Partial weaning - are my expectations realistic?

[name_m]Hi[/name_m] everyone! I’d like to ask a question of anyone who has weaned a baby, regarding how long I can realistically expect it to take and whether what I was thinking is likely to work or not.

So our daughter is due at the end of [name_f]May[/name_f] and I will be able to take up to 7 months maternity leave. After that I plan to go back to work, and my boyfriend will start the main chunk of his paternity leave, so he will be home with her during the day for the next 4-5 months. I plan to breastfeed - I know it might not work out but that’s what I’m reckoning on for the moment.

Ideally I’d like to get it so that I can breastfeed her in the morning before work, and she would be all right until I get home again (which would be from approx. 8.50 - 17.10). [name_m]Will[/name_m] it be possible to have her partially weaned and relying on solid food during the day by the age of 7 months, or will my boyfriend probably have to give her a bottle during that time? I would continue to breastfeed for the early mornings, evenings, nights, and maybe more on weekends if that wouldn’t disrupt the routine? Could I start introducing solid foods a little earlier than the recommended 6 months to give her a chance to get used to it? Or is it not even possible to know this and it’ll just depend on when she’s ready?

[name_f]Do[/name_f] you think the best solution would be if I could pump breastmilk at my work? I was wondering if otherwise going for such a long period without breastfeeding could be uncomfortable or could cause my milk to dry up prematurely, evne if she would be OK with solid food during the daytime.

Any advice or guidance much appreciated!

I suppose another option is that my boyfriend could bring her to ‘visit’ me in work and I could feed her there. Reykjavík is very small and it is not far at all, and my workplace is not the sort of place where that would be a major problem, although I don’t have a private office. I think that would be a bit inconvenient for him, though, so probably not the best idea.

You’re going to need to leave either formula for her to drink or expressed breast milk while you are away. My daughter is 6 and a half months, and she still sustains herself on mostly breast milk. I express when I wake up at 5:30, then again at 8:30, 11, and 2:15. I send this milk, along with milk from my stash in the freezer, for her to drink all day at day care.

I am unfamiliar with where you are located, but here in the US, our employer must give us time to express breast milk when we see it as necessary, and give us a private location to do so. I would suggest investing in a good breast pump. It won’t ever be as good as being able to feed your baby, but it will get some of the milk out while you are at work and keep your supply up.

I also suggest that as soon as good breastfeeding is established, you start using your pump, getting used to it, and building up an extra supply in the freezer, if you can. With my first daughter, I was only home with her for 6 weeks, and didn’t build up any type of supply. When I went back to work, my supply dried up rather quickly and I had to introduce formula as a young age. You are so lucky to be able to be home with your little girl for so long! It will be plenty of time to establish your supply and hopefully pump extra!

[name_f]Hope[/name_f] this helps!

She will still be getting most of her nutrition and calories from breastmilk at 7 months. Food before age one is more about learning to eat than it is about nutrition and calories. I think that you will need to plan to give her formula or expressed milk during the day while you are at work. At that age, my son needed a bottle about every four hours during the day. He was enthusiastically eating solids as well. So you might be able to do this with the mid-day office visit, but breastfed babies usually nurse more frequently.

I have no personal experience breastfeeding at all, but I do know some moms who mostly breastfeed and also give some formula. So this is possible, if you are just really not wanting to pump. Have you checked with your work about their breastfeeding/pumping policy? They may have a private area that you can use. I know absolutely nothing about Icelandic law, but this may be legally required as well. As stephaniekneejo mentioned above, it is here.

Thankyou both very much for your advice and sharing your experience! I guess a breast pump is probably the best option then!

I work in a university and they are pretty family-friendly in their policy and outlook. However, it is not originally an office building, it’s quite an old university building, designed as teaching space, so there is not really a private area. I suppose the disabled toilet could work. I don’t know what the law says about it but Icelandic law is generally pretty friendly to parents, so there could be something. There are often empty classrooms but I’m not excited for someone to walk in on that. There is also no office fridge or anything so storage might be tricky - maybe I could get a cool-box or something. Actually, quick googling suggests there is a plethora of cooler bags specifically for storing breastmilk so looks like that won’t be a problem.

Thankyou both again!

I work in an elementary school and I pump once during my lunch break around 11:40. My daughter (who is 7 1/2 months old) eats in the morning at 7:45, then has two bottles at daycare and some baby food, and I feed her again around 3:30. Around 5 months old is when I started to introduce baby food, and now she eats twice a day, but not large amounts. I have found that with her eating food, my milk supply is getting low, but I have a lot stored in the freezer.
Is there a fridge in the lounge where you could store your milk? If not, you can by those cooling blocks that you freeze and keep the milk cool with those. You should look up the laws about breastfeeding and pumping at work in your country. Or talk to a lactation consultant to find out the law. In the US, an employer must provide a sanitary and comfortable place to pump and provide a time. The law says they can’t make us pump in a bathroom. Good luck! My daughter was born [name_f]May[/name_f] 19.

I would just make a sign and use an empty classroom. Your coworkers should become pretty used to it fairly quickly. I would talk with your boss and see what you can work out in terms of pumping or having your daughter come visit to eat since like others have said she will need milk while you’re gone. When you’re on your leave you can also try pumping a lot and building up some extra so if you skip a day here or there you should be all right. You also can try pumping in the morning before you leave for work if pumping at work is very difficult however you probably won’t get the full amount of milk she’ll need and you may be very uncomfortable during the day.
I went back to work when my oldest was 12 weeks. I pumped three times a day at first then twice a day and finally once a day during the nine hours we were apart. When he turned a year I stopped pumping but I continued nursing him when we were together without issue.