The boob weaning has begun

In preparation for me going back to work on Monday (yep, it's that close now!), I have started weaning Peyton off the boob.

Yes, the time has come. My goal was always six months and from there I said we'd go with the flow until she, and I, were ready to stop.

To be honest, it's been a joint decision (so far as it can be, given that she can't talk!)

A month or so ago, when she suddenly decided she would quite happily take a bottle again, she wouldn't feed from me before bed. She was really fussy - pulling off, crying, not latching properly - and would only take a bottle of expressed milk. We had this for a few nights before I wondered whether this was her way of starting to wean off the boob. I've read that babies don't usually self wean before 12 months but, let's be honest, all that is just guidelines. Every baby is different, so it could be possible.

I had tried to express milk to keep up for her sudden demand for milk from a bottle, not the source, but I was struggling. Previously, I could express 9oz no bother, in less than 15 minutes. Now, it takes me all of my time just to get 2-3oz. I was worrying that I wouldn't be able to express enough to send with her for the day while I'm at work, as well as being concerned I'd have to spend a massive portion of my day with a breast pump attached to my chest. Not ideal.

Given Peyton's sudden return to the bottle with ease, I decided to try her with some formula. The reason I hadn't tried it previously was because she wouldn't take a bottle, and I was unsure about how she'd have it in a cup (given that they couldn't hold the amount that she'd require, as well as the sterilising element). She had formula for the first few weeks of her life, so I had no qualms about reintroducing it. I'd always said prior to P being born that my goal was to breastfeed her for six months then switch to formula from there.

However, as I've said, when six months came and everything was tootling along nicely, I was happy to follow her lead and go with the flow.

I bought some formula a few weeks ago and spent way longer than I should have done working out how the hell you make it up. Honestly, I take my hat off to mums who formula feed. It's bloody hard work!! The sterilising, the waiting for the kettle to cool, the measuring, then cooling the bottle... I struggle with all that in the middle of the day, I can't imagine trying to do it all in the middle of the night. I have to count out loud how many scoops I'm adding otherwise I lose track of whether I have done five, six or seven. I hate waiting for it to cool, and I can't stand all the washing up it generates. I can't imagine doing dozens of bottles a day for a newborn!!! I know breastfeeding has its challenges but, gosh, this does too.

Anyway, I digress. I started P with just one bottle a day to see how she got on with it. I'd read that some breastfed babies can be particular with the taste, but she guzzled it straight down.

From one bottle, we moved to two. Then to three. Now, the only times I feed her are first thing on on a morning (and before breakfast, depending how early she's woken up that day), and during the night when she wakes up (hoping this will end soon; even though I am only getting up once for 10 minutes, it's 10 minutes I'd rather be snoozing for!)

She's honestly taken to it so well. She doesn't root for the boob like she used to, which is something I was worried about, and it's so much easier feeding her while we are out. She's such a wriggler now - and is so bloody long - it could be difficult when sat at a table to feed her. If we weren't squashed in because of her gangly legs, she'd be flailing them around like Michael Flatley, kicking everything off the table/kicking the table away. On the off chance she did stay still, she would get so easily distracted by a noise, some movement, or someone talking, that she'd just causally pop off my boob and start looking around; leaving my tit on full show to the whole world. Ideal.

We get none of that with a bottle. The nosey Parker can still sit and watch the world go by while guzzling some milk, something my boob didn't allow for.

Part of me feels sad that our breastfeeding journey is nearing its end. Although, I don't know why because it was always going to have to change its path when I went back to work. I suppose going back to work at the end of your maternity leave always seems so far away, and never like a reality, until it's actually upon you.

I'm glad that it hasn't been a traumatic experience for either of us, though. It's been so natural, and so gradual, that I don't feel either of us have really noticed.

In all honesty, if I didn't have to get up and go downstairs in the middle of the night and faff with making a bottle, I'd probably swap that feed out too. Same for the morning. But it's too easy to just whack my boob out and feed her straight away, particularly when I'm still half asleep and don't want to be awake as it is.

For now, though, this is really working for us. Her food intake is upping with every passing day, and now I can see how much milk she actually takes I definitely notice that she is eating more. She's almost clearing her plates now, it's amazing how much she eats!

The other day, for example, she didn't finish any of the bottles that she had. She had 5oz from her morning bottle, 5oz from her afternoon one, and just over 4oz from the bedtime one. And today she had 3oz from her morning one before nursery, 7oz from her afternoon one, and 7oz from her bedtime one.

I feel we're all set now for her starting nursery. I labelled all her bottles and cups with her name stickers and took them in, so we're well and truly set!

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