Bottlefeeding vs. Breastfeeding

Jodi - posted on 05/26/2010 ( 38 moms have responded )

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No, not your typical debate. I am the first to concede that breast is best, but like many, had my reasons for needing to switch my kids to bottles before they were 6 months.



My question is this:



We so STRONGLY encourage breastfeeding, and in fact many totally defend extended breastfeeding into toddlerdom (which I thoroughly support to a point). it is all about self-led weaning, and not taking away something that is a comfort (and I did read the debate in another forum about it believing it to be about comfort and security, etc beyond 12 months).



And yet, on the other hand, if your child is bottle fed, you should cut them off at 1 year, and make them drink it from a sippy cup. You don't want them getting attached. No, they may NOT self wean, you are the parent, etc.



So WHAT is the difference? I know some people freak out at a 3 year old breastfeeding, personally I don't get that either. But it seemes EVERYONE freaks out at a 3 year old bottle feeding. Who SAYS that mother and child don't receive the same satisfaction from continuing to bottle feed. It is not for nutritious reasons that anyone continues EITHER breastfeeding or bottlefeeding.



So I guess, my real question is, do you support extended breastfeeding? And do you have a problem with a 3 year old still having a bottle? If you answer is yes to both, why the hypocrisy?



Edited to Add: Apologies for the typos :) Myfingers seem to be non-functioning today...

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[deleted account]

I thoroughly support extended breastfeeding for the nutrition, health and comfort benefits and do not place a time limit on how long I think this is 'ok' as long as extended breastfeeding does not interfere with child development. I only have a problem with extended bottlefeeding if it is in any way hindering a child's development. If at 3 years old a child cannot or will not drink from a cup because they get a bottle (or a breast) instead, then I think the parent is restricting the child's learning. If the child is able to drink from a cup, has no problems with speech, tooth and gum development or decay and has the occasional bottle feed for comfort, I could not care less and am actually glad that the parents are doing what they can to provide that child with appropriate comfort measures.



There are many benefits to breast over bottle especially past a certain age, I am not one to think that extended breastfeeding is solely for comfort. But that topic has been exhausted on many other threads. If a parent is doing what they can to help their child develop appropriately and provides them with love, comfort, health and nutrition, I have no problem with their choices regarding weaning from breast or bottle whenever they feel ready.

Sara - posted on 05/27/2010

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Well, I'll be honest and say that my mother breast fed me until I was 4. I have memories of it. I am not a lesbian, I don't have issues with sex and I'm a well-adjusted person. But, I have been given grief my entire life from my siblings and other people who find out about it, and I'll admit that's hurtful. If I had breastfed my daughter, I think that I would have not chosen to breastfeed her much past the age of 2 or so. I did bottlefeed and I still allow my daughter to have a bottle after her bath at night. My reasoning was if I were still breastfeeding, I would be bfing her at that time still, to help her relax, so why not? I don't think that children, breast or bottle fed should after a a certain age, only be drinking from the breast or bottle. But feeding them that way as a comfort in the evenings, I see no problem with.



And for the record, I have some serious doubts about the idea that breastmilk does not cause the same amount of tooth decay as cows milk. As I said before, I was breastfed until 4 and I would often fall asleep nursing. When I was three I had to get all of my baby teeth capped because the breastmilk had eaten away the enamel on my teeth. So, my experience is a direct contradiction to the argument that breastmilk is not only some magic elixer that will make your baby smarter and cancer free for life, but apparently also doesn't cause tooth decay. Sorry, I don't buy it.

[deleted account]

Sara, I hear you about the tooth decay. The difference with breastfeeding is that the child must suck to keep the milk coming from your breast. She can't suck if she's asleep.
With bottles, the milk can keep dribbling from the teat even when there is no sucking going on, so milk can pool in the mouth.

Dana - posted on 05/28/2010

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I agree with Carol and if you notice she's not talking about going to bed with it at night, she's talking about kids walking around all day with a bottle in their mouth.

It's also not just about tooth decay either, the shape of a nipple from a bottle or a pacifier isn't good for tooth and gum development.

Johnny - posted on 05/26/2010

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I support extended breastfeeding & I am opposed to bottle feeding past one year. It is not about hypocrisy, it is about tooth decay. It's one thing if a kid is getting a "bedtime bottle" once a day and then gets their teeth brushed, but when they are wandering around with a bottle stuck in their mouth all day and going to sleep with it at night, it is a serious dental health risk. Our local Children's Hospital day surgery unit spends 48% of their time performing preventable tooth decay surgery. There is no proof, in fact there is strong research to suggest, that breastfeeding does not result in the same dental carries and tooth decay issues.

http://www.brianpalmerdds.com/bfeed_cari...

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[deleted account]

WOW! I just went back and read the entire thread and I'm kinda surprised that most everyone agrees....kinda cool!

[deleted account]

Bottle or breast, doesn't matter....I believe in letting a child self wean.....my daughter self weaned from the breast around 6 months when her first tooth popped up.....I continued to pump and she had my milk via. bottle until about 11 months when I admittedly gave up pumping and she carried on with the bottles past a year....granted it was only her nightime bottle that she wanted.....the rest during the day she used a sippy cup from about 13 months on. The only one SHE kept was the one before bed and she gave that up on her own also right around 17 months....



Do I support extended breastfeeding? Sure, why not....to each their own. I can't say how long I would have breastfed Roxanne for because we didn't make it that far.



Do I have a problem with a 3 year old having a bottle? In the confines of their own home....NOPE, do whatcha like! Out in public?...kinda strange but I wouldn't care....doesn't affect me!

Jodi - posted on 05/29/2010

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Oh, ok then!!! I honestly haven't paid attention to who does it (whether bottle feeding or breastfeeding), I just see it happening all the time and think it is bullshit, whoever does it :P

Dana - posted on 05/29/2010

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No, Jodi you didn't point fingers...I did. I was speaking from personal experience. Most breastfeeding mother's I know wouldn't have something nasty to say about it because we all know how annoying it is to have people's opinions shoved down our throats.

Sarah - posted on 05/29/2010

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That's exactly what i was trying to say Cathy, you just said it all a lot better!
My youngest is 2 and she still has a bottle before bed, i figure the milk is good for her, and she won'r drink it out of anything else (though i have tried!), at the end of the day, i think the benefits of her having it, outweigh the fact that maybe she's a little old for a bottle! :)

Sarah - posted on 05/29/2010

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Jodi, that's what i said in my earlier post, there is a double standard on this issue.
People are FAR more supportive of women who choose to breastfeed past the age of 2, than of women who are still bottlefeeding past the age of 2.

Jodi - posted on 05/28/2010

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Dana, I didn't actually point fingers at whether it was bottle feeding mothers or breast feeding mothers who bitched about it. I just wondered why give mothers a hard time about it at all.

I guess I see threads where people are asking how to get a 3 year old give up a bottle, and rather than giving advice, I see people saying "well you should never let a child bottle feed this long anyway" and "you should have stopped it when he was 12 months" etc. But if someone says that to a breastfeeding mother everyone jumps down their throats.

Dana - posted on 05/28/2010

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I actually don't know of anyone who has a problem with that. The only people I've ever heard bitch about bottle feeding after a year are other bottle feeding moms.

Jodi - posted on 05/28/2010

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Dana, I am not referring to feeding them to sleep, I am referring to a bedtime ritual which is different. For instance, a part of Taylah's bedtime ritual at 3 was to have a bath m then have a bottle while snuggled up to either myself or my husband for a little special one on one time, before cleaning her teeth and heading off to bed. It was always a part of her comfort in heading off to bed. Which is why we didn't remove it from her at a young age, because it was her comfort for a good night's sleep.

Dana - posted on 05/28/2010

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I think it's bad for any mother, whether it's bottle fed or breastfed to feed a child to sleep at the age of one. It's bad for their teeth and bad for the child not to learn to go to bed on their own.

Jodi - posted on 05/28/2010

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I actually agree 100% that a child shouldn't be walking around with a bottle all day. I guess I was trying to say that a lot of bottle-fed kids still like their night time bottle (before bed) because it is part of the bed time ritual. When it is part of a comforting ritual for the child, it can be very difficult to give it up, just as many who are into child led weaning wouldn't force their child to totally give up the breast at this age if they were feeding for comfort. But people are very quick to jump on a mother for continuing to give in to her bottle feeding child's comforts, but not a breast-feeding child's one.

Hannah - posted on 05/28/2010

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I don't care what anyone else chooses to do. I bottle fed both of my children and my son was off the bottle at around 18 months. from about 12-18 months he only had his bottle at night. My daughter still has her bottles (only about 3 8oz) every day. I plan to do the same with her as I did with my son. Sometimes my son will ask for his baba at night and we tell him no, that he is a big boy now and big boys dont drink babas. He still has his binkers that he uses quite often but I don't mind at all. It keeps him quiet in the restaurant, at the store and at home! :)

?? - posted on 05/28/2010

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We should put the same restrictions on men too ! No bottle all day long and no boobs all day long... oh how the world would be a more productive place !! HAHA

I joke. Just in case that wasn't clear :p

Sara - posted on 05/28/2010

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I would have to say I agree with you, Jocelyn. There's no need for a baby to walk around with a bottle all day long, or a boob all day long either!

Jocelyn - posted on 05/27/2010

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I support extended breastfeeding and I don't support extended bottle feeding. My reasoning is this (based on my own experience) by about one year of age my son was down to just a couple feeds a day and was down to one feed at night by the time he was 16 months (I bfed until he was 21 months) What I have seen (based on my friends bottle fed babies) is that they have a bottle way more often they my son had a breast. One bottle at night is fine, but walking around with a bottle all day is just ridiculous (just as walking around with a boob all day would be ridiculous) My son was using a sippy cup for everything except his once a night feed. My friends kids were using bottles for every single drink they had. That is what I don't get and what I don't support.

Krista - posted on 05/27/2010

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Exactly, Sara. I doubt that tooth decay is caused by formula vs. breastmilk, or by bottle vs. sippy cup. Basically, it's caused by the liquid being allowed to pool in the child's mouth and just sit there without being swallowed, which is what results if a child falls asleep at the breast, or with a bottle in her mouth.

Sara - posted on 05/27/2010

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Well, no child should be put to bed with a bottle full of something. I think when most moms on here say they still give their child a bottle, it's not in bed...I personally think that putting a child to bed with any substance in their mouths, breast milk as well, is bad for their teeth.

Becky - posted on 05/27/2010

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Breastfeeding does actually have benefits beyond just comfort beyond a year. It continues to provide a lot of nutrients that children need, and continues to help strengthen their immunity.
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/eb...
I realize Kellymom is a very pro-breastfeeding site, but I'm sure at least most of her information is accurate!
Personally, I wouldn't nurse past 2. I doubt I'll even make it that long with this one, since I plan to have another and I'm not into the tandem nursing thing. But it's not that I don't feel there aren't benefits beyond that time - it's mostly selfish, I think i'll want my body back by then!
As for extended bottle feeding, I don't necessarily think that you need to wean a child off the bottle right at 12 months, but I'll admit, I do kind of cringe when I see a 3 year old still drinking from a bottle. The main reason is the tooth decay issue. Plus, I'm not sure why a sippy cup couldn't be a comfort object as well. When I weaned my oldest son from the breast at 14 months, his sippy became his comfort object (and his paci, which he kept until he was about 19 months). He still cuddles the sippy (with only water in it) at night sometimes!

Rosie - posted on 05/27/2010

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i bottlefed, but if i did breastfeed i don''t feel breastfeeding after age 1 is necessary for us. i don't get why other people do it, but i now know and understand alot more (thanks COM!!). i just feel at age one i want my kids enter into a different stage of life, and i feel they don't need a bottle, or pacifier, or anything like that anymore. so just as i don't feel my kids need a bottle i don't feel they need a breast after 1 either. so yeah, none of those for us at age 3.

ME - posted on 05/27/2010

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Miles is 25 months and still has a bottle of Milk before bed. I'm not sure how much longer I will allow him to have it. I had planned on stopping at 2yrs, but his baby sister's arrival 2 weeks after his second birthday caused a bit of regression. I have no problem with extended breastfeeding up to a point. 3-4 years being the upper limit. I will bf Mayah until she is two if she wants it, and then begin weaning her...

Caitlin - posted on 05/27/2010

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My daughter is 18 months old and still bottlefeeds because she refuses her formula from a cup/sippy and she still needs it for nutritional reasons. I think the issue with extended bottlefeeding is that at that age, the child no longer drinks it in mothers arms and could easily have their milk form a cup, but i've seent hat is wronge, because my daughter refuses. I get strange looks when I give my daughter her bottle and I do have issues with it, because most kids are attached to a blankie or a stuffed animal, but my daughter walks around cradling her bottle, and I feel liek a horrible mom making her laeve it at home, i'm working on transfering her comfort onto another object, which is hard...

Krista - posted on 05/27/2010

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Carol, I agree with you that kids shouldn't be going to bed with a bottle, but I don't think that's what Jodi was talking about. I think she was just talking about using a bottle instead of a sippy cup past the age of 1 year old.

I have no issue with extended BF, although like many others, I do think that once the child is old enough to know how to unhook your bra, it might be time to wean.

For bottle feeding, I don't see the harm in the occasional bottle. As long as they know how to drink from a cup and can do so, then why not let them have the comfort of a bottle before bed? Before putting Sam to bed, I rock him in a rocking chair, cuddle him, and give him his last bottle of the night. It's so nice to have him all curled up on my lap, contentedly sucking on his bottle while he plays with my hair. I see no reason why I should just arbitrarily stop doing that when he hits a year old, considering that he's perfectly capable of drinking from a cup and does so quite happily at meals.

Sarah - posted on 05/27/2010

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My eldest had a bottle until she 3, only before bed and she brushed her teeth afterwards and all that.
I do think there's a double standard on this issue at times.
Loads of threads are started on here about "how to wean off the bottle" and people storm in guns a blazing, saying that you should just take it away etc etc.
Loads of threads are also started about extended breastfeeding, and the tone (for the most part) will be supportive, and "why take away their comfort" etc, etc.

I basically couldn't care less either with extended breastfeeding or bottle feeding. You do what you think is right. As a general rule, i think school age should be the time for weaning these things, but, every case is different.

Charlie - posted on 05/27/2010

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I support extended BF to an extent , but my personal reasons for swapping coop to a sippy cup before a year was mainly the tooth decay issue , he is 18 months and now uses glasses to drink , he was out of his cot and into a bed at 12 months , cooper transitioned with ease and in most cases on his own , he still has a dummy but he is weaning off it .

I dont think a child should be pushed to do something that they are not ready for or uncomfortable with but there is a time and age when , if they haven't moved to more age appropriate things , it may be time for a little push from the parents .

All in all , a breastfeeding 3 year old and a bottle feeding 3 year old both seem a little inappropriate for their age , in my opinion .

[deleted account]

Extended bottle feeding is fine providing it's only milk in the bottle. I hate seeing toddlers with juice and all kinds of other gross looking concoctions in a bottle, it's so bad for their teeth. I know a couple of little kids who have bottle rot and it's so gross.



Extended breastfeeding is also fine providing the child excepts that feeds are available at the mothers convenience. The idea of expecting mom to drop everything and get her boob out just because the child wants it doesn't sit well with me when they're old enough to understand the concept of waiting for the right time and place.

Shelley - posted on 05/26/2010

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For me and mine i don't like breastfeeding beyond about 15 months that gives you 3 months to wean after their first birthday and from 15 month's its cows milk in a sippy cup. I also don't like a dummy after 6 months. i also expect them to go to a real bed at 15 months, take their plate to the sink, put their dirty clothes in the basket, and their shoes away

Marabeth - posted on 05/26/2010

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i support extended breastfeeding to the point of child-led weaning, whatever age they may be when they decide to slow/stop is fine. and i also don't think there's anything wrong with a three year old still having a bottle. it's probably not a good idea to fall asleep with formula pooling in their mouth but aside from that it makes sense. suckling is relaxing to babies/toddlers/young children. some kids suck their thumbs until middle school, ya know? every family is different and has different ways of operating and every child is hardwired with a desire to grow up. when and how that desire blossoms is different in every child.

Joanna - posted on 05/26/2010

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My daughter is almost 3 and still uses pacifiers (to fall asleep only), and drank from a bottle until she was almost 2. They were her only comfort objects, she never had a lovey, blankie, favorite toy, etc. But It seems like everyone but me is in a rush to get her to drop her pacifiers (as they were to get her to drop the bottle). I never understood wanting to remove a child's comfort object so absolutely from their life, especially at such a young age.

But I feel like once a child is ready for preschool, they should also be ready to leave those "objects" behind (loveys, boobs, pacifiers, bottles, etc), they are capable to self soothing.

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