Following on from my last post about bonding without feeding I thought I'd share some tips on pumping so that Dad can feed the baby. I am as ever a realist and even if I think it's not what I would do, I know that many women want the Dad to feed baby from early on. You are probably going to need to express some milk at some point for a date night or returning to work or an emergency back-up.
I would suggest waiting until your milk supply is established before you start to express your milk for the following reasons -
- It's important to establish a good supply in the first 4-6 weeks and the baby on-demand feeding at the breast is the best way to do this.
- Expressing very early on can make you doubt your supply because you are expressing such small amounts (which is normal), you are pumping only left-overs and it can take time for your body to react positively to expressing by hand or pump.
- Pumping is another chore, ask anyone that pumps. It's not the most fun and it involves extra washing and sterilising not to mention equipment.
- Early supplementation with donor milk or formula can affect your supply by telling your body that you don't need as much milk. Often it is the late night feed that is supplemented in the hopes that baby will sleep longer, but you should know that baby feeds often at night because your milk making hormones are at their highest after midnight and feeding through the night helps with your supply.
- To maintain your milk supply and exclusively breastfeed then you will need to express your milk. If you decide to use donated breastmilk or formula for this feed then you need to understand that your body will react to one less feed at the breast by making less milk, which can in turn lead to a premature end to your breastfeeding relationship.
- Try to wait until your milk supply is established at 4-6 weeks.
- Work out the best way to express your milk (by hand, a manual pump, electric pump) and if needed buy an appropriate pump.
- Find a time once a day to express milk and try to express at the same time each day so that your body gets used to the "feed" and starts making an additional feed.
- Be patient, you will only be expressing leftovers at the beginning until your body adapts.
- Try to feed your baby with a bottle just like you would at the breast so that he/she is held close and has more control over the flow.
If you are going back to work, pumping every day will help you build up a stash of milk for the baby's first day at nursery or Grandma's house.
I don't sell pumps and there are many choices out there. When choosing a pump think about the effort that has gone into its production. Does the company involved spend a lot of research on pump development? Do they make a lot of money from selling bottles? Do they follow the WHO code of marketing of breastmilk substitutes? There is only one company in the UK that adheres to this code of marketing and that is ARDO.