Moving from breast to bottle

Bub has now moved over fully to formula milk from breast. It happened pretty quickly all in all as my supply went kaput as soon as I introduced a second bottle into our day. I had hoped to keep feeding until nearer my return to work but in the end my body made the decision for me. My supply has been something I’ve struggled with since Bub was about four months old and it got so bad I just wasn’t enjoying feeding him any more. Our night time feedings were taking an age and I was starting to really resent them. But I knew that if I dropped them it’d hit my day time supply too. So after a particularly tough few days I just stopped. Bub’s daddy took over the night wakings, armed with a bottle or two as we didn’t want to refuse Bub milk if he asked for it. I had intended to stop my day time feeds a bit more gently but after the first night it seemed cruel to remind him of what he was missing. So our breastfeeding relationship ended, just like that.

It was initially all plain sailing. He was already used to having a bottle at bedtime and was totally happy to take a bottle in the day. At night he was pretty upset for a few nights but his daddy gave him lots of comfort and cuddles, plus a couple of small bottles of milk if he wanted it, and he was soon fine with that too. My boobs were pretty uncomfortable for about five days but that was bearable and soon stopped.

The one thing I wasn’t sure about was how much formula milk to offer. I had no idea how much milk Bub was taking from me. I read that babies need around a pint (20 fl oz) of milk a day until they are one and knew that at bedtime he usually drank 7 oz. So I decided to offer 7 oz at each of his daytime feeds and see what happened. I hoped that he’d just drink what he needed, baby led weaning style. However I think his desire to suck outweighed his fullness register and so he took it all. (This sounds ominously like my approach to chocolate!) His nappies got super heavy and after about two weeks he got terrible diarrhoea and nappy rash. This lasted for an age and we made repeated trips to the doctor. We can’t be sure but I think that his little system is struggling to digest all the lactose in the milk (formula has much more than breastmilk.) We have been using lactose-free formula for the last three days and the diarrhoea and rash have gone, just like that. I’m going to slowly move back to standard formula and also reduce the size of the feeds to try to keep this from coming back.

I’ve felt really bad at times during this process, particularly when I realised his little body was struggling to cope physically with the transition. Lots of guilt there. But I am glad we made the move when we did. It felt like the right time (for me at least) both physically and emotionally. I also hope we’ve done what we can to make this as gentle as possible for Bub. I feel sad that I won’t get to breastfeed him again as it was a wonderful experience in the main. But I’m really pleased and grateful that I was able to do it for over nine months and would gladly do it all again.


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One Response to “Moving from breast to bottle”

  1. Bye bye to the breast, hello to the bottle | Don't wake the baby! Says:

    […] time around feels rather different to stopping feeding my first. With Bub I kind of felt not breastfeeding was not an option. Even when he was waking me every hour […]

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