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Advice on when to introduce bottles?

(22 Posts)
NameChangeyMcChangerson Sat 09-Jun-18 07:22:55

It's probably a bit early for me to be thinking about this, as I'm 35 weeks pregnant and so have no idea how breastfeeding will work out for me yet! But I've been wondering about when/how to introduce bottles (of expressed milk, ideally, but again will obviously depend on how it's going which I don't know yet!). I see a lot of 'the baby just refused to ever take a bottle' stories, but I'm going back to work at 5/6 months, so it's really important that the baby will take a bottle - but on the other hand I also know that some people think you can disrupt breastfeeding entirely if you use a bottle too early. Any thoughts on what, ideally, I should be aiming for in the first few weeks? No bottle until later, or slowly introducing from the beginning?

OP’s posts: |
RiddleyW Sat 09-Jun-18 07:26:18

It’s really hard to know what will work till you’re there really. We did the odd bottle of expressed milk from around 8 weeks and he had a sippy cup from about 6/7 months.

I know some people found a doidy cup better than a bottle but we had no success with them.

RiddleyW Sat 09-Jun-18 07:29:08

DS was fairly (and insultingly!) unbothered about source of milk though. Although if I gave him a bottle he’d breastfeed afterwards regardless.

Tips I remember at the time were to use a slow teat and sit them up a bit. There’s a leaflet somewhere I found helpful, I’ll have a quick google.

RiddleyW Sat 09-Jun-18 07:30:31

flumpybear Sat 09-Jun-18 07:32:41

Both my children liked bottles and BF they're all different

InDubiousBattle Sat 09-Jun-18 07:36:11

We started giving dd a bottle at around 3 weeks. She had one bottle a day (formula )a day and was bf the rest of the time. My friends who had problems getting their babies to take a bottle either left it later (4 months plus)or only gave a bottle infrequently.

Mumtolovelyboyandgirl Sat 09-Jun-18 07:37:19

Just the odd bottle once or twice a week from a few weeks old (when hopefully breastfeeding will be nicely established) worked for my son. My daughter exclusively breastfed and still won’t take a bottle (she’s nearly 1), but I’ve had a little success with the Nuby cup range. Good luck with the end of the pregnancy and birth.

NameChangeyMcChangerson Sat 09-Jun-18 07:52:45

Thanks all. I guess what's confusing me is - what do you do if you do get a bottle refuser (as lots of people seem to think this isn't something you can control but down to the individual child) but you're in a situation where they have to take a bottle? Obviously I'm not going to starve my child(!) so what's the alternative?

OP’s posts: |
InDubiousBattle Sat 09-Jun-18 08:04:02

I think lots of women go back to work at nearer 10 months -a year when their baby is weaned and can manage during the day. Some 'reverse cycle' so their baby makes up for lack of milk during the day by feeding more at night. A couple of my friends ebf until 6 months then really struggled with weaning and had to change their weaning plans- spoon fed mushed up food rather than blw as they had planned because they had to get the baby taking more food (nothing wrong with spoon feeding , just not what they'd planned)as they were going back to work. I would recommend giving a bottle within the first month, then reasonabley regularly from then on. I know someone whose baby took bottles fine maybe once a week/fortnight until 5 months when they left it a month to give another bottle which was then firmly refused. Bottle refusal can be very stressful!

lulu12345 Sat 09-Jun-18 08:11:12

I mix fed first baby and am EBF 2nd.. who won’t take a bottle at all at 5 months!! I introduced a bottle at only a few weeks old with first, he’d have one bottle a day of formula. With second, I paid for a visit from a qualified a lactation consultant (absolutely brilliant, highly recommend this if you struggle) who advised me to introduce a bottle before 8 weeks if I was going to. I was lazy and didn’t bother till daughter a.m. was about 3/4 months, by which point she refused.

MyOtherUserNameIsAUnicorn Sat 09-Jun-18 14:50:25

I gave DS a bottle of expressed whilst still in hospital... he will drink milk out of anything!

NameChangeyMcChangerson Sat 09-Jun-18 15:01:43

Thanks for these replies, which are really helpful. Is there also a danger of introducing a bottle too early - my SIL (who EBF) is obsessed with the idea that one false move and you'll create nipple confusion! Or do you all think earlier is better in this situation, to minimise risk of bottle avoidance?

OP’s posts: |
lulu12345 Sat 09-Jun-18 16:23:25

I'm not convinced hat nipple confusion is a real thing. Certainly my first was very happy to switch between the two and my lactation consultant said she didn't think it was a thing. The bigger issue with bottles in the early weeks is that often it's quite hard to express in the early weeks, so you won't get much, and if you introduce formula you risk messing with your supply whilst it gets established in the first month or so. I didn't use a dummy second time round with my daughter (I did with my son) as I was happy to let her nurse when she needed to suck, again because it's beneficial for establishing supply.

I was a bit paranoid about establishing a good supply second time round as I feel I never produced enough to EBF for my son as a result of me introducing a bottle of formula (and to a lesser extent, a dummy) in his first few weeks of life.

Lindorballs Sat 09-Jun-18 16:33:02

I introduced a bottle of expressed milk very early with both of my two (within the first week) and gave a bottle regularly (every few days at least) and have never had any issues with them taking a bottle or nipple confusion. The people I know who have had problems with refusal are those that started a bottle too late or didn’t keep doing it fairly often. The main hassle you’ll find is finding the time to express if you’re keen to avoid giving formula. If you’re serious about giving regular bottles and expressing a good electric pump helps and trying to find a regular slot in the day to do it. I used to find after the first few hectic weeks that I could squeeze in an expressing session while mine were having their first morning nap after I’d had a shower (which seemed to help get a good supply going). Definitely don’t panic if you haven’t managed to do it in the first few weeks I think (based on mine and many friends experience) so long as you get going with bottles with the first 6-8 weeks and are gently persistent you should be ok. Good luck!

EssentialHummus Sat 09-Jun-18 16:44:18

We started giving dd a bottle at around 3 weeks. She had one bottle a day (formula )a day and was bf the rest of the time. My friends who had problems getting their babies to take a bottle either left it later (4 months plus)or only gave a bottle infrequently.

I agree with this. Though your supply will still be building up then, so a small bottle of formula, or a bottle of expressed milk, would be my suggestion.

Re going back to work/bottle refusal - I have one of these in my circle of friends. His mum has tried every bottle going and he will not take it. (I think he's past 10 months now.) But he'll have a sippy cup, and he's weaning well, so actually mum going back to work doesn't present a problem. I guess they'll still BF morning/evening.

Smurf123 Sat 09-Jun-18 16:59:31

They told us about nipple confusion in the breastfeeding antenatal class and how a dummy would confuse baby..
My son ended up in nicu when he was born. I was asked by nicu staff of they could give him a dummy.. I mentioned about wanting to breastfeed when I was able to (after ds could come out of incubator) they looked at me and said "I promise it will not stop you feeding him yourself if you want to do that" they said it would actually help his sucking reflex so I said OK to the dummy. On day ds was finally started on bottles of mainly formula and what tiny bit I had managed to express. Day 6 I was finally given the opportunity to attempt breastfeeding.. My son. Latched on immediately. I'm a first time mum so I had no idea what to do.. He hasn't stopped feeding since grin
I go back to work in a couple of weeks - ds will be 4 months old so he has continued to get a bottle maybe once every few days. Although he will sometimes refuse to take it from me if I have him cuddled in too close but he will take the bottle happily from anyone else and from me 99% of the time. He breastfeeds brilliantly the rest of the time. He only occasionally uses the dummy.

NameChangeyMcChangerson Sat 09-Jun-18 17:56:20

That's really comforting to hear, smurf, thank you. I guess in my ideal world (and again, who knows how this will all shake out for me!) that's exactly what I'd like - for the baby to carry on breastfeeding from me whenever I'm present, but to take a bottle from DH (he's taking four months SPL when I go back) and then nursery when I'm not. Also lovely to hear that he made such a great recovery from NICU - must have been a horrible time for you.

OP’s posts: |
GummyGoddess Sat 09-Jun-18 18:00:08

Dc1 has a bottle before he was 24 hours old, he only stopped feeding at 13 months so I don't think nipple confusion is a thing either.

MulderitsmeX Sun 10-Jun-18 14:33:43

I think the advice to do a small bottle every so often from 3 weeks is great.

D'S had top up bottles from 1 - 2 weeks due to jaundice which he was fine with. Then ebf until 6 weeks and now he can't work out how to get the milk out of bottles confused he sucks happily but doesn't drink.

He is also rubbish at dummies too, am hoping he gets better at bottles as want to give him some expressed milk on weekend nights when DH can feed.

Okaassan Wed 13-Jun-18 16:48:34

I have to agree nipple confusion is total rubbish. My baby was tube fed for the first three weeks. When able to latch she did so beautifully. Neo nurses said to introduce one bottle of 10ml BM with Abidec ( vitamins) a day and that it would be a good idea to use a dummy as otherwise I would become the dummy. Still EBF 8 months later and baby will take a bottle of expressed milk when required. I went away for a night and DP fed baby bottles of breastmilk, baby latched beautifully on my return.

From a selfish point of view if you have a baby who feeds every two hours and baby is not able to take a bottle, you are going to struggle to leave baby with anyone if you need to pop to the dentist or a haircut etc.

Lazypuppy Wed 13-Jun-18 22:28:00

As soon as breastfeeding is estaablished, i'd say around 2/3 weeks. I wouldn't recommend waiting too long. Get your partner to give the first bottle with you out the room. Once baby is established on bottle then you should be ok to give one as well

RidingMyBike Wed 13-Jun-18 22:39:06

Nipple confusion is total cobblers - it turns out there's no evidence for it whatsoever. We were also told definitely not to introduce a bottle before six weeks - but all the people who followed that advice ended up with bottle refusers!
I combi fed from five days old to one year - bottle introduced as my milk hadn't come in so had to supplement with formula, then carried on once milk did come in as I preferred not EBF. Depending on what happens - if your milk is delayed you might want to supplement from the beginning, or else leave it 2/3 weeks. We never had a problem switching between breast and bottle and DD is still BFing at 2.5 yrs.

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