Thursday, December 11, 2014

BFBN: the pros and cons of formula and breastfeeding


It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network week!  All of us will be sharing posts on different aspects of feeding.  Here's the schedule for the week:

Monday:  Valerie www.babywisemom.com
Tuesday:  Elaine www.faithfullyinfertile.com
Wednesday:  Emily www.journeyofparenthood.com
Thursday:  Claire www.mydevising.com  

Not formula versus breastfeeding.  Not formula or breastfeeding.  Formula and breastfeeding. 

I was extremely lucky and blessed to have breastfed my first child, Duke, with basically no problems.  I nursed him for a year and I fully intended to do that with my daughter, Nova, when she arrived this past May.  After trying everything, I decided to give it up and feed formula starting at 2 months.  Mourning the loss of breastfeeding was hard and I was very disappointed.  It can still be a sad thing for me to think about, but for the most part, I see the blessing in it.   

I've discovered that there are pros and cons to both breastfeeding and formula feeding.  In today's post, I represent both sides.

CONVENIENCE

Breast milk is in my body.  That's pretty dang convenient.  I don't have to lug stuff around to feed my child.

I don't have to lug around a hooter hider or worry about the issues that come with nursing in public (which are silly anyway).  I just need a bottle, formula, and some warm water.  The only time this wouldn't be convenient is if there was no access to water around me.  But then again, why would I be hanging out somewhere where there's no access to water?  Anyway, it's easy.

RESPONSIBILITY

I love knowing that I am the sole provider of my baby's nourishment.  It's such an honor and there's such value in giving that to him.  I love having that responsibility and knowing I'm the only one that can truly satisfy my baby.

I love not being the only one responsible for feeding this baby girl!  It's wonderful that her dad, grandparents, uncles, aunt, etc. can all feed her.  It's such a weight off of my back and allows for some really sweet bonding for her with other people.

NOT THINKING

I don't like to think.  So when I have to get somewhere in a hurry, I don't have a huge list of things I have to bring to make sure my baby isn't screaming and hungry.  I just need my body.  I don't need to count ounces or decide when to start adding more to a bottle.  My body makes what he needs and I love it that way.

I never have to wonder how much my baby is getting.  I know exactly when something is off.  Rather than it being a mystery of "how long baby nursed," I can see with my own 2 eyes how many ounces have been consumed.  It's not a guessing game and I love that.

MONEY

$0 for breast milk is great.

Paying for formula sucks.  The end.

PUMPING

I hate pumping.  I hate having to calculate my pump sessions so I have enough stocked up for when I'm going to miss feedings..  There's not anything great about pumping; we all just suck it up and do it because we have to.

I cannot describe to you the joy I feel when I think about not having to use a pump or "prepare" for being gone.

NIGHT FEEDINGS

I love that all I have to do is walk into the nursery and start feeding.  There's no prep to the night feedings.

It's really great not being the only one who can get up and do a night feeding.  How awesome was it to roll over and tiredly say, "Colt, can you just do this one?"  Really awesome.

SLEEP

Duke slept through the night sooner than Nova, doing 8 straight hours at 8 weeks.

Nova didn't sleep through the night as soon, but at 12 weeks, she was doing 11 hours, which was several months sooner than Duke did 11 hours.

(I'm including this to show that sleeping milestones aren't always dependent on what you're feeding your baby.)

CONCLUSION

There are things on both sides that I've enjoyed and dreaded.  There are specific nursing sessions with Duke that will forever be in my memory.  But there is also an enjoyment to this baby season with Nova that I didn't experience with Duke.  The pumping was a drag with Duke, yet it's really annoying to bust out the $$$ for Nova's formula. 

It's important that we stand proudly in our decisions, including feeding decisions.  But if that pride starts convincing us that there is only one way to do things, then it's gone to far.  So, should you formula feed or breastfeed?  Well, there are easy things and hard things with both options.  Your decision has to be based on what you want and what you feel works best for your baby, family, and lifestyle.  There is not one answer.  Both formula and breast milk are needed to make the world go round.

7 comments:

  1. Amazing post! I had a very similar experience and have told friends since that I love breastfeeding AND formula/bottles! I breastfed my 1st until 11mo, 2nd until 10mo, and 3rd until 8mo. With all of them, it was basically a force-feeding struggle after 4-6mo, and not enjoyable. I adore breastfeeding a newborn who wants to breastfeed. I feel more bonded to my older baby doing a bottle, and they seemed more content too. (Just our experience!) I think this is a wonderful post!!

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    1. Yes! I love what you said - "I adore breastfeeding a newborn who wants to breastfeed." It certainly does take 2 to tango, which is what I learned with my 2nd! Had no idea my experience could be so completely different than my 1st! Thanks so much for reading!

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  2. This post is amazing. Currently I am breastfeeding my second daughter. I breastfed my 1st (inlcuding a tandem time) until 28 months. This one is still going strong at 9 months but is much more independent. Neither of my girls will take a bottle at all ever so the whole bottle feeding thing is foreign to me. It is so great to see the pros and cons of both.

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    1. Glad you've been able to breastfeed both - what a blessing! It was even enlightening to me as I was writing this to start comparing my experiences. The pros and cons really do seem to equal out!

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  3. I love this post. So much truth. Thank you for sharing. I breast fed my son for ten months until I became pregnant and have since nursed my daughter who is now also almost ten months. I always imagined i would breast feed her as long as she wanted but I'm seeing more and more that ending it at ten months with Levi was a blessing in disguise in terms of my feeling able to leave her and share the feeding responsibilities. I'm ready to be fine but have been feeling very guilty that I might be ending it because it's better for me. Your works reminded me it's best for our family when we take care of our needs and formula for a couple of months until regular milk might be the best choice all around. Guilt free.

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    1. I totally understand that tendency to feel guilty. But you're right - you are 100% allowed to make a choice because it's better for you/your family. You have already given her such a great start and have made a great sacrifice!

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