Giving a Bottle to a Breastfed Baby


Today, Mommy may or may not have had too much to drink. My alcohol tolerance has never been high anyway, but after 9+ months without so much as a sip, a glass of wine will send my head spinning. But anyway, tipsy mommies can't feed hungry babies, so daddy was left with the task. I've been pumping since little A was about 6 weeks old. Since I stay at home, it's not something I've been too diligent about, but I do like to have a small stash in the freezer - just in case.

It's not like little A hasn't had a bottle before. Daddy gave him his first one when he was about 5 or 6 weeks old. For introduction purposes, but mostly for fun. I always love watching big A feed our little guy. I know, firsthand, that it's such a special bonding experience.

But now that little A is over 4 months old though, we wondered if he would reject the bottle altogether. When he was just a newborn, he had a really bad problem vomiting after eating, and a pacifier and staying upright were the only things that would work. Today, you put a pacifier near that child's mouth and he's going to stare at you like you're trying to give him the most random and strange thing.


We were so excited to see that all it took was getting settled down and a little skin-to-skin time for him to take the bottle like a champ.

If your baby is an exclusively breastfed baby it is important, especially if being bottle fed often like when mom is at work, to follow a paced feeding schedule. Oftentimes, it's very easy for caregivers to overfeed a breastfed baby with a bottle. The breast empties in such a way that a baby knows when he is full. A bottle, on the other hand, empties out much faster and continuously which doesn't give the baby's brain enough time to catch up with their, already full, tummy.

Paced bottle fed babies should be fed on demand, just like breastfed babies. Rather than worrying too much about a feeding schedule, hunger cues should be followed. When it is time for the baby to bottle feed, someone other than the mother should feed him. Many times, infants are just too darn smart to refuse to take a bottle from the one they know has something better. The baby should be fed in an upright position. The baby doesn't have to be fully sitting up, but when babies are bottle fed laying down it can result in frequent ear infections.

The bottle should be held more horizontal than vertical. Allow the baby to draw out the milk, rather than just pouring it into his mouth. Bottle feeding is much, much easier on babies than is breastfeeding. That's why it's possible for very young babies to develop bottle preference if fed from a bottle too often.


When breastfeeding, a baby is given several letdowns of a small amount of milk. This should be mimicked when bottle feeding by taking small breaks to burp the baby. 

I have to give credit to those bottle feeding mommies though, it is hard work! To get ready for this guy's feeding, milk had to be taken from the freezer, thawed, put in a bottle, and fed to him. Then, the bottle had to be washed, rinsed, and sterilized. Whereas normally, if he's hungry, I plop my breast out, latch him on and, sometimes, fall asleep. Bottle feeding is fun, and photo worthy, but I think I'll just stick to the breast. 

Until next time, 

Savannah

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