Breastfeeding is the most natural and efficient way to feed your baby, but sometimes moms need breast milk bottles to help. It could be due to mom returning to work, difficulty latching, or needing time away from the baby. When looking for the best bottles for breastfed babies, you want to ensure the feeding mimics the natural flow of breastfeeding and avoids nipple confusion for the baby. In this blog post, we’ll go through the best bottles that provide natural and easy feeding for breastfed babies.
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Why You Need Bottles for Your Baby
It is recommended to start using a bottle between two and six weeks of age for a breastfed baby. Here are some of the reasons to use a bottle for your baby.
When babies feed from a bottle, they tend to swallow less air which significantly helps in preventing colic, gas, and other digestive issues. It also helps in controlling the flow of the milk or formula, providing a more comfortable feeding experience for the baby. As a result, using the right bottle can contribute to the health and comfort of your baby.
Using a bottle can offer greater convenience allowing other family members or caregivers to interact and bond with your baby while feeding. Additionally, this choice can eliminate the need for a breastfeeding mother to have to worry about changing their dietary needs or schedule, allowing them to have more freedom and flexibility.
Ensuring Proper Nutrition
Using bottles allows the ability to measure intake accurately, which can be extremely beneficial for monitoring your little one's feedings ensuring they are receiving the proper amount of nutrients. For breastfeeding mothers, expressing milk and monitoring the amount can also help by knowing the quantity consumed, reducing the risk of overfeeding or underfeeding.
Choosing the right bottle also helps aid any personal preference. From variations in size, and shape, you can choose the perfect bottle that fits your baby's mouth shape and size. Furthermore, bottles come with different flow rates, allowing you to control the pace of your baby's feedings. This feature helps prevent the baby from choking or getting too much milk too quickly.
Breastfeeding can be a special time for mom and dad to connect with their newborn. However, bottle feeding also allows the other parent to spend quality time with the baby. Skin-to-skin contact during feeding time can also promote healthy growth and development in infants.
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What’s the Best Bottle for Breastfed Babies?
Some lactation consultants suggest finding a bottle with a nipple that gradually slopes outward toward the bottom. This means that the nipple's top is narrow and it widens out as it goes down. This helps facilitate a strong latch by expanding the infant's oral aperture. Not every infant will struggle to take a drink from a bottle with a wider nipple base.
How to Wean Your Breastfed Infant onto Formula
- Maintain an erect position: Most people hold their babies while bottle feeding in a way that is different from the position in which a baby feeds from a breast. Babies who are breastfed need to vigorously sucking in order to get enough milk. You’ll want to try to mimic that as closely as possible when you’re bottle feeding. Keep your baby's back straight and the bottle level with the floor so the milk is being poured into their mouth rather than down into their stomach. Instead of having gravity do the work for them, they have to exert effort to obtain the milk.
- Consume food at a steady, steady pace: Babies who are breastfed frequently pause during the feeding process. Be sure to space out bottle feedings so that the increased flow from the bottle nipple doesn't become too much for your baby. Allow the baby to finish the bottle at his or her own pace by pausing every few minutes. They won't develop a taste for the quick and easy bottle or give up breastfeeding because of this.
Some infants have almost no difficulty making the switch from breast to bottle. However, for some, it's not quite so simple.
Prepare to Switch
- Timing Matters: Time the feeding for when baby (and the person doing the feeding!) is feeling upbeat for the best results.
- Attempt to take it easy at first: Introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby one time per day using a slow flow nipple. The important thing is to start small and increase the amount gradually, whether that means a full feeding or just a few ounces.
- Keep Trying: Like so much of parenting, patience is key when it comes to introducing the bottle. Try not to freak out if your little one doesn’t immediately take to the bottle. Just like breastfeeding, taking a bottle is new to you and to your little one, so try your best not to get frustrated. If you can tell things aren’t working out, put away the bottle and trying again another day.
- Switch: Babies often refuse to take a bottle from their nursing parent. If that's the case, try shaking things up. Have your spouse, parent, grandparent, caregiver, or pal try out the bottle. If you're having trouble seeing baby's latch on the bottle nipple, try feeding him or her in a different position, such as while walking around or in an upright bouncy seat.
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Choosing the Best Baby Bottles
It's important to pick the right products that will aid in the care and comfort of your baby as you learn and adjust to the many nuanced aspects of parenting. Understanding how bottles can provide convenience, improve digestion, ensure proper nutrition, and offer bonding time can give you greater confidence in your choice. Understanding how they can provide convenience, improve digestion, ensure proper nutrition, and offer bonding time can give you greater confidence in your choice. Seek guidance from your pediatrician, and try different types of bottles to discover what works best for you and your baby's unique needs. Ultimately, prioritizing your baby's feeding experience ensures a happy feeding time, giving them the best nutrition and care possible.