There may come a time in your breastfeeding journey where you need to introduce your baby to a bottle. Whether this is because you are returning to work or simply to give dad a time to bond with baby, the transition can be scary.
Mom guilt always makes us forget that most of the other moms out there are going through the same thing, and that we aren’t actually doing anything wrong. Going back to work can be upsetting leading up to D-Day. Thinking of entrusting your baby to someone else could leave us feeling a little nervous.
To top it all off, we then worry if our baby will actually take to a bottle or not. If our baby does take to a bottle – will they take to the boob again? How often do we need to pump, how much does our baby need? There are endless questions that will keep us up at night.
It is always a good idea to start pumping as soon as you know you need to start the transition. Pumping and building up your supply slowly will hopefully mean that you won’t be increasing your supply too much to the point that you land up with an oversupply of milk. Milk can last up to 6 months in a fridge freezer, so you have a decent time frame to work with.
In order to give yourself some peace of mind, and to ensure your baby will be happy, you should try and give them bottle in advance. This way you know they are okay with the bottle, and if not it gives you time to try and find the bottle that they are happy with. Keeping them on the boob most of the time should help them not have nipple confusion, and hopefully they won’t have a problem going between bottle and breastfeeding.
Sometimes babies don’t take to the bottle at all, or moms decide to skip the bottle altogether. Whatever the reason, babies can actually use sippy cups instead. Feeding them out a cup at a slow pace can be just as effective as using a bottle and can help avoid nipple confusion. It shouldn’t take too long to get your baby used to this, and some of them actually pick it up straight away.
Whatever works for you, as long as your baby is getting enough milk (either breast milk or formula) and is putting on enough weight, you are doing just fine.
Although we would all love to keep our baby’s close and needing us 24/7, there may come a time where we have to put our faith in a bottle and somebody else to watch over them for us. Just trust your instincts like before and keep reminding yourself that you are doing the best for baby, yourself and your family.