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Tips for Giving Your Breastfed Baby a Bottle


Breastfeeding is an awesome thing but let’s be honest: it can have its challenges, and it’s definitely a time-consuming labor of love (baby wants to eat again?!).

New moms committed to breastfeeding often feel like they have to nurse for every feed, no matter how exhausted, sore, or overwhelmed they are. Giving your baby even a single bottle can feel like giving up. But one of the best pieces of advice I got after the birth of my firstborn was this: breastfeeding doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It can be a balance between nursing, pumping, and bottle feeding, especially if you are using a bottle designed to mimic the breastfeeding experience, like the new Baby Brezza Bottle does (more about that later).

It’s absolutely ok to take a breastfeeding break sometimes and let your partner give the baby a bottle. Everyone wins: They’ll snuggle and bond and you can sleep, or maybe even run an errand that lets you get out for a bit. And the occasional bottle feeding allows baby to become familiar enough with this option that s/he’ll take one should it be necessary. Of course if you’re headed back to work, it’s not negotiable: you’ll need to get your baby comfortable taking a bottle from a caregiver.

Moms who want to continue breastfeeding for as long as possible often worry about their babies developing preference for bottles and their easy flow. The right bottle and the right bottle feeding techniques can help with both of those issues.

Check out these tips and techniques on giving a breastfed baby a bottle, and be sure to share them with your partner and caregivers.

  • Take your time. A bottle feeding should take as long as a nursing session, complete with frequent pauses, eye contact, breaks for burps, and even a full stop to switch sides. Baby might be eating from a different source, but you want the experience to resemble breastfeeding as much as possible. (And a slower feeding gives your partner more time to cuddle with your little one!)
  • Choose a bottle that strives to emulate breastfeeding as much as possible. Slow flow nipples, for example, release the bottle’s contents in a manner similar to a mama’s letdown. The innovative new Baby Brezza Bottle features the most breast-like nipple available on the market, so nursing moms can feel good about using them for their babies. It also makes it easier on babies who are switching between bottle and breast.
  • Let your partner or a caregiver handle the bottle feedings whenever possible. Your baby is more likely to accept a bottle from someone other than you, it gives your partner a chance to get involved, and you get a break.
  • Never force a bottle’s nipple into a baby’s mouth. Instead use it to gently stroke baby’s lips, which should stimulate the natural rooting reflex and encourage baby to draw the nipple into his or her mouth and start sucking.
  • Aim for regular pauses throughout the feeding; these slowdowns will resemble a breastfeeding mama’s letdown and prevent baby from guzzling from the bottle. Your baby won’t get too full too fast, or end up with a distended belly and colic-like symptoms. (That’s another reason to love the Baby Brezza Bottle: its TruFlo anti-colic valve design, which helps prevent baby from swallowing air and getting gassy and fussy post-feeding.)
  • Follow your baby’s cues to recognize when s/he is finished. Although it’s tempting to encourage baby to empty the bottle, overfeeding can lead to stomach issues, spitting up, and too much weight gain. If your baby starts spitting out or refusing the bottle’s nipple, or dozes off during the feeding, consider mealtime officially over!

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