I find that people who are more laid back and prefer to go with the flow and are perhaps a bit more disorganised (like me!) seem to get on better with breastfeeding whereas people I know who are more routine orientated, like to be in control and are very good at being on top of things seem to get on better either with bottles or with a mix of breast and bottle feeding, which is also an option.

NameChange30 Thu 05-Jan-17 23:39:44

I still think your "figure" is none of your mum's business, but maybe she is having trouble seeing you as an adult, which would be kind of understandable given that you're 19, but you are an adult and you're going to need to start making your own decisions. Just be careful not to let her interfere too much - of course she is going to want to advise and support you, but you have a new family unit now: you, your boyfriend (that's BF or DP = dear partner on Mumsnet) and your baby!

Pinkheart5915 Thu 05-Jan-17 23:41:33

Do some reading up on breast & bottle feeding and don't put pressure on yourself to feed your baby either way.

I'd always say to anyone to at least give it a go but absolutely don't pressure yourself if it doesn't work out that's ok and you can use formula no problem.

I breast feed ds for 6 months then when he started weaning on to food I switched to formula, with DD she is mix fed ( she has breast milk 1 time in the morning and 1 time at night) and by time she weans on to food will be completely on formula.

Breastfeeding can be difficult for the first few days but once baby can latch properly it's ok and I feel for me it was a nice way of bonding as well.

I eat everything I normally do I haven't changed my diet to breastfeed
I enjoy a few glasses of wine/ vodka tonic a week with no problems
My boobs are not saggy

BertieBotts Thu 05-Jan-17 23:42:16

Oh and as for the night feeds - feeding is not even quite half of it! Even if you are fully breastfeeding, boyfriend could always be in charge of getting the baby back to sleep after a feed, night time nappy changes, he could even bring the baby to you in bed so you can feed lying down while you doze and then he takes it back to the cot if you really want to minimise your input at any time. He doesn't get out of it that easily grin

kel12345 Thu 05-Jan-17 23:43:07

Hi, I didn't want to breastfeed at all. Didn't even want to try it. My midwife tried to convince me to but I said no. I moved halfway through my pregnancy to a different area and got a new midwife. My first appointment with him was when I was 37 weeks gone. He had a student midwife with him (with my consent), and she was asking me questions. She asked about feeding, I said I would be formula feeding, and that I had no intention of trying to breastfeed or express breast milk. And my husband said he supported that fully (which he did). 3 times she tried to write that I'd try breastfeeding, it was only after I repeatedly said no, that's not going to happen, she put I would be bottle feeding (not trying to scare you about midwives btw).
Anyway, I went into hospital with my starter pack of milk, and luckily the midwife in the birth centre was supportive of my decision not to breastfeed, didn't belittle me or put me down or make me feel awful. And when the time came, she handed my the bottle and I fed my baby for the first time (with tears in my eyes).
The most important thing is it's your decision. Professionals will try to convince you breast is best, and it's their job to inform you of the benefits. And if you feel you want to try to breastfeed, then that's great. If you decide you'd prefer to express breastmilk and feed that from bottles, that's also fine. However if you decide you want to try it and it doesn't work out, that's fine as well. Equally if you feel breastfeeding is not for you and you don't want to try it at all, that's just as fine.
The one thing I'd say is make sure you express your feelings and do what you want and feel is best for both you and the baby. Remember- bottle, expressed or breast- fed is always best, regardless of how.
Good luck to you.
(Also there's nothing wrong with having a drink with a newborn or a baby, as long as you're sensible with it. I drink with my little one here and I always have done. I'd never get drunk or anything, but a few doesn't actually hurt).

IWantATardis Thu 05-Jan-17 23:47:14

I bottle fed DS1 after breastfeeding didn't work out, breastfed DS2 till after he was 2.5 yrs, and am currently breastfeeding DS3 (6 weeks). Breastfeeding can be hard work at first, but once it's established it's easier than bottle feeding IME.

If you do decide to try breastfeeding, it's definitely worth researching how to access local breastfeeding support groups in advance, as these can make a big difference if you're struggling with breastfeeding.
And don't be shy about asking midwives for help getting started with breastfeeding in hospital after having the baby. The midwives I met in hospital were mostly lovely, but they were busy so they did tend to leave me to it unless I actively asked them to help me work out how to get baby latched on or how to position baby properly for breastfeeding.

Regarding food - there's very little you have to avoid when breastfeeding. You should avoid eating too much oily fish, shark and swordfish (they can contain pollutants which can pass into breastmilk). Some babies can be sensitive to caffeine if mum drinks caffeinated drinks, but that's not been a problem for me. And that's about it.
You don't have to cut out alcohol completely either when breastfeeding (the alcohol concentration in breastmilk is the same as the alcohol concentration in your blood, which is tiny), but you obviously need to make sure you're sober enough to properly care for the baby. And you should never co-sleep with a baby if you've been drinking alcohol, as that increases the risk of SIDS.

Crumbs1 Thu 05-Jan-17 23:49:32

Started in 1992 and finally stoped in 2003 - not quite 12 years as we had a set of twins. Keeping going is certainly easier than starting out! First baby was hardest as it felt like I was performing and had to prove myself in some way. By the time youngest arrived I was content to feed anywhere - and so stress and idea that others noticed was less. I realised nobody even noticed what I was up to and if they did, it was generally in an approving sort of way. I get quite nostalgic for those days but not the first three months with first baby.

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