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4th March 2012 11:59 AM #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2012
How do I make sure bub will still breastfeed after I come back in 2 weeks?
I would be travelling for a while and will be leaving bub (5 months) with his grandma during this time. He has only known direct breastfeeding and has never drank from a bottle in his life. Since I will be away, of course I have to pump milk and leave them a stash. What can we do to minimize the abruptness of the change and what's the best way to feed him while I'm gone so he doesn't have nipple confusion when I'm back? I'd be devastated if he doesn't want to breastfeed anymore and would prefer a bottle instead.
4th March 2012 12:06 PM #2
Hello and welcome to the forums!
How long will you be away from your little one and when do you leave? Have you started storing milk yet? I'll give more suggestions once I know a little more about how long you will be gone from him.
4th March 2012 12:11 PM #3
- Join Date
- Mar 2012
I'll be leaving two weeks from today and will be gone for two weeks. As far as storing milk, I've bought a pump already and storage bottles, but I haven't started storing. I don't really know how much to store, or how often I should pump. Not to mention that I still have to feed him while I'm here.
4th March 2012 02:36 PM #4
Well... what you are proposing may prove to be challenging. So let's just start with helping bub to want the breast when you return.
As you are already aware, giving him a bottle could cause nipple confusion AND he could decide that he really likes the fact that he doesn't have to work to get the milk (compared to having to suck, suck, suck until you have a let-down, producing a stream of milk).
The fact that he has been breastfeeding for 5 months is a positive for you. If Grandma gives him a bottle while you are away, he may go right back to the breast when you return, without any problem. However it's really hard to know whether he will do this or not.
In order to pretty much guarantee that he won't get attached to the bottle, Grandma would need to feed him from either a cup or by spoon. This would take a lot more time and patience on her part (and possibly on baby's) and you would need to talk to Grandma to see how she feels about this. Really listen to how she responds and read her body language. If she says she'll do it just to put your mind at ease, she may end up not putting the effort into it, and giving the bottle. If she feels it's really important, then she may be willing to put the time and effort into this.
Ultimately I wouldn't expect anyone to do this for my baby, for 2 weeks. I might for one day, but certainly not for 2 weeks. I'm also assuming that Grandma will have your 4 year old as well, which means that she will have two children to look after and less time for working with baby (feeding by cup or spoon).
If you decide to leave a bottle with Grandma, you will want to leave a slow feed nipple so that baby has to work harder to get the milk than if you left a medium or fast flow nipple. I think I would leave a slow flow nipple and a medium flow nipple but ask Grandma to start with the slow flow nipple. If baby gets too frustrated trying to get milk, then Grandma would want the option to offer a flow of milk that would make baby happier.
You might be able to have Grandma use a sippy cup - this is another thing she could try. Any other mums who have experience offering a sippy cup of breastmilk while away from baby please share your experiences.
Pumping and storing - I don't know if you're going to be able to store up enough milk in two week's time, to feed bub for 2 weeks while you are away. Again, this is going to take a lot of time and dedication on your part for the next 2 weeks.
Milk supply is highest in the morning, and lowest in the evening. Therefore, you may be able to wake up 2 hours before bub's first feeding and pump both sides. Then when bub wakes up, you could try feeding him on one side and pumping on the other. You may find that he's still hungry after just one side, and then you'd likely need to offer him the milk you just pumped. Or you could let him suckle on the empty breast to help pacify him and increase your milk supply.
Ultimately it would be great if you could get him to take only one side per feed, while pumping on the other side so you can store that milk. Switch sides at each feed. If he feeds on the left side one time, then offer him the right side at the next feed. This will keep stimulation even and milk supply even in both breasts (will also help you to not have one side bigger than the other).
I'm going to take a guess here, but at 6 months of age (which is what he will be when you leave him) I'm guessing he may take 8 ounces of milk every 2-3 hours.
As a final thought... is there any way that you could take your baby with you? God created the breastfeeding relationship to work well when mother and child are together, and He intended this to be all day and night for at least the first year of life. Have you ever noticed that when you leave your baby for more than a couple of hours, your body reminds you that your baby needs to eat because your milk will let down when it's time? It doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing - and you may end up with a wet shirt, because baby needs to eat (and it's time to feed).
If there is any way you could postpone your trip until baby is older, or you could take him with you, that would be ideal. Would Grandma be willing to go with you and care for baby when you're not available? At least you could then breastfeed him at night and possibly during lunch break which would mean you wouldn't have to pump at night and would have to pump less during the day.
Which reminds me of one other thing I need to address and that will be keeping your milk supply up while you are away.
My 3rd child had open heart surgery when he was 2 1/2 months old. I was breastfeeding full time and I needed to keep my milk supply up while he was in the hospital so that I would have plenty of milk when he was able to feed again.
So this meant that I used a hospital grade pump (I had one that I purchased and was portable), and I pumped every 2 hours (religiously). It took me about 20 minutes to pump (I pumped both sides at the same time) and then 10 minutes to clean the pump. So if I started pumping at 12:00 noon, I was done and cleaned up by 12:30, and an hour and a half later I would start pumping again (2:00 PM).
I found that I had to pump longer than my bub would feed in order to stimulate the breast properly and keep my milk supply up.
I also had to pump during the night. Now, I didn't get up every hour and a half to pump because I really needed my rest. But I would pump at 11PM, and then set my alarm to get up at 4AM, so I had a 4 1/2 hour stretch of sleep. Then I'd go back to sleep and pump at 7AM and then every 2 hours after that.
If you're not able to pump every 2 hours, you may find that your milk supply decreases while you are away and you'll have to work to increase it when you return.
If there are any other mums who can offer suggestions, please do. I just don't see an easy way to guarantee a strong breastfeeding relationship when Wolfysmum returns from her 2 week trip and I'd love to hear more thoughts.
5th March 2012 04:30 PM #5
- Join Date
- Mar 2012
It will really be a tough two weeks for everyone, especially for Grandma.
I think that's really an interesting suggestion - cup feeding. I will go and have that talk with his Grandma and see if she is open to this. I wonder how bub's gonna take it. He is pretty impatient with milk when he's hungry. Maybe we can do a dry run and see how things go. Then if that doesn't seem to go down too well, I'll go out and get a slow feed nipple.
I would love to hear from other mums about any experience you have with a sippy cup for a 5-month old.
Oh, I would really want to bring him with me, but it is a business trip abroad and I really can't bring him along, much as I would want to.
The pumping does sound daunting, especially as this is my first time to do it. I have a friend who's offered to make me "lactation cookies". I'm hoping this will help with producing enough milk to store. Thank you so very much for the very practical steps that I can do to get started with pumping and storing. I'm all for doing whatever I need to do to make sure the breastfeeding relationship we've established will still be there.
I hope other moms who've had to go through this (or know someone who did) can share your thoughts too!
7th March 2012 08:00 AM #6
- Join Date
- Dec 2011
You have already received wonderful information. I do think using a cup may work better. I started giving mine a cup at a young age, and it did take some getting used too. I would probably start cup feeding now, just offer it once per day, so your son can become more used to drinking from the cup. If the cup does not work, then definitely use a bottle with a slow flow nipple. Grandma should also snuggle with your little one and try to hold him the same way he would be held whilst breastfeeding. She should also let him take the nipple to his mouth, instead of just pushing it in his mouth. Babies naturally root for the nipple, so it is best to try and keep some things as similar as possible.
You should definitely start expressing milk now, as much as possible. Make sure Grandma knows not to overfeed when you are away. Sometimes babies just need to suck, become bored, need comfort, etc. and they aren't truly hungry. It is easier to drink milk from a bottle, so some babies may seem like they just keep wanting to suck on the bottle, but they aren't actually hungry anymore.
This is a good calculator to determine how much milk you may need to leave. I do think using an electric pump would be beneficial. Make sure the flanges (breast shields) on the pump are the correct size, so you can express milk effectively. You can try taking Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle to increase milk supply. It will also be incredibly important for you to keep expressing milk when you are away. Try to express as much as possibler and store the milk safely, so your supply is not lowered. This is a good article about expressing breast milk.
I may think of more to say, but I do want to wish you and your little one the best during this time. I am sure if will be difficult to be away from your little one.
7th March 2012 11:00 AM #7
- Join Date
- Mar 2012
Thank you for these tips. Now I know we should try to keep things as similar to the breastfeeding experience as possible. Cup feeding is definitely a new thing for all of us. I found some online videos and I think we can work with that. I just hope bub doesn't get frustrated because it's a different way of eating! Maybe I can let Grandma know to watch extra carefully for hungry signs. A super hungry baby might not be too happy with a cup, right? I know I wouldn't if I was in his shoes.
I've started eating cookies with fenugreek and oatmeal in it and I've noticed a marked increase in milk supply. I now have a small stash, maybe good for a day (I've just started expressing milk), so hopefully, I can express enough before I leave.
I would definitely need to bring my pump with me when I'm away. Thanks for the reminder! I can just imagine - after two weeks of "hyperlactation" with expressing milk + feeding, I don't think there are enough nursing pads that I can use.
Thank you so much for the wonderful, wonderful links and information. Feel free to add more. There might be a mom who'd find herself in the same situation and this would really really help.
8th March 2012 10:40 AM #8
Another option to keeping baby at the breast while you are away (and thus having a baby happily accept the breast when you return) would be to have Grandma use a lactation aid.
Here's a good video that shows how to use a lactation aid.
Grandma would just offer her breast (even if it's an "old, tired breast") and baby would suckle with the little tube of milk, and feed that way. If it were my baby, and I were leaving him with my mother-in-law (who is a breastfeeding proponent) I would ask her if she would consider doing this, and my guess is that she would.
Glad the fenugreek/oatmeal cookies are working and milk supply is increasing. Keep up the pure water intake (because breastmilk is mostly water) and be sure you continue to care for yourself while you are away, eating very healthy meals, taking your supplement(s) like prenatal vitamin, and getting enough rest. If you get too stressed and not enough rest, and eat unhealthy meals on top of that, it could impact your milk supply.
Oh - and if you forget to take your pump, your body will remind you that you need to feed/pump, and you'll get engorged and it will be very painful, and then you could end up with a breast infection, so it's critical that you take your pump. If not, you'll want to pick one up when you get there - it's just not an option to be without one, unless you're going to spend a lot of time manually expressing.
One other thing you may want to consider is introducing solids. Mashed banana and mashed avocado are great foods, and the avocado has a nice, healthy fat content, which will make him feel full longer. If you decide to try something like rice cereal, you may want to include some pureed prunes with it so that he does not become constipated (rice can constipate). A constipated baby is an unhappy baby, so we want to be sure to keep his bowels going.
Sounds like you're definitely on the right track. Your children are very blessed to have a mother who cares for them so much and wants the best for them.
9th March 2012 02:48 AM #9
Looks like you have already had some great advice above.
I just wanted to add that, seeing as you will need to be regularly expressing your milk, you may want to speak to your employer in advance about this. Employers need to support breastfeeding mums to express and store milk at work (there is legislation surrounding this). They should provide somewhere suitable (and private) for you to express.
As you are going on a business trip I guess you will not be in your usual place of work? Do you know what facilities there are available so you can pump in private to maintain your milk supply? Your employer should do their best to support you so that you can continue to provide the best source of nourishment to your baby.
Also, another thought, when I fed my exclusively breastfed baby expressed breast milk I used a Medela Breastflow bottle which is similar to the bottle in this link. The baby has to almost 'latch on' to this bottle to feed from it so it more closely simulates breastfeeding than a normal bottle. However, your baby will probably need to practice with this before your trip. Also, I found my baby would not take expressed breast milk (in a bottle or cup) from me - it had to be my husband.
I hope all goes well for you.