Whenever possible, babies should be allowed to breastfeed to the best of their abilities whenever hungry.
1) Babies who can breastfeed normally
Some babies are vigorous and can latch and suck effectively. They should be allowed to breastfeed in addition to being supplemented. This will maximize milk production and is often less work and more effective than expressing.
Expressing after breastfeeding may be ineffective if the mother’s milk supply has always been low but can be helpful in increasing a reduced milk supply. The process of breastfeeding, supplementing, and expressing can be called triple feeding.
2) Babies who have breastfeeding difficulties
If the baby has difficulty breastfeeding, as with a latching problem or is weak or sick, the mother can offer the breast when the baby is hungry. This allows the baby to practise breastfeeding and stimulates the breast. The breast should be offered gently and only for as long as the baby can tolerate.
In this situation, the mother needs to express after each of the baby’s feeds. This allows the mother to maintain and maximize her milk supply and provide some or all of the baby’s milk supplement.