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When is a good time to start introducing a bottle?

(17 Posts)
Catsu Tue 13-Sep-11 17:35:50

Dd is 3 weeks old. The intention has always been to get her used to having one bottle in the evening so dh can do a feed and I can get more sleep (he stays up much later than me)
I will probably express in the morning and then use the milk that evening.
When is a good time to introduce this?
I don't want to start too early and mess up breastfeeding, but also don't want to miss the window and end up with a bottle refuser!

LaWeasel Tue 13-Sep-11 17:48:05

This is just from my experience of mixed feeding DD:

I would think now is fine if you are happy that your milk supply is well established. I had DD on one bottle a day from 10days (I was very tired!)

A couple of things to watch out for are that if you're always doing the bottle feed at the same time of day your milk supply will naturally lower at that time, so if you wanted to change the time you were using the bottle and wanted to reestablish bf at the original bottle-feed time you will probably have a couple of days of long/cluster feeding at that time as your baby stimulates your supply again.

Also on occasion when DD was going through a growth spurt what was in the bottle wasn't enough compared to a regular bf through the rest of the day where she would just spend longer at the boob/cluster feed, and we either had to top up with formula or finish off on the boob again for that particular feed.

My experience of one bottle feed a day was that as DD self-regulated during the day with bm she did so with the bottle too and didn't always have the same amount every day. Sometimes that meant chucking out loads of bm. I would advise to give them about an oz more than you think they will want.

crazybutterflylady Tue 13-Sep-11 20:13:38

I agree with the above.

My advice is to ignore the 6-8 week waiting period that NCT and other places recommend. This caused me huge problems as DD refused a bottle for ages, then when she did take one got nipple confusion and refused the breast... whereas 2 friends who'd given a bottle from 2/3 weeks had no such problems. I think the earlier you start them the less confusion it will cause.

Good luck and congrats on your new little bundle.

Poley Tue 13-Sep-11 20:59:35

Ah man, my dd is almost 6 weeks old and I was about to start expressing this week, hoping I could get a small supply going so we could take a bottle out and about. Im worried about causing nipple confusion and messing up bf-ing too sad

LaWeasel Tue 13-Sep-11 21:04:27

Poley - if you're worried about nipple confusion one of the best little tricks I read about was to get someone else to do all of the bottle feeds for a good few weeks, that way hopefully they see bottle feeding as something that's just totally seperate from breastfeeding.

Good luck both of you!

Haggisfish Tue 13-Sep-11 21:25:46

we did it about 6 weeks and never had any issues with nipple confusion - we only gave her a bottle every few days to start with. Dr Browns were best for us.

Poley Tue 13-Sep-11 22:48:35

Thanks LaWeasel smile

Catsu Wed 14-Sep-11 10:53:22

Thank you. Some brilliant advice there.
I think I will give it a go this week!

crazybutterflylady Wed 14-Sep-11 10:58:51

Poley if your OH has trouble feeding with the bottle it would be worth you having a try. Not to contradict LaWeasel at all...most people do advise this and most babies seem to accept it, but my DD has quite a simplistic mind and thinks mum = food so won't take a bottle easily from DH. I guess I'm saying just try all different ways and means to find out what works for you. My DD has only just started taking a bottle without hassle and she is 16 weeks. She likes to be able to see me when she is feeding so I recline her slightly in a high chair and hold her hand to replicate the closeness of Bfing. And she only likes milk warm. God help me when she's a teenager...stubborn madam! smile

flowerfairy Wed 14-Sep-11 11:39:58

I'm sure pretty much everything has been said and you will gain your own experiences of how it works. I had DS and got him to take a bottle from 6wks, did 1 bottle aday with DH no problems would down a bottle at night time if i had to go out. DD (stubborn madam like crazybutterfly's DD) was given a bottle from 6-7weeks and refused had tried on and off for weeks as went back to work when she was 19weeks to no avail, then after summer hols tried again whilst weaning and hey presto she will now have one at 27weeks, though she is not keen on me giving it to her! Good luck!

Junebugjr Wed 14-Sep-11 13:01:12

Dd2 had a bottle from 4 days old, my nipples were agony, and I needed more than 5 minutes to sleep or eat etc.

She was fine for a while but has been very difficult to feed with a bottle or will refuse point blank since about 4 weeks old. She much prefers bf. She had no nipple confusion as far as I could tell, apart from really disliking taking a bottle. From all the bottles I've tried, the only one I've had some success with is mams.

Give it a go, but maybe read up on signs of nipple confusion, as I know some have difficulty with it.

LaWeasel Wed 14-Sep-11 13:16:34

craxybutterflylady no contradiction at all! Babies are fickle things and what works for one never seems to work for every baby (although that would be extremely convenient, and I wish it did!)

Catsu Fri 16-Sep-11 16:41:05

Another question!
Tried expressing this morning and could barely get anything out. Am wondering if it's a good idea to give one bottle of formula tonight instrsad of ebm. Or is that worse for messing up the supply this early on?
Any thoughts?

lilham Fri 16-Sep-11 17:10:25

I'd use formula if you are set on giving a bottle. A lot of women who bf successfully have problem expressing. For me the work involved in expressing far outweigh any rest I can get in someone else giving a bottle.

MigGril Fri 16-Sep-11 17:31:47

I deffantly wouldn't give formula this early unless there is a need (ie weight gain issue) As it will mess with your supply. You need to get to 6 week's before introducing formula really espicaly if you intened to give it on a regular basis. As your milk production to start with is hormone and demand driven if you don't get a good supple estiablished to start with it can cause supply isssues latter on.

Expressing is a learned art often you will need to express a few times to get enough for a feed to start with. If you start regualry expressing at the same time each day it often gets easier. You can also try expressing from one side while feeding from the other, this help stimulat the letdown reflex which is often the thing mum's stuggle with while trying to express.

LaWeasel Fri 16-Sep-11 18:21:43

Personal decision really, I didn't have much luck expressing at that stage either and gave formula instead as I felt that for one feed a day it was unlikely to effect my supply.

I did get into the swing of expressing a bit later on when she was near enough sleeping through and would do it first thing in the morning while DD fed after her longest break between feeds.

Catsu Sat 17-Sep-11 09:43:17

Thanks for advice!
Dh gave her a bottle of formula last night. I decided it would be ok re supply as I seem to have gallons of milk. My breasts are very full between feeds and leaking and dd is putting on weight like anything. She is on 95th centile and quite big!
Mixed results really though. Not sure what to make of it!
I fed dd at 7 ish last night and went up to bed aboy 8 as she was fast asleep expecting dd to wake after 3 to 4 hours then have the formula then sleep a bit more giving me a bigger chunk of sleep.
Turns out she woke just after I went up so instead of bringing her to me dh gave her the formula then.
Then she slept almost 4 hours and the rest of the night fed as usual every 2 ish hours.
So I didn't get much more sleep! (maybe an extra hour), my boobs were really really full and uncomfortable and when dd had the formula she drank the whole carton in one go!!! 7 oz for a 3 week baby. Surely that's a lot! No wonder my boobs were full to bursting if that's how much bm she usually has. She is a big girl and on top of the centiles in red book so maybe this is ok for her?

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