I’m in a bit of a dilemma about whether I want to continue breastfeeding my seven-month-old baby.
I never thought we would last this long, it’s taken me by surprise how easy breastfeeding has been this time around.
I exclusively pumped for my first child (read more on that plus my pumping tips here) for 20 weeks. Things just didn’t work out and I was desperate to give it a good go and get to six months with my second child. I’m not sure why I went into it with such determination this time. Maybe part of me felt I had failed at something women “should” do for their babies. Either way I think I had put too much pressure on myself. Luckily it worked out, but if it hadn’t a second time around I think I would have been pretty devastated.
Bubba Two has been going great guns on the boob ever since she was a few minutes old.
She’s not exclusively breastfed. She’s had the odd bit of formula here and there since she was two days old. It just took the pressure off me a bit and actually I credit it with helping me continue. I was exhausted and couldn’t have carried on with the cluster feeding as it was. The bottle meant I got six hours of sleep which I badly needed. My supply has never been hit, unlike what the breastapo scare-mongers would have you believe.
I think there’s a lot of myths surrounding breastfeeding. It’s such an emotional subject that I wish there was more realistic support out there. Not just a bombardment of information about how breastfeeding will make your baby a superhero. Most women want to give it a try, you don’t need to sell it to us. Some of these myths can actually contribute to the end of breastfeeding, such as the warning not to mix feed until six weeks. In my experience as long as the bottle was only once in a while and baby was still feeding from me throughout the day, all was fine.
A midwife also warned me not to use Lansinoh Nipple Cream because it wasn’t good for the baby. This comment worried me but the cream was a godsend in the early weeks. And on that subject, they say breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. Well it did for me. We were both getting used to the latch and sometimes getting it wrong. Yes once it’s established it won’t hurt, but it may do a bit in the early weeks when you’re both learning.
My best advice came from YouTube videos showing how to get a good latch. Forums were okay just to read about other people’s experiences but really I’ve learned every mum is different and every baby is different.
Now at seven months I feel ready to start giving up. The trouble is I’m not sure how. I don’t know how to drop day feeds in favour of a bottle as her feeds are a bit all over the places. She’s more of a grazer in the day. It’s at night that she guzzles down milk when she wakes once or twice. I don’t know how to break this cycle. I’ve tried feeding more in the day but she’s so distractible.
I’m not keen on feeding in public anymore as she does this dramatic backflip to see what’s behind her that normally leaves me spraying milk all over the place and totally exposed. She’s desperate to be on the move now so she wriggles all over my lap. It’s like trying to contain a cat that knows you’re about to dunk it in the bath.
So these are the issues I’m weighing up:
Why I like breastfeeding:
It’s simple when she wants a night feed.
It’s easy when she’s teething and just wants comfort.
Washing up bottles is a pain.
No extra baggage when we go out.
She’s getting the health benefits.
It’s free and I need all my spare cash at the moment.
Why I’m considering the switch to bottles:
No more having to plan my outfits around whether I can whip my boobs out at the drop of a hat.
Hubby can do night feeds and I can get a full night of sleep.
I’ll be back at work in January and I don’t want to still be feeding by then.
She can stay with other relatives more frequently giving me and hubby a chance to have a few more dates.
No worries about drinking alcohol (apart from the hangover with kids nightmare).
At the moment I’m really not sure what I’m going to do or how I’m going to do it. In an ideal world I would ditch the day feeds and just feed her at night when she needs it. I’m just not sure how to get to that point right now though.
For the time being I’m in no rush and enjoying the fact we’re still going seven months on. Dramatic backflipping and all.