by Lauren George, Infant/Toddler Specialist & Certified Lactation Counselor
Going back to work or school can be challenging for nursing mothers. Mothers are not sure how many ounces of milk to send in each day, getting baby to take a bottle can be difficult, and finding a provider that understands breastfeeding can be a challenge. Here are some tips to make it go more smoothly.
BREASTFED BABIES DRINK BASED ON CALORIES, NOT VOLUME.
It will be rare that a breastfed baby ever takes an 8 ounce bottle. Typically, divide 24-30 ounces by the number of feeding in a day. So if baby nurses 10 times a day, then each bottle will be roughly 2.4-3 ounces. It is best to send less milk than more milk. You don’t want all that hard work to go down the drain!
TRY TO PUMP EVERY 2-3 HOURS
Finding time to pump at work can also be challenging. I always pumped when I knew my baby would be eating, so every 2-3 hours. The more you take out, the more milk you make!
IT IS BEST TO INTRODUCE A BOTTLE AT HOME BEFORE BABY’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.
Try having someone other than mom introduce a bottle first (around 4 weeks old). Try daily with a few ounces each day. Don’t stress out…some babies will take it just fine and others will take it eventually.
FIND A CAREGIVER THAT SUPPORTS MOTHER-INFANT RELATIONSHIPS
As you interview prospective child care providers, you want a provider that is open to you coming in and nursing whenever you get a chance, supports feeding on demand and not on a schedule, and won’t push you to send in more milk than you know your baby needs. Trust yourself as the expert on your baby, especially when it comes to breastfeeding!
Additional information, including a milk calculator, can be found on www.kellymom.com.
Cover image by Flickr user U.S. Department of Agriculture’s photostream, Creative Commons license.