26 answers

Introducing a Bottle

My daughter is two weeks old and I am breastfeeding her. I am going to be going back to work when she is 12 weeks old. I want to introduce the bottle to her, but I am a little comfused as to when I should do that. Everything that I read is different. I don't want to do it to soon and her get confused and refuse the breast, but I don't want to wait too long and her refuse the bottle. Any advice?

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I breast fed my son until he was 7 months old, but went back to work when he was 3 months. I introduced the bottle to him around 6 weeks, and started him on a feeding and sleeping schedule at the same time.

If you are able to, try to get someone else give him a bottle and it should be an easier transition.

Good luck!

I have 2 kids- 3 and 9 mos. and with both I introduced the bottle around 5-6 weeks old and it was a very easy transition. I started by getting used to pumping and then using a Playtex Vent Aire bottle recommended for switching between breast and bottle with a slow nipple (fast is too much). I had my husband do the feeding while I left the room. Both kids got used to it very quickly and my daughter still prefers the breast when I am around but has no problems with the bottles in my absence. Good luck!

More Answers

hi! i am a certified breastfeeding counselor and a nursing mom. i would recommend introducing the bottle at around 4 weeks of age. this ensures that you and your baby are comfortable with breast feeding and that your milk supply is pretty well established. if you have any other questions about pumps/pumping etc. please feel free to contact me! good luck and enjoy your time off! congratulations!

Hi L., When I nursed my youngest my hubby gave her a bottle every evening starting the day we came home from the hospital...it was Daddy/daughter time for them and it caused no problems for her and I at all. In fact it really helped because then I was free to spend some time with our two older girls. I suggest you use the playtex bottles/liners, they worked great for all three of my girls! Congrats and best wishes!


Every baby is different. I introduced a bottle to my daughter when she was 3 weeks old. I made sure my husband was the one to feed her the bottle, and we only used it for one feeding a day. She didn't have any confusion at all. I ended up not going back to work and gave up the bottle when my daughter was 4 months old. My only advise is to stick with it once you start. It gets to the point where you would just rather feed her from your breast because it is much easier, but if you want her to keep using the bottle, you have to keep it up. Once I stopped giving her a bottle and my husband tried to give her one weeks later when I was away for a few hours, she refused the bottle completely. Good luck!

Before your daughter is 3 weeks old, give her a bottle. Then one bottle a week. The idea is that you withhold the breast until she finishes the bottle. This is what I was told and it worked with my second. My first, I waited too long and he never took a bottle. Best of luck. Congratulations on the birth of your daughter!

Hi L.,

Congratulations on your new baby! I would recommend waiting until your baby is at least 6 weeks old before introducing a bottle. You want to make sure that you have established a good milk supply and a good nursing relationship with her before you introduce a bottle so that she doesn't get nipple confusion. I waited until 8 weeks with my son. I also recommend having someone other than yourself give her the bottle and you may need to leave the room or leave the house to get her to take it. Babies are smart and if you are nearby, she may refuse the bottle. Don't worry - she will take it just fine when she is with your caregiver! Here is a link to an article that I wrote on breastfeeding and working that may help you: http://www.pumpingtips.com


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Hi L.,

My daughter is now 3 months old and we started a bottle at two weeks due to some exams that I had to take I was going to be away from her all day and she had to get use to the bottle very quickly.

We pick a certain time every day and my husband feed her. So everyday at 12pm my husband feed her. I also feed her when my husband could not and she had not problem taking the bottle from me, my husband or even relatives. I think because she was so young it did not matter.

I have now been back to work since my baby was six weeks old and she still has no issue switching from the bottle to breastfeeding. I really do think it helped introducing it so early. I know both of my sisters waited till later and thier kids never took the bottle.

We still stick with the scheudle of her getting at least one bottle a day even though I am home on the weekends. I tried not giving her a bottle on the weekend and my husband had a hard time come Monday trying to fed her a bottle. At three months my daughter sleeps from 9pm -6am wakes up to eat and then goes back to bed until 9am. So I feed her at 6am and then my husband takes the 9am feeding so that I can get some extra sleep on the weekends. It has really worked out for us.

My only suggestion would be if you are going back to work make sure that your baby breastfeeds and drains your breast's completely before you leave in the morning to head to work. That way you are not full all day long and also it helps to keep your milk production up. I also make sure that once I come home from work that she breastfeeds for the rest of the evening no bottles and it has been working great for us.

Just do what works best for your situation. It always seems to work out..


Hi - I think the key thing is how good your baby is at nursing. If she really has the hang of it, and nurses well, I'd introduce a bottle. I did this and it worked great for me. I'd pump immediately before bed, then my husband took a bottle of breastmilk, and did the first nightime feeding with the bottle. It was great because he got some cuddle time, and I got at least 1 longer stretch of sleep every night!

One thing I haven't seen mentioned - I was advised to use a slow-flow nipple on the bottle. If the nipple is faster-flow, then eating from a bottle can be much less work than nursing, and she may start to refuse to nurse simply because the bottle is easier.

Good luck!

I agree that as soon as you feel like you guys have bfing down you should introduce the bottle. My little one had both breastmilk and formula from bottles (as well as bfing) from the beginning, and he would go back and forth with no problem. You can try having your dh do the bottle, but at this age, your baby may not even care if it comes from you. But if you *need* to get her on the bottle, do it sooner rather than later. My friend waited until 4 months to try to introduce a bottle and the baby wouldn't take it until she was 7 months old. It was AWFUL! :-)

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