Is It OK To Pump And Bottle Feed Instead Of Breastfeeding?

Giving Your Baby Breast Milk In A Bottle

If You Don't Want To Breastfeed, Can You Pump And Bottle Feed Instead?
Any amount of breast milk that your baby gets is beneficial, even if it's in a bottle. JGI/Tom Grill/Blend Images/Getty Images

Is It OK To Pump And Bottle Feed Your Baby Instead Of Breastfeeding? 

It's absolutely OK to pump your breast milk for your baby and give it to him in a bottle. This is a very personal choice, and no one should tell you that it's wrong. Many women do not want to put the baby to the breast, yet they still wish to provide breast milk for their baby. This is where the age-old "process versus product" debate begins...Is it the act of breastfeeding or the nutrition (or both?) that is best for the baby?

Once again, this a very personal decision and there is no right or wrong answer. Some moms are very modest or uncomfortable with the idea that the baby would be at the breast, and that's OK.

Pumping And Your Breast Milk Supply

When you pump for your baby instead of breastfeeding, the biggest concern is maintaining a strong breast milk supply. You want to use a high-quality electric breast pump or a hospital-grade breast pump. These types of pumps will mimic your baby's suckling patterns and stimulate your milk supply while removing the maximum amount of milk from your breasts as possible. The more breast milk you remove from your breasts, the more you will make.

Exclusive Pumping And Bottle Feeding

If you plan on pumping exclusively for your baby, it's necessary to pump at least every 2 to 3 hours during the day to make enough breast milk to sustain your child. It's basically how often your baby would be at the breast if you were breastfeeding exclusively.

However, because the breast pump does not compress the milk ducts exactly like the baby, you should keep a close eye on how much breast milk you're producing. You should also be sure to drink plenty of watereat well, and as crazy as it may sound at this stage, try to get some rest! These things will help you to make and keep up a healthy supply of breast milk.

Combining Breast Milk Feeding and Formula Feeding

If you've decided to feed your baby both pumped breast milk and formula, that's great, too! Any amount of breast milk that you can give to your baby is beneficial. You can pump for some feedings and give the formula for others. Or, you can give both breast milk and formula at the same feeding. If you do give breast milk and formula in the same feeding, give your baby your breast milk first. This way your baby will take all your breast milk. Then, after your child has taken all the breast milk, you can finish the feeding with formula. If there's any left over, it's the formula that will be thrown away, not your precious breast milk.  

See Also: Can You Mix Breast Milk And Formula In The Same Bottle?

Pumping And The Return To Work 

Many moms who have been pumping since the beginning have a very easy transition when they have to go back to work. There isn't the stress of introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby or having to teach your body to accept a pumping schedule.

However, if you find that your breast milk supply is dropping a bit from regular ol' work stress, don't worry! There are many ways to increase your breast milk supply.

Edited by Donna Murray

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