Weaning off boob at 6 months - the emotional bit(9 Posts)
I was all set to wean baby off my boob at 6 mo. I've struggled a lot with bf - thrush, tt, general fussiness - but persevered. I've now started dropping a feed a week but I'm feeling sad! BF is now easy. Yes LO still thrashes around, pops on and off boob etc but he's happy, he's feeding well and I actually enjoy it as it's not stressful anymore.
I'm also finding bottles a faff. Remembering to boil water before. Is there an easier way with bottles?!
But the flip side I want my body back. I want to wear a nice bra and a dress. I want to be able to leave him with DH so I can get a proper break - go shopping or to a cafe to read a book or something. Is this too selfish?
What happens when they start eating solids re milk? How long does it take for them to drop feeds naturally anyway?
I'm going back to work in Jan (he'll be a year) but he's going to a CM from 8 mo for a few hours a week to start settling him in slow and give me a break.
I've dropped 1 feed now. He has 5 feeds a day. Non overnight bar the 11pm one. Still on full feeds as he's only started eating solids.
I've got to drop bf at some point. If I carried on what happens in a few months? How much milk do they need? And how do others deal with stopping breastfeeding? It has to stop at some point? I like giving him a bottle too - that's comforting. I guess it's just once I stop I can't start again!
Sorry for waffle.
What about mix feeding?
I slowly dropped feeds from about 11 months until it was once before work and once before bed. Then stopped altogether at 15 months.
So I had the private, snuggly parts of the day for bf and the rest of the day DS1 was fine with a bottle.
But do what you want to without guilt!
Don't worry about your supply though, your milk is well established by now.
I'd carry on mixed feeding tbh. Then even when you return to work you could still give him a comfort feed at bedtime or at night or when poorly. You body adjusts to demand.
But I do appreciate if you want your body back. But you could carry on doing both if you wanted, then you have the freedom to go out and leave him to be fed by bottle or feed him yourself. It doesn't have to be either or.
I BF DS till he was a toddler and currently feeding DD, 15months. Apart from the first few months, i've been back in pretty bras and dresses. You don't have to wear special feeding bras, i just wear normal ones no problem, so yes i would say that's no reason to stop. If you prefer feeding bras but want something pretty find a shop that sells the brand Hotmilk (I kid you not!)
Left to their own devices, children wean themselves sometime between 1ish (or earlier) and 6 years old or so! The world health organisations recommends feeding till they're two.
I found breastfeeding immensly helpful alongside the introduction of solids, as you can offer the solid food first, and let them eat what they want without worrying if they're getting enough as you csn top up with a feed when they need. They are meant to be introduced to solids at 6 months, not switched entirely from bf to solids in a short space of time.
As to going back to work, i thought i needed to express at work for some reason, i'd got that idea from somewhere. But that's only necessary if you go back while you're still EBF. At this point, you don't need to do anything special, just get on with yout day, and feed when you get home.
If you want to give up BFing then that's your personal choice and no one should tell you not to. However it sounds to me from your post that maybe you're not at that point yet? Yes FF is a monumental faff. Tbh i'm not sure if i would have breastfed so long if it wasn't the easiest option! Also having breastfeeding as an option for comfort or getting sustenance into them when they've been sick and refusing food or water even has been amazingly useful.
As to having to cut down sometime, well yes, but 6 months is very early if you compare across the world Or with what we did traditionally. The UK and USA wesn our babies very early compared to what nature intend, or what is best for their immune systems.
It sounds to me like you've done the hard work and established breastfeeding brilliantly. If what you want is a pretty dress and bra go get yourself one!
Yes maybe ill do mixed feeding. Will it not mess with my supply or confuse little one then?
Is it ok to pick and choose which feeds to do bottle or boob or is it best to stick with, say, bottle in day boob at night?
Thanks for helpful posts. I really didn't think I'd feel this way given i hated and dreaded bf in the early months.
Once you've introduced solids, you are doing mix feeding anyway IYSWIM.
It's totally OK to pick whichever feeds you want to BF or not at.
In those early days when you were EBF, it was important to feed to keep your supply up, as it was the only food your LO was getting.
But now you're introducing solids, your baby is getting sustenance from several sources anyway, not just milk. And if you give - say porridge with milk or yoghurt as food, why not FF from time to time also?
What we did was I BF DS when I was there, but on occasions when I was away and DS needed milk, DP fed him formula. We never used bottles at all, he was maybe 9 months I think when we started doing that occasionally (my memory is hazy, sorry!) and we used a beaker or sippy cup IIRC. (So the good news is you can go shopping / to the cafe without having to quit BFing!) We didn't use the powder milk, we used the pre-made cartons you can get. You wouldn't want to use them all the time as it'd be pricey to do that if you were FFing regularly, but for the odd feed, it's so much easier than faffing about with powder and bottles IMO. If you're worried about nipple confusion, maybe you could try a beaker? As it's such a different action, maybe less likely to confuse IYSWIM? Although at this stage, you and your DS are BFing pros, I would imagine nipple confusion is much less of an issue now than in the early days.
One thing about BFing, I think we do it a disservice to talk of it as just a food as it's so much more than that. It's like an amazing supplement, tailored specifically for your child. I expect you're well aware that BFing supports your LO's immune system, but do you know how that works? Your body is exposed to any infections your baby might have, through general contact, but also specifically, through contact with your nipple when breastfeeding. Your body then makes anti-bodies tailored to what your individual baby needs, and your baby receives them in your milk. Your boobs are like your baby's own personal pharmacy
BFing is also a way you can give comfort to your LO - and that's important. So often people say "s/he just wants comfort as if that's a bad thing.
In this context, if you are BFing, I would say it doesn't matter so much when you feed - if you need to change your feeds around one week (when you're off for a shopping trip for your lovely new dress, via the cafe ) and your baby copes fine with that (most do IME) then don't worry too much about sticking to a routine, necessarily. To make the most of breastmilk, it's more important that your LO is getting feeds, rather than exactly when he's getting them IYSWIM.
It would be absolutely fine to feed 5 times one day, then substitute FF for a feed when you're not there another day, if that suits. Your body will adapt. You don't necessarily need to go down to 4 BFs a day and one FF every day IYSWIM, you can adapt to whatever suits from day to day.
FWIW I am currently demand-feeding my 15 month old DD. Three days a week I'm out of the house at work, and she gets water from the CM. Then the rest of the time she feeds during the day too, again on demand, so much more those days I'm home. My body has just adapted to that, no problem.
I should maybe mention, that although DS found sippy cups and beakers easy, DD took ages to pick them up. Maybe because we introduced them later with her though, who knows?
I've been amazed at how well my supply coped. My ds wouldn't take bottles after 4mo so I had no choice but he was a good eater from the start at 6mo so I was able to leave him for around 6hrs at a time from very soon after. He's now down to breakfast and bedtime at 10mo and is also having cups of milk at bedtime as I'm reducing bf. he's gone to bed without me with a cup of milk.
Fine if you want to stop bf now but if you don't want to you can mix feed or mix bf with food if your lo takes to food quickly.
I went back to work when he was 6mo, initially short days but now 8hrs a day and didn't express at all (no point when he wouldn't take the bottle).
Start practising sippy cups with water now and in a month or so you might be able to put milk in one without it going everywhere.
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