When Stella was born, we weren’t originally planning on me going back to work for awhile. Even so, I always knew I wanted Stella to be able to drink out of a bottle so that I’d have a little freedom for getting out of the house and for having a few drinks, so I started pumping and we gave Stella her first bottle at 3w6d. We had a couple of false starts trying to find the right bottle, but as soon as we found Dr. Brown’s we had a winner! When Stella was 7 weeks old I was offered a job starting the next week, so we were really thankful that she was already used to drinking breast milk from a bottle on occasion.
This time around we know already that I’ll be going back to work when Harvey is 8w old, so last night we had Charlie give him his first bottle of breast milk at 3w4d, and he drank it like a champ! Stella was very interested, and I’m sure she’ll be helping feed her “favorite baby” soon. 🙂
When reading back over this post I realized that Charlie is dressed almost identically in both sets of pictures. You can tell it’s winter in Colorado and he’s a concrete worker for sure! LOL
— A few tips I learned about bottle feeding last time:
1) Wait to introduce a bottle until breastfeeding is established, but don’t wait too long or it could be hard to get them to drink from a bottle at all. We’ve had good luck starting at 3 1/2 -4 weeks.
2) Once the baby takes a bottle, don’t stop offering it! We kept giving Stella a bottle every couple of days until I started work to keep her in the routine of eating from either breast or bottle. Once I was back at work, she would drink out of a bottle during the day 4 days per week, and almost exclusively from the breast the other 3 days, and she never had issues switching back and forth.
3) Don’t assume your baby doesn’t like a bottle if s/he refuses the 1st one you try. We started with Medela last time, and Stella hated them. She choked and spit up, even with the newborn slow flow nipple. Same thing for a couple of other brands we tried. It wasn’t until we found Dr. Brown’s bottles that we knew we had a winner! They really did seem to help with her gassiness, and the flow was slow enough she wasn’t choking.
4) Don’t increase the nipple flow as the baby ages unless s/he seems really frustrated. We never did go up to Level 2 nipples on Stella’s bottles – she used the same, slow flow nipples from 3 weeks until we bottle weaned her at a year! I believe it helped her eat more slowly and not ingest so much air, plus it made the speed of milk flow she got from the breast and the bottle more comparable.
5) Don’t assume you need to heat the bottle. I know it sounds weird, but my friend gave me that advice with Stella, and she always took her bottles cold out of the fridge. It was so nice to not worry about having to heat the bottle when we were on the go, in the car, etc. This time I heated Harvey’s bottle last night, but once he’s used to drinking out of a bottle, we’ll try giving him cold milk as well for the same reason. It might work, it might not, but it was definitely handy with Stella!
6) If the baby doesn’t drink the entire bottle at once (we always had 3-4 oz portions in a bottle), in my experience (I am not a doctor!) they can be used for up to 4 hours. Kelly Mom says it can be refrigerated and offered within 1-2 hours, but we routinely followed the 4 hr rule with Stella with no issues.
I hope these tips help someone else who is needing to bottle feed in addition to breastfeeding!