Exclusively Breastfed? When Do I Introduce the Bottle?

Baby Lei’s First Bottle

I get so many messages from moms asking, “how do I introduce the bottle to my baby after exclusively breastfeeding for ‘X’ amount of time?” It may not be an easy task but, it doesn’t have to be an all-out war either!

Although the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding are numerous, there comes a time, such as returning to work, when moms have to begin bottle feeding. If you’re interested in knowing how and when to introduce the bottle, keep reading!

When & Why You’d Introduce the Bottle?

If you plan to introduce the bottle, I’d suggest doing so when your breastmilk production regulates, which in most cases tends to range anywhere between 6-12 weeks. Breast milk regulation, otherwise known as “an established milk supply,” is when your milk is produced solely on the demand of your baby rather than hormones.

Many moms are returning to work around week six or want to get back into the routine of running errands without their babies. Therefore, the need to bottle feed occasionally presents itself. Delaying bottle feeding also gives your baby time to establish good breastfeeding habits.

Another good reason for introducing the bottle to your baby is to give yourself a break. Moms often get touched out, needing to step away from the kids and daily obligations even if only 20-30 minutes here and there; this can be good for recharging so that you can be your best self for you and your family.

Tips & Tricks

Aside from starting the bottle introduction 2-3 weeks before going back to work, here are more helpful tips & tricks to making bottle feeding work:

  • Gradually replace a nursing session with a bottle, but also pump to keep up with production
  • Use slow-flow nipples to mimic breastfeeding as closely as possible
  • Dip the bottle nipple in breast milk so that your baby gets a taste & begins suckling
  • Allow your baby to hold and play with the bottle during nursing sessions for a positive association

Remember to stay calm and patient through the process. Staying patient will help in keeping your baby calm and cooperative.

Bottle Recommendations

As previously stated, I would start out buying one of a few different brands of bottles to try out before deciding. I started with three bottles, trying a different one every few days. 

Here are the three we started with:

Our favorite is the Nanobebe bottle because it’s shaped like the breast and is easy for our baby to hold while eating. The Nanobebe is dome-shaped, allowing breast milk to warm faster. 

Runner up goes to the Philips AVENT Natural Response — the nipples are made to only release milk when the baby actively drinks. The nipples are also wide breast-shaped and soft to mimic the breasts.

So, in the end, I’d say introducing bottles after exclusively breastfeeding can be beneficial in many ways. Don’t waste money buying tons of one specific bottle — buy one of a few different kinds until you find the right fit. With patience and dedication, you can master this seemingly daunting task!

If you enjoyed this post and it was helpful to you, like & comment below. Don’t forget to share it with your mom friends!

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Exclusively Breastfed? When Do I Introduce the Bottle?

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