Breastfeeding moms, give your baby a bottle


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If you are breastfeeding, I recommend you give your baby a bottle on occasion. For both of my kids, I gave a bottle of formula once a week. This way, they were accustomed to both the bottle and the taste of formula.

I do this because you don’t know what the future holds. I breastfed Brayden for a year and plan to do the same with Kaitlyn. You never know if you will lose your supply. You never know if you are going to have some sort of emergency and need to go away. You never know if you simply need some sanity back and want to go shopping or something through a feeding while DH or someone else takes care of the baby.

The timing of when to start is debatable. I have read to not start before a certain age because the baby will find it easy and reject breastfeeding, but if you start too late you risk the baby refusing a bottle all together. Brayden’s first time was about a week old. No problem. Kaitlyn was a few weeks old and it took her a long time to get the hang of it. She hated it and didn’t eat well from it until she was about 4 months old. I think most babies like to breastfeed and breast milk is a lot better tasting than formula. You will have to decide for yourself if you want to, and when you want to.

Tracy Hogg, author of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, suggests introducing a bottle three weeks or younger (see page 122) even if you are breastfeeding. [added August 6, 2008]

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13 thoughts on “Breastfeeding moms, give your baby a bottle”

  1. i really find it too difficult to do the household chores since i do breastfeed my 2nd baby… He does not want to take bottle feeds.

  2. I found out the hard way that my daughter won’t take a bottle. I had to take two 1-week classes at a school. My husband stayed in the hotel with her during my classes, with a pumped bottle ready to use. We had practiced before, but clearly not enough. She just wouldn’t take the bottle, and she was so hungry. He ended up driving her to me each feeding. The one thing we had going for us is that I don’t feed her on demand, so her feedings were pretty predictable. I just wish that I’d have pumped and fed her earlier and regularly so that it wasn’t such a hard week for my husband.

  3. Wickedwoman,I breastfed both of mine for a year and was able to work in the necesseties. First, be sure your standards for what you can get done in a day are realistic for your situation. Then, I usually do my “chores” during naptime (or now that they are older, independent playtime). But nursing does take time. It does improve 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing that experience Rhianna. That is a good story to illustrate that you never know if/when the need will arise.

  5. Help! I breastfeed but have always introduces a bottle within a few days but after about 3-4 weeks she slowly started being difficult with a bottle (w/ pumped breastmilk) now at 8 weeks she almost refuses altogether until she wails for at least an hour, which I then give in. Makes me want to quite nursing altogether. ANy suggestions?

  6. Karen – I had the same problem. My son was taking 1 bottle/day fine until 10 weeks and then he decided he knew what was what. We still try every day to give him a bottle – sometimes it takes an hour to get him to take just 2-3 oz. It's very frustrating, but I'll be going back to work so it's important he get used to it. People say to try different nipples, bottles, etc. Just make sure the flow is strong enough. We moved up to Level 2 and that helped a little. If anyone has any tips about how to get a BF baby to take a bottle, please let me know!

  7. Karen and Dori,You do want to be sure that the flow is appropriate. I would say to just keep trying it and eventually your child should get it. Your approach will differ based on your need.If you NEED your baby to take a bottle because you will be gone for work or otherwise, then you can have someone watch baby all day and feed bottles all day. Baby might refuse to eat from the bottle for a day or two, but by the third should take it. I have a friend who did this. If you choose that route, I would suggest you talk to your pedi about it just to have a doctor watching over the situation.If you don't NEED it, I would just keep offering it each day. You might try different bottles or different flows. Also try different times of day and different "feeders" (is it better with Mom or Dad?). Sometimes baby will be better if mom isn't even home.Also, I find the Adiri bottle to be very similar to breastfeeding. McKenna eats from that well and didn't realy have a learning curve time period to get used to it.

  8. My name is Angela and I am having difficulty getting my 6 month old (breast feed) son to take a bottle. We had a lot of trouble in the beginning with breastfeeding so when he started doing it correctly I lost sight of bottle feeding. My husband and I are going on a week long trip in 4 months and my son must take bottles by then. We have also started introducing baby foods to him so I know that he won't get all of his daily calories from breast milk while we are gone. I'm really worried because he adimently refuses. We breast feed him this morning at 6:30 and have tried to give him the bottle all day since then but he will not take it. Some mothers I know are telling me that he will eat from the bottle when he gets hungry enough….It has been very hard and I don't know if I like that approach. Any feed back would be great. Thank you

  9. Angela, I have heard of that before and it did work. Have you tried different bottles? I personally wouldn't want to go out and buy every bottle out there. You might have friends who can let you try one of theirs out. If not, Adiri really is very similar to BFing. Do you put breastmilk in the bottle right now? You do have time on your side. Try to not stress out about it. Keep trying each day. I would say since it is 4 months out, you don't necessarily need to do a "hardcore" you-wont-eat-unless-it-is-from-a-bottle situation. You can give it a month of trying different things and then reevaluate. Good luck!

  10. HELP! I am a first time mom, 22 y.o. I am trying to get the hang BW, My problem is that I want to breastfeed but she just has not got the hang of latching on. She gets SO frustrated and then is overly tired and hungry. everyone says it gets easier, but she is not getting the hang of the breast. I'm afraid if i go to a bottle, shell never go back to my breast.Now she is in a vicious cycle of not eating well, then awake to long and then not sleeping long. So shes over tired and hungry.

  11. Carissa, I suggest you see a lactation consultant about the latch.If you have flat or inverted nipples, I suggest you get a product from Lansinoh called "latch assist" to help pull them out. The lactation consultant might suggest a nipple shield to get things going.Also, until her latch is good, I suggest you pump after each feeding to get stimulation to ensure milk supply.

  12. I am having a bottle problem as well, but the other way around. My 14 week old baby girl has taken about one bottle a day since she was three weeks old. Now she is becoming increasingly resistant to nursing, and basically demands to be fed by bottle (doesn't matter if it is pumped breast milk or formula in the bottle). What do I do? Should I refuse the bottle so she will get hungry enough to nurse? Usually after fifteen minutes of trying to get her to nurse and her screaming her head off, I will give in and do the bottle. Right now she is nursing about half the time and bottle feeding the others.I am so discouraged because I treasure the nursing time and was planning on having at least eight months to nurse her, but I fear she will continue to nurse less and less.Any suggestions?

  13. JessicaB,What I would do would depend on my value hierarchy as well as what I was willing to do.You did say you treasure nursing. If you really wan to nurse, I would not feed bottles. You might have some rough days, but she will start to nurse again–assuming you have the milk available to drink. If what you really want is for her to have breastmilk and you are willing to pump then you could pump and feed her in a bottle.


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