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Breastfeeding and working full time

(28 Posts)
lilyb84 Mon 24-Oct-16 19:18:45

Looking for opinions/experiences.

I've just returned to work full time. My ebf ds is 9 months old, and I weaned him from bf during the daytime over my last few weeks of mat leave, with a view that I'd feed him mornings and evenings (and all bloody night, of course grin) then at the childminder he'd have just food and water. I'm open to him having formula if the childminder can get him to take it (he's always refused bottles and formula with me and my husband) so he's getting enough calories while his solid food intake is still in the early stages (still a bit hit and miss).

So far my ds has only been to the childminder for 3 full days as he was sick last week so I had to work from home while caring for him which was fucking hard work and I'm never doing that again. They've managed to get him to take a couple of ounces of formula, which is great and I see it as a supplement to his food and morning/evening bf. However, both childminders (there are two working in partnership) have said it'll be easier on him to settle in if I stop bf altogether as he's constantly 'looking for boobs'. I assume they mean when he's tired as feeding to sleep is the only way I can get him to sleep at night and it's obviously very much a comfort thing for him. I think they've misunderstood my willingness to offer formula as an intention to wean him from bf completely.

I had intended to bf for as long as ds wants it, probably until he's 2 unless he self weans earlier. I didn't think it would be a issue and I'm sure in time he'll realise he's not getting any boobs at the childminder's and will stop looking! Also, as his food intake increases he'll need less milk in general anyway - it's only 3 months until solids should be providing the majority of his calories after all.

Am I being reasonable thinking this is okay? Aside from wanting to continue our bf bond I'm too lazy/cheap to start with the faff of formula, plus it'll be a battle to get him to take it from me anyway - and since he had a late diagnosed and treated tongue tie it's only really been the last 3 months that I've really enjoyed bf and don't want all those months of struggling to feel wasted! Equally I want to do what's best for my ds and if continuing to bf means he can't self soothe or find comfort in other things then I'll consider stopping. I just won't be happy about it...

lilyb84 Mon 24-Oct-16 19:19:46

I should add that I can't express because a) I can't afford a pump and b) I literally don't have time as I have to work through breaks to fit all my hours in around childminder drop off and collection!

pizzapop Mon 24-Oct-16 19:28:01

I don't see why you should wean, it's very early days with the childminder! When she says "looking for boobs" what specifically does she mean? Is she having trouble settling him for naps?

milpool Mon 24-Oct-16 19:30:37

Erm, I'd be looking for a different childminder tbh.

They should be fully supporting you in this. If they're not supportive with this I'd be wondering what else they won't take your side with.

At 9 months if he's eating well and still feeding from you morning/night/weekends etc then he should be fine without the formula.

lilyb84 Mon 24-Oct-16 19:35:14

I think they mean he's getting upset and tired and trying to feed to go to sleep. They seem to be able to get him to nap which is a bloody miracle in my book as I have to literally walk around for hours with him in the sling or feed him, whereas they just put him in a cot, wait and he falls asleep - then sleeps for about three times as long as he does with me but I'm not bitter at all. I assume crying is involved but at least I know they're getting him to sleep.

However after his induction one of them did say I needed to stop feeding him to sleep as he was looking for boobs in order to settle, so I assume that's what they mean. But that's how he gets to sleep at night - I've tried getting him to self settle and just end up with a hysterical baby so have no intention of doing any actual sleep training, especially as we're in a one bed flat - not very fair on our neighbours. So will be feeding to sleep for as long as he needs that, which I thought was okay...!

HeyMicky Mon 24-Oct-16 19:36:57

Your childminder is talking out of her bottom. I went back when DD2 was 11 months, we're still going at 18 months.

Your DS will make up the calories if necessary when you are together. You and the childminder should look together for other ways to settle him for naps - dummy, comforter etc.

milpool Mon 24-Oct-16 19:37:21

It is ok. And as childcare professionals they should be confident in their ability to find other ways to get him to sleep.

My DD has been going to the childminder since she was 8 months old. She's now 17 months and I still feed her to sleep. When she's with the cm, or her dad, or my mum, they just find a different way to settle her.

And besides, to say something like that after one induction session?! It's a totally new environment for him, of course he might be unsettled!

Plantpot83 Mon 24-Oct-16 19:37:24

I don't think that there's anything wrong with what you're doing. It would be a shame to wean him before you want to. Your DS will realise that he won't get boob at the child minders and will find other ways to go to sleep. My DD is 13 months, went to nursery at 11 months, food intake with me is patchy but at nursery she eats whatever they give her. I gave them some formula in case she wanted milk but she's not that interested. At home she feeds to sleep, co-sleeps etc but at nursery she let them pat her to sleep in a cot within a couple of weeks!

Also I don't agree with the child minder that it would be easier on him to settle if you wean him now because that'd be a lot of upheaval at a time when he's just getting used to going to childcare.

lilyb84 Mon 24-Oct-16 19:39:08

Cross post milpool! We're a bit limited for choice of childminders as we're in London and I need someone situated well for my commute, which this childminder is - I didn't find anyone else worth considering who was also in a convenient location. All the parents I spoke to about her raved about her so maybe I just need to be a bit firmer with my intentions and what I want for my ds. Tbh I'm happy with him having a bit of formula as I'm partly hopeful that it'll help with his nighttime sleep which has been pretty awful since 3 months in. But maybe that's confusing matters and I should insist on just food and water...

lilyb84 Mon 24-Oct-16 19:42:06

Thanks all, you're pretty much confirming what I thought. I think I've been a bit intimidated by the childminders' greater baby experience whereas I still don't know what the hell I'm doing! He does nap for them and will stop looking for boobs once he's more settled I'm sure. I think their opinions are just a bit old fashioned as what they've said to me doesn't marry you with what I thought was true about bf/responsive parenting etc.

pestov Mon 24-Oct-16 19:54:39

So you are doing exactly what I must soon - EBF 8mo at the moment, starting at the childminders in December and I doubt I can fit pumping into my day. How did you wean in the day? I've gotten down to only feeding before naps, but have no idea how to get her to sleep without boobs!

lilyb84 Mon 24-Oct-16 20:00:11

pestov I cheated by swapping feeding-to-sleep with slinging-to-sleep (he refuses his buggy these days). So I worked two walks into my daily schedule and avoided feeding to sleep where possible. It all went a bit tits up when he got a cold (followed by another cold) as he needed lots of comfort, but I was happy once he managed to do a few days of no breastfeeding between 7.45am and 6.15pm so I knew he could definitely do it - over the last week we've had days where he's literally just wanted to bf and refused solids but it hasn't affected him then being able to do a full day without it, so I figure given then I'll still be bf on demand when I'm with him that's good enough for now.

I never managed to crack daytime naps without feeding or motion though. Good luck!

Andromache77 Mon 24-Oct-16 20:05:52

Your LO sounds exactly like mine, but don't worry, they're clever, as soon as they realise that the boob is not around they settle for whatever is available (after a little while). Breastfeeding was also hard going at first for us (low supply and a very sleepy baby, though only at the boob, otherwise she wouldn't sleep). She stayed with me until one year, although I returned to work when she was five months as I'm self-employed. Having your own office where you can bring your baby and have a little playground with toys and playmat right next to your desk obviously helps (a lot). I even bought a sofa for her to nap on.

Once she started nursery no one mentioned her looking for boobies so either she realised that with mummy not being around it wasn't a possibility or they just took it in their stride but there was no mention of weaning either and I would have been indignant if there had been. To me it sounds like they are trying to make their work easier, it's really none of their business and should in fact support you in your choice to breastfeed.

My LO is now a little over two years old and still going strong while enormously enjoying nursery. Obviously the boob is no longer a source of nutrition but it does help to settle her, especially when she wakes up at night (a couple of times still, yes, she's not a great sleeper), otherwise it would be hours until she fell back to sleep.

If you can maintain your supply and you both want to, keep going, now that you've put in the hard work you deserve to enjoy it a bit longer.

lilyb84 Mon 24-Oct-16 20:13:32

Thanks for your experience andromache77 smile You're right, they should be supporting my choice to breastfeed. I clearly need to be more assertive. When we met with the cm to sign contracts I mentioned my ds's multiple night wakes and she looked a bit shocked and said athat his age he should only be waking oncentre at most which I know isn't true of bf babies necessarily (I've had the same from uninformed hvs) so it did make me think then that she's maybe not up to date with bf knowledge. I'll see if I can have a chat with her to lay down my intentions more clearly!

lilyb84 Mon 24-Oct-16 20:14:25

Ffs my phone has a mind of its own at the mo. Ignore my typos if the above actually makes any sense!

mamaduckbone Mon 24-Oct-16 20:15:40

Stick to your guns! I did more or less exactly what you're planning and ds was still breastfeeding morning and night until he was 2. The hardest thing at first was the reverse cycling - 3 or 4 wake ups a night to get the milk and comfort he wasn't getting in the day - but that died off when he was eating more. The CM doesn't have a right to dictate what you should be doing!

lilyb84 Mon 24-Oct-16 20:19:38

My ds already wakes 5 or 6 times a night so I'm not too concerned as I'm used to it and short of him not actually sleeping it can't get much worse mamaduckbone grin Glad to hear you managed to keep bf too!

JellyWitch Mon 24-Oct-16 20:20:23

This is exactly the worst time to wean when bfing after work (and all night!) is such a good way of reconnecting. They are talking utter rot and should be skilled in rocking or cuddling to sleep if necessary.

For what it's worth, I returned to work at 10 months after both my kids and kept breastfeeding well into toddlerhood. It's kept them clear of most bugs and I absolutely wouldn't be without it as a parenting tool.

FurryGiraffe Tue 25-Oct-16 11:17:08

Absolutely bonkers to wean when first back to work. It's good reconnection. Also good for the immune system when they're starting childcare. And a good way of settling at night/coping with illness/teething etc. Weaning isn't guaranteed to stop night waking after all- you might just end up with the waking without the convenience of boobs to get them back to sleep!

I mean, obviously it is probably helpful if you can continue to support the 'daytime naps without BF' campaign, but babies generally accept that different rules apply in different places.

user1471507699 Tue 25-Oct-16 11:29:57

Hope you don't mind me asking but do you feed in the day at weekends? I am returning to work part time in a month and planning on doing similar to you. I'm hoping to continue daytime breastfeeds when I'm there but don't know whether this will confuse my body!

FurryGiraffe Tue 25-Oct-16 11:32:35

I returned to work at 9 months and fed in the day when I wasn't working. No issues at all, never had to pump for comfort etc. The body is a remarkable thing smile

Andromache77 Tue 25-Oct-16 11:33:06

Right OP, be assertive, the child minder is a professional but you are your child's mother. Breastfeeding is good for the both of you and invaluable to save your sanity with a sleep objector. Always remember that no one knows your child better than you, so you call the shots.

user1471507699 Tue 25-Oct-16 11:38:12

Thanks Giraffe smile

Nuggy2013 Tue 25-Oct-16 11:41:35

Look on eBay for a medela pump and buy replacement parts in mothercare, I know a lot of people who've done this and means they can pump? I went back when DD was 11 months and fed til 18 months. Stopping is not the answer is neither of you are happy to stop, good luck

lilyb84 Tue 25-Oct-16 17:28:20

Thanks all. user same with me, I've been feeding on demand throughout my ds's cold and at weekends and haven't had any discomfort while at work. Interestingly when my ds first got sick I had some painful engorgement but only on one side and only on that one day, almost as though my body knew he needed the antibodies. I had to feed him to relieve it but not had that since. Relieved as I was a bit worried about work! The body is indeed amazing.

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