Breastfeeding is all fun and games ... until it comes time to give your breastfed baby a bottle. And there will almost certainly come a time where you'll need to do that! But babies can be pretty picky about how they get their breast milk. If you're struggling to get your breastfed baby to take a bottle, or are hoping to prepare for when that time inevitably comes, we have some tips and tricks for you that might prove helpful.
Take steps to prevent nipple confusion
Getting into the groove while breastfeeding can take time, and you don't want to derail your progress. If possible, wait until your baby is latching well during nursing sessions, and they're at least 3-4 weeks old before you introduce a bottle of pumped breast milk or formula. It may also help to have someone else give them their first bottle - they associate you with breastfeeding and may be less inclined to eat from a bottle in your arms.
Give yourself, and your baby, enough time
You don't want to wait until the last possible minute to give them their first bottle. If they reject it, you've put yourself and your baby in a tough situation. If you know exactly when you'll need to start bottle feeding, introduce them to the bottle at least two weeks ahead of that time. And don't worry about giving them a bottle everyday in that two-week span; a couple of bottles a week should give them all the practice they need.
Be prepared to try a few different nipples
There are plenty of bottles out their designed for breastfed babies. It can take some time to find the one your baby likes! If you can, borrow a few from friends to test them out before buying your own supply. Look for bottle nipples that most resemble a natural nipple - wide at the base that gradually tapers to a tip in the middle.
Try different bottle-feeding positions
Just as your baby has nursing position preferences, they will likely also have bottle-feeding position preferences! Try a few out to see how they're most comfortable. Some babies prefer a position that mimics breastfeeding, while others prefer a completely different position since it's a different way of eating.
Don't wait until your baby is fussy or upset from hunger
New experiences can create confusion and anxiety for babies, so don't wait until they're already not in the best mood to introduce a bottle for the first time. Pick a feeding where they're well-rested and happy, to give you both the best chance at success.