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undecided about when to stop breastfeeding

(6 Posts)
jazzer2012 Thu 25-Oct-12 22:17:10

Hi, my daughter has just turned ten months old and I am still breastfeeding. I return to work in January as a part-time nurse working one 12.5 hour night shift a week and one 7.5 day shift. I am 45. My daughter loves breastfeeding and is showing no signs of self-weaning, I enjoy it too and we have a lovely bond together, taking our naps together etc. She comes into our bed for feeds and neither me or my Partner have a problem with this.

I would like to be able to breastfeed her until it naturally comes to an end, either if she shows signs of wanting to stop, or when I am ready to stop. Her first birthday is on 21 Dec, I can't really see myself going much beyond a year but at the moment we are both still enjoying the experience. I return to work on the 9th Jan.

Basically I am stressing about returning to work whilst still breastfeeding and having to cope with a stressful job (I know is only part time but a night shift can be hell!) I also still breastfeed her to sleep (which I know is wrong but it is the only way I can get her to go to sleep) She doesn't have any teeth yet either.

I would happily postpone the stopping breastfeeding until after I return to work and wait until me and my baby are ready and do it at our own pace but is this possible? How would my body cope doing a 12.5 night shift (I certainly would not have time to express milk on the shift) . Will I be left feeling really painful or as it is only one night a week would my body adjust? Not too worried about the day shift as she will take a bottle quite happily (has done from about three weeks old) But she still does quite alot of feeding at night and it is that that worries me. Basically, I don't know whether I have to stop breastfeeding or not to return to work or whether I can continue until I/and my baby are ready to stop?

Advice would be appreciated please!

noblegiraffe Thu 25-Oct-12 22:25:21

I went back to work when my DS was a year and by then he was eating enough solids to just need a feed in the morning before I left, then he could last till I got home. It was more 'nice' than needing it to sate hunger.
As we had been cutting down the feeds and increasing the food anyway, I stopped getting that 'full' feeling and certainly wasn't uncomfortable in between. I still had plenty of milk if he wanted a feed and continued till 17 months when we were both ready to give up.

If I were you I'd start to push food more and bf less as your return to work approaches. Cut down the feeding at night too and try to break the feed to sleep cycle - do you have a partner who can help with this? I found if I went in, he wanted feeding, but if my DH went in, he'd settle without.

JollyJackOLantern Thu 25-Oct-12 22:29:41

I'm sure your body will cope just fine. My milk supply really calmed down when Ds was nearing a year. I struggled with mastitis a little around then but I wasn't getting much sleep as I was working ridiculous hours (12+ every day) and I reckon being run down was the major cause rather than missing feeds.

Ds is now 18mo and feeds morning and night. I'm still working.

Lots of people do manage it. It's maybe best not to take the decision now but to see how things go. If you are physically not coping with it then you could decide to stop.

SoozleQ Thu 25-Oct-12 23:14:30

I went back to work full time when DD was 13 months old - she's just turned 2 and I'm still feeding her and now her 2 week old baby sister smile

When I returned to work I fed DD in bed in the morning and in the evening before she went to bed. There were occasions when I would have to work late and so DP would give her cow's milk in a cup before she went to bed. I never had a problem with exploding boobs or reduction in supply on those occasions. That said, DD was sleeping through the night so I hadn't done any night feeds for a very long time. There were also times when DD was less interested and so we might go a day or two of no, or very short, feeds but then she would pick up the pace again a few days later.

If you want to keep feeding, I'd say just see how it goes. We just fell into our routine and everything seemed to work out fine.grin

Good luck.

straighttohellymelly Thu 25-Oct-12 23:21:01

I thought I wouldn't feed beyond about 2. My dd is now 5......still feeds twice a day. I am hoping to stop soon though, as I have been bf for nearly 8 years, I'm nearly 49 and knackered. Enjoy it, they are little for such a short time. I think that once bf is really established then it all gets easier anyway. You could do a couple of feeds a day for years, as I have done, just night-time feeds, or more, and your body will deal with it.

Pyrrah Thu 25-Oct-12 23:31:46

My DD (3.5) still feeds first thing in the morning and when she goes to sleep. If you can you could try starting to spacing feeds gradually now so you have longer gaps between them as that will lessen the severity of engorgement rather than suddenly stopping in January.

Now we are on a basically 12 hourly feeds, and I have no engorgement at all.

Don't feel forced into giving up if you don't want to. I only planned to feed for a year - would have been aghast if anyone had told me I would still be here now - but DD has no interest in giving up and makes it VERY clear. I tried for a bit and gave up as the stress and her anxiety over it was more upsetting than my desire to cut down.

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