I'm new to LLL as well as to motherhood! I just had my baby 6 weeks ago and so far have been EBF. My baby was initially in the NICU for a few days during which I pumped colostrum -- when my milk came in, he was able to go home so he only needed 1-2 bottles of supplemental formula in the hospital and otherwise has been getting only breastmilk. He's doing great so far but I have no idea how much to give him in a bottle if I can't be there -- 2-3 oz doesn't seem to be enough.
The other problem I'm having is that when I pump, I only get about 1-2 oz max total. Doesn't seem like much and I'm worried that when I go back to work I won't be able to keep up enough of a stash to keep him EBF.
Any advice? Thanks!!
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby!
The rule of thumb for expressed milk is that you need around 1.5 oz per hour of separation. Maybe a little less when the baby isn't that hungry, maybe a little more when he's in a growth spurt. So if you were gone for an hour or two, a 2-3 oz bottle should be sufficient. I know it's hard to believe that is enough, when you see formula-fed babies sucking down massive bottles! But formula-fed infants tend to eat larger amounts, less often than their breastfed peers. This is probably due to the mechanics of bottlefeeding, as it is so easy to overfeed a baby with a bottle and impossible to do it with the breast.
Getting 1-2 oz when you pump is normal, particularly if you are pumping after nursing, rather than instead of nursing. Some questions for you:
- How long do you have until you return to work?
- What sort of pump are you using and how often are you using it?
- How long will you be separated from your baby during the workday?
- How often will you be able to pump when you're at work?
The answers to these questions can help us figure out if you're on track to have the milk you need, or if you're going to need to adjust your pumping situation.
Thanks so much -- I've got about 4 weeks before I go back. I've got the Hygeia double electric pump and haven't been very regular -- on weekends when my husband is around, I can pump a few times a day. During the week, my baby doesn't let me put him down long enough for me to pump, so I end up waiting until my husband comes home in the evenings to pump. I will probably be gone for 8-10 hours when I go back to work and realistically will only be able to pump once at work on a regular basis (some days may be able to squeeze in a second time).
I think you are going to have some trouble keeping up if you are only going to be pumping once a day over an 8-10 hour separation. Most moms will need to pump at least three times over a separation of that length to maintain their supply. I personally need to pump four times over that length separation! Aside from whether or not one pump could even yield you a day's worth of milk, you really do need the repeated stimulation to tell your body to keep making milk, if baby is not there to nurse.
Can you share your working situation with us, and perhaps we can help you figure out a way to get those needed pumping sessions in?
:ita with the PP. 1 pump session over an 8-10 hour separation is recipe for decreased milk supply. If you were home with your baby, she'd surely be nursing an minimum of 3-4 times during that amount of time, and probably significantly more than that. Let's figure out how to get you more pump time at work!