Tag Archives: breastfeeding

Should I wake my newborn for a feed?

Waking a newborn baby in the middle of the night may seem a little crazy, however, for a short while, you will need to do this. Here’s why:
Babies lose around 10% of their birth weight soon after being born, so even just a few days after being born (and of course being weighed for the first time), his weight will be below his centile. This is usually the case for around 2 weeks. Until your little one is back up to the weight he should be (according to the centile graph), he should go no longer than 4 hours between feeds and you should wake him up if necessary – newborns need anything from 8 to 12 feeds a day. You may also need to wake your newborn from daytime naps if they tend to exceed 3 hours. Once this period is over and your child has regained the lost weight and gained weight appropriately (therefore following the correct centile), it is then time to look at establishing a better day/night routine to encourage your baby to sleep for longer periods during the night. As well as the obvious health benefits to your child as stated above, feeding your little one regularly also helps you to establish your milk supply if breastfeeding, it is also important to note that crying is a late sign of hunger. In terms of recognising early signs of hunger, you may find my post on hunger cues and what they mean helpful.

To establish breastfeeding and minimise the risk of breastfeeding complications, I would recommend feeding at least every 3 hours during the day and every 4 hours during the night for the first 2-3 weeks. The chances are your breastfed baby will wake for feeds anyway but good to know where you stand if she decides she wants to give you a little rest! If you are bottle feeding you should still wake your newborn for a feed until she is following her centile and always follow the instructions on how much formula milk to give (always check instructions on the packet).

I hope you have found this post informative and helpful, as always, your comments are warmly welcomed.

How to Store Breastmilk

There are strict guidelines on how to store breast milk as the amount of time it “keeps” for is dependant upon the temperature of the area in which it is being stored. Here are the guidelines:

How long can I store expressed breast milk?

  • Store at room temperature: must be used within 6 hours.
  • Store in a fridge: under 4 degrees celcius – lasts for 5 days. Between 5-10 degrees celcius(or if you are not sure) – lasts for 3 days.
  • Store in a freezer: Lasts for 6 months (must be -18 degrees celcius and have been frozen immediately after expressing).
  • Store in ice compartment of a fridge: Lasts up to two weeks.

You should bear in mind that a fridge that is in constant use will not remain at a steady temperature. It may be worth purchasing a fridge thermometer. These BPA free bags (bisphenol-A) for extra safety when feeding your baby are a great buy. Fantastic for storing your expressed milk for up to 24 hours in a fridge or up to 3 months in a freezer! The bags are pre-sterilised with an easy seal top and a section at the top to write the date, time and name using an ordinary ball point pen ensuring your milk is always stored safely and kept in date. Buy here.

How should I defrost frozen breast milk?

breast milk storage bags 25 packIdeally you should defrost the frozen breast milk in the fridge. Once it has defrosted you should use it immediately and never refreeze it. If you need to urgently defrost some frozen breast milk then you can run it under cool, then warm running water. If the milk smells sour, you should never use it.

How should I heat up expressed breast milk?


You could always try giving your baby expressed breast milk straight from the fridge, it would make things a lot more convenient. If she refuses it at this temperature, you can warm it a liitle by placing the bottle in a bowl of luke warm water, this should at least remove the chill. Never use the microwave to heat up or defrost your baby’s milk as this can cause hot spots that will burn your baby’s mouth.

And that is how to store breast milk.

Expressing Breast Milk

Expressing breast milk is something many breastfeeding mothers do as it allows others to feed your baby but ensures he/she is still getting all of the natural goodness of your breast. If you are thinking of expressing breast milk then you will have need these questions answered:

How can I express breast milk?


You can express your breast milk by either hand expressing, using a hand pump or using an electric pump. The best time to do this is in the morning when you will have plenty of milk. However, it is perfectly ok to express your breast milk at any time that is convenient to you such as whilst feeding (express the other side), immediatley after feeding your baby or even before a feed.

How should I feed my baby expressed breast milk?

Most parents feed their baby’s expressed breast milk in a bottle. You should always ensure that breastfeeding has been established before you do this (minimum 4 weeks of breastfeeding) as some babies can be put off breast feeding by being introduced to a bottle too early. Remember that all baby feeding equipment should be washed and sterilised before each use. This includes the bottles, teats and breast pump etc. Pre term or ill babies are often fed expressed breast milk from a plastic feeding syringe or special feeding cup.

What if my baby won’t take a bottle?


If you have trouble getting your baby to accept the bottle, you could always try letting someone else give it to her, try a different feeding position to the one you use when you are breastfeeding or if your baby is over 4 months old you could try giving her expressed breastmilk in a soft spouted beaker cup.

How to Stop Breastfeeding

How to stop Breastfeeding in a way that causes you minimal pain and discomfort and helps the transition from breast to bottle be as seamless as possible. Sound easy doesn’t it? If it were that easy to stop there would be no need to have this post dedicated to giving you all of the advice and information you need on how to stop Breastfeeding.

Your milk supply – an analogy

Firstly, and before you stop breastfeeding, it is important to have a basic understanding of how your breasts work – supply and demand. And this is why shouldn’t just stop! Imagine that you are the shop, your baby is the customer and your body’s natural production of milk is ‘the supplier’. All the time your customer is taking stock from your shop, your supplier is replacing it – immediately. This works well. The last thing you or the wholesaler want is for your very important customer (your baby) to turn up and you not have enough stock. This wholesaler is so keen for you to have a constant supply that it doesn’t even wait for you to order it, as soon as your stock starts depleting, your supplier is there ‘stacking the shelves’ once more. You couldn’t ask for much more, relations are good, your supplier is going above and beyond to ensure you have a very happy customer… Until one day, after much thought and discussion you decide you want to shut your business and that it is time to stop, your supplier is not pleased and will do everything possible to make you change your mind. This includes continuing to keep your shop well stocked. Your supplier has worked hard for you and business has been good. If you shut up shop your supplier will go bust. Surely you should show a bit more respect? The best thing to do is give a bit of notice. Don’t just lock up the doors and disappear, give your supplier a chance to accept that all good things come to an end, agree a notice period and a plan of action; this stops things from getting nasty. The last thing you want is to have more and more ‘stock’ delivered when you have nowhere left to keep it and nothing to do with it. That would be painful.

As well as keeping your supplier happy you also have to think of your customer, you have been open for business pretty much 24/7. It is going to take a lot of determination and strength to persuade your most cherished possession that your opening hours are changing and that soon you will be closing completely. Expect a lot tantrums, guilt trips and a refusal to try anything else. I have divided the stopping breastfeeding process into 3 easy to manage stages, preparing to stop breastfeeding, adapting and time to stop.

Step 1 – Preparing to stop breastfeeding

Nothing can prepare you physically for when you stop breastfeeding and that is why we have to take it slow, however, you can prepare yourself mentally and practically by ensuring you are organised, ready and have the necessary support in place.

  • Decide what milk you are going to start feeding your baby – there is no one formula milk that is best suited to Breastfed babies (despite what the adverts may say), if you have never bottle fed before then familiarise yourself with the process of preparing a bottle including how to sterilise.
  • Decide which feed you are going to drop first – Select a feed that will benefit you the most, this is most likely to be the feed before you go to bed (known as the dream feed), if your baby is older and also eating solid foods, you may find the afternoon feed is the easiest one to drop.
  • Put a date in your diary – Choose a date and stick to it. This is not the date you are going to completely stop but, the date you are going to drop your first feed. Choose a day that is around 7-10 days away, this gives you enough time to psyche yourself up for it. Ensure you have your partner or friends/family around you for the first few days as you may need someone else to give your baby the first few feeds
  • Choose the feeding method – if your baby is under 12 months you will probably want to offer bottles, if your baby is older than 12 months you may want to look at using sippy cups as this saves having to wean your baby off a bottle in the near future.
  • Offer a bottle/sippy cup before you plan on dropping a feed – Ideally your baby will already have accepted an alternative feeding method (perhaps you have occasionally given expressed milk in a bottle). Offering your baby a formula feed before you plan to drop a feed gives you an insight into how he could react and also gives your baby a chance to familiarise himself with a new feeding method. Do this for at least a week before you plan on dropping a feed. The best time to introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby is as soon as baby is ‘good’ at breastfeeding, this is usually at around 2-8 weeks.
  • Be ready and be determined – On the day before you are due to drop your first feed make sure you have everything ready, you should already know what time you are going to give your baby formula, how long it takes to prepare it and how long it takes to cool down to a suitable temperature. Your body will do everything it can to persuade you to change your mind.

Step 2 – Adapting: stop one breast feed at a time

It is important that once you stop, you and your baby have a chance to adapt. Taking it slow and making gradual changes allow you to adapt together and bond in different ways over a number of weeks. If you completely stop breastfeeding your baby you run the risk of engorgement. Your baby will not be best pleased either- particularly if he is an established breast feeder.

  • Drop the first feed – Drop the feed you planned to drop at the time you planned to drop it. You can try feeding your baby but should have someone there who can takeover if your baby refuses to take the bottle from you, you may have to go into another room or leave the house completely.
  • Massage your breasts – Missing just one feed can result in your breasts feeling sore, there is no harm in relieving a bit of pressure. If you have a blocked duct then concentrate on this area, if you fear you have mastitis, contact your doctor as you will need anti-biotics.
  • Cabbage, showers, sports bras and gel packs – Wash 2 cabbage leaves and place them in your bra, many parents swear by this method for helping to reduce the pain. Warm showers will help if you feel you need to release some pressure and cold showers will help to restrict milk production, a sports bra will restrict movement and friction against the nipple (friction stimulates the nipple which promotes milk production). You should also apply a cold compresses to your breast for 15-20 minutes 3-4 times a day. This will help with any inflammation and aid in reducing milk production.
  • Try something new – If your baby is having problems with the bottle try a different feeding position (such as in a baby chair), a different shaped teat or a different flow may also help. The smallest changes can have a big effect.
  • Take a walk – If your baby is still not feeding very well you will have to leave the house – Babies are smart and stubborn and all the time they know you are there they will hold out for you.
  • Take some painkillers – There is no harm in taking some pain killers if the pain gets too much. Tell your pharmacist you plan to stop breastfeeding.
  • Drop the next feed – Just as your body and your baby get used to the first feed being dropped, its time to drop another. Ideally you should drop a feed once every 7 days. I would recommend the night time feed be the last one you drop and the morning feed the 2nd to last.
  • Repeat process – Repeat the above process over a number of weeks until you are down to one feed a day. Be prepared for leaks and have plenty of breast pads close by.

Step 3 – Time to stop breastfeeding altogether

Over a number of weeks you have gradually reduced your baby’s breast milk to just one feed a day. No doubt this has been a very emotional and testing time. Remember that the breast milk you have given your baby has given her the best start- even if you breastfed for 6 weeks your baby will have benefited hugely. Whatever your reasons for wanting to stop breastfeeding, be proud that you did it.

  • Drop the last feed – I recommend the last feed you drop be the night time feed. By this point your baby will have accepted formula milk (or depending on your baby’s age – cows milk) for a number of weeks now and will not be surprised when you drop this feed.
  • Change your night time routine – If feeding your baby is an important part of her bed time routine then you are going to need to make some changes – Feed your baby in a different room or ask your partner to feed her, don’t change the way that you feed her (for example if she only takes the bottle whilst sitting in her chair or on a bouncer then give her milk to her there).
  • Wear a sports bra to bed – If you haven’t already started doing this, then for the reasons stated above do it. It will help to reduce your milk production to zero.
  • Enjoy your freedom – Hopefully by following this method you haven’t been in too much pain and your baby hasn’t made it too difficult for you. And remember- don’t feel guilty about stopping, it isn’t a decision you took lightly and you have already given your baby the best start.

That is how to stop breastfeeding. I would love to hear your comments on what you did when you stopped breastfeeding or even better- if this post has helped you. Thank you for reading.

Mum breastfeeding away from the camera

Combining Breast and Bottle Feeding

Combiing breast and bottle feeding - this baby is being fed expressed breats milk in a bottleCombining breast and bottle feeding (or mix feeding your baby as it is commonly known) is something that many Mums consider. If you are thinking about combining breast and bottle feeding, you should first ensure that it will suit you, your baby and your personal circumstances and is not because of a myth you have heard from a friend of a friend. This complete guide to mix feeding will help you to reach an informed decision about combining breast and bottle feeding.

Can I combine breast and bottle feeding?

It is possible to combine breast and bottle feeding. You can do this in one of three ways:

  • By giving a breastfed baby a bottle of expressed breast milk
  • By giving a breastfed baby a bottle of infant formula milk
  • And finally, by breastfeeding your bottle fed baby

Why mix feed?


The most popular reasons for choosing to combine breast and bottle feeding are outlined below with an explanation of how this could affect you and your baby:

  • Not producing enough breast milk: If you feel you are not producing enough breast milk then you do not need to give up, try talking to a breastfeeding counsellor or health professional. You can contact the government funded breastfeeding line on 0300 100 0212.
  • Wanting others to be able to feed your baby: Sharing the task of feeding your baby is one that will appeal to many as it is a wonderful thing to be able to do. However, if this is the sole reason for wanting to combine breast and bottle feeding then youIt will help my baby to sleep through the night - sleeping baby with flowers in her hair should consider how other family members can help out and bond with your baby in other ways. Combining breast and bottle feeds may cause problems with your milk supply. Other ways for Fathers or other family members to bond with your baby can include reading books, singing, changing nappies, bathing and massaging her.
  • It will help my baby to sleep through the night: It has not been proven that giving a baby a formula milk bottle at night will help her to sleep longer. It can be very tempting in those early days, when she is keeping you up all hours of the night, but night time feeds are just as important to Mums as they are to babies; they tell your body to keep producing milk, especially in the early weeks. Try to get as much help as you can during the day so that you can rest when your baby sleeps. After a few weeks she will soon be waking less frequently for her feeds.

Will I produce less milk?

You will produce less milk if you combine breastfeeding and formula milk feeding. This is the case whether you give additional bottle feeds in between regular breast feeds or if you give an additional feed in the form of a bottled formula immediately following a breast feed.

What should I be aware of?


If you are thinking of mix feeding your baby, you should be aware of the following advice before you do so and only choose this feeding option if you feel it is the right thing for you, your baby and your personal circumstances:

  • Your own breast milk production will decrease
  • Some babies find it difficult to breastfeed after being bottle fed (whilst some have no trouble adapting at all).
  • Giving any amount of formula milk reduces your baby’s protection against illness. However, if you are mix feeding then any amount of breast milk will be beneficial for his health.

What is the best way to do it?

If you have decided that combining breast and bottle is the right thing for you and your baby then you should consider the following recommendations to help you, your body and your baby to adapt to the changes:

  • Do it gradually: Your body will need time to adapt and will start to produce less milk.simple black and white clock
  • Persevere: If your baby is finding it hard but you are sure this is what you want to do then persevere with it. It may take your baby some time to get used to it as breastfeeding and bottle feeding require different techniques. Keep trying, but never force feed your baby.
  • Get somebody else to do the first few feeds: Your baby may be able to smell your breast milk whilst you are trying to bottle feed him. It may help if somebody else gives the first few bottle feeds.
  • Do it at the right time of day: If your baby is tired or hungry then you will probably find it harder to get him to accept the bottle at first. When introducing your baby to a bottle for the first time, do so at a time when he is happy and relaxed.
  • Plan in advance and give your baby time: If you have decided to combine breast and bottle feeding because your baby is entering a childcare environment/ you can not be there to breastfeed on demand, introduce the bottle to your baby a few weeks before this date so that he has time to adapt and time to get used to it.

What is the best age to introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby?

If you have decided to mix breast feeding with bottle feeding, you should do so after the newborn stage. This gives you and your baby a chance to get used to breastfeeding first.

What additional equipment will I need if combining breast and bottle feeding?

For bottle fed babies I recommend you have the following equipment in your house and ready to use before your baby is born:

  • 6x bottles
  • 6x new born teatsWhite newborns bib with walking elephant on the front
  • Bottle brush
  • Steriliser – see our steriliser guide
  • Thermal flask
  • 3-5 cartons of ready made formula milk
  • Storage container for transporting small amounts of infant milk powder
  • Plenty of bibs
  • You should adjust these quantities depending on how often you are planning to bottle feed your baby. You may also want to consider a breast pump if you are planning on expressing.

Can I re-start breastfeeding after stopping?

If you have been mix feeding your baby or have even stopped breast feeding all together and want to restart, it is possible. You should discuss with your midwife/ health visitor/ breastfeeding counsellor ways in which you can reduce your baby’s bottle feeds. You could

also try the following:

  • Skin to skin contact: Cuddle and hold your baby closely as much as possible. This will give your baby
    Mother nad baby enjoying a skin to skin cuddlethe time and opportunity for breastfeeding to happen more easily.
  • Offer both breasts: Even if your baby doesn’t seem interested in the second breast you should always immediately offer it to your baby. It doesn’t matter if she is not interested or doesn’t feed for very long. It will also help to boost your milk supply if you feed your baby off of this breast first next time.
  • Decrease the bottles slowly: When you start producing more milk you should gradually start decreasing the amount of bottles your baby has. It may help to do this one bottle at a time.
  • Continue expressing: If you have been expressing most of your baby’s feeds rather than breastfeeding then you should continue to do so during the changeover period. This will help to keep your milk supply high.

 

Do you or did you combine breast and bottle feeding? Did you have any difficulties? Would you recommend it? Your comments will add value to this page so please let me know your views and experiences.