Returning to Work
This was the case for Anne, a new mom who needed to return to work. A busy physician in a solo practice, Anne planned to go back to work only a month after giving birth to her first child. As a healthcare expert, she knew all about the benefits of breastfeeding. Yet given the pressures of her schedule, Anne reluctantly acknowledged that she could pump only once during lunch.
With the help of a supportive lactation consultant, Anne worked out a plan that would allow her to combine breast and bottle feeding. For the first three weeks after giving birth, Anne exclusively breastfed to build a good milk supply. One week before her planned return to work, Anne began offering formula during two of the baby's daily feedings.
Now while Anne works, the nanny feeds bottles of pumped milk and formula. At the end of each day, snuggling in the rocking chair helps Anne and her baby reconnect in a special way. Anne's milk supply has adjusted to her schedule, and she is happy that she is practicing what she preaches.
Are you also interested in combining breast and bottle for your baby? If so, there are a few important things to keep in mind:
- Before introducing formula or a bottle with breast milk, be sure to wait until breastfeeding is well established (this usually takes about five to six weeks postpartum). Waiting will help reduce your baby's chances of developing nipple confusion or establishing a bottle preference.
- If you are going to give formula at the same feed as breastfeeding (for example, if you're not producing enough milk), breastfeed first to keep up your supply.
- Use a breast pump to keep up your milk supply. Try pumping before you go to bed at night or first thing in the morning; some doctors also recommend pumping before a nursing session. Since breastmilk supply depends on the laws of supply and demand, you can "trick" your body into producing more milk by employing the use of a pump.