Introducing the bottle can be done once a mom’s milk supply is well-established. Most experts will recommend at least waiting for 6 weeks before giving your baby a bottle to avoid any milk supply issues.
How to get started
To start training your baby to bottle feed:
- Ask your partner or your caregiver to give the bottle to baby. Don’t give it yourself mom, as your baby will know your scent and will wonder why his/her milk is coming from something other than your breast.
- Leave the room as your baby will still smell you, trust us!
- Nudge your baby’s cheek with the bottle. Don’t shove the nipple in his/her mouth.
- Let him/her suck it or play with it. Just let him/her get used to it. You can even warm up the nipple.
- If he/she refuses to take it and starts to cry, stop and reassure your baby.
- Stop offering the bottle if your baby refuses it for the third time. You don’t want to stress your baby too much.
It will take time for your baby to learn that skill as sucking from your breast is different from sucking a nipple from a bottle. Don’t feel frustrated if your baby doesn’t take it the first, second, or even third time. Another tip – you can try experimenting with different baby bottles and nipples to see which your baby will like best.
Cup feeding as an alternative
If baby really refuses to take the bottle, you may also try to use a cup. Some experts believe that cup feeding is more effective than bottle feeding as it lessens the risk of nipple confusion.
- Start by using a small cup like a medicine glass.
- Fill half of it with milk.
- Make sure that baby is alert and awake.
- Hold your baby in an upright position. Support him/her in the crook of your arm.
- Hold the cup so it touches baby’s mouth. Allow him to take a tiny sip. Don’t pour the milk. Let your baby lap it up.
- If your baby fusses, stop and restart again.