Many people who breast feed ask me “when can I introduce my baby to a bottle”. It’s a very good idea to introduce a bottle when baby is about two to three weeks old. This can be just one bottle a day of expressed breast milk. This means that daddy can give a bottle feed at the last feed at night, which usually is between 10-11 pm. Mummy can express before she goes to bed and then she can have a good sleep before the middle of the night feed.
Once your milk is in and you feel you’re confident with the way baby is breast feeding then it’s fine to introduce a bottle once during the day.
If you wait until baby is 3-4 months old you may find baby completely refuses to take the bottle and that can be stressful. Also by the time baby is this age you may be wanting baby to have one bottle a day anyway.
Which make of bottle is best?
I’ve personally always liked the NUK bottle and teat as it’s small and a good shape for breast fed babies. However, many people use the Mam bottle or Dr Brown or Tommie Tippee.
It’s quite unusual for a baby under a month to refuse a bottle, although I’ve had a case just recently where this has happened! If this is the case then I would say persevere with a bottle daily until baby is happy with it.
When using a bottle this needs to be sterilised – teat and all. This can be done in a microwave in a steriliser, in an electric bottle steriliser or using Milton tablets. You need a good electric breast pump, which you can rent if you don’t want to buy one. They are quite expensive.
Make sure your baby’s bottle and teat is sterilised and the parts of breast pump that you are using as well. Follow the pumps instructions for pumping and put the breast milk in the fridge when pumped, unless you are going to use it immediately for a feed. Breast milk can be kept in the fridge for several days.
Breast milk needs to be warm, at body temperature for you to feed it to your baby from a bottle. Don’t give baby a bottle with breast milk straight from the fridge. Lie your baby in your arms as you would with breast feeding and put the teat into babies mouth and off you go! Wind baby half way through the bottle. If baby doesn’t finish the bottle and doesn’t need any more then throw the milk away and wash and sterilise bottle ready for next time.