How To Bottle Feed a Breastfed Baby

Every cheesy thing you’ve ever heard about becoming a parent is absolutely true. They are the only thing that matters to you in the entire world. They are also a complete nightmare, which is why becoming a new parent is the most terrifying experience in the world.

There are so many FIRSTS:

The first time they look at you, first diaper change, first shot in the arm, first trip to the doctor, first baby outfit, first smile, first toy, first tooth, first time they make a noise, first night’s sleep, first time they don’t sleep, first time you go out into the real world…

…and for breastfeeding mothers, the first time you bottle feed your baby. I was literally sweating and a bit shaky, I’m blaming the hormones. It can be a very intense and worrying experience. How much milk should I express? What kind of breast-pump do I buy? What if he doesn’t take the bottle? What brand of bottle do I buy? What if he starts crying? Should I feed him or will this confuse him? Should the boyf feed him only? When is the best time, at night time or first thing in the morning? And on and on and on and ooooooooon. Sometimes I even get sick of my own thoughts. 

There are so many questions I had when I first began bottle feeding, so with this post I wanted to share my experience to hopefully prevent any worry or fear with new mums.

First things first, I found that it’s really helpful introducing the bottle earlier, around three months, as my son was able to learn faster with minimal confusion and crying. Here it goes….

Get into a comfy position

bottles up1

bottles up

Being held in an upright position was very important when feeding my son. He was able to swallow the milk in a more relaxed manner and we were able to avoid ear infections or delayed burps. There were times where we would feed him while sitting in an upright chair to avoid the association of being held whilst eating.

We always made sure that our son was looking up at us so that he felt calm and reassured. The last thing you want is a distressed baby while learning to bottle feed.

Warm up the milk

If you are using breast milk, do not use the microwave as this could create hot spots and burn the baby’s mouth. You could run the bottle/storage bag under warm water or use warm water in a pot. You can also buy a milk heating device if you don’t have enough time. Here are some really useful guidelines on storing breast milk by Lansinoh: basically refrigerating or storing breast milk right after you’ve expressed is best. I also think keeping the breast milk in the middle of the refrigerator where the coldness is distributed evenly is important.

Use a natural teat

This may sound obvious, but the options for teats are enormous and never ending. Finding the right teat is hard. We tried about ten different brands before we found the right one, and even then it changed as our son got older.

One of the best we tried was the Lansinoh NaturalWave Teat and this quickly became our favourite. Not only is it clinically proven to reduce nipple preference in established breastfed babies, our son took to it very easily. He was able to use similar “mouth motion” from the nipple to this bottle as it encourages the wave-like tongue movement. We were very impressed. I’m not going to lie, there were a few tears in the beginning (this nearly broke my heart and I had to leave the room) but after a couple days, he was a pro. 

Get the right “flow”

This was a bit tricky. We had to test a couple of bottles before we knew what kind of “flow” matched my breast flow. The NaturalWave Teat was great because our son was able to control the flow. I didn’t realise until a few weeks into bottle feeding that I had a slow flow in the beginning and then a fast flow during the “let down.”

Let Dad feed him first 

The smell of you may confuse your child, so try letting Dad feed him from the bottle first. We have a couple of friends that mentioned the mum would have to leave the room if her baby was feeding from a bottle. Your baby may be like this, so might be worth letting Daddy have some bonding time on his own. You’ve had all the feeding time anyway, it’s time to take a break! 🙂

Introduce the bottle slowly

I would recommend starting with one bottle a day and then adding two bottles, and so on until you feel comfortable. My son took a little while to get the mouth action just right, so I wouldn’t go cold turkey from the breast if you are trying to stop breastfeeding (unless it’s an emergency and it’s necessary).

I wouldn’t want to go cold turkey as it would be very uncomfortable for your breasts as well. I used the Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump to express. This literally got 5 to 7 oz of breast milk out within ten minutes, amaze! My breasts were free for three hours of bliss. I took them to the shops to buy a huge ice cream and a new bra. Thanks breasts!

Happy baby

I introduced a bottle to my son in the morning when he was most happy. I know a lot of parents decide to introduce a bottle at night, but my son was cranky by that point and I was not about to introduce a bottle to a crying, fidgeting, whining baby. Pick the time of day that is best for your baby.

Hopefully this helps those new parents who are about to take the deep dive into the bottle feeding world. I know how scary it may seem, my heart was literally pounding out of my ears! But in the end it is all worthwhile, Dad gets to spend some quality time with baby and you get a MUCH needed break.

This post is sponsored by Lansinoh Family and originally posted on their blog

25 thoughts on “How To Bottle Feed a Breastfed Baby

  1. Great tips here Meagan! We only gave TM a bottle for the first time at around 6 months but he seems ok with it, although he won’t take it if I am here too. Which makes sense I guess! This is great advice for mums who are going back to work or need to be away from their babies for long periods of time. #BloggerClubUK

  2. Gosh I remember the anxiety of this, many years ago now and how I was terrified of doing it and so frustrated I often could not express when I needed to etc! It woud have been such a help to have read this 12 years ago- a fab post for new mums and so honest! #BloggerClubUK

  3. Personally, I didn’t have any anxiety about bottles. She took the bottle sitting up on my lap (back against my tummy so that she could see the world). She preferred mind milk cold. We used a basic bottle and teat. Just goes to show that all babies (and Mummies) are different! I think all Mummies appreciate Lansinoh for the nips though 😉 #stayclassmama

  4. I think your tip about doing it when baby is most happy is great one, often at night they are grumpier so morning makes perfect sense to me, obviously though each baby will be different. I had to bottle and breast feed after one week as my milk wasn’t sufficient. I was heartbroken giving my baby the bottle (mummy guilt overload) I felt like I was already failing her. But we need to not beat ourselves up over these things and everything else we beat ourselves up about. Some great tips here! #stayclassy

  5. Oh yes I remember the buying 100 different bottles and teats trying to find one that monster would take, getting more and more frustrated by it all!
    As with everything remember to chill the hell out! Very informative read for those about to go through this change.
    #stayclassymama

  6. I don’t remember exactly but I must have introduced bottles for expressed milk quite early on. I remember finding it so difficult to warm refrigerated milk to the right temperature and there was definitely a devastating occasion of losing some milk early on as we warmed it way too much. Luckily I didn’t have any issues moving to bottles as I pumped lots as I found breastfeeding very difficult. It can be so hard to find the right advice. You’ve made some good points here! #stayclassymama

  7. Such great tips! I had a falling out with one of my friends who is a science teacher. He told me that I was wasting my time heating up milk, he reckoned that it could be given straight from the fridge! Apparenly, he is right because he is a science teacher. Grrr. I used to argue that it needs to be room temp to mimic mum’s milk. Anyway I will start ranting so I will stop 😉 #StayClassyMama

  8. I loved giving mine the bottle after breastfeeding them as I suddenly felt free! I also enjoyed watching their Daddy feed them and I loved the freedom of that too! A great post to help parents with the transition. Alison x #StayClassyMama

  9. Great tips. Getting dad to do the first feed is such a big help. I tried at first and she just got furious that I was taunting her with real thing and trying to fob her off with a bottle. #StayClassyMama

  10. The Popple never really took to the bottle, which is just as well because I could never express very much. I’d hear about these women who could express 5oz in 10 minutes and would be MEGA jealous.

    We tried for a while with Dad giving her the bottle, but she would finish it all in a gulp and then just start playing with it. After a while, we pretty much just gave up. Luckily I was able to stay home with her until she was 12 months, so I boobed her until she went to nursery, and then she went on cow’s milk. I have mad respect for mamas who work and express. #stayclassymama

  11. Meagan I want shares in Lansinoh! If you need helping brand ambassadoring, I’m your girl. The Lansinoh Momma bottle saved our lives last year. Bean wouldn’t take any bottles at all and, needing some time out, I was going out of my mind (along with the whole guilty ‘I should just not worry about this and breastfeed, how selfish am I!?’ shizzle going on too). Then someone suggested the Lansinoh one and she took to it like a duck to water. It was amazing. The motion is so so similar to breastfeeding – none of the others that claim to actually are. Couple the bottle with the breastfeeding bags and NIPPLE GEL OF DREAMS, I pretty much want to marry Lansinoh.
    Thank you for sharing these tips – wish I’d had them about 7 months ago! 🙂 x #stayclassymama

  12. Thank you for this – both my babies have been EBF but with my second I’m really feeling the need to get her to take a bottle, so that it’s not ALL on me for feeds and I might be able to have a tiny bit of time away from the ranch, that is longer than 3 hours. I’m my own worst enemy because it seems like a lot of work but I have the pump, bottles, boobs, milk and baby, so I ought to just crack on and do it, right? #stayclassymama

  13. I was quite lucky in that I found expressing easy and my kids responded well to a bottle but then I had to fight them to get them on boob lol so it wasn’t all great. I know my friend is having troubles trying to introduce a bottle so I’ll send her this as there is some great tips here xx#stayassymama

  14. Good tips! I used to express milk with first for her dad to give her some feeds & for out & about. She took to switching between bottle & breast with no problems at all. With second, I had no time to express so she had no bottles, but I don’t think she would have taken to it easily, if at all – she hated dummies & seemed to dislike any artificial teat. #StayClassyMama

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