Re: Help with how much to feed / pump
Welcome to the forum!
The average feeding for a breastfed baby is 2-4 oz. That's why breastfed babies feed frequently- frequency compensates for the small size of the average feeding. During separations, most babies need around 1.5 oz of milk per hour, and it's often best to break that milk down into small bottles of 2-3 oz, with some 1 oz "chaser" bottles thrown into the mix. Breaking down the milk into small portions means that your daycare provider will need to pause the feeding in order to reach for the chaser bottle, giving baby a chance to assess whether or not she is really hungry and resulting in less chance of overfeeding.
But wait, you're thinking, I just gave my baby 3.5 oz, and then another 1.5, and then another 0.5- that's 5.5 oz in the space of a single hour, and she was acting hungry the whole time! Are you saying that's too much? Well, yes, I am. But don't feel alone in making that mistake- I once fed my 3 week old daughter 7 oz (!!!!) in the space of an hour, after which she spit at least 5 oz back up. It's so easy to do, because babies love to suck and the bottle delivers milk at a very different pace from the breast. When a baby is sucking on a bottle, that bottle is delivering a constant flow of milk regardless of whether the baby is sucking eagerly for food, or lightly for comfort. At the breast, milk flow slows or even stops when the baby transitions to comfort sucking.
So when you're giving a bottle, try to keep the amount reasonable (2-3 oz). Pause the feeding for a few moments after about every oz of milk. After the bottle is gone, swap in a pacifier so baby can get her comfort sucking done without also overeating. And when the bottles are being given, have someone other than you do the feeding. In fact, it's often best if you're not even in the house- that way baby isn't upset because mom is RIGHT THERE but still not giving the baby her favorite thing. And finally, make sure that your daycare provider is on board with the normal feeding patterns of a breastfed baby. You want a DCP who understands that the feeds will be small and frequent relative to those taken by a formula-fed baby, and one who is willing to use non-bottle comfort measures (pacifier, holding, rocking, wearing baby in a sling) to keep her happy between those frequent feedings. If you're being told to get your baby on a schedule or to make sure that baby can take a big bottle, it's time for a talk with the DCP.
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