In less than a fortnight I will be going back to work, more or less full time and right from day one, I've planned the slow move from breastfeeding to bottle feeding in preparation for this time. Unfortunately things never work out quite how you plan them and I stopped feeding Holly rather by surprise on Christmas Eve.
Holly has never had quite the same insatiable appetite as her older sister did and I had noticed that since she started eating solids, Holly had lost interest in her milk a bit. She still drinks plenty of milk but she had dropped from 5 milk feeds down to just 3.
We first introduced Holly to a bottle when she was about 6 weeks old, just for convenience to allow family to feed her when I worked my KIT days and to give Mr. B. some bonding time with her. It took a long time for Holly to accept a bottle because we only ever offered it occasionally. In mid-November I permanently dropped one of Holly's afternoon feeds for a bottle and this caused her schedule to shift a bit as she was fuller in the late afternoon.
Another month later, I dropped her lunchtime feed and once again her schedule changed. Then during mid-December we decided to try and stop Holly from waking in the night for a feed because she was waking out of habit and showing less interest in the breast and more interest in playing with my hair or fiddling with the side of the cot! It was a tricky couple of weeks but now she doesn't cry for milk any more. She still wakes (LOTS of times) during the night but this is normally related to teething or the fact that she is so mobile now that she wakes herself up by banging her head on the cot!
I hadn't planned to drop the last breast feed until this week but in the couple of days before Christmas Holly was really unsettled with her teething pains and was sleeping during the day when she would normally feed. For two days in a row she skipped her morning feed (the only one I was still doing by breast) and I had to try and top her up later in the day.
On Christmas Eve Holly was back to herself and wanted a feed in the morning but when she took to the breast she got very angry - there was no milk there. It surprised me how quickly my milk supply changed, two days of a different schedule and my body had shut down.
At the time I felt a bit miserable because I had hoped to feed Holly right up until she started nursery but I think it was a mixed blessing. Christmas was spent not worrying about my alcohol levels (!) and wearing clothes without boob access! I've packed away all my nursing tops and rediscovered my old wardrobe.
And when I look back on the past 8 months I can feel good that I've given Holly a great start in life and I've even managed to breastfeed for ever so slightly longer than I did with Lara.