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How to bottle feed your breastfed baby

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. I MAY EARN FROM QUALIFYING PURCHASES.

Having four little girls, I’ve learned a thing or two about feeding babies. I’m no expert, of course, but I’ve successfully breastfed all four of them. The oldest two were in daycare and took bottles Monday through Friday. The youngest two were home with me all day, so they didn’t get nearly as many. However, it’s nice to be able to leave daddy in charge (or a babysitter) with the kids.

how to bottlefeed your breastfed baby

Needless to say, I have quite a few tips for getting your breastfed baby to take a bottle. Of course, these won’t work for all babies, but they are what worked for us.

  • Introduce the bottle around 2-3 weeks of age. I found this to be the most important. The longer we waited, the harder time we had getting our little ones started on the bottle.
  • Feed baby at first signs of hunger. Hungry babies are mad babies. And mad babies are harder to feed from the bottle when they aren’t as accustomed to it.
  • Use a good quality breast pump to store up breastmilk. I found pumping first thing in the morning after my milk came in on one side and nursing on the other was the easiest way to build up a supply.
  • Pump during the bottle feeding so that you maintain your supply. If I missed a feeding at the breast, I always made sure to pump as close to the same time as I could. This helped maintain my supply and keep my breasts knowing my body needed to continue making milk.
  • Have somebody besides mom feed baby. If possible, have mom leave the room. When I was getting ready to go back to work, it was hard to be the one to feed our baby her bottle to practice, but it was a necessity. I preferred to have daddy feed her when he was home to lessen the confusion.
  • Continue with at least one bottle per week. This made the transition easier for the girls and helped them stay familiar with the bottle.
  • Burp baby often. Our girls used to drink really fast from a bottle. We always had to stop them and burp them multiple times. Otherwise, we got a milk bath!
  • Take your time. Be patient and allow the baby time to figure it out.
  • Find a bottle and nipple that mimics the breast. The more similar to the breast, the easier for baby to figure out how to get milk from it.
  • Use a slow flow nipple. When babies are at the breast, they have to work to get the milk to come out. I didn’t want my girls getting used to the faster flow of milk in a bottle (and therefore getting frustrated with me like my second did), so I would stick to a slow flow nipple for the duration of time you are breastfeeding and bottle feeding.

Just like with our first, we are using the Playtex nurser bottle with drop in liners. Since we aren’t doing many bottles, the disposable Drop-Ins Liners make the bottle easy to use and clean, while providing a comfortable feed for baby. As baby feeds, the soft liner gently collapses to prevent air from mixing with milk and getting into baby’s tummy creating less gas and less discomfort for baby. They are BPA free and come in both 4oz and 8oz sizes. New to the Playtex Nurser is the optional angled design which promotes semi-upright feeding, which can help prevent ear infections and reduce colic.

The great thing about the new Playtex bottles is that they are introducing a nipple variety pack (BPA-free as well). Sometimes you don’t find the most ideal nipple right away. And, it’s frustrating because it means you need to go out and purchase another new bottle. Once you figure out which ones they like, you end up with a ton of different bottles. But, this variety pack is a game changer (says the mom who has two full-sized boxes of various bottles and parts). This variety pack can be mix and matched with the Playtex bottles. It has 4 nipples in one box, one of each kind:

  • Playtex NaturaLatch Nipple: With a standard surface area to mimic average nipple sizes, this nipple is most like mother’s.
  • Playtex Breastlike Nipple: Slope of area around nipple mimics the breast.
  • Playtex Fullsized Nipple: Designed for wider mouths, the shape of the nipple mimics large size nipples.
  • Playtex Angled Nipple: The nipple’s angled design promotes semi-upright feeding.

I know I wish this variety pack was around when I had my first daughter! Do you have any tips for helping to feed your little one?


THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. I MAY EARN FROM QUALIFYING PURCHASES.

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47 Comments

  1. anne stewart says:

    I think the natralatch nipple would really help!

  2. Christine says:

    I love your tips! My baby is already 2 months and 2 weeks, is it too late to try giving her the bottle?

    1. Hi Christine-

      I don’t think it’s too late. It will be a little harder, but it’s doable. I’d definitely try asap. I would try to have the bottle ready for the best feeding of the day (here it’s usually the first one of the morning) and have somebody else ready to give it, at least in another room. Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

  3. Dianne Hall says:

    I like the angled design and that it helps support semi-upright feeding!

  4. When I had my Daughter, we didn’t have much of a choice when it came to bottles. I really like the newer designs.

  5. These are such great tips. I loved the drop in liners for Playtex bottles. I had to do a combination of breastfeeding and bottlefeeding with all 3 of my kids and loved it, actually. It was great to have the freedom of someone else feeding them.

  6. Great tips,Also i really like that shape of bottle.The drop in liners are a great thing to have and use.

  7. I actually never breastfed, so I used a bottle from day one. They taught me most of this stuff in the hospital and burping them was the biggest one!!

  8. I know a lot of young new moms that could benefit from this. Some people think it should be intuitive, but it just isn’t!

  9. Oh I remember those wonderful ages when you get to hold the baby and feed them. Miss that so much!!

  10. Grandma Pat says:

    What a great idea for Playtex, all fitting all bottles and variety nipple packs. They must be listening to moms. You were the worse at bottles – screamed your head off – wish you would have given me this advice 33 years ago.

  11. Both of my breastfed babies were VERY difficult to bottle feed. Maybe this bottle would have worked!

  12. that switch is always the toughest. it’s great to have awesome tools now

  13. I had a terrible time bottlefeeding my first. I had waited too long and didn’t do it often enough. So on those rare times that he needed a bottle, he flat out refused. I was better with my other two, starting earlier and using a good pump helped so much.

  14. I was never able to leave my kids with anyone when they were infants since they were exclusively breastfed. We tried bottles but they rejected them every time. I wish I would have had these tips then.

  15. Good info. We didn’t introduce a bottle to baby #2 as quickly as we did baby #1 so he was unable to bottle feed. I was one tired mama!

  16. Good tips for new mommies! I am happy to be past that stage- I do kinda miss it though!

  17. I was lucky to be able to nurse all three of mine, but not bottle feed all of them. Two easily took the bottle (we did almost everything you suggested), but the third wouldn’t take a bottle for anything! 🙂

  18. I wish I would have continued the tip to do it once a week. My baby D had a major bottle aversion and little did we know how important it would be for him to take one!

  19. Great advice! We had some “bottle issues” right before I went back to work…..and I would seriously HIDE in the yard while my husband gave the baby her bottle for practice!

  20. I tried to do the bottle thing so that I could leave the house for more than 45 minutes at a time, but she would refuse to eat while I was gone so I eventually just gave up. I didn’t really mind not leaving her anyway. I was wrapped ’round that little pinky big time. These are great tips though!

    1. I’m right there with you, Liz. I don’t mind that he won’t take a bottle. I love our snuggle time!

  21. June Lisle says:

    I am hoping to be able to both latch and bottle feed my baby breast milk. I think this design would help give me a better chance at doing both.

  22. I breastfed and used the bottle. It’s nice to know how to do both just in case you need to for whatever reason.

  23. Ha! That burping tip cannot be overstressed enough. I remember when the older boys here thought that was not really a big deal w/their new sister. hahahaa It didn’t take long for them to ‘get it.’ 🙂

  24. These are great tips (with the exception of starting so early). My son won’t take a bottle if I’m anywhere around, but I’m home all day so he’s not used to it at all. I love how wide they look and the angle is great!

    1. Is there any reason you suggest not starting so early? This is what my certified lactation consultant suggested we do. And, I found it worked very well with #1 and #2. #3 and #4 fight the bottle much more because we didn’t introduce it until much later. Not that I mind that they need me or the snuggles:)

      1. My LC recommended at least a month. I think it depends on how breastfeeding is going for you though. If you’re having a hard time with a latch, introducing a bottle isn’t going to make it better. If you have a great nurser, a month is good.

        1. That totally makes sense. With my first two, things were going pretty well. With #4, she had a partial tongue tie and it made her latch terrible, so there was no way I was going to try a bottle that soon. We were still having problems breastfeeding.

  25. These are great tips. I don’t have kids yet but will pass this along to the moms i know.

  26. These are awesome tips. I luckily had a son that was easy going and didn’t fuss too much!

  27. I never thought about pumping one side while feeding but that it was great way to build up supply. The bottle really matters too!

  28. I love that there is a nipple variety pack. With my first little one we went through several nipples before we found one that he liked. I also like the angled design of the bottles

  29. I think your tips are great!

    I breastfed via bottle, and Playtex was the only brand we used!

  30. I think these would be super helpful for new moms!!

  31. This was an interesting article. It is always interesting to read other ideas on how to do things like feed children.

  32. Vanessa Safie says:

    Love these tips. Hoping daddy can bottle feed our lo.

  33. Denise Konkel says:

    This looks great. I plan on breastfeeding (I am pregnant) and pumping when I go back to work. This bottle design sounds like it would make it easier!

  34. My last baby was super picky with bottles we had to keep reusing the same one. It was crazy. I bet she would have liked this one.

  35. Nicki Joseph says:

    This is great and would help with night time feedings

  36. Susan DeVaux says:

    I think the angled design and breast like nipples would make this easier for picky babies.

  37. My little one just turned 2 months old. She is really not a fan of the bottle. We’ve tried so many different types of nipples. I love love LOVE that there is a variety pack that you can try out on the baby instead of having to buy a bunch of different bottles! Julie smartsavvymama@gmail.com

  38. This could help provide comfort for my baby during feeding .

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