How to introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby
As a two times exclusively breastfeeding mama I was well aware of the transition to bottle that i needed to prepare myself and baby for as I was prepping to return to work. In fact many mama’s introduce expressed breastmilk in a bottle at some point on their breastfeeding journey. Exclusively breastfeeding can be challenging on a new mama and you throw in a bottle to the mix it becomes one big stress ball. Rest assured all you need is a warm bag of breastmilk, a handy helper such as (dad, grandma, grandpa, or aunt), a baby bottle suitable for breastfed babies, and a whole lot of patience. Now let’s get started!
When to introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby?
Introducing a bottle to a breastfed baby can get tricky. You don’t want to introduce a bottle too early, and you don’t want to wait too long as it will only cause more challenging for baby as they are transitioning. I recommend to wait at least 6 weeks before you introduce a baby bottle (the first 4-6 weeks are really spent bonding and establishing your milk supply for your babe, you don’t want to mess this up by starting too early).
How to introduce a bottle of expressed breastmilk to baby when bottle feeding?
First, it is best that YOU ARE IN ANOTHER ROOM when babe is introduced to his/her first bottle. I am not sure why, but they will protest the bottle and simply won’t take it. The smell of mama and her milk will cause more frustration to the baby and make the entire process overwhelming. We recommend having your significant other or a caregiver do the first bottle introduction. It is best to provide babe with freshly expressed breastmilk, so you may want to breastfeed baby first and wait about an hour or 2 when babe is ready to eat again to introduce. Ensure that you have the proper bottle nipple and nipple flow. Please keep this in mind, if you are providing babe with a bottle it is still important that you are either breastfeeding or bottle feeding on your normal schedule. You don’t want to cause you milk supply to decrease due to skipping sessions.
How much breastmilk should you be giving your baby when transitioning to a bottle?
Since you have always breastfed your baby, it is hard to know how much milk baby is truly getting. Not to worry yourself mama, please use this calculator at the provided link https://www.verywellfamily.com/how-much-breast-milk-should-i-put-in-a-bottle-431802t to find out how much you should be giving your baby.
This is our exclusively breastfed baby who finally took a bottle of expressed breast milk after much patience and help from my mother-in-law (who did the feedings). We want to be as real with you as possible that it was hard for this little guy, but he eventually did take a bottle just in time before my maternity leave was up for work. Please keep in mind that every baby is different and will take a bottle at his/her own timing.