Mixxed feelings for mixed feeding

I've been EBFing my little girl for 6 and a half months now and have just gone back to work. I was intending to BF her for as long as possible and certainly up to 9 months as that falls at the beginning of September and as a teacher I have the summer holidays in a month or so and the thought of making up bottles when I'm at home and have the milk 'on tap' seemed silly. Anyway since going back to work I've found expressing really difficult. My school is a really good one and stress caused by pupils is virtually non existent, but it is still very demanding and I have returned in the middle of report writing season so have huge amounts of work on. Last week I managed to express around 5-7oz each lunchtime and this was given to my daughter the following day, but she was hungry and needed more. On Monday we tried her with some formula and she took it without a problem, so I thought we'd do one bottle of each while I was away from her each day. Then yesterday my pump wasn't working and I couldn't express so today she had less milk (my CM knows how eager I've been to continue BFing so eeked out the milk through the day, bless her). Today I left my pump at home (duh) and again couldn't express, but was so busy throughout the day anyway that I'm not sure I would have had time anyway. So now I'm considering ditching the expressing and just BFing her morning, evening and before bed and giving her 2 lots of formula during the day. In some ways I feel I'm being selfish because I should be able to do this basic thing of feeding her BM, but in other ways I feel it's far more important for her to have enough milk during the day and not have to have it eeked out like we have been doing. It's silly I know because even my fairly militant but oh so lovely BF counsellor at the group I used to go to said to me that if this happened it wouldn't be the end of the world and at the end of the day it's just cow's milk made safe for babies and she's having dairy products anyway, but somehow that doesn't really help. And I also want to BF her at weekends and of course through the summer - can this work out? To be honest I don't even know how much formula she should be having during the day. She's 28 weeks and is on 3 meals a day (ish we're BLWing) and will still have 3 BFs a day. But as I don't know how much BM she takes I have no idea when it comes to the formula. I can't use the 5 x 7oz bottles guide on the packet as I don't know that her other feeds are 7oz and tbh honest that seems like way more than my instinct tells me she takes. Anyway it's just a waffle and an offload really - think it's the general going back to work guilt coupled with the BFing guilt and added to the general being a mother guilt... - but if anyone could help on the amounts of formula I'd be grateful.

mrs_ed

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  • Hello!

    Firstly congrats in getting this far with BF! I am currently going through the hideous process of relactating as I stopped at 2 weeks and desperately regret it, so I know how faffy the pumping process is!

    Secondly you are NOT selfish if you choose to do mixed feeding - there are plenty of women out there who do it and their babies are happy and healthy. There are also plenty of women out there who exclusively FF fir whatever reason and they are not selfish either. Happy baby and Mummy is the most important thing in the world do it really doesn't matter where the milk comes from.

    The issue with not pumping at all during the day is that it may affect your supply and therefore make weekend exclusive feeding a challenge, but if you're only doing 3 feeds then maybe this won't be a big issue as your production will be slowing anyway now I guess! I'm not an expert in any way but just know to relactate I'm pumping every hour even when bubba takes a bottle.

    Thirdly re amount of formula. Best thing to do is try 7 oz bottles and either feed on your normal routine or demand feed and see what she takes. If she drains it consistently add an oz, if she consistently leaves some, reduce it! Simple, but be prepared for some waste at first. My 8 week old just moved onto 6oz bottles and feeds every 4 hours, and he is starting to drain them already so you may be surprised how much she takes!

    HTH

    Hxxx
  • Hi there,

    As renri said, you sound like you are doing such a fab job, and as a teacher too, I completely appreciate how difficult it must be to find the time in the day to pump, I expressed for my LO for 4 months (won't bore but we really struggled with latching so in the end I mix fed and gave him EBM and formula) so also know how laborious pumping is too!!!

    But I think that your body just adapts to what you need, and I don't think you will ruin your supply for losing that afternoon feed in the week but picking up again at w/e's. What I will also say from experience when my LO had latching issues, the more stressed I got about it, the worse it was for my supply, so if you are ultimately less stressed through giving your baby formula in the day as you know she is getting the milk she is needing, then that will help your supply as you're not worrying, if that makes sense?! Feel like I've waffled a bit there!

    Also when the summer hols come, if your supply has diminished a little, I don't think it will take long for it to come back up again, as your body will adapt to the fact that you are wanting to feed throughout the day again. I was always told that it was supply and demand with bfeeding!

    Good luck with what you decide, and although I know it's easy to say, as I spent a whole w/e in tears when I went from EBfeeding to mix feeding and pumping, but you must not feel guilty. Happy baby =happy mummy, and once I had made my decision, it was like a huge weight had been lifted and both myself and LO were much more contented as I wasn't spending my time worrying about feeding!!

    xxxx
  • Hi! I went back to work at 20 weeks with my dd1 but was determined to ebf until 6 months (total working mum guilt for me!) So was also expressing at work. It was a nightmare as you've experienced but I did manage to keep it up for about 3 months - although I did rely on frozen milk that I'd stored whilst on mat leave for the days when it wasn't possible to express enough or at all.

    When she was 7 months I started mix feeding her while I was at work but had no probs with supply dropping to first and last feed in the week and going back to fully bfing on weekends. Your lo is a similar age so I don't think you'll have any issues with supply if you do that and, now she's weaned and having dairy products anyway, why worry about introducing formula? That was my thinking anyway image
  • mrs_ed my situation is EXACTLY the same as yours, except I start back to work in a month and have all the worries and guilt you're talking about. I just know I can't express at work and keep sane, I can't bear the idea of spending more time pumping than working and worrying all the time about amounts produced etc etc. My thinking is that LO will be 9 months by teh time I go back and will be on dairy anyway. I plan to BF in the morning, late afternoon and evening, all week long including weekends. I imagined to FF in week and then EBF at weekends would end up with an endlessly fluctuating milk supply with me and LO never knowing where we stand (he doesn't know it's the weekend!). So I just decided that's what I'll do. Also I gave myself a big pat on the back for EBF for so many months, never even expressing a bottle!!! I think mums feel guilt whatever the situation but you know what? after 9 months I think I can allow myself and my body a few hours a day back for me knowing that it won't do LO any harm whatsoever.
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