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Introducing a bottle early

(9 Posts)
apachepony Tue 13-Nov-12 12:10:36

I want to bf if possible. However I also want the baby to take a bottle, of ebm. I see advice that you should wait til 6 weeks but I think waiting this long risks the baby not taking a bottle at all! I have a wedding I want to go to when the baby is 3-4 months, a talk I need to give around the same age, I want dh to be able to give a bottle at night sometimes if I'm knackered, want to meet a friend for dinner and have an extra glass of wine if I want, and generally avoid the complete gender inequality of dh still being able to go somewhere whereas I'm completely tied! But ideally want to bf for first 6 months. Met a friend recently whose baby won't take bottle at all at 7 months - she had to go into hospital for minor op and couldn't stay overnight despite advice as baby wouldn't eat otherwise! This is what I want to avoid!
So in the real world, how best to ensure baby takes bottle?

EauRouge Tue 13-Nov-12 12:18:45


There's no 'magic window' for introducing a bottle and there's no reason to think that waiting will mean that your baby will never take a bottle. Plenty of babies go on to bottles later than 6 weeks, some very easily and some not so easily- they are all different There are various things you can try out and there are alternatives to a bottle too.

Introducing a bottle too early can cause problems, not for all babies but for some. So if you do want to introduce a bottle then just be aware that it might disrupt breastfeeding. Unfortunately there's no way of telling whether or not it will for your baby, which is why it's usually not recommended until BF is established.

Do you know many people IRL that are breastfeeding? These things you mentioned- going out to dinner, having a glass of wine- they won't have to stop just because you are breastfeeding. I was in the pub, beer in hand, with DD2 in a sling when she was a few weeks old. You won't be stranded on the sofa for the entirety of breastfeeding and there are lots of other things DH can do while you're breastfeeding so there needn't be inequality.

If you go along to a breastfeeding group then you'll be able to get support if and when you decide to introduce a bottle. Good luck smile

TwistedFireStarter Tue 13-Nov-12 12:33:18

The NHS breastfeeding workshop I attended the MW said that a bottle needs to be introduced at 3 weeks if you want them to take one. Not sure how true it is but thought I'd share!!

TeaandHobnobs Tue 13-Nov-12 12:34:00

apache not sure if others would agree with me, but this is my take on it:

I had to use a bottle with DS from week 2, as we needed to give him vitamins and iron (he was prem). Had this not been the case, I wouldn't have introduced bottles until much later. However, I think what worked in our case was not trying to give full feeds with the bottle too early - he was only having about 20ml of milk in order to take his supplements. I think this helped introduce him to the concept of a bottle/teat but without the potential of finding it less work to feed from a bottle and therefore going off breastfeeding, and without the danger of replacing a breastfeed with a bottle, and therefore potentially impacting supply.

We also used the NUK latex teats which are shaped to encourage the same feeding mechanism as from the breast, and the latex is more similar to the feel of skin.

But this is just my personal opinion. Inform yourself as best you can, and make whatever decisions are right for you smile

P.S. I've been able to leave DS with DH for a couple of hours now and then, and he hasn't always needed a bottle - if you feed just before you go out, depending on how long you are going for, they might be ok until you get back (although of course I understand wanting to feel confident that they will take a bottle if they need it)

worldgonecrazy Tue 13-Nov-12 12:42:47

I hadn't intended to use bottles but shredded nipples, thrush and all the other difficulties that some mums encounter when breastfeeding, meant that pumping and giving a bottle was a godsend.

We introduced a bottle on day 3. After much experimentation we settled on the Medela Haberman teat, as this was recommended for mums who are breastfeeding and want to give a bottle. As babies have to actively suck to get milk, it stops them getting bottle-lazy. Even the slowest drips on other bottles will flow constantly with not much effort.

However, in the weeks leading up to the Haberman teat, we used several different types of bottle, plus dummy, in the belief that if we kept chopping and changing DD wouldn't get used to any one thing and would be happy enough with whatever form the milk came in. This theory worked for us and we never had bottle or breast refusal.

There are some things to be aware of though - a baby has an instinctive need to suckle and will drain a bottle very quickly. Basically they can't help themselves suckling, even when their tummies are full. This may give you a few wibbles as you will think your boobies aren't enough. This is, of course, complete rubbish, but just shows some of the things that can happen to undermine your confidence in your own breastfeeding.

I agree with the PP about going out too. I was out getting my hair done at 2 weeks and romantic dinner with DH a month later. These mini breaks were lovely but actually, when I had the chance to take these breaks, I missed my daughter so much I couldn't wait for them to be over and back to her. Also, if you time it right, you can have that extra glass of wine too. You can have a small amount of wine at any point whilst feeding - save the extra glass for just after you've fed and the wine will have left your system by the time you need to feed again. Alcohol leaves breastmilk at the same rate as it leaves your blood stream, it doesn't get "stored" by the breastmilk.

apachepony Tue 13-Nov-12 13:24:51

Thanks for all the tips! I might (assuming all going well - and I expect a bit of pressure from my family to give up bf at the first hurdle) then try introducing a bottle at 3 weeks using a haberman teat. For some reason I had 3 weeks in my head - must have heard that somewhere else too

worldgonecrazy Tue 13-Nov-12 13:27:40

apache good luck - see if you can find some breastfeeding groups that you can go along to. Most of them are happy for soon-to-be mums to go along for a chat too. It's the real life support that makes all the difference if things don't go smoothly.

ZuleikaD Tue 13-Nov-12 17:03:12

Three weeks worked for us - we used the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles and bf-ing continued fine as did bottle-feeding ebm once a day.

EauRouge Tue 13-Nov-12 20:51:12

Go for 3 weeks if it'll work for you- make sure you have the support around you and information about pumping and storing milk. 3 weeks might work well for some mothers but it's total bobbins that you have to introduce a bottle by 3 weeks, I've no idea where the MW got that idea from.

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