Today, 09:42 AM
Well, I have experience with returning to work with a baby that wanted to be latched about 23 of every 24 hours a day! Realistically speaking, even when not "cluster feeding" per se, my daughter was nursing--and swallowing milk--about every 45 minutes when I returned to work just before her 5 month birthday. For us, this pattern continued for many, many more months after I returned to work. No way to know how long your baby will want to keep cluster feeding, really, but it's possible it might continue for a bit!
What I chose to do was leave many smaller bottles, for all of the reasons you have mentioned above. I left six 2 oz bottles every day for our 9-9.5 hour separations. That's what tended to work best for us. My mom was a rockstar about paced feedings. She did an excellent job of really making those feedings last so that my daughter had a bottle experience very similar to the nursing experience she had with me. I also purchased a $20 rapid bottle warmer that heated the milk in about a minute, which was faster than my mom could warm the milk under warm water or any other method. So...I'd ask, is there any way you can get more bottles? I really think that will help. Honestly, just in terms of ease of cleaning, pumping, storing, etc, I was happiest having a three day supply of bottles! (Yes, that means I have 20+ bottles! Six for the baby to use that day, six to pump into at work, six waiting to get loaded into my coolers to take to work the next day.)