Pros and Cons of EBF - and what this actually means!

Hi Ladies,

I keep seeing posts about people who are EBF and their children either wont take a bottle or they feel they should carry on as it's the best thing. I am planning to breast feed but also bought a pump and bottles as I presumed I would use these pretty early on so my partner could feed her too, especially when he's home in the evening with us - its such a lovely bonding experience. I was thinking we'd share the feeds pretty much straight off, all with my boob milk but some in bottles and some straight from the cow (me).

It would be great to hear some thoughts for/against/pros/cons etc.

Thanks as always xx

20 Replies

  • Hi Genine,

    In my opinion i think its a great idea (if you choose to BF) To start expressing milk through a breast pump as soon as you can purely for the reasons you mentioned but more importantly so baby and father can also establish a healthy bond with eachother.

    id consider the pros of EBF to be is your baby has had the opportunity of the best start in life and id consider the cons to be your child can become highly attached to you and therefore can become very difficult to being introduced to the bottle or being fed by anyone else.

    there's also a Lil potential risk of the baby becoming slightly confused of latching onto the bottle teet or breast but i personally never experienced any problems with my LO as i also decided to start expressing when she was roughly 4 weeks old and she is now 4 and a half months old


  • Hey Genine, I think your plan sounds like a great idea and I agree with Abeena. I couldn't get along with BF so switched after 3 days as due to csection my milk wasn't coming in.

    EBF means that you exclusively breast feed with no bottle feeding - absolutely hats off to the ladies that do this as it can understandably be very demanding.

    Good luck with whatever you choose to do xxx

  • Hi genine

    Im breastfeeding my lo who is now 7wks. We express when dad wants to have alone time with her.

    I started expressing at 4wks as I wanted to wait until my body had fully established the milk. Erica didn't have any issues with nipple confusion and adapts naturally coz she's so young. I think the mothers with the most problems are those who wait longer before introducing the bottle. But that's purely my own pinion.

    Its nice to have the option to breast or bottle so u have some freedom.

    How u choose to feed ur baby is totally up to u and shouldn't b influenced by anyone else. If u google ur options then get the pros n cons and make an informed decision that suits u best, noone can tell u differently.


  • Hi Genine. My little lad is just over 5 months now and he has only breast milk. I fed him myself for the first four to five weeks so I had time to get into breastfeeding - I found it needs quite a bit of practice even for a 3rd time round. After around 5 weeks I started expressing a little milk using a hand pump (this was slow going at first to get enough) and I did it so that my husband could bond and to get the little guy used to bottles for when I go back to work.

    I still mostly breastfeed, but will express the odd bottle here and there for when my husband wants to feed him, or if I'm going travelling. He has no problem switching between the two.

    Pros: breastfeeding gives the right balance of nutrients and antibodies, it costs nothing, once established it is enjoyable and a special bonding experience

    Cons: breastfeeding can be very hard work at first with all of the post natal hormones flying around, soreness etc. Sometimes I do feel a bit tied down to feeding him, but I'm also aware of how quickly time passes and they don't stay babies for long.

  • I BF but my LO has one bottle of formula each night before bed which my husband gives to him. We introduced a bottle at about 6 weeks & he took it first time. You need to wait until BF is well established to prevent nipple/teat confusion. I tried expressing but never got very much which is why we use formula. This arrangement works well for us as my husband has been at work all day so enjoys this feeding time & it gives me a chance to do some housework!! Sometimes i also take a bottle with us if we are out & about and I don't want to BF in certain places. I was anxious about BF in public at first so knowing he could have a bottle instead made me feel much better. I agree with the comment from Abenaa, BF is very demanding & in the first few weeks you feel like you have a baby permanently on your boobs! But it's so worth it & it helps create such a special bond. It will be nice for your partner to experience that too & if your baby is happy with a bottle it allows you a bit of freedom to go to the shops or get your hair done at the weekend! I prefer to BF during the night as it's hassle free but if you want to share night feeds with your partner then this would also allow you to get some much needed sleep.

    It's nice to share but even nicer to do it yourself. I'm currently BF as I write this!! :-)

    Good luck xx

  • I'd say just wait and see what happens. You don't know if you will take to it. You may find you can't do it or simply don't like it... there is absolutely no shame in that if that's how you feel.

    There are pros and cons to both. Just see how you go and be confident in any decisions you make and stick by your guns. Don't let anyone make you do something you don't want to do.

    So long as baby is fed one way or another she will be happy and happy baby means a happy mummy and daddy!

    Good luck! :) x

  • Hello, my little one is 4 weeks old and I breast feed her with the (very) occasional bottle. I would, if you can, wait a couple of weeks until you use bottles regularly because it does take weeks to establish breastfeeding. My main advice would be to persevere with breastfeeding because it can be very difficult at first but it is ultimately rewarding and such a special thing. I found breastfeeding painful, frustrating, and very hard going at first. Some days were good and some were terrible to be honest and not enjoyable in the slightest but after four weeks my little one and I have finally gotten the hang of it. My LO has had the occasional bottle and has had no problems taking milk from them, I think it is a good idea to give the occasional bottle so that you're not faced with the challenge of introducing them much later on. I choose to breastfeed 95% of the time because I would be really upset if she began to refuse the breast. Babies get the milk so much easier and quicker from the bottle compared to the breast so it's not surprising they can sometimes begin to prefer the bottle. I had a scare the other day when I used bottles to feed my little one during the night and when I tried to breastfeed her the next day she was just clamping down like she would with a bottle and was not sucking the milk out but after a while she did start sucking again so I am just going to use bottles occasionally for now.

    Good luck with whatever you choose to do and remember breastfeeding can be very challenging at first. It's a new skill for you and baby which will take a while to learn so don't be disheartened if it takes time and try not to panic in the first few days when you have barely any milk coming through, it will come through eventually :) xx

  • My son is 6.5 months and bf.. he didnt take a bottle so I skipped that and he has a beaker. U will need wait till ur milk is established to pump which can take a month or so.. at first it will b pretty constant but they do this to get ur supply to meet needs. My son isnt clingy either which people say about bf babies.. i can quite happily leave him for couple hrs a week and not b worried he will get upset. The first 3-5 days r very tough but once ur through tht its gd..I pumped frm about 6 weeks but to use for weaning which I am doin now. I love bf and if you can do it great.. theres a page on facebook called uk breastfeeding support.. its a gd place to ask questions so if hav facebook I recommend x

  • Hi ceribean can i ask how did he get on with the beaker? What age Did u start all tips greatly received! X

  • I started at 4 months just with water and he wasn't interested but I gave it to him everyday just to get used to.. I found a lot of beakers the tops r quite hard but I found one in sainsburys in their own range tht is softer tht he gets on with.. it took about 6 weeks but now he picks it up and drinks.. I now put milk in it I just used water just so I wasn't wasting milk.. now I am weaning him he has bit of baby juice too. I kno its hard but persevering is the key.. let them hold it and get used to it but giv it time xx

  • Thanks I'll pop in to sainsbury this wkd x

  • Hey, I started to express milk for my partner when my little ne was just one or two weeks. we were advised against it as there is a risk of nipple confusion and rejecting the breast but I was exhausted and needed the help through the night. We decided worst case we always express. He took it really well and feeds well from a bottle or the breast and has given me so much freedom, and great bonding with his Dad. My friend waited the recommended time for her second baby and she wouldn't take a bottle at all and so she couldn't go out at all without her until she started feeding less after starting solids. I'm expecting my second and plan to introduce expressed milk in a bottle before advised again as it worked so well for us. I'd definitely recommend it. It can time consuming expressing at first, but does get faster, as feeds get faster too.

  • Hi Genine,

    I exclusively breastfeed (EBF) and was advised by my MW not to offer a bottle within the 1st 2 weeks after birth just so my LO (and me in some respects) could perfect his latch. Introducing a bottle or a dummy so early can confuse them and in some cases they can prefer the bottle (it may flow quicker before your milk comes in etc). We tried our LO on a bottle after the initial 2 weeks and he took it well and went from breast to bottle no problem for a couple of months meaning I could express and my partner could feed him if I was out etc. The most import thing is to make sure you express each time you feed your LO a bottle to keep your supply up and to prevent mastitis etc. A lot of people recommend freezing the milk, which is what I have done, but my LO refuses frozen milk :( picky little man!!

    Unfortunately for us, as we stopped offering a bottle, our LO now refuses it! However this does mean that now he's 5 months we can offer him a doidy cup and skip the bottle altogether, which may be a good thing (if not messy!).

    Good luck with whatever you choose to do :)

  • My lo was tongue tied, so had a bad latch which caused me a lot of pain and damage which meant I struggled with bf. I had mastitis twice and my doctor told me some women can't breastfeed and you're one of them before the NCT breastfeeding counsellor identified the tongue tie - after having it cut - at 6 weeks old, I managed to mix, breast and formula feed (one bottle at night), her until she was 10 months old, when I went back to work. Every baby is different, you really do have to see how you get on. I hated expressing as I felt I couldn't get much milk out and I'd rather my baby do it as she was much more efficient at it, maybe I tried too early or maybe my pump wasn't right for me. I loved the bond bf formed and am looking forward to bf my next baby, due any day! I haven't decided yet when/if we'll introduce a bottle, but it is a personal choice and you have to see what works for you, as someone else said happy mummy and daddy means happy baby.

  • If I were you I'd see how it goes. There are a few factors that you might have to think about. You're baby might not take to the breast just like my 1st. You might need to give up if you have a very hungry baby like my boys were. It's very tiring to bf every 2 hrs. I fed my boys for 3 months then had to change to formula for hungry babies. I was lucky with my 2nd daughter and bf her for 6 months exclusively. I personally wanted to stop bf at 6 months. It took a few days to get her to take from the bottle but I stuck to it as I knew that she'd give up the fight when she was hungry enough. She was on solids 3 times a day by then so I knew I wasn't starving her. Even though it was a trying time to switch to a bottle I'm so pleased that I ebf her for those 6 months. I wouldn't worry about baby refusing to take bottle in case that happens as like I said they will take it even if it does take a while. If you introduce baby to bottle in the early days like you said you want to do then I doubt that you'll have trouble with this actually. I'm planning on doing the same thing as you. She is going to be bf but when I'm not around and during the night sometimes I'm going to express so my husband can feed her. This is going to be a new thing for me too so hopefully it will work out ok x

  • My little girl is 3w today and has had a mix of BF and FF since day one. I didn't want to exclusively BF from the start as she was only 5lb so didn't want to risk her losing too much weight (and you're never quite sure how much goes in with BF). The hospital supported me in all this. There's no nipple/teat confusion and she's happy with either, although prefers the warmth of mum when feeding. However, because of this, it's taken me a while to get my milk up to levels to satisfy her (although good to know I can rely on formula to top her up). As other girls have said, I'd see how you go and not make any firm plans just yet; these can go out of the window quite quickly!

  • You can get some bottle teats which require the baby to use a similar technique to bf to get the milk, I think medula calma are one of those

  • I mix fed with my first as he didn't latch all the time (lazy boy). My daughter was EBF she didn't have a single bottle. My 3rd is now 8 weeks and I have bottles, pump and all that but haven't got round to doing it all yet. It is a pain sometimes when it is solely my "job" to Feed him but I do enjoy it (maybe not the 4 times a night wake up calls though)

  • thanks for all the helpful advice. that all makes much more sense to me now. I was confused why people didn't immediately do a mix of breast and bottle but i hadnt thought about having to practice it and get enough milk coming! (I tend to presume this baby is going to be a pro at everything and never give me any hassle... wishful thinking!)

    I'll definitely talk to my midwife about it next time I see her. I definitely want to breast feed but know how difficult this can be for some women and babies so I'm open to taking it day by day. Thanks again for your thoughts.

  • Hi Genine,

    I BF my first until she was 5 months, then off to solids she was! I also plan on BF my second now too.

    It is a lovely experience and gives you that bonding experience. Plus it is nice knowing only you can feed your LO! With all the visitors that visit once baby comes, you may feel you are hardly getting to hold your LO (i did any way). So with BF it is just you :).

    Yes it is the best start for your baby and also you! Whilst losing the baby weight is not priority! You burn so much more calories when BF to produce milk for the LO. You can actually feel your stomach muscles contracting whilst you are feeding.

    I think expressing is a fantastic idea, as much as we adore our children, being a new mum with lots of hormones can be very confusing and stressful.. It can really take its toll on you when you are left on your own, sleep deprived and probably pretty hungry too! It is important to have time for yourself away from LO when you are ready. They say not to express til 6 weeks but that seems to change dependant upon who you talk to. My midwife said it was a guideline for babies that sometimes struggle to get the hang of latching onto the breast. Some are naturals and go for it so they are generally ok with a bottle too.

    In all fairness though, there is no right or wrong way to feed your LO. You do what is best for YOU and your family. Some people are unable to breastfeed whilst others it is not suitable (which does not make them bad parents). Do not allow anyone to pressure you into something you do not want to do. What ever you decide, stick to it! You may even find once LO arrives you have family/friends trying to change your mind. Ignore them!

    Best of luck :) x

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