When to introduce bottle feeds to breast fed 35 weeker?(3 Posts)
Can anyone advise me on when the best time to add bottle feeds to my 6 week old (now 1 week by due date) DD? I want to give her expressed milk when I need to go out/ to let DP feed her too etc. And will need to go back to work at some point...
She had a NG tube in for nearly three weeks whilst she was establishing breast feeds, and has now been exclusivly breast fed (which she does pretty well most of the time!) for the last 3 weeks.
I have heard two conflicting arguments - too early and this may hinder breast feeding, too late and bottle may be rejected. Also not sure how the slight prematurity affects this.
The thing with bottles is no matter when they are introduced you can not guarantee the results. Some babies will drop the breast straight away (whatever age they are), some will refuse the bottle (again age irrelevant), some will mix for awhile and then reject one or the other and some will happily mix. Prematurity doesn't really come into it.
I'm sure you'll get lots of replies from people telling you that they successfully mixed, but as I've already said it varies from baby to baby and you can't take what happens with one as what will happen with yours.
TBH as far as anyone else is concerned feeding isn't anymore bonding than doing anything else for a child (obviously there is a difference when it is the mother) so I wouldn't give a bottle to give daddy chance to bond, he can do any number of things for the baby. It's also not very helpful to mum because it's a lot of extra work and baby may not accept it when the real thing is around which is stressful to mother and child.
You have plenty of time before you have to go back to work, unless you are going back early. Some babies don't even take a bottle when mum is at work, they wait for her to come back.
I did do top ups (Tink was 31 weeks) but never used a bottle, she had a syringe or cup.
I introduced bottles of EBM to my breastfed 35-weeker when she was 7 weeks old (actual, so 2 weeks corrected). She had been breastfeeding directly & exclusively from 1 week old (luckily only spent a week with the ng-tube in), and I wanted to be sure this was well established so waited six weeks from then...so in your case I'd wait at least another 3 weeks or so.
I had various reasons for getting her to take a bottle- but mainly it was because with DS (DC1) I had a really hard time getting him to take a bottle- in fact he never did- just cup fed- and I had to return to work when he was 6 months old so found this very stressful... From a lot of reading many suggested trying to introduce a daily bottle from around 6wks...expressed milk in my case as didn't want her to have formula yet...
This was very successful BTW, she had 1 bottle a day until 9 months, then upped to 2 bottles a day as I had to go back to work...but we kept BFing until she was over a year old
I think at that early stage if I'd given her more than 1 bottle a day it could have spelled trouble for keeping her wanting to BF directly- bottles are very easy to drink from & require less effort, so some babies seem to work out this is quicker than BFing so if offered a lot will cut down BF quickly...and even with expressing if they decide they no longer want your boobs then you could end up relying on the bottle... But just once a day seems to work pretty well.
From 4 months by the way I ran out of time to express and due to her CF we replaced her 1 bottle a day of EBM with high-cal formula. Mix feeding seemed to work ok for us though.
Good luck- hope she's thriving now after what must have been a scary start x
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