Breastfeeding is considered one of the most rewarding experiences for moms and babies. Unfortunately, many moms struggle with breastfeeding due to issues like latching or oral anomalies that lead to babies being underweight. Some moms may consider using the triple feeding method to get their newborns’ weight up.
What Is Triple Feeding?
It’s a three-step process that requires moms to:
1. Directly nurse her baby as much as possible.
2. Pump her remaining breast milk.
3. Then bottle-feed her milk to her baby.
This method takes a lot of effort on mom’s part and can be difficult to stick with since it should be repeated multiple times every day. But as the famous character Frank Costello in the film The Departed (on Hulu) would say, “When you decide to be something, you can be it.” And, for moms looking to try the triple feeding method, anything they decide to do, they can certainly do it.
Try triple feeding about once every two to three hours for a newborn baby though these times can change based on every individual baby’s signs of hunger. During this process, you would:
1. Nurse your baby for about 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Pump your remaining milk for about 15 to 20 minutes, and then
3. Feed your pumped milk to your baby for about five to 10 minutes.
Who Should Do It?
Moms are usually told to triple feed by a physician or lactation consultant and are often started in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) immediately after birth for babies who have a low birth weight. On the other hand, triple feeding can be started at any time for any reason, including:
- Encourage your baby to consume more nutrition.
- Manage your low milk supply.
- Help you and baby with latching issues during nursing.
Tips to Make Things Easier
Take a Break.
As triple feeding is done eight or more times a day, it gets exhausting. That being said, don’t expect to get all three steps of the triple feeding completed every time. It’s perfectly OK to skip one or two steps a couple of times a day, especially if you are feeling physically or mentally tired.
Invest in a Hands-Free Breast Pump.
Traditional breast pumps require you to sit down and be plugged into a wall. Luckily, technology has made it possible to pump breast milk and be hands-free so you can multitask. There are plenty of inexpensive hands-free pumps on the market. I used MomMed and I find it comfortable, reliable and they have a great warranty that other pumps don’t have.
Ask for Help if Available
While nursing and pumping are steps only a mom can do, bottle feeding is a step that anyone can help you do. If possible, ask someone else to bottle feed your baby while you pump to save time and give you a break. You can also consider bottle-feeding baby while you pump, especially if you use a completely hands-free breast pump like MomMed.
Triple feeding is usually temporary and often used just as long as it takes to get a newborn’s weight up or fix a latching issue. Once the goal of triple feeding is reached, a mother can choose to wean her baby onto a regular nursing or bottle-feeding schedule. To wean a baby from triple feeding, nurse longer and slowly give your baby less during the bottle-feeding step. Next, you can gradually wean yourself off of pumping. You may wean your baby off of nursing and switch to exclusive pumping and bottle feeding in the same way.
Many of us experience challenges when it comes to breastfeeding and triple feeding is one solution to ensure adequate milk for babies. While it can be exhausting, with the right planning and support things can make it easier. The good news is that triple feeding doesn’t need to be done forever and the goal is to return to exclusive breastfeeding once the underlying issues have been resolved.
If you need assistance learning all there is to know about pumping, Save The Milk offers 1:1 breast pumping consults.