Posted by Tanya Roberts on 5/5/2023 to
Introducing a bottle is often an important step in your breastfeeding journey. Many moms need to return to work or want another caregiver to be able to feed.
First, you will want to consider waiting until the baby is a breastfeeding pro. A good time is usually after the six weeks growth spurt, so about seven weeks old.
BPA Free Bottles - What is Safe? Studies are showing small amounts of poly-bisphenol A leaching into some plastic containers. Most manufacturers have changed to polypropylene soft plastic bottles instead of the hard plastic polycarbonate due to these studies. None have been proven to be detrimental in humans, but as a nursing mother, you want the very best for your baby. Therefore food grade polycarbonate is considered safe, BPA-free polypropylene bottles and bag are considered safe. After 2012 when the FDA banned BPA in baby bottles, breast pump companies only offer bottles made from BPA free plastic. Do not buy baby bottles from dollar stores that were possibly manufactured without FDA approval.
How often should your baby feed? Babies under the age of six months will normally nurse every 2-3 hours from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next which is usually 8-10 times per day. During growth spurts at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, and 3 months, infants will increase their feedings to 10-12 times per day. Between 6 and 12 months, babies will normally feed 4 or 5 times daily. It is best for your milk supply to allow your baby to feed on demand unless they do not demand often enough. View our Lactation Help category for sleepy baby techniques and information on good baby syndrome if your infant does not feed at least 8 times per day. Introducing a Bottle Waiting until you baby is three to four weeks old to start a bottle is the best way to get him/her to learn to optimally nurse at the breast. When you do begin a bottle, use your own expressed milk as not to interfere with your milk supply and use a wide mouth silicone nipple. Silicone does not have a potent smell and taste unlike inferior rubber nipples. Choose a slow flow nipple no matter the age of your nursing infant as breast fed babies jaw development will allow them to extract milk faster as they grow without increasing the nipple hole size. Make sure to express you milk if you skip a feeding. The rule of thumb for expressing milk for a baby under six months of age is to pump every three hours with a professional or hospital grade pump that imitates your baby's suck cycle. After six months, if your baby is on solids, you only need to pump twice on an eight hour workday instead of three times which is common for a working mother who has an 8 hour work day.
To calculate how much to put into a bottle per feeding, see our " How much breastmilk?" blog post for a breastmilk intake chart that you will want to bookmark!