Introducing Baby To A Bottle

Breastfeeding is one of the best experiences you and your baby will share. But at some point, you may need to rely on another form of feeding him. Enter the bottle. But how will he take it?

baby drinking from bottle

When to introduce the bottle

Timing is key when introducing baby to the bottle. You’ll want to make sure he’s well adjusted to breastfeeding before introducing the bottle but not so much that making the transition will be difficult. You be the judge, but as a rule of thumb anywhere from about two to six weeks of life your baby will probably have breastfeeding down pat. Introduce the bottle right after this point.

Take it slow

Keep in mind that baby may not love the bottle the first time. Or the second or third. But he won’t go hungry. Rest assured if you are not around to feed him from the breast he will eventually go to a bottle. Take it slow and make sure you are indeed around when you try the bottle in case he vehemently refuses it at first.

Switch it up

If you want to continue to nurse, be sure to offer the breast during times that you are not in need of feeding baby from the bottle. For example, feed baby from the breast in the morning and at night but from a bottle throughout the day.

Also make sure that a variety of people feed baby from the bottle – even you, Mom. Baby will need to be able to take the bottle from Dad and Grandma but also from you in case you are in a position where you can’t feed baby from the breast but he needs his milk ASAP!

What is nipple confusion?

You may have heard of the term 'nipple confusion' which refers to baby not wanting to take a breast after being introduced to a bottle since extracting milk from a bottle requires a different technique than sucking from the breast.

Dr. Sears’ website describes it as such: "Giving bottles or pacifiers to young, breastfeeding babies often leads to nipple confusion. Baby tries to use the bottle-feeding technique on the breast and has difficulty latching-on and sucking. Baby gets very frustrated, and so does mother."

Avoiding nipple confusion is as simple as waiting for that key period when both you and baby are ready to introduce the bottle.

More on breast and bottle feeding

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New AAP breastfeeding recommendations

Bottle feeding tips for nursing moms

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