If you are not able to breastfeed, or if you are feeding your baby EBM (expressed breast milk) from a bottle, you can still recreate some of the bonding experience of breastfeeding by bottle-nursing. Other people can use this method with your baby if they are watching them for you, but it's best if you are your baby's primary source of milk, just as if you were breastfeeding.
- Only group members can vote in this poll.
- 5% - I think they're helpful but I didn't bottle feed my baby that way.
- 41% - Yes, I think they're great tips and I fed my baby that way.
- 5% - I think the tips are irrelevent. I have/had no interest in making my bottle feeding experiance more like breastfeeding.
- 48% - I breastfed but wanted to vote anyways :-)
Despite prevalent attitudes today, there's no shame in bottle-nursing. Choosing whether to breastfeed or bottle-nurse is a personal decision and no one should be able to sway you from your decision. Stay positive about your decision to bottle nurse.
Hold your baby in the same positions you would if you were nursing her. Get skin-to-skin as much as possible, as often as possible. Your baby needs to benefit from your warm skin, your breathing and your heartbeat. Be sure to include extra snuggling and skin-to-skin contact throughout the day when you're not feeding the baby
Take your time and get comfortable with pillows or a Boppy, just as you would if you were nursing. You can even prop a small baby comfortably on a pillow so she is facing you, and then you have a free hand to touch her. Let her play with your hands, your fingers, your face. Gently discourage her from playing with the hard, plastic bottle by offering your soft, warm skin.
Be sure to always hold the bottle at the right angle - every bottle system is different, so follow the instructions that come with the bottles.
Don't rush things. Let the baby eat at his or her own pace. Sometimes you have to take the nipple out a bit and let the baby "catch up" on swallowing, much like during breastfeeding let-down. Don't force-feed the baby. S/he will start and stop on their own. Be patient. Your baby will let you know when s/he is done.
A good latch is just as important for bottle-feeding as it is for breastfeeding. Breastfed babies develop their jaw, tongue and facial muscles and coordination through suckling, so ensure your bottle-fed baby has a good latch. Her lips should be everted (rolled outwards), and touching the nipple all the way around so no air gets in her mouth. Look at pictures of breastfeeding latches to learn more.
Each baby is unique and has his or her own suckling technique. You may need to go through several styles of bottles and nipples before you find the one that's right for your baby. Pay attention to your baby's comfort level during eating - is it too slow? Too fast? Is the nipple too wide or too narrow? Is the baby taking in too much air (causing painful gas and fussiness)? Are they just chewing on the nipple and not able to suck effectively? (Also, remember your baby's suckling style will change as s/he grows.)
Gaze into your baby's eyes, talk to her, sing to her. Rock in a rocking chair or glider. Curl up in bed. Dim the lights, shut out distractions, and focus entirely on your baby - because the bottle is between you and your baby, you'll need to go the extra mile to get close to the breastfeeding experience.
Always offer formula at near-body temperature. Some babies will take a room-temperature or cold bottle, but remember, with bottle-feeding you need to compensate for having that bottle between you and your baby.
DO NOT BOTTLE-PROP. EVER. It is unsafe. Also, because you have the bottle between you and your baby, you can compensate for any lack of physical bonding by dedicating yourself to bottle-nursing with love. Bottle-propping leads to feeding problems, possible choking, and dental problems, in addition to possibly creating detachment in both parent and baby.