Wondering if and when expressed milk is OK for your baby? There are plenty of things to think about when it comes to breastfeeding and using expressed milk, either in a cup or from a bottle.
Most moms and doctors agree that breastfeeding is the single most important thing you can do to make sure that your baby grows up happy and healthy. Set aside all of the psychological aspects that get debated about breastfeeding for too long, or not long enough. The nutritional value of breast milk cannot be overstated. But sometimes it’s not always convenient to breastfeed, and sometimes you’ll find that your baby has a hard time with it, or you’re not lined up as far as lactation and hunger goes. Expressed milk is the next logical choice.
Some babies might not want to take a bottle, but there are tips and tricks that you can try to get them to do so more easily. When it comes to a feeding regimen, you should try to keep things as natural as possible. Breastfeed whenever the two of you are in sync, and back that system up with expressed milk from a bottle when you’re either too full, or when you’re baby is hungry and you’re not producing.
Can I Give My Baby Expressed Milk? Answer: Yes.
Expressed milk is not as good as breastfeeding directly, but it doesn’t lose much of its nutritional value if it’s consumed within a reasonable time frame. The rule of thumb here is that you’ll want to refrigerate it if you’re not going to use it immediately. Some say you can store it for up to five days, but we would recommend using it much sooner than that, and only giving your baby day old, or two day old milk tops.
Concerns with Nipple Confusion
One of the things you’ll have to consider when giving your baby expressed milk is that they may start preferring the bottle over your breast. This shouldn’t be looked at as a knock to your breasts and their ability to deliver milk, but rather as your baby choosing the path of least resistance. The nipples on bottles are specially designed to make it easy for your baby to start feeding, providing pretty much instant gratification. They’ve got to work a little harder to get that first sip, and then continue to work harder to get the milk, so you can’t blame them from preferring the easier way.
That being said, you shouldn’t just give in to their laziness. You should continue to breastfeed in addition to giving your baby the occasional bottle of expressed milk. This will help ease the pressure on you if you’re producing more milk than you can feed to them, and also as a way to get dad involved on the feeding process. You’ll find your happy medium, and things will level off on their own, but only if you make sure not to give up on breastfeeding and go to bottles alone.
Breastfeeding is better than giving your baby expressed milk from a bottle, but it’s not reasonable to think that you’ll be able to breastfeed every single time you’re able and they’re ready. But as far as your baby not getting enough nutrition because they’re not feeding directly from the breast, you don’t have to worry. They’re still getting plenty of good nutrition from it, but you’ll want to be sure to breastfeed as often as you’re able.
Better Than Formula
Expressed milk beats out formula hands down, and should be your next option when you’re not in a position to breastfeed. The main thing to remember is that your baby is getting so much benefit from your milk than they would from any sort of man made product, no matter how well they formulate it. It’s always a good runner up, and keeping a supply of it at the ready is a great way to make sure that your baby is getting the nutrition that they need at all times.
Enjoy these times with your baby, and be sure to soak up the closeness that you feel when breastfeeding and nourishing your baby using your own milk. Before long they’ll be eating solid foods and you’ll cherish these memories.