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May 02, 2005


Julie Zemke

I have a friend who wants to breastfeed which I strongly want her too! She was told she might not be able to because of Gestational Diabetes I disagree does anyone know what the right answer will be?I told her all should be ok.


Hi, Lana --

I'm not going to enter into the treacherous black waters of the breastmilk/formula debate. Suffice it to say I've been supplementing for nearly a month. I read your last post on trying to boil water for your baby's formula while your baby was screaming. Why not just use bottled water (if your tap water's not safe)? My baby's never minded "room temp" formula. :) Good luck!


Lana, Thank you for your great posts and website. I work in International Health and lived with my now 19-month old in Central America when he was about your son's age. So many of your posts strike very familiar cords with me... I enjoy them quite a bit!

I had one heck of a time breastfeeding (we're still at it). What ended up working was finger feeding with a tubing system. This worked great -- taught him to suck properly and it was something Dad could do while I slept. Eventually, it taught him to go from the bottle to the breast. Maybe it would work the other way around as well? Not that this type of device is readily available in Thailand, but it could make for a good care package from this side of the ocean.

For me, nursing didn't become something easily manageable until after month 6... after that we were able to float work, nursing, and food without having to pump or supplement. It definitely takes energy and support.

Hang in there!


Sorry folks, last time I checked, having an opinion does not = rudeness.

My intentions are sincerely and genuinely for the best interest of the baby's health. Not to "bully" or be "rude".

I don't think my post was rude at all, but just very opinionated, if you will. If we're demanding apologies here, then wouldn't that mean everyone owes one? I mean after all, we've all stated our "opinions". (Many of which I find highly offensive; speaking on behalf of all babies who need mommy's milk and protest bottles and formula just like Lana's little guy is).

I didn't say Lana took her decision lightly, I was refering to the list of comments growing on this board who seem not to even blink at the fact that a perfectly healthy thriving mother/baby bf'ing RELATIONSHIP is about to be put to a grinding halt. (And yes I am very educated in this field and YES it is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that formula is NOT equal to breastmilk in so many ways and yes, "supplementary" feeding of any kind can and will interfere with breastfeeding and milk production)

I really loved the reminder that Paula gave, that it is not just about feeding the baby breastmilk, but the other benefits that come solely from a bf'ing (not bottlefeeding) relationship. I'm not being rude dear friends, I am stating a passionate opinion based on SOLID facts.

Sorry Lana, it's a hot topic for me, and I think you're a really great mom, don't get me wrong.

I won't need to post further about this, my main objective was to share the LLL site with you in hopes that the myths are debunked that many of your commentors are giving you.



If you are going to give him some bottles, why not use expressed breast milk instead of formula? Formula is also known as ABM (artificial breast milk) since that is what it is. Milk is species specific, and despite the name formula, which implies it is a magical potion of some sort, and what it's manufacturers would have you believe, NOTHING is as good for your baby as your milk.

There is some very new research which shows that the intestinal lining of babies changes dramatically after either formula or solids are introduced. This makes babies more vulnerable to gastrointestinal illnesses, which is why the recommendation is to wait until 6 months to start solids. Other new research shows that HIV+ mothers, who were previously discouraged from breastfeeding because it was worried that they would transmit the virus to their babies, actually protect their babies from HIV by EXCLUSIVELY breastfeeding them. Exclusively breastfed babies of HIV+ mothers were much less likely to become HIV+ than formula fed or formula and breastmilk fed babies of HIV+ mothers. Breastmilk is really amazing stuff.

You didn't mention your reasons for deciding to start giving him bottles, but I am curious. Breastfeeding, as you know, is a relationship, not just a feeding method.


K, you've just sparked a debate in the forumla versus breastfeeding.

Note that Lana wrote she had been debating for over a month of whether to switch. She wrote that she had listened to various sources and read through articles. In my opinion, this is not taking something lightly. She has weighed opinions and has ultimately made a decision.

Bravo to Lana for that decision. It's not an easy one. How about we support her in that decision?


Well, K, I think it's sad that we mothers feel we have the right to judge the decisions made by other mothers with whose circumstances we are not completely familiar. Most people I know who use formula are doing so for what I consider to be pretty good reasons and very few take the decision lightly. The "feeding needs" of an infant can be met by formula just as well as breastmilk and I have yet to see a formula fed baby that failed to thrive as well as a breast fed baby in similar circumstances. I notice that the site you mentioned advocates breastfeeding but doesn't presume to judge those who choose not to do it.

I really think you owe Lana and the other commenters to this post an apology. Just because it's an online forum doesn't excuse rudeness.


to me this is sad. I don't understand why people interfere (unecessarily) with the feeding needs of an infant. There are so many more benifits to bf'ing than one can count, not just nutrition and convenience. Sorry but I don't get why so many people take it so lightly that you are trying to take away the best thing you could give your baby and replace it with something so inferior. www.lelecheleague.org please, at least visit this site before you go another day trying that bottle. Formula is a great invention - for babies whose mother's are no ABLE to feed them themselves. Not otherwise.


Oh, and I forgot to mention that my baby preferred the cross-cut nipples over the regular round-holed ones so it's yet another alternative to try.


I also loved the convenience of the boob. I went back to work when my son was over 6 months old and attempting to get him used to the bottle was very difficult. He liked the Bebelle orthodontic silicone nipple best. He hated Avent and barely tolerated the Nuk orthodontic nipple. Only problem? He would only take the bottle from me. I think his Dad managed to feed him once and only because I started it and then handed him over while still attached to the bottle. Even then, he kind of stared at me with a puzzled, this-isn't-how-it's-supposed-to-work look.

When he started day care, they tried the bottle with his favourite nipple (tried and tested by me at home) and he refused it. He only took it once - and again, that was with me giving him the bottle. A month later, he's taking milk from a cup - the day care gave up on bottles. He's not drinking as much as he would have if I were giving him the breast but since he's on solids, we compensate with food and really huge milk feeds in the morning and the afternoon.

From my and the day care's experiments, the most important factors that determined whether or not he accepted the bottle were: time of day (he was happiest in the morning and was therefore less likely to be cranky at having to try the bottle), nipple (he didn't know how to suck on the regular round ones), freshness of milk (freshy expressed had the best chance of success but for obvious reasons was impractical), the way he was held, having me around (day care suggested giving something with my 'smell' to the person feeding him) and the temperature. Temperature was really important and I think this was something the day care had to experiment with until they got the right setting. I tried to get a feel for how warm my expressed milk was - warmer than I expected - and tried to get as close to that temperature as I could when heating up stored milk. I noticed that the baby refused the milk even if it was slightly colder.

The day care also tried formula at one stage and they said he took a little from a bottle. But I preferred for him to have expressed breast milk so they didn't have a chance to try it again.

Hope you have better luck than we did! At least you're starting early and it does take a while to get happening so don't despair.


We started trying to get Katie to take a bottle when she was only about a month old, because we knew I was going back to work when she was 11 weeks old, and Geoff would be staying home with her - she was going to need to get her nutrition somehow other than direct from the breast! But I remember many times that she refused to have anything to do with the nipple. We had Geoff try to give her the bottle, and I remember that after awhile he started to get tears in his eyes when she refused to let the bottle get near her. Eventually, though, we tried a different nipple (we'd been trying the Nuk, and it turned out she preferred the regular Gerber round nipple), and we tried feeding her only about an hour after she'd breastfed, instead of waiting until she was starving (we got that tip from some website somewhere), and she drank from the bottle. During those first few times, it also went better if I left the room or the apartment completely (since supposedly the baby can smell your milk-filled boobs from something like 500 feet away). Good luck! I remember how frustrating it was, but I bet you will figure it out!


Mar is right, based on my experience with my daughter. If you can get him used to the bottle with breast milk, then replace with formula at a later date (a few weeks). The Nuk nipple also worked best for us. My duaghter would take a bottle from my husband or me, but getting him to try the bottle with breast milk initially could not hurt. Good luck.


I have heard that choosing a bottle nipple that most closely resembles your breast in shape can make the transition easier. The same goes for the shape of pacifier a baby prefers to use.

I never had trouble introducing my daughter to the bottle, because she was only a week old when we introduced it, due to serious challenges in learning to nurse properly. BUT, it took several tries to find a pacifier she would use. The only pacifier she'll use is also the Nuk, which is apparently best for babies whose mothers have flat nipples (this is true for me).

Good luck.


If you pump, the milk will be at the temperature he's used to. You can have a bottle of pumped milk out for up to 8 hours before you need to refrigerate it.


I totally agree with Mar. when we started bella on the bottle, we had to use pumped breast milk first. and it had to be from me - not from my husband.

also, consider the nipple - bella wouldn't take a bottle unless it had an orthotic Nuk nipple. and I am guessing it's because she uses a Nuk pacifier and the shape wasn't totally foreign in her mouth. (however, we went through about 8 brands, mostly expensive, before we figured this out.)

be patient and keep trying!!


Ah, yes, I remember it well. Don't give up, though! 2 things you might want to try - try pumping and giving him breast milk from the bottle. If you go straight to formula from the bottle, you're doing 2 different new things at once - formula, and a bottle nipple. If he gets comfortable w/the bottle, then start mixing breast milk w/the formula. Second, although I heard the same thing about how baby would be better w/the bottle from someone else, I never found that to be the case (initially). When we were making the transition, both my kids took the bottle better from me than from anyone else. I think they associate you w/the feeding, so maybe it's easier. I just held them close, despite their struggling, and after a few tries, they gave in. Definitely keep trying though! Good luck!

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