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I breastfed and bottle-fed my son. We started out on the bottle, transitioned to breast and then one day found our breastfed baby refusing a bottle completely! But why?
Turns out, once a baby gets to experience the feeling of breastfeeding, it can be tough for them to give it up!
Although there is NOTHING wrong with bottle feeding, our little babies know what’s natural and what isn’t.
So how were we able to eventually reintroduce a bottle SUCCESSFULLY so that my husband could help with feedings? Keep reading the rest of this post to find out!
How to bottle feed a breastfed baby
If you’re struggling to bottle feed your breastfed baby, I’d highly suggest getting a Lactation consultant for assistance first and foremost!
Lactation consultants will be able to provide their hands-on experience with helping you make sure baby is latching correctly, sucking correctly, and really identify any specific issues (if any).
Plus, if you’re an exclusively pumping mom, the last thing you want is to be wasting any breastmilk! Nope, definitely not! So keep on to find out how you can get baby drinking from their bottle in no time!
1. Try to mimic breastfeeding positions
With a bottle, you can’t exactly mimic a breastfeeding position 100% since the bottle may be quicker/slower than milk coming from your breasts.
However, one good way would be to offer a bottle with your baby a bit elevated.
2. Switch sides with the bottle (just as you would breasts)
With a breastfed baby, you’d normally feed on one side until baby has had enough or until your milk slowed down and then rotate them to the next side.
The concept here is very similar. If you’re holding your baby in your left arm while bottle feeding, try switching to your left arm once you’re about halfway through.
3. Allow your baby to bring their mouth to the bottle
One common mistake some parents make with bottle feeding is they just assume that their baby is hungry and they shove the bottle right into their mouths.
However, with breastfed babies, they typically will bring themselves to mom’s breast. Slowly working their way (sometimes ferociously) to find the nipple and latch themselves.
Mimicking this concept with a bottle can feel MUCH more natural for them and make bottle feeding a much more pleasurable experience!
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4. Practice paced bottle feeding
Paced bottle feeding is a method that slows down the flow of milk allowing your baby to eat slowly and take breaks.
This type of feeding helps to mimic the biological method of feeding your baby would experience for breastfeeding. It allows them to be more in control so they’re truly eating to satiety, not because there’s more liquid in the bottle.
This is the method of feeding we were taught from our lactation consultant and it helped us to reintroduce a bottle to our son!
It was such a life-saving method because it allowed my husband to take over some night feedings or even day feedings while I was able to relax a little (even if I was pumping).
If you want to see an amazing video of paced bottle feeding, check out this video over on youtube below by San Diego Breastfeeding Center!
Bottle feeding breast milk vs breastfeeding
I know there’s a lot of back and forth on this topic. I personally believe that bottle-feeding breast milk and breasfeeding are BOTH breastfeeding.
However, I also acknowledge that babies can 100% tell the difference between nursing and a bottle. Especially after having a son who did both.
There was no doubt that when I would nurse him, he preferred it hence why he eventually dropped his bottle for a bit.
Even if you can find the BEST baby bottle out there that mimics a mom’s breast, it still just isn’t the same. Which is why I don’t think it’s a fair comparison.
What is the best position to bottle feed?
The best position to bottle feed (in my opinion) is the one in which is used during paced feeding.
This is where baby is held in a semi-reclined position (not completely flat and not completely up).
How fast should a baby drink a bottle?
A full feeding is NORMALLY around 20-30 minutes, However, I personally believe in using the pace feeding method.
This will allow your baby to drink until full satiety and not risk overeating just because their bottle is full.
Best baby bottles for breastfed babies
1. Comotomo Natural Feel Bottle
The Comotomo bottle is made of soft silicone making the actual bottle itself feel more breastlike. The downside to this bottle is it’s very easy to tip over and unfortunately, it leaked a TON for us. Although we loved the design as did our son, he would unlatch every time the bottle would start leaking, so in the end, it ended up not being the one for us.
2. Munchkin Latch Bottle
This bottle has a soft flexible nipple making it GREAT for paced feeding! It also is designed to closely mimic that of mom’s real nipple which babies are bound to love.
The one thing we couldn’t get past was the anti-colic valve at the bottom of the bottle. It was very difficult to ensure was cleaned thoroughly each time which is why it didn’t last too long in our house.
3. Dr. Brown’s Options Slow Flow Bottle
This bottle ended up being our ultimate favorite bottle for our son! We loved that the nipple was slow flow, making paced feeding go much more smoothly.
The unique venting system on this bottle not only helps to minimize gas/colic, but also help to aid in digestion!
We had noticed that after using this bottle consistently, our son had significantly less episodes of being gassy/fussy after a feed. And although the parts can take a while to clean, it was worth the time spent!
4. Playtex Baby Nurser Bottle
This bottle has a very unique feature where you insert plastic liners that mimic the way a mother’s breast contracts out milk when suckled.
However, keep in mind you’ll have to continue to replace these liners as you use them which can add up over time.
5. Lansinoh Momma Breastfeeding Bottle
Lansinoh is one of the leading brands within the breastfeeding industries. Between making great breast pumps, accessories AND baby bottles; there’s a reason this bottle made the list!
It was actually recommended by one of the lactation consultants we originally met with due to its nipple design which was designed to mimic that of a real breast + its built-in venting system.
Unfortunately, our son wouldn’t latch well to this bottle for whatever reason, however, I have plenty of mama friends who’ve used and raved about this particular bottle!
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