Tips For Getting Your Breastfed Baby To Take A Bottle, Whether Mom Is Needed A Night Out Or Is Going Back To Work.

You’ve had a baby and you’re breastfeeding successfully. However you may be going back to work, taking a trip or you just need a break or a night out and are ready to teach your breastfed baby to take a bottle. You may also want to quit nursing in the daytime, but continue to nurse your child before bed. Each baby is different and this process will require some planning and patience on your part, but following our tips will help take the stress out introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby.
Beth Stewart

Make sure you wait to give your baby a bottle until your milk supply is well established and baby is latching on and nursing well, especially if you plan on continuing to breastfeed. Every little bit of breastmilk benefits baby, so even if you plan on letting dad or the babysitter give your baby a bottle, try to also breastfeed as long as possible or pump breastmilk to be fed to baby in a bottle. Click here to read all the benefits of breastmilk to your baby.

Having said that, here are some tips to help your breastfed baby learn to take a bottle so mom can get a little break!

Introducing a bottle
The best way to make this transition is to introduce a bottle containing the breast milk that your baby is accustomed to. To fill a bottle, you will need to express your milk and a breast pump is a very handy device to have for that. It serves a number of purposes. It relieves engorgement, you can have extra breast milk on hand to freeze and thaw later and if you need to increase your breast-milk supply, this will do the trick.

Breast pumps
If possible, using your own breastmilk in a bottle is best for baby -- and a breast pump is a neccessity. There are few different kinds on the market.

The electric is the most expensive and powerful but it’s fast.

Battery operated breast pumps are less expensive than electric models, but you will need to replace your batteries regularly so allow for that when you are costing out.

Manual breast pumps are the least expensive, but take longer to pump. There are two basic types. The syringe pump and the trigger-operated. Both are simple to use and easy to clean. Syringe pumps allow for controlled pressure while many trigger pumps allow for one-handed pumping.

Any type of pump will come with complete instructions for use. Many of these pumps can be rented from a pharmacy, hospital, or your local La Leche group. Of course there is always the old standby - - borrow from a friend.

Click here for more tips on buying the right type of pump and using it correctly.

Baby formula
If you plan on stopping breastfeeding and start formula feeding, start by mixing the bottle with half breastmilk and half formula to help baby get used to the taste.

Formula can be purchased in liquid or powder form. The latter is handy as you can make up a small amount without opening a can and wasting formula you won’t use. Just follow the directions on the container.
Be confident that commercially prepared formula will meet your baby's nutritional needs.

For more tips, find out which formula is best for baby here.

Infant formula takes longer to digest than breast milk so three things will change once you have made the switch.

•  Formula fed babies usually go longer between feedings.
•  Bottle-fed babies may sleep longer at night, though breast-fed babies catch up at about 3 to 5 months.
•  Your baby’s poop will change color when you switch to baby formula -- less odorous to darker, smellier stools instead of loose, yellow stools.

Aimee St. Thomas is a working mother of two girls. When she had her first girl eight years ago, she says that when she made the switch from breast feeding to bottle feeding it was relatively easy. She says, ‘Since Meghan was colicky, she seemed more satisfied with formula and I really enjoyed the break when others could take over a feeding.’

Baby bottles
If your baby won’t take one bottle, try a different brand or a different nipple. Try a nipple with a slower or faster flow. Or change baby formulas. If your baby is not cooperating with the bottle and you are worried, don’t. Once he or she is hungry, the new nipple and bottle will be attractive to them.

Click here for tips on buying safe BPA-free bottles.

Bottle feeding still provides lots of cuddle time and don’t forget to get daddy involved. They need bonding time too.

What about nipple confusion?
What should you do if your baby no longer wants to breastfeed after being fed by bottle? Drinking from a bottle uses different muscles than breastfeeding, and babies might get used to how fast milk comes out of the bottle and will then have a hard time going back to breastfeeding. If this happens and you want to continue breastfeeding, hold off on bottle feeding until baby is a little older (at least 4 weeks old) and try again.

Get more tips here on dealing with nipple confusion with bottle feeding your breastfed baby.

More tips on feeding baby:

-- 5 Bottle feeding tips for dads

-- Formula mistakes you may be making

-- Coping with round-the-clock nursing


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