What if I need to bottle feed in the first few weeks?
2 weeks old
Wondering what to expect when you give your baby their first bottle? Here’s a quick guide to help make your baby’s first bottle feed a positive experience and what to do if it doesn’t go as you’d hoped.
When it’s safe to begin using a bottle
While breastfeeding is still being established, it’s best to let your baby nurse exclusively from your breast. Like this you’ll create a stable milk supply and give yourself ample time to bond with one another.
If you do need to bottle feed in those those first few weeks, be sure to opt for a nipple with a slow flow and preferably one that mimics the natural shape of a breast.
How it’s different from breastfeeding
Other than the overall feel of the nipple, the main difference your baby will experience is in the suction. You see a baby has to work a lot harder to remove milk from your breast than from a bottle, where the flow is constant. So you’ll have to pay careful attention to both the flow of the nipple and the position you hold the bottle. A 45° tilt normally does the trick.
The best person to give the first bottle
Finally, an excuse to put your feet up. Many babies find it confusing to have a bottle offered by their moms if they’re used to going straight to the breast. While your little one is still learning to bottle feed, this can be a good chance to have another family member help you with feeds.
The best time
At the end of a regular breastfeed can be a good starting point to get your baby familiar with a bottle. Gradually, you can increase the amount of time you feed with the bottle.
If at first you don’t succeed
Don’t worry if your baby isn’t all that interested in a bottle. It’s new and might not be as comfortable as mom’s breast. If you’re having a little trouble getting your baby to take a bottle, try changing positions, experimenting with different nipples or dabbling some breast milk on the nipple to make it more enticing.
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