Saturday 29 July 2017

Helping to Introduce Your Baby to the Bottle

There are many reasons why you might consider introducing your baby to a bottle. You may want to start feeding your little one some expressed breast milk; or, knowing that you will be returning to work, you want to ensure that they have some milk whilst you are away from them.

Whatever the reason, this guide will help with how to go about giving your child their first bottle, top tips in the early stages of introducing your little one to a bottle and tactics that you can use when your child refuses the bottle.

How to give your child their first bottle
The common issue for babies being introduced to a bottle is that they will need to use a different sucking action compared to when they were breastfed. It will take them time to get the hang of this new feeling.

To help, try to give your child their first few bottles when they are relaxed and happy as opposed to instances when they're hungry and more likely to want fed by a method that they are used to. It could also be wise to offer your baby a bottle in the evening once their regular feeding has ended - you don't have to give them much milk, as it will be more about getting your child used to the feeling of the bottle's teat.

Another tip is to get someone else to give your baby their first few feeds from a bottle - their dad or a friend or family member - as that way, your baby will not be near you and smelling your breast milk. It may also be best if the mother is out of the house while the baby is being bottle fed, as many babies can smell their mothers even from a distance. You only need to do this a handful of times until your child is used to drinking from a bottle.

Refrain from forcing your baby to feed from a bottle too much, and only feed them enough milk until they let you know that they've had enough. This needs to be a smooth transition, so your child will be more likely to refuse if they aren't enjoying their bottle in the early stages.

What to do if your baby is resisting 
If you are struggling to get your baby to make the transition from breast to bottle, there are some techniques that can help.

You should take the time to find a suitable product for your baby. A bottle with a nipple-like teat that is similar to your child's dummy will likely make it more appealing to your little one, for instance. A slow-flow teat can help if your child gags due to regular teats delivering them too much milk at once.

A First Sippee Transition Cup from Tommee Tippee ticks all of these boxes, not to mention the fact that they are specially designed for a baby's first sips and has a super soft spout that is gentle on your child's sensitive gums. These cups may be well known to you, following a dad's desperate search last year to find a replacement cup for his autistic son. The plea received over 12,000 retweets and the full story can be read on the BBC website.

It's not just the design of the bottle or cup that can help your baby with the transition. Your baby may start sucking from the cup or bottle's teat if you place some breast milk on it and your child recognises the familiar taste.

Let your infant get used to their new bottle or cup in their own time too. Don't be too quick to take it away and give up if they begin to just chew on the teat - let them do this for now as they may switch to sucking on it once they are familiar with the feeling.

Babies may also feel more comfortable drinking from a bottle or cup when they are held in a different position to how you breastfeed them. Feed them from a bottle or cup when they are in a semi-upright position in a car seat, for example, or by having them on your lap but with their back to your chest.

Hopefully with this advice, your baby will be reaching for their bottle or cup for their feed before you know it!

(This is a sponsored post.) 

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