You might remember that I have already talked about my breastfeeding journey over here. But I wanted this post to focus less on the emotional side of feeding and more around what we have done practically over the last twelve months when it comes to getting milk in our little one.
From day one we logged all his feeds, nappies etc onto an app which we continued to use up until he was around 14/15 weeks. About six weeks in we also logged sleeps and expressing info on it. Although we fortunately never needed to use this info for medical purposes, we found it so useful in helping to understand what he might need, what patterns were emerging and when his last poo was!
So from day one it was just boob. Around day four or five my milk came in and the feeds increased. Wilf always fed for a long time, rarely feeding for less than twenty minutes and often longer, sometimes it was over an hour.
At five weeks we introduced expressed milk but I could only express between 20-60ml, a few times a week. It helped to give me a bit of rest time and was also lovely for Dunc to be involved in the feeding. But as I could only express small amounts it was never really enough. I remember once expressing around 120ml and being so proud of myself, then pretty frustrated that Wilf refused to drink even half of this bottle – the only time he had not wanted more!
At eight weeks we started to fall into a lose pattern of feeding upon waking as we didn’t want Wilf to become reliant upon feeding to get to sleep.
At 16 weeks we introduced a proper bedtime routine which was rounded off with a 45 minute boob feed. This was then followed up with a formula dream feed at around 10/11pm. At first this was six ounces but after Wilf cried in such distress one night, Dunc gave him another six ounce bottle which he guzzled. This led us to give him 12 oz every dream feed. I checked with the health visitor and she assured me that as he was a breastfed baby he wouldn’t be able to over feed so he obviously needed a big feed.
Over the weeks and months, Wilf’s day feeds gradually reduced down to more of a structure and by the time Wilf reached six months we also introduced formula feeds during the day. He would have boob when he woke, formula after his morning sleep, boob after midday nap, formula after his afternoon nap, boob at bedtime, formula at dream feed (now back to one bottle) and boob overnight. Formula was always 6oz and he rarely left any.
On occassion he may want another boob feed during the day but as we were starting to introduce food, he rarely wanted more. I was also careful to offer milk before food to ensure he was filling up on the right stuff.
It was also around six months that he started to wake just once during the night. When he started sleeping through until 4am-ish I knew that he could sleep through to that time without needing a feed. So if he woke earlier, say between 2-3am, I would settle him back down and leave him. It only took a couple of weeks of this happening (not even every night), before he properly adjusted to not getting fed early in the night. I stuck to my guns pretty much every night which helped and soon he rarely woke before 4am. He would then feed for 30 minutes on each side (I introduced feeding on both sides at every single feed upon NHS advice at five months) and sleep for an hour or two more until his morning feed.
At around seven to eight months his feeds reduced even further. He had now swapped his midday nap and boob feed with lunch and was down to just boob feeding in the morning, at bedtime and overnight along with his two 6oz bottles mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
By eight months we had decided to start the road to coming off the boob altogether. We started this by first swapping his bedtime boob feed for formula (8oz to keep him fuller for longer) and finishing the dream feed. Dunc was quite upset at this ending as it was his bonding time with Wilf and had done it pretty much every single night since 16 weeks (I could count on one hand the number of dream feeds I had done).
This worked well and he seemed to sleep through till 5am and was then adamant that it was morning time. After a couple of weeks of early starts, out of nowhere he started sleeping right through till 7ish (sometimes 8ish, sometimes 6ish!). We then swapped his morning boob feed for another 8oz bottle and that was it. Breastfeeding was finished at eight and a half months.
We soon dropped his mid-morning bottle as his botttle upon waking, followed by breakfast an hour later was enough to keep him going till food at lunchtime and his afternoon bottle.
Wilf has so far continued to sleep through at night time and now has just his bottle upon waking and his bedtime bottle (which recently went down to 7oz) after dropping his afternoon bottle at around 10 and a half months.
With Wilf turning one next week, we will start to think about switching up the formula for whole milk. We have just introduced vitamin supplements which we put into his bedtime bottle to help him get all the goodness he needs now that his milk consumption is so reduced.
Another thing to note is that we stopped steralising his bottles at around eight months. It was just the most annoying thing and we felt that as they were going through the dishwasher anyway, and as he was now putting anything he could lay his hands on, into his mouth, steralising just didn’t seem as important. But of course you should always only do what you’re comfortable with.
I know this probably isn’t of interest to most, especially as all babies are different, but I really wanted to remember what we did and I know I will look back on this.
I would love to hear of any more feeding experiences so do post links to any in the comments below!