Pumped Breast Milk

Updated on November 29, 2006
S.C. asks from Cortland, IL
9 answers

I have some pumped breatmilk in bottles in the fridge, before feeding them to the baby how long can they stay out at room temp? somtimes it seems like the breastmilk is not filling up my 3 week old baby, is there a formula that I can use every once in awhile to fill him up that will not mess up his stomach? is it ok to alternate between breastmilk and formula every once in awhile (one formula bottle a day)

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answers from Chicago on

Once breastfeeding was established, my husband gave my second son one bottle of formula in the evening. I would usually pump a bit at the same time, or breastfeed first, but it was the time of day when my milk supply was the lowest (and supply was an issue for me with both kids.)

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answers from Chicago on

I was always told that if it was fresh milk you could leave it out 24 hours. If frozen or had been cooled only 2 hours. In regards to using formula, if you start supplimenting you might lose the feeding. You produce what you use. I would make sure to get letdown before trying to pump and maybe pump an extra time during the late evening and on weekends to use during workdays. Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I have read a lot of different time limits for the freshness of breastmilk. I would say that the following is the best/easiest rule of thumb: 5-5-5. 5 hours at room temperature. 5 days in the refridgerator. 5 months in the freezer. (Most things I read say 6-12 months in the freezer, especially if you have an extra low temp freezer.) I used this rule of thumb all year & had no problem. They do say that if you defrost milk from the freezer, you should use it within 24 hours.

As far as formula supplementation. Well everything I read said that they didn't recommend supplementation because it hinders the mother's production of milk. They recommend continuing to breastfeed so that your production goes up. I didn't have this luck. I always had to supplement 1 bottle of formula per day (just as you are suggesting). Yes, it is perfectly fine to intermix formula & breastmilk. You will not 'mess up his stomach'. I used Enfamil Lipil (I thought it was the best). Usually I mixed it in with the breastmilk bottles, but you have to be careful not to mix too much, because if the baby doesn't finish the bottle in two hours, you have to throw it away (formula rule). You don't want to waste any breastmilk. If I did it again, I would just give a separate formula bottle.

You're doing a great job!

Edit note: I just read the note from someone that it was OK to leave milk out 24 hours at room temp? This is NOT true. My 5 hour rule of thumb worked. One night I pumped milk in the wee hours & forgot to put it in the fridge. My husband got up to feed him in the morning & didn't think the milk was 5 hrs old yet (but it was exactly 5 1/2 hours old). He said our baby took one sip & refused it. (smart little guy) I say stick with the 5 hours or less rule!



answers from Chicago on

I had the same issue only because I was not pumping enough to fulfill my daughter. My Ped recommended Enfamil which worked great for us I would do half breatmilk half formula in each bottle to maintain my nutrients and give her the amount she needed. Hope this helps.



answers from Chicago on

It is totally OK to alternate formula and breast milk. My daughter got 1 bottle of formula a day so daddy could stay up and feed her and mommy could go to bed early and wake up for the early morning nursings. She had the Enfamil pre-mixed once in a while, but I mostly used the Similac Advanced with Iron powder. Your breastmilk does fill up your baby, don't worry. But breastmilk is so easily digested that younedd to feed them more often. Formula takes a long time for their body to breakdown and digest, so it seems like it fills them up more, but they just stay full longer. Like the difference when you eat vegetables and salad vs. steak and potatoes. the heavier stuff stays with you longer. ask your ped. what formula to recommend if you go that way. and look at kellymom.com for more answers.



answers from Chicago on

Hi S.,

Check out the website for LaLeche League. They have some great FAQ's that will answer both of your questions above along with other very valuable information.

Good Luck!





answers from Chicago on

Breastmilk is produced on a supply/demand basis, so the more you nurse your baby the more milk you will make. YOu need to make sure you're well hydrated and well fed. As another poster mentioned, some people find eating oatmeal helpful too.

There will be growth spurts that your baby goes through - during those days you may feel like you are constantly nursing him. Just keep switching back and forth from one side to the other. His sucking will stimulate you to produce more and in a couple days your supply will catch up and he will stop acting hungry all the time.

If you do not do this, you *will* need to supplement with formula because you will not stimulate your supply enough to keep up with his demands.

Like many women have said here, it is not the end of the world if you wish to do this, but there are many benefits both for you as a mom and for your son if you do NOT supplement. For you these include: improved weight loss, non-stinky diapers to change, overall happiness and bonding with your baby. For him, better nutrition and bonding with mom.

There is actually no reason that you need to be pumping any breastmilk at this point unless your baby has a cleft palate or some other deformity that is preventing him from latching correctly. In the future if you want to go out for a bit or are going back to work, you'll want to pump of course. Personally, I have never fed my son a bottle - if he's with me he always gets breastfed. Our daycare provider and my husband are the ones who bottle-feed him.

As for pumped milk, here's the guidelines that I trust:
8 days in the fridge
3 months in a freezer
6 months in a deep (stand-alone) freezer
8 hours at room temp
4 hours at room temp if he's already had part of the bottle.

More info on this topic at www.kellymom.com



answers from Augusta on

I would recommend not supplementing with formula. The reason is that each time your baby has formula instead of breastmilk that tells your breasts to make that much less milk the next time.

I have heard that breastmilk can be left out for up to 10 hours. Check out the website www.kellymom.com for lots of great info.

The reason it doesn't seem like the breastmilk is filling your baby up is because breastmilk is very easily digested. Formula is not. And formula does run the risk of messing up the baby's stomach- baby's are not naturally supposed to received these cow's milk proteins and are unprepared. Formula will also change the natural bacterial makeup of the baby's digestive tract. You also run the risk of problems with allergies and constipation.

If your baby is having at least 1 poopy diaper and 4-6 wet diapers a day (and usually there will be more) you can rest assured he is getting enough. You can look at his mouth and see if it is moist and look at his soft spot to make sure it is not sunken in. A dehydrated baby will be listless and have poor skin tone.

So you don't think I am a breastfeeding nazi I actually had great difficulty breastfeeding both of my kids and had to use formula for the most part. I would hate to see a mommy who is obviously doing great producing enough milk to pump (I never could pump any!) affect her supply with formula.

If you have any concerns please contact the lactation consultant at your hospital. I would stay away from the ped with breastfeeding questions since lactation consultants are better sources of info.

Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

Your breastmilk IS filling your baby up. Young babies need to nurse quite often and also go through growth spurts (one being around 3 weeks) when they can want to nurse up to every half hour. It is only temporary and will only last a day or two. I know it is hard to trust it when you can't measure how much they are getting, but just feed on demand....a young baby like that should nurse 8-12 times in a 24 hour period. Once every two hours or so during the day, and every 3-4 hours at night. Just as a rule of thumb.

I would not use any formula...it DOES "mess up their stomach". It permanently alters the lining of their gut. While sometimes you may have no choice, I would try increasing your milk supply before giving formula as it can often be counterproductive and decrease your milk supply.


If you are pumping/nursing often I wouldn't worry about it. If you are still worried, you can go back to the lactation consultant at the hospital where you gave birth. Make an appointment, they can weigh her and make sure she is gaining enough for her age, and also weigh her before and after she nurses to make sure she is getting a decent amount from you.

If you want to increase your milk supply, drinking lots of water, eating oatmeal, taking the herb fenugreek all help. Also if you can take a couple days and just do a lot of skin to skin bonding, just lay in bed and nurse whenever she sees fit, this will help ALOT. I know that isn't always possible, but just a suggestion if you are wanting to do that.

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