5 Tips for Introducing a Bottle to a Breastfed Baby

This post was sponsored by Philips Avent as part of an Influencer Activation for 
Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.


Just like that my maternity leave is over and I had to send another little piece of my heart to daycare this week. We kept Finn at home with the help of family through the flu season (so thankful for that!) which gave us additional time to prep for the transition. I'm not sure how ready anyone can be when handing off the care of your child while they're so little (I was a hot mess in case you're wondering, it wasn't pretty) but nailing the bottle for our little breastfed babe definitely helped to reduce the stress level.

I could go on and on about how important it is to introduce a bottle even if you're breastfeeding, it honestly saved my sanity with both boys after weeks of being the sole source of food for our babes. Between the cracked nipples, dreaded pump sessions, stress over keeping up your supply, and trudging half asleep through cluster feeds, giving up at least one feeding a day to your significant other can do wonders for everyone.


If you're like me and need some solo time strolling through Target aisles or your husband wants to be involved and share some of that bonding time, get out that pump and try these tips for introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby!

ONE. Wait until breastfeeding has been well established between mama and baby

I highly recommend pumping about 2 weeks postpartum to build up a freezer supply. Then by the end of the first month, when breastfeeding has been firmly established and baby is gaining weight, start to introduce a bottle for one feed. My Lactation Consultant was fully supportive of this!

Save your pumped milk in small (1-2 ounce) increments at first. Then as the baby eats more at each feed, save in both 1 ounce and 3-5 ounce increments.

TWO. Use a bottle that mimics breastfeeding 

We used Philips Avent Natural bottles with both of our boys. I love that the shape and feel of the nipple closely mimics breastfeeding (this was the main reason I chose to register for Philips Avent Natural bottles three years ago!) and we were so successful using them with our oldest, that it was an obvious choice for baby brother!

We never had any nipple confusion with either of the boys and I credit that to the breast-shaped nipple of these bottles. They also have fewer parts to clean than other bottles on the market... bonus!


THREE. Have someone else do the bottle feed at first

To avoid confusion, have someone else do bottle feedings for the first week or so. This is the perfect time to let your husband get that quality time with baby (my husband loves it!) or let Grandma get involved.

Remember, you'll need to pump anytime the baby takes a bottle to keep up your supply.

We do a bottle feed every night during the last feed before bed. This way we know how much the baby is getting and they will often eat the most at this time as they gear up for a longer stretch of sleep (hallelujah!). I then pump around 9:30 PM, because that gives me a break to relax after the boys' bedtimes and have a glass of wine after the previous feed!

FOUR. Use the slowest flow nipple baby will tolerate

Even if you think you have a fast flow when nursing, start with the beginner nipple level to reduce the risk of choking and make sure the baby still has to do some work. The Philips Avent Natural bottles come with a level one nipple which has worked perfectly with Finn at 2 months old. Their design helps to vent the air to help reduce discomfort and colic for babies, which has been great with his reflux.


FIVE. Expect it to take a couple of weeks

This is so important! Don't expect your sweet babe to get the hang of a bottle overnight. We always start with just an ounce or two for the first few bottles so we don't waste any of that liquid gold!

Lactation Consultant tip: Use the 'Rule of 5' for storing breast milk.. 5 hours at room temperature, 5 days in the refrigerator, and 5 months in the freezer.


If you're starting to introduce a bottle and have any questions please don't hesitate to ask!
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1 comment

  1. This is seriously great! We are at 11 weeks and she has taken a bottle a handful of times. I've only used the spectra bottle that came with my pump and she seems to like it...BUT the milk flows right out and she doesn't have to work for it so maybe i need to get a different nipple?? My lactation consultant also said that I should never feed her a bottle so she's always had it from dad or my mom or someone other than me and I try to be in another room or out of site. I think I need to pump on a daily basis and make sure daddy does one feeding a day. We are headed to hawaii next week and daddy is going to have to feed her while i'm busy being a bridesmaid, so we need to get her use to it! eek!

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