7 Bottle Feeding Tips for First-Time Parents

March 30, 2020

7 Bottle Feeding Tips for First-Time Parents

Transitioning your baby to the bottle after breastfeeding can be a difficult task. Some babies take to the bottle well even after only being exposed to breastfeeding. Other babies have a harder time adjusting. 

If your baby is one of many who experiences a hard time switching to the bottle from the breast, then the following tips may be beneficial to you. Nothing is more frustrating for a baby than not being able to eat when hungry. As a parent, nothing is more disappointing than not being able to give your baby what he or she needs. 

Whether you're a first-time parent or a more experienced parent, transitioning from breastfeeding to bottle feeding is tricky. To help your baby make the transition with ease, be sure to continue reading below.

1. Try Out Different Bottle Nipples

If one type of bottle nipple doesn't work, you should continue to try out different kinds of bottles or bottle nipples. Bottle nipples come in a variety of sizes, flows, and shapes. You can find one that works best for your baby by doing the trial and error method. 

Another tip is to try to find a bottle that has a similar shape to the mother's. This will help the transition because the baby will feel more comfortable with a familiar shape. The flow of the bottle nipple is also an important factor to consider. 

Most bottle nipples will have numbers on them, which signify how fast the flow is. These numbers range from 1-3 (1 being the slowest and 3 being the fastest). If your baby is having trouble drinking from the bottle, try switching to a slower or faster flow nipple. 

Most breastfed babies will initially need a slow flow to match the flow of breastfeeding. 

2. Hold Bottle Close to Your Chest

If your baby is accustomed to breastfeeding, then he or she is used to being held up against mom's chest. Try your best to maintain this same position when bottle feeding. A good technique is to place the bottle where the breast would be and have the baby believe that he or she is breastfeeding. 

Keeping the bottle and the baby close to you mimics the breastfeeding process and will allow your baby to feel more comfortable. 

3. Having Other Family Members Offer the Bottle

Babies are smarter than you know. When a mother is nearby, the baby can sense the mother and her breast milk and therefore, may not want the bottle. 

A good solution is to have another family member offer the bottle to the baby.  This way, the baby won't be able to smell the mother and her breast milk. In some cases, the mother may even need to leave the room or house during feeding time. 

4. Occasional Switching Between Breast and Bottle

If your baby isn't taking to the bottle right away, try to switch back and forth between the breast and the bottle during the middle of feedings. This will help develop the baby's feeding skills.

Over time, you can gradually make the transition from breast to bottle. 

5. Practice Pace Feeding 

Pace feeding with a bottle will help your baby transition from breastfeeding because this is the familiar pace when breastfeeding. To pace feed, you'll need to allow your baby to eat a little bit from the bottle at a time. Let him or her suck on the bottle for a few moments and then pull the bottle away.

Do this a few times to mimic the pace that he or she would normally eat when breastfeeding. Even if the baby seems to be drinking it well, if the milk comes out too fast, it might be too much for your baby to consume all at once. 

6. Place Breast Milk on the Nipple

If your baby doesn't want to take the bottle, you can try placing breast milk on the bottle's nipple to coax the baby into sucking on the nipple. The baby will smell and taste the breast milk and will want to drink from the bottle. 

You can also allow your baby to play with the bottle's nipple in his or her mouth for a little while. Let your baby get used to it, even if this means allowing him or her to chew on it for a few moments. 

7. Test Different Temperatures

Another reason why your baby might have a hard time feeding from a bottle is if the temperature of the milk is not what they're used to. To fix this problem, you can try warming the milk for longer or not as long to find a temperature that your baby prefers. 

Always remember to check the temperature of the milk before giving it to the baby to ensure it's not too hot. 

What Bottle Feeding Tips Will You Try?

With all of these amazing tips, which ones will you try? We recommend going through the list and seeing what works for you and your baby. 

Remember to be patient and give your little one time to make the adjustment. Eventually, your baby will be drinking from the bottle like a pro!