Bottles for Breastfed Babies
When it comes to introducing bottles for breastfed babies, there are many opinions on when and how to do it. Some say to wait until breastfeeding is well established to avoid nipple confusion. Others say to introduce a baby bottle early so baby learns to fed from both breast and bottle interchangeably. Some say to have Mom introduce the bottle, while others suggest Mom shouldn’t even be around. Whether you are a first time Mom or a third time Mom, like me, all of these contradictory opinions can make the task feel overwhelming.
Every Baby Is Different
With my first daughter, we waited until she was around 2 months old before trying a bottle and she wanted nothing to do with it. We tired different bottles, different positions, different temperatures, and different people giving it to her. No matter what we did, she was not going to drink a bottle. So we stopped trying.
With my second daughter, she took a bottle no problem for the first few months. This was for a few reasons. First, she was a premie and spent the first 12 days in the NICU at our hospital. When I wasn’t there to breastfed her, she got a bottle of pumped milk. Second, since she was a premie and her mouth was so small, we used a nipple shield during the first few weeks. This made breastfeeding easier for both her and I and she was used to the plastic texture whether she was having a bottle or breastfeeding. Once I weaned her off of the nipple shield, she was a little more resistant to the bottle feedings. I often found it easier to just breastfeed her, instead of take the time to pump & then bottle feed. So eventually we stopped trying.
What Are We Doing Wrong?
Now, with our third daughter, I really want her to be able to take a bottle throughout the time she is breastfeeding. Why? Well, because with three kids in the house, sometimes the older two need me. I would like to be able to hand the baby over to Dad or Grandma and let them feed her. After all, it’s great bonding time for them, which you can read about here. It’s also nice for me to be able to leave the house (on my own!) without worrying about being back in time to feed the baby. Especially in the early months when their schedules are so unpredictable.
But after our first two girls either wouldn’t or stopped taking a bottle, I have to ask myself if we are doing something wrong? And if we are, how can we fix it?
How We Are Making It Work
We had our third little girl at the end of March, so she is still fresh & new. We want to introduce a bottle to her early, in hopes of having her take one whenever the need arises. Here is what we found works best for us:
- Find the right bottle. We find that the Philips Avent Natural Bottles work really well with our kids. The design of these bottles make it easy for baby to latch on to the wide, breast-shaped nipple. This helps them to transition easily between breast and bottle feeding.
- Have anyone but Mom give the bottles to baby. Once our baby smells Mom, she wants to breastfeed.
- Pumping and immediately giving that milk to baby in a bottle. It is as close in temperature to what she would get while breastfeeding as possible.
- Recognize the cues and give baby a bottle before she is starving & crying the “hunger cry”.
- Avoid too many external distractions. We like to give her a bottle in a quiet place to ensure she will eat well.
While these little tips & tricks have worked for us, they may not be the right fit for you. We would love for you to comment below and share with us what tips you have for a successful combination of breast & bottle feeding.
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Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Philips Avent and I received Compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.