So Fletcher is 5 months old and what a wonderful breastfeeding journey we’ve had. However, I have decided the time has come to begin our transition onto formula feeding. I have my reasons for doing this, as I know many people will ask why I’m stopping. I feel extremely proud of myself for going 5 months exclusively breastfeeding (I deserve a gift for giving my husband the easy life to be honest… hint hint, nudge nudge…just kidding). I just wanted to share with you how the transition has been for us and why I chose to do it.
Our Breastfeeding Experience – 5 Months of Boobin’
I cannot express quite how proud I am of how far I made it into our breastfeeding journey. I was always planning on going up to around 6 months. Fletcher was a natural, he was great from day 1 and I am so lucky for that. Admittedly, as I’ve explained in previous blogs, I did my research and feel this also played a big part into how successful we were in the early days. I find it such a beautiful bonding time with Fletcher and he takes great comfort from it. Right from day dot, I decided I only wanted to go 6 months. This was purely down to the fact that I have to return to work when Fletcher is 8/9 months and so I wanted him to be fully accepting of formula, bottles and the fact that mummy isn’t milkin’ anymore! I really didn’t fancy pumping at work and I also don’t like the idea of teeth! Ouch!
We’d always used bottles of expressed milk right from the first few weeks of his life too, this was so that he would take both so that it wasn’t such a shock to him when we did swap to formula and because i did want Scott to be able to feed him too. This didn’t last, it became too much effort to express all the time so Scott got off “scot-free” Ha! As much as I love the idea of Fletcher using me for comfort, I didn’t want to feel tied down by only being able to feed him from the breast. This worked well for us when we did it and he happily feeds from both of us.
Check out my breast feeding articles here:
Starting The Transition – Unexpected Challenges
So I began weaning Fletcher at 4 months because he was showing signs of readiness and we were recommended to do so by his Cystic Fibrosis nurse. Soon after we started weaning Fletcher went off of his milk. It was almost as if he preferred the food over milk. Lunch time was always the worst, he’d never want to feed from me, he was losing patience waiting for the milk let down. He also began the 4 month regression where sleep was broken hugely. He was always such a happy baby and slept like a log, until this point when he began to wake for a feed 3/4 times through the night. I started wondering if perhaps he wasn’t getting enough milk. I tried not to just put it down to this, I also blamed teething (still no signs of any teeth but he’s a miserable git). So I carried on as normal and started to increase his food intake instead. I had the CF dietitian visit and she advised that I gave him 3 meals a day and introduce meat to perhaps fill him up a bit more. This still didn’t change anything.
So I made my own decision to give him a formula feed just before bed, thinking I’d be able to see how much milk he would take. I’ve heard that supposedly it helps babies to sleep for longer stretches at night. I was at the point where I’d try anything, due to lack of sleep and I was getting close to when I wanted to transition to formula eventually anyway. A lot of people would recommend I tried to pacify him in the night with other means than milk, so he would get out of the habit. I tried… but he knew what he wanted and he’d only end up more unhappy if I didn’t. So for a peaceful night I’d just feed him, which made him sleep straight after. I breastfeed these night feeds, for convenience and for all the great sleep inducing hormones that breastfeeding brings.
Now, on the formula tub, it says for his age he should be taking roughly 7 oz per feed. Which can vary dependant on each child. Fletcher would not take any more that 4/5 oz maximum. Majority of the time he’d take 3oz, and just would not take any more than that. I thought to myself, if that’s what he was having from my breast perhaps that’s why he isn’t sleeping well – because he is still hungry a few hours later. Perhaps, because this was what he was used to, he wouldn’t take anymore from the bottle? A few days later he seems to take an extra 1 oz or 2 at a time. Last night he actually managed to take 7 oz! I dream fed him from the breast at around 11pm and he didn’t wake for a feed until 5am! SUCCESS! (P.S.this was a lucky night, following night did not match this haha… hopeful thinking.)
I must say… in my opinion, breastfeeding was definitely easier! I’ve got to give the formula mums credit, because when I first started I literally had no idea! Felt like a right dickhead. Questioning people things like: “well how do you make up a bottle when you’re out and about without a kettle?” “How do you cool the bottle down fast – he’s hungry!?” “How much shall I make?” There was some stupid questions coming out of my mouth, honestly. I wanted to get it right but I wanted it quick! There were many times when I just thought, fuck it, the boob’s ready, I can’t wait for this shit any longer. But, after lots more practice and much advice, I now have the knack and it’s going well.
Where We Are At Now
So, we began the transition about a week and a half ago? Fletcher now has formula at lunch time, (sort of… he still prefers the food) and from there after until bedtime. I then continue to breast feed through the night and the mornings. Eventually I will begin formula feeding in the morning too. I’ve been debating continuing breastfeeding the night feeds… yes, because it’s super convenient and I’m lazy so I don’t want to have to roll out of bed to make a bottle.
We are currently trying to find the right teet size for him. I had vari-flow thinking it would be good because he could control how fast he’d want it to come out, but Fletcher has such a strong suck that he actually finds it too much I think. We tried a size 2 and that was when all of a sudden he took 7 oz instead of 3 or 4. So I think this will be the size that suits him.
All of a sudden Fletcher has also got his appetite back and he’s enjoying his milk again. Yesterday he magically transformed into the content baby I used to have. He’s been super clingy for weeks and weeks but all of a sudden he become super quiet and happy. This is why I am finally writing a blog! I’m actually getting a chance to sit in peace without a whingey baby in my arms – loving it! Please continue like this for a while mate, that would be great.
I believe that changing gradually to formula is the right thing for us to do, I do feel a little bit sad because I adore breastfeeding. I felt like my baby was growing up all of a sudden and I wanted to rewind to having my little newborn, breastfeeding baby again. It’s been a total shock to me as to how much I’ve enjoyed it and I have nothing but admiration to mums who breastfeed for as long as they like, or their child likes. It’s such a beautiful and natural thing and nobody should ever be judged for that. I can honestly say that to begin with it can feel a bit daunting, you are afraid to be judged but this feeling doesn’t last and I am proud to have made it this far.