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Thread: Help with how much to feed / pump

  1. #1

    Question Help with how much to feed / pump

    Hello all!

    My LO is 6 weeks today. I go back to work in two more weeks, so far I have 60 - 70 ounces in the freezer. My concern is that she is currently feeding every 1 1/2 to 2 hours, today we gave her a bottle. She drank 3.5 oz at first, then spit up a nice portion of what she ate, afterwards she became fussy and we gave her another 1.5 oz. This was ok until she became fussy and we gave her another 1/2 oz. After about 1 1/2 hours she began crying because it was her usual feeding time...I'm worried that I will not be able to produce enough on a day to day basis to sustain her. Is this normal?

    Also, when she feeds she normally takes one breast, and will not feed on the other which makes it hard to maintain my supply. I drink them Mothers milk tea every other day.

    Any suggestions ladies?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default 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.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Help with how much to feed / pump

    I agree, keep your bottles small - 2-3 oz, 4 oz at the max.

    Here are some links that include handouts you can print out to go over with baby's caregiver, as well as additional information on how much to pump and feed:

    Also, even if baby only nurses from one breast at a time usually, you should pump both breasts when pumping. And you may find that if your supply drops, baby will want both breasts. So be sure to keep offering the second breast; if baby doesn't want it she won't nurse. Unlike with the bottle, baby won't overfeed at the breast!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Help with how much to feed / pump

    Thank you mommal and bfwmomof3. I will print off the info for my child care provider so that we can review it together and make sure we are both in agreement with her feeding schedule.

    LO as of today has started taking the second breast! Not for long periods but still better than not nursing at all.

    Thank you for your help!

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