Planning on breast and bottle feeding. Doable?(42 Posts)
Just wondered if anyone would mind imparting some feeding wisdom on me please.
I'm due my first baby in April (so weird to think it's now this year! ) and had planned to breast feed and also express so DH can do some of the feeds with bottles. I'm hoping that'll give me a break occasionally and give him some extra bonding time with the baby.
Is that doable, realistically? Or is there a whole downside to this plan that I'm not aware of, due to my lack of experience?
Thanks in advance!
it's doable but I'd keep the following in mind:
1. expressing can be hard to get the hang of and is time consuming so I wouldn't put too much pressure on yourself to start doing this immediately you need to establish breastfeeding first
2. you should look into the best time to introduce a bottle - we left it too late and DD would never take a bottle. wasn't until she could drink from a cup that she would drink milk from another other than a boob! equally introducing bottles too early can cause nipple confusion. a friend of mine has managed to establish BFing with her DH doing one expressed feed a night from around 8 weeks I think
3. DP can do lots of things to give you a break and to be able to bond so if expressing doesn't work there are other alternatives.
good luck. our 2nd baby is due in April and will definitely try to get expressing earlier than before if we can.
A friend of mine did this very successfully once breastfeeding was established. She expressed at the same time as her dh fed usually about 11pm. I had lactation failure the first time around so hoping to successfully breastfeed this time. I will introduce an expressed feed at some point though.
Planned to do this with both DC.
DC1 tried to introduce bottle at around 6 weeks and she wouldn't take it. Never took expressed milk, breastfed a year.
DC2 introduced a bottle week one and he happily swapped between breast and bottle. Breastfed for 9 months but became a struggle as he preferred the bottle and it became a battle. By 8 months I was expressing everything as he just wouldn't latch anymore.
I didn't bother expressing with DS2, having done a bit with DS1. Such a faff and BF is tough enough to establish without messing about pumping. Small babies need feeding so often anyway, the concept of a feed can actually be an entire day (and night) on the sofa.
Your DH can do loads of other bonding stuff with your baby, it won't make a difference to their bond.Disclaimer: my approach means dealing with all night feeds, too, so I co-sleep.
I wouldn't start by trying to do this. Baby may well cluster feed and you will have enough to do without expressing. Aim to establish bf first.
I planned to do this too but it really isn't as easy as it sounds unfortunately.
DS wouldn't take a bottle and it was all too much effort. And I always woke when he cried so I was awake anyways.
There are many ways to make sure DH bonds with the baby. For me expressing was not one of them!
Several words of warning.
Expressing is an utter pita. I found it far easier to just feed, then give to dh to settle while i had a break. By the time i'd pissed about sterilising, expressing and freezing dh had fed the bottle and it wasn't really a break. Also expressing isn't as effective as stimulating supply as feeding, so you may find yourself on a downward spiral where you can't express enough for the feed, add formula, reduce your supply further, etc..
Also bottles are far easier for baby than breastfeeding. Some will get the hang of bottles and refuse the breast.
Formula and bottles can also affect your confidence in your supply. Formula may cause your baby to go longer between feeds, and a baby will always take a bottle, even after a full bf. It's that bit of chocolate after a roast dinner, you're full, but it's nice, and there, so you eat it. Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with your milk or supply.
Usually my advice is only start with expressing and bottles, and particularly formula, if you're ok if your baby decides bottles are easier, and you end up bottle feeding. If you really, really want bf to work long term then you need to bf.
You can breast and formula feed without expressing if you like.
Just make sure it's minimal formula the first few weeks but it will allow them to get used to bottle if you need the odd bottle of formula fed and your away.
I would offer One small bottle of formula, 2oz big after the first week. Then give the 2oz bottle once every otehr day. Ie enough baby gets used to bottle, but not enough to fill them so can breastfed soon after also
I mix fed with my first with no problems whatsoever. I did not express either as I can't stand it. I waited a week or so for Bf to establish and then my baby took a bottle of formula from my husband with no issues. We mix fed perfectly for about a year.
However, my second baby was completely
and utterly bottle refusing, even though we followed the same routine. So I think It depends on the baby a lot.
I BF DS for 9 months - he was a bottle refuser AND I could barely express a drop on the odd occasion I did try.
YY to expressing being a right pita.
We did it with DS1 when I was truly desperate for sleep, and it did mean I could roll over and try to go back to sleep while DH took over. However, I wasn't always able to go back to sleep once woken. Also, trying to express enough for that feed was awkward, as it usually took 2-3 pumping sessions in between daytime feeds, and it wasn't always possible if DS1 was being particularly velcro-y. On top of the hassle of washing bottles and pump parts, I don't think it was worth the grief.
We're not bothering this time round with DS2. I feed him as soon as he stirs, and the feeding itself helps me drift back to sleep (thank you magic hormones). DH has bonded beautifully with DS2 in other ways, by cuddling, taking him out in the sling, bathing him, etc. and doesn't miss the feeding part. Plus it's really nice not to have to scrub out bottle parts every day
Genuine question as a first timer here too.... to all those people saying baby refused a bottle, what are you meant to do then if you have no choice but to go back to work?! I was planning on expressing later on as I will be working but what do you if baby won't take it?
It'll probably be fine, but think about this question. Which would be worse: baby refusing bottle, or refusing breast? The answer to that will guide you as to when to introduce a bottle - earlier if you really need DC to take a bottle; later if breast refusal is going to be worse.
FWIW, my DD was mixed fed (breast, expressed, formula) after losing a lot of weight and then not gaining. She switched between all of them easily, but I thought it was a right faff, with the worst of both worlds, and wouldn't recommend it - at least not from the beginning.
MOon - most people have 9months off. After that age baby can survive on breastfeeds just mornings and evenings with food and milk or water in a cup in the day
It may be doable, we planned on doing this but found expressing such a faff that is was easier just to breastfeed and my husband did other stuff with her. He used to take her after a feed in the evening so I could go to bed for a few hours without me having to be alert etc.
I might be wrong but I think for a while you might need to express during the night too - if your DH planned to do a night feed - because of the that are hormones released during night feeds, and missing those could affect your supply? I might have this completely wrong, I just remember something on KellyMom about it. Maybe it's not a hard and fast rule.
But definitely yes to expressing whenever your DH does a feed. And definitely establish breastfeeding first so you know there's no issues with your supply at all.
And yes also - there's lots and lots of other ways for your DH to bond with your baby. He could do bathing, winding, rocking/cuddling to sleep, bathing actually with your baby, baby massage, lots of skin to skin time for the two of them, just lots of time spent cuddling together and being close. It's all bonding experience for you all - feeding is just one tiny part of it all, though it can seem like the hugest thing because of how intimate breastfeeding can feel
I am hoping to do something similar with DS2, due in March. I had problems with BF my first and hope to do it longer this time...one word of advice if you are hoping to express - invest in an electric pump! Manual ones are a nightmare good luck X
Moon- i went back at 6m.
Was starting weaning so nursery made sure she had milk in food, cheese, yoghurt etc. I just fed am and pm. At the beginning we went back to two night feeds rather than 1, but it had settled back to 1 by 9m.
Totally agree with expressing being a PITA. I didn't do it frequently, but on the rare occasions that I needed to leave DD for a few hours it was handy that she'd take a bottle. Took quite a lot of persuading to get her to take one mind! OP I wouldn't bother trying to express until BF is well established, as PP have mentioned. Also, your DH doing "some of the feeds" sounds great in theory, but breastfeeding on demand means that feeds aren't timed and can go on for hours/days, especially in the first few months! Babies don't pay attention to the clock, I thought that I would be feeding every three hours and that was that... not so!
Yes, my bottle refuser just had lots of actual food until i could feed them. We buy vats of yogurt!
But my husband has bonded brilliantly with both DC- whether he could feed them with a bottle or not.
Just to add, the amount of time needed to wash and sterilise the pump, actually pump and get enough milk for a full feed (often over several pumping sessions), sterilise and prepare bottles, wash up again... etc, means that expressing is not always as convenient as you might imagine. Especially if your baby won't give you a chance to pump! Although your DH doing a feed might give you a break you are creating a lot of work for yourself by expressing, when you could just cut out the middle man and feed your baby yourself
That said, it's great if your baby will take a bottle and you can escape for a little while, so don't be put off, just be prepared that it's not as convenient as you might think. I wasn't prepared for that you see!
Good luck with it all
to all those people saying baby refused a bottle, what are you meant to do then if you have no choice but to go back to work?!
I went back at 5 months with a bottle refuser. Managed okay by feeding at lunchtimes when I could, and MIL (who looked after her then) persuading her to take expressed milk from a cup, or even a little from a spoon. Also she started waking/feeding at night more and getting more milk then - which was bloody exhausting! It was easier once we were past 6 months and I knew she was at least getting something to eat in the day.
We did give expressed bottles from 6 weeks though and she was fine with it then - she only started refusing bottles at 4 months. If we do this again, I'll be making sure the baby gets a couple of bottles a week at least so it stays familiar. (But expressing is a total pain and faff, so I would probably do less of it altogether if there was a way to avoid.)
Having a bottle refuser when you go back to work isn't necessarily a problem, so long as baby is over 6 months and on solids.
For either expressed milk or formula, you can see if baby will drink from a cup - slower than a bottle but still doable if childminder / nursery are willing. A doidy or straw cup can work well with bottle refusers. You can also mix the milk in with porridge, fruit, or whatever mushy solids are on the menu. That will keep babies going quite happily during the day.
If you bf immediately before and after work (as well as later in the evening etc.), and feed on demand as normal at weekends, your supply (and baby) should be fine. Be prepared for some extra night feeds, though... that's when they like to make up any shortfall!
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