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Breastfeeding AND Bottlefeeding?

21 September 2010 19 Comments

I always knew that I wanted to nurse my baby. It just seemed like something natural to do. When I researched all the benefits breastfeeding has for babies AND Moms, it was pretty much a no-brainer for me. All the passive immunity, nutrients, and the rest of that good stuff just seemed like the only way to go for me.

When my daughter was born prematurely, the nurses, lactation consultants, and doctors encouraged me to give my little 980g preemie breast milk. Breast milk is good for babies, and even more so for preemies with some of them having reduced immune systems.

I had this idea in my head that my child would NEVER take a bottle. I did not want her to use a bottle, for fear that she would not nurse. This said, in the beginning of Little One’s time in the NICU, she was fed via NG tube. It wasn’t until only two weeks after she was born that I was able to start “kangaroo care” and attempt to nurse her. I’d pump every three hours and the expressed breast milk would be given to her via NG tube. It was hard for me to not be able to nurse my newborn right away.

Little One started rooting during kangaroo care and eventually I was able to nurse her. She nursed like a champion too.

There was a time during her NICU stay that she wasn’t gaining weight fast enough and there was concern that she wasn’t getting enough milk. The solution? Bottle feeding. I protested at first and cried A LOT, but in the end I decided that if we can make sure she was getting enough into her, that it didn’t matter. It was still breast milk she was getting. She was just getting it from the bottle. Plus, amongst the criteria for Little One to be discharged from the hospital were: A)She had to be able to breathe on her own, without the aid of the CPAP or extra oxygen, B)She had to be strong and healthy enough to leave, C)She had to be able to feed on her own (without the NG tube), which meant nursing or bottle feeding.

The questions I had were: Would she have nipple confusion? Could a baby who is bottle fed still nurse? Would she just end up preferring the bottle because it is easier for her?

To my surprise, we discovered (in our case, at least!) that a baby who takes a bottle can still nurse. In fact, she nursed so well! She was a little milk monster for someone who only weighed 2 lbs, 3 oz at birth. Sure, the bottle was easier for her and required less effort and energy for a tiny preemie, but Little One still wanted to nurse too.

Everyone always told me that “Breast is Best” and I knew I wanted to be able to nurse Little One. When I was told that I may have to start her on the bottle, it was hard for me. In the end, it worked out best for our baby and for our family. The bottle feeding came in handy when we were finally able to bring her home from the hospital and Hubby could take some night feedings. At first, I felt a bit guilty from friends telling me that their babies never had a bottle and they would never give their babies a bottle. I’ve learned that whatever works best for your family is what is right. I stopped feeling guilty for letting Hubby give Little One a bottle of breast milk at 2AM.

While Little One was in the NICU, the nurses who cared for Little One told me to go out and find a few different kinds of bottles and nipples to try on Little One. I used a couple of different ones and by trial and error, discovered that BornFree bottles and nipples were my favourites. I also used the BornFree sterilizer. I’m not just saying this because I’m on the BornFree Mom Panel! This was way before I got on board as a BornFree Mom! :)

The funny thing is that Little One self-weaned at 16 months and stopped taking a bottle before that. She went straight to sippy cup and is now in love with her BornFree Twist ‘n Pop Straw Cup.

Christine is a blogger and member of the BornFree Mom Panel.

What are your thoughts regarding breast vs. bottle? One person who comments will win a Twin Pack of Eco-Friendly bottles! If the winner is also a Facebook Fan, he or she will win a Breast Pump Adaptor!

Good luck. :)
The winner is Charlene with the email address: charl*********@hotmail.com


  • Miriam said:

    I did breastfeed with both my children but also pumped so that I could go out and run errands and occasionally get a hair cut lol!! I only found that Born Free bottles worked best for both to become accostomed to!

  • Clare said:

    Wow Christine, we have almost identical stories! I was so resistant to allow my daughter to feed from a bottle. Like you, I was terrified she would not nurse if she did so. Luckily, she was a good feeder and didn’t mind if it was from bottle or breast. Ultimately, I don’t think is matters if baby nurses or eats from a bottle, as long as it is breastmilk!

  • Clare said:

    I’m a FB fan! ;)

  • Leslie said:

    I haven’t had my baby yet (I’m due in two days), but I’m already considering a breast pump and bottle feeding as an option, once breast feeding is well-established, or if, like Christine, necessity requires it. I am attracted to the idea of flexibility that pumping and bottle feeding offers for times when breast feeding isn’t possible.

  • Chrissy said:

    Clare, I’d love to exchange stories with you! You can find me at http://www.lifeonmanitoulin.blogspot.com or http://www.lifeonmanitoulinreviews.blogspot.com :)

  • Chrissy said:

    Leslie: So true! If necessity requires it, then whatever works best. I nursed Little One until she was 16 months. She had the occasional bottle of breast milk. I pumped like a fiend (every few hours!) and stored/froze the breast milk for later use. Hubby even learned how to thaw and warm up the milk and feed it to Little One in a bottle. It was actually very sweet to see them have that bonding time.

  • Nicole said:

    I am breastfeeding my third baby…and like everyone here, didn’t want to bottle feed. My first was a real challenge to breastfeed…we overcame those obstacles and we had a great time until he weaned at 15 or 16 mos. During that time, I didn’t want to introduce a bottle as I was trying so hard to strictly breastfeed. Why…I don’t know!!! So, one day, I realized I wanted to go out for an evening…mind you this didn’t happen until he was well over 6 mos. I had plenty of frozen milk in the freezer…which all ended up down the kitchen sink…as he refused to take a bottle. He would rather have had nothing than that bottle. Yes…he was stubborn as a…well, as me! (Funny thing though…he would steal his cousins bottle whenever we were together and try to suck it back…little turkey…but wouldn’t take one any other time!!!!)
    So, baby #2 comes along, and pretty much the same story as above. Except, with two kids under two, it wasn’t really a matter of trying to get her to take a bottle…I never really did as who was I kidding…I wasn’t going anywhere!!! So, when I did try, I would imagine she was closer to a year, and realized again, that I needed a night out, she wouldn’t have anything to do with it. And try we did.
    So…baby #3 comes along…and I have to admit…I haven’t tried because of baby #1 and 2! And again…I really have nowhere to go!!! (That’s a whole other sad little story!!!)
    Until…this past weekend. I wanted to go out of town for a few hours, to shop, with a girlfriend. No kids. I really needed a break. And, my baby is 8 mos now, and has been breastfed this whole time, and just recently started solids. So…this time I don’t even have a bottle in the house. I mean really, why bother!?! I rush over to the store, and buy my first ever Born Free bottle. Just a single one though. It was quite the investment for something that I though would go nowhere! A couple of hours later…I call home. To check in. And you’ll never believe it…baby #3 took the bottle. Not only did he take the bottle…he loved the bottle. (yes, I must admit, I felt like I was now somewhat “replaceable”, but that feeling only lasted a fleeting second…because for the first time in a long time I also felt free!!!)
    I think he loved it so much he could hold it all by himself. He is my independent one.
    Here’s to more shopping trips out of town!

  • Amanda O said:

    I am a mommy of 5 and still breastfeeding a 3 and a half year old and a newborn. my newborn daughter hated the Playtex bottles. so I went and bought born free bottles and she loves them. she will not take any other bottle. plus i like how they reduce the amount of air that baby gulps. But like Christine said breastfeeding is the best and i totally agree.

  • C's Husband said:

    I’m proud of you Hon. Our Little One is doing so well because of you.

  • Val H said:

    I breastfeed my newborn and breastfed my toddler. I’m trying my newborn on the bottle now as I am going back to work in October. I have tried a few kinds of bottles but none seem to work well. She gags on the nipple. I would love to try Born Free but where we live, nowhere carries the Born Free brand.

  • Kristi Kocherkewych said:

    Beautiful story!! My son Lucas is 10 months old and I’ve been breastfeeding since day 1; I was pretty luck that he learned latch on pretty fast and breastfeeding came easy, most days!! There were some days I felt like I was carrying around watermelons for breasts as they would fill up so fast and nights I would wake up the same way but also with leaking breasts!! Oh, how mommyhood can make you laugh!! I love breastfeeding for all the healthy benefits he gives Lucas but also for the moments we got/get to spend together quietly; I love looking down at Lucas either suckling away or fast asleep in my arms after a good meal!! But, I also wanted my husband to enjoy feeding Lucas and creating his own bond with him (plus, it made nighttime or early morning feeding easier for me if there were bottles of breastmilk in the fridge for my husband to use and then I could get a few hours extra of sleep…yay!!!). So, I used the BornFree bottles since day 1 and Lucas had no confusion when it came to switching from breast to bottle to breast again. He occasionally gets a bottle but not as much since my breastfeeding isn’t as frequent each day as it used to be so I don’t get as much pumped as in the beginning but I try to for times when I’m not going to be home for a while. Plus, Lucas has milk and egg allergies so when the time comes to switch to a milk we were told to give him soy milk or soy formula but I figured if he and I are still doing well with breastfeeding then I’d keep that up for longer.

  • Charlene said:

    I have three children aged 16 months to 7 years. I was so against the bottle too when I had my first. I breastfed her and we both loved the experience of that. The only issue we had was when it came to her being babysat – she was miserable. She would cry and cry and cry until eventually, I would get the call from the sitter (one of my sisters or my mother-in-law) that they needed me to come home. Needless to say, I barely ever left her side for close to a year. When my second came along, I wanted her to at least “try” the bottle a little, just so that she would be okay to use it IF needed. She still didn’t get it much though. When my son was born, I knew that he would get both bottle and breast so that I could most definitely have a break when needed. But we struggled with nursing for the first three weeks. It was excruciatingly painful but I was determined. His ‘lazy latch’ meant dealing with pumps, cracked and bleeding nipples, nipple shields, lactation consultant visits and lots and lots of crying, by both of us. He took the bottle and eventually the breast like a dream. It only took me 3 children to learn that what was best for me was to include both bottle and breast, so that I could have time away from my children for awhile. And Mama time is so very important. I stopped nursing almost 2 months ago, when my son was 14 months and I loved every minute of it. After the first 3 weeks. :-)

  • Minna said:

    The first and second day old son of mine was breastfed and when my C-section complication took a turn for the worse I decided to bottle fed my son. We bottle fed him exclusively until I was better. Breastfeeding my son these days hasn’t been easy because I didn’t pump while I was bottle feeding him so I was losing my milk. So I have been doing both-breast and bottle feeding him!

  • Melanie Rumley said:

    I think that as long as your baby is getting breastmilk (from mom OR from a bottle), it is breastfeeding!!! Kudos to those moms to have issues and still commit to pumping and bottle feeding – it’s a lot of work!

  • Jenn said:

    i did breastfeed all three of my girls, my youngest was the best one out of the three at it. When my first daughter was born they put her on the bottle right after she was born as i couldnt nurse due to being high risk, so she didnt ever really want to nurse after that. In a situation where you have a c-section with complications, sometimes you have to go to bottle, all that matters is they are getting everything they need and are happy and healthy!

  • Cassandra said:

    I breast feed, pump and use formula. When my son was born i wasn’t producing enough breast milk so they gave him top off of formula. About 30 mls every 3 hours. So now once in a while he still looks for more food after nurcing. So i now pump and use that as top off. my son is now 6 weeks and doing well. I plan to breast feed until he is 6 month.

  • Lisa said:

    I’m nursing my 3rd son as I did for my first two. I’ve had a hard time finding a bottle that my little guy would take for times when I pump my milk. I tried the BornFree pacifiers and he then I bought a bottle and these are the only ones he will take. There has been no nipple confusion and he doesn’t seem as gassy as he does with other brands. I’m hoping to breastfeed for as long as possible as it’s so much easier for middle of the night feedings as well as the close bond I’m creating with my little man! :)

  • Leslie said:

    What a great article. I have done and tried both. I really wanted to breastfeed with my first. Not knowing how trying it can be. I thought it would be a natural thing. I ended up exclusively pumping. I found it really hard to just bottle feed. I was so hard on myself when I couldn’t breastfeed.

    I find it is totally up to the individual. Both are fine in my eyes. I feel as long as baby is happy and healthy and eating then that is all that matters :)

    I find too many people that is all they ask right away, Are you breastfeeding? But it can be a very trying thing to accomplish and not everyone can. I can say I have enjoyed both, and my 3 girls are all healthy and happy :)

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