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Giving a Bottle to an Exclusively Breast Fed Baby

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
bottle feed, breast fed baby, baby feeding
I had a couple of phone calls this week from mums who tried to give their 2 and 3-month-old babies a bottle.

These babies had been totally breastfed and both mums needed to give a bottle to the baby so they could exercise/go to the gym and/or go back to work.

And guess what? It was stressful and involved lots of tears. Not good for mum or baby.

Now we all know that breastfeeding is best for baby but sometimes mums and dads may need to give your breastfed baby a bottle.

It's important to wait until breastfeeding is properly established before introducing a bottle. However I have never seen nipple/teat confusion in a breastfed baby when they are mainly breastfed but it is something to be aware of. To reduce this issue only give one bottle feed a day and the rest of the feeds should be breastfeeds. Try not to introduce the bottle too early i.e. not before 4 weeks or until breastfeeding is established.

By 6-8 weeks it's a good idea to give a bottle daily if you plan to give a bottle for going to the gym or back to work before 6 months old. If you leave it past 3-4 months, it's usually really hard to introduce a bottle to an exclusively breastfed baby.

pigeon feeding bottlesPigeon peristaltic plusBreast and bottle feeding, utilise different sucking techniques and a breastfed baby will often not take a bottle after that age if it hasn't been practised regularly. Believe me, I have tried and failed! And it's very upsetting for the baby and the parent.

However, if you're going back to work after 6 months then you may want to move straight onto a hard spout sippy cup as cup feeding and breastfeeding use a similar drinking and swallowing action.

We used a Pigeon peristaltic nipple/teat, a small size, on an Avent bottle. It's useful to know that Pigeon wide neck teats, do fit on Avent bottles. I find the Avent teats are just too fast flow for most breastfed babies. Another good teat and bottle for exclusively breastfed bubs is the Tommee Tippee.

Newborn babies can also be taught to cup feed. They lap milk from a cup just like a cat would milk or water from a saucer. We tried Miss Austin today but it was not that successful and so I didn't video it.

So here it is. Karen bottle feeding an exclusively breastfed baby with a bottle of EBM (Expressed Breast Milk). It went really well and mum was thrilled. She can now have the peace of mind to leave baby with her partner whilst she goes to the gym. Click this link to watch the demo:

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