Pickle says… Mummy bottle fed us all from birth, for personal reasons, but if you are breast feeding you may be thinking of introducing your baby to a bottle. You may want to start using a bottle so that you can start feeding your little one some expressed breast milk, or know that you will need to leave your baby when returning to work, and you want to make sure they have some milk while you’re away from them.
Whatever the reason, we have a fab guide for you with tips about giving your baby their first bottle, the early stages of introducing your little one to a bottle, and tactics that you can try when your baby resists a bottle:
How to give your baby 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. So it is probably going to take them some time to get
the hang of this new feeling.
To help, look to give your baby their first few bottles when they are relaxed and happy as opposed to when they’re hungry and more likely to get frustrated and grumpy.
You could also try to offer your baby a bottle in the evening once their regular feeding has finished— you don’t need to give them that much milk this is more about getting your baby used to the feel of a bottle’s nipple.
Another tip is to get someone else to give your baby their first few feeds — baby’s dad, a friend or
another family member — that way your baby will not be near you and smelling your breast milk. It may
also be best if the you are out of the house while the baby is being bottle fed, as many babies can smell their mother even from a distance. You only need to do this a handful of times until your baby is used to drinking from a bottle.
Don’t try and force 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 baby will be more likely to rebel 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 could help.
Take the time to find a suitable product for your baby. For example a bottle with a nipple that is similar to your child’s dummy will likely make it more appealing to your baby. A slow-flow nipple can be better when your baby gags due to regular bottle nipples giving them with 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 well be 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 nipple if you place some breast milk on it and he
tastes it and enjoys the familiar taste.
Let your baby get used to their new bottle or cup in their own time too. Don’t be quick to take it away from them if they begin to chew on the nipple — 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, 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 his bottle or cup for their feed before you
Have you any tips to introduce your baby to the bottle?