He Eats More Than I Pump!

Kathleen Tackett's picture

QUESTION

Dear Kathy,
My son is 4 months old. He was not taking a bottle from husband. Since he will now take one, we try to give him a bottle everyday. He will eat 7-8 oz. from the bottle. When I pump at the same time I only get 3 oz. This has been going on for at least a week. It does not seem normal! What can I do? Also I do not believe that he has gained weight for a couple of weeks.

Kendra

ANSWER

Hi Kendra,
Thanks for writing in with your question. Can I ask you a couple of questions?

  1. Why do you feel like you need to give your son a bottle every day? Are you afraid that he suddenly won't take one again?
  2. Does he seem hungry to you at this point?
  3. How many times a day are you pumping? Are you using any supplements?

Please write and let me know. Then I can give you some more specific guidance. In the meantime, let me answer generally.

First, babies always take more from a bottle than from the breast -- whether it's breast milk or formula. It's just a characteristic of a bottle. So just because he is taking more than you are pumping doesn't necessarily mean that he needing that much from you or is following short 3-4 oz. It just that it is possible to overeat with a bottle.

Second, one of the dangers of introducing a bottle -- especially when he is taking so much in a feeding -- is that you cut down on the number of times a day that you are emptying your breasts (either via breastfeeding or pumping). That can cut into your supply. That being said, I'm not convinced that you have actually dropped your supply. If you are concerned, one thing you can do is take him to the doctor and have him weighed. Let's not assume there is a problem unless there really is one.

If your supply really has dropped, you'll want to start increasing the number of times a day that you are either pumping or breastfeeding. Check out my Web site (www.breastfeedingmadesimple.com) for more information on how to build your supply back up.

Please don't panic. If there is a problem, we can get you back on track.

Please feel free to get in touch with more questions. I can help walk you through this.

-- Kathy Kendall-Tackett, IBCLC