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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Introducing a Bottle

Question from a reader in Responsibly Starting Solids:

Kristen's Raw said...
I received your book that I bought on Amazon! YAY! I'm reading about your journey right now... just finished the chapter "A Letter to My Third Son"... so beautiful. I can't wait to get pregnant :)I have a question, if you don't mind... at what point is it okay to start pumping breast milk so that the baby can be fed by both a bottle and still nurse naturally without getting confused by the two different nipples?Thanks!!!

Permission to Mother said...
Hi Kristen,I am so excited that you have my book in your hands! Before introducing a bottle, I would make sure your baby is thriving and breastfeeding is going very well--a part of your life and you are not thinking about every step. For example, like in learning to drive, at first you think about turning the keys and pushing the gas. Before you know it, you drive without thinking about those things.

However every baby is different. Introducing a bottle (or pacifier) is with risks.I don't think there is a magic age. In my experience most babies are affected by it either directly (confusion or having a choice) or indirectly (with mothers supply dwindling.)As you continue to read my book, I think you'll have a lot more insight. I'm going to take this to the top of the blog, to give my other readers a chance to answer.


Ann Marie said...

HI! Congrats on the pregnancy!

I'll contribute my two cents even though my experience is limited. I waited until 8 weeks before introducing a bottle, but I started pumping and storing milk much sooner than that. I had no BF issues and an abundant milk supply. Once he had gotten the hang of it I stopped offering it to him. I stayed home for 4 1/2 months. A few weeks before I went back to work, I began trying the bottle again. He HATED it. He had forgotten and had gotten used to just the breast. It was painful for me to get him back to taking the bottle for some feedings. It took a few weeks. Just when I thought it would never happen, he took it. If I could do it over again I would have continued to give him an occasional bottle feeding during those months. I am telling you... that experience was a traumatic one for me. Every baby is different, but I would hate for another mother to go through that if she didn't have to. Good luck!

Kristen's Raw said...

Hi Ann Marie,
Thanks for your two cents.

I recognize that it's hard to plan this in advance and that every baby is different.

I inquired about this because I was asked to speak at a conference in Jan 2010 and it's quite possible I'll have a 1-6 month old baby in my arms by that time breastfeeding. If that's the case, I wondered if I'd be able to pump and leave the baby at home with my husband to bottle feed during the two days I'd be gone. I think I know my answer if the baby is anywhere from 1-3 months old... don't bottle feed. But, what if the baby is 4-6 months? hhhmmm...

Lauren said...


First of all, let me commend you on doing your research NOW! You will make better and wiser choices regarding your pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding experiences. (If only I knew then what I know now...) So, good for you!!!

Traveling with an infant is a breeze! I took my daughter back and forth from Florida to Switzerland twice since she was born. Once at 4 months (Christmas) and again at 10 months (Summer). The second time I went, I went alone with the baby- w/o my husband. I had a lot of anxiety over it, but it was very easy both times.

If you can get your husband (or another helper) to go with you to the conference, it will be a lot easier than bottle feeding & pumping during a seperation. Think of it this way- do you really want to haul your pump around and pump every few hours in the bathroom on the plane or at the airport or at the hotel? It's much easier to latch on a little one in my opinion.

Also, nipple confusion or a bottle preference is common. It happened to me. Think of the bottle as taking the elevator and the breast as taking the stairs. The elevator is much easier, right? The milk flows easy and fast from the bottle. Taking the stairs/breast is a little more work for your little one. (This is a good workout for your baby's facial muscles, BTW.) Your baby just might prefer that bottle over the breast because it's faster/easier and before you know it, you have latching problems.

Just be careful with bottles is what I'm trying to say. Every baby is different and you never know...

It took me a long time and a lot of work to put my baby back on the breast. I wish I was more cautious...

Anyhoo congrats on your decision to one day become a mother! I wish you all the best!


PS Check out for more info on breastfeeding.

Anonymous said...

I "worked & pumped" for all 4 of my kids. They were introduced to bottles at around 4-6 weeks old, and had no difficulties with them, other than that they would NOT take a bottle from me, or if they even knew I was available (like in the church nursery, they would not take a bottle).

If you are going to be at the conference for 2 days, I would encourage you to figure out if you can bring hubby & baby along. You would probably elect to pump & make bottles during most of your conference time if you aren't in the hotel that hubby is at with the baby, but then at least at night and in the morning you can still nurse. I can't imagine trying to pump round the clock for something like that.

That's some long term advanced planning though! Wow...I'm SO not a planner like that. ;-)


Kristen's Raw said...

Hi ladies!

Wow, thank you so much for your thoughts. I feel MUCH better about my options. You have truly helped!!!

Cheers :)

Ann Marie said...

I just want to add....

I had no choice but to teach my little one to take a bottle. If I didn't have to I wouldn't have done it. I agree with Lauren- Yeah you for planning and researching ahead of time! Your baby is already ahead of the curve. What ever you decide to do its obviously going to be well thought out with baby's best interest in mind. What a lucky little guy or gal!

Permission to Mother said...

I had more to say too, so I took it to the top of my blog.

Thanks for all your great input!

Kristen's Raw said...

Thanks again for all of your thoughts. It's really helped.

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