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Breast or Bottle-fed Babies?

One of the first questions people seem to ask after you give birth is if you plan to nurse your baby. It is also a topic that invites both welcomed advice and unsolicited opinions.

When the federal government tried to encourage breastfeeding, it created a number of public service ads that were viewed as scare tactics by some mothers who opted for the bottle.

In summer 2006, New York City hospitals removed the free baby formula from gift bags gifted to new parents.

Since there is so much government and societal pressure to nurse your child, we want to know — was breast best for you?


Join The Conversation
tracystenning tracystenning 9 years
i have 3 children all with totally different experiences with breast feeding.with my first i always figured i'd just do it not realizing it doesn't just happen,my oldest was colicky and had irregular bowels cramping( i just kept with it luckily i had a great partner who shared in all other duties) my doctor told me just keep feeding him -if you have milk i's good milk but depending on your diet i know this is not always true!He was latched all the time finally on our own we gave him formula when he was around 4 months his constant crying and bowel problems stopped and he slept through the night for the first time!!With my second -my delivery was complicated ending in an emergancy c-section i still chose to breast feed -which was so easy since i had experience this time- however 8 days later when we were finally released home my dr called me on day 9 saying i had a major infection and needed to start some med's that i can't breast feed while taking!!i pumped while on the med,s after he didn't want to nurse any more since he was used to a bottle by then pumping enough to feed him could take forever and i sadly gave up!with my 3rd it was a planned c-section and i nurse her just over a year easily!!!no bottles to make and warm in the middle of the night seems a great reason for me!!!!!
macgirl macgirl 9 years
Did anyone have any good books that they referenced for help?
amber_castaldo amber_castaldo 9 years
My bubs were made for milking. I even tried to be a wet nurse, I had so much milk. I couldn't help but nurse.
rgrl rgrl 9 years
"Most women can make it work if they have the commitment." Hmm, who told you that sarcastabtch??? Just because it worked for you does not mean it would work for others. I tried a lot more that what you did and it didn't work for me. Your tone sounds a bit accusatory as if others didn't try as hard as you did. I would just say inform yourself more or try to be more careful in your statements.
Gabriela14815884 Gabriela14815884 9 years
I did breast and bottle, well really I bottle fed my daughter breast milk because she was a premie and we had some latching issues. Either way, I gave her breast milk for the first 5 months and then switched to formula there after. This arrangement worked out well for us and I think I'll do it for the rest of my babies, that way they can get the best of both worlds.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
when the breast feeding question came up for me i just said "i have a medical condition that makes that impossible". no one was ever rude enough to ask what it was, so feel free to use it if you feel pressured. it's nice if it works out for mom and baby but like cbgmick stated there's more to good parenting than breast feeding.
cbgmick cbgmick 9 years
Like so many others here... I wanted to breast feed my son through the first year, but it didn't work out (long, complicated story). It was hard and depressing and I felt like I had to explain our situation to every random person. It's amazing how many "experts" on my situation (people just love to share unsolicited opinions!) I encountered :) With this child, I would love for it to work out that I can try to breast feed, but I'm not going to beat myself up if it doesn't happen. I quickly learned that there is a lot more to being a good parent than just breastfeeding!! Good luck to all with whatever decision you make or is made for you by your circumstances.
sarcastabtch sarcastabtch 9 years
I did everything to BF my sons- went on Fenugreek and domperidone. Most women can make it work if they have the commitment.
amandachalynn amandachalynn 9 years
Colostrom is not formula, I had that even though I didn't have milk. I breast-fed for a whole three days, until the colostrom ran out. Then I had one hungry little man!
reeveske reeveske 9 years
The only reason breastfeeding is better than formula is because they have found that, especially in the first few days after childbirth, it has a thicker substance called colostrum that contains antibodies to protect the baby's immune system since they can't produce any on their own yet. Formulas have been trying to figure out what this concoction is, but have not succeded, but some have gotten close.
macgirl macgirl 9 years
I had a horrible time of it with my son 9 years ago. He was getting all the milk he needed but I was being hurt in the process. He just wasn't latching correctly, something about his tongue. I started losing chunks of my left nipple and finally had to move to just pumping. The pumping couldn't sustain my supply and I dried up :-( I felt horrible and so guilty. I am so determined to make it work this time. I've purchased books and plan to do classes if I have problems. My books bum me out a bit as they really put the pressure on you. Even ones with funny tittles like "so that's what they're for" just put the screws to you about how this is the "only" right choice. I'm going to do the best I can this time around. If it doesn't work out at least I know that my mostly bottle fed first son is healthy and brilliant :-)
KerryG KerryG 9 years
Yowza, sorry for the book.
KerryG KerryG 9 years
My daughter is turning one today and was exclusively breastfed until she was 4 1/2 months old, when I introduced solids. (A little early, but I got my period back at six weeks postpartum and was getting it every three weeks, and every time I did, my milk supply crashed, but she screamed bloody murder when we tried to give her a bottle, so it was solids or be attached to her for basically the whole day during my periods and I chose the lesser of two evils. :) ) I love breastfeeding now - so easy! and cheap and good for the baby and nice together time, too - but I had a horrible start and came so close to giving up so many times. My supply was fine and she latched on well after the first couple days, but she didn't nurse long or often enough for the lactation consultant's liking and didn't regain her birthweight until she was three weeks old, even though she was completely content and healthy in all other regards. I spent a lot of those weeks feeling stressed and pressured by the LC, made even worse because both my nipples had been damaged early on and the first minute or two after latch on hurt so badly it literally brought tears to my eyes every time, then when we were finished, my nipples would do something called a vasospasm that would hurt again, and they were so sensitive that even showering was painful. They finally healed over when she was about six weeks old, with help from breast shields, but man, it was rough. Only her hatred of bottles (and mine of cleaning them!) kept me going for awhile there.
SnickersBar SnickersBar 9 years
I have a 3 month old that I breastfeed almost exclusively by pumping and then feeding him from a bottle. People have made me feel guilty about that, as if I am not "really " breastfeeding. This just workes the best for me though. I think you should just do what feels right to you as we all know perfectly healthy babies that have been breastfed, formula fed, or both. Breastfeeding can be really stressful as you are the babies only source of nourishment and I was always worried about making enough milk, until about a month ago when I finally started making a surplus so I have reserves in the freezer now. That being said, are there any other breastfeeding moms out there who just hate their breasts during this time? I was a full C before pregnancy, and now I am a DD and just hate the way they look, feel and everything. It's almost impossible to find any bra that fits well and feels good, so I either wear a sports bra that suffocates me for sufficient support or have them hanging to my belly button in a regular bra. Any advice?
texchic07 texchic07 9 years
during my whole pregnancy I was very pro-breastfeeding then I had to have an emergency c-section. Afterwards I tried so hard but because of the pain and the way I had to hold him up off my stomach I chose to bottlefeed. Everywhere I looked for support on formula feeding, even on formula websites, was very almost anti-formula pro-breastfeeding so it made me feel like I was a failure. I love how accepting we are becoming of breastfeeding but we also need to stop making new moms who choose not feel like they are doing something wrong.
sweetnshy5282 sweetnshy5282 9 years
I, too, didn't produce any breastmilk. I bottle fed both my children and they are both very healthy and very intelligent. Both of my children were big babies. My cousin would always make comments to be about how my 3 month old daughter was so overweight because she was on formula. (she had a daughter the same age who was breast fed) I think that it is so sad that women criticize others for how they choose to feed thier baby. The nurses at the hospital all tried to pressure me to keep trying to pump breast milk and almost seemed to look down on me when I chose to switch to formula after a couple of days. It really made me feel like I was doing something wrong. There is so much hype about how much better breast feeding is than bttle feeding, but I've never seen any real proof of it. Just as amandachalynn says, I don't really see the huge benefits everyone talks about. As long as your baby gets the nourishment he/she needs, what's it matter?? But these days people make you feel so guilty about bottle feeding. Like I said, even my own cousins was making comments to me (and still daughter is now a year and a half).
bessa bessa 9 years
Twinkle and Romani - you are not "defective" mothers! I bet you're great mothers! Your babies love you.
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
schnappycat, thank you so much for the luck wishes. I need them!! We are doing IVF with PGD ( I have recurrent miscarriages). This will be our one and only try at IVF. If we happen to get lucky and have normal embryos to freeze and the fresh cycle doesn't work, we will do one FET and we will be done. Its been 9 yrs almost, of trying and disappointments. I am 38 and am tired of it running my life. So, we made the decision for this to be it. I really do want to breastfeed, but I am such an on the go person and so used to bottles. I may try pumping for daddy to be able to feed a bottle every day. Then, be able to take a bottle of breastmilk with me shopping if I need to. I am not one who would nurse in public. I would be too self conscious. So, hoping it all works out. As for formula fed babies being more prone to being first 2 were formula fed and they are both of average weight and height. Not too skinny, not overweight. I think genetics plays a huge role in that aspect of a person's health.
bessa bessa 9 years
I BF'd for 4 months, then had to supplement with some formula. Sweetie's almost 9 months now and still BF'ing 3x/day, plus she gets 1/2 breastmilk mixed with her formula at daycare. I think women shouldn't be scared to BF / pump as much as they can comfortably and supplement with forumla. You still get bonding time, but it's not as stressful as having to 100 BF. I also started Reglan after 5 months as my supply wouldn't come back after 3 months out of town. I still take it 2x/day.
rgrl rgrl 9 years
Hmm, sounds like we need to start a support group for mothers with no milk. :rotfl: Even now I get emotional when I remember that time... like Twinkle said, I felt "defective" and like I was failing my son. I didn't know so many other people went through this.
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 9 years
I have also read that breastfeeding is healthier for the mom - helping to lower the odds of breast cancer and helping your heart. That being said, my first two were breastfed and I am debating doing so with my third. There are many pros and cons for both sides. Right now I'm looking at the fact that bottles will help disperse my work load. Grandma and dad can help with feedings! I won't have to come back to the house within a two hour time frame. So basically I want more freedom and more help this time around! But I am worried about the weight loss implications of not breastfeeding. It seems really easy to lose the baby weight when you do it. And then what if this child resents me because she knows she didn't get the boob. All things I'm thinking about...
rockd_out_vxn rockd_out_vxn 9 years
I feel the same way as most.... I tried to breastfeed.. I had nurses help me, I talked to several lactation consultants but my milk never came in. Even after a few days nothing happened with my breats... it's like they didnt even realize we had a baby. So, I went to formula. My son is great, smart, happy... I have no qualms about it ... now. I was very upset that I couldnt b/c I felt it would be natural and this is the best thing for my kids and then the pressure that is put on women is incredible. My husband was more upset at how these people made me feel about not breastfeeding than anything else.
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 9 years
I had every intention of breastfeeding both of my children but my milk never came in. I was sure it was my fault and felt guilty about it for a long time, even after my doctor told me that some mothers can't produce milk. It makes me sad that I missed out on that experience but my kids are happy and healthy, despite their defective mother. :D
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
Bottled breast milk! . . .
sweetk8ty76 sweetk8ty76 9 years
I think I would probably do both. I'm not too sure either way. Time will tell I suppose.
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