Thursday, June 4, 2015

Pumping Journey Part 3: Bottle Feeding a Breastfed Baby

These are the bottles
we used with Ethan.
*I am not a lactation consultant or medical expert; everything that I share about breastfeeding comes from my experience, and personal research.  Please feel free to pick and choose what you think will work best for you and your baby, and good luck mama!

I had already given some information about introducing a bottle to a breastfed baby in my Pumping Journey Part 1 post but there were some details that I didn't add to it so that it wouldn't be too long.  I decided to create a post just for bottle feeding so that all of the information is in one spot.

Tips for Bottle Feeding a Breastfed Baby:

  • The ideal time to introduce the bottle is between 4 weeks to a month.  They also say it is fine to introduce the bottle once a strong nursing relationship has been established.  I introduced the bottle to Ethan at 3 weeks because our nursing relationship got off to a really good start.
  • When first introducing a bottle have someone other than you (the mom) give the baby a bottle.  Even when Ethan was 5 months old he would refuse to take a bottle from me.
  • We really liked the Tommee Tippe slow flow 0m+ bottles.  They say that it is best to give a breastfed baby a slow flow nipple.  They have faster flows for older babies but I just used the slow flow 0m+ the entire time Ethan was drinking a bottle.
  • Depending on your baby you may have to set up a feeding schedule so that you know how much milk to leave.  At first it may be a little rocky because when I was nursing Ethan we weren't on a schedule, but after a week he settled into a rhythm (we actually used his cues to create the schedule).  He would get a 5 oz. bottle of breast milk every two hours starting at 8 am until 2 pm (I would nurse him at 4 pm).
  • When I first went back to work even though Ethan didn't mind the bottle he did have times when he would refuse it and throw a fit.  Luckily my mom was taking care of him at the time, so when he would refuse the bottle and cry she would hold him close, sing to him, and just soothe him as best she could.  Once he would calm down she would offer the bottle again, and eventually he would take it.  It will take a lot of love and patience from the baby's caregiver if they run into this.
  • Once I was working for a few months he began to have fits when I would try to nurse him.  He would push me away and become very upset.  I just did the same thing that my mom had done when he had refused the bottle and once he calmed down I would try to nurse him again.  It took a lot of patience but our nursing relationship stayed in tact.
  • Ethan took to the bottle pretty easily while I was home so I only gave him a bottle twice a week.  I have a friend whose baby is having a harder time and she's giving her a bottle a day.  You have to find what works and is best for you and your baby.  Whatever you decide to do just remember that you have to pump what you give your baby.  One of the reasons I only gave Ethan a bottle twice a week was because I had a really hard time pumping, and collecting that small amount of milk was very difficult for me.
  • Once I was working I would leave 20 oz. of milk a day, but often Ethan would finish it all and demand more.  I felt as if I was going crazy.  There was never enough milk but it seemed as if I was always hooked up to my pump.  I finally found out about Paced Bottle Feeding, it's a bottle feeding method that is supposed to mimic the rhythm of breastfeeding so that the baby does not drink too much milk, too fast.  Once we employed this method things changed dramatically.  Ethan was content and the milk I was leaving was the correct amount.  Below is the paced bottle feeding video that I showed to Jeff.

  I also know some babies that never took to the bottle and so their moms gave them a sippy cup instead, or the baby wouldn't drink milk while mom was at work and then would nurse all evening.  Just know that there is no, "Right Way" to do any of this.  Figure out what works for you and your baby and don't worry if it doesn't match what anyone else that you know has done.   

   I know that all of this seems very overwhelming and I'm sorry for that.  Thinking of all of this pumping and bottle feeding stuff was the last thing I wanted to do when bonding with my baby. Unfortunately, I had to return to work, it was not an option for me to stay home.  I know that for many working moms staying home isn't an option; one of the main goals of my blog is to support moms in these kids of situations.  If anyone has questions about any of my blog posts please feel free to ask questions here or to e-mail me.  I'm more than happy to help.  

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