Bottle Feeding – When can I introduce the bottle?


    Many experts recommend introducing a bottle of pumped breastmilk between the time your baby is 3 to 4 weeks old (after breastfeeding is well established) and six weeks of age. Your baby doesn’t need to have a bottle every day before you go back to work—once or twice a week at least two weeks before you go back to work is often enough for your baby to get the hang of it. Remember to pump your milk for each time your baby has a bottle. Even if you have milk stored in your freezer, you will need to remove the milk from your breasts so that your body knows to continue to make more milk.

  • It is EXTREMELY important that Baby gets the hang of breastfeeding before you offer him a bottle, and this process often takes 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Infants who are given bottles earlier than this sometimes develop a preference for the bottle, which requires less effort than nursing.
  • Once a baby learns the proper nursing technique, he’s less apt to favor the bottle.
  • If your baby is a nursing like a champ at 2 or 3 weeks, it’s fine to offer a bottle.
  • But proceed cautiously: If she prefers the bottle, offer it less often for a week or two.
  • You don’t want to wait too long either. If you go much past 6 weeks, your infant MAY refuse the bottle.
  • If it looks like the baby doesn’t like the bottle, let someone else, such as your partner or your child’s caregiver, give the first bottle. You might need to leave the room, if not the house, while the bottle is being offered. Many breastfed babies won’t take a bottle if they can tell their mother (and her breasts) is nearby.
Bottom Line: Best time is between 4 and 6 weeks or later, depending on how well your nursing sessions are going on.

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