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Make a smooth transition from breast to bottle with our top tips
One constant in motherhood: things are always changing. Just when you’ve gotten the hang of nursing, you might find it’s time to introduce your baby to a bottle. There are many reasons why moms who have been exclusively nursing will start to integrate bottle-feeding into their routine—a return to work, sharing middle-of-the-night feeding duties, or an upcoming date night or weekend away. Our word of encouragement? Do it! Here’s our best advice for making this boob-to-bottle transition.
When to Start
There’s no “right” time to introduce a bottle, but lactation consultants generally recommend waiting until you’ve established a breastfeeding routine and your milk supply is consistent. This typically happens after the first four weeks after birth. Just as moms need to find their groove with pumping, babies also need time to adjust to feeding from a bottle. So start slowly, incorporating a bottle feeding just once per day and about three to four times per week. Be sure to pump during these feedings to keep your milk supply up.
How to Find the Right Bottle
Until you’re building a baby registry, you may not realize how many different types of bottles there are to choose from. Which one works best will depend on your unique preferences (and your baby’s!). Pay attention to how your little one latches onto your breast, and look for a nipple that mimics that latch. Lactation consultants often recommend starting with a slow-flow nipple to encourage “baby-led” feeding. Consider whether these key features will be right for you and your baby: drop-in inserts, interchangeable nipples of varying sizes, and vents or an angled top to minimize gas-causing air bubbles (especially important for babies with reflux). Many moms find it helpful to use bottles that are compatible with their breast pump so they can pump directly into the bottles they’ll feed from, while others prioritize bottles that are easy to clean or have fewer parts.
Tips for Introducing Bottle-Feeding
When you nurse, you don’t really know how much milk your baby is drinking. Start with a smaller amount in the bottle so you don’t waste any of that liquid gold, keeping in mind your baby’s age, total daily needs and number of daily feedings. Pause occasionally while feeding, and stop when baby seems full, or add more if your baby is still hungry. Trust those hunger cues to guide you to the right amount.
Navigating Your Emotions
The shift from exclusively nursing to a combination of nursing and bottle-feeding can involve physical and emotional changes for moms. It can cause emotional and hormonal shifts, including feelings of sadness and loss, mood swings, irritability and difficulty sleeping. Recognizing and acknowledging those feelings is the first step in making this transition as smooth as possible.
As with any new phase of motherhood, it is bittersweet to see your baby grow up and your relationship change, but your bond—and the role you play in keeping your little one happy, healthy and fed—won’t change one bit. Our team of real moms at Ashland Health understands, which is why we’re here for you for every step of your parenting journey. If you need help choosing the right bottle for your pump or want advice about incorporating a bottle into your feeding routine, contact us anytime.
And…The Top 5 Bottles Ashland Moms Are Loving
Mimijumi: This bottle’s nipple is crafted from medical and food-grade silicone, so its texture feels like skin, and it features a venting system that helps reduce colic. The bottle itself is angled for perfect positioning and made from clear, durable nylon. Its design allows your baby to control the flow of milk, more closely simulating the breastfeeding experience. Ashland Health is happy to carry this popular model: ask our team for information on how to receive one at a low cost or no cost through your insurance coverage.
Lansinoh mOmma: Easy to clean and assemble, this bottle includes a nipple that’s specially designed to allow babies to latch and suckle just as they do while breastfeeding, and features an anti-colic ventilation system that reduces gas-causing air intake. It’s also compatible with Lansinoh breast pumps. Rave reviews from real moms make this a go-to bottle for breastfed babies. Contact Ashland Health for pricing and to learn more about your insurance coverage options.
Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle: The soft, squeezable bottle features dual anti-colic vents that prevent excess air intake and a wide-neck opening for easy cleaning (you can fit your hand inside!). Its wide base and “naturally shaped” nipple aim to make the transition between bottle and breast seamless.
Kiinde Starter Kit: The Kiinde Twist system allows you to pump, store, organize, warm and feed using the same pouch, completely eliminating the need to transfer milk back and forth from bottles and bags. Their pouches combine the leak-free guarantee of a bottle with the convenience of a disposable breast milk storage bag.
MAM Anti-Colic Bottle: The unique nipple has a flat shape to better fit in a baby’s mouth (research shows 94 percent nipple acceptance among babies tested!). The vented base helps control an even flow of milk to prevent gas and reflux. The design also allows for easy self-sterilization—just place the nipple inside the bottle base with an ounce of water and microwave for three minutes.