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Combining Breast and Bottle Feeding

Pump Like a Pro:

To maintain your milk supply at your current level, just turn to your pump whenever you would normally nurse your baby. If you want to stock up on extra milk, add in a pumping session. In fact, you may want to start doing this a few weeks before you return to work, so you have a nice starting supply. You'll have the most milk in the morning, so if you pump right after your morning feeding session, you can save that milk for later.

Supplementing Secrets:

If it's not realistic to pump at work or you can't do it as often as you need to, supplement with formula. Most babies will do fine on a regular cow's-milk formula, but ask your pediatrician what she recommends for your baby. Start by replacing just one feeding session with formula, and drop that nursing session. If you feel like your breasts are going to explode, you can pump a little bit to relieve the pressure and make it to your next feeding. (If you completely empty your breasts, that will just send a message to your boobs to produce more milk.) The ideal is to drop one nursing session a week; otherwise, you'll be at increased risk for clogged milk ducts and mastitis. Some women, however, find that they can get away with dropping a feeding every four or five days (you may want to write it all down to keep track, especially if you're still sleep-deprived!).

When her second son, Seamus, was born 18 months after Connor, Wilson introduced the bottle early and often, and he switched easily between the two. "So many women give up on breastfeeding after just a couple of weeks because it's hard and because it seems like it's all or nothing. No one tells you that it gets easier, that your partner can be on duty without your baby being warped, and that you just may come to love nursing," says Wilson. "I think if there were less judgment, more support, and more open conversation about 'doing the combo' of nursing and bottle-feeding, many women would breastfeed longer. And that's a win-win for everyone."

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