When to begin to offer expressed breast milk

mother and baby

Offering baby an alternative feeding method too soon in the early days whilst they are learning to breastfeed may interfere with the way your baby is Breastfeeding. It is better to wait until your Breastfeeding and lactation are established; this can vary between mothers but generally it takes 2-4 weeks.

I have also noticed that there appears to be a developmental window in which babies readily take an alternative feeding device without appearing to refusing the breast, I have also noticed that if this is overshot you may need to wait until the next window!

Go at your Baby’s pace

Plan ahead, particularly if you need to return to work. Check with your employer that they will permit you to perhaps divide your lunch break to express your milk.

There is useful information on your rights when returning to work and returning to work whilst Breastfeeding at the following links:

Try short lessons with your chosen feeding method every day to increase your baby’s tolerance.

Contrary to belief it is better not to offer a bottle or other method when your baby is really hungry, better to give it after or during a breastfeed. Some babies can go without feeding all day and wait for your return home to breastfeed!

Stay calm, go at baby’s pace, baby will let you know if you are going too fast, it’s my experience that breastfed babies who feed well at breast feed happily feed by other methods and back again.

How much to give baby?

Breast fed babies need their weight in kilos multiplied by 20mls per feed, for example if your baby weighs 4.5kg they need 90mls for a feed, some babies who are light for their age may have their weight in kilos multiplied by 30mls.

If your baby is fed exclusively on breast milk they will need their weight in kilos multiplied by 150mls a day (24 hours) if they are light for their chronological age they need 180mls a kilo a day.

The above calculations are different to those used for artificial milk. For babies that are mixed fed (breast milk and artificial milk) I advise parents to use the above calculations to good effect.

For more information on feeding your baby from a feeding device, read Katherine’s complete guide Your breast fed baby and expressed breast milk


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