Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bottles vs. Boobs

I saw a "Backtalk" video segment on BlogHer today and it has really got the wheels turning in my head. It was entitled "Breastfeeding and Blogging", so I clicked because for some reason, I thought it was going to be about bloggers who BF while actually blogging. Since I used to fall into that category, I wanted to take a peek.
However, it was not about women who learned to type and do the football hold at the same time.
Nope.
It was a few women expressing their opinions of breastfeeding and why it is best. They are bloggers and have used their blogs as a platform to educate and inform others on that particular form of feeding an infant.

I have nursed all three boys.
Brennan until around 9 months.
Jack until 4. (months, not years, though I do have a few friends who have gone way past the first or second birthdays...see, it's all about personal choices, you know?)
Ethan is currently in the weaning process so he has the best of both worlds.
These women's opinions of breastfeeding got me thinking...

What the heck is the big deal with bottle or boobs? Why not just let the woman decide on her own?
If people keep saying, "Breast is best", then how do those who only use bottles feel? The mom who could not nurse, the mom who had to work and could not pump? The mom who just does not want to nurse her child?
And, if the breast is so darn good, why'd they even invent formula in the first place? (Boy, we sure are lucky to live in this day and age when we have options!)

I do not feel bad for weaning Ethan. We have had our time and now it is time to move on to our next venture. The bottle.

The narrator did say, "We definitely need to hear from more bottle feeding moms out there"

So, did you only bottle feed? Only nurse? Both? Tell me what you do and what you think.

When Jackson developed his milk allergen and I switched from breast to nutramigen formula, I felt like a failure. I did not even make it to the half way mark of his first year! (Yes, I know I could have eliminated all dairy, but I did not)
Then, I felt relief. It took a few days after the weaning process for the relief to come, but it did. I was so glad to be done.

No more nursing pads making my shirts look ridiculous. No more pumping. No more soaking wet tee shirts in the night b/c the nursing pad had moved out of position.

And...I think Jackson is just fine now. He rarely gets sick, he's happy, he loves me, and he is a great kid.

Ethan is six months old and I want to wean him for the selfish reason that I don't want to be nursing when I go to Florida and Louisiana this summer. That, and I am just ready. I have not minded watching his milestones come, because I know that means he is growing up and I am okay with that.

I am by no means saying "Do not breast feed your children." Nope, I loved doing it and I am grateful I did.

What I am saying, I guess, is that I don't think it is ANYONE's right or responisiblity to judge us for whatever method of nutrition we choose for our babies. (and, for the record, these women were not judging, they were just very educational in the world of BFing) We know what is best for both the child and ourselves (cause you know, if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!) and I think once your decision is made, don't let "the other side" make you feel bad for your choice.

So, Ethan gets a bottle now. Soon he will only get a bottle. Will he miss nursing? Nah...he will forget soon he ever did that. Will I miss snuggling with him? Yep, but I can do that anytime I want, so I don't mind not having to do it at all hours of the night and day.

So, go ahead, tell me your opinion. Is breast best and that is it? Do you dip your toe in the pool of formula and breast milk, or have you dived head first into the sea of formula? I've heard the baby bottle boeys are very cute...


11 Words to brighten my day:

Gwengom said...

I breastfed 95% of the time for 11 months with my first (5% Nutramigen to supplement low supply for some time), then breastfed 100% for 13 months with my second, who would still be on the boob now had I allowed it (I wanted Lasik, and I wanted it now, darn it!) but felt comfortable weaning her at that age..I am expecting my 3rd and will do whatever works..I prefer to breastfeed for many reasons, but would be lying if I didn't state that financial benefits are up there at the top of the list...I love a good deal...the more I save, the more I can buy...so the health, etc benefits of bf'ing are really just bonuses to my real joy: saving so I can spend!
I agree with you that whatever works for one set of mom and baby is best for them..it may be completely the opposite of what the mommy next door is doing..who cares? It may also differ from one baby to the next with the same mommy. I've been consumed with thoughts about my son's seasonal allergies lately and one thing crossed my mind...one of the health hypes of bf'ing is a lower occurence of allergies in bf'ed babies over formula babies...in my family of 4 children, I was the only exclusively formula fed baby and the only one without allergies of any sort...so I either defied the odds, or like everything else, got lucky at a game of chance.
I'll get off my "live and let live" soapbox now, but thanks for the opportunity! ;D

retrobec said...

I would have breastfed both of my boys if I could have. My anatomy (inverted nipples) combined with babies that couldn't latch on to me correctly made it nearly impossible. I tried hard with Ethan, but the stupid lactation nurse in the hospital pressured me to bottle feed him because she said I had "inadequate equipment". I didn't know any better, so I gave him the bottle. From then on, he wouldn't even try to latch on to me anymore. I was still determined to give him breast milk, so I pumped for almost two months and supplemented with formula. But I started feeling like a cow hooked up to that electric pump all day and night. I couldn't take it anymore. We fed him strictly formula from then on.

With Owen, I was determined to make breastfeeding work somehow. I still blamed that nurse for ruining my chances with Ethan. So I used those little plastic breast shells while I was pregnant to reverse the inversion. And, I refused to let them give him a bottle in the hospital. Still, Owen would try to latch on and then jerk his head back and forth violently, presumably angry that there was no milk coming out. The pain was unbearable after a week and I was having trouble bonding with him because of it. I didn't want to hate my baby! And I knew pumping would not be an option now that I had a toddler to watch as well. So, we switched to formula again. Luckily, WIC covered the cost for both boys.

Now that I'm pregnant with #3, I don't know what I will do. We don't qualify for WIC anymore, and formula is expensive. But unless I get a personal lactation consultant to give me 24/7 support, I really don't think breastfeeding is an option for me. So yes, I agree that people should not judge or put pressure on mothers to breastfeed their children.

Cathi said...

I switched to formula after about a week with both kids. They did fine bf until the stupid lactation consultant came in and said I had to have a supplemental feeding tube attached to me while they bf. I just don't produce a lot and my kids were loosing too much weight. The stupid tube makes it painful (for both of us) to latch on. And it screwed up their latch so even when I didn't use the tube it was still seriously painful. David was great and convinced me to switch to formula with both and I've never looked back. The lactation consultant kept telling me how much better bf was - healthier kids, healthier me, blah, blah, blah. Well, guess what? Since I've had the kids I've had two colds and my kids have each had one. Nothing else has been wrong with any of us! Not even an ear infection (okay, Dawson has had croup - big deal). Obviously formula works just fine, thank you very much!
I'm definitely not going to be a push over with this one. I know what the problem is now and I know how best to handle it for me. I'll try breast feeding again and I will not use that stupid tube. If they're loosing too much weight then bring on the formula in a bottle! Besides, isn't is a good idea for Dads to do some midnight feedings to bond with baby?

Gwengom said...

P.S. I hate that people think they have to pick "sides"...I do encourage all women to give bf a chance admire bf'ers who stick it out when everything within them screams "stop!" ,(because I know it IS a trying time in life) but I don't for a second feel that it makes them better moms than formula feeders.

P.S.S. Now that I'm feeling less feisty, I can admit that the bonding/snuggling is also at the top of my list of reasons to love the boob..but again, you can do that w/out bf'ing if you make it a priority.

Crissy said...

I attempted BFing. My left breast was perfect and had a great supply. My right breast was not perfect (inverted-ish nipple) but had a great supply. So when she would nurse on the left everything was wonderful and great. But she couldn't latch on the right breast and she hated the nipple shield and refused to use it and then I made the mistake of going to bottle w/ pumped milk and then she refused to go back to breast. After she refused to go back to breast then I learned that I should have just pumped a little on the right to get my nipple popped out and then switch her to that to get her to nurse. I felt even worse that I had "failed" but then I thought about it and it just seemed like a lot of work just for her to get the milk directly from the "cow" when she was still able to get the milk..it just had a few steps in between the "cow" and her mouth. I still pump..but she also gets formula. Her bottles are a 2:1 ratio of breastmilk:formula. I'm starting to get a little burnt out on pumping and I'm at the debate right now at how much longer I want to keep with it. Even with my breastmilk..Kylee has never been a super healthy baby. She's had her fair share of colds, an ear infection, viral infections, and bacterial infections. SO..I think I'll continue to pump until she's 7 months old and then switch to 100% formula. I'm also ready to have my body back (until the next one) and not have to eat, eat, eat just because I always feel so drained and hungry.

Bottom line is..I'm her mommy and I'll make the decisions. I don't care what anyone else thinks. They weren't cut open to birth her. I have every right to make every single decision on how I raise her. From what she eats to how often I cut her nails.

Lori O said...

I am an exclusive bottle feeding mom. I tried desperately to breastfeed Max and felt like a complete failure when things didn't work out. I never even tried with Zachary and am constantly reminding myself that it's okay. Both of my boys happy, healthy, smart and very well bonded to both parents. I couldn't ask for anything more. Things in life don't always work out as planned but I am learning to embrace the tremendous blessings we do have and not dwell on the inconsequential.
This blog however has prompted me to possibly blog on my own page about this subject. Sometimes I think us bottle feeding mammas are too hard on ourselves.

Stacy Hutchinson said...

One of my strongest personality traits is being STUBBORN! I have used this trait to my advantage with breastfeeding. With the first two, I had 2 weeks of pure HELL, but once I got past the cracked and bleeding nipples, the mastitis that brought on serious infection with trembling fever, and the engorgement, I breast fed them both until their first birthdays. This time around I have had no issues. Afton is a pro with latching on, and I brushed up on my positioning. Third time's the charm! Thank goodness. Of course, there was the lovely engorgement to deal with, but I pumped 2 1/2 ounces of milk out of both sides on the 6th day and have been good since. My nipples are still tender, of course, but I'm only 10 days into this. I plan on sticking with it for a year again. It doesn't matter to me what anyone else does, I just like the simplicity of not having to deal with mixing and warming and sterilizing and packing extra gear. My gear is all right here with me, and I have a deluxe Medela double pump if I want some free time occasionally.I don't mind "bf"ing in public-I always cover myself. That about "covers" it for me. When will you be in BR? I gotta see you!! We'll have to have a big play date while you're here.

Anna said...

I think there is so much guilt connected to motherhood, especially when it comes to boob vs. bottle.
I chose to breastfeed, because that was what I was exposed to growing up. I didn't know too many people who used formula. I was determined to make it work. I had a LOT of trouble in the beginning and a lot of moments when I just sat and cried while the baby screamed. After a couple of weeks it got sooo much easier and I felt like I had really accomplished something by sticking with it. I can completely understand women who choose to switch though. I love breastfeeding and plan to try to stick with it until her first birthday at least. I have definitely had days when I wished that I had my body back to myself, but then I get to cuddle and snuggle with the baby and those thoughts usually go away.
I think we all just need to be more supportive of each other's decisions. I really wanted to be successful at breastfeeding and was NOT going to give up. I wouldn't have made it without my Mom and lot of other women who were REALLY supportive. However, I had a lot of people tell me that I should just switch to the bottle and give up. Why do they care? Be supportive of my choice or keep your opinion to yourself. It is my body and my baby. Life is tough enough without people antagonizing you. Can't we all just get along? :)

The Roundys said...

Personally, I kind of hate breastfeeding. But that's just me. I think people should be able to decide whatever works best for them without worrying what people are thinking. Unfortunately, it isn't always that easy. I've been looked down on plenty of times for bottle feeding all three of my kids. It's so irritating. I tried with all three (and had some success with Spencer), but there are so many reasons it's easier and better for me to bottle feed. Here's why I hate BF-ing:

1: They say it's the best nutrition. I disagree. If that were really true, why did my pediatrician prescribe a multi-vitamin for Spencer, but said it was unnecessary after I quit? Formula is a nice steady diet. All of my babies had more digestive issues when they were breatfeeding because they were so sensitive to every little thing I ate. It's so nice not to have to stress about that.

2: Breastfeeding is supposedly more convenient. I think that's ridiculous. When I'm out with the kids it's so much easier to pop a bottle in the baby's mouth than it is to find someplace to sit down and BF.

3: Another one I hate is when people say that breastfed babies are less likely to be obese/sick/stupid etc... I think you're going to have intelligent kids if you're an intelligent parent. Between my three kids we've only had one non-well-check dr appointment. I think that has more to do with hitting the genetic jackpot with good immune systems than whether or not they were bf'd. As for the obesity thing, I think breastfed babies are worse off. Look at what they're learning: eat when you're tired, eat when you're bored, eat when you're stressed...

4: I've never been able to lose my baby weight until I've quit breastfeeding.

5: It's hard to always have the pressure of being the one who has to feed the baby. I love giving my husband and other children the chance to bond with the baby.

6: I do love the cuddle factor, but I think it's more trouble than it's worth. Breastfed babies (in my opinion and experience) are less likely to accept other forms of comfort (binkies, toys, blankets) because they are so attached to the breast. This led me to have sleep problems with Spencer. I switched Sarah and Ben to formula early on and they learned to sleep through the night at 3-6 weeks of age. I bf'd Spence until he was 6 months old and at 4 months I decided I'd had enough of getting up 50 times a night and let him scream it out. It was awful. Who knows if it that was just his personality or what, but I'm inclined to blame the bf'ing.

Anyway, holy long comment, but I guess I'm opinionated on this subject! I really have no problems with bf'ers, but I do disagree with the ones who think it's ultimately superior to bottle-feeding. The only thing that really matters is each individual baby and each individual mother and what's best for them.

P.S. Hi from Idaho Falls! How's Omaha?

Angelkris said...

Well, I think that research is kind of undeniably proved that breastmilk is best for babies, but that being said, I never actually BF Joss. It just didn't work and I was hating every minute of trying to make it work, so I pumped for 6 weeks. By 6 weeks it was just too hard with the line of work I was in. It sure was nice to have somebody else do the midnight feedings though! With Harris, I was determined to make it work since I had 6 weeks off. He's 7 weeks old now and we still don't have it all figured out. With that being said, Joss has had 1 ear infection her whole life, 2 what I would call really really really sick days, and maybe only 3-4 colds a year. She is quite healthy on the virus/bacteria front. I will be very interested to see how Harris turns out being BF and all. I am planning on weaning daytime feedings (because pumping at work is a pain in my arse) and jsut do night and morning at 6 months. How long we do night and morning- I do not know.

Childishcouture said...

I am a breastfeeder. Im not a breastfeeding warrior although I did nurse my youngest until a few months ago and he will be 3 in July ( he weaned in November). My daughter until she was 9 months old. IMO do whats best for your child and whats best for you. Breastfeeding was quicker and easier. I hated cleaning bottles and preparing formula. Love is whats important!!