Babies: 0 - 3 Months

Introducing Bottle

So, my LO is 5 weeks old, and EBF. At one month, we introduced a bottle, just to see if she would take it, and she did, no problem. It really helped alleviate things for me, my husband can take a night feeding so I can sleep, or I can run to the store and not worry about packing the baby all up, or even give her a bottle myself if I'm in a situation where nursing is less than convenient, etc. I did a lot of research on the best way to introduce the bottle, the best way to pump to make sure my supply stays up, signs of nipple confusion to watch for, etc. I felt great about my decision and how things were going.

Until a friend told me that bottle feeding "so early" is a "slippery slope", and that bottle feeding for EBF babies is only for other people to feed her, not mom. That pumping and bottle feeding is going to make my supply drop (she insinuated that doing this will lead to formula feeding), and also suggested that she will likely suffer from nipple confusion.

Now I'm feeling very unconfident and stressed about my decision. This is all coming from a certified doula and an LLL leader-in-training, otherwise, I'd probably not give it a second thought.

Thoughts? Personal experience? I have other friends that have introduced a bottle at a month, and it was perfectly fine, but now I'm seriously second-guessing myself.  

Re: Introducing Bottle

  • DS1 took a bottle from the start. I  had to pump after every feeding and give him what I pumped because he had weight issues. He never had a problem going between breast and bottle.

    DS2 I introduced the bottle around 2 weeks. I just didn't want to get to the point where he wouldn't take it. He, again, has no issue going between breast and bottle and my supply has not suffered.

    This early on all you need to do is make sure that you are pumping if LO is taking a bottle. Your supply won't suffer as long as you are still doing that.

    I think that nipple confusion, while real, is VASTLY overhyped. 

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  • Making me feel better already!! :)
  • While i am all for getting support from experts when you need it, sometimes lactation people can be a bit too hardcore. My OB was telling me about a breastfeeding class led by an LC where she said you should never give baby. Bottle or pump, period! That's extreme, unnecessary, and not realistic. Take this kind of advice with a grain of salt. You need to,find a compromise that fits with your lifestyle... Most moms can't be available for breastfeeding 24/7 for a full year, and that's okay.

    Don't stress yourself out so much! Think of all the moms who go back to work full time, pump/give bottles during weekdays, and still breastfeed until age one or longer. While the best thing for your supply is to have baby at the breast, a bottle here and there while you pump is completely fine. And you didn't intro the bottle too early... I have heard many stories of moms who waited u til 6-8 weeks to intro a bottle and at that point, LO would never take it.

    if your baby switches back and forth between bottle and breast, you are totally fine! Ideally you should breastfeed if you are going to feed baby anyway, but I myself have given a bottle to my DS a few times because I was drinking, and it was fine. Just make sure that you're diligent with the pump and pump a full 20-30 minutes each time LO gets a bottle. Also bear in mind that waiting too long to pump (say you and LO are out and about and you give a bottle but can't pump until a few hours later or at all) can harm your supply in the long run and cause problems like plugged ducts in the short run (it happened to me recently).

    we gave DS his first bottle when he was only two weeks old, and we never had any issues. He is still nursing like a champ at 12 weeks. 



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  • I've found that too, about LC's. 


    And good to know about pumping, I had an insane oversupply issue a few weeks ago, and my supply seems to be very sensitive to my baby's needs (as in, it increases very quickly, as needed), so I'm hoping that pumping won't affect my supply much at all.  I'll definitely make sure to be very careful.

  • My Ped and the LC I've seen both said it is ok to introduce a bottle at a month as long as BF is established.  It would be great if our lives worked around BFing for as long as you choose to do it, but it's not realistic for the vast majority of us. 
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  • My pediatrician and LC both said to wait til a month to establish supply then go ahead and introduce a bottle if you need/want to. We just did this a couple days ago and I was extremely anxious about it because, like you, I'd heard horror stories about supply disruption, babies refusing nipples/bottles, etc. However, it's going well with one bottle feeding a day, and he still loves my boob! I just remind myself that it's going to be necessary once I go back to work, and I'm being a good mom by preparing my baby to get the nutrition he needs in the future.

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  • We had to. At the hospital the pediatrician suggested supplementing because my supply was low and she had back to birth weight issues so I'm glad I did. Plus, I had a UTI and was unable to nurse for 3 days. I still nurse her at every feeding and in-between if she's fussy. I've also done nursing-only sessions. Because I have a long maternity leave I have to feed her the bottle myself. She's a trooper.
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  • My DD is 10 day old and has been taking a bottle since about day 3 due to jaundice and needing to get something....anything in her. 

    I haven't noticed a low supply and thankfully now that we've kicked the jaundice, she's able to nurse 99% of the time.  I've given her bottles with no problem as has MH. 

    While I think my supply is still working itself out, I already have a freezer stash (9 oz) going.

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  • Definitely keep the bottle introduced and fresh in LO's mind! Our baby took a bottle fine...we introduced at about five weeks, then once a week until I went back to work at 8 weeks.  For us, this wasn't enough bottle experience. Since going back to work, LO has been hysterical with a bottle. My poor husband went through eight hours today of screaming and clamped lips when trying to feed him...LO ate nothing for 8.5 hours. 

    Do not lose confidence with the bottle. Keep baby familiar with it and I've given baby a bottle...if it feels right for you, then do it. You're the mom :) 

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  • Nix55Nix55
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    I think that nipple confusion, while real, is VASTLY overhyped.nbsp;

    I agree with PP. My LO will suck on anything she can get her mouth near. She doesn't discriminate. Ha ha.
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