EBF, Pumping, and Bottles oh my!

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

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If you are exclusively breast/chest feeding (EB/CF) but plan on returning to work and pumping, I highly recommend getting your baby used to a bottle. I read all of this stuff about nipple confusion but quite honestly… I call B.S. Your kid will definitely just become preferential if you EB/CF rather than offering a bottle, or maybe not. I started pumping early because my breasts were very engorged. My husband would give our son a bottle at least once a day, but eventually I got sick of pumping just to replenish the fridge stock and started my freezer stash. This meant that while pumping in the wee hours of the night, I also decided to EB/CF from weeks 4-13. Guess what happened? Josiah refused a bottle for about 6 weeks after I returned to work. One of the best ways to avoid bottle refusal is to offer the bottle to your baby EARLY, within the first 1-2 weeks.

Naturally, I took to the Facebook groups and sought out tips and ideas. None of them really worked. I see a lot of parents asking the same questions today. My son would not eat until I got home from work most days and was nursing a lot during the nighttime. When he started daycare, there were days where he would barely have 4 oz a day. He also would not take a bottle from me, so it made it trickier to get him to take the bottle again.

What are some things that tell you your baby is getting enough?

1. Keep track of your little one’s feedings, even in the wee morning hours. It’s recommended that they nurse 10-15 minutes per breast, 8-12 times a day. I highly recommend the Baby Tracker-Newborn Log app. Your pediatrician will always ask how many minutes/side they are eating. This app provides an average time too which is nice. DO NOT get hung up on the AAP guidelines because while this may be the average for the typical baby, your child may be eating for 25 minutes per side, or more! Sometimes, Josiah would be latched for 40 minutes or longer. It’s all about your milk letdown and baby’s sucking abilities.

My son would scream all the way home from daycare most days, until he was in my arms comfortably nursing away. It’s easier now that he is 16 months old because I just give him a snack in the car on the way home to keep him content, but let’s be real, this still happens at least 3 days a week. I can rarely use the bathroom once we get home without him screaming and throwing a fit. In order to avoid some of the hysterics I often find myself breastfeeding him while I’m peeing.  What a sight to see. After I’m done, I prop him up on the counter so I can get my pants back up and wash my hands. Breast/chest feeding life is hysterical. When I was on maternity leave and baby wearing, he would often travel with me to the bathroom then, too. If you know anyone with older kids, you know parents rarely get time to themselves in the bathroom.

2. Wet diapers! You can have your daycare provider keep track of this during the day and report to you in the afternoon. I’ve heard most centers have sheets they mark diapers and feedings on. Our at home provider does a communication book. In the beginning, I just requested to know how many ounces of milk Josiah was eating a day. I would occasionally ask if he was having enough wet diapers if he wasn’t taking much milk during the day. If your provider doesn’t currently offer anything like this, don’t be afraid to ask! How easy is it to create a communication book? Well, just buy a notebook. If you wan’t to make it super simple for your provider, just create a daily log by printing off template sheets of the information you are requesting and put them in a binder so all they have to do is make a mark!

3. Baby is growing! GREAT news, your baby doesn’t have to be in the 98th percentile! Our little man is not even in the 50th percentile, but he’s healthy! If your pediatrician has concerns, they will let you know.  Don’t be concerned if your friend’s kid is outgrowing yours. Your baby should triple their birth weight by 1 year old, and double it by 6 months. For example, Josiah was born at 6 lbs, 9 oz. He was 18 pounds by 1 year old. He is steadily gaining weight at his appointments and is extremely active, breastfed. My husband and I are by no means tall.  We are both blessed with fast metabolisms, so we didn’t expect to have a tank running around! My friend’s son, we actually call ‘the tank.’  He’s a few months younger than Josiah but hails from tall parents.  He was 2 pounds heavier than Josiah at birth, but both babies are not only healthy and happy but also extremely adorable. Bottom line, STOP comparing your child to someone elses.  It will just drive you crazy.

Two bottles that helped my little guy adjust back to bottle feeding

NUK Simply Natural Bottle, we purchased this bottle when my mother-in-law and her mother were in town helping with Josiah when I went back to work. It seemed to work, but he would still hold out for the house white.

Mimijumi Bottles these bottles are pricey, but simulate the nipple much better than regular bottles. Josiah would even take this bottle from me on occasion. The whole top is kind of like a breast and they sell it in different colors.

We were also fans of Dr. Browns both plastic and glass; however, the glass is better in that they clean well, rather than always smelling like milk.

At 16 months he was a pro at taking a bottle from his provider and dad.  He still wouldn't take a bottle from me unless we were driving... and only in the morning. It is important to stay patient and to keep trying different bottles and different nipples with various flows. We switched to the Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Flexi-Straw cup from bottles with no problems during this time of transition.


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