Introducing a Bottle to a Breastfed Baby

introducing a bottle, happy mother feeds the baby bottle

Whether you plan to go back to work, or just want to get out of the house for a while, most breastfeeding mothers will be introducing a bottle at some point. Naturally, if you are breastfeeding you may have some questions or concerns about introducing a bottle to your little one. Some babies will have no issues taking a bottle while other babies might need to work on it with consistent practice. In today’s blog will be going over five tips to help introducing a bottle go smoothly.

Timing
When introducing a bottle for non medical reasons, the best time is about 2 weeks after a good a good latch and nursing relationship has been established. Ideally, a bottle will be introduced no later than 4-6 weeks of age. If you’ve already missed the window, no worries, give bottle feeding a try when you’re ready. Once baby has taken a bottle, stay consistent with using it. Try to offer a bottle at least 3-4 times, so baby doesn’t develop a preference for the breast.

Temperature
The ideal temperature for a bottle of breast milk is 98-99 degrees. That being said, many babies will take a room temperature bottle with no issues, and some will even take cold bottles, straight out of the fridge. You can warm the bottle by submerging it in a mug of hot water until it’s warm enough. A good way to test the temperature is to drip a few drops of milk on your inner wrist, the milk should not feel hot or cold. Generally speaking, this process take about 5 minutes so make sure you take that into consideration for that when baby starts to show hunger cues.

Bottles
The best kind of bottle for a breastfed baby is a bottle with a wide neck or wide base nipple. When you are registering for bottles, just register for a few bottles in different brands. The wide neck bottle generally has a nipple that resembles a mother’s nipple much more closely than the traditional bell shaped nipples. Some great bottles for breastfeeding are the Comotomo, Tommee Tippee, BornFree, and the Lansinoh Momma.

Burping
When bottle feeding a breastfed baby it’s important to remember that they are likely taking in more air when they feed from a bottle than when they feed from the breast. Stop about half way through the bottle and sit them up to burp. If you don’t get a burp after multiple attempts you can continue on with the feeding. Don’t forget to burp them afterwards as well.

Feeding
Remember that babies have to work a lot harder to get milk from the breast than the bottle so when we feed with a bottle we want to, as closely as possible, mimic the way the milk comes out of the breast. To achieve this, you can utilize paced feeding when feeding baby from a bottle. To get baby to latch on to the bottle you can drop a little bit of milk on their lips and tickle their lips with the bottle, this should encourage them to open wide and latch onto the bottle. Remember to take frequent pauses and encourage baby to rest every 30-60 seconds.

Tip: If you aren’t sure how much to feed baby, this is a great chart from The Honest Co.

 

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