Feeding a baby with expressed milk: answers to questions
When can I begin to feed my baby with expressed milk?
If your baby is healthy and breastfeeding is good, there is no need to give him expressed milk. The first four weeks you work together to start and increase milk production, and the baby also learns to suckle properly. There is insufficient scientific data on this subject yet, 1 but there is an opinion that bottle feeding in the first month can negatively affect the process of establishing breastfeeding.
However, if for some reason the newborn cannot catch the breast or suckle, begin to express milk as soon as possible after birth. Read more about this in our articles on how to deal with problems in the first week, feeding breast milk to premature babies and children with special needs, and also seek help from your doctor.
How to feed a baby with expressed breast milk?
There are many expert solutions for feeding, with which you can give your baby expressed milk in many ways, depending on your needs with the baby.
For example, the innovative Calma smart suction cup only lets milk pass through when the baby is sucking. This means that when feeding from a bottle, he will make the same movements with his tongue and jaws as with sucking. 2.3 Calma SmartSock was developed with the participation of experts on breastfeeding from the University of Western Australia. Using this nipple, the baby can suck, swallow, pause and breathe in the same way as when breastfeeding. 4 Preserving the natural sucking skills allows the baby to easily move from the chest to the bottle and back.
In addition, Medela produces the usual bottle nipples * in two versions, which allow the release of milk at different speeds. All Medela * nipples can be worn directly on the bottles used to express milk, which minimizes the risk of spills.
If you need to feed the baby with expressed milk, but you do not want to feed it from the bottle until it is accustomed to breastfeeding, you can use a mug-cup * for temporary feeding. The baby will be able to drink milk from such a mug, but you should be careful not to spill the milk. For the first time it is advisable to feed a child from a drinking cup under the supervision of a doctor in order to learn how to do it right.
If your baby needs additional feeding with expressed milk in addition to regular breastfeeding, an additional feeding system (SNS) * can be used. It is equipped with a thin flexible capillary that can be fixed next to the nipple to give the baby expressed milk directly during breastfeeding. Thanks to this, the baby sucks the breast longer, thereby developing sucking skills and stimulating the production of milk by the mother. This can be useful in case of lack of breast milk, as well as when feeding adoptive or surrogate children.
If the baby cannot suckle because it is too weak or has congenital diseases, you can use the drinking bowl for children with special needs * – milk is released from it with weak squeezing, which allows you to use it to feed these babies.
How to teach a child to eat from a bottle?
If breastfeeding is going well and you decide to teach your baby to use expressed milk from a bottle, follow these guidelines.
Start in advance and don’t rush
Do not wait for the first working day or the first exit from the house to start feeding the baby from the bottle. Start accustoming the baby to small portions of expressed milk a couple of weeks before the desired time, calmly and without haste. Gradually bring the volume to one full serving of expressed milk from a bottle.
Choose a time
Ideally, at the first feeding from a bottle, the baby should be hungry, but not too hungry – in this state he is as relaxed as possible.
Have other people feed
The baby is used to eating from your chest, so when you offer him a bottle, it can confuse him. The process can go faster if for the first time someone else feeds the baby from the bottle while you are not in the room so that your appearance and smell will not confuse the baby.
Maintain optimal temperature
The child will be more willing to eat expressed milk if his temperature is around 37 ° C, i.e. close to body temperature.
Dip a pacifier in milk
Try dipping your nipple in expressed milk before offering it to your baby. So she will have the taste and smell of your breast milk. Lightly touch your baby’s upper lip with a pacifier to open his mouth.
Choose the right bottle feeding position
Feed your baby on demand and keep him reclining while nursing. In no case do not feed the baby from the bottle when he is lying or sitting, otherwise he may choke. Listen to the wishes of the child – take as many pauses as he needs. You can even try to shift it from one hand to another while feeding.