Feeding breastmilk AND formula when returning to work?

Returning to the paid workforce, study or just going out for the night. Discuss issues related to leaving your baby with a carer here
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Feeding breastmilk AND formula when returning to work?

Post by mckaym » Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:32 am

I am planning to go back to work 2-3 days a week when my LO is 6 months old (he is almost 4 months now). I will be working full days i.e. leave home at about 8am and home by 5.30pm and I am not sure I am up for expressing when I am at work.
Does anyone have any advice on feeding with formula when he is in childcare or with grandma and then breastfeeding when I am there? I know my milk supply will decrease if I introduce formula which is OK if I am breastfeeding less but I am not sure how to find this balance.
Would I need to give him formula myself on the days I am home too to make sure each day is the same? Or am I best to wean him off BF altogether and just formula feed from 6 months?

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Post by ames » Thu Oct 15, 2009 11:01 am

Congratulations on making it to 4mths of b/f!

It is certainly possible to combine b/f and work - I'm just about to do it for the 3rd time. I'll be away from my LO (7mths) for 8hrs twice a week and I'll prob only have time to express once (1/2 hr) but I'm normally able to get almost 2 feeds worth in that time. I'll feed DD just before leaving, express in the middle of the day and then feed her the moment I pick her up :) If she's like her siblings then she may have an extra feed sometime during the evening.

Does your LO drink from a bottle? My DS refused to drink anything but water from anything (bottles, sippy cups etc). He was brought to work once each day so that he could be fed. In his instance weaning him onto ABM would not have been helpful as then he would have had no supply of milk/fluids.

Are you able to express now before going back to work and freezing the milk? Then on the days that you do work LO can have defrosted EBM and you may need to express a little at work for comfort but not for as long. You could then keep expressing a little on the days that you're at home if you're uncomfortable expressing at work.

That said, I know that it is possible to combine b/f with ABM, just haven't done it personally. If it was me I'd b/f LO before going to work and then when you're home, possibly give ABM during the day when with a carer.

ON the days that you're home I would still b/f first at each feed and then top up with formula if needed. I would assume that since several feeds would be replaced on the days you work that your supply will drop.

Don't forget that he'll also possibly be having some tastes of food at this time and that can help stretch out feeds. The less ABM he needs, the better for your supply. Remember that breastmilk is still extremely beneficial for babies.


All the best with your return to work
DD1 2005, DS 2007, DD2 2009, DD3 2011
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Post by mimo » Thu Oct 15, 2009 11:57 am

Combining BF and work is definitely possible. I haven't used formula (my daughter was closer to 12 months when I started back, so she had EBM and then normal cows milk), but what I do know is that your supply can adjust to your bubs needs.

The following things come to mind:

- if you're breastfeeding on the days off, and certainly when you first start back at work, you might need to be prepared to express for comfort - 8-5:30 is a long time without a feed if your breasts are used to feeding in that time
- I found that if bub was prepared to work at it (Sarah would suck and suck, regardless of what was coming out or not I think!) then I had no trouble feeding on my days off work during the day, just the let down would take a little longer.
- Combining formula and BF should be possible - I certainly did it with cows milk (albeit at an older age)
- Many women (including myself) continue feeding for just a few feeds a day for a very long time. After the first few months, supply and demand works really well - if bub only has 3 feeds a day your body will make the right amount of milk. Plus bub is really good at increasing supply if they need to - if Sarah was sick she would feed non stop and I'd start getting that full feeling again after a couple of days.
DD - Feb 2006
DS - Apr 2010
DD2 - Mar 2013

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Post by Nedsmum » Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:25 pm

If it's only 2-3 days a week I think you can probably find a way to continue breastfeeding.

Also, babies that are breastfed tend to get sick less often or for shorter periods than formula-fed babies, so it's definitely worth continuing for that reason - especially if he is going to childcare or playgroups or other places where there are lots of people/babies...

Personally, I would feel disappointed having to give up breastfeeding on the other 4-5 days of the week (and nights) just for the convenience of not having to express a few times on the working days...

Do you have a store of expressed milk in the freezer ? That's one way to reduce the amount of ABM needed - you can start expressing and storing now - maybe you could phone the breastfeeding helpline and they can talk you through your options.

Oh, and if you do decide that ending breastfeeding is the better option for you, then do phone the helpline - the counsellors can also advice on ways to wean gently to avoid mastitis and to help bub's digestive tract adjust...
Breastmilk - the ultimate 'brain food'!!!

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Post by Maya's Mum » Sat Oct 24, 2009 6:29 am

My baby was older, about 11.5 months, when I went back to work 3 days a week. She had ABM and then cows milk once or twice a day while at daycare and breastfed at other times. I did consider expressing but to be honest I could never get much milk and though that for the sake of the extra trouble and time, ABM was a better option for us. She had a feed or two during the day on the 4 days I was at home and my body coped with this. I would feel a bit full by the afternoon on work days but it was not a problem and I was lucky to have never had mastitis. Good luck.

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Post by DellaWellaWoman » Sat Oct 24, 2009 8:22 am

Even after I stopped expressing at work I still demand fed on the days I was home and my supply was fine - and that was working full time.
DD1 breastfed 6 years, 7 months
DD2 still going at 5 years :D
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