Bottle Feeding & Preventing Bottle Preference
It’s important to note some things that will help your little one be successful at bottle feeding but also have it remain compatible with your nursing relationship.
1. Slow Flow Nipples Only – If your baby is not having to work for their milk when receiving a bottle they will be more frustrated when they have to work or suck harder at the breast. To avoid this, remember to always use the slow flow nipples. This goes for any age they receive a bottle.
Our breast flow does not change, so neither should the flow of their bottles.
2. Practice Paced Bottle Feeding – Just like with the slow flow nipples, your goal with bottle feeding is to mimic the breast as much as possible. Paced bottle feeding ensures that your baby won’t have the milk just dropped into their mouth, rather they have to work at it, just like at the breast. Below is a very helpful video to demonstrate Paced Bottle Feeding. And again, this should be practiced any time your baby receives a bottle.
3. How much, how often? General rule of thumb is 1-1.5oz per hour that you are away. Additionally, this is also how much your pumping output should be. If the care provider is asking for more and making you think you have a supply problem, be sure to, before you go into panic mode, ask them if they are paced Bottle Feeding. Chances are, they are not and that’s why your little one is drinking too much.
4. Pumping– when you’re at work you should pump, ideally, when your baby would normally eat. If that’s every half hour when you’re together, that’s not gonna happen, so instead, do every three hours. For me my output was about 3-4oz each pumping session which was every three hours at 9am, noon, and 3pm. I nursed at 6am before leaving for work and 6pm when I got home. At the end of the day I made my bottles from the milk I pumped. I had about 12oz of milk to put into three 4oz bottles for her to drink at 9am, noon, and 3pm. If I pumped a little more I’d top off her bottles a little bit or I’d put it in a bag for the freezer stash. It was very rare that I’d have extra. My supply was pretty consistent and I never had extra, but I was never too low either so I’m definitely not complaining.
Pro tip- if your baby will tolerate it, give the bottles cold. If the bottles are warmed up they have to be discarded after a certain number of hours (per state regulations). But if they are cold they can be kept and you can use them the next day. I did this and any time I had extra at the end of the day I would put it in bags for the freezer and use my fresh milk from that day for my next day’s bottles.