Bottle feeding a breastfed baby may be something you want to try with your baby. These tips and highly recommended bottles for breastfed babies will help make the transition from breastfeeding to bottle feeding easier for you and for your baby.
Bottle Feeding a Breastfed Baby
When a mom decides to breastfeed, there is often a heavy weight placed upon her. She is the sole source of food for her child, which can be scary, especially for brand new moms!
Sometimes moms need a break to go to the grocery store or to take a long bath for some self-care, and that’s where figuring out how to bottle feed a breastfed baby comes in handy.
There will likely be a lot of trial and error along the way, but these tips can help get your baby to take a bottle.
Bottle Feeding Myths
You may have heard that a baby that takes to a bottle after being breastfed will never breastfeed again. This is not true!
It may take some practice, but as long as you continue to breastfeed consistently, you will have nothing to worry about.
Babies may start to prefer the bottle just because they can be a little bit lazier about sucking as hard. To prevent this from happening you just want to be sure to pick the correct flow for your bottle nipples, and everything should turn out just fine.
When Can I Introduce the Bottle?
Making sure you have a good foundation of breastfeeding for at least 4 to 6 weeks is best when introducing your baby to a bottle!
You want to make sure you develop an adequate milk supply and avoid nipple confusion for the best chance at being successful. Try to stay away from introducing a bottle in the first 3 to 6 weeks.
Mom and baby both need to practice and get into a good routine with breastfeeding first.
With that being said, don’t wait too long, either! If you want your baby to take a bottle, you will want to introduce it to your baby right around the 2-month mark.
Breastfed Baby Refusing Bottle
Often, we automatically assume that a breastfed baby is refusing bottle because it’s harder for them to get the milk or understand the different feeling of the bottle. But most of the time, it’s only because your baby just wants you and what they are used to.
Tips to Combat Breastfed Baby Refusing Bottle
- Have someone else offer the bottle
- Take the extra time to make the bottle feeding experience comforting and quiet with no distractions.
- Don’t wait until your baby is starving. Try and offer the bottle at just the right moment when they are just hungry enough to eat.
- Try putting your baby in different positions.
- Try different bottles
- Experiment with different nipple flows
- Change the temperature of the breastmilk in the bottle.
- Coat the nipple in breastmilk
- Keep trying!
Can You Overfeed a Breastfed Baby?
Overfeeding a breastfed baby when you are nursing is not possible. Your baby uses many different muscles and works hard to get that milk out of your breast to curb their hunger.
Babies also use breastfeeding as a mechanism for comfort, but usually, when they are doing this, they aren’t getting a lot of breastmilk anyway.
Now, you CAN overfeed a breastfed baby when bottle feeding them. It takes a lot less effort on your baby’s part to get milk from a bottle. So when they don’t eat for as long as they usually would on the breast, we automatically assume they aren’t getting enough to eat. Don’t panic! Your baby is getting enough milk, they are just getting it faster than they do when breastfeeding.
Tips to Avoid Overfeeding a Breastfed Baby that is Transitioning to a Bottle
- Take cues from your baby; try paced feeding.
- Don’t add formula to your breastmilk.
- Use a smaller size bottle.
- Don’t try to coax the baby to drink more when they turn away from the bottle.
3 Best Bottles for Breastfed Babies
Finding the right bottle for breastfed babies is key! These bottles are highly recommended by breastfeeding moms!
This bottle is marketed as “the most breast-like nipple, ever.” Having the nipple shaped more like a breast helps babies recognize it as a source of food. The nipple is made of soft silicone, which makes it feel more breast-like because of the flexibility. There is also an anti-colic valve that helps reduce excessive airflow, which is a must when your baby is learning how to take a bottle.
Dr. Brown’s bottles are known for their fully vented bottle design. This is very similar to breastfeeding, and it also has an internal venting system that helps regulate a controlled flow, which makes it so babies can feed at their own pace. These bottles are also a great option if your baby suffers from colic or being gassy.
This bottle’s outstanding feature is that you can squeeze the bottle to help your baby start with the feeding. This allows babies transitioning from the breast to a bottle because they may not like the different texture a bottle nipple has, but having a small amount of breastmilk being introduced through the bottle by squeezing encourages them to start sucking! The nipple is also very wide and mimics the shape of a breast.
More Great Options: Best Bottles for Breastfed Babies
These bottles are convenient because they are specifically designed for storage. So your breastmilk can smoothly go from being pumped to the fridge. Medela is genuinely a trusted brand, and the nipples are slow flow to help with transitioning your baby from the breast to the bottle.
Try not to be too quick to judge with the pricetag of this bottle! If you look at it, it’s truly the epitome of resembling an actual breast. The natural colors and textures help create a natural feeling for your baby to transition between the breast and the bottle seamlessly.
This bottle caters to your baby with its familiar shape, making it easy to hold. And if you want a bottle that makes it easy and quick to heat milk up in, this is a clear winner! The dome shape makes it, so the milk gets heated up evenly.
When It Just Isn’t Working
If you find that your baby simply won’t take a bottle, you’re not alone!
There are lots of babies that simply refuse to ever take a bottle and solely rely on breastfeeding. If there is a situation where mom needs to be away from her baby, using a syringe, a cup, or spoon can work.
Don’t give up! All babies are so different and have their preferences.
With enough patience and attempts, you will find something that works for feeding your breastfed baby.