The GREAT Debate :)

Briana - posted on 06/24/2010 ( 19 moms have responded )

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Everyone seems afraid to debate, so here we go.

The great debate....breastfeeding vs formula.

Please remember not to attack.

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[deleted account]

I struggled greatly with breastfeeding, but still continued to squeeze out the minimal milk my body produced. I hated nursing, I was depressed, I didn't bond with my son. But ultimately, my son thrived on formula. I was a much happier mother and I have no regrets.

I find that the poster above me is often extreme in judging and attacking mothers who made a parenting decision, like formula as a first choice. In various CoM communities, she has offered negative and hurtful comments, and has no ability to empathize with other mothers who struggled with nursing. Her superior holier-than-thou attitude even makes pro-nursing moms angry. It's really NO ONE'S business HOW a mother feeds her baby. After all, which is better- a fed baby or a dead baby? I sincere thank you to all of the pro-nursing moms who acknowledge that it's not your place to judge another mother and that yes, women can and do have real problem impacting their ability to nurse. The above poster cannot comprehend this fact.

[deleted account]

OK, I'll start. As you probably know, I'm passionate about breastfeeding. I don't think there's any argument about the nutritional value of breastmilk.

Most women can breastfeed - the global percentage of women globally who cannot breastfeed is miniscule - less than 5%. By this I mean those women who do not produce milk. That's purely physical. Other reasons include the mum being on medications that go through the breastmilk, family circumstances, some psychiatric and psychological conditions, lifestyle choices, and inadequate information and knowledge.

It's this last issue that I think is important. It's all very well to spout our "breast is best" motto, but until we (by "we" I mean mums who are pro-breastfeeding and want to help others to breastfeed successfull) can get inside the heads of mums who have insufficient knowledge we are going to be less than useless.

I know breastmilk is great stuff. But I also know, because I made it my business to find out BEFORE my babies were born, how the breastfeeding system works, the relationship between my baby's sucking and my supply and so on. It's that sort of information prospective mums need.Prospective mums also need information on the types of formula available. Only with all that information can they make an informed decision.

So, yes, I come down firmly and proudly on the breastfeeding side of this debate. But I WILL NOT judge anybody because I don't have the right and because I cannot enter into anyone else's head.I'm more than happy to listen, talk, provide information and useful links. I'm not particularly happy when somebody decides to give formula to their baby, but it's their decision, not mine. If anybody asks my opinion, I'll certainly try to talk them into breastfeeding, and I'm not ashamed of that, but the final decision is not mine.

Tori - posted on 01/10/2012

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People like to assume that formula is the same as breastmilk. It's not. Breastmilk has antibodies and other things that are mom-and-child specific and cannot be reproduced in a lab. Breastmilk substitutes have been around for thousands of years, but formula only became popular around the industrial revolution and women started getting jobs outside the home. Like many other practices, things that used to be done only as a necessity became widely accepted as the norm. Now, you have women who think that breastfeeding is "weird"!
We pay less and less attention to what goes into our children's (and our own) bodies, many of us don't even bother to read nutrition labels.

The simple fact is, formula is a poor substitute for breastmilk and should really only be used as a last resort. If I had been unable to breastfeed (and if I'd had trouble producing milk you can bet that I would have worked darn hard to fix the problem) I would have turned to formula, but I would not have been happy about it.

The strongest argument for breastmilk is how much it boosts baby's immune system with YOUR antibodies. Formula simply can't duplicate that.

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Jackie - posted on 02/10/2012

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I do believe also that it is every mothers choice, but when you have dye hard BF's that make a public display of proving they are doing the "Natural Thing"-that's when I become anti BF. I am really old school when it comes to BF and yes I think you should be covered. It is a natural thing of course, but dignity is also a natural thing that I think goes to the wayside. I was one of the unlucky ones who didn't have any milk, I felt extremely guilty that I could not feed my children, but formula proved to be just as good for my kids. They talk about bonding with your baby-well my husband was also able to "bond" with our kids while he fed them. I think instead of saying Breast is best-we can also thank the makers of formula as they provided the rest of us with a fantastic choice. My kids are both smart, and have grown normally-THANK-YOU FORMULA!!

Maree - posted on 01/10/2012

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Tori,you are giving them waaaaay too much credit. Do you really think that they assume it's the same as breast milk or that's just a convenient excuse???
Although you may just be onto something,until recently i didn't think people could be that ignorant,i thought they must have just been selfish but i could have been wrong.

Casie - posted on 01/03/2012

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I am a breastfeeding mom, and I'll admit, it sucked the first couple weeks. I was sore, my nipples were cracked, and my precious little girl would fall asleep when she was supposed to be eating. It was rough, with all of my pregnancy hormones playing a key role in my frustration. I stuck it out, found lanolin to be my best friend, and love the bond now. Thankfully, I had people telling me that it would suck and not sugar coating the truth, so I knew it would get better. I believe that some women give up so quickly because they are not given enough encouragement, or are given the 'through-rose-colored-glasses' description of breastfeeding. As a bfing mom, I try to inform, accurately, but not judge the decision other moms end up making.

Breastfeeding is a bit exhausting sometimes, because some people are mean and are judge-y when you bf in public. Other women give mean looks or make it awkward. I firmly believe that bf is best for our children , if I didn't, I certainly wouldn't do it, but I can understand why some women chose to formula feed.

The money issue is nice, however. It's nice that it's free. We're living off of one income now, since we've made the decision for me to be a stay-at-home mom, so it makes feeding my baby affordable. :)

I will say this, I do not respect women who have a hard time opening their minds and empathizing with women who tried their hardest to bf, but ended up failing. It is not our right to judge, in fact, we should be supporting them, offering advice so that they may be able to experience the bond we feel, and will chose to try bfing next time, if they choose to have more children.

Maree - posted on 12/30/2011

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I think it is a cop out saying...."you should at least try and if it doesn't work or the milk never comes in ..so be it"..

It is VERY uncommon for milk not to come in and i don't believe most women who say it happened to them.

As for it "just not working out"... I think there is a little bit of selfishness and me me me ism...going on there !!! Sorry but it's true.

People give up way too easily or make excuses for why bf-ing "didn't work" and i do believe that many times they are selfish reasons. I don't think the baby would choose second (actually 4th) rate food...If the mother chooses that for her baby without giving bf-ing a bloody good go first then i think she is wrong.

Women too often say that it is best for the mum to be happy,have her sanity,freedom...whatever. True,it's great to have that but when your baby is shoved in daycare all week cause you "need" adult time or given formula from birth cause bf-ing was painful or gross or your milk apparently didn't come in...well i think that is something that the mum should try to work through and think about why she feels that way and try fix it rather than automatically doing what will make her life easier rather than thinking more about what the child would want or the childs health.

Being a mother is about sacrifice...i'm not saying ff mums don't sacrifice but i think making that very first choice for your newborn should be taken very very seriously and it should be an educated choice....meaning that you don't get your info from your mum who will always tell you what you want to hear,or your neighbour who ff and her child "grew up just fine and is actually MUCH healthier than any other child on earth"

...it needs to be from a professional or by reading up on the many studies that have been done over the years about the benefits of bf-ing and the risks of ff-ing. If you still "choose" to ff or make excuses as to why you had to then once again i believe that is a cop out...I'm sick of hearing about how the studies are not true or are not done properly bla bla bla...come on,give me a break !!!!!! ... I wonder how many of these people actually believe what they are saying or if they are saying it out of guilt and to make themselves feel better for making a bad choice !!!!!

[deleted account]

Breastfeeding did not work out for me and it has been a pretty sore subject because I wish it had. Within a minute of trying to breastfeed for the first time, my nurse mentioned that my daughter was a "lazy eater". This was very discouraging! I was in the hospital for 3 days and every single nurse that I had gave me a different opinion on how to breastfeed. I hated it but continued to do it. I asked for help from a lactation specialist and they did not come in to help me until about an hour before I was discharged from the hospital. Once home, I cried every time I had to breastfeed. I look back now and think I may have been dealing with a mild case of PPD. For me switching to formula was the only option to keep me happy. My pregnancy and birth were amazing and the breastfeeding was the only negative thing for me. I pumped for as long as I could but I think that every women needs to make a decision based on what is best for them. My daughter had limited breast milk and mostly formula and she is doing wonderful. I would recommend that if you do choose to feed formula that you research your brand. Some have high fructose corn syrup as the first ingredient followed by sugar as the second. We chose Similac Organic. Milk is the first ingredient and it does not contain hfcs. I do agree that every women should at least try. How can you make a decision if you don't even know about both the options.

Lyssa - posted on 12/22/2011

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i think that every mom should at least try breastfeeding, but if it turns out that it's not for them or their milk never comes in then so be it, formula it is! it's certainly not going to hurt your baby, but i think most women who end up turning to formula after at least trying to breastfeed should be proud of themelves for trying!

[deleted account]

I would say breastfeeding but to be honest if someone wants to bottlefeed thats up to them its their choice. Anyway i was bottlefed and i turned out alright lol. Mmmm maybe that wasnt such a good example lol, they ought to use that instead of breast is best, breastfeed your baby or it will turn out like me pmsl.

Fiona - posted on 12/10/2010

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I totally understand @lauren...I tried to breastfeed with both my children, I managed 6 weeks with my first and about 11 with my second.
I loved the closeness of it initially BUT I could not handle the pain, now I know that this will mean that I wasn't doing it right...however I assure that I was doing everything that I should have...nipple to nose...I found it toe curling. I cried, I tried with shields etc etc. I found it hard and incredibly tiring. I lost an awful lot of blood during section and ended up with a hb level of below 4. I was asked if I wanted a transfusion but refused because my consultant during surgery advised me against it. The midwives wanted to do it. Anyho...the best thing I did was switch to bottle. I was able to share the load, I still had the closeness and I was not dreading the moment when I had to do the next feed!

Children will not grow up blaming parents that they didn;t breastfeed.

The most important thing that you can do for your baby is love it...breast or bottle...its whichever empowers you to feel that you are the best mother you can be. For ME that meant I BOTTLE fed.
:D

Lauren - posted on 12/03/2010

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It is absolutely up to each mother and what best suits the situation . I was really gung ho about BFing when I was preg , then after baby was born she had trouble latching and I had to wear one of those guards all the time to make sure my nip was suitable enough . It worked yes ... practical no , trying to put that thing on in public or discreetly was a nightmare . She got frustrated cause I was getting frustrated , she would knock off the shield... go wash it , re-attach.. start over .. and eventually I dread having to feed my own baby . Something not right there . I kept trucking until I got the mastitus , to me it was not worth it . After we started bottle feeding with formula her and I actually bonded more then I thought we ever could . I think everyone should consider BFing , but if it isn't for you don't make a big deal out of it , if the cons out weigh the pros then its not worth it in my eyes . Besides she got the clostrum and from what I have read/heard thats the gold lol

Emma Louise - posted on 09/07/2010

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i think it's every womans right to choose to breast feed or not and I wouldnt judge anyone either way. When I had my oldest child i was 17 and fully intended to try breast feeding, as during my pregnancy i'd read up on all the health benifits for the baby, I gave it a go for the first few days, but he didnt latch on properly and i ended up with sore and cracked nipples, when I asked my midwife for advice and help she was very abrupt with me and basically told be, if I cant do it right i should just give him a bottle instead!?,

I think her whole attitude regarding the help and advice offered was very very poor,and I think thats what put me off breast feeding my other 4 children that have since come along.
I reccon if thier was more help, advice and support around my area and probably other areas too, then alot more mums would choose breast feeding as the feeding method for their baby.

Rachel - posted on 07/03/2010

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Kathy is right. If someone is BFing, the baby is going to get any nutrition and the mom will be left with none of the good stuff if she's not eating right. Women in third world countries breastfeed (much longer than we do here in the US) and they aren't eating the balanced diets we are supposed to be eating. Eating a balanced diet is going to help the moms nutrition because the baby is going to be getting all the good stuff no matter what! Breast milk will always be the superior food. They can't duplicate some of the things in breast mild that makes it so unique. And really, how do we know exactly what is going into the formula??? I don't trust the formula makers. I was heart-broken when I had to stop nursing Kylee so early, and I'm glad formula was there when I needed it, but I still don't trust it.

[deleted account]

Brianna, regarding your question about nutrition - whoever misses out if the mum eats crap, it won't be the baby! Whatever the mum eats, the baby will get plenty of good quality breastmilk. Women have been breatfeeding for thousands of years, sometimes through famine, poverty etc.
The reason it's advised that breastfeeding mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet is so they remain healthy and able to cope with the demands of looking after a little baby.

Briana - posted on 06/26/2010

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Lol Rach that's Devilan's favorite thing...FREE :) I stopped BFing for three days because I thought I hated it....nope. I actually missed it. Now he won't even take a bottle. I think that might have to do with Devilan being gone because he didn't start that until he left for JRTC!

Anyways, I agree, it's a woman's choice. Although I do think every woman should try it. I don't knock them if they don't. It's their kid, not mine. But BFing is such a wonderful bonding experience!

Although, I do have to debate a little about the nutrition. Obviously BM is and always will be better than formula, but what about when a woman doesn't eat healthy? All that crap goes into her BM and into the kid. That's the only thing. If your not going to eat healthy, might as well just formula feed.

Rachel - posted on 06/25/2010

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I think it's purely a woman's choice. While I believe that breastfeeding is the best possible thing you can do for your baby and yourself financially and when it comes to health, I'd hate to see someone resent their baby because of it and I'd rather see those moms formula feed and not feel that resentment.



That said, I don't understand (but I do respect them) why people don't at least try breastfeeding, because you never know how you feel till you try it. It's FREE!!!! I think that's my hubby's favorite thing! I love that it's convenient, ready made, no bottles to wash, no formula to measure. The health benefits are incredible. Not only is my breastmilk taylor made for my baby, it changes as my baby changes to meet her needs. No formula does that. The taste changes slightly with what I eat, making her more accustomed to different flavors.

Breastfeeding helps fight certain cancers. The longer you breastfeed, the more your risks of breast cancer is reduced. Can't beat that! Formula doesn't do that.

I think It's every mom's choice, but I wish more people would give breastfeeding a try. I was hesitant with my first baby and almost didn't do it. I"m on my third, and I love every minute of it. Like the previous poster said, educating yourself is key. And then you have to educate others.

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