You’ve decided to breastfeed, but you may be wondering how to bottle-feed your baby without disrupting…everything.
Written by: Jessica Diamond, MPH, RDN
You’ve decided to breastfeed, but you may be wondering how to bottle-feed your baby without disrupting…everything. Some moms will be excited for the change because it means more freedom and more sleep (and who doesn’t want more sleep?!). Other moms will be hesitant to add something new to their routine, especially if they’re worried about the bottle causing “nipple confusion” or discouraging their baby from breastfeeding altogether. We’re here to tell you that it’s important to introduce a bottle, but timing and strategy are everything. It’s really simple when you break it down!
You also want to avoid giving your baby the bottle at 4 weeks old, seeing how they like it, and then waiting to give them the bottle again for another few weeks (or months). We often hear of parents giving their baby the bottle at 3 weeks old and then not giving them the bottle again until it’s time to go back to work…and then the baby refuses the bottle! Consistency from the get-go will help you avoid this.
Here’s how you do it: Have someone besides the breastfeeding parent give the baby the bottle. This will help your baby get comfortable being fed by other caregivers and is a great way to involve your partner, family member, or nanny. Then sit your baby in an upright position, offer the bottle, and wait for them to open their mouth like they do when they breastfeed. Moving slowly, tilt the bottle upwards to let the milk flow out and then move the bottle back to a horizontal position so that no milk comes out. Repeat this until your baby shows signs that they are done (e.g., they turn their head away from the bottle, get easily distracted and don’t seem interested in eating, or cry after you give them more milk).
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