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Breastfeeding vs Pumped vs Formula

Hi all, sorry in advance for the controversial topic...

I'm a FTM, almost 25 weeks pregnant and we have started the debate in what to feed baby when he arrives. I’ve of course heard breast is best, I’ve read about all the health benefits for baby and me, and I don’t think that’s easy to ignore. I’ve also read how hard it can be, at a time that is already pretty damn tricky!

im not against formula, I believe everyone has a right to choose what’s best for them. I was formula fed, most people I know exclusively formula feed too, so I know it’s completely fine for baby.

I’m currently considering expressing breast milk, to feed to baby in a bottle, mainly because my biggest fears are about knowing how much he is eating and having a terrible time of breastfeeding when thanks to Corona, there is little face to face support available. It will also help hubby bond with baby as he can feed too, but baby gets the benefit of breast milk. 

What is everyone else thinking? Does anyone have any experience they can share?


  • I didn't get much of a choice as my baby arrived very early so was unable to breastfeed. I either had to pump or formula feed.

    Based on my experience I would not plan to exclusively pump and feed breast milk in bottles. It literally doubles your workload. You still have to express every feed time, plus sterilise your pump equipment, store the milk and clean any bottles/storage containers. That's on top of the time it takes to actually do the feed etc. I think I worked out that I was pumping 8*20-30minutes per day in the early days. That's 2hr40min-4hours a day that I could've been asleep, and doesn't take into account the extra cleaning I mentioned. 

    I would only ever plan to pump as a last resort or occasionally after a breast feed if I didn't feel that the baby was emptying them correctly. 

    If I were you then, based on what you've said, I would plan to breast feed, and if that doesn't work then either top up with formula or switch to formula completely. I'm currently pregnant with my second baby and that is my plan for this one. However if they do arrive early I will pump until I can try them on me. If they don't take to breastfeeding once they're old enough then I'll probably call it quits much sooner than I did with my first baby. 

    If you're worried about the baby getting enough then I recommend buying a set of scales like the ones the health visitor will use. Then you can weigh your baby every few days to keep an eye on whether they're gaining or losing. 

    I would also recommend finding a local lactation consultant or breast feeding group and join it ASAP. There's a relatively short window for establishing breastfeeding so it's best to line up your support before the baby is born. 

    Good luck ☺️
  • Thanks so much for sharing, I feel like it’s a complete minefield!

    I guess I didn’t take into account the extra cleaning and basically doubling the work. I have looked into lactation consultants but need to find out what the process is for support right now, as obviously with Covid, I don’t know how much is being done in person, and whether the same observations can be made via zoom. 

    I just don’t want to struggle for weeks and weeks and make things any more difficult for myself then they have to be! Good luck, I hope BF works out with baby on way! 
  • Curiosity101Curiosity101 Regular
    edited Jan 17, 2021 1:52PM
    You're welcome. Like I said I didn't have much of a choice in the end but I'd been planning to pump anyway "So my husband can help out with feeds". It didn't occur to me at the time that this actually just meant we both had to spend time sorting feeds out as well as additional cleaning stuff. 🙈🙉 It seemed like such a good plan at the time but if you're breastfeeding you can't just skip a feed otherwise you risk things like mastitis. 

    Yes, I've no idea what the situation is either. Tbh I don't think you need someone in person, it could probably be done remotely. Although obviously would be easier to assess issues like whether the baby has a good latch if it was in person. I think mostly it'll be useful to hear what the common issues are so you can be ready to spot them quickly. Things like tongue ties, what a good latch looks like, different breast feeding positions etc. 

    Thanks, I have everything crossed that this little one stays put. Only 5+6 today though, so a very long way to go yet. 
  • Yeh one thing I’m anxious about is everything being on me all the time, and I definitely hadn’t considered the extra time for both of us. Also reading online you only seem to get two scenarios - super easy, don’t know why all the fuss is about or super difficult, lots of issues. There doesn’t seem to be many accounts of anywhere in between, which certainly isn’t helping the anxiety around it.

    I will contact a few consultants and see what the situation is and how easy things are to assess over a video call. If there is plenty of support still available it reassures me a bit!

    ah congratulations! Still early days for you at the moment... I say that but my time has flown by, I actually can’t believe it!
  • If you do end up breast feeding then it's true that all the feeding responsibilities fall to you. But you can still share the other duties.

    For example for a night feed your partner could get up and change the baby. Then pass them to you for feeding. Then take them back for winding and settling down to sleep. It's not ideal but it means you'll only have slightly disturbed sleep. Also once you're established with breastfeeding you can consider removing night feeds in place of formula if you'd prefer and it shouldn't cause any issues with day time production. 

    Like I mentioned you wouldn't be able to just cut out the night feed in one go. But it's doable. 
  • Thanks you e been super helpful! I’m going to have a look into some breast feeding classes and speak to a consultant too about support around the time of birth. 
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