(There has been a few more crawls today, but the baby still prefers to commando crawl to get where she wants.)
I went to visit the MACH nurse yesterday - I was tossing up whether or not to go, but decided to in the end so that I could get her weighed and measured, and to ask about her feeding.
When I visited the GP earlier in the week to ask about my back (she believes a disc popped out, struck a nerve and popped back in) and get my flu shot (ouch!), I asked about the baby's feeding - how it's rare to get more than a minute from her, how she pushes and squirms and bites, how she's down to two a day. She gave the same advice that I have gotten from the health direct line and from a few nurses (keep persisting with formula! no cow's milk until after 12 months! she still needs two feeds a day when she is 12 months old!), and suggested I go in and see the nurses again to ask.
The nurse I saw yesterday was lovely.
I explained to her that I was paying particular attention over the last few days so I could describe exactly what was happening. Both mornings after breakfast, the baby would feed for less than 5 seconds on one side (and none on the other). When I tried again an hour later, I got less than 30 seconds on each (and she bit again).
The nurse said that from the sound of it, the baby is trying to tell me to drop another feed.
Which now seems so obvious. But when you've had so many people tell you that they have to have at least two feeds a day at this stage, you can't see it.
The nurse said that our job as parents is to provide babies with the opportunity to eat healthy and nutritious meals, and it us up to them how much they have. She said it's the same with feeding - if you try to force breastfeeding or food, it can turn in to a bigger or worse problem (they can pick up on the pressure and the tension). She said as long as the baby is having milk with breakfast, cheese and yoghurt then she is well and truly covered.
She said that the baby is so close to 12 months old that there is no point in stressing.
She said that the guidelines around cows milk are that babies shouldn't replace a feed with cows milk until 12 months, but there's not a magic line that clicks at midnight on their 365th day. I said that the baby has actually been having cows milk for a long time, as I didn't realise that they weren't meant to have it on their breakfast until after they were 12 months old - the nurse told me that the guidelines are changing and they will be recommending babies have milk in/on stuff from as soon as they start solids.
She also said if I get to 11 or 11.5 months and the night feed is still a struggle, then its okay to switch to cows milk.
It was just such a relief to get some practical advice/understanding. Someone who could see what was working and not working. Seeing the baby, rather than just reading out of a textbook.
Today was the first day the baby didn't have her morning feed.
She is fine.