Saturday, June 20, 2009

Teaching the Bottle

I am blessed enough to say that I didn't have any problems with teaching my two children to use the bottle. Don't be in a hurry to teach the bottle, but I would also recommend teaching your baby to use one even if you are a stay-at-home mom. It is so nice to know that if you need or want to leave that you don't have to rush home to nurse. It is nice way to get your husband involved and let him have his time with the baby.
Most doctors and Lactation Specialist say not to introduce the bottle until the baby is about six weeks old. If I remember right I started the bottle on my first baby at about 3 or 4 weeks of age. That is what I felt good about doing, but do what you feel is right for your baby. If you wait to long then the baby will be more reluctant to try the bottle.
If you find that the baby won't take the bottle, it might be the nipple. So experiment with different nipples. Try one for a couple of weeks and then move to others if the baby it still not accepting the bottle. Some good nipples to try are: Advent, Playtex, and Evenflo. There are also some good nipples from the company that sell breast pumps. Another thing that might be affecting the babies willingness to use the bottle is the temperature of the milk. Most babies want it the same temperature that comes from the breast, so make sure the milk is not to hot or cold. A good tip that I read from the book 'The Nursing Mother's problem solver' is to put the nipple between the lips of the baby after he/she has fallen asleep while nursing. That way the baby can get use to the nipple. Remember that introducing a bottle to a new baby takes alot of patients. It might seem really hard but stay persistent. Try to get the baby to use the bottle at least twice a week so the baby will get use to it. Something else to try is wait as long as you can to feed the baby, but not to long that he/she gets upset. If the baby is really hungry, he/she might be more willing to take the bottle. You could try to hold the baby in a different position such as facing them away from you. Making it different from the nursing position. If the baby consistently turns away from the bottle, don't force it to take it. Calm the baby down and try again a few minutes later. Forcing the baby to take the bottle will teach them to hate or reject the bottle.
If you are a mother that is returning to work, don't wait to long to introduce the bottle. Give yourself enough time to help the baby get use to it. Try to have another caregiver feed the baby because the baby can smell you and not take it as easy from you as they would some one else.
Not to sound to negative, but this will be a trying process and will need your patients and love. Babies latch on to bottles differently than they do the breast. When they latch onto the breast, their mouths are wider and their tongue move past the lips to preform a lip-suck movement. While bottle sucking requires a closed-mouth position and the tongue remaining inside the mouth.
I personally am thankful for the bottle because I was able to get some time away and let my husband feel that he was needed. We could go on dates and leave the baby with grandparents and not have to rush home. The best nipple that worked for me was the Advent nipple, but I have heard good things about Evenflo and the Nuk's orthodontic nipples. Another nipple that got high marks in 'The Nursing Mother's problem solver' book was the Evenflo orthodontic nipple. It is said to have a large base so the baby needs to put more of it in its mouth, rather then make the baby work so hard to extract the milk. Make sure that you get some help if you need it and take your time. If you are consistent with making your baby try the bottle, then your baby will finally accept it.

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