For many reasons, some breast/chestfeeding parents need or want to provide milk for their babies in a bottle.
Babies that haven’t done this before, need some time to adjust! Even those who have been receiving milk this way regularly (e.g. every morning feed), may suddenly change their preference as time goes on.
This can bring up a lot of emotions – worry about how baby will cope when you are separated, a feeling of losing your rest time…even rejection if a partner or supporter had been regularly feeding this way.
Feeding at the breast/chest is much more than food – it provides comfort, security, connection and even a way to fall asleep. It’s worth remembering this as you begin to introduce (or re-introduce) a bottle feed.
Some tips that may help:
Get skin to skin, snuggle in and hold baby in their usual at breast/chest feeding position. You could even switch sides mid way through a feed.
In complete opposite to the above, try a very different position, or even location – a garden feed?
Pay attention to how baby is attaching to the bottle in the same way you would at the breast/chest – a short teat and wide base can support effective attachment. Look for feeding cues and try to offer before baby is very hungry.
Take some deep breaths, and relax before offering. Work out ways to reduce any worry you have, so baby doesn’t notice. Singing, chatting, or even moving around can help both of you to feel calm.
And for all parents using bottles to give their baby milk, remember:
– paced feeding
– responsive feeding
– other options beside bottles
– expressing and storing human milk
– safer formula preparation