Before giving birth I got the question about breast or bottle feeding. I always said – If I’m able to I’d love to breastfeed. I had this image of how amazing it would be and feel. Rainbows and unicorns, glitter and sparkles.
However giving birth to Alfie was a pretty traumatic experience for my body and due to very, very low iron levels my milk production was very slow. The milk was there, just not enough of it and it didn’t really fill up again quick enough after feeds. The midwife said we should top up with formula as Alfie wasn’t gaining weight.
I don’t know if the low production was the reason but I never got that amazing feeling when breastfeeding. Sure, it’s nice and it has gotten better. But no rainbows or unicorns as far as I can see.
So there we were frantically making formula and sterilising bottles left, right and centre. I’m so happy Alfie took the bottle as if it was the boob. What also started happening was his sleeps became longer. Wow! “Why is not everyone formula-feeding their babies?!” I thought.
Very early Alfie started sleeping through the night. Which I was petrified of letting other mums know as I didn’t want to be punched in the face (insert appropriate emoji or gif). We thought we had cracked the code. We knew what no one else knew… or so we thought.
Cue sleep regression at three months.
Oh, erm, gee. Basically what happened was Alfie got ill and realised he didn’t have to sleep in his bed. He could sleep on mum and have unlimited access to boobs.
So that happened, what could I do? Surrender. This is not a battle to try to win, people. Not at 1, 2, 3, 4 aaaand 5am.
After intense feeding periods during the nights my milk production kicked in properly. If Alfie didn’t wake up around the same time every night, I had to get up and pump as it was leaking through everything. It’s also quite painful to have boobs so full of milk it’s shooting out of them.
Things calmed down after a while and Alfie wasn’t needing boob every hour but then his first teeth came through. I was convinced this is the time to stop breastfeeding. I went to Instagram to see what other mums have done in the past and how to stop him from needing the boob at night but also daytime. I basically felt I was done with breastfeeding.
I got great tips such as: remove one breastfeeding meal at a time and swap it for bottle. Eventually your milk just won’t come and he’ll be super frustrated and take the bottle. This is great! But I haven’t really mastered it quite yet.
Another tip for stopping twilight feeds is to have your partner – who doesn’t have the milky boobs – to take all the nighttime wake-ups and just offer the bottle. This is most likely to be better received when there’s no milky boobs around. We tried this for maybe a couple of nights without much luck.
So where are we now? I’d say we’re halfway there. I breastfeed if he needs during the night as it’s just convenient. I also breastfeed the first thing in the morning when he wakes up, again out of convenience. Then once, maybe twice, during the day depending on his mood. And normally for bedtime. So, three sometimes four times a day. And the rest is bottles.
I think in order to be successful in the above weaning both Jack and I need to be more organised and have everything prepared. I think I’m gonna have to sleep in a different room when we do make the full commitment as otherwise Alfie will see me and not give in his fight for his rights to boobies.
Please feel free to share your own baby feeding experience and how you eventually got your nights back, and your boobs if breastfeeding.
Enjoy your day and hopefully you’ll get to sleep well, even if it’s only five minutes at a time.