How much to feed a breastfed baby with a bottle

Lauren - posted on 04/15/2009 ( 21 moms have responded )

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I am going back to work & intend on continuing breastfeeding and pumping for when my son's with a sitter, but I am unsure how much he eats each time he nurses... so how do I know how much to feed him without overfeeding him?

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Allison - posted on 04/15/2009

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Kellymom (http://kellymom.com/) has a breastmilk calculator as well as a good article on how to bottlefeed a breastfed baby. Definitely check it out. It really is possible for a baby to over-feed with a bottle and bottle nipples work differently from the breast and instead of baby having to get more milk out if he wants he, the milk is automatically re-loaded when he swallows. It's very easy for a baby to just keep swallowing until it's gone, even if they are not hungry.

In general, babies need 1 oz of milk per hour away from you. So if you're gone 8 hours, you'd leave 8 oz of milk. Babies tummies are small, so you want them to eat only a little bit frequently, so generally not more than 3-4 oz in each bottle, with maybe an "extra" bottle of 2 oz. You don't want to put more than that, as that forces the baby to get used to feeling over-full and can stretch the tummy out (that's why we as adults should also eat 5 smaller meals per day instead of 3 large ones).

Also, to maximize your milk supply and prevent issues with not pumping enough, you want to feed baby right before you leave for work and make sure the caregiver doesn't give a bottle right before you get back, as you'll want him to nurse as soon as you get back to him. Allow him to nurse on demand in the evenings, during the night, and on weekends, as that will keep your supply up and potentially reduce the amount of milk he needs while you're gone during the day. Babies can reverse-cycle, which means they would eat more in the evenings and nights and not as much during the day. This is beneficial for you if you don't like to pump as much or have a hard time pumping a lot.

I went back to work part-time when my first was 6 weeks and full-time when she was 18 weeks. I pumped during the day for her and nursed a ton when I was around (in fact, I had to make sure I used the bathroom at work before going home, because I knew I'd be sitting with her on the couch for at least an hour once I walked in the door - and she was very demanding we nurse immediately!). But it worked out really well....I stopped pumping at work when she was 9 months, had enough in the freezer for another month, and by that time she wasn't needing a bottle at all while I was gone. She continued to nurse until age 3.

Good luck!

Emily - posted on 04/18/2009

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Lauren,



This is what I found about IN state law:



2008 Ind. Acts, P.L. 13 provides that state and political subdivisions shall provide for reasonable paid breaks for an employee to express breast milk for her infant, make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express breast milk in private and make reasonable efforts to provide for a refrigerator to keep breast milk that has been expressed. The law also provides that employers with more than 25 employees must provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, where an employee can express the employee's breast milk in private and if possible to provide a refrigerator for storing breast milk that has been expressed. (2008 SB 219)



Glad I could help, hope going back to work goes well for you. I am going back in June and definitely not looking forward to it, I don't want to leave my daughter : (

Erica - posted on 04/18/2009

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my lactation consultant also my nirse practioner told me to start at 3oz dont give him any more then5, at his 2month visit i told her he was eating a 4oz bottle when given a bottle and still nursung after ward. he is 2.5 months old and usually eats about 5oz bottle when given and I also figured that he gets around 5 or 6 oz b/c when i pump i pump around 4 or 5 oz on each side i had to cut his feeding back to ever 4 hours b/c he was eating too much

Anne - posted on 04/16/2009

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Hi again-



one of the other mums was concerned that the teats of bottles are so different from the breast that the baby might take too much.  I use breastflow bottles www.breastflow.co.uk and these only release milk into the teat if the baby requests it.  This should help prevent over feeding - but in my experience it doesn't seem to happen anyway.



Best of Luck!



 

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Lauren - posted on 04/16/2009

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are you serious? then I feel a million times better about going back to work. I didn't see how they could deny me little breaks considering anyone can take constant smoke breaks!! thanks a bunch

Emily - posted on 04/16/2009

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I am also from IN and we have state laws about pumping in the workplace, I wanted to know what my rights were before I return to work. Hopefully you have a great employer who won't give you any problems about pumping, but if you run into any problems I can forward you the information...we are entitled to a room to pump in, a place to store our milk and designated breaks to do it.

Roseanne - posted on 04/16/2009

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LOL i bought a bottle boob shaped thing and my son (now 4yrs old) would not entertain it one bit...bit annoying at it was blooming expensive.



But yes i'd get ounce freezer cube trays so you've ounce boobie milk  ice cubes(easier for storage and measuring for bottles or food) and make up 8 ouce bottles. As others have said he'll stop when he's full. Frozen breast milk can be kept for 6 months.



 

Lauren - posted on 04/16/2009

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i think that the baby will spit the bottle out if he's had enough. i nurse my son and then give him an 8 oz bottle. (he's almost 6 months old) and sometimes he stops at around 7 oz.  you'd think he'd be huge because of this but he's probably a little over 12 lbs now.

Lauren - posted on 04/16/2009

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they make them in the US as well and I've already ordered them to try!! If they don't work then it was still well worth the try!! And they aren't outrageously priced as I figured they would be.

Anne - posted on 04/16/2009

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Am so glad you think it will help!



I hope you can get them sent to where you are.  The other bottles I have used are MAM Ultivent, which aren't quite the same (and easier for the baby to get milk from) but they are also designed for breastfeeding mums and the teat is more like a nipple in the mouth - flatter and textured.  My daughter likes these but I limit their use because like I said - they don't have to work as hard with these ones!  She is happy to feed from me of from a bottle if I'm not there.  Good luck again.



xo

Lauren - posted on 04/16/2009

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ANNE.... YOU ARE A BLESSING!!! thank you a million times over for letting me know that there is a bottle made for us breastfeeding moms who must go back to work. One of the most helpful pieces of info that I've gotten... THANK YOU AGAIN!

Allison - posted on 04/16/2009

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Quoting Anne:



Hi again-






one of the other mums was concerned that the teats of bottles are so different from the breast that the baby might take too much.  I use breastflow bottles www.breastflow.co.uk and these only release milk into the teat if the baby requests it.  This should help prevent over feeding - but in my experience it doesn't seem to happen anyway.





I've not seen these, but based on your description, they sound really great :-) Good to know! Thanks!



WRT pumping instead of nursing during one feeding a day (a previous post): I'm not sure that's a good idea. Pumping is not as efficient as baby nursing, and when you are around you want baby to only get milk from you, and not the bottle. Sometimes babies start to prefer the bottle because it's easier and they have to work less to get fed, but then you'd be stuck exclusively pumping or stopping altogether. Always have someone else feed baby a bottle when you are not present...otherwise, nurse on demand.



WRT pumping at work: Most states have laws requiring you to have time and appropriate space to pump. If you don't pump, you will signal your body to make less milk, which could become a problem over time. You're overproducing now, but your body will regulate itself better as time goes by and will most likely stop that, so I'd still plan on pumping at least twice a day for a while. I also had periods where I needed to pump in the middle of the night (set alarm for 1am) because I was losing my freezer stash and wasn't pumping enough during the day at work. I only needed to do that occassionally, though.

Chelsea - posted on 04/15/2009

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You will not continue to have more than enough unless you pump between feedings (breast-feeding is supply and demand but your body wont catch up with the baby for a little bit longer).  I would say that you should have enough milk for your baby to eat for 2 weeks at daycare so if he has 4 bottles at daycare with 4 oz. in each than he will consume 16 oz. a day and 80 oz. a week.  



So you should store 120 oz. in 4 oz. a bag until you go back to work.  That means pumping 3.5 oz. a day from tomorrow until you go back to work.  This amount of milk will give you enough to provide one frozen bottle a day for 30 days so 6 weeks. This will take some of the stress away from pumping.  I also would STRONGLY recommend doing another pumping session right before a feeding and giving him a bottle for that feeding EVERYDAY.  My daughter took a bottle wonderfully from 4 weeks to 9 weeks but because I only did it a few times a week she rejected it and didn't take anything other than the breast until she turned 5 months old and took a sippy cup.  

Lauren - posted on 04/15/2009

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Carter will be a month old the 20th. I go back to work May 21st full-time unless I figure out a way to go part-time. Currently he nurses very well... a typical nursing for him is 5min minimum and 20min maximum every 3 hours. I have always produced more milk than necessary since the day he was born. I actually already have 18oz of pumped milked stored in the freezer. How much would anyone say that I need to have stored before going back to work? I have a wonderful pump, but pumping gets quite annoying as well as time consuming. I'm also not sure that I will be able to pump every 3-4 hours while @ work so I'm really worried about losing my milk even though I've always had more than enough. I really appreciate all the help!! Yall have been very helpful. THANKS A TON!!!

Christie - posted on 04/15/2009

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My experience (7 kids - 9.75 total years of BF) is that babies rarely overfeed on breast milk. If they do get too much, they will usually spit it back up. (Not attractive, especially when you went to all that work to pump....) I would just leave 2 - 4 ounce bottles for him, and have the sitter feed him on his usual nursing schedule (about every couple of hours?)

Chelsea - posted on 04/15/2009

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My daughter is 7 months old and went into daycare at 5 months old.  She takes a bottle of 3-4oz of breastmilk.  She never takes more than 4oz.  



I would suggest that you pump for a few days at night when he is in bed until you have about 8 oz. of breastmilk.  Then one day instead of breastfeeding him give him a bottle for a feeding.  Do this for a few days o get an average of how much he takes.  Only offer 4 oz. at a time as it's harder for a baby to know when they're full using a bottle because the flow is so fast.



how old is your son?  

Steph - posted on 04/15/2009

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my  daughter is 16 months now but i nursed her for about 10 months. i didn't really give her the bottle that much because i was a stay at home mom. when i would go out i would just fill a bottle with about 6-8 oz. if she didn't drink it all it wasn't that big a deal but at least i new i had a full bottle. you could also try giving her a bottle before you go to work that way you could see how much she would take. good luck.

Steph - posted on 04/15/2009

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my  daughter is 16 months now but i nursed her for about 10 months. i didn't really give her the bottle that much because i was a stay at home mom. when i would go out i would just fill a bottle with about 6-8 oz. if she didn't drink it all it wasn't that big a deal but at least i new i had a full bottle. you could also try giving her a bottle before you go to work that way you could see how much she would take. good luck.

Shannon - posted on 04/15/2009

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How old is he? My son was eating between 3-4 oz at about 3 months. My advice would be to start off high and then adjust your needs as necessary. He will decide on his own when he is finished and if he needs more. I doubt he will need any more than 4 oz a feeding, but if he's a good eater, he may require 5 oz. Also, I noticed that my son ate different amounts at different times of the day, so keep a log for a week or so and that will also give you a better idea.

Anne - posted on 04/15/2009

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Hiya - I doubt very much if he will overfeed - he is used to deciding his own intake being breastfed. 



How old is he?  My daughter is 4 months old and on a good feed takes between 4 & 5 oz.  For just a little drink she takes about 2 - so it varies.  When she was 2 months old it was 1 1/2 - 3 oz a feed.  My advice is to overfill the bottle and trust him to stop when he's had enough.  That's what he does on the breast anyway.



xo

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