Introducing A Regular Bottle To A Breastfed Baby

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Introducing A Regular Bottle To A Breastfed Baby
Breast feeding mothers are often actively discouraged from offering their baby a bottle at all.

They are told by a large number of healthcare professionals, which include health visitors and midwives, that giving a baby a bottle (whether it is expressed breast milk or formula) will confuse their baby and put her off the idea of breast feeding. This can scare mothers (particularly 1st time ones), who really want to be able to breast feed successfully. The unfortunate thing is they then refrain from offering a bottle for so long, that when they eventually do at the age of 4,5, 6 months or in some cases even later, their baby understandably refuses to take one at all.

Breastfeeding Advice

My recommendation is that a breast fed baby is offered a bottle of ebm (expressed breast milk) on a daily basis from the age of 2-3 weeks. Once breast feeding is established, which usually takes between 7-14 days, and the mother has a good milk supply, a breast fed baby will NEVER prefer a bottle rather than the breast, and will certainly NEVER go off the breast completely. I am not just assuming this, which is what a lot of people do when telling new mothers that their baby will probably go off the breast if they give them a bottle…I know this to be true for a FACT!

In my job as a Maternity Nurse I have worked with hundreds of babies. Every single one of them that has been breast fed solely from day 1, as well as my own 3 children, have all been given at least 1, (but usually 2), bottles of either ebm or formula from the age of 7-14 days old-and NOT ONE of them has gone off breast feeding AT ALL! In fact, many babies will happily take the breast immediately after a full bottle feed as a form of comfort, just because they enjoy the closeness with their mummy.

You will instinctively know when your baby is ‘established on the breast,’ as feeding become much easier. She will be latching on well each time without too much fuss and taking regular feeds. Once you get to this point, which usually happens by the time they are around 14 days old, then you can introduce a bottle.

Note: For your baby to accept the bottle happily without any fuss or problems with the transition then you need to begin offering a regular daily bottle by the age of 4 weeks at the latest. For every week you leave it after this age your baby is less likely to be interested in the idea of taking milk from anything other than the breast. If you are happy with this scenario and would like to continue solely breast feeding your baby without ever getting her established onto a bottle that is fine. This article has been written for mothers who know that they will want, or need to get their babies established onto a bottle to make things more practical, and less of a strain when they have to go back to work. It’s also helpful to know that a baby will happily take a bottle of milk if you want to leave your baby with a family member or close friend for a period of time, that involves feeding.

Lisa Clegg - The Blissful Baby Expert

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