Baby due soon - expressing etc - can you help me to formulate a plan?(10 Posts)
DC3 is due in a couple of weeks.
I was a fairly hardcore extended breastfeeder with DCs1 and 2, neither ever had a bottle, and DC2 didn't even have formula (DC1 had a little in a sippy cups from aged around 10 months).
I found expressing difficult, and left my half hearted attempts to introduce bottles until 4+ months, at which point neither DC would take one, and so I just gave up.
It didn't really matter that I was tied to these tiny babies 24 hours a day; I didn't have much else to do.
Things have now changed. We will have a 3.7 year age gap between DCs 2 & 3. My elder children need more of my time and attention. DC1 in particular has a hobby which I need to take him to and sit in on once a week - timing is non-negotiable, so although we'll only be out of the house for 2 hours, it may well be over a feed time. I suppose I could take that baby, but I'd rather be able to give DC1 my full attention. Occasionally the DCs also have things on in the early evening which might mean me missing the baby's bedtime. And for my own sanity, I'd like to go back to my very part time job (one morning a week) when the baby is 6 to 8 weeks old, and be able to leave her with my mum.
So, my questions are:
What is the earliest that I can reasonably introduce a bottle?
How often do I need to give the baby a bottle to make sure that she keeps taking it?
What is the earliest that I can reasonably start expressing, without messing up my milk supply?
What is a reasonable amount to expect to be able to express per session? I never got much, but I don't know what I should "settle for".
Any tips for better expressing?
Any tips as to which breast pump is best? I might invest in a really good one, although am reluctant to do this straight off in case I really can't express and need to supplement with formula.
Any other useful tips at all?
Thanks in advance!
I'm afraid I'm not sure there is a minimum age to introduce bottles by to make sure they'll take them. Mine had one at birth in SCBU and then fairly regularly in the first few weeks but then still started refusing at around 4 months....
I know many people do mix and match happily, just to say I don't think there are any guarantees.
In the early weeks I struggled to express 30ml but this increased as the weeks passed. I found contrary to all the advice about looking at the baby I got more when distracted eg watching tv. Although no doubt you'll be distracted by your other children anyway!
Hope it all goes well for you.
In answer to your questions (all just IMO!)
- About 2-3 weeks once your milk supply and latch is properly established (though since you're a 3rd time BFer you might find this happens quicker)
- Every day, but even then there are no guarantees, as Imeg says. Some babies accept a bottle no problems (no matter how infrequently), others have one every day and then start to refuse.
- Totally varies from person to person. I generally stopped when the flow became too ridiculously slow to be worth sitting there any more.
- Tips for better expressing: express in the morning, straight after first morning feed. Imagine you are feeding and stroke the side of your breast (helps promote let down). Express somewhere warm. Get a pump which fits properly. Double pump.
- Breast pump: I used the Ameda Lactaline and found it good, though not as good as hospital pumps. It's pricey but it's available second hand (and its a closed system unlike most pumps, so is still hygienic second hand). You could try hiring a hospital grade pump for a few weeks before you commit to buying a pump?
- other useful tips: if you can express loads, stock it up in the freezer. Some bottles are more compatible with BF than others - NUK latex teat is good I believe.
DD1 had one everyday until 3-4mo when she learned to refuse it. It's a myth that if you introduce early enough they won't. I didn't bother with DD2.
Just don't beat yourself up for missing the golden window.
I was never able to express much btw. Some people just don't.
Thanks all, this is helpful. And interesting about "missing the window", as I did assume that this was what I had done with the others, but maybe it would t a be worked anyway.
I am very doubtful that I'm going to be able to express enough to give a bottle every day. It might have to be formula, which makes me a little sad - not that I've any huge issues with it, but just because I EBF the others. But things change and there are other little people to take into account too now. I'll see how I get on, anyway. Really like the idea of hiring a hospital grade pump for a few weeks, then I'll know if it is "just me" or whether a better pump will help. DC1 was in SCBU for a but after birth, and if did manage to express then with the hopsital's pump (albeit that we were only looking for tiny amounts to feed a tiny baby).
Yeah, I think "the window" is a myth - I never tried DS2 with a bottle until well past "the window" (around 12 weeks, IIRC) and he took occasional bottles of EBM no problem, didn't need to have one every day, etc. etc. Tried DS1 considerably earlier and he was having none of it (though happily drank from a cup from about 4.5 months).
DD gagged on even the tiniest of dummies, so I think a bottle would have been impossible.
Two hours should be fine to be out of the house from pretty early. Feed baby before you go whether they're due a feed or not. Alternatively, remember that small babies sleep a lot so baby would likely nap through most of the class while you are with DC1.
Not sure about the whole morning at work. I think if you're going back when baby is only 6-8 weeks your only option is a bottle, and if they refuse then that's a bit difficult. It's not like an older one when you can just give them a sandwich.
From personal experience I would say that expressung doesn't necessarily mess up your supply.
If you express 20-30ml (1oz) each sitting then that's a good start. Think small babies take 4-5oz per feed so if you can work up to expressing that much 4 times a day then you're doing well. 30ml is 2tbsp so won't look like much... Store it in a bottle in the fridge.
Now every time you "miss" a feed because baby has a bottle express at your earliest convenience the same volume (approx) as the baby has taken. This will keep your supply and demand level.
If you want to "increase supply" to stock up the freezer try expressing an extra 1oz first thing and just gradually build up a stock.
Remember if you're adding small amounts of milk together they should be at same temp so ideally you need two or three bottles for your pump.
Express 25ml into bottle A
Store A in fridge
Express 20ml into bottle B
Store B in fridge
When A and B are same temp add them together and wash up B
...and so on
I really like breast milk freezer bags. I freeze 25-100ml (whatever I get 100ml is maximum ever) in them and mix and match for the amount DD might need.
NHS expressing and storage guidelines
I've previously heard on here that there is no evidence for 'the window of opportunity'. Certainly in my experience, I delayed giving DS1 a bottle until he was 10+ weeks and he would go months without having one, but it was never an issue.
For the hobby you could feed DC3 beforehand, and then if it was suitable you could stick them in a sling for the two hours and they'd probably just sleep. For the part time work, if it turned out the baby wouldn't take a bottle (and they may well), there are alternatives you could consider if you/your DM were willing. You could perhaps consider not going back until DC3 is more like 8 wo, as there's a development spurt around 6wo, and I think that's also the point at which your supply is generally established.
Oh, I also meant to say there's a rule of thumb that BF babies have about 1oz an hour so the amount you'd need for a morning away, especially if you were able to feed immediately before and on your return, wouldn't be that high.
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