Using Bottles with a Breastfed Baby
Planning to be apart from baby? Find tips for feeding baby with expressed milk.
Nursing your baby at the breast is the easiest way to feed when you are together. But when you're separated, one common way to feed your baby is with a bottle of breast milk you've expressed.
Using a bottle to feed your baby is different than feeding your baby at your breast. Talk to your WIC breastfeeding staff about when to start teaching your baby to bottle feed and the best ways to practice. WIC breastfeeding staff can also help you with bottle feeding technique and show you how to do it.
Here are some tips for using bottles with breastfed babies. Be sure to share these tips with your partner, your mom, or other child care provider so they can help you continue your breastfeeding journey.
- Hold your baby snugly and fairly upright. This will give baby comfort and control.
- Hold the bottle at an angle. This will limit the amount of air baby swallows. Burp your baby at regular intervals.
- Switch sides. If your baby takes a break or needs to burp, use this pause to switch baby to the other side to continue baby's bottle. This also gives your baby a new view!
- Let someone else offer your baby breast milk from a bottle. Your baby may be more likely to accept breast milk in a bottle from your partner, your mom, or other loved one at first, since baby is used to nursing from your breast.
- Give your baby time to adjust. If you're going back to work or school, in the week or two before you go back, try giving your baby one or two feedings a day from a bottle. This will get baby used to bottle feeding. It may take your baby several days to adjust. Once they're used to it, most babies do great going back and forth between breast and bottle.
Knowing When Baby is Full
Look for signs that your baby is full, such as turning away from the bottle or keeping lips closed. Don't force your baby to finish a bottle.
Make sure your caregiver knows the signs for when your baby is full and doesn't overfeed your baby. When your baby is not overfed, you can better keep up with your baby's breast milk needs while you are pumping or hand expressing.