Wednesday, January 18, 2012

To Boob or To Bottle?

Bottle-feeding or breastfeeding--which one is easier?

(These questions are answered in order of "urgency", if you will, ha ha!)

A quick recap for those of you new to the blog: Cub, my oldest, was breastfed until ten months (he weaned himself) and Naomi, my youngest (for now!), was breastfed for four months and I chose to wean her to formula then because of a milk allergy.

Okay. This is one of those things where I can only speak from experience and my experience is limited. This question comes from a dear reader who just had her third and she is considering the convenience of one versus the other (I believe she breastfed her other two). While I can confidently say that "Yes! Breastfeeding my first was easy!" I cannot confidently say that breastfeeding a third would be easy (I will soon find out). Also, her third is a boy, and boys are a little harder (typically) to get going. Cub ate for a total of 45 minutes for the first few months. I thought I was some kind of champion because I could claim that "Look! He took forever to eat and I had clogged milk ducts and he had reflux but I DID IT! Breastfeeding all the waaaaay!" until I realized ... he was my first. Of course I had time to dedicate to all of that. With Naomi, she was actually a much easier feeder. She nursed great from day one, a total of ten minutes per side, which was heaven. But she had tummy issues from the get-go and the decision to wean was so, so, so hard, but it made the most sense for all of us. I'll be honest--I'm not a huge fan of formula. I think it's stinky. But I'm so thankful for it. Naomi did great going to formula. With my third, I plan to breastfeed and hope it goes swimmingly all the way through, but I've learned to give myself grace if it doesn't.

So, all of that being said, I think breastfeeding is still "easier". It's easier because it's always with you and, with time, the baby typically becomes more efficient in their eating and the time gets cut way down. And, of course, there's no arguing that it really is the healthiest option. Comparing the two, I think transitioning from having two bottles attached to you to having to prep actual bottles is cumbersome, at first. But, that's comparing the two. I got used to prepping bottles for Naomi the way I got used to breastfeeding Cub. Life goes on. Ultimately, you do what you feel is best for the baby AND for you.

That being said, I will say, Reader, to do whatever will help you keep your sanity. This is just one of those things where having an opinion doesn't really help--we Moms just need to support each other. Set a goal before you wean. Try to breastfeed for a certain length of time, to prove to yourself that you've given it a fair shot (which you already have--I only suggest this because I know you want to breastfeed), and then make your choice.

It won't be a wrong one.

Good luck, friend.

Have a lovely day!


  1. Thanks Katie! My swaying back and forth over it (I'm still nursing 100%) is more for his happiness, than for convenience. He fusses constantly when he nurses and genuinely seems dissatisfied afterward (he latches perfectly and eats a full meal, so I'm assuming it's something I'm eating...working on cutting dairy, ugh). The few times he's had a bottle, he just seemed so happy afterward. Maybe because it was heavier though? Harder to digest - like us eating a Thanksgiving dinner. Ha. I just keep pushing myself each day to go 'one more day'. It is very hard with 3, especially with our schedule. And it's difficult to see him so distraught all the time. Sigh. Life is never easy, right?

    I hope it goes smoothly for you soon!

  2. Hi Katie.. I've got a follow-up question for you after reading this post - can you see a difference in your kids that you can attribute to breastfeeding vs bottle feeding?

    I ask this because I know what everyone says about breastfeeding (mainly that it's better), and I do believe it because it is supported by so much scientific/medical evidence. BUT I struggle to really see it in real life.. My husband and his brothers were bottle fed, my father-in-law was bottle fed, and this was during a time when formula wasn't probably as good as it is now, diseases more rampant (thus the need for BM immunities).. but they were fine and are fine now.. Even my cousin who is a pediatrician says that there's not much difference between breastfeeding and formula (besides the immunities and the bonding).

    Just to clarify - I breastfeed, love breastfeeding and am on month 8 now and plan to do it for as long as possible, and I hope to breastfeed all of our future children. This isn't my way of stirring up controversy.. I am genuinely curious if you've noticed a difference.

  3. Amen to the following points: do what works best for your situation; give BFing a go and see if it works so you can cross it off your "I tried it" list; moms should support and not judge each other. AMEN.

  4. Agree. So far, my boy was harder to nurse than my girl. I breastfed my first for one month, pumped exclusively for 5 more months and then called it quits and went to formula when he was 6 months old. My daughter is 16 months and I am still nursing her. I had imagined I would wean at 1 year...or before. I really had no intention of nursing this long, but she loves it and since it is only a couple times a day and I don't have another baby, I am willing to keep going until she is ready to call it quits (which at this point, will probably be sooner than later). It really comes down to what works for each child and for you. It is hard to feel condemnation for giving your child a bottle of formula (I felt that with my first), but if is the best thing for everyone then I say "do what works best." There is no sense in breastfeeding it is causing unnecessary stress and frustration for the whole family.

  5. Introduce a bottle either way ASAP so you can enjoy a night out and your baby will as well. Formula/nursing. Either is fine. Mama and baby's choice.