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Pumping, Storage, Bottle Feeding, and Going Back To Work

Breastmilk Facts:


  • Room Temperature: 10 hours

  • Refrigerated: 8 days

  • Frozen: one year

  • In cooler carrier with ice pack: 24 hours.

  • Thawed milk: 48 hours; may be refrozen within 8 hours of thawing.

  • Bottle that has been fed: refrigerate between uses, and the bottle can be used 24 hours.

  • Frozen: Thaw by running under hot tap, putting bag of milk in cup of hot water, or placing in the frig overnight.

  • Never microwave milk (it can get “hot spots” that can burn the baby).


  • Pour pumped milk into Breastmilk storage bags and date bag with sharpie.

  • Put collection of bags in larger Ziploc bag for protection.

  • Can store up to 5 ounces in a storage bag.

  • Can add fresh milk to frozen milk to freeze in serial layers and take up less space. Chill fresh milk first before adding to frozen milk.

  • Lay bag down to freeze so it’s flat (takes up less space).

  • Collect 1 to 1 1/2 ounces per hour that baby will be away from you. So, if you work an 8 hour day, with 30 minutes commute time each way, you would plan for 9 hours away from baby, and leave 13.5 ounces for your baby that day (1 1/2 ounce per hour).

  • For peace of mind, many working moms keep a one-week supply of frozen milk as a back-up bank.

Bottle Facts:

Types: Get WIDE based nipple with SLOW flow bottle. There are several. Here are a few brands that meet these criteria:

  • Playtex Ventaire with wide based nipple. They’re the crooked bottles.

  • Playtex with drop in liners. Disadvantage: must keep buying liners. Advantage: less to wash.

  • Dr Brown’s “Natural Latch.” Has a tube system in bottles.

  • Tommy Tippee, Como Tomo, and many others; just check them out!

How to feed:

  1. Sit baby up, tickle rooting so mouth goes wide, have a lot of nipple in mouth

  2. Keep bottle almost horizontal, parallel to the ground, so milk fills neck of bottle but not tipped up. That puts baby in charge of the flow so he drinks when he wants rather than have gravity feed him.

  3. Start at 2 ounces. When baby finishes 2 ounce bottle, increase to 2 1/2 ounces. Increase by 1/2 ounce increments for subsequent feedings each time the baby finishes the previous amount. A breast milk fed baby will not need more than 4 oz at a time. No need to buy bigger bottles.

  4. At daycare: no need to throw away a bottle when not finished; keep it in the lunch cooler or frig and keep feeding from it till done, up to 24 hours.


  1. Boil first use: put in pan with water to cover; bring to a boil and boil 5 minutes.

  2. Then wash in dishwasher or by hand after use.


  1. Put 1 ounce of milk in a bottle for training period.

  2. Offer when calm and alert an hour after nursing, before nursing, after nursing, and on and off throughout the day. It is a learned skill.

  3. May feed chilled milk. No need to warm refrigerated milk.

  4. May offer the one ounce training bottle for 24 hours when kept refrigerated between uses.

Pumping Facts:

Beginning to pump:

  1. Center the nipple in the pumping chamber. It should not rub the sides. If it does, switch to a bigger flange.

  2. Turn the pressure setting to the point where it becomes uncomfortable then back it down to where it is comfortable. That is how you know what your maximum comfortable setting is. Pumping should not hurt just like breastfeeding should not hurt!

  3. When finished pumping, lean forward and scrape the edge of the flange up to catch the drips!

  4. Our milk cycles on a 24 hour basis: more milk in the morning, so pump after the first or second morning feeding to obtain milk for bottle training.

  5. Have your pump set up and ready to go before the feeding. Put it on right after baby finishes while your milk is already let down. Pump both sides at the same time for 10 minutes. This way milk is not taken away from baby but rather you are just pumping off the extra milk. Most moms get about an ounce but volumes vary.

  6. Use this ~1 ounce to bottle train every day until baby takes the bottle well. Then just bank the milk you pump every day. Feed a bottle a couple times a week to make sure baby still takes it well, and use the milk you pump the other days to build your frozen bank.

  7. Just wash the parts that contact milk, never the tubing. If the tubing gets condensation, run the pump just with tubing for several minutes to dry.

  8. Wash flanges and bottles in hot soapy water or dishwasher. Keep your pump parts in the frig at work then you don’t need to take time to wash them, just wash them when you get home!

  9. Pump every 3 hours, on your two breaks and your lunch.

  10. Pump both sides for 15 minutes.

  11. Engaging more senses can help you get more let-downs (let-downs are when the milk is flowing). Look at a picture of your baby, touch and smell a blanket or outfit he has worn, record his voice.

  12. Feed baby last thing before leaving him and first thing when picking him up.

  13. Store milk and pump parts in frig or store milk in cooler if no frig.

  14. You can use the on switch to turn on the pump then set the cycles, or you can just leave the pump at the desired cycle setting and use the electrical plug in as your on/off switch.

  15. Consider a pumping band: The flanges detach and fit under the band, and you attach the pump to this. Hands-free pumping so you can work/eat.

Back To Work Timetable:

As Soon As Possible

1. Interview potential caregivers.

2. Visit several day care centers. Choose what best fits.

When baby is 2 months old or 2-4 weeks before returning to work (per your preference)

1. Begin pumping and collecting breastmilk for storage.

2. Begin to introduce a bottle.

2 Weeks Before Returning to Work

1. Try on clothes and make wardrobe adjustments

2. List clothes needed.

3. Make a plan to return to work on a Weds or Thursday so it will be a short work week. That will allow you to ease in to your work schedule.

One week before Returning to Work

1. Begin offering the bottle at the times you will be away.

2. Leave baby with sitter for short time (while you shop for work clothes; groceries or bank).

3. Form emergency plan with spouse (Which parent should childcare call first?Which parent’s job is more flexible – regarding leaving work, if necessary?)

4. Find backup childcare in case care giver is sick.

Night Before

1. Pack→ Diaper Bag→ Lunch → Nutritious snacks/lots of water bottles for work.

2. Plan supper/decide with spouse who’s cooking it.

3. Write instructions for childcare. Keep it simple. Use a 4×6 card in a Ziploc.Put it in top of milk cooler.

First Morning

1. Allow 30-60 minutes extra for dressing, feeding babyand packing up two people. (Dad may want to help)

2. Take your time at the childcare.

3. Nurse the baby again if you/he wants to.

Every Morning

1. Allow enough time to leisurely nurse the baby before you leave home.

2. Start supper or defrost in refrigerator.

3. Make nursing the last thing you do when you leave baby.

4. Instruct childcare not to feed baby that last hour before you pick baby up so he will nurse.

5. Leave your milk in 2 ounce increments so to not waste your milk. Number them 1,2,3. Instruct them to use them up in order. Use up one before moving on to the next one.

6. Leave milk in a cooler pack/lunchbox with ice packs. Leave a bag of frozen milk as back up in case he takes more than thawed. Use that bag for tomorrow’s milk.

7. Instruct childcare to keep the cup or bottle in cooler if he doesn’t finish it soIt can be finished the next time. Finish a bottle before using the next one

Every Evening

1. Make nursing the first thing you do when you pick up baby.

2. Take home the milk to use for tomorrow. Thawed milk to be used first, thenthe frozen bag. Number bottles with sharpie (it washes off).

Every Evening and Weekends

1. Expect baby to miss you and need more contact with you when you are there!This will express itself in wanting to nurse more, be close to you, etc. Often babies will want to nurse more in the evening and night when mom is away during the day, This is OK, and is called reverse cycle feeding. It means you are more to baby than milk, and that he needs that connection with you.

2. Baby may have a lower intake during the time you are gone and make up forit when you are there. This is also OK because overall baby’s intake averages out the same. A bottle is food, but breast is mom and what he misses is you!

3. Many moms choose to do side lying nursing for these nights to accommodate baby’s needs, more feeds, and more sleep!

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