(Cape Town, South Africa)
Visitor Question: I have recently returned to work and my baby is 4 and a half months old. She has also just started sleeping through the night from about 20h00 – 06h00.
She was exclusively breastfed until 4 months, but when I returned to work, I had to supplement with formula bottles as she was drinking every 2 – 3 hours and I cannot pump that many times at work.
I now feed her when she wakes up at about 06h00, then again before I leave for work at 07h30. If possible I will pump at work at 11h00 and then again at 15h00, or I might manage to pop home for lunch, and then I breastfeed her or express. I return home at 17h00 and feed her again, and once more before she goes to sleep at 08h00.
I pump every night at 10h30 / 11h00 so that she has a breast milk bottle for the next day.
Should I try and wake her up and breastfeed her at night time or should I just continue to express milk.
My milk supply is starting to decline and switching routines to night time seems like a good idea, but sometimes she doesn’t want to wake up and feed??
I have a busy life with a 4 and 5 year old as well!!
Please advise the best way forward.
Breastfeeding Magazine Response: What a beautiful baby!
The most likely reason that your milk supply is lower is due to the fact that you are now supplementing with formula. She has replaced calories that she was getting from you with her other bottles.
As long as you are fine with your current arrangement, you can try herbs like fenugreek to increase supply without changing your schedule. By increasing your supply, you should be able to pump enough so that she will not need any formula.
If you don’t have a really good breast pump…that may make a difference too! Fenugreek and a great breast pump are wonderful to help working moms keep up with baby!
However, if you want to try reverse cycling…just sleep near her and offer her the breast several times. (Some moms undress the baby down to their diapers to keep them a little more awake.)
You will need to also cut back on the formula so that she really is hungry and wants to eat when you are home. Only offer what you were able to pump the day or night before.
She will get enough calories from your milk as long as you don’t offer alternatives.
The choice is up to you, but why not try the herbs and pumping first (without much formula) and decide from there?