Weaning and Bottle Feeding
Why bottle feed
Formula feeding won’t pass on the infection-fighting antibodies that breast milk will, but scientific advances have made iron-rich formulas that provide your baby with the needed nutrients found in breast milk. Doctors still recommend breastfeeding exclusively if possible for the first six months, but if that’s not possible for any of a host of reasons, bottle-feeding formula is another option, as is a milk bank, for which you need a prescription.
Often, even breastfeeding mothers will need to either supplement their baby’s breast milk diet with formula or will choose to occasionally use breast milk in bottles either for convenience, due to travel or to let their partners share in the feeding duties.
Whether your bottles are full of formula or breast milk, there are a few things every new mom should know about bottle feeding.
The first step should always be talking to your doctor. Different babies need different formulas; the best person to help you decide which one is best for your baby is your pediatrician.
Some formulas come ready, whereas others need to be mixed. You’ll want to read whatever instructions come with your formula. Make sure you wash up properly, both you and the bottle. Start by tilting the bottle so formula fills the nipple; this will help keep baby’s gas at a minimum. Don’t be concerned if your baby doesn’t eat much at first. As baby gets older, he or she will eat more.
You might also want to consider investing in a portable bottle holder to keep by your bed for those late-night feedings. And remember, never leave the baby with a propped bottle.
Introducing your baby to the bottle
Most lactation experts and doctors suggest waiting until your baby is 3 to 4 weeks old and your breastfeeding schedule is well established before introducing a bottle. If you’re heading back to work, you’ll want to start bottle-feeding at least two weeks prior so you can catch and fix any problems ahead of time.
Feeding from a bottle requires different movements for baby than breastfeeding, so it may take a bit of time for baby to adjust. Some helpful advice:
- Offer baby a bottle before her scheduled feeding time so she’ll be hungry but will have some time before frustration takes over.
- Let someone else feed her the first bottle; with the boob so close she may be fussier.
- Try to be out of the house as your baby will smell you (up to 20 feet away!) and wonder why they’re not getting the good stuff.
Find more bottle tips & products with Baby Zone’s Feeding Guide!