Ask a Midwife 3

Q3. WHEN IS IT USEFUL TO GIVE EXPRESSED MILK AND WHEN IS BREAST BEST? Many women ask about expressing and giving the baby a bottle so their partner can help out, or so they can sleep longer. It is important to remember, however, if your baby has a bottle you will still need to express

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Q3. WHEN IS IT USEFUL TO GIVE EXPRESSED MILK AND WHEN IS BREAST BEST?

Many women ask about expressing and giving the baby a bottle so their partner can help out, or so they can sleep longer. It is important to remember, however, if your baby has a bottle you will still need to express – otherwise your breasts will get very full and very sore and you may risk getting mastitis.

It is wonderful your partner is willing to help out with the care of the baby, but it may be more beneificial for him to do the chores during the day or cook dinner so you can go to bed and sleep then. Recent research has indicated women who breastfeed actually get more sleep than women who bottle feed. Due to the hormones involved in lactation (Oxytocin), breastfeeding mothers get back to sleep more quickly, go into a deeper sleep more quickly and generally aren’t up out of bed for very long.

If, however, you have an event planned i.e a party, a day out, a wedding, then expressing milk to leave for a carer or grandparent to feed to your baby is a wonderful option if you are unable to take your baby. Remembering you will need to express a few times during this time you are away from your baby.

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