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Ellis at 8.5 months

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Such a backlog of these! Ellis is 8 months and a bit now. Another month at home with Dave then he’s starting nursery! Mad!

The thing that’s happened that I haven’t talked about yet is that we’re all done breastfeeding. Breastfeeding and me has been a bit of a weird one this time. With going back to work so early we had to start putting Ellis on bottles quite early, and I think I mentioned that he really didn’t take to it. By the time I went back to work when he was 6.5 months, he was only drinking 20-30ml at a time, maybe twice a day if we were lucky. He did take some milk on his weetabix, but it was nowhere near the 500-600ml babies should be having once weaning is established. So I was still feeding him a lot of times in the night to make up for it.

I had initially planned to get my milk supply down to just morning and evening feeds, but turns out you can’t really feed all the time for 15 hours a day and then not at all for 9. I’d usually start getting really uncomfortable by 3.30pm, and then need to be rushing out of the door at 4pm sharp. Which really isn’t massively professional. So I ended up expressing a bit at lunch time and that was all ok, and we settled into a bit of a routine.

Until Ellis got his teeth. I had absolutely no problems with teeth and breastfeeding with Milo, but Ellis did end up nipping me quite a lot when coming off. Which meant I’d often end up cutting feeds short to the first time he came off. Which started a bit of a vicious circle, my milk supply would be down, which meant more stopping and starting from Ellis, more biting, leading to shorter feeds, less proper feeding etc. Neither or my kids have been ones for long feeds, but by the end there wasn’t really a longish period at all any more, just lots of turning his head right from the start. I was starting to feel quite tense while feeding him, the total opposite of before and eventually I decided it wasn’t worth it any more.

Thankfully he’d been progressively building up his bottle feeding, and was taking decent amount. It’s been a week and a half of not breastfeeding him at all now, and he can easily drink down 200ml in a oner, and is on a pretty reliable schedule of three feeds a day, plus whatever I end up giving him in the night.

I do feel a bit sad thinking about it, because I’d planned on keeping going for much longer. And Ellis will be our last baby, so I know I’ll never be breastfeeding again. And I did love it. I loved having the magical soothing powers, and the quiet time in the evening when I’d settle on our bed for the night time feed. And if I’m being perfectly honest, all the breastfeeding = good, formula = bad messages have ingrained themselves in my brain, even though as a government researcher I know that the evidence is really only solid about the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding in the first six months.

But I’m looking on the plus side. I’d really like him to start sleeping through soon, and knowing he’s already had all the milk he needs during the day will make it a bit easier for me not to start plying him with milk when he wakes in the middle of the night (which is just twice and sometimes even just once, so it’s not that big a stretch). And since I can’t feed him to sleep any more, we can have a proper attempt at getting him to put himself to sleep at bed time, which then hopefully means he can go back to sleep by himself in the middle of the night. Although as I’m writing this, I’ve got him in my arms having just cuddled him to sleep for his morning nap, so we’ll see how much I will follow through on sleep training.

On a more selfish note, no more breastfeeding also means a return of dresses, proper bras and a manageable boob size!

Tldr: I’m not breastfeeding any more. I feel quite sad about it, but it’s ultimately for the good.

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