Breast milk provides the perfect balance of nutrients for your baby during the first year of his life. If you plan on switching between breastfeeding and bottle feeding, you need to keep a few factors in mind to be successful. With the right approach, you can continue to breastfeed as long as you are willing and able.
1 Breastfeed or pump on a regular basis to keep up your milk supply. Each feeding and pumping session signals to your body to keep making milk. During the first month, you should feed your newborn every two to three hours during the day and every four to five hours at night. These feedings will take 20 to 40 minutes. As he gets older, the length between feedings will get longer, about every three to five hours. You can pump any leftover breast milk after your baby is satisfied. If you miss a feeding, pump that milk.
2 Properly store the expressed breast milk for later use. Pour the milk into a clean bottle and place a nipple and lid on the bottle before placing it in the back of the refrigerator. Use this milk within 5 to 8 days. If you want to freeze the milk, pour it into a clean breast milk bag. Laying the bag flat in the freezer until it’s frozen helps make the storage easier and more streamlined. This milk can be stored for three to six months. Thoroughly cleanse all washable parts of the breast pump after every use and let them air dry.
3 Let others help feed the baby. Teach them how to properly warm up the stored breast milk. Place refrigerated milk in a cup of hot water until the milk feels warm when you sprinkle it on your wrist. Frozen milk should be thawed in the refrigerator the day before and warmed the same way. You can also place the frozen bag in a cup of hot water and change out the water until the milk is warm.
Items you will need
- Breast pump
- Breast milk storage bags
- If you plan to breast and bottle feed your baby, wait to introduce the bottle until at least the third week. You don’t want to cause nipple confusion.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day and maintain a healthy diet to give your baby the best breast milk you can make.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Breastfeeding vs. Bottle Feeding
- American Pregnancy Association: Breastfeeding vs Bottle Feeding
- Mayo Clinic: Breast-Feeding and Pumping: 7 Tips for Success
- La Leche League International: How to Get Your Milk Supply Off to a Good Start
- Kids Health: Breastfeeding FAQs: Pumping
- Mayo Clinic: Breast Milk Storage: Do's and Don'ts
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images