Even if you have vowed to exclusively feed your baby breast milk, you might have to offer a bottle at some point. Perhaps you’re going back to work, so you pump during the day to supply baby’s caregiver. Or maybe you just want to sleep more than two hours at a time, so you pump during the day so dad can take a shift at night.Introducing the bottle to a breastfed baby can be tricky. Sucking a bottle takes a different motion than sucking a breast. You don’t want baby to prefer the bottle and refuse the breast. Here are some tips to make the transition smooth.
1. Wait until at least one month old
You’ll want to make sure breastfeeding is firmly established so your child doesn’t become confused. Wait until baby is at least a month old or you could risk her refusing the breast entirely.
2. Start with a slow-flow nipple
In most cases, it’s easier to get milk from a bottle than a breast. A regular bottle nipple might flood them with milk and cause them to gag. Use a slow-flow nipple to give them time to learn.
3. Let someone else offer the first few bottles
Your baby might be confused as to why you’re trying to feed through a bottle and not her typical method. Baby might even refuse the bottle and root toward your breast. Have dad offer the first few bottles. You might even have to leave the room if baby is old enough to look around for you.
4. Hold baby as you would when nursing
When you introduce the bottle, don’t set your baby on a pillow or lounger. You want her to associate the bottle with feeding, so hold her as you would near your chest, just a bit more upright (since bottles can pass along air).
5. Put some breast milk on the nipple
If your baby isn’t getting the idea, dab some breast milk on the nipple and gently rub it across her lips like you did with your breast when she was just born. When she smells and tastes it, she’ll understand.
6. Don’t rush; feed slowly
Bottle feeding sessions are usually quicker than feedings at the breast because bottle nipples are easier for baby to feed from. Mimic the breastfeeding experience by drawing out the session with breaks. Let baby relax a minute, maybe try and burp her. This also gives her an opportunity to recognize satiety so she isn’t overfed.
7. The old switch-a-roo
Babies often become content and at ease at the breast. A simple trick is to offer the breast and let baby nurse until she is comfortable and has closed her eyes. Once she is relaxed, gently but quickly swap the breast for the bottle.
8. Introduce during happy times
If you try to introduce something new when baby is mid-tantrum, everyone is going to have a bad time. Keep in mind that feeding is a big part of her world, and any change you make to that system is going to be disruptive. Try and catch her on a good day.
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Written by Jennifer Cicci of Babee Talk
As a mother, Jennifer understands the importance of offering nothing by the best for baby. Motivated by teeth marks on her children’s cribs, she decided to design a teething rail cover after trying products that didn’t measure up when it came to quality or style. What she found out made her even more concerned about children’s safety and health: The toxic chemicals used in the production of synthetic materials have been linked to birth defects, reproductive disorders, and weakened immune systems.
She asked herself, “What if I could revolutionize the way parents decorated their crib with a safe and stylish teething rail cover that could be placed on the crib from day one?” Babee Talk® launched in 2014 with organic bedding and accessories. Chew-friendly, drool-friendly, and organic inside and out, her products ensure a healthy start in life for babies.
She only offers products that she would provide for her own children. She hopes moms and dads will start to talk about the importance of choosing safe, healthy, eco-friendly products, especially for babies.
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