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Newborn Bottle Feeding: When Should I Start?

Newborn Bottle Feeding When Should I Start

The best time to introduce a bottle will vary depending on your circumstances. 

However, here are a few guidelines I’ve gathered from expert moms that can help you decide.

  • Before introducing a bottle, wait until your baby is 3-4 weeks old.
  • If you will be away from your baby occasionally, start introducing a bottle a few weeks before your return. 
  • If you have a partner or other caregiver, introduce them to the bottle early.

Whether you plan on breastfeeding or combining breastfeeding and bottle feeding, read on!

When Should I Start Bottle Feeding My Newborn?

The best time to start bottle feeding is 2-4 weeks old, but it can vary depending on circumstances.

Before transitioning to bottle feeding, moms must give themselves some breastfeeding head start. 

This will give the body time to establish a good milk supply and reduce the risk of nipple confusion. 

If you want to return to work or school, start bottle feeding even earlier so your baby can get used to taking a bottle from someone other than you.

Let me share some tips I’ve gathered from veteran moms.

  1. Choose a bottle that is easy for your baby to hold and suck on.
  2. Use a slow-flow nipple to prevent your baby from gulping air.
  3. As your baby becomes accustomed to the bottle, offer it briefly and gradually increase it.

Be patient, and don’t give up if your baby doesn’t take to the bottle immediately. It may take some time for babies to adjust.

How Do I Wean My Baby From Breast to Bottle?

How Do I Wean My Baby From Breast to Bottle

Transitioning babies from breast to bottle is a delicate process. But don’t worry. I have made this simplified five-step plan:

1. Introduce the Bottle 

To introduce the bottle to a baby, start by offering one feeding per day while breastfeeding for the remaining feedings. 

This helps your baby become familiar with the bottle without overwhelming them.

2. Use the Same Bottle and Nipple Type That Your Baby Is Used To

Select a bottle and nipple that closely resemble breastfeeding to ease the transition. Look for options designed for newborns with slow-flow nipples.

3. Encourage Bottle Exploration

Let your baby explore the bottle by holding it, touching it, and giving it some playtime. 

4. Try Expressed Breast Milk

Begin by offering the bottle with expressed breast milk instead of formula. This maintains the familiarity of breast milk’s taste and smell, easing the adjustment to a different feeding method. 

5. Replace Breastfeeding Sessions Gradually

Replace nursing sessions with bottle feedings once your infant has become accustomed to them.

Without you noticing how quickly they develop, your baby will soon be eating solid food.

How Should I Bottle Feed My Baby?

How Should I Bottle Feed My Baby

From preparing the bottle to finding a comfortable feeding position and ensuring a proper nipple fit, let’s uncover all these steps.

1. Prepare the Bottle

  • Fill the cleaned bottle with the correct amount of formula or breast milk.
  • Warm the bottle using warm water or a bottle warmer.
  • Test the temperature on your wrist to ensure it’s warm, not hot.

2. Test the Bottle

  • Hold the bottle upside down without any milk dripping out.
  • Pinch the nipple, ensuring milk flows out in a slow, steady stream.

3. Get Into a Comfortable Feeding Position

  • Find a comfortable place to sit. 
  • Hold your baby close to your chest for a secure and loving experience.

4. Do a Nipple Check

  • Place the nipple in your baby’s mouth, ensuring it fills their mouth but isn’t too big.
  • Your baby should be able to suck on the nipple comfortably.

What Are Signs That My Baby Is Hungry?

What Are Signs That My Baby Is Hungry

Babies have unique ways of communicating their hunger. Look out for these signs that indicate your baby is hungry:

  • Shoving fists to mouth. Babies often put their fists or hands in their mouths when hungry. This is a natural reflex that helps to stimulate the sucking reflex.
  • Head turning to look for the breast or bottle. Babies often turn their heads towards the breast or bottle when hungry. This is a sign that they are ready to start feeding.
  • Becoming more alert and active. Hungry babies will often become more alert and active. They may start to fuss or cry, or they may start to move around more.
  • Sucking on hands or lip-smacking. Babies may also start to suck on their hands or lips when hungry. This is another natural reflex that helps to stimulate the sucking reflex.
  • Opening and closing mouth. Babies may also start to open and close their mouths when they are hungry. This is a sign that they are ready to start sucking.

What are Common Bottle-Feeding Problems?

What are Common Bottle-Feeding Problems

Bottle feeding can also come with some challenges. Here are some of the most common bottle-feeding problems:

1. Baby Cries or Squirms Away While Bottle Feeding

This could indicate various issues, such as hunger, discomfort, or a need for a burp. 

Check if the nipple flow and formula are appropriate for your baby’s age and ensure a comfortable feeding position.

2. Baby Falls Asleep During Bottle Feeding

This can happen when babies are feeling cozy and content. To help keep babies awake, gently tickle their feet, change their position, or offer shorter, more frequent feedings.

3. Baby Doesn’t Like the Bottle or Nipple

Getting familiar with the bottle could take some time if your baby is used to breastfeeding.

If they don’t like the bottle, try experimenting with different brands, nipple shapes, and sizes to find your baby’s preference.

4. Baby Has a Stuffy Nose

A congested nose can make it difficult for babies to breathe while feeding. 

Clear their nasal passages using a nasal aspirator or saline drops before feeding to improve their comfort and ease of feeding.

5. Baby Always Seems Uncomfortable After Feeding

This could indicate issues such as gas or reflux. Try holding your baby upright during and after feeding and burp them frequently.

I also suggest you consider discussing this concern with a healthcare professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re thinking about bottle-feeding, you may also have many questions. 

Before I leave with my parting words, here are FAQ answers to some of the parents’ most common questions about bottle feeding.

How Much Milk Should My Baby Drink?

It depends on their age, weight, and activity level. Generally, babies should drink about 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight daily. 

So, a 10-pound baby must drink about 25 ounces of formula daily.

  • Newborns (0-3 months) – Newborns typically eat every 2-3 hours and drink about 1-3 ounces per feeding.
  • Infants (4-12 months) – Infants typically eat every 3-4 hours and drink about 4-7 ounces per feeding.
  • Toddlers (1-3 years) – Babies this age typically eat 2-3 meals, 2-3 snacks, and drink about 16-24 ounces of milk daily.

What Kind of Bottle Should I Use to Bottle Feed My Baby?

Here are a few things to consider while picking the best baby bottle to help you save money, time, and energy.

  • Material – Choose from plastic, glass, or stainless steel bottles. Plastic is common and affordable, while glass is durable but breakable. Stainless steel is the most durable and BPA-free but pricier.
  • Nipple – Opt for a nipple suitable for your baby’s age and feeding needs. Different flow rates are available.
  • Shape – Consider the bottle’s shape and size for easy handling and cleaning.
  • Price – Set a budget and choose a bottle within that range.

How Can I Bond With My Baby While Bottle Feeding Them?

I have been eagerly anticipating the special moments of bonding I’ll have once my baby arrives, and I can’t help but be overwhelmed by it sometimes.

Anyway, let me share with you some bonding ideas I got. 

  1. Maintain eye contact and smile to create a sense of connection.
  2. Have skin-to-skin contact whenever possible, promoting closeness and releasing feel-good hormones.
  3. Cuddle and snuggle with your baby during feeding, providing gentle touches and soothing words.
  4. Engage in gentle conversation, sharing stories or observations to involve your baby.
  5. Create a calm and relaxing environment by finding a quiet space, dimming lights, and playing soft music. 

Conclusion

Bottle feeding is a great way to feed your baby. It is a personal choice that comes with huge responsibilities and rewarding experiences. 

Also, it can be done in many beautiful ways! 

We must only embrace these special moments, trust our instincts, and savor the joy of connecting with our baby through bottle feeding.

Josie Mariano
Josie Mariano

Hello, my name is Josie Mariano, and I’m proud to say I’m a soon-to-be mom.
Although my partner and I are still waiting for our firstborn to arrive, we’re already doing whatever it takes to prepare for our baby’s needs.
I’ve been joining a lot of parenting forums and asking my doctors for advice on how to prepare for my baby. They’ve all been very informative and I was able to spot the areas I still need to work on.
At the same time, I also rely on my mom for tips on what to do during my pregnancy journey.
With everything that I’ve learned so far, I’d like to share these experiences to fellow parents and soon-to-be parents!