It seems to me that when I ask an expecting mother what her feeding plan is, she always makes sure to specify that she is planning to breastfeed, but wants to give bottles. Some things I hear are: “I want dad to bond too”, “I have to return to work”, and “I might want a break”. Sometimes I wonder if new mothers think that they will be judged if they give a bottle. Well, judgment does come in all forms, but it certainly will not come from me.
Let’s talk about bottles for a minute. I support families through their breastfeeding journey. The mothers who call on me for help are often in a position where they need to give a bottle, and are concerned about how it might disrupt breastfeeding or how they can make both breast and bottle feeding work together. Some situations I see are mothers who are returning to work and need to introduce bottles for day care, or maybe it’s a premature baby who is getting bottles in the hospital. Whatever the reason, the fact is we don’t want bottles to interfere. To be quite honest, I find bottle feeding a pain. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to breastfeed. How do you know how much milk to give in a bottle? How do you know what kind of bottle to use? Do you heat the milk or not? Too many questions here – I found it much easier to put the baby to breast and be done with it. My first baby did not have many bottles, only during situations where I was not able to be at home at all. I did not work when he was a baby, so we were able to do that. I know that is not the norm. When my twins came along, I had to do more bottle feeding, just because I needed the help. It was always breastmilk, which mean I had to get pump time in as well. It’s a lot of work.
Mothers are often concerned that babies who are primarily breastfeeding need to have a special bottle. It is not necessarily about the bottle, but about HOW the baby is getting the milk from the bottle. Paced bottle feeding, where the baby is getting milk from the bottle in a slow, paced fashion, is the way to go.
Check out this link about paced bottle feeding if you want to learn more about that.
On this week’s episode of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, we talk all about giving bottles and some common situations that might come up. Check it out!