Feed Me! Breasts, Bottles, & Beyond
WebMD Live Events Transcript
Breastfeeding is best, but what can working moms do? What if you aren't able to nurse? We looked at bottle babies and which formula is right for your baby. When do you start feeding solids and what do you start feeding? Make it yourself or buy it? We asked these feeding questions and more when our baby expert Ann Douglas joined us on June 22, 2004.
The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.
Of course it's always a good idea to read. In the back of my book, The Mother of All Baby Books, I include a number of recommendations of excellent books on breastfeeding. Fortunately, there is a wealth of breastfeeding information available today, so you can do a great job of researching ahead of time.
Do you have any information about pumps? I have to go back to work and want my baby to have breast milk. Which pumps work the best? And is this a realistic plan -- pump for the day and breastfeed at night?
When you're shopping around for a pump you may want to consider renting one of the top quality electric pumps as opposed to settling one of the poorer quality pumps. The reason is I rented one of the hospital quality electric pumps after my youngest child and I couldn't believe how much more milk I was able to pump as compared with some of the less expensive consumer-type products that I had used with my previous babies. Some of the truly creme de la creme hospital grade breast pumps even allow you to simultaneously pump from both breasts at once. If you are trying to extract milk quickly during your break or during your lunch hour, this can be a huge time saver. I can't speak highly enough of the Medela brand of breast pumps; they are simply fantastic in my opinion. So that's my two cents on breast pumps.
Obviously, you'll have to consider work wardrobe issues as well if you're going to be pumping breast milk on the job. You'll need to choose clothes that are easy to either lift up or open at the front to accommodate pumping at work. And it's also a good idea to choose garments that won't show staining too easily, should you leak a little milk before or after a feeding. Hey, it happens!
Another thing you might want to think about ahead of time is where you are going to pump at work. Ideally you will work for an progressive employer who understands that breastfeeding is a natural function and is good for babies, and therefore that the company should be supporting your efforts to breastfeed. Such forward thinking companies often provide comfortable rooms where mums can use a breast pump.
At the other end of the spectrum are employers who discourage mums from pumping in their offices and shame them into having to pump in the washroom stall. I personally think this is appalling, because I wouldn't dream of making my husband a steak dinner in the company washroom stall, so why should I have to collect breast milk for my baby's next feeding in the company washroom stall? I really think employers have to be much more supportive of the needs of breastfeeding families. Yes, I'm back on my soapbox again!
My wife breastfeeds our daughter. She works in the day (my wife; not our baby!) and pumps throughout. This gives me bottles to feed the baby during the daytime. We started her on solids -- mostly pears, apples, and rice cereal. Not sure what is the right amount to feed her. We mix in about 1 ounce of milk in each solid feeding. But, to be honest, our baby girl eats like a cow and always wants more. Can you overstuff a baby?
It sounds to me like your baby is positively thriving, so I would just keep doing what you're doing, offering her food and letting her appetite be your guide. I think that feeding babies is one of those challenging areas of parenting, because every baby's appetite varies widely and we all have to figure out for ourselves how much food our baby really needs.
The best approach to take with babies, and older children, is to offer the food and watch for the cues they offer when they've had enough to eat. If, for example, she turns her mouth away when the spoon starts coming towards her, she's saying, thanks, dad, but I've already had enough. Instead of trying to convince her to have just one more bite, put down the spoon and let mealtime be done, because she is clearly full at that point. Young children haven't learned to disregard the message that tells them when they are full, and we don't want to train them to disregard this all-important message.