Bottle Feeding Breast Milk

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Before giving any advice on bottle feeding breast milk, you should know that a breast pump cannot stimulate breast milk production like a baby does. If you are going to pump exclusively you can read more here, as you will need to pump more often.

Breastfeeding and bottle feeding mothers should pump those times that they would normally breastfeed to keep breast milk supply up.

Important fact about bottle feeding breast milk

Never warm breast milk in the microwave, it can form air pockets that might burn your baby. Heating it in the microwave will destroy some of the nutrients.

Reasons for Bottle feeding breast milk

  • Mom is returning to work and will need somebody to bottle feed her baby breast milk during the day.
  • Mom wants to take a break at night. This will give dad or another family member the chance to feed and bond with the baby while she rests.
  • Mom may just find that she prefers to feed her baby with a bottle.
  • Mom expresses her breast milk because she wants to increase her milk supply. Remember this should be done while continuing to breastfeed if at all possible. 

Bottle Breast Feeding Milk Tips

These tips are especially for mothers who are planning on continued breastfeeding.

  • Make sure that your baby is not making a lot of sucking or popping sounds while drinking.
  • Never prop a bottle up against something and leave your baby unattended while feeding. Baby can choke like this, and will end up swallowing more air, resulting in more spit ups and gas pain.
  • A breast milk bottle feeding time should be seen as a time to bond with your baby. Whilst breastfeeding, a mother spends valuable bonding time with her baby, this should be experienced during bottle feeding too.
  • When handling breast milk from a bottle, always follow proper breast milk storage guidelines.
  • You can alternatively use other feeding methods like cup feeding.
  • Do not just stuff the nipple into your baby’s mouth, but let him/her root for it and take it by themselves, just as with breastfeeding.
  • Pausing every few minutes will mimic the let down reflex that occurs when a mother is breastfeeding; this will also prevent nipple confusion.

Introducing a bottle to a breastfed baby when bottle feeding and breastfeeding

  • It is recommended to only start introducing the bottle after a baby is between 3 – 5 weeks old and can breastfeed well. This is so that your breast milk supply does not dwindle when you start breastfeeding less and expressing more.
  • If a bottle needs to be introduced before 4 weeks of age, it's best to use alternative feeding methods like cup or finger feeding.
  • For the first couple of bottles it would be best to first breastfeed for a few minutes to ease your baby’s hunger and then only give him/her the bottle.
  • Some mothers have found that it’s best to let somebody else give their babies the first few bottles, as babies associates their mothers with the comfort of the breast.

Ways to Express your Milk for Breast Bottle Feeding

  • Hand expressing: This is a cheap and convenient way to express your breast milk, but not recommended for mothers who are trying to increase milk supply. Hand express your breast milk.
  • Hand held breast pumps: This is usually quicker than hand expressing, but should only be used once your milk supply is established.
  • Electric breast pumps: They are usually quite expensive, but are great for increasing milk supply. They can be hired too, sometimes at a very reasonable price. These types of pumps come in double action so that you can pump both breasts at the same time; saving you time. How to choose the right breast pump.
  • Read more about pumping and breastfeeding to increase milk supply

How to Bottle Feed a Breastfed Baby

Read more about paced bottle feeding here. 

Top of bottle feeding breast milk page

Other pages on “breastfeeding problems" in connection with “bottle feeding breast milk"

- Breast milk storage guidelines

- Breastfeeding and pumping

- Weaning from breast to bottle

- Mixing breast milk and formula

- The best breast milk bottles

- Pumping exclusively.

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