My phone rings. “Hi, 3,5 months ago I saw you for breastfeedingproblems. I’ll have to go back to work soon and I have some things I’d like to discuss with you”. I instantly assume I know what she will ask: questions about weaning.
- One can wean completely, but partial weaning is an option too. That way you can combine: breastfeeding evenings and nights, formula in daytime.
- Stopping 1 feed per 4 to 6 days is a safe plan.
‘My job is quite busy so I did not intend to express at work, and do not have a breastpump”. Every mother has a legal right to space and time to feed her baby. But that does not mean that combining breastfeeding and work is easily feasible in every job.
And then the conversation took an unexpected turn.
‘But actually I don’t want to stop breastfeeding now. I have been giving one bottle of formula a day since last week and did not like it at all. But I don’t know how to express and I do not have any stored breastmilk. Can I still choose to continue full breastfeeding?”
I was surprised by this shift in the conversation. She was even more surprised: she had never expected breastfeeding to be enjoyable (apart from healthy). After the trial-periode of the first 2 months she was now really cherishing her time with her daughter. And during our phonecall she discovered that expressing could be more flexible and less stressy than she had thought.
A stock of mothermilk in the freezer is only needed if you do not want to give your baby any formula at all. And expressing at work can be done up to 100% of the required milk and on feedingtimes. But you can also choose to express whenever it suits your agenda. And if there is not 100% you can add some formula. Or express 1 x a day on your days off and use that as a topup.
Breastfeeding need not and should not feel like a chore. Find someone to be creative with you when you don’t see your options. Weaning is but one of many ways to combine work and baby.