Giving a breastfed baby a bottle can excruciatingly painful for both you and the baby. Here are some tips, for bottle feeding either formula or breastmilk.
1. The bottle does matter. You decide on glass or plastic. The important part of finding a good bottle is finding one that doesn’t leak! Leaking bottles are ineffective, messy and wasteful of good pumped milk. Dr. Brown’s bottle are my favorite, I’ve tried a variety of other bottles including, Evenflo, Avent, Playtex, etc., Playtex bottles are the worst, they leak horribly.
2. Size Matters, kind of: If the bottle you’re getting comes with different nipple sizes make sure to get the appropriate one for your baby. Infants should have a size one, this part refers to the hole of the nipple, and how easily the milk will flow out.
Flow can also be most effectively regulated by the adult giving the bottle. Consider the base and actual protruding nipple size. You might want to try to match the bottle nipple to that of the mothers nipple. If the baby is used to a small nipple from mom, a huge nipple from the bottle will likely gag your baby.
3. Baby Position: Baby can be in varying positions but most commonly in the cradle hold. The difference being that the baby should be seated up a little more rather than lying in the traditional cradle hold. With bottle babies naturally take in more air, its best for them to be more upright.
For the first few feedings it might be best to turn the baby away from your chest, just slightly so she doesn’t try to root, which will only frustrate her.
Try: Cradle hold, baby upright at 45 degree angle, and slightly turned away from the chest.
4. Don’t shove the bottle in her mouth. Tickle your babies lips with the nipple of the bottle, and when she opens her mouth only put part of the nipple in. She will suck in the rest of the nipple when she is ready-let her guide herself, she knows what she’s doing!
5. Bottle Angle. Contrary to popular belief, avoid turning the bottle straight down so the milk fills up the whole nipple. This causes milk to poor out of the nipple which is likely to frustrate your baby because she is getting more than she can swallow. Keep the bottle basically horizontal (depending on how full it is) so that only half of the nipple fills with milk. This way your baby has to work a little for the milk she gets. This is especially important if your baby is also breastfeeding because getting milk from the breast can be more work for her than getting it from a free flowing silicone nipple.It’s important to keep her sucking consistent so she doesn’t lose her sucking technique and doesn’t begin to prefer bottle over breast (unlikely scenario). The horizontal angle also helps to prevents milk from pouring out of her mouth and from her gagging.