Bottle Feeding - How And When To Start?

Bottle Feeding

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Are you planning to start your baby on the bottle soon? Do you want to know when the right time to introduce her to the bottle is? Are you looking for tips that will help you introduce her to the bottle? Do you want to know about the advantages and disadvantages of bottle feeding before you start the same for her?

If you are looking for answers to any of the questions above, read on to know all you need to know about breastfeeding and bottle feeding.

How And When To Start Bottle Feeding:

Bottle feeding newborn is one of the alternatives to breastfeeding. You can either use the bottle to help your baby drink breast milk that you store in it or use it to give her a baby formula feed.

You may want to introduce the bottle to your baby as a onetime thing during the day, or maybe she will use it during her night feeding routine. Whatever you plan to start it for, here are a few tips that will help her adapt to the bottle:

[ Read: Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding ]

1. Read Your Baby’s Signals:

Once your baby reaches the stage to move from only breast milk to formula feed, or the bottle, to be precise, she reaches the weaning stage.

  • The weaning stage usually begins when she is six months of age, before which you need to feed her only breast milk.
  • As she begins eating new foods, they help her fulfill her calorie requirements. At this age, the need for your breast milk will gradually decrease, making it the perfect time to introduce your baby to the bottle.
  • It is also the time when she develops stronger immunity and is handle the new way of feeding from the bottle.

2. Be Ready:

Unless and until you think it is the right time for your baby to start using a bottle, do not give in to any pressure.

  • Many mothers often start giving their babies the bottle when someone remarks that their baby is old enough to stop nursing. Do not let such remarks confuse or worry you.
  • If you want to try switching your baby to the bottle, do make a run for it. In case you feel that something is wrong and your baby is not comfortable or not ready yet, wait for some time. You can always try later.
  • Another key thing to remember is that switching your baby from the breast to the bottle is also a big transitioning moment for you. Till now, you had your baby exclusively with you at feeding times, with skin to skin contact being a cherished part of breastfeeding. Now that you have to let go of it, it can be an emotional moment for you. Unless you are ready as well for this new change, do not start giving your baby the bottle yet. If you still do want to start, ask your partner to fill in for you and hand the bottle instead.

[ Read: Bottle Feeding Basics ]

3. Keep Some Of The Feeding Rituals Same:

While you were breastfeeding your baby, you had formed a special ritual that was synonymous with feeding time.

  • Once you switch her to the bottle, make sure you maintain all or some of the feeding rituals that you have already established.
  • As long as she knows you are around, and there is not a major change going on, introducing her to the bottle will not be too difficult.
  • In the first few weeks of starting the bottle, let your baby be close to you as you give her the bottle unless it disrupts her routine, and she only wants to breastfeed.

4. Ask Someone Else To Hand The Bottle:

In case you are planning to replace the feeding sessions with the bottle, ask a partner or family member to help.

  • Your baby may refuse to drink from a bottle when you, the source of milk, are already present.
  • In case you have tried everything, but she still refuses, ask your partner or a family member to hand her the bottle instead.
  • You can choose to stay in the room but if it is a distraction, it is better to move out while your baby learns to feed from the bottle.

[ Read: How To Choose The Right Feeding Bottle For Babies ]

5. Go Slow With The Bottle:

Whenever you introduce something new to your baby, it is important to give her time to adjust.

  • Do not suddenly stop the breastfeeding sessions but instead, consider slowing down and being gradual.
  • You can start by replacing one breastfeeding session a day with a bottle feed.
  • Make sure you do not introduce the bottle to your baby when your baby is already tired, exhausted, too hungry, sleepy or cranky.