For older kids' moms who breastfed....

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2002
For older kids' moms who breastfed....
73
Sat, 02-02-2013 - 8:49pm

How do you know now (if you're finished breastfeeding your children) that it made a difference?  Formula feeding is much easier, make a bottle, be on-the-go without stopping while out and about, maybe an infant who slept longer.  Would your older children (no longer breastfed) be different if you had formula fed? 

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Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Sun, 02-03-2013 - 10:51am

Wow - what a great question! I really hope everyone will chime in with their thoughts!

For me, it is a loaded question, as my boys had extreme allergies - and I did have the comparision of a formula fed child vs. breastfed. Of course, you can never truly know how it would be different, but...

My first child was formula-fed after 3 weeks of combo-feeding -and in those days, eating solid food by 1 month old. He was constantly ill, hospitalized by 6 weeks - and off all food and formula by 6 months old, due to extreme reactions, including severe diarrhea. He lived on sugar water for 3 months. The doctor said he would not live to be one year old, and when he did, my doctor said he must have lived on love! He is 38y old now.

So I decided I had no choice but to breastfeed any future children. The next child had his issues with allergies, but never as extreme as my first - I think it was because he was breastfed - exclusively for 9 months, and full-term till 3.75 years. He is 35y old now.

My third child was another extreme child, who could not tolerate any food till he was 18 months old, and then we had to rotate his four safe foods so he would not start to react to them. He was 4.5y old before he was eating a normal amount of food - going back to breastfeeding exclusively for weeks at a time if he had an allergic reaction. He breastfed full-term for 5.75 years. He is 24y old now.

So I will never know for sure - although the one ounce of formula we did try sent him into shock - but I don't think he would still be with us if I had not chosen to breastfeed him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-16-2010
Sun, 02-03-2013 - 4:12pm

thardy2001 wrote:
<p>How do you know now (if you're finished breastfeeding your children) that it made a difference?  Formula feeding is much easier, make a bottle, be on-the-go without stopping while out and about, maybe an infant who slept longer.  Would your older children (no longer breastfed) be different if you had formula fed? </p>

You don't know.  At least, most people don't know and can't know.

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Sun, 02-03-2013 - 6:45pm

<< Formula feeding is much easier, make a bottle, be on-the-go without stopping while out and about, maybe an infant who slept longer.>>

I was thinking on this more, and having done both, for me I did not find formula easier. I made using formula as simple as I could, but there was still making sure to have proper storage, washing bottles, making sure I had enough during an outing, etc. I never thought it was a big deal though, until I breastfed.

Several incidences stand out in my mind - one is an outing to the zoo with our moms & tots group. The bus was delayed, and all the babies had drank up all the formula their moms had brought. Obviously if they had brought a can, they could have made more - but they didn't.

So all the babies were crying on the bus ride home - well, except for mine, who was nursing to sleep. Because I never ran out.

Also I went thru 3 diaper bags with my first child, the weight of the bottles (we used glass back then) broke each one. When I was breastfeeding, I could just stick a couple of diapers in my purse and be ready to do.

A friend was living in the Ottawa valley during the ice storm that shut down the electiricty and water for over two weeks. I don't know how the formula feeding moms survived - but my friend was grateful she was breastfeeding her baby.

And during the Katrina storm, when they were unable to get enough formula into the area to help the formula feeding moms, and some were feeding their babies contaminated water, and soda pop for lack of anything else. Moms had to relactate, or let their babies starve. Scary situations!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Sun, 02-03-2013 - 9:12pm
I don't think there is any answer to that question. The only way to know for sure would be to go back in time and do it differently, but that is not possible. I take issue with your first premise, though, that formula feeding is "easier." I don't think it is, once you get past the first few weeks. In any case, I believe breast feeding had physical and emotional benefits for both me and my children, who are now sixteen and twenty. It was worth whatever effort went into making it work.
Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Sun, 02-03-2013 - 11:22pm

Good to see you here, Bordwithyou! Haven't seen you here in a long time!

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Mon, 02-04-2013 - 10:36am

jessica765 wrote:
<p><blockquote class="quote-msg quote-nest-1 odd"><div class="quote-author"><em class="placeholder">thardy2001</em> wrote:</div>&lt;p&gt;How do you know now (if you're finished breastfeeding your children) that it made a difference?  Formula feeding is much easier, make a bottle, be on-the-go without stopping while out and about, maybe an infant who slept longer.  Would your older children (no longer breastfed) be different if you had formula fed? &lt;/p&gt;</blockquote></p><p>You don't know.  At least, most people don't know and can't know.</p>
jessica765 wrote:
<p><blockquote class="quote-msg quote-nest-1 odd"><div class="quote-author"><em class="placeholder">thardy2001</em> wrote:</div>&lt;p&gt;How do you know now (if you're finished breastfeeding your children) that it made a difference?  Formula feeding is much easier, make a bottle, be on-the-go without stopping while out and about, maybe an infant who slept longer.  Would your older children (no longer breastfed) be different if you had formula fed? &lt;/p&gt;</blockquote></p><p>You don't know.  At least, most people don't know and can't know.</p>
jessica765 wrote:
<p><blockquote class="quote-msg quote-nest-1 odd"><div class="quote-author"><em class="placeholder">thardy2001</em> wrote:</div>&lt;p&gt;How do you know now (if you're finished breastfeeding your children) that it made a difference?  Formula feeding is much easier, make a bottle, be on-the-go without stopping while out and about, maybe an infant who slept longer.  Would your older children (no longer breastfed) be different if you had formula fed? &lt;/p&gt;</blockquote></p><p>You don't know.  At least, most people don't know and can't know.</p>

I don't know that that is necessarily true.  I think there are times you definitely know and see very specific diferences in BF and formula fed babies.  My old in-home daycare provider could always tell which ones had been formula fed and which ones had been BF'ed from certain things.  I personally know there was a significant difference between my ODD who was not BF'ed, actually she was for about a week and that was all I could do at 18 years old with no help or support, and my younger two who were exclusively BF'ed and then both I extended nursed.  My ODD has a host of health issues (eczema mostly), catches just about any bug going around and seems to hang onto it much longer while my younger two have had virtually no health problems at all, rarely get sick or if they do, its just a passing thing and its over very quickly.  And I chalk that up to BFing, because other than that and not vaccinating the younger ones, I have done nothing different in the upbringing of the three kids.

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Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Mon, 02-04-2013 - 12:08pm

<<And I chalk that up to BFing, because other than that and not vaccinating the younger ones, I have done nothing different in the upbringing of the three kids.>>

There is still genetics involved - kids in the same family can have a wide range of reactions to health issues.

But I noticed the same thing with my boys. My oldest, who was formula fed & vaccinated, was constantly sick, covered in eczema, constant chesty cough, diarrhea, etc - and the first thing we did whenever we travelled was located the nearest hospital, because we invaribly ended up there.

My youngest, who was breastfed full-term and not vaccinated would be sick with an illness for 1/2 day at most - and bounced back quickly.

All my boys have asthma - and yet my oldest is the only one that was on meds regularly and suffered other than with colds.

My oldest is also much bigger than my younger two string beans. Not fat, just big - taller, broader shoulders, thicker chest. My middle son works on home renovations, so is muscular, but still skinny. The youngest is the skinniest at only 106 lbs and almost 5 ft 10" tall.

Could be genetics - could be the cow's milk that is meant to build braun and muscles... Wink

"Human milk is rich in the lipid needed for rapid brain growth, and it is low in protein. Cow's milk is the reverse, with three times as much protein as human milk. Much of this protein is casein, which is fine to spur a calf's rapid muscle growth but forms hard-to-digest curds in a human baby's stomach"

http://www.mhhe.com/biosci/ap/foxhumphys/student/olc/re-reading13.html

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Mon, 02-04-2013 - 5:22pm
You are right, it could be genetics also, DH's son from his first marriage has some health problems and does get sick relatively often enough, though from all I know of ODD's 3 half sisters, none of them have health issues, or eczema (which does not run in either family) and all 3 of them were BF'ed for at least 6 months each. DH's two nephews on his brother's side both have some degree of autism, asperger's and sensory integration, as well as numerous instances of SIDS on DH's mother's side of the family, given all of that, and much research was why we made sure to BF ours.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2002
Mon, 02-04-2013 - 5:27pm

My eldest son was breastfed the longest and he never had one ear infection.  My 4th child who had more formula than the previous 3 had many ear infections and had to have tubes.  But my 5th child who also had a lot of formula for various reasons hasn't had a single ear infection either.  That's the biggest difference I could think of.  

I thought formula was much easier as a working mother but my body never produced much milk with a pump for some reason (and I tried a few different styles) which is why the youngest two had more formula than the older kids.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Mon, 02-04-2013 - 8:37pm

Both of my children were breastfed. Both had ear infections. One had an ear infection that required a second, stronger antibiotic.

I do not believe that breastfeeding can prevent ear infections 100%. Nor do I believe anyone claims that they can. That said, when my dd developed a gastrointestinal issue and could not eat or drink for a week, breastfeeding kept her out of the hospital.

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