To breast or not to breast that is the question

With my little girl I happily fed (ok not always happily) for 14 months. Other than the food she ate she was solely breastfed. At first it was difficult but I found it became much easier and eventually it was going to be more of a chore for me to try and get her to take a bottle!

When I returned to work at 6 months we had a terrible fight with her to take a bottle of my milk, she just would not have it. I would leave the house so hubby could try, we would wait until she was hungry or she was due a feed and nothing. In the end she would take a cup of my milk from a sippy cup.

My gorgeous girl my first day back at work!
A great achievement really for a 6 month old to have a sippy cup of course but it meant I would feed in the morning before work, express on my lunch and then there would be a wailing Cordelia bounded towards me as I walked through the door every evening. Not particularly helpful when you have the stress of returning to work to deal with!

So now the conundrum, my boy is 4 months old and in about 2 months I will be heading back to work again and handing the reigns over to Mr P. Breastfeeding is going perfectly, other than having to do all the night feeding it’s a doddle to be honest. I don’t have to remember to wash anything, well other than myself every day which can be a chore in itself with two children, I don’t have to remember to take milk out with me when I am out and about and the minute my boy wants feeding it’s all there ready and waiting.

The problem I hear you ask? Is the stress and pressure it puts on me to express at work.

She is exactly how I felt going back to work last time! 
I work in a large manufacturing company in their HR (Human Resources) department, some days you can be so busy you don’t have time to take lunch. I know we should but the reality of the situation is that sometimes you are going from meeting to meeting it’s easier to walk/sit/run and eat. So the idea of trying to squeeze in a half an hour session of expressing plus time to eat to ensure my milk is good, clean and pack away my express gear is not one I’m bang up for.

But then comes the guilt. The classic mummy guilt we feel about everything. The guilt because I could continue feeding but I’m putting my job first. The guilt because I fed his sister for 14 months and I am thinking at 4 months about whether to stop or not. The guilt at how easy it is to feed him and that he is clearly thriving from my milk. What if I change him to formula and his line changes in his growth charts?

I would talk about the what if he gets poorly but I will be honest Cordelia out of all her friends has been the most poorly little girl and she was fed for the longest so I don’t 100% buy into it all.

My current favourite after she was diagnosed with glue ear was the comment in the leaflet we were handed about the condition of how breastfed babies are usually at low risk of getting glue ear! If you had made the decision to formula feed and then a few years later read that you would feel awful but we made the choice to breast feed and for a long enough time and our daughter has glue ear so I don’t think parents should beat themselves up because they don’t really know.

So back to my predicament, we are going to try some formula feeds I think. I have started to run again in the evenings so maybe daddy can try a bit when I’m not here. I had stock piled a freezer drawer of my breast milk but I was poorly about a month after giving birth and it was all used to allow me sleep through the night. See I am even explaining myself to myself now!


There he is the little man!

But my mind is still not made up, I go from thinking it’s my right to express I should have the time, to gosh I will have so much to do it’s going to stress me out!

I’d love to hear what other people have done when they have gone back to work?

Cuddle Fairy
Mummuddlingthrough
The Pramshed
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40 thoughts on “To breast or not to breast that is the question

  1. I’ll have this predicament when I go back to work in September. My son will be 10 months old. So he won’t be taking a lot then but it still plays on my mind. I’ll be watching the comments to this to see what other mums have done! #bloggerclubuk

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  2. I think the main point is that he gets fed and is happy 🙂 It must be hard not to feel the guilt, but try to remember you are going to work indirectly for him to help bring money in.
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂
    Debbie

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  3. The thing with breastfeeding is the most critical part of breastfeeding is at the beginning. I breastfed my first child between 9 and 10 months, and my other two until the age of about 16 mos. I personally would try to stick it out a little longer if you can, Emma as the benefits of breast milk certainly outweighs formula. I know there is the stress involved (and yes, I expressed at work and this is while I worked for stockbrokers on a high stress trading floor, and a few frowned or were either uncomfortable knowing that I was in a room expressing but that was their problem, not mine) but your little one is worth the sacrifice. I don’t regret it and wouldn’t have done it any other way. My opinion is if you can try to at least do it for the first 9 – 12 mos., its worth it. Breastfeeding is no guarantee that your children will be sick/disease free, but there are long term effects that you may never know. My sister in law, has her on company, she is a breastfeeding consultant. She was a full time nurse over the lactation department of a major hospital, and then ventured out with her own company and is high successful in helping new moms with helping them breastfeed. She has been a God Send for so many and am so proud of her. This is an article from her website I just pulled for you that maybe you would like to read on “how long” to breastfeed. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/mar/18/brazil-longer-babies-breastfed-more-achieve-in-life-major-study

    And here is my sister in law’s facebook page (she is my husband’s twin sister :)) for her breastfeeding center: https://www.facebook.com/gulfcoastbreastfeedingcenter/?fref=ts

    (if these links don’t post properly, I will send them to you in a private message on FB).

    LOVE your blog! While I am now 51, it is very nostalgic for me to read and enjoy younger mother’s experiences and if I can add anything, well, you know, advice is cheap!

    Tracy (mother of 3 in Hotlanta, Georgia!)

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  4. I went through just the same going back to work, I started moving to bottles at 4 months with 2nd thanks to the trauma of 1st refussing at 6 months. I got there in the end but it is hard and part of me wasn’t redy to give up feeding either. #BloggerClubUK

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  5. It’s such a shame us mums are made to feel guilty over our decision to breast or not.
    I ebf for 6 weeks before introducing a bottle in the evenings to give me a break and let dad help more and although it was the best thing all round I was frowned upon for doing it! I gave up bf at 7 months old and while it became a pain carrying milk out and about my little boy was no worse off for it!
    I think go with what you think is best for both your son and you xx
    #BloggerClubUK

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  6. It’s so hard – ultimately you have to do what’s best for you. Like you I have so far had an easy ride with breastfeeding. I am lucky as I work for my husband’s business and I can work flexibly so I don’t really need to worry about it disrupting feeding. I can appreciate what a tricky decision it is though. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks – do what is best for you and your little guy! #StayClassyMama

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    1. Thank you! We had another go at formula tonight after the bath but he just goes so crazy he won’t take it. Back to expressing I think and giving that a go!! Thank you for reading xx

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  7. I think you’ve done so well. With both. And should be proud. We still feeding here at 16 months, and my boy has never taken a bottle (we’ve tried) but I free lance so I haven’t had to battle with going back full time. Hope you find a solution that works for all of you. #coolmumclub
    Oh, and Cordelia is my favourite girl’s name 🙂

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x

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    1. Aww thank you!! We were going to call her Cora at first but then I just grew to love Cordelia and she is so a Cordelia haha! Wow 16 months you go mumma! 14 months was enough for me the first time I take my hat off to people who can continue on, it’s not always an easy road! Thank you for stopping by xx

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  8. You are amazing! I EBF my first for 5 1/2 months and then he ended up on formula as my milk just started to disappear and the same thing is happening this time with my daughter. I am sort of glad in a way because I don feel a bit more ‘free’ when I stop breast feeding! I love feeding them but sometimes it is nice to drink what ever I want and let my husband give her a bottle while I sit baby free for a while. I wouldn’t let ‘Mum guilt’ get in your way. if you find it too time consuming and want to quit, well…You have already done a fantastic job for your baby. #stayclassymama

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    1. Thank you!! I know exactly what u mean about feeling free. I do miss being able to go out but I will be honest I’ve never been a big drinker! We are going to see how we get on getting him to take a bottle of my milk first I think as formula is not a winner at the moment xx

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  9. It’s such a hard decision to make and one that puts so much pressure on you. A few months ago I 100% would have encouraged you to continue feeding and would have told you that you would find the time to express etc etc but honestly, now I am preparing to go back to work myself, the thought of having to find time to express, store and transport my milk is taking away the enjoyment of breastfeeding for me. My son will be a year when I go back so I feel less guilty about it and I’d originally only planned to feed for 6 months, so I feel proud I got to a year. I really think that you need to do what is right for you and your family – going back to work after 6 months is hard enough, without the extra pressure. #fortheloveofBLOG

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    1. Thank you! It is hard to go back and I found it so stressful last time but I am a much different mum this time. It sounds silly but I’m much more chilled. We will see how it goes. Good luck with going back to work as well xx

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  10. Ooh that’s a tricky one! I expressed with my youngest for a while but I was a stay at home mum at that point so it wasn’t something we ever had to think about. Good luck with going back to work x #fortheloveofBLOG

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  11. You shouldn’t feel guilty for formula feeding if that’s what works best for you. I don’t think I could have kept up with pumping at work if I’d gone back when my wee one was younger. I went back at 12 months, but she doesn’t feed that much anyway these days, so she just has boob in the morning/night and then water or cow’s milk at nursery. #fortheloveofBLOG

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  12. Oh, I totally understand your dilemma. I went back to work when my eldest was 3 months. It wasn’t what I wanted and I didn’t last long before I gave up and found a job at home. But I digress. What I did was to cut down on BF before I went back to work, then when I went back I’d feed her before I went in the morning and I’d feed her again in the evening when I got home. In the hours in between, she’d have formula. Luckily, I kept feeding during the day on days when I was working from home, and at weekends. When I was able to work permanently from home when she was 5 months, I was able to re-establish full time breastfeeding. Good luck and remember that whatever your decision, you’re making it with the best possible reasons and you’re doing what’s best for you all.
    Nat.x

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    1. I wish I had the choice he will not take to formula at all. Started expressing again and he will take a bottle of my milk so that’s taken a bit of weight off. Thank you for stopping by! xx

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  13. I have just gone through the exact same predicament three weeks ago. I returned to work after 6 months maternity leave. At first I was expressing during lunch, however there were a couple times where a meeting over-ran or I was too busy and had to extend breast-pumping. I wasn’t able to have lunch with my co-workers and started feeling isolated. So I’ve decided, for me, that breastfeeding in the morning and after work (and then of course for the night feeds as well, he still doesn’t sleep through the night) is what is best for my son and I. My son still gets the benefits of breastfeeding and I don’t have to pump during lunch. The first couple days my boobs were very full and I rushed home to feed him but now they have regulated and everyone is happy. So my suggestion would be mixed feeding, but that’s just me! Thanks for sharing with #StayClassyMama!

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    1. Thank you for your suggestion! I am definitely thinking I will give it a try at first and see how I go but I know what you mean about the stress that is what worries me. Nothing ventured, nothing gained though hey haha!!! xx

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  14. You have done so well to breastfeed him for so long, 4 months is a long time and by the time you go back to work, he’ll be 6 months old. I would try to see if you can express at work and see how it goes, but don’t beat yourself up about it if you do need to introduce formula. I found that shortly after 6 months breastfeeding we were down to 3 feeds a day – one in the morning, one before bed and one during the night, so hopefully you can still breastfeed as much as possible. I wish you all the luck with it and returning to work to. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

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  15. Having fed both the youngest Peachicks until 2 & 3 while working I can say if i hadn’t breastfed them when they were still sleeping no more than 3hrs at a time I wouldn’t have survived! I cba with all that cleaning & sterilizing and measuring out formula (they couldn’t have it anyway) but there is no reason why you can’t mix feed – it doens’t have to be one or the other! I would feed first thing before I went and then last thing at night (and then all night) until I finally stopped!

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    1. Wow you are hardcore!! I’m not sure I could have fed much longer with my little girl. It never felt it was doing anything for her by the time we got to 14 months. I’m glad to say the boy is taking bottles of expressed milk so that has made me feel much better. Formula not looking a likely choice at present so I go on haha thank you for stopping by.

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  16. The pressure we feel to breast feed is unreal. We had a real battle to breastfeed (story is on my blog) due to some time in neonatal and it took 8 weeks before I could drop the bottle completely. it was so tough at the time but I don’t regret it at all. Bonus is that now Piglet will happily take a bottle of either expressed or formula if I need to pop out for a few hours. He had his first sleep over at my mums last weekend and ate happily the whole time, and was straight back to breast when I picked him up!

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    1. Wow good work piglet! We were the same after being in neonatal we had to give our boy expressed milk in a bottle to show the amounts he was having so now he will bottle or breast. It’s just when I attempt formula in the bottle that is the problem haha!! xx

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