Most parents are confused as to when they should introduce their baby to the bottle. Parents are afraid of doing it too soon as it could lead to the baby refusing the breast altogether; or of introducing it too late. While there are few things to keep in mind, there is no set pattern in introducing the bottle to your baby.
Just like breastfeeding, you should allow things to take their natural course. You also need to consider whether you will be introducing your little one to bottled breast milk or to normal dairy milk. Normally, it would be advisable to introduce the bottle with breast milk and then gradually shifting to dairy milk.
Most mothers come across this situation when they are nearing the end of their maternal leave or when they want occasional relief from all the breast feeding. It is better to wait for at least a period of 4 weeks of age before introducing your little one to a bottle or an artificial nipple. This will ensure that you have an established breast milk supply since you will be breast feeding your baby at least for a period of one month.
During the first 2-3 weeks postpartum, your breast milk supply is under the control of the hormone endocrine. So you are practically laying down the foundation for your milk supply by letting your baby breastfeed for the first couple of weeks. You also need to realize that employing a bottle is not as easy as it seems.
You need to position the bottle in a certain manner and make sure that you give your baby some time to breathe so as to make it easier for them to feed using the bottle. Once your child has grown up and gained some cognitive abilities, they will be able to handle the bottle on their own, according to their convenience. But until then, you need to hold it for them.
Selection of Equipment:
Most parents fail to realise the importance of choosing proper feeding equipment. While no bottle system is bad for your baby, some of them do a better job of replicating the breastfeeding experience. Choose a bottle which has a nipple with a broad base. Also, make sure that you choose a nipple with a really slow flow, such that your baby has to suck to make the milk come out. Some bottle companies advertise their product as being better because they have a ‘fast flow’; steer clear of such companies.
As mentioned earlier, positioning of the bottle and holding it properly are extremely crucial factors which account in making your baby’s bottle feeding experience better. You should feed your baby in steady paces instead of feeding him/her in one go.
Initially, start with small portions of milk and then slowly and gradually increase the quantity. Make sure that you not only position the bottle in a proper manner, but also your baby. It would be advisable to keep them in a slightly slanted resting position instead of a complete horizontal position. Also, notice the cues that your baby is giving you. They may feel more comfortable in a certain position while some other position may be a little difficult for them.