Week 13 – from breast to formula?

Categories All, First time mom
Milk with candy cane and love heart

I can’t believe that tomorrow, Baby R is three months old. It feels like this huge milestone I’ve been working towards, and now it’s almost here I don’t know what to do. I’ve said from the beginning that I wanted to start transitioning to using formula at three months because I’m going to have to start thinking about baby two… but now it’s crunch time, I’m starting to falter.

If we want another baby, it might take several IVF rounds. It probably will. It took us two and a half years to have our first baby, and three IVF attempts – three fresh, one frozen. Plus I’m not getting any younger. Before I start, I need my periods to return and I know, when you’re breastfeeding, that can take up to a year. This timeline is no good for me. I want to start trying for number two as early as I can, and I’ve got in my head the start of 2021. That’s in less than six months.

My dream would be to get pregnant first go in, say, March 2021, with the baby due by the end of the year before I turn 40 (!!!). I know this fantasy is pretty unlikely, but wouldn’t it be amazing? That way, Baby R would be 18 months and I would have my little family sorted for my big birthday. It’d mean that I’d only be back at work eight months, and then go on mat leave again. Perfect! I’d also be on track for my master plan of selling the house down South when the fixed-term mortgage comes to an end in 2022 and moving up North the following year. I mean, it’s a long shot but it’s possible, right?

Of course, I reckon the likelihood of me getting pregnant when I want is about 20% or less, based the success rate of IVF generally being around 30% and taking into account my age… it also depends on me having three regular periods before I can start IVF, so I kind of need to give up the breastfeeding sooner rather than later. I’m also conscious that I sound like doing IVF again will result in guaranteed success whereas I know that it’s not. Baby R might be our only child – I know that – but I’m not going to dwell on that now. Plus I believe in my heart of hearts it will work again.

Back to formula and I feel really sad about transitioning, even though I’ve found much of the breastfeeding journey difficult. But now I’ve finally cracked it, after so many weeks, I’m gutted about the prospect of winding down. I’m not sure which feed I should drop, either. I know the night feed is the most important for milk supply, but also the one most likely to delay your periods returning. So obviously, that’s the feed I should drop. But should it be the one in the middle of the night, or the last one in the evening? And do I use the frozen expressed breast milk as well, or save it? (But for what?) 

These decisions are so simple but are paralysing me – it’s ridiculous. I’m also worried about getting mastitis, I’m sad about mine and Baby R’s bond being compromised and I feel like I’m ‘giving up’ too soon. I know this is daft, as no one is telling me what to do, and I want this so I can maximise our chances of having another baby. I also don’t want to look back in 10 years’ time I wonder whether stopping breastfeeding sooner might have improved our chances. So moving on to formula is a good thing and is one step closer to fulfilling my goal.

OK, so the decision I’ve made is I will make the last feed of the evening a formula and frozen breast milk combination. The first one will be solely frozen milk, to get Baby R back into the swing of taking from a bottle (she’s not done so in a month). Then I’ll start introducing a bit of formula to the mix. Hopefully this will help Baby R sleep a bit longer as well. Then I’ll have to decide which feed to switch over to next. My gut says the one in the middle of the night, but let’s see.

Other things of note:

  • The weather here has been ridiculous. We ended up sleeping downstairs for two nights because the temperature was like a sauna upstairs!
  • I’ve bitten the bullet and paid for my Level 4 counselling course, which starts mid-September. I’ve been stressing about whether I should do it or not for weeks. But I’ve transferred the money now so it’s happening.
  • I found out my job is safe… for now. It was at risk of redundancy, but by a stroke of luck my department is OK for the time being. This is a huge relief. I can now start enjoying my maternity leave, without the worry of not having a job next year.
  • We went home to Sheffield at the weekend. It was SO good to have a change of scenery. We also discovered Baby R likes to be bounced on an exercise ball to fall asleep. That’s another tool in the toolkit!
Hey, I'm Caroline. Thanks for visiting my site!

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