Can I Bottle Feed and Breastfeed My Newborn?

Can i bottle feed and breastfeed my newborn

Health experts recommend that babies only drink breast milk for the first six months of their lives. They also suggest that mothers continue breastfeeding until their child is at least one year old, or until they have a health condition that prevents them from doing so.

The best way to decide whether breastfeeding or formula feeding is right for you and your baby is to follow your intuition. Talk to your doctor, midwife or breastfeeding supporter if you aren’t sure.

If you decide to breastfeed, remember that your baby will need to eat more often than they will at a baby who is older, because newborns only drink small amounts of breast milk each time they feed. It’s a good idea to pump and store as much breast milk as possible until you can introduce formula to your baby.

When you introduce a bottle, it’s important to control how fast your baby drinks and not to overfeed. This method is called paced bottle feeding and helps prevent choking and overfeeding.

To begin with, place the bottle on an angle that’s tilted just enough to fill your baby’s nipple and is similar to the position you hold your breast when you breastfeed. This can be a challenge at first, so it’s a good idea to ask your partner or another carer to help you with the bottle.

Once you have the nipple inserted, hold your baby close to your chest and make eye contact. You can also gently touch your baby’s upper lip with the nipple to encourage them to open their mouth wide.

You should try a different bottle and nipple style at each feeding, to discover what your baby prefers. Most babies like drinking from certain bottles and nipples, so it may take some trial and error to find which ones your baby loves the most.

If you aren’t sure which type of bottle and nipple are right for your baby, start with a slow-flow nipple. These have a smaller hole than the faster flow nipples, which allow a more gradual flow of milk into your baby’s mouth.

Paced bottle feeding allows your baby to take their time and be more comfortable with the bottle. It also teaches them that they can drink from the bottle without you forcing it down their throat, which can cause choking.

Using slow-flow nipples can also help you avoid overfeeding your baby and reduce the risk of a blockage in their nipple. You can also choose a bottle with a wider nipple to help your baby open their mouth wide and to help them hold the nipple in their mouth as they drink.

Some people also find it helpful to use a lactation aid (supplementer). This is a tiny tube taped next to your nipple, which passes into your baby’s mouth to get breastmilk from the nipple and from the breast.

Some health visitors and nursing supporters are also able to offer advice on how to pump breastmilk so you can breastfeed your baby more often. Some women pump as often as they can during the day and then breastfeed their babies at night or in the morning.