Most lactation consultants agree that a bottle should not be introduced to a baby until they are at least a month old and breastfeeding is well established. The way a baby drinks from the bottle requires a different sucking method and may take your baby a while to get used to it.
If you are returning to work after maternity leave, then it is best to start a few weeks before your first day to ensure your baby is comfortable with the bottle.
Here are some tips for introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby:
- Start with a slow flow nipple – Babies have to work to pull milk out of the breast for the most part so taking a bottle will likely flood them with too much milk until they get the hang of it. Try a slow flow nipple to begin with and work your way up if needed.
Start with a small amount of breast milk – It may be best to offer only an ounce or two at first. Your baby may not take to the bottle right away and offering more than that at a time might mean wasting some of that precious liquid gold (breast milk). If it doesn’t go well, then stop and offer the breast after about 10 minutes if baby gets upset. Try again another time.
- Let someone else give your baby the bottle – It is best not to be near baby when trying the bottle at first. Often times babies will not accept a bottle from their mother because they want to nurse instead. It can cause some distress on both sides. Have Daddy or Grandma give the baby a bottle while Mommy takes a relaxing shower or rests in the other room.
- Try different bottle brands – Sometimes finding the right bottle is the key to getting your baby to take it. This is why it is generally advised not to go crazy with buying a ton of bottles and washing them before trying one to see if your baby will take it. So keep all bottles in their box until you are ready to use them, then wash and sterilize one to see how your baby does. That way you aren’t stuck with a bunch of bottles you can’t use.
- Try holding your baby in different positions – This will be a foreign experience for your baby. She is used to being held close to Mommy. Try different holds to see what she prefers.
- Offer bottle when your baby is happy and relaxed
- Try dipping the tip of the nipple in warm breast milk – This will help entice baby to suck.
- Be patient! Some babies may take to bottle feeding right away while others take many attempts. Remain positive and keep trying!
Have some tips or questions about introducing a bottle to your baby? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!
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