Caring for an infant always brings special pleasures and new challenges. If the baby has been breast fed, with little or no experience taking an occasional feeding from a bottle, one may need an extra measure of love and patience.
Remember that the mother who continues to breast feed while working outside of her home, is deeply committed to the long-term breast feeding of her infant. She values the intimate relationship she has begun with her child, and feels it is worth pumping her breasts two or three times a day. Ideally, she has support for her decision at home, at her place of employment, and from her child care provider.
Some breast-fed babies will happily be fed from any nipple, while others refuse artificial nipples from the beginning. Introducing an occasional bottle before three months is easier than after 3-4 months, since the older infant has bonded with the mother and her familiar feel and scent. Because you are dealing with a human being with preferences, you need to be creative and flexible. These are some ideas to consider:
Cradling the breast-fed infant in either arm is the familiar nursing position. Perhaps it would be easier to offer a feeding when supporting the infant on your lap facing toward you, or with his back supported by your upper body, facing away from you.
You might try placing the baby in an infant seat during feeding time, and provide lots of cuddling between meals.
Try to provide a comfortable, quiet, unrushed and relaxed environment, whenever possible. Talking softly, making soothing sounds or singing, may help you both adjust to this new experience.
Be open to any ideas that may work! Try silicone nipples (they don’t smell of rubber), various shaped nipples, test a blunt-nosed eye dropper, small teaspoon or soft silicone-tipped sippy cup. The brand name AVENT is a product worth considering because of the silicone nipple shape and silicone-tip sippy cup.
Feed the baby before he is over-hungry; wrapping him in a piece of clothing with Mom’s familiar scent might be worth trying too.
Breast-fed babies may want to be fed 8-10 times in 24 hours.
It is normal for an infant to eat more often during times of rapid growth: 2-3 weeks, six weeks, and three months.
Healthy, breast-fed babies tend to grow more rapidly during the first 2-3 months than predicted by pediatrician’s infant growth charts. Their rate of growth slows after the age of three months compared to that of formula-fed infants. (Infant growth charts were developed between 1929 and 1975, and based predominately on measurements of formula-fed babies.)
Wait until at least four months old to begin solid food. Babies should receive only breast milk for the first 4-6 months of life to prevent infection and provide optimum nutrition.
In the early months of life, an infant is getting enough breast milk if he:
- often sleeps between feedings
- uses 6-8 diapers in 24 hours
- gains weight
It is a very fortunate working mother who can take her lunch break at the child care provider’s home to nurse her baby. She will appreciate a quiet, private corner and be grateful to you for making this possible.
Since sharing lunch time with mom is rarely a choice for baby, the child care provider needs to be creative, flexible and open to any idea that might work. Helping the breast-fed infant adjust to a few feedings each day away from mother can, however, be a challenge with special rewards.
Proper Storage of Expressed Breast Milk:
Breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator for short periods of time (up to 72 hours) or in the freezer for three months. The expressed milk should be stored in sterilized bottles, carefully washed and rinsed bottles, or in disposable plastic nursing bags. Be sure to label and date each container of breast milk. Remove the breast milk straight from the refrigerator or freezer right before use; do not allow the milk to sit at room temperature. Thaw the milk if frozen, by running under cool, then very warm water. Shake it gently to mix, since it separates during storage. Do not warm the breast milk in a microwave oven. Once the breast milk has thawed, discard any unused portion. Storing the breast milk in 4 ounce portions is recommended.