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Torn on stopping at 8 months

(7 Posts)
Qally Tue 07-Jul-09 16:59:22

My DS was 8 months last week, and is now eating well and having 3 bottles a day of formula and 6 of expressed bm. This is a huge relief, as I was determined to get him to 6 months on my milk, only to find that he wouldn't contemplate either formula or food at that stage. I had planned to give him some of my milk till he was one, and then when the swine flu thing hit I decided till next spring, even if only a bottle before bed and then first thing.

We have now both been diagnosed with swine flu, and though he's responding really well to Tamiflu, he's been quite hard to hydrate and has had diarrhoea. I'm too far in with the flu to benefit from Tamiflu (thought it was just a really vicious cold till the baby had it and reacted very badly) but have developed a chest infection so am on antibiotics. Ordinarily those wouldn't be a problem with my milk, as they would just make his bowels a bit loose, but given he has diarrhoea anyway I am having to pump and dump, while feeling like death warmed up, till he's well enough to give him the antibiotic-tainted milk.

Basically does it really matter at this stage if I just gently lessen supply and stop feeding him? I hate pumping so much, I hate the whole time drain and discomfort and it also symbolises the painful, distressing ad endless 14 weeks I spent desperately trying to bf a baby who is not bf-able. I think some of you may remember me posting during that time; it was pretty hellish. I'm longing to just put the whole thing behind us and move on now - so what health advantages are there, really? The antibodies on the swine flu were bloody useless; he had a stinking fever, red and spotty throat, viral rash all over his torso and neck (even his ears) and the drugs have worked miracles, so I am feeling pretty pointless on the antibody front. He has a good, balanced BLW diet - eats what we do, at the table with us - and now happily accepts formula. I'm just wondering if at this stage it's really worth the time and effort of trying to pump so much for him. It's less than I had to a month ago, and that freedom has been wonderful. If I could bf obviously there'd be no reason to stop and many to carry on, in terms of the convenience, closeness, orthodontic help etc., but given all he's getting from it is just the milk, does it really matter by this age?

Advice please?

Jennylee Tue 07-Jul-09 18:20:06

You have done well to have got past the six months. If you want to stop now and it is causing so much stress for you, you don't need to feel guilty, you did give him your milk for over the recommended 6 months, if he is happy to drink formula, then he is happy with his feeding and you are not doing anything wrong. It sounds like you have gone through a lot, and I understand about the pumping, it can feel horrible.

Qally Tue 07-Jul-09 21:00:59

Thanks, and it's reassuring to know other people hate pumping as well! And he did get to 6 months near exclusively (few days in his second week he needed supplementation), so that's something.

It's hard not to feel guilty, tbh, because I know how much better bm is. But frankly I feel like I've really had enough, and he's had a lot of my milk - be nice to start to enjoy being a mother at this stage.

squeakywheel Tue 07-Jul-09 21:20:29

Well playing devil's advocate (from your point of view that is!) your milk (once antibiotic-free) will be excellent convalescent food for him. You wouldn't expect it to have done much antibody wise for a new virus as you won't have been making antibodies especially promptly to it yourself, but it's still more easily digested than formula, has general anti-infective stuff in it (rather than specific antibodies for swine flu), other antibodies, and so on. And this winter he will be vulnerable to bugs you may have had before that your milk could really help with, at a time when medical care might be a bit short thanks to all the people getting swine flu (which luckily you will have had, at least).

Devil's advocate as I said (sorry). I think your idea of a bottle or two a day over the winter was a good plan.

Could you give yourself permission to stop pumping in the way you have been (for nourishment) but say to yourself that if you feel like it (and only if you do) you'll pump a few bottles as a general tonic? Maybe thinking of it as a different kind of thing would give it a symbolic difference that would take some weight off your shoulders?

Pumping for all that time is a really great achievement!

Jennylee Tue 07-Jul-09 21:35:11

I feel the same Qually I will find it hard to stop also, as I know how much better bm is too and I have an 11 month old who won't eat so is nearly exclusively breastfed and breastfeeds on and off all day and night, will only eat a few bites of food, is overwhelming and NOT convenient, I feel guilty as I have been giving her 1-2 onces of formula a day, for the last few days as its just like as if she ate breakfast, as she does not eat. But the thought of stopping fills me with guilt, and I hate pumping, I hate it.

Qally Thu 09-Jul-09 20:28:14

Oh God, that sounds hard! I suppose I so wanted to bf I may idealise how great it must be - there are definite advantages to bottle feeding, even expressing, in terms of sleep and the ability to plan ahead.

I also hadn't really stopped to think about the fact that my own lack of immunity to swine flu was at issue. We all caught Norovirus a few weeks ago, my cousin was visiting and everyone went down like ninepins except for ds, who was fine. I can't but suspect that the antibodies (as well as scrupulous hygiene, obviously) helped there. But obviously I can't manufacture antibodies for him till I've done it for myself.

The answer probably is to only pump first thing, when I have most milk, and give him a breakfast and good night drink with that. But not to try to primarily feed him that way any more - 8 months, almost 9 in fact, is enough!

Thanks for the input, it's genuinely helped.

Jennylee Fri 10-Jul-09 11:38:21

I'm glad, good luck with it and don't feel bad, you have done a great job

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