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Question for experienced pumping WOHM

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My baby is on the way due in 5 days. (come on baby!) I have a two-month maternity leave and then another month of possible part timing, and that's it. My dh will become WAHD/ primary daytime caregiver in month three. Jealous? Yes I'm jealous! But I know he will be great.

I plan to breast feed at home and then go to a combo of pump at work and nurse at home (and maybe sometimes at work, depending on dh's schedule.) I had a great session with a lactation consultant, but still need some additional advice about the whole bottle business. the LC said I can start pumping as soon as I feel like it. I understand that I should probably NOT introduce the bottle until the baby is at least 3-4 weeks old, and that I probably SHOULD make sure the baby will use the bottle regularly for several weeks before I go back to work.

In order to have the baby comfortable with both the real and the surrogate nipple, able to eat from both and not on a nursing strike--when would you introduce the bottle? I have a copy of Nursing Mother, Working Mother and have had live advice from folks at work who did this successfully but I'm trying to be READY. Some pro-bf articles seem to suggest the baby can get LATE nipple confusion and that's scary. So all you LLL and experienced BFers, weigh in please!
post #2 of 13
Hi there - I went back to work three months after my first ds was born. My dh took care of him and gave him expressed breast milk while I was at work.

I made the mistake of waiting until 6 weeks to introduce the bottle and it was realllly hard to convince ds that he wanted to take the milk from the bottle. It took my dh a good week of trying hard to get him to accept it. If I were to do it again - I would start introducing the bottle at around 3-4 weeks. At three weeks, maybe just once a day - just to get him/her used to the idea.

My s-i-l introduced a bottle from the beginning (just days old) and the baby goes easily back and forth between breast and bottle with no nipple confusion.
post #3 of 13
I think it really depends on the baby. My baby took a looooong time to figure out how to nurse, so I pumped and fed him by bottle for about the first 6 weeks before he really started nursing. Then when I went back to work when he was just about 5 months, he would have nothing to do with the bottle - I had stupidly assumed that because he had preferred the bottle when he was younger, he would not have any problems going back to it.

I think you'll just have to play it by ear - if your baby is a champion nurser right away, then maybe week 3 or 4 is right, but if s/he has problems, maybe wait a little bit until you're sure nursing is going well. You could also get your LC to show you how to feed baby from a small cup - messy, but works.

And it was a pain, but I followed Nursing Mother, Working Mother's recipe for pumping success that has you start building up a freezer stash by pumping in the morning while you're still home - definitely a good idea to have that extra safety margin built up.

One other handy hint - don't let DH or whoever put more than about an ounce of milk at a time in any given bottle, because if baby decides s/he's not hungry after all and any saliva has gotten into the milk, it'll go bad and can't be saved for the next feeding. Guess how we figured that one out :

Good luck!
post #4 of 13
Hey Captain! Your strategy is exactly what I followed for my maternity leave! I took 8 weeks off, then slowly worked back up to full time over about a month. I loved Gayle Pryor's Nursing Mother, Working Mother. It is a pain to pump in the mornings, but I built up a huge freezer supply using her advice. Eventually, I tapered down and only pumped once in the mornings while I was back to work. I would wake, shower, nurse DD for the final am time and then immediately go and pump before leaving for work - and after about 2 weeks of doing this I was able to pump a full feeding just 10 or 15 minutes after finishing nursing DD! My body must have thought it was caring for twins! I kept this up for several months, then gradually stopped once I was reasonably sure we had enough milk to last for a while.

Once back to work, I was careful to craft a pumping routine that my coworkers could rely on - same time each day, even though it wasn't actually DD's schedule. My goal for each day was to come home with the same number of ounces she had eaten and to have pumped at least the same number of times she had nursed. At first, I was worried about pumping at the same times she was nursing. Boy, that was tough, and unnecessary. I was always able to come home and nurse her right away, my body just saw to it that there was enough!

Make sure you have a good, double electric pump. I love my Pump in Style.

As far as bottles go, we had a rocky start to nursing, and DD was never offered a bottle until 5 days before I returned to work - quite stressful. I think week 3 or 4 is really the ideal time to offer the first bottle. Then keep offereing it every day, consistently, even if the babe refuses it. DD refused it quite heartily for the first few times. DH was persistent (didn't force it, just didn't offer an alternative) and I left the house! By the third time, she took it without a fuss. No looking back. I was worried that she'd forget how to nurse, or just decide the bottle was easier. Never happened. I think our continued success is, in part, due to my vow to *never* give her a bottle when I am around. She learned from the earliest that mommy is best, and the bottle is only for times when mommy is away.

When we started our nursing relationship, I was really hoping for 6 months, thinking I would probably struggle to get that far . . . here we are at 10 + months, and no plans to end this any time soon!

Captain, enjoy these last days of your pregnancy! They are so precious. Wishing you a joyful, healthy birth!

mommy to Greta 3/14/02
post #5 of 13
Congratulations and good luck! I didn't introduce the bottle to ds until he was 6 weeks or more old. And luckily he took right to it. As far as he was concerned, it made no difference if he got his milky from me, the bottle or a sippy cup, he just wanted his milky! I gave him a bottle a day for about three weeks before I went back to work--he was about 3.5 months old when I went back, and it was fine.

With dd, I introduced the bottle between 3 and 4 weeks and she would only take it from me. Nobody else. : I went back to work when she was five months old, and I found that she would only take specific brands of bottles (Avent) with a specific type of nipple (newborn). She simply refused anything else.

I guess my point is that sometimes you have to kind of play with it and see what works. It took us a little while to figure out that dd liked particular nipples, and in fact, at first I thought other people were simply not feeding her right. :

Somehow or another, it works out. Have you rented/bought a good pump? My personal plug is for the Medina Lactina. I rented mine from the hospital where my kids were born although the LC told me she rents them to anyone, regardless of where they've given birth. I paid 25 dollars monthly.

Good luck! It's so wonderful.
post #6 of 13
Yeh, the Lactina is wonderful. I just found it difficult to transport to and from work, and not very discrete! Not that anyone at the office *doesn't* know I am pumping, I just like the convenience of the carrying case for milk storage/transport.

mommy to Greta 3/14/02
post #7 of 13
Sam was always horrible with the bottle. He hated it, but seemed to at least take some when we used Avent bottles and nipples. We introduced him to the bottle about 2 weeks before I went back to work. He had a few bottle issues, but he always managed to get something during the day when I wasn't around. I always gave him his bottle cool as opposed to warmed because at daycare I knew they would warm it too much. I had to be very specific with them about not warming it. They of course, didn't want to let it sit out for 5-10 minutes, but I wrote a note with instructions and told them this is what I wanted. They usually let the bottles sit in a water bath in a crock pot before feeding. Sure, it was nice and warm, but I was afraid all the good things in my milk would go away. When Sam was 9 months he was either on the boob or using a cup.

As for pumps, I needed to have a really quiet pump, so I used the Avent Isis. I attempted the electric at work, but everyone heard it. (My boss used to drop by after and ask if there was any cream he could skim off for his coffee.) I loved the Isis pump. You can only pump one at a time, but it is very efficient. It is sold alone or with a kit that contains ice packs, two bottles, a cooler bag and the pump. I always got nice results from it. The electric ones, no matter how I adjusted, were not comfortable for me. The Isis felt more like Sam nursing. I pumped for one year in my office before I decided I had enough. By then I had mastered phone calls and pumping and doing some work on my computer.

Oh, tended to store my pumped milk in our little office fridge until I went home. It kept it cooler than using just the ice packs. I would put the bottles in a bag with my name on it so that no one would get grossed out.
post #8 of 13
I think everyone has given you great advice. I have nothing really new to add except one thing that worked really well for us. Since I planned to solely nurse (not bottles) when I was home after work and on the weekends my husband was the one to transition him to bottles. It seemed if I was even in the room my son was "no way! I want the real thing!" but if I was out of the room he took to the bottle fine. By the time I went back to work he knew that nursing was with mom and bottles were with everyone else. Oh and I started pumping after about 4 weeks to build up a supply but didn't offer the bottle till around 8-10 weeks.

Also we tried at least 3 types of bottles and nipple until we found one that he really took to. I was buy just one or tow of each kind until you find one that works. Most babies and moms seem to prefer the Aventi but the only one that worked for was the Evenflow curved bottles.
post #9 of 13
Originally posted by mirlee

(My boss used to drop by after and ask if there was any cream he could skim off for his coffee.)
What an a$$!

I second the suggestion of putting the pumped milk in a bag in the fridge. I bought a Medela travel bag that came with two cold packs and four bottles; I put the cold packs in the freezer overnight then put pumped milk in the bag with the cold packs in the fridge at work. Our work fridge is so crowded, I wouldn't want to put bottles in there separately anyway, and it avoids the "ewww, gross" reaction from any Neanderthals at work.
post #10 of 13
Originally posted by Jane

What an a$$!

Actually, I had a lot of support at my office. Everyone thought it was really cool. He sounds like an a$$ based on that comment, but he really wasn't and I was never offended by it.
post #11 of 13
Captain O–

Although I know it can be a difficult adjustment, I agree with Jane. It really depends on the babe.

On a happy note: my first ds took a bottle right away and never showed signs of confusion.

I began pumping to get relief before leaving the hospital. I continued to pump a little each day building my bodies supply and my fridge/freezer stash. I was able to have a few ounces available so dh could take a feeding now and then.

When I went back to work, pumping for my ds became the center of my life. I pumped one side while nursing during the first am feeding (this can be a challenge) and then topped him off on that side before leaving for daycare.

Each day at work I pumped at every break and during lunch but did not try to keep my babes feeding schedule.

I also had to give specific instructions to the daycare provider. They wanted to give my ds 7 or 8 oz at a time like the formula babes! While some bf babes can take this much my ds rarely took more than 4.

I packaged my milk in bags of up to 4 oz. leaving room for it to expand in the bag and stuck 'em in the freezer. Then I would take a gigantic zip-loc bag with about a weeks supply to the day care every week.

This was a busy routine but it worked for us.

Good luck and lots of easy labor vibes to you.
post #12 of 13
Originally posted by mirlee

Actually, I had a lot of support at my office. Everyone thought it was really cool. He sounds like an a$$ based on that comment, but he really wasn't and I was never offended by it.

whew, that's nice to hear - so many people get flak for pumping at work.
post #13 of 13

Greta, I know what you mean about the lactina carrying case. I threw that big plastic thing right into the closet both times and carried the pump itself around in a backpack with plenty of pockets for paraphanelia. I actually bought the PIS from a friend, but it simply wasn't strong enough for me. Guess my kidlets are *suckers*. This was before they restyled it, so the newer model would probably have worked fine. Luckily I was able to turn around and sell it to my SIL, and it worked great for her. And I also agree about the Isis. I had that one for home pumping and loved it too.
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