Updated: Apr 2, 2019
Introducing a Bottle at 6 months old, abit late I’ll say....🤔
I can honestly say, without a shadow of doubt that I salute women that can successfully exclusively breastfeed their babies, for months and months on end, whether you enjoy it or not. The very fact that you do it successfully and your babies grow up healthy and strong is nothing short of highly commendable.
I’m a firm believer that breastfeeding is the best for baby, and with my 3 kids that’s where I started, however, I also share the view that if breastfeeding doesn’t work, I won’t put myself on a guilt trip. I breastfed my daughter, Jennah for almost 7 months but also topped her up, with bottles of formulae milk when we were out and about, and at bedtime. With my oldest boy Connor, I breastfed him for 5 months, also with a bottle of formulae top up when we went out, and at bedtime. He was one hungry little bugger, so I stopped breastfeeding at 5 months. Both the older kids were introduced to the bottle very early like at week one of being born.
My main reasons for putting them on a bottle earlier on, was to prepare them, as I would be going back to work.
That said when No.3 came along, I found myself not being stressed about introducing a bottle earlier, because I am now at home, and I knew it’s good for him, so I breastfed. I did express a few times within the first few weeks and he would take it. After those few weeks I didn’t think anything, and stopped offering a bottle of expressed milk. Before I knew it, Myles was already almost three and a half months, and when I re introduced the bottle he wouldn’t have it. For some strange reason, I never thought of the fact that he may refuse it. I found that he was not full after drinking breastmilk unless he drank for 40 plus minutes at least and it left me exhausted. I had a strong and steady milk supply. I really wanted to continue breastfeeding, but i needed him to be fuller for longer, so he could sleep well and also the help from my husband to feed him, every now and again, so that I could rest was also not such a bad thing. And so even if he took one feed from a bottle daily, I would be happy.
He totally refused. I tried offering it to him daily at the same time, tried different bottles, different milk formulae, expressed milk…the little rascal would have none of it😊.
He would barely suck on the teat, instead he would bite on it and whatever little milk came out he would proceed to spit it out.
So, as I write this blog post he is almost 7 months old, and he is now successfully on a bottle during the day, I started a few weeks ago when he was 6 months old. Since he wouldn’t get used to even just one bottle a day I had to make a choice to completely stop breastfeeding during the day. It was a hard decision, but I was happy to have exclusively breastfed for 6 months and planned to continue breastfeeding at night which I still do! I decided to enlist the help of my nanny, and not offer him any breastmilk during the day, only a bottle and see how it goes. Initially it was tough ..we both cried…cos it took some adjusting on his part and my heart just felt so sad. After a approximately a week, finally he was comfortably drinking a bottle, regardless of whether it was Nuk, Tommy Tippee or Dr Browns.
I found the entire process of getting my tiny little man on bottle difficult at first, and unnecessary. If only I had planned better! That said, I thought I’d share a few learnings I experienced along the way when it came to introducing that bottle…
If you offer the bottle too late, it's most likely that your baby will refuse it ,so start early if you don’t plan on breastfeeding forever, well not forever but I'm guessing you know what I mean....
Although there is nothing wrong with formulae milk, if you don’t want to offer formulae, use breastmilk in a bottle to feed baby and start early to get them used to it
If you start too late you are left with very little option to what bottle and what milk baby will take. Due to baby refusing the bottle, we tend to spend more money trying different options of bottles, and milk, to see if it makes a difference. I even tried a Sippy cup. Chances are they don't just take it...
Now brands of bottles and shapes of teats is not a biggie in my opinion. Before you get upset with me, let me explain… In baby’s initial weeks they will instinctively suck regardless of the brand or shape etc. As they get older they just get used to whatever they were sucking on to be fed, so that’s when changing or introducing something new become difficult. E.g. If they are used to the breast, it take adjustment to change to a bottle, if they used to a particular bottle early on, the are less likely to drink from a different bottle. If they are introduced to a bottle later, I still think that whatever bottle or milk YOU stick to, your baby will stick to- as well, unless there’s allergies or other serious conditions you are dealing with.
It takes time and strategy to introduce baby to a bottle. Decide on your view regarding bottle and breastfeeding and then have a basic idea on how you will handle it before baby is born.
If you are already late like me then decide on what your next steps will be, will you continue to breastfeed, or will you introduce the bottle and how will you do it;
My decision involved making the decision
I solicited help because when he smells me and knows I’m near, he will not take a bottle from me
Deciding to stick to my guns, no breast during the day, I just kept offering the bottle although it was a tough call. Its easy to just pop in the boob to stop baby from crying but in the long run it will confuse him and ruin your chances of getting him on the bottle.
And lastly knowing mine and my babies limits ITO crying and offering the bottle. Find the balance between pushing/forcing them to take the bottle and giving it a break and trying again next time. Know when to stop and try again.