Breastfeeding Mom Asks: How Many Bottles Do I Need?
If you are a breastfeeding mom, you might be asking the same question: How many bottles do I need if I will leave the baby for work? Or if I prefer expressing breast milk?
Most mothers are career women as well thus two to three months after giving birth they are required to report for work. Aside from that, there are other plenty of reasons why they need to express milk. So to continue their journey of breastfeeding, most of them would resort to express breast milk.
When and How to Start
If you are regularly breastfeeding your child, continue doing it until six weeks. This will allow your breasts to adjust to your baby’s nursing demands. Do not immediately introduce express sessions or your breasts might find it difficult to express on days when baby needs several feeds.
You need to have a reliable breast pump, bottle sterilizer and feeding bottles. Consider the production of your milk when choosing either manual or electric breast pump. Make sure that the equipment is sterilized before you start expressing.
Baby’s Age as a Factor
Babies that are exclusively breastfed tend to increase their milk intake during the first few weeks of their life. This will remain for the next six months but will slightly increase during their growth spurt periods.
According to recent research, babies who age between one to six months are less likely to change their milk intake.
Changes may occur when they reach six months old. It can decrease gradually as the baby starts to eat solid foods. You can come up with your estimated average using the following information:
- Exclusively breastfed babies have an average intake of 750ml of milk every day from one to six months of age.
- Some babies can have a milk intake of 570-900ml daily.
Once you have the estimated number of times your baby nurses all day, divide it by 25oz. This will provide you a rough estimate on how many bottles of express milk is needed by your baby.
How many bottles do I need in a particular feeding?
Adults like us have different eating patterns. Likewise, a baby’s milk intake at a particular feeding may differ. It is more likely that your baby may drink a different amount of express breast milk per feeding.
Thus, it is crucial that you look for your baby’s hunger cues rather than allowing him or her to finish a bottle. Ideally, your ways and means of bottle-feeding your baby should be patterned according to how you normally breastfeed him or her.
If you notice small changes in your supply, express more often rather than express longer as it is effective in increasing milk supply. Eat healthily and try to manage your sleep so you can take adequate rest.
While others find it convenient to use an electric pump, a recent study by Jane Morton and colleagues found out that hands-on pumping increase their milk production. Try hands-on technique if you are having difficulties with your milk supply.
Hands-on expression can fully drain the breasts which allow it to make milk faster. Check Breastfeeding USA website to learn more about Hand Expression.
There are different ways on how you can estimate the amount of milk your baby needs in a day. However, it is significant that you consider your baby’s age and weight before answering the question: how many bottles do I need?
Remember that their milk intake for the first few months remains with some little changes during their growth spurt. It will not generally increase with their age or weight. More is not necessarily better in this case.
You can notice that formula-fed babies tend to consume more milk per feeding session compared to breastfed babies and this is due to other reasons such as milk control and metabolism.
For more information about breastfeeding, we recommend reading articles and free journals online. Happy expressing!