Really need advice about how to gradually STOP EBF.(11 Posts)
After a few challenging weeks, I settled into BF well. All I ever said was that I would give it my best shot, and I know I'm really lucky that it worked for me. DD is now almost five months old and I'm still exclusively breastfeeding her on demand. The thing is, I was so worried about disrupting my successful breastfeeding that I've never even tried anything else - even expressing. DD will be six months old on the 11th of January. I want to gradually get her onto a bottle, introduce solids and get my figure, sanity and life back, please! How can I do this without upsetting her too much? She loves the boob. Have I, as friends have suggested, made a rod for my own back? Should I start expressing, getting her used to sooking from the bottle, before steathily introducing formula? Which feed should I replace first? Is she going to go mad? Other mums' knowing chuckles and shaken heads are freaking me out. Isn't there some possibility that she might love the bottle? Is it bound to be an ordeal? I'm not judgey about bottle-feeding at all, but I actually know nobody who is still BFing a five month old baby.
It's not all about a bottle - try a sippy cup! Could she have that in the day and then BF morning, night and overnight and once in the day?
No you haven't made a rod for your own back! Why are your friends so critical? It is actually quite unusual that out of your friends you're the only person still breastfeeding at 5 months, it's quite normal to carry on for much longer.
There are no "rules"'for how or when to introduce a bottle. If you can, I'd try to express and offer ebm instead of formula. It may help if your DH would offer it instead of you. She's not going to know what to do at first. She'll probably just chomp on it and not get that it's for feeding. Perhaps try to offer it when she's not ravenous. If that doesn't work than it's a matter of persevering, trying different teats, or a sippy cup. It doesn't have to be an ordeal, you may be very lucky and swim through it.
I have ebf all of mine until starting solids and then gradually introduced a bottle. From experience the longer I have waited to introduce a bottle the more reluctant the baby to take it.
If you are ready to move on from the boob, I would get some bottles and a steriliser and give it a go. It took between a few weeks and a few months for each to move from ebf to a bottle in the day and boob at night. Good luck!
I think, with the benefit of hindsight, if we had been able to, waiting until weaning was fully underway before weaning from the breast would have made our lives much easier - would have been a distraction at least, DC loved weaning but hated the bottle to begin with. Probably the biggest mistake we made was lack of consistancy - it was just so easy to go back to breast at the weekend - less mess, less work sterilising - but it made each Monday a fight. So one feed at a time and stick at it. We didnt find it easy I'm afraid, but others may have happier stories. We used the cartons of ready made formula once my stored breast milk ran out - they are a little more expensive than powder but much easier, and when baby is used to having food as soon as he is hungry, and you are not at all used to getting a bottle ready quickly, it makes life much easier!!
You haven't made a rod for your own back you've given your child a great start in life nutritionally, but I would be surprised (and quite jealous!) if your transition to bottle is easy. Just remember that one day, it will succeed and the changeover will be over!!! If you don't want to upset baby, then probably my advice has to be don't do it - she will be upset. Sorry.
If you introduce bottle feeds gradually it doesn't need to be some hellish nightmare. I went back to work when dd was five months, so started graduallly introducing bottles once a day from about four months. She wouldn't take them at first. I never pressed the issue. Over time she came to accept them. I still bf too, when I can - it is quite possible to reduce the amount you bf but still do it sometimes, as your supply just adjusts, if that is something you might want to do. Fairly soon I guess you'll be starting solid food which reduces the amount of milk they need anyway. If I were you I'd just start gradually and take one day at a time. There is no need to fear the worst.
Thanks, ladies - I really appreciate the benefit of your experience. My friends (just the other mums at my baby group, really) aren't really being critical, but there is a bit of eye rolling going on. When they all bring out bottles and cartons, I'm the only one still shoving DD up my jumper. I'm determined to follow WHO guidelines and have her on breastmilk until six months, but I would like to get her taking it from a bottle or cup. If anyone has any advice about how to express successfully, I'd be grateful for that, too. I have an Avent hand-pump that I bought before she was born, still in its box. I do not fancy the idea (makes me think of a cow being mechanically milked!?) but I will deal with it, as I have dealt with the many other "joys" of motherhood!
You know, it really is okay to keep breastfeeding as long as you both want to, including in public. DS is 4 months old, and I will be for some time to come.
When I start BLW at 6 months, I'll introduce water in a cup. We might sometimes try ebm in a cup too, though probably after he's got the hang of it (less spillage). I've played at expressing, but have frozen my attempts, so wolfcub hasn't had anything but straight from the source so far. I think we'll skip bottles.
Its up to you what you do, but try not to feel self concious about bfing in front of other mums who are bottle feeding. Seeing you bf in public might make them feel they can too, if not with this baby, then maybe with the next one. Some mums use ebm in bottles when they are out, others use cartons but they may still be breastfeeding at home.
If you try expressing, then it can be more successful to get a good letdown if you are feeding your baby off the other side, or if she's close by. If not ten try having a picture of her/imagine its her feeding not the pump. Don't be disheartened if you don't get much the first attempt, just try again at roughly the same time the next day.
Just because ebf is recommended till 6 months, doesn't mean you have to stop or hide away after then. If you want to stop, that's totally up to you, but don't expect to get your body/life/sanity back just because you stop bfing, that's more to do with becoming a mum! Breastfeeding once solids are established is usually less intense because the sense of responsibility of being the sole source of food and drink lessens, and they can have a solid meal with water when you aren't around, extending the time you can have away.
Their looks may be more about how they feel about their own choices, or trying to offer you privacy rather than being judgemental.
I think this says more about your friends and their own feelings about BFing. There is such pressure to BF that if people give up (often for perfectly legitimate reasons) there is guilt attached. It sounds like they have ganged together and made each other feel better about their choice - which is fine but not at the expense of making you feel bad or worried. You're doing brilliantly so hang in there.
In practical terms I got the Medela Swing pump which is excellent and it comes with their 'Calma' teat which is a teat designed for BF babies - they have to suck really hard to get anything out. Our DD took to it straight away although I stopped expressing after getting blocked ducts (I think this was coincidental btw and more about my supply settling).
As far as expressing goes I second the Medela pump but dont be disheartened if you get little out on first attempt - I got about 5ml first time I think which was a bit upsetting given how hard I tried!!! But with practice was able to produce a full bottle during a 10minute break at work, you just need to get used to it. We found the Tommy Tippee bottles worked better for us though for actually using to feed DC - if one teat doesnt seem to work for your child then try another.
Do whatever makes you feel comfortable, but the WHO guidelines recommend breastfeeding to 2 years and beyond, not just until 6 months.
It's 6 months exclusive breastfeeding (ie no solids). Then bfing and solids until 2 and beyond.
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