Introducing a Bottle to Your Breastfed Baby
There's a lot of confusion and anxiety surrounding the transition from breastfeeding to bottle feeding.
A lot of mothers are nervous to introduce a bottle or pacifier, worried that their baby won't be able to properly feed from a bottle or be able to breastfeed again. There's plenty of myths and miscommunication about nipple confusion, to consider when preparing to make the switch to a bottle.
Every baby is different and some babies have no problem at all switching back and forth from breast to bottle.
If your baby took a little longer to get a hang of breastfeeding, they might have more difficulty transitioning to a bottle. By no means is it impossible to introduce bottle feeding, it may just take a little more time and patience for parents. Most care providers and specialists will recommend waiting about three weeks of breastfeeding before switching things up at dinner time.
"Why wait four weeks, is that some kind of magic number?"
Well there's no "magic number" of weeks to wait before introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby, but stopping a breastfeeding routine too early might encourage your little one to prematurely resist nursing. Although they're still learning, babies are a lot smarter than you think! Bottle feeding doesn't take nearly as much effort, with a steady and constant flow of milk. When breastfeeding, milk flow is variable. Consider paced bottle feeding to mimic breastfeeding flow as much as possible and help your baby easily switch back and forth!
If you're considering switching to a bottle or even beginning your breastfeeding journey, a lactation consultant or a postpartum doula can provide mothers with information and resources they need to breastfeed safely and efficiently. Your consultant can help you with breastfeeding techniques, increasing milk supply and working on the switch from breast to bottle.
Platex Baby put together a few tips and tricks that can make the transition a little smoother and easier on mom and baby that we found to be some great ideas.
Many mothers have someone else offer the bottle at first (this is a job for Dad or a sibling) and in a place other than where they are used to breastfeeding so that baby doesn’t experience his usual feeding cues and setting.
If using formula, whoever is feeding the baby should offer a little bit of breast milk an hour or so after a regular feeding so that the baby is more open to the situation, but not so hungry that the baby gets irritated.
It may help to rub some breast milk on the baby’s lips or tongue to give mimic the experience of breastfeeding.
Run the nipple of your baby's bottle under warm water before offering it to the baby.
If your baby goes about ten minutes or so, stop trying. It's better to stop before baby gets really upset and associates the bottle with frustration and follow along with their pace.