Nervous about introducing a breastfed baby a bottle? Find out best tips for successfully bottle feeding a breastfed baby as well as the best baby bottles to use…
“The World Health Organization recommends you breastfeed your baby until two years or beyond,” our breastfeeding course instructor informed us. Had I been drinking something, I would have literally spat.
Two years? Was she crazy?
At eight months pregnant with my first, I was really oblivious when it came to all things breastfeeding. My plan was to try breastfeeding out, but introduce a bottle soon. And then wean shortly thereafter.
How little did I know…
Not only did I end up nursing my two oldest children much longer than expected, I also struggled greatly with the idea of giving my babies a bottle. I don’t know exactly why I was so concerned about bottle feeding. Perhaps it was the idea that it wouldn’t work out and then I would know the option no longer existed. I was concerned about nipple confusion. Along with worrying that bottle feeding might not work, I was also afraid it may work too well and my baby wouldn’t want to breastfeed anymore. Throw in postpartum emotions and I was stuck in this state of constantly thinking I should introduce a bottle but fearful about all of the negative outcomes. Irrational, I know.
After a bit of research and a dose a blind courage, I found the best baby bottles for a breastfed baby and some great tactics for successfully introducing a bottle.
Best Baby Bottles for a Breastfed Baby
When deciding to bottle feed, the bottle is undoubtedly key. The best baby bottles I’ve come across, by far, are the Nuk Simply Natural bottles. For one, the nipple is created to look and feel like a mother’s nipple. It has an anti-colic air system. And, it has a ‘slow flow’ release. This is crucial for babies as breastmilk let down slows as baby needs to take a break. Without a slow release, when drinking from a bottle, babies end up drinking too much too fast. This can make them overeat, be more inclined to spit up and be gassier. All no fun for Mama and Baby. Nuk Simply Natural bottles solve this problem. Finally, the other aspect of the bottles that I love is that they are equipt with several holes to mimic the let down of breastfeeding. (Chalk that one up to another thing I didn’t know about breastfeeding. I had visions of the spray being a little more like a hose and a lot less like a sprinkler! But I digress…)
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Best Tips for Introducing Bottles to a Breastfed Baby
- Pump breastmilk so that the contents of the feed are familiar to your baby.
- Have Mom leave the room or even the house before feeding time. I’m not sure if it’s scientifically proven or just a wive’s tail. However, it seems as though babies can smell their mothers and are less inclined to try a bottle when she is near. Based on this, Dad, grandparents or a sitter are better choices for the first few times.
- Introduce the bottle when Baby is verging on being hungry but is not upset or distress. Generally speaking, babies are more difficult to feed when they are agitated. I find a routine of sleep-eat-activity-sleep works the best when predicting what my baby needs next. As soon as Baby wakes, feed him or her while sleepy but still contented.
- Choose a quiet room. Many babies get overwhelmed and overstimulated when there is a lot going on and they are supposed to feed. A distraction-free setting is key.
- Assume a similar position to breastfeeding and place the bottle where Baby can latch. Do not shove the bottle into your baby’s mouth. When breastfeeding babies come to the breast, they are the ones who latch. Bottle feeding should be the same. If in doubt, direct the bottle towards the baby’s nose and wait.
- Be patient and calm. Babies can pick up on our energy making it more difficult to introduce a bottle.