Some babies (let's call them 'magical unicorns') will happily switch between breast and bottle with nary a whimper. So long as the milk is a-flowing, they'll be happy campers. We suspect that these may be the very same babies who sleep through the night from birth and happily put themselves to bed at nap time.
The rest of the baby population are not so free and easy. They will often refuse to accept anything other than their beloved booby. And should you try and mess with the routine, they'll object. Loudly and angrily.
So what's a mama to do if she wants or needs to introduce a bottle? We're sharing our top tips and tricks to make the process less of a pain.
When should you start thinking about a bottle? Young babies tend to be a little less selective (some might say 'picky') than their older peers. It's generally thought that there's an ideal window for introducing a bottle around the 8-10 week mark.
Lactation experts recommend waiting till then as breastfeeding is usually established and any issues with latching/attachment, milk supply or other concerns have been worked through. The last thing you want to do is add yet another thing to manage if you're already working through some issues.
It's best to wait until you're breastfeeding confidently and have the time and mental capacity to try something new.
If breastfeeding is going well and you want to try a bottle there are some steps you can try to help you ease the process.
This is a HUGELY personal decision and one which is completely up to you! Some mums find it really tricky to express milk and prefer the convenience of formula while others like to keep their baby solely on breastmilk.
If you're thinking you'd like to try expressed milk in a bottle, make sure you check out the Haakaa. Haakaa makes it a million times easier to create a milk stash quickly, effectively and, most importantly, effortlessly.
There is A LOT of talk in the breastfeeding world about bottle preference or nipple confusion; where a baby decides they actually prefer bottle feeding to the breast. This can be understandably heartbreaking and one of the reasons many mamas are super cautious about introducing a bottle.
There is no definitive hard and fast rule for why some bubs will develop a bottle preference as many factors can contribute. That being said however, it's more likely for a baby who is having a bottle daily to develop a preference than for a baby who might have the odd couple of bottles each month.
If you want to try a bottle, IBCLC The Milk Meg has the following tips to encourage your baby to continue breastfeeding happily:
Sometimes, despite your best laid plans, your bub just won't be a fan of the bottle. There are a few things you can try in this instance:
You got this mama!