Bottle-fed babies aren’t more content than breastfed babies

January 11, 2012

A report out today which is based on a survey of 1526 babies (!) claims that bottle-fed babies are less cranky than breastfed babies.

Oh. My. God.

Before I go any further I’m going to say again that I bottlefed my baby and I don’t care how anyone feeds their own long as they’re properly nourished. I don’t advocate breastfeeding over bottle-feeding or vice versa.

But how silly to suggest that one method of feeding will make babies more content than another kind of feeding. How irresponsible.

Babies can be sensitive to their mothers’ stress or anxiety; or they may be uncomfortable in some way; and some babies are simply cranky.

My own baby could be spectacularly cranky, in fact. And he could also be incredibly sweet.

Now he’s a teenager, nothing’s changed. It’s. Just. His. Personality.

This kind of reporting is UNHELPFUL to mothers. Please make it stop.

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  • nikimummy13 January 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    This is the most sensible discussion on feeding babies that I’ve ever seen. What an amazingly encouraging blog. I agree that mums have enough pressure on them and they shouldn’t be made to worry about what they are feeing their baby so long as they are nourished and happy. Well done to all you ladies for keeping a good perspective and not giving into pressure from either side! I gave myself a good guilt trip first time after trying and failing to breast feed and was very proud to bottlefeed my next but either way it should be up to mums to decide NOT bullying breastfeeing advocates or formula milk companies.

  • mummy misfit January 12, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Why oh why? Surely the only thing that needs to be remembered is that mums want the best for their babies and do what they think is right for them. I’m always careful to say I was ‘lucky’ to be able to breastfeed – I never took it for granted and, had I needed to bottle feed, I would have done. Mums need to be left alone to bring up their babies in the way THEY see fit.

  • Joanne January 12, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I am breastfeeding as I type 🙂 I feed all three of my children my middle daughter only for a few months so she mostly had a bottle.

    Its just another way for us mums to feel crap and inadequate – as if its not a hard job to begin with. Nothing you do as a parent is ever right via research.

    So stuff the lot go with your gut and do what makes you and your child/ren happy.

  • Claire Louise January 11, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I was made to feel like a bad mother for bottle feeding and I really do feel this impacted on my health and PND. Thanks for sharing
    Claire Louise.x

  • Mamacook January 11, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Anecdotally from friends who did bottle feed with formula, their babies did sleep better and seem less fussy, not all but most. My son was a grumpy one, had colic (whatever that is), certainly 3 hours of crying a day was fairly typical. We had little sleep.

    I’m proud I did breastfeed for 13 months, however, it was pretty hellish for the first 6. I know I did a good thing but having seen how much more chilled out some of my friends babies were, I’m not sure I did the right thing for me. That said, I think at times everyone’s child seems like an angel in comparison to your own.

    I agree that a lot of it must be down to personality though. My son is still very opinionated at 20 months!

  • pauline Burney January 11, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Oh dear, The damage these people do!
    The article based on the report of the Medical research council actually says that some formula fed babies are less cranky because they are over fed. Babies are different, Parents change too. Some become more confident others encounter serious stresses. It is so important to recognise that a crying baby is not always communicating hunger, the most common reason is tiredness in both breast and bottlefed babies.

  • Crystal Jigsaw January 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    There’s an advert on the television (not sure if it’s Actimal, or something) when the narrator starts off by saying something along the lines of, “we all know breast is best for baby” – forgive me, I know those are not the exact words but I think we’re all intelligent enough to know that’s what they’re saying….

    However, I think I’ve said before, I never attempted breast feeding and that was my choice. I was never bullied or badgered into changing my mind and a bottle was given to me as soon as Amy was born – no questions asked. Let’s put her autism aside, because that’s a mental issue rather than a physical-health one, and I can tell you that Amy is a very healthy, happy and fit young girl who is growing rapidly before my eyes. She was cranky one day and a dream child the next. She was, what one might to call, ‘normal’ as a baby.

    To be honest, I’m just waiting for the breast-feeding police brigade to tell us mums of special needs kids that it’s our fault our kids have autism and ASD’s because we didn’t breast feed. I wouldn’t be surprised if this has already been suggested.

    Ignorant bullies are what these people are. They are brainwashed into believing something without the true and full facts. I am also sick of hearing that “breast is best”. It isn’t. Neither is bottle. They are both however, capable of nourishing a baby and that’s all new mums should need worry about. This whole breast is best campaign is another form of bullying that no mother needs when they’re already under an incredible amount of pressure as it is.

    Nice post as always, Liz.
    CJ x

  • marisa harrison January 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I couldn;t agree with you more. There is such a stigma in this coutnry about how we feed babies & food & chidlren in general. So many hang ups and al lot of mis-information/ hype. Instinct and intuitition are not promoted enough.

  • Rachel January 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I started off breastfeeding my son but he was (and at 20 months still is) a very inquisitive child and impossible to breastfeed in public so when out and about, if we weren’t home or able to find a feeding room, he would be bottle fed.

    He had colic for about 2 months but aside from that he was (and still is) the most active and chilled out baby. Don’t ask me how that is, it just happens that he is laid back, content and takes everything in his stride and also always raring to go!

    Since birth everyone (including complete strangers in supermarkets, don’t you hate that?!) has always stopped and commented on how smiley he is.

    Each baby is unique and responds to circumstances in their own way and it’s our jobs as parents to try and adjust to that and find the right solution, to try and put it largely down to either breast or bottle feeding sends out the wrong message!

  • Heidi January 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    *yawn* I am soooo sick and tired of hearing these bottlefed vs breastfed baby surveys. As if new mum’s haven’t got enough to worry about! Quite frankly, just getting your baby to feed AT ALL should be the main priority.
    I was told by nurses/midwives that my 1st son was breastfeeding fine…4 days later when I got home, he had been virtually starved. Persevered with breastfeeding, then mixed, then bottle only. Due to my ‘classical’ section I had to hold him backwards like a rugby ball to feed him. I was miserable, so was he.
    2nd son, same major op, straight to botte feeding. He is exactly the same as his big brother. Sweetness & light one minute, cranky and whiny the next.
    Nothing to do with feeding techniques, all down to being babies.

  • Amy and1moremeans5 January 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    All my four girls were bottle fed but all had a feed off me at birth, each of them were different in fact my second daughter was the crankiest and guess what she still is today. My son was breastfed for 10months but faffed at each feed and even now he fusses at meal times. It doesn’t matter how a baby is fed its their personality that dictates their mood not wether they have a bottle or boob in their mouth.

  • Rachel January 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I have both bottlefed and breastfed! I think it’s down to babies personality rather than how they’re fed. My only breastfed baby is just like my first BOTTLEFED baby!

    They need to stop publishing such utter nonsense! Do they think us mothers don’t get enough stick as it is!

  • Melinda Hewitt January 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I’ve been lucky enough to have 4 babies and 1 of them could feed from neither bottle nor breast, 1 was beast fed a short time then bottle fed, 1 was breast fed for a few months then changed to bottle and 1 was completely breast fed up to weaning. Each time it was what suited me and my baby! They all have different needs as do all mums!

  • Angela Young January 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I agree, a load of old rubbish! I was totally bullied when I had my eldest son.. the breast feeding brigade patrolled the ward and once when I had visitors came over and demanded I got rid of them and fed my baby as he was crying. Little did she know he’d been crying for hours and I’d been trying to feed him for hours. It just wasn’t working and wasn’t a pleasant experience for either of us! After 7 weeks and him losing a significant amount of weight I gave up and bottle fed him.. which worked. It’s a beautiful thing if a Mum can breastfeed and no doubt healthier but no-one should be bullied or scaremongered into it.

  • Kara January 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I read the original article and my first reaction was “what a load of old tosh”
    I have breastfed all mine and they’ve all been totally different in personality. Babies cry, it’s their form Of communication so they will react to what’s going on around them.
    I really hope this doesnt get taken too seriously by expectant mums who don’t know what to expect!

  • Ann Wright January 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    I quite agree!
    My son was incredibly cranky when I was breastfeeding – basically because he was hungry all the time as I didn’t produce much milk. He only started to calm down when I began to mixed feed and eventually he rejected the breast completely. He’s now a healthy, happy, chilled and lively (if it’s possible to be both) 4-year-old.

  • Kerry January 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Totally agree, I too bottle feed my baby and also am the same as you I do not care how people feed their babies. I also think this is absolutely stupid, and I had a very happy settled child, he was never cranky as a baby. However his cousin was bottle feed and oh my I have never met such a cranky child.

    Do you know what it is simple really every child is different, every baby will have good days and bad days it does not matter whether they are bottle or breast feed.