Introducing a Bottle or Exclusive Breastfeeding

Updated on January 25, 2010
J.V. asks from Wheaton, IL
21 answers

My little man is almost 7 weeks old and I am trying to decide if I want to introduce a bottle. I had serious latch issues with my daughter so that by the time I tried to introduce a bottle to her, she refused every single one.

So pros and cons to using bottles vs. exclusive breastfeeding?

I'm hesitant to introduce a bottle mostly because of the special bond created by exclusive breastfeeding. I also can wait 10 months to date my hubby, as we will have another 30-40 years to do that, and I can't get back these 10 months of my baby being a baby!

What can I do next?

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answers from Chicago on

A baby can drink milk from a cup, teaspoon, medicine syringe if needed. No need to introduce the bottle.

As you know -- pretty soon he'll be a year and won't need to exclusively breastfeed.



answers from Dallas on

I hate washing sippy cups as it is now, which is just one a day. I cannot imagine having to add bottles to that! Just another reason I hope DS2 will take to BF easily and ASAP.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Such a tough question since many people feel very strongly one way or the other. I knew I was going to breast feed, but I had also been told by friends to introduce the bottle early just in case I ever needed to use one, she would take it. I'm glad I did, she never had a problem nursing or taking a bottle.

It was so nice to be able to sleep in once in awhile. Hubby would heat up some frozen breast milk I had pumped earlier and feed the little one so I could get some much needed sleep. He enjoyed being able to spend some bonding time with her too. :-)

I don't feel like I missed out on anything by not nursing her at every meal. She only got a bottle every couple of days for the first few months (if at that!). She was definitely a boobie baby and never refused nursing for the bottle - once in a blue moon, she would go on a bottle strike. But all in all, it was helpful for my situation since I ended up having to wean early due to medical reasons.

So do what you feel comfortable with and what works well for *your* family. :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

If you are not planning on returning to work, I don't see why you would introduce the bottle. Yes, in theory it would be nice to have your husband take a feeding every now and then, but realistically... how often is that going to happen?
As for "dating", most babies can stay without being fed for two hours, just nurse before you leave and right after you get back... that shoudl give you enough time for a dinner out. And if you worry about having sex, lube helps with vaginal dryness from breastfeeding, and if you worry about leakage, consider a sexy bra that you can keep on.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

First of all, congrats on your new little one! I have a 22 month old daughter and a 9 week old son, and with both of my children, I almost exclusively breastfed. I did introduce a bottle of formula (only a few oz.) once a day (at about 4 weeks with both of them), and it has worked out just fine. I feel very bonded with both, and they really were virtually exclusively breastfed. My logic behind doing it this way is that I wanted them to be comfortable taking a bottle of formula in case sometime down the road they absolutely had to. If for some reason I became ill or HAD to take a medication that I couldn't take while breastfeeding, I wanted to know that my little ones were capable of accepting a bottle of forumla. I know the chances of being in an accident or becoming ill are slim, but it gave me peace of mind to know that they wouldn't starve if something came up and I couldn't be there for a feeding. Note: I offer the bottle not long after an evening feeding... that way they usually only take an ounce or two and it doesn't affect my milk supply. Good luck with whatever you decide! :-)



answers from Chicago on

The only thing that is nice about introducing a bottle now is that if you need to do it later, they might not take it at all. If you feel like you need to ever get out by yourself, it might be nice to have backup. That being said, all 4 of my kids were reluctant to take a bottle, although my third and fourth were introduced to it earlier so they did a bit better. Mostly though, they waited for me to come home.



answers from Nashville on

I breastfed my now 2 yr old, but I did introduce a bottle at about 5 weeks. We didn't really need to, but it was nice to be able to have the option. My husband is out of town a lot, so it was great to be able to go to dinner with him. If you don't really care about that, then consider what would happen if you needed to give him a bottle for another reason. I got pretty sick when he was a few months old and had to go to the doctor. I did NOT want to take an infant to an urgent care waiting room with me and possibly get him sick in the middle of flu season. So for times like that, it was very handy. I probably only gave him a bottle once a month, and never switched to a fast flow nipple, and we had no problems with nipple confusion. As for the bond, I don't feel like my bond was any less than any mom who breastfed only from the breast.



answers from Chicago on

Do you have a pump? If so, pump some milk and do the bottle that way. So Dad can get some closeness to the little one. I exclusively fed my son breast milk until he was 1 year old. We started pumping in the hospital since I too was having latch issues. So the lactation consultant had me pump after each feeding to help bring the milk in better. We also had no problems when I was not around feeding him since he would nurse or drink from a bottle. I had to go back to work when he was almost 5 months old ( maternity 8 weeks c-sect & 13 weeks parental leave). Congratulations on your choice to nurse. Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

Hi J.,

I would go with what your heart tells you.



answers from Los Angeles on

If you're a SAHM then I don't think there's a need to introduce a bottle if you don't want to. I don't think my daughter had more than 5 bottles in her whole life (2 were when I had surgery, another at 4 months and another at 10 months). I did not find this interfered at all with our social life, either. After those first few months, we could go out after she went to bed and had several hours, and you can also use a sippy cup with breastmilk once he's old enough to drink from that if he won't take a bottle and also, the older he gets, the longer he can wait between nursing sessions. Of course, if you do give a regular bottle, then you definitely have more options but I can't think of anything that I missed out on by exclusive breastfeeding. It's really about what you're more comfortable with.



answers from Chicago on

In my opinion, if there is really no need to introduce a bottle, then don't do it.
My youngest is 7 months old, and I work part time, so I introduced her to the bottle around 6 weeks old. I now only work one 4 hour shift a week, so she no longer gets any bottles, she just waits for me to get home. =)

Good Luck to you, and congrats on your little boy!



answers from Champaign on

My kids never took bottles, even when we tried. And my husband and I found plenty of time for dates. I use the On Becoming Babywise schedule, so we had 3 hours between feedings and had plenty of time to have dinner, or see a movie.

To me bottles are more of a hassle partially because they are a fight. I introduce sippy cups after 12 months and it is a bit of a fight, but I weaned my twins a month ago and now we're doing fine. Good luck!



answers from Harrisburg on

I never breastfed my 4 children so I can only say that with my bottle feedings was very special to me. Holding each of my babies, feeding them, talking to them, they looking up at me... it was special to me. Maybe not the same to breastfeeding, but no worse to me.

You can still use breastmilk in a bottle. But after 7 weeks you've given your child a very good headstart on nutrition and help with building immunization. A lactose nurse told me with my triplets that if I could pump (which I couldn't) even for a few days that it will help the babies. You've already got 7 weeks, so that's good. If you're ready to change, go for it. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty either way.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets
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answers from Chicago on

If you intro a bottle this does not rule out exclusive breastfeeding. I have exclusively breastfed both my kids through 20 months of age and neither has ever had a drop of formula. BUT, IMHO the ability to take a bottle will help your sanity. It means that you can LEAVE. Now granted, nursing is frequently easier than pumping, but seriously, it's great to be able to go on a date with your husband and leave the kids with a sitter and know that your son will be FINE while you're gone.

Kellymom has some good suggestions on how to intro a bottle in a breastfeeding-friendly manner. check for that. Among other things, ALWAYS use the lowest-flow nipple, no matter how old your kid is. IME, the Avent and Born Free nipples are by far the lowest flow and most similar to breast flow rate. Other brands are way too fast esp. for young babies who have never had a bottle. When introducing the bottle you need to be out of the room and preferably out of the house. Use pumped milk - it's easy to pump a couple of oz in the morning when you have lots - and you should be able to save a couple feedings' worth in the freezer, or even just pump the morning before you'll be needing it. I would usually pump after I returned from my outing to replace whatever amount my baby ate.

Once you get him to take a bottle (have your husband feed him) I'd say have him take a bottle once every week or two - use it as an excuse to go do something nice for yourself - to keep him "in practice". That way he has that skill if he needs it.



answers from Chicago on

I think they only reason you might wish to introduce the bottle is to allow your husband to share in the wonderful and special bond that is created when a parent feeds their child. Of course, if he's okay with not being allowed to do this, then there really is no need to go for the bottle.



answers from Des Moines on

i gave my son a bottle at 5 weeks, just so my husband could feed him. he did fine taking a bottle only about every 2 weeks whenever someone else wanted to feed him(very helpful when i got called to jury duty when he was 6 months). It is nice to know that in an emergency he will be willing to take a bottle. but really if you dont want to give him one then that is your choice. my son didnt mind either way, he loved nursing but he said "ok sure i will take a bottle if someone else wants to feed me" good luck



answers from Cincinnati on

It sounds like you already know what you want to do, so don't feel pressured to introduce a bottle if you don't want to. I hated breastfeeding with a passion, and so bottle-feeding was a big relief for me. But it sounds like you like breastfeeding and the time with your son, so don't worry about introducing a bottle just yet. Besides, you can always try it later if you get tired.



answers from Chicago on

Hi There!

I haven't gotten to read the rest of the responses, but I wanted to share my story with you. I exclusively breastfed my son for 13 wonderful months. I really, truly enjoyed breastfeeding- even through the challenging parts like biting! We started trying to get my son to take a bottle with pumped breastmilk around the 8 week point. He never took to it and we never pushed it. He literally never ended up taking more than 1-2 oz. from a bottle. Although I LOVED breastfeeding I wholeheartedly wish we would have pushed the bottle more. There were days that I just needed to get out and take some "me" time. I could never leave the house for more than 2-3 hours at a time because I knew my little one would rather go hungry than miss a bottle. There were also times when I was sick and really needed him to take from a bottle but he wouldn't.

Whatever you decide, make sure you make the choice based on what feels right for you. We can all tell you our personal stories/opinions, but you need to go with your gut and do what you feel is right for you and your baby. Enjoy these infant days- they go so fast!



answers from Detroit on

I breast fed 2 kids.. both took bottles also..

I didnt mind exclusively breastfeeding a newborn.. they need to eat every few hours.. I found breastfeeding to be an occupation for those first few seems like all you do..

but after a while.. it is nice to be able to be away from teh baby for more than 2 hours.

to go out with hubby or the girlfreinds ro just go out by yourself.

My daughter actually preferred bottles... but I kept her nursing till 10 months.. my son initially drank breastmilk in a bottle.. but after 6 months or so.. decided that milk did not come out of a bottle... and refused the bottle.. he would always drink juice from a bottle..

so dont think because your first had an issue your second will also.. every chidl is different.. having bottles as an option gives you a bit more freedom and flexibility..


answers from Gainesville on

I breastfed and pumped some with both my babies. I had to go shopping without someone to assist me. After a horrible experience with a loaded buggy at wal-mart and a screaming baby....I decided no more trips to the store without a bottle. And if I didn't use it I just poured it down the sink when I got home and sat down and nursed like usual.I was always loaded with milk and had no trouble quickly getting a bottle pumped. But trust me, a breastfed baby that will take a bottle is a blessing (I know many young mothers that were amazed and said their baby acted like a bottle was a foreign object) Also when we traveled, I would pump in the car and hold it for the baby to drink without having to stop and find a secluded place to breastfeed. I like your ideas, there is nothing like that bond between a mother and her baby.



answers from Portland on

I breastfead as well, but really wanted my husband to have that special feeding time with our daughter just like I did. I also wanted him to feel like he could feed our daughter if I needed to be away for anything.

I introduced a bottle after the first week and it worked out well. She had no problems.

In my opinion, sharing that part of care for your child is great, especially if you ever need a break or god forbid you had to have a medical procedure done and weren't able to breastfeed.

Can you imagine your child ONLY being breastfed for 7 months and then your husband trying to give a bottle because you had surgery or something. ..ohh that would not be good. Why skip an opportunity early on to make life for you and your child a little easier!

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