As my return to work date looms, I have slowly been reducing my breast feeding and switching to formula.
There is a lot of mixed advice out there in terms of the best way to make the switch (non account for the emotional switch – be warned) but the key is to do it slowly so their digestive system gets used to it, and so your boobs don’t explode on the bus to work.
1) Start mixing half breast milk and half formula into each bottle feed, slowly increasing the proportion of formula each time. This is good for babies that have shown a dislike to formula. But it means pumping which is tiresome.
2.Start dropping breast feeds one feed per week starting with the day time feeds. This is what I am doing and it’s working beautifully. I now only feed him at night and early mornings which is lovely. Although I don’t have enough milk to satisfy him entirely so I have to top-up with bottle.
3. Cold turkey! Not advised but a friend has done this as she wanted to max out her breastfeeding to the last minute. She did have to take her pump to work to release the pressure for the first few days, but the body does slowly adjust.
There is no tip for the emotional side of stopping breastfeeding. While not for everyone, and tough/demanding/sore at times, it is a very precious bonding moment.
I only started to enjoy breastfeeding from the second month, simply because the first month was erratic (sometimes hourly feeds) painful (I would grimace while putting on a bra) and stressful (hearing him scream when you are in the shower with shampoo in your left eye means you simply have to feed him dripping wet in a towel and return later) I love it when he makes eye contact and smiles mid-feed (which also happens with the bottle!)
I feel sad not because purely of stopping breastfeeding but because of what it signifies. Being away from my baby for the first time for longer than a few hours. Not being able to see him whenever I want. Missing something like a new sound or movement. It makes my heart feel heavy.
But at the same time, I love my job and feel good about getting my body back. I look forward to bath time and long summer evening walks as the sun is up until past 9pm. I am going to max out quality time with him and that is how I will survive!
Any tips for dealing with return to work blues?