Having four little girls, I’ve learned a thing or two about feeding babies. I’m no expert, of course, but I’ve successfully breastfed all four of them. The oldest two were in daycare and took bottles Monday through Friday. The youngest two were home with me all day, so they didn’t get nearly as many. However, it’s nice to be able to leave daddy in charge (or a babysitter) with the kids.
Needless to say, I have quite a few tips for getting your breastfed baby to take a bottle. Of course, these won’t work for all babies, but they are what worked for us.
- Introduce the bottle around 2-3 weeks of age. I found this to be the most important. The longer we waited, the harder time we had getting our little ones started on the bottle.
- Feed baby at first signs of hunger. Hungry babies are mad babies. And mad babies are harder to feed from the bottle when they aren’t as accustomed to it.
- Use a good quality breast pump to store up breastmilk. I found pumping first thing in the morning after my milk came in on one side and nursing on the other was the easiest way to build up a supply.
- Pump during the bottle feeding so that you maintain your supply. If I missed a feeding at the breast, I always made sure to pump as close to the same time as I could. This helped maintain my supply and keep my breasts knowing my body needed to continue making milk.
- Have somebody besides mom feed baby. If possible, have mom leave the room. When I was getting ready to go back to work, it was hard to be the one to feed our baby her bottle to practice, but it was a necessity. I preferred to have daddy feed her when he was home to lessen the confusion.
- Continue with at least one bottle per week. This made the transition easier for the girls and helped them stay familiar with the bottle.
- Burp baby often. Our girls used to drink really fast from a bottle. We always had to stop them and burp them multiple times. Otherwise, we got a milk bath!
- Take your time. Be patient and allow the baby time to figure it out.
- Find a bottle and nipple that mimics the breast. The more similar to the breast, the easier for baby to figure out how to get milk from it.
- Use a slow flow nipple. When babies are at the breast, they have to work to get the milk to come out. I didn’t want my girls getting used to the faster flow of milk in a bottle (and therefore getting frustrated with me like my second did), so I would stick to a slow flow nipple for the duration of time you are breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
Just like with our first, we are using the Playtex nurser bottle with drop in liners. Since we aren’t doing many bottles, the disposable Drop-Ins Liners make the bottle easy to use and clean, while providing a comfortable feed for baby. As baby feeds, the soft liner gently collapses to prevent air from mixing with milk and getting into baby’s tummy creating less gas and less discomfort for baby. They are BPA free and come in both 4oz and 8oz sizes. New to the Playtex Nurser is the optional angled design which promotes semi-upright feeding, which can help prevent ear infections and reduce colic.
The great thing about the new Playtex bottles is that they are introducing a nipple variety pack (BPA-free as well). Sometimes you don’t find the most ideal nipple right away. And, it’s frustrating because it means you need to go out and purchase another new bottle. Once you figure out which ones they like, you end up with a ton of different bottles. But, this variety pack is a game changer (says the mom who has two full-sized boxes of various bottles and parts). This variety pack can be mix and matched with the Playtex bottles. It has 4 nipples in one box, one of each kind:
- Playtex NaturaLatch Nipple: With a standard surface area to mimic average nipple sizes, this nipple is most like mother’s.
- Playtex Breastlike Nipple: Slope of area around nipple mimics the breast.
- Playtex Fullsized Nipple: Designed for wider mouths, the shape of the nipple mimics large size nipples.
- Playtex Angled Nipple: The nipple’s angled design promotes semi-upright feeding.
I know I wish this variety pack was around when I had my first daughter! Do you have any tips for helping to feed your little one?