Introducing bottle-feeding to a breastfed baby could be quite a challenge, especially if your baby is used to exclusive breastfeeding. Babies have different reactions and it takes a lot of patience to get him used to it.
If you have not yet started feeding and you intend to go to work and stop breastfeeding early, it is best to just introduce bottle feeding of your breast milk so you won’t have any difficulty when it is time to go back to work. You can also hire confinement lady in Malaysia to assist you easily. Experts and experienced moms share some tips on how you can transition from breast to bottle-feeding smoothly.
When to introduce bottle-feeding
Experts say that the best time to introduce bottle-feeding is between 3 to 4 weeks of age when the baby has already perfected his latch and has developed the muscles for effective feeding. It is also important to consider the time when to introduce a bottle to your baby. There is no correct specific time of day, but it is best to consider when the baby is relaxed.
Babies could be very unpredictable, so just keep trying. You can try bottle-feeding after half his regular breast-feeding.
How to introduce bottle-feeding
When introducing a bottle to your baby, he should not be starving. The two of you should be in a relaxed state so that you will not force the baby to bottle-feed fast, or at least you have the luxury of time to spare to try a number of different positions. You should not be in a hurry because you still need to do something.
Remember, babies have different reactions to different stimuli. He may or may not take the first bottle you offer. Tilt the bottle properly so that milk completely fills the nipple. It is also best to try to offer a nipple that is similar to his pacifier in flow and shape. At first attempts when you notice that the baby is not distressed but merely disinterested, try different positions. However, if after 5 or 10 minutes, he is still crying, stop and try some other time because he might associate the bottle to something negative.
Let someone else introduce the first bottle
Babies are naturally instinctive. If you have been breastfeeding since birth and introduce a bottle for the first time, he will not be interested especially if your baby can sense that your breast is just nearby.
It is a smart idea to let someone else introduce the bottle but at the same position as when you are breastfeeding.
During the first tries, let your counterpart hold something that has your smell for baby’s comfort. Again, that person should be relaxed, should take their time and stop if the baby becomes unhappy.
Be mindful of the position
You might not realize it, but your baby is sensitive to how you hold him. The way you carry him can affect the success of your attempt to switch to a bottle.
For safety, feed him in a semi-upright position and try other options such as cradling, sitting him on your lap, using a pillow or anything that works best.
You can also try walking around the house and positioning him in a way that his face is away from you.
What to do if baby resists the bottle
If your baby is not one of those who transition without much fuss, you can try other techniques and be more patient. Use a nipple that is similar to his pacifier; warm it up a bit to be softer and more appealing. Allow some time for the baby to play with the nipple to familiarize him to it and eventually suck on it.
Let your baby get used to these sensations that are new to him, so before changing nipple or feeding technique, allow some time for him to adapt to avoid confusion.
You can also try using bottles that mimic the natural shape and texture of the breast, which are now available in the market. The nipples are usually made of silicone so they might be helpful.
Babies have different personalities. Transitioning from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding might be easy for you but not for others. While it is best to start early if you intend to make this switch, you can still try your success if you introduce it a bit late. It is very important for you to remember to relax, take your time and be persistent.