After having my second baby and successfully beginning to breastfeed, I had the question. When is it a good time to introduce my breastfed baby to a bottle?
I initially didn’t intend on using a bottle at all, but as a business owner and working mama, as my baby got older it became more and more difficult to take my baby with me to my job.
So after a very difficult meeting with a baby who was wiggling all over the room, I knew I needed to have someone help me with the baby. It meant that I needed to have him take a bottle so I could have my time to work.
Thankfully after almost a month of trying I was able to have my baby take both breast and bottle. And here’s what I learned:
I started saving pumped milk.
At 5 months old I finally pulled the trigger and pumped milk close to two hours after putting my baby to sleep, every night. I knew I needed to start building my stash, and since he was sleeping longer stretches at night, night pumping seemed to get me the most milk.
I introduced freshly pumped milk first.
Even though I was saving milk in the freezer, I noticed that my baby was more willing to give the bottle a try if the milk had just been pumped. To do this I began to put him down for his first nap without a feeding and pumped milk once he was sleeping so I had his bottle ready when he woke up.
I had to try a few different bottles.
I tried three different bottle brands before he took the one he liked. It was so disappointing when I bought a bottle everyone had sworn by and my baby wouldn’t take it. But I encourage you to keep trying a few different bottles. I immediately noticed the one he liked because he actually sucked on it a little bit, and I knew it was a good start.
I had to be consistent and relentless.
I read so many different blogs about how breastfed babies didn’t take a bottle from their moms and that it’s better to have someone else introduce the bottle. And though I tried to follow this advice, it was on a rare occasion that I could let someone else feed him. So I put myself in this scenario: “If I were a single mom with no family to help and I had to go back to work, I would have to make this work myself.” This scenario kept me going. I knew that there were women who were able to do this themselves, so I would, too. And so I consistently continued to try every single day for him to take a bottle at least once a day.
Once he took a bottle, I had to continue.
After 4 weeks of trying, my breastfed baby finally took a full feeding in a bottle. I cried happy tears. And with that, I also knew that I had to continue to offer a bottle consistently so all of my efforts wouldn’t go to waste. So every day after his first nap I would pump and have a bottle feeding a day.
Having my baby take a bottle gave me the freedom to be able to work, as well as to take a little time off from my kids. I didn’t think this was the decision I was going to make when I started my breastfeeding journey, but I’m happy I was able to do both.