Extended BFing Question — The Bump
Attachment Parenting

Extended BFing Question

Clearly from my siggy, this is a completely premature question. I'm still wondering though so here goes. Those of you that do extended BFing, how much of the time do you offer the breast and how often do you offer expressed BM?

I ask because I'm EBF. W has never had a bottle. I have a medela harmony (manual) pump that I hate. W will be 6 wks on Monday, and I've read that around 5 or 6 wks you should offer a bottle if you want them to take it. I realize a cup could be offered instead of a bottle. Should I do that? I enjoy BFing and I'm fine with it always being me who is the one to feed him.

When he's older, could a cup of BM still be introduced? But isn't one of the reasons to do extended BFing to have the comfort and closeness of the breast? I'm confused. Please explain how it works. TIA. 

Re: Extended BFing Question

  • I don't really see what a bottle has to do with extended breastfeeding.  You can do extended breastfeeding even if your baby takes a bottle now and then.

    You've only been BFing for 6 weeks, so while you might not mind being the only one to feed him now, think about how you might feel down the road.  It's nice to be able to go to a movie or a nice restaurant with your husband, or have someone take the baby for a couple of hours so you can run errands, go to the gym, etc.

    My daughter refused a bottle because I didn't bother introducing one early enough and as the months went on, it really sucked.  My husband and I couldn't do anything together as just a couple.  We went out for our anniversary and had to hurry home after the meal--when we got there, my MIL who had been watching her said she had refused the bottle and screamed almost the entire time until she fell asleep from exhaustion.  It can really wear on your sanity and your marriage when you can't get away from your baby at all for months and months.  Just my $0.02 from my personal experience.

    Maybe you would like an electric pump better?  

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  • I did not give my daughter a bottle, around 8 months I introduced a regular cup with just a tiny bit of water,  my daughter did great and used a cup regularly at 15-16 months (she did fine with it) I don't think that being the only one to nurse baby is bad, and it doesn't mean you can't do anything, If you want to get out nurse baby before you leave. If you wait you can just offer a cup if you think you will be gone too long. 
    I also had trouble pumping, it was such a pain and because I was staying at home I just ditched and never looked back I am actually very proud to be the  ONLY one who nurses my  daughter it is an amazing feeling that you won't  regret.

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  • imageiris427:

    I don't really see what a bottle has to do with extended breastfeeding.  You can do extended breastfeeding even if your baby takes a bottle now and then.

    You've only been BFing for 6 weeks, so while you might not mind being the only one to feed him now, think about how you might feel down the road.  It's nice to be able to go to a movie or a nice restaurant with your husband, or have someone take the baby for a couple of hours so you can run errands, go to the gym, etc.

    My daughter refused a bottle because I didn't bother introducing one early enough and as the months went on, it really sucked.  My husband and I couldn't do anything together as just a couple.  We went out for our anniversary and had to hurry home after the meal--when we got there, my MIL who had been watching her said she had refused the bottle and screamed almost the entire time until she fell asleep from exhaustion.  It can really wear on your sanity and your marriage when you can't get away from your baby at all for months and months.  Just my $0.02 from my personal experience.

    Maybe you would like an electric pump better?  

    This.  All of this.  My LO was a preemie, and so we were forced to watch him be fed by tubes and then by bottles, so it was nothing less than a miracle that I was ever able to get him to take the breast.  However, I made a mistake.  I stopped using bottles for so long he wouldn't take a bottle anymore.  Now we're dealing with a kiddo who not only won't take a bottle (which is fine because he's 16 months now) he won't take more than a few sips of anything from any cup, and won't hold any cup at all.

    Since you're talking about extended breastfeeding (though I, too, am not sure how it really applies), let me assure you.  When you can't leave your 16 month old alone for more than a few hours because he simply won't stay hydrated without breastfeeding, you'll wish you'd introduced your LO to the idea of drinking from something other than your breast.

    It's awesome that you're breastfeeding.  It's such a great way to bond and pass on immunities.  But remember that your husband, MIL and other family members/friends will want to bond with your baby, and bottle feeding is also a very special way to bond if done properly.

  • I'm not sure I understand exactly what your concerns are.  Are you asking whether your child will learn to drink from a cup if he's never had a bottle? Sure he will.   Just start giving him a cup (or sippy cup) of water with meals around 6 months--or whenever you introduce solids.

     Are you asking if you should pump & have milk available to feed from a bottle or cup in case you want/need someone else to feed him?  That depends on your situation.

    Bottle feeding (of EBM) was something that HAD to happen because I WOH full-time.  DD took bottles when we were separated and nursed when we were together.  Once I stopped having to pump I was elated.  Around 13.5 months I figured that she could drink water & eat solids at daycare then nurse when we were together.  I almost had a pump retirement party!!!!!!

     Now DD only drinks momma milk (& water); and she drinks momma milk straight from the tap.

     

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  • RedZeeRedZee member
    imageAmamsneb:
    imageiris427:

    I don't really see what a bottle has to do with extended breastfeeding.  You can do extended breastfeeding even if your baby takes a bottle now and then.

    You've only been BFing for 6 weeks, so while you might not mind being the only one to feed him now, think about how you might feel down the road.  It's nice to be able to go to a movie or a nice restaurant with your husband, or have someone take the baby for a couple of hours so you can run errands, go to the gym, etc.

    My daughter refused a bottle because I didn't bother introducing one early enough and as the months went on, it really sucked.  My husband and I couldn't do anything together as just a couple.  We went out for our anniversary and had to hurry home after the meal--when we got there, my MIL who had been watching her said she had refused the bottle and screamed almost the entire time until she fell asleep from exhaustion.  It can really wear on your sanity and your marriage when you can't get away from your baby at all for months and months.  Just my $0.02 from my personal experience.

    Maybe you would like an electric pump better?  

    This.  All of this.  My LO was a preemie, and so we were forced to watch him be fed by tubes and then by bottles, so it was nothing less than a miracle that I was ever able to get him to take the breast.  However, I made a mistake.  I stopped using bottles for so long he wouldn't take a bottle anymore.  Now we're dealing with a kiddo who not only won't take a bottle (which is fine because he's 16 months now) he won't take more than a few sips of anything from any cup, and won't hold any cup at all.

    Since you're talking about extended breastfeeding (though I, too, am not sure how it really applies), let me assure you.  When you can't leave your 16 month old alone for more than a few hours because he simply won't stay hydrated without breastfeeding, you'll wish you'd introduced your LO to the idea of drinking from something other than your breast.

    It's awesome that you're breastfeeding.  It's such a great way to bond and pass on immunities.  But remember that your husband, MIL and other family members/friends will want to bond with your baby, and bottle feeding is also a very special way to bond if done properly.

    I agree with these posters. I'm home with DD now (she's 6 months) and I EBF. Pumping is not my favorite activity, but I try to have a small stash in the freezer. DD gets a bottle pretty much just once a week, occassionally a bit more.

    The thing is, as much as you love you kid and being with your kid, there are going to be times when you just want to be by yourself for a little while - or you will NEED to go somewhere without LO. What happens if you go to a wedding? Or out with friends? A haircut? What happens if you're sick and need some extra sleep? While it's nice to think you'll schedule your life around a feeding schedule, it's not really practical (and I'm not convinced I think it's healthy for a kid to think the whole world revolves around when he/she is hungry) and anyway you can't always predict what will happen. Last night I left DD with my ILs for 2 hours and left BM but was sure she wouldn't be hungry in that time. DD got hungry, grabbed at the bottle and drank it all. So you just never know.

    What I'm learning is that as much as I want to do it all and have endless patience and be endlessly available to my daughter, there are times when you just need to feel like you or have adult time or take care of yourself. And that's not selfish. You probably can't spend 24/7 with any other person you know. Taking little bits of time re-energizes you so that you have the patience when you need it. And I also really believe that it's important for babies to spend time with other caretakers so they are comfortable with their dads, grandparents, whoever.

    All that said, you must be doing really great if at 6 weeks you don't feel like you need the bottle. Great job! That's a big accomplishment, IMO.

         
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  • Thanks for your comments.I HATE my manual pump and we can't really afford an electric one from the prices I've seen. I SAH so don't I have to pump. Since the time to intro a bottle is here, I'm really not sure what to do. I guess I was hoping someone would say " I BFed until he was two, never used a bottle, it went great, and  we're both really happy."

    So I guess I'll pump some, and offer a bottle. Just in case right?

    ::off to BFing board to figure this out now::

  • imagekimeve:

    Thanks for your comments.I HATE my manual pump and we can't really afford an electric one from the prices I've seen. I SAH so don't I have to pump. Since the time to intro a bottle is here, I'm really not sure what to do. I guess I was hoping someone would say " I BFed until he was two, never used a bottle, it went great, and  we're both really happy."

    So I guess I'll pump some, and offer a bottle. Just in case right?

    ::off to BFing board to figure this out now::

    Uhhhhh... This is exactly what I said!!! I disagree with people thinking you won't be able to get any time alone if you don't give a bottle, I get alone time alot! I did when she was a baby as well. My daughter is almost two and nursing wonderfully no signs of stopping anytime soon. And We are both really happy, like in my previous post I said I am very proud of the fact that I  have only nursed my daughter  and she has bonded great with other family members food  isn't the only way to bond and it is better if baby learns to  bond other ways other than just with food!  

     

     

    imagerosiemomma:
    I did not give my daughter a bottle, around 8 months I introduced a regular cup with just a tiny bit of water,  my daughter did great and used a cup regularly at 15-16 months (she did fine with it) I don't think that being the only one to nurse baby is bad, and it doesn't mean you can't do anything, If you want to get out nurse baby before you leave. If you wait you can just offer a cup if you think you will be gone too long. 
    I also had trouble pumping, it was such a pain and because I was staying at home I just ditched and never looked back I am actually very proud to be the  ONLY one who nurses my  daughter it is an amazing feeling that you won't  regret.

    image

    Little Rose is 2 1/2.
  • imagekimeve:

    Thanks for your comments.I HATE my manual pump and we can't really afford an electric one from the prices I've seen. I SAH so don't I have to pump. Since the time to intro a bottle is here, I'm really not sure what to do. I guess I was hoping someone would say " I BFed until he was two, never used a bottle, it went great, and  we're both really happy."

    So I guess I'll pump some, and offer a bottle. Just in case right?

    ::off to BFing board to figure this out now::

    Have you looked into renting an electric pump?  They're more efficient than those you can purchase, and sometimes, insurance will cover the cost because breast milk can reduce their costs by keeping kid healthy. 

    Also, I will say that while it's sometimes slightly inconvenient to not be able to give my bear cub a sippy cup, I L.O.V.E. breastfeeding him and wouldn't give it up for the world.  We are both happy with the arrangement, and he's more content and secure than many kids his age.  I'm just saying that it's not a bad idea to give him the opportunity to learn to do it another way.

    Oh, and if you haven't yet learned how to manually express, it's an excellent skill to have.  Some say it works better than a manual pump.

    Best of luck to you! 

  • imagekimeve:

    Thanks for your comments.I HATE my manual pump and we can't really afford an electric one from the prices I've seen. I SAH so don't I have to pump. Since the time to intro a bottle is here, I'm really not sure what to do. I guess I was hoping someone would say " I BFed until he was two, never used a bottle, it went great, and  we're both really happy."

    So I guess I'll pump some, and offer a bottle. Just in case right?

    ::off to BFing board to figure this out now::

    It is a common misunderstanding that EBF involves bottles. EBF technically (at least in the US) means BFing after 1 year but at that time the baby most often only BF nights and morning. I EBF and WOH full time so I ditched the pump at 11 months. This works great for us now. Remember your body is amazing at adjusting to your baby's needs.

    Electric pumps are very expensive but look into buying one secondhand f.eks on Ebay. I am for example selling my Ameda Purely Yours (probably not the one you want though because it is a super powerful double pump mainly for FT working mothers) for around 80$ where I bought it for around 200$ originally (I bought it new in box but from a mom who never got to use it). Note that they don't recommend to share breast pumps, especially not Medelas, but Ameda is a closed system so you can buy a second hand one without much concern (just sterilize it with rubbing alcohol).  

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  • imagerosiemomma:
    imagekimeve:

    Thanks for your comments.I HATE my manual pump and we can't really afford an electric one from the prices I've seen. I SAH so don't I have to pump. Since the time to intro a bottle is here, I'm really not sure what to do. I guess I was hoping someone would say " I BFed until he was two, never used a bottle, it went great, and  we're both really happy."

    So I guess I'll pump some, and offer a bottle. Just in case right?

    ::off to BFing board to figure this out now::

    Uhhhhh... This is exactly what I said!!! I disagree with people thinking you won't be able to get any time alone if you don't give a bottle, I get alone time alot! I did when she was a baby as well. My daughter is almost two and nursing wonderfully no signs of stopping anytime soon. And We are both really happy, like in my previous post I said I am very proud of the fact that I  have only nursed my daughter  and she has bonded great with other family members food  isn't the only way to bond and it is better if baby learns to  bond other ways other than just with food!  

     

     

    imagerosiemomma:
    I did not give my daughter a bottle, around 8 months I introduced a regular cup with just a tiny bit of water,  my daughter did great and used a cup regularly at 15-16 months (she did fine with it) I don't think that being the only one to nurse baby is bad, and it doesn't mean you can't do anything, If you want to get out nurse baby before you leave. If you wait you can just offer a cup if you think you will be gone too long. 
    I also had trouble pumping, it was such a pain and because I was staying at home I just ditched and never looked back I am actually very proud to be the  ONLY one who nurses my  daughter it is an amazing feeling that you won't  regret.

    Sorry. I got overwhelmed with the other responses. I just realized this morning if I'm going to get him to take a bottle, I've got to start like now. The pressure of a deadline I guess. I want to do it your way and I think I can. When I was little my parents never went off and left me; we always did whatever they did. That's how DH want to do with our family now. I guess I need to think about it more.

  • Gee.  I never thought of the ability to go out to a movie once in a blue moon for the sake of my marriage as wanting to "go off and leave" my kid, but to each their own, I guess.  

    ETA: If you'd spent the first year of your child's life terrified to leave the house or let family visit you except for doctors appointments because he was too vulnerable to be exposed to people who *might* be sick, you might understand how upsetting it is for you to imply that I want to "go off and leave" my kid.  I get that you don't have that perspective, but your comment did come off as a little sanctimomious, like you're better than those who choose to take time for themselves every now and then.  Getting a little time alone and alone with my husband makes me a better wife and mommy, and I think you'll find that to be true later on as well.

  • I agree that it will benefit you to have your LO take a bottle from time to time. PPs offered good examples, but also think of this: I had to have a medical procedure a few months ago that I wasn't able to BF for 24 hours following. DS had to have bottles of expressed milk.

    And, this is more extreme, but I had a trip to the ER this week, I thought I was going to DIE (ha seems over dramatic now, but really, I thought my appendix was bursting or something, and was envisioning surgery and being unconscience and my DH being a single father, but I digress...) anyhow, if any of that had happened, kiddo would've needed something other than my breast, kwim? (And for the record, no organs were exploding, no surgery was needed, and I lived haha). :)


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  • I recommend introducing a bottle every once in a while (like a couple times a week, if you're not having other issues), so that if you NEED to be out of the house (for whatever reason, up to and including an emergency), you can have a stash in the freezer and someone can feed with a bottle.  That said, at 15mo, DD doesn't do bottles any more (hasn't had one since she was 9mo old or so) and it's not a problem since she'll eat solids well, but it makes it hard for me to consider being gone for a full day. 

    Basically, it leaves your options open.

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  • (sorry for the formatting, I'm on my phone) OP - If you don't want to pump and give your baby a bottle, you don't have to. I know several happy toddlers who never had a bottle. They aren't afraid of people or not bonded to their grandparents because they never gave them a bottle. Their mothers are not social outcasts who lost all of their friends. :) Bottles are a wonderful tool for those who need/want them, but they're not for everyone. I used a bottle for one day while I was in a wedding, and we practiced with it three times before the big day. He was about 5.5 months old. We didn't need one before and haven't since. Not every baby will refuse a bottle if you don't start early. Is it possible you'll have to turn down the occasional invitation and plan alone time more carefully before your LO gets good at solids/drinking from a cup? Yep, but I don't think that's the end of the world. Do what feels right for you and your family!
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  • We are still going strong at 20+ mo of BF, and I never gave DS a bottle. Obviously I SAH, so that is an option for us. DH and I still have date nights, they just either involve DS or they are after he has gone to bed... so while they aren't the romantic dinner at a fancy rest. or dinner/movie dates, they are still us being together (which is all I care about)! I figure DS will grow up soon enough, and while we have the rest of our lives (God willing) to go out on dates, DS will only be little for a few years. Also when they've started solids and are taking a decent amount (for us that was around 15 mo), they won't want/need to BF all.the.time, so planning outings w/out your DS is easier.

     I did pump almost daily (with a hand pump) for several months to have an emergency stash, but we never used it. DS would take water from a cup at around 5 mo (though not very well!), but he never would take BM. You can go either way... no bottle or bottle, and still have a wonderful/successful/extended- BF relationship!! :) Just don't think you absolutely have to give a bottle.

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  • imagerosiemomma:

    Uhhhhh... This is exactly what I said!!! I disagree with people thinking you won't be able to get any time alone if you don't give a bottle, I get alone time alot! I did when she was a baby as well. My daughter is almost two and nursing wonderfully no signs of stopping anytime soon. And We are both really happy, like in my previous post I said I am very proud of the fact that I  have only nursed my daughter  and she has bonded great with other family members food  isn't the only way to bond and it is better if baby learns to  bond other ways other than just with food! 

    I just don't think it's realistic to expect that you will ALWAYS be able to nurse, leave home, do whatever you're out doing, and get back within one and a half to two hours.  Which is how often DD nursed at that point.  I could go out repeatedly, but for about an hour at a time on that sort of schedule.  Once she got older and would go three hours without nursing, it was MUCH easier.  But in the early days, it really depends on what the needs of the baby and the needs of the mom are.

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  • I'm going to add one very good reason to consider introducing a bottle so he's familiar and keeping a freezer stash (at least few meals worth).  What happens if you are in an accident and ok, but have to go to the hospital?  If, even for four or five hours, your son can't be brought to you, is he going to get formula in a bottle (which he's never had either of)?  There are all sorts of reasons why it's possible that you will be separated from your son for more than an hour - intentionally or not - and I was really glad to be prepared for it.
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  • imagebugsmami:

    We are still going strong at 20+ mo of BF, and I never gave DS a bottle. Obviously I SAH, so that is an option for us. DH and I still have date nights, they just either involve DS or they are after he has gone to bed... so while they aren't the romantic dinner at a fancy rest. or dinner/movie dates, they are still us being together (which is all I care about)! I figure DS will grow up soon enough, and while we have the rest of our lives (God willing) to go out on dates, DS will only be little for a few years. Also when they've started solids and are taking a decent amount (for us that was around 15 mo), they won't want/need to BF all.the.time, so planning outings w/out your DS is easier.

     I did pump almost daily (with a hand pump) for several months to have an emergency stash, but we never used it. DS would take water from a cup at around 5 mo (though not very well!), but he never would take BM. You can go either way... no bottle or bottle, and still have a wonderful/successful/extended- BF relationship!! :) Just don't think you absolutely have to give a bottle.

    Well, I basically said this on another thread and was flamed pretty hard here for it, but I never give DD a bottle (we actually introduced one at 2 weeks; she didn't ever take one. I was nursed until I was 3, as was my sister. My mom didn't really leave us too much until we were not nursing that much at 18+ months, and I plan to do something similar. I also agree with PP that my parents just did whatever they were going to do, only with us, and that your family can find other ways to bond with LO than by feeding (until solids, anyway). My DH has the best relationship with DD, and he's never fed her a bottle! I'm very happy with the way things turned out. 

  • imageAmamsneb:

    Gee.  I never thought of the ability to go out to a movie once in a blue moon for the sake of my marriage as wanting to "go off and leave" my kid, but to each their own, I guess.  

    ETA: If you'd spent the first year of your child's life terrified to leave the house or let family visit you except for doctors appointments because he was too vulnerable to be exposed to people who *might* be sick, you might understand how upsetting it is for you to imply that I want to "go off and leave" my kid.  I get that you don't have that perspective, but your comment did come off as a little sanctimomious, like you're better than those who choose to take time for themselves every now and then.  Getting a little time alone and alone with my husband makes me a better wife and mommy, and I think you'll find that to be true later on as well.

    I truly did not mean for it to sound that way. I agree that time alone is beneficial. I'm still trying to figure all of this out, and I'm sorry if I worded it wrong.

    It's good to read different perspectives!

  • RedZeeRedZee member

    OP: I don't think anyone really LIKES pumping. I have a manual pump and a Medela PISA (had a job lined up but funding fell through) and I don't love using either. That said, I only pump a couple of times a week (sometimes less). It just does give you more options.

    I wouldn't go get a fancier pump. And I wouldn't freak out about the 5 or 6 week deadline. For now, just work on having a normal supply, maybe pump when you're engorged a couple of times, and you can introduce a bottle when you feel less overwhelmed. While it always feels like there are rules and things we "must" do by certain times, you really just have to do what works for your family and what feels right to you and not worry about what the rest of the world thinks.

         
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  • I breastfeed my son till he was 2. i fed him till he didnt want to anymore and he moved to the next breast when and if he wanted to. if you enjoy breastfeeding him than you dont have to offer a bottle if you dont want to. i didnt offer a sippy cup till he was around 7 months and that had water in it. of course when he is older you can offer him breast milk in the cup.
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  • imagekimeve:

    I guess I was hoping someone would say " I BFed until he was two, never used a bottle, it went great, and  we're both really happy."

    Close....

    I BF DD until she self-weaned the week after she turned three. We gave her bottles starting at 4 weeks, but she refused them from 4mos on. She was fine when I was gone, not pissed off or anything, but she would just wait and then nurse when we were back together. It went great and we're both really happy (both then and now). Big Smile

    I had a sizable emergency stash which I gave to a couple different mamas who needed it in my area. She never would drink it from a sippie or open cup- she laughed at me when I tried, lol.

    I know it seems like a huge thing you have to think about right now, but it's not worth stressing over. If he takes a bottle when you want him to then great, if not then you'll figure out a way to deal with it when the time comes. FTR, we've always done "family dates" instead of the popular "date night" so finding time to stay connected as a couple wasn't an issue. One of us would strap her on our back and we'd go hiking, to a street fair, museum, whatever and we still do. She's plenty stimulated without us having to actively engage her, and we could have our own conversations without really having to worry about her (one benefit of AP is being closely in tune with your child, yay! as opposed to some family members I have who have no real clue the state of their children unless they are focused on them 100%.). Instead of worrying about a sitter, pumping, DD's routine, etc we could just tend to her needs when they arose and let her soak in her surroundings the rest of the time.

  • I only pump the first year and only while DD and I are apart. So I pumped while working so DD had bm at daycare. I introduced a bottle around 4 weeks with both because I knew I was going back to work. DD1 nursed to 3 years, and I just nursed her after 1 year. If she got milk in a cup, it was cows milk. I'm doing the same with DD2.
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  • Not sure if you are still reading this but here is what I did. I ended up in the hospital at 11 days post partum with a retained placenta. DD stayed with me but I had a D&C and had to pump and dump for 24 hours (I only did it for 12 though) I was out of state so it wouldn't have done me any good if I had had a stash...she had no problem with the bottle at all but then she didn't have another one until we started trying @ 2 months and she wouldn't take it. My hubby wasn't patient enough after work and DD was usually tired at that point I had to have a friend come and do it for me and it took about 3

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  • Not sure what happened but here is the rest of it (when I edit the whole story is there but ikt doesn't show up in the final post) I had to have a friend come and do it for me and it took about 3

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  • I imagine what's right and how it works is different for each mom/baby BFing pair. 

    DD simply won't drink expressed milk anymore. She's never taken it from a cup and started refusing bottles sometime around 10 or 11 months. So if I can't be around she doesn't nurse and is fine with just solids. When I am around she asks to nurse when she wants to nurse. (Generally 4-6 times in a 24 hours period, more if she's teething.)

    With that said, I don't know if I would have wanted to go this long if she never took a bottle. There were definitely times before she was ready to go long stretches without BFing (before solids became her primary diet) that I needed or wanted to be away. Her refusing a bottle would have made that quite difficult. 

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    Expecting #3, EDD 1.29.18

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  • You could pump and offer expressed milk if you want I guess.  I never did.  I know per the board I don't quite qualify for extended since I only BFd DD1 for 20 months, but we just did the actual nursing, no pumping.  We offered cow's milk starting around 10 months but she never liked it and didn't drink much of it.  

    I just offered cow's milk to DD2 for the first time today, she is turning 1 in three weeks and will start daycare then.  I plan on BFing in the morning, evening, night and have them offer cow's milk at daycare, and hopefully wean around 2.   

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