How to Bottle Feed Your Breastfed Baby: the Ultimate Guide


Has your baby only been breastfed so far in his short life?

Are you wondering how you’ll be able to incorporate bottle feeding once you go back to work?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. When my oldest child was 10 weeks old, I had to return to the workforce. It was heartbreaking, but I didn’t have a choice because my family needed the money.

I worried about how she would take to the bottle and if we would still be able to have our breastfeeding bonding time. Would she start to refuse the breast because bottle feeding was easier?

So I did what any slightly obsessed mom would do to stockpile information. I turned to my mom friends and the internet. I compiled a bunch of tips to help with my bottle feeding mission.

And you know what?

All the worry was for nothing. With the right information, I was able to switch her between the breast and bottle successfully.

It wasn’t easy, but it was doable. And as a side benefit, my husband was able to get more involved with the feedings. Here is everything that I learned...

Introducing a bottle isn’t necessary if you plan to be with your child 24/7 for the first year. But not many women have the luxury of having so much togetherness with their baby. And, quite frankly, not every woman wants that much pressure.

Being the only one who can feed a baby is scary. You love being there for your baby, but it’s overwhelming when no one else can do what you can do. There are times you might need help and a bottle will be the only way your partner or caregiver can help.

There are good things and bad things about introducing the bottle to a breastfed baby.

The Pros of Bottle Feeding

  • If you’re too sick to breastfeed, you don’t have to power through it if there’s a bottle around your partner can use for the baby.

  • You’ll be able to go back to work outside the home if you need or want to.

  • You’ll be able to take a break to go to a movie or out with some friends once in awhile.

  • Your partner can experience some of the joy of feeding a hungry baby.

  • You’ll be able to catch up on your sleep if your partner can give your baby a bottle.

The Cons of Bottle Feeding

  • You might suffer some intense mom guilt.

  • You worry that you’ll cause nipple confusion between the breast and the bottle.

  • Your baby may not like it at first.

The Myths of Bottle Feeding

The number one myth associated with this situation is that your baby will never take the breast again over the bottle.

But before you let that myth stop you from going ahead with your plans, realize that it’s not usually true. Babies can switch successfully between the breast and the bottle. Even if he develops a bottle preference, you can still get him to breastfeed if you work at it.

When Can I Introduce a Bottle to a Breastfed Baby?

Here’s where I got lucky with my daughter. Since I had 10 weeks off of work, she was exclusively breastfed until the 2-month mark.

That gave me two weeks of introducing the bottle before I went back to the office. Turns out, that was one of the keys to my success.

You shouldn’t introduce a bottle for the first 3 to 6 weeks. That lets your baby refine his breastfeeding technique.

But because nothing is ever easy about motherhood, if you wait months before introducing the bottle, it can become a problem too. Your baby might refuse the bottle and only want to be breastfed. (source)

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