Feeding expressed breastmilk
If all your baby’s feeds will be with your expressed breastmilk, then bottles will probably be most convenient. If you have experienced feeding your baby at the breast and would like to try and make bottle-feeding as similar to breastfeeding as you can, you could:
Feed your baby according to their need rather than to a schedule. You can do this by watching for their feeding cues.
Bottle-feed your baby in a way that gives them more control of how much they drink. This is called paced bottle-feeding.
Alternate the side your baby is held when being bottle-fed. This can help both sides of baby's vision and neck muscles to develop equally.
If you are providing your baby with expressed breastmilk temporarily and plan to establish breastfeeding, your baby may be receiving your EBM via a feeding tube or supply line. You may also choose to cup feed your baby.
What about bonding with my baby?
You may be worried that you won’t be able to bond as well with your baby, compared to if they are breastfed. Breastfeeding can help bonding but there are many ways to form a connection with your baby. If you are the primary caregiver, you’ll still be spending lots of time with your baby.
You might like to try some of the following:
Have lots of skin-to-skin contact while feeding or at any time. Skin-to-skin benefits your baby but it also increases oxytocin which helps with your milk supply.
Hold or have your baby near you as you express. You could use a hands-free expressing bra to help with this.
When you feed your baby, hold them in a breastfeeding position, make eye-contact and talk or sing to them.
Wear your baby in a sling around the house or when you are out.
Sleep close to your baby.
Be encouraged that providing your breastmilk for your baby is a bonding gift in itself.
If you are exclusively pumping because you have returned to full-time work or because your baby is in the NICU, you're doing so well! Expressing and providing your breastmilk means that you are maintaining a special bond with your baby even though you can't physically be there at all times.
The need for support
Mums who are exclusively expressing are very dedicated and deserve and need respect and support. ABA is there for you no matter how you feed your baby.
© Australian Breastfeeding Association May 2022
Read more about expressing and storing
Evidence-led info and practical tips from our Breastfeeding Information Series