Supplementing Breastfeeding with Bottle
Many mothers find the need to introduce a bottle to baby for many different reasons. Some mothers may need to introduce a bottle because they must go back to work and others may want to give a bottle to baby so they can get away for a bit.
No matter what the reason for wanting to introduce a bottle, supplementing breast milk with a bottle can create may different feeding issues. However, it’s not impossible to supplement breastfeeding with bottle feeding! With a few helpful tips, you can successfully switch between breast and bottle.
Confusing Breast and Bottle
When switching from breast to bottle, many babies develop what’s called nipple confusion. The mechanics used to get milk from a breast can vary significantly from the mechanics used to get milk from a synthetic nipple. As a result of nipple confusion, babies can develop some bad breastfeeding habits, including:
Bottle nipples allow more milk to flow than the human breast does. Initially, a baby may be overwhelmed by the amount of milk coming from a synthetic nipple and clamp down to slow the flow of milk. When switching back to boob, a baby may continue to clamp down out of confusion.
When learning how to breastfeed, most new mothers are taught how to properly latch their baby onto their breast. When a baby takes a bottle, there is no “correct” position. If the nipple is in his mouth, he can get milk. As a result of switching between breast and bottle, he can get confused and won’t always remember how to latch onto mom. Incorrect latch on techniques can cause sore nipples, and frustrated moms and babies.
How to Help with Nipple Confusion
Mothers who would like to continue to breastfeed should wait to introduce a bottle to baby until he is at least 6 weeks old. Six weeks is usually enough time to sort out any breastfeeding kinks and establish a breastfeeding routine before potentially confusing him with a bottle.
Choose the right nipple and bottle
When making the switch to bottle, it can be very helpful to choose a nipple that is specifically designed for breastfeeding mothers. Most bottle manufacturers make nipples designed to be more like mother. Also, what bottle you choose may make a difference in a babies bottle-feeding experience. Today, manufacturers make bottles with many different features, and you may have to try a few before finding one that baby likes.
“Let down” milk
As mentioned above, synthetic nipples allow more milk to flow than the human breast does. Babies can get used to the faster flow of a bottle and become frustrated when feeding from a breast.
Babies who seem to be frustrated with the slower flow of breast milk may benefit from the “let down” technique. To perform this technique, hand express breast milk until the let down (faster flow of milk) occurs. Once let down has happened, latch baby on to the breast.
Go Back to Square One
If you have tried every tip and your baby is still having problems with nipple confusion, don’t despair. It’s not impossible to retrain your baby to latch on to your breast properly! Follow these simple tips on how to retrain your baby to latch on:
- If your baby clamps on when nursing, unlatch him by gently breaking his suction with your pinky finger. With his mouth wide open, reposition his mouth on your breast. Repeat the process until he stops clamping down.
- Make sure your baby’s tongue is down and his mouth is wide open when latching on. Also, make sure as much of your areola is in his mouth by compressing your areola into a C shape as he latches on. You should not feel any pain when he latches on. If you feel pain, unlatch and try again.
- Sometimes babies with nipple confusion forgot where to place their tongues when feeding from the breast. Your baby’s tongue should be forward, and in between the breast and his lower gums. To check his tongue position, gently move his lip with your finger and look for his tongue while he is feeding. If you don’t see his tongue, unlatch him and place your index finger in his mouth to suck on. As he sucks, gently pull his tongue forward with your finger. Repeat a few times and then try latching him on again.
Committed to Giving Baby the Best Start
With a little hard work, practice, and time, your baby will be switching between bottle and breast without any issues. The team at My Organic Company is committed to giving your baby the best possible start no matter what feeding option you choose – breast milk, formula or both. For questions about bottle feeding and breastfeeding or for questions about any of our products, please contact customer care firstname.lastname@example.org