Some babies take to the bottle like a fish
to water, others need a little more coaxing. The important thing
to know is that the best bottle for a breastfed baby is the one
your baby likes. There is no single best bottle, there are no
magic tricks to making a bottle like a breast. When you are
choosing a bottle for your baby, just follow these two
- Buy only one of each kind until
you know what your baby will take
- Stick to newborn nipples.
Newborn or slow-flow nipples are the
most appropriate for breastfed babies. Feeding at the breast is
more work than drinking from a bottle (which is why
breastfeeding helps normal jaw and speech development), but if
your baby gets used to a very fast-flow nipple, it could lead to
breast refusal or
overfeeding during the day. Not all
slow-flow nipples are created equal - test them by turning over
a bottle of water, and try to use the ones where the milk only
drips out slowly, not one where the milk shoots out in a stream.
When you start giving bottles, remember
to pump once each day for each bottle given so that your supply
stays balanced with your baby's intake. Try not to give more in
the bottle than you're able to pump. If your baby is still
hungry after having a bottle, allow him to nurse as often as he
wants to until he is satisfied.
How much to send??
- check this link for information on how much milk your baby
will need at daycare.
The common wisdom is that the best time
to start a bottle is when your baby is between 3 and 6 weeks
old. Younger than that can interfere with the establishment of
breastfeeding, while older babies may be more likely to refuse a
When you start giving your baby a
bottle, it may be as easy as waiting until he's hungry, offering
a bottle of expressed milk, he drinks it and you're done - but
often it's a little harder than this.
Many babies won't take a bottle from
mom - they're smart, they know the real thing is right there.
Before you say "my baby won't take a bottle", have someone else
try. You may need to be out of the room, or even out of the
house, before your baby will accept the bottle. You may even
need to have been gone for several hours, or even several hours
again and again over the course of several days, but eventually,
most babies will take a bottle.
If your baby is resistant, here are a few tricks to try:
- Try different feeding positions -
some babies won't take a bottle in the position they are in
when they breastfeed. Some babies like to be fed sitting up
with their back to the belly of the person doing the
- Try different temperatures - maybe
the milk is too warm or too cool - vary the temperature and
see if that helps.
- Try different nipples. My friend
Tracey swears by Dr.
Brown's bottle system - her babies
had a hard time taking a bottle, and this was the one that
worked for them. The Playtex nipples work for a lot of
babies, as do the Avent, but really, the best nipple is the
one your baby accepts. Don't forget - low flow.
Alternate feeding methods
There's no law that says babies have to be fed from bottles. In
fact, avoiding bottles reduces the risk that your baby will
learn to prefer the bottle.
- From the day they're born, babies
are able to drink from a cup - just not like you or I do.
Very small babies can lap up milk from a small medicine cup
held so that the milk is at the level of their lower lip.
- Babies can drink milk from a spoon
- just use the spoon to tip a little at a time into their
- A syringe can be used for feeding
- no, not a syringe with a needle! Just the plastic part!!
Squeeze a little milk at a time into the corner of your
baby's mouth, wait for them to swallow, then squeeze in a
- An older child's sippy cup can be
used - babies usually have better luck with them without the
valve - just tip the milk gently into their mouths, letting
them suck it out of the cup.
If your baby really, truly won't take
milk from any source other than your breast, try not to panic.
There are ways to work around this. Most involve some extra
work, but all are do-able.
- See if you can find a care
provider who will bring your baby to you during the day for
- For older babies, usually two good
nursing sessions is enough to get through a regular work
- If your baby is close to six
months, you may be able to have your care provider feed
enough rice cereal mixed with breastmilk to get through the
- You may be able to adjust your
schedule so that you work two shorter shifts during the day,
with enough of a break in the middle to feed your baby.
- You may be able to telecommute or
work from home for a while.
And even if your baby has vehemently
refused a bottle for months, don't stop trying. Babies change
all the time, and suddenly, one day, he may decide the bottle is