Now that I have tried both, here’s my 2cents.
When I first had Arielle, my firstborn, my ideal plan to breastfeed her was shattered. Not only because she was admitted immediately after birth to NICU due to her having congenital pneumonia, I had a traumatic birth experience and my wounds were too painful for me to make frequent visits to the hospital. We got the wrong kind of breastpump (the one that looks like an old horn; Don’t Ever Get That!!) and the nurses in the hospital fed her with the bottle. When she got back home to us after 10days, she has gotten used to the bottle and didn’t want to latch on no matter how we tried. And believe me, how we really tried; just thinking about it now makes me wanna crack up with laughter!! (even though it was really serious matter then).
So, what to do… formula it is then for my dear firstborn and formula till she was 2 years old. We didn’t have much money then, and if you’re a parent, you will know that formulas can cost a FORTUNE! So we bought Dumex brand (they have a few in range) and we got the one closest to our monthly budget. I’m not sure if it’s due to the milk or the weather or because she has a history of pneumonia, but our dear girl got sick nearly every month. I don’t mean just the common flu; most times she’s on antibiotics and a few times she has to go on the ‘gas’ to clear her lungs.
With Bottle Feeding (BoF), we had to have hot water AND boiled water everywhere we went. Thus, we carried a big bag that contained one thermos flask of hot water, a Tupperware bottle for the boiled water, 2 empty milk bottles and a cannister for the formula with the exact measurement. This we lug to the malls, the playground, the church, etc EVERYWHERE and it prolly weighed like a tonne what with all the water we have to carry.
The biggest problem ever we faced for BoF, was when we travel. I’m not talking about travelling within Malaysia itself, because most sundry shops/hypermarkets/supermarkets carry all types of formula milk. Think further…
What happens if you run out of formula milk when you’re in an 18hr flight?
What happens when the milk you used to give your baby, is not sold at the place of destination that you travel to?
What happens if the water in the hot water flask has turned cold? How are you going to make the milk?
These are some of the things we had to consider every time we go out of the house. And because I was careless, we ran out of milk once – not in a flight but when we went travelling once (by car); it was a public holiday and everything was closed! We had to hunt for the only shop that was open in a totally strange and new place to get formula milk, it was strenuous and crazy. don’t even mention to me about GPS; it was one of the reasons we got crazy as well.
So, when Ashton came along 10months ago (btw, I’m still BrF him, woohoo!), I tried again to BrF and let me tell you… it wasn’t without a lot of tears and self-doubt and frustration. those 4weeks after his birth was one of the biggest trials in my life! At first it was a matter of latching on correctly so that he gets the right amount of milk and I don’t get sore, then it was trying to gauge how often he wants to feed and for how long. And then there was also the ultimate Question of all: Do I have milk??
He was crying and frustrated and so was I. Because I was new with BrF, I don’t know when it is time for him to feed after the last one, but when I waited till he got hungry, he was so impatient that he’s forgotten how to latch on. And because he’s not getting milk, he’d cry and cry and I would fumble and get distressed. This cycle went on for what seems like an eternity! One of the random ways I did to help him latch on was to make some formula milk in a cup and spoon him the milk, which I converted to using a syringe later on. This at least helps to calm him down because he’s drinking something. I could take the easy way and just shove the bottle in his mouth, but I didn’t want to risk him getting nipple confused. The other thing was not to wait until he was hungry, so I timed his feedings 2 hourly.
I’d say the biggest inconvenience of BrF would be nursing in public. But now that I have the nursing poncho, I do it everywhere I go whenever the need arises. 🙂 I got mine from here.
Compared to BoF, I only had to be mindful to bring the poncho in my bag whenever I go out. Of course there are also the diapers and wet wipes, but at least they’re not as heavy and bulky.
I relate BrF to the 3 P’s.
Patience – because it takes a longer time to feed the baby as compared to BoF.
Perseverance – when it gets tough like the first few weeks after birth, it’s easy to give in to BoF.
Pain – now that Ashton’s got teeth, it’s OUCH!! but most times, it’s my arms. 🙂
So which do I prefer? Needless to say, it’s Breastfeeding!! I’ve witnessed myself the benefits of it. How now can I not advocate it? For those of you mothers-to-be or a new mother… let me just encourage you. BrF is the best for baby and for you!