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Thread: Returning to work.. how much milk do I need?

  1. #1

    Default Returning to work.. how much milk do I need?

    I am returning to work in 2 weeks and not sure I have enough milk stored up. I have bbeen nursing so I don't know exactly how many oz. my little one gets or needs while I am away. When offered the bottle by my husband 3-4 times a week, he seems to take as much as he is offered - up to 5 oz. But I don't think he drinks that much at each feeding.

    Is there a general rule of thumb to know how many oz. to leave while away? I know he will have about 3 feedings. So I'm thinking b/w 3-5 oz. per feeding? Or is there a way to calculate it based on the number of hours I will be away?

    Also, from reading other posts from working moms, it sounds like a good schedule is tonurse before work, pump on the way to work, 2-3x/s at work, nurse right after work, and pump again 1x/night? I know there are individual differences, but does that sound like a generally good plan?

    Thank you!
    (first time mom to Nico, 3 mo.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Default Re: Returning to work.. how much milk do I need?

    Hi workingmom,

    My girl is 6 mo, and i returned to work when she was two and a half months. I think sending 3 to 5 oz. per feeding sounds about right and is about what she takes per feeding, although her intake does tend to vary. Some days she's a little hungrier than others, usually depending on how long she feeds in the morning and when. It might help to send a little extra if you have it, just in case. I generally send about 18 oz., but she usually goes through 15. My daycare also had me send three feedings worth of frozen milk for them to keep on hand just in case they needed it.

    As for pumping, I'm not pumping as often as you've described, but that might be a good way to get started and see what works for you. I think the right amount of pumping is what gets you the right amount of milk. I generally nurse before work, pump two to three times at work, then nurse after work and any time she wants it up to bedtime. I can usually get enough for the next day of daycare out of pumping twice, and if I pump a third time I can get a little extra for the freezer stash.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    middle of IA

    Default Re: Returning to work.. how much milk do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*tallmadre View Post
    I think the right amount of pumping is what gets you the right amount of milk..
    yep!! hopefully you wn't have to pump as many times as you describe ... because it gets old real fast ... but that's what you do when you have to!

    you really only need enough for the first day in the fridge because you'll pump at work for the second day. but having a bit more than that can be nice as a buffer and for psychological reasons. most people find hteir babies take 1-1.5 oz/hour away, so 8-12 oz for an 8 hour shift. you'll figure things out as you go. what PP suggests sounds good to me too.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Ann Arbor MI

    Default Re: Returning to work.. how much milk do I need?

    Babies will drink whatever you give them from a bottle. A bottle is easy, no work. My mom watched LO for 4 hours once and gave her 13 oz of milk. I almost died! i brought milk over for her freezer to have. but she thawed it and gave it all to her! thank goodness she didn't spit up or not eat it, it would have been wasted. (Grosse alert, she did have an amazing BM, just saying.)

    I had DH give her 2.5 oz bottles at a time, we increased it to 3 oz. she now takes 3.5 oz bottles at a time, every 2-3 hours I am gone. She is 21 weeks on Saturday. I also pump fresh, so sometimes I pump 4 oz in the morning and that's all I leave. I work 3 days a week as a hairdresser and never more than 6 hours at a time. So I pump enough for the next day also. Don't be to hard on yourself or stress to much. I know you want to be prepared, we all did, but it works its self out in the end. It really does. Your gonna do great!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!

    Default Re: Returning to work.. how much milk do I need?

    Don't leave 5 oz bottles. The baby never takes that much from your breast and your bottle feeds should mimic breastfeeding as far as amounts. Make sure bottle portions are 2.5 to 3oz. And NO breastfed babies don't need more as they get older. They will take more. Because bottle ed kids learn to drink until the bottle is gone. But if you keep the amount you give your baby at the rule of thumb which is 1-1.5 oz for every hour away, you will save yourself the trouble of stressing when you think she is eating more than you are making during the day. Eating more as time goes on is a trait of formula fed kids and people assume the same is true for Breastfed babies. But your milk grows and changes with your baby. So the same amount of milk is always the right amount. They generally get 1-3oz per feed. So don't make bottles bigger than 3oz. HTH!

    Way too lazy for formula

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