Are Bottles Really THAT Bad?

FullSizeRender 4Sometimes I feel like bottles get a rotten deal, but if you read my last post, you’ll know that I would never have made it through breastfeeding without bottles.  If you are breastfeeding, bottles can provide some much needed relief or help you keep going with human milk even if you have to go back to work.  If you are formula feeding, bottles are basically a necessity (probably don’t want to start a sippy cup quite that early…).  So let’s talk a few bottle basics in preparation for our formula discussion next week.  Shall we?

Baby bottles come in all different shapes and sizes, short and tall, skinny and fat, plastic and glass.  When feeding your baby it really comes down to personal preference.  Maybe skinny bottles are easier to hold, while fat bottles may be easier to tilt and provide your baby with food.  It’s up to you! Smaller bottles may be more convenient when your sprout is just a newborn (and they only need 2-3 ounces at a time), while bottles holding more are great for those bigger appetites later in life.  Whatever you choose, be sure to look for one that is BPA free and to clean it frequently in hot soapy water. Also, never heat your bottle in the microwave as this can lead to hot spots and may burn your baby.  Heat your bottle either on the stove or just by placing it in a bowl with warm water.  

Just like bottles come in all shapes and sizes, nipples can vary as well.  Different nipples have different flow speeds, and may fit your baby’s mouth differently.  Some are even made to be similar to a breast to help your baby go back and forth between the two.  Again, personal preference.  Just look for one that is age appropriate (as far as the flow/size) and transition as your baby’s feeding skills progress.  Check your bottle nipples frequently for discoloration or cracks, as well as checking the flow to make sure the milk falls in steady drops rather than a stream.  We’re trying to feed your baby with milk/formula… not drown them.   

Now, I’m probably not the only person who heard it may be difficult to switch between a bottle and a breast (or maybe I am?). Either way, my lactation consultant explained that babies don’t exactly prefer bottles, but they can develop nipple preference.  AKA they get food faster from a bottle than your breast.  Disclaimer: I did not actually read this in a textbook or scientific journal, but it makes sense to me so I’m sharing it anyway.  My point is, if you just pour milk down their throat from a bottle, it may be hard to transition back to a breast because they know they can get more food faster from the bottle.  When feeding, make sure you tilt the bottle enough to fill the nipple but not so much they don’t have to suck to get the liquid out.  Make them work for it a little bit, just like they would have to work to remove milk from a breast.  

Another common concern that comes with bottle feeding is lack of bonding time with the baby.  If you are using a bottle, be sure to hold your baby while feeding them, eye contact with them gives you bonus points.  If you can’t hold and feed, let someone else help you out and give them a chance to bond with your babe.  Try to avoid propping the bottle up or putting your baby in a high chair while bottle feeding as this makes the experience less personal.  (Whoever invented reclining high chairs probably never held a newborn baby.  It’s too hard to put those sweet little things down!)  

Bottle feeding is definitely not bad and can be a great way to allow dad or others to spend quality time with the little one (especially at 12:30am…1:30am…3:30am…5:30am… you get the idea)  What are your thoughts on bottles and babes?

*The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.  This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.  Please consult your healthcare provider before making any diet or treatment decisions.

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