Author Topic: From breast to bottle: things to consider  (Read 15031 times)

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Offline Lªuren

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From breast to bottle: things to consider
« on: August 01, 2006, 19:32:27 pm »
*Please note that this FAQ gives information regarding cold turkey weaning from breast to bottle, in the point regarding hunger strikes and the 'spotlight in the trenches'.

The abrupt cessation of breastfeeding (or going cold turkey) can be very stressful for both mom and baby and should be considered only as a last resort.  In rare circumstances cold turkey weaning may be necessary (severe injury/infection/cancer in mom or baby, severe allergies, forced separation, etc.), but should be supervised by a doctor and/or lactation consultant.  They may be able to suggest alternatives and help you wean with as little distress as possible.  Cold turkey weaning can also be quite dangerous in young babies as they can easily become dehydrated, and should not be attempted before 6 months of age without strict medical supervision.

Before attempting a cold turkey wean from breast to bottle, please consider the the other tips in this FAQ, and the suggestions made here:
And remember that you can always start a thread on either the breast or bottle feeding boards for more support and advice!

From Breast to Bottle:
The First Steps of Weaning

There are two factors that influence what happens when you try to introduce a bottle: your baby’s reaction and yours, the impact on your your mind and body. You might want to introduce a bottle because you’re ready to wean your baby entirely, or because you want to make your life easier by replacing one or more breast-feeding sessions with bottle-feeds. Either way, you’ve got both factors to contend with. The older your baby, the harder it will be for you to get her used to a bottle in the first place if she’s been exclusively on the breast. But with older babies it also will be easier for your body to adapt to the change, because your milk will dry up more quickly (see box, page 126). At the same time, though, a lot of murns have a strong emotional reaction to reducing the number of breast-feeds and, especially, to quitting altogether.

So let’s take the baby first. The procedure is the same for one who’s never had a bottle as it is for one who had one several months earlier and now seems to have forgotten how to drink from one. 1 get tons of emails and calls from mums who have struggled with both problems. Here’s a posting from my website:

               Hi, I am mum to a six-month baby boy. Does anyone have advice on introducing the bottle? I don’t want to stop
               nursing but I need a break. He will not entertain a bottle, we have been trying far the last twelve weeks. I have tried almost
               everything, cups, bottles, breast milk, formula, etc.

Twelve weeks! That’s a lot of coaxing and cajoling and frustration—— yours and your baby’s. Obviously, this mum is not in a hurry. Imagine if she had to go back to work, as many do! For example, I remember Bart’s mum, Gail, who breastfed her son for the first three months and then called me: “1 am going back to work in three weeks and would ideally like to breast-feed in the morning, late afternoon and evening and then use bottles of formula for the other feedings.”

Regardless of whether you’re switching to a bottle and plan never to breast-feed again or you want to do only a few feeds a day, my advice is make sure you’re ready, stay the course, and steel yourself for a bumpy day or two. Of course, if your baby is 6 months or older, you might consider going straight to a trainer cup and skip the bottle. But if you decide to go ahead...

Find a type of nipple that most closely resembles your own.
Some gung-ho breast-feeding experts warn of “nipple confusion” and use it as a reason not to give a bottle before three or six months of age (depending on which book }~O1t read). If anything, babies can be confused by flow, not the nipple itself. Pick a type and if your baby takes to it, don’t keep switching nipples. it ‘s enough for her to adapt to a bottle; she doesn’t need you to experment with nipples, too—unless she starts choking, sputtering or gagging. If so, buy the slow—release type of nipple, which is specially designed to respond to her suckling actions, as opposed to the standard types, which drip into her mouth even when she stops sucking.

Start with the first bottle of your baby’s day, when she’s hungriest. I don’t agree with people who suggest starting when your baby isn’t very hungry. What’s her incentive to accept the bottle if not hunger? Expect to he anxious yourself, and expect that your baby is going to be resistant and ill at ease, too.

Never force the bottle. Look at it from the baby’s point of view. Imagine what it is like after several months of sucking on warm, human flesh to taste a Cold rubber nipple for the first time. To make it more enticing (or at least more like your body temperature), run warm water over it. Push it gently into the mouth and jiggle it on his bottom lip, which stimulates the sucking reflex. If he doesn’t take it within five minutes, stop, or you’ll give him an aversion to it. Wait an hour and try again.

Try every hour the first day Be persistent. Any mum who says she’s been at it for 12 weeks, or even 4 weeks, is not really keeping at it. More likely, she tries for a day or two—or even a few minutes——and then forgets about it. ‘Then she starts feeling tied down or she’s worried about leaving her baby with a sitter. So she tries again. if she doesn’t commit to staving with it every day, it’s less likely to work.

Let Dad or Grandma, a friend or a nanny give it a try, but only when you’re first introducing the bottle. Some babies take bottles from others and absolutely refuse it from their mums. it’s a good way to get your baby started, but its not something you want to foster. The idea of giving a bottle is to have the flexibility. Let’s say you’re out with your baby and you’d rather not breastfeed. You won’t want to have to call Dad or Granny in every time. Once she’s accustomed to the bottle, you give it to her, too.

Expect—and be willing to ride out—a hunger strike. If your baby refuses the bottle altogether don’t whip out your breast. I promise. your child wont starve to death, which is what all mums fear. Most babies will take at least some food after three or four hours of not getting the breast, I’ve seen babies refuse bottles all day long, holding out  ‘til mum comes home, but those are the exceptions (and they don’t starve either). If you’re persistent, the trauma of introducing a bottle is over within twenty-four hours. Some older babies, usually Grumpy types, can take as long as two OF three days.

Thereafter, always give a bottle at least once a day
. A common mistake that others make is not sticking with at least a once—a—day bottle. Babies will always go back to their original feeding method. So, if a baby starts out breast-feeding and, say, his mum had to go to the hospital for a week, and he was bottle-fed during that time, he’d know how to start right in again. Though it’s less Common, if a baby starts out with a bottle and then Mum decides to breast-feed, that baby will always be comfort¬able with a bottle as well. But they won’t remember the second method you teach them unless you keep it up. I get mums all the time who tell me, “My baby used to take a bottle but seems to have forgotten how”. Of course, she has – it was a long time ago. In such cases, the mum has to start all over again, using the above method to reintroduce the bottle.

Spotlight in the Trenches

Making the Switch

Janna, a television producer I was working with, had been leaving work every day, driving 30 miles in traffic, in order to feed her 7-month-old baby, Justin. She was at her rope’s end because now she really wanted to have the flexibility of a bottle. At my suggestion she  gave  Justin a  feed before she left for work and left a bottle of pumped milk for the nanny to do the midday feed. But Justin refused and went on a hunger strike. Every time Janna called home to see how things were going, she heard Justin crying in the background “I thought he was starving I don’t think I have suffered through a day as much as that one.” When Janna walked through the door at 4 that day, Justin was still screaming for her breast. She offered him a bottle instead and when be pitched a fit, she told him calmly, “Okay you’re not hungry now.” By 6, he was willing to take the bottle.

Janna called me afterward and said, “I’d like to breast-feed him tonight.” “You can’t,” I stressed, “unless you want another hunger strike on your hands tomorrow.’ I told her to keep up the bottles for 2 days and after 48 hours, she could resume giving him the bedtime feed.

There’s one other piece of advice I have about taking steps to begin the weaning process: Make sure you want to introduce a bottle. In Janna’s case (see box above), for example, her fears about Justin starving were not merely about his physical well-being. She was feeling guilty for causing him to “suffer” and, I would wager, ambivalent about the whole process. Many breast-feeding mums have similar kinds of mixed feelings about giving their babies bottles.

Breast-feeding can be a very emotional experience for the mothers, especially when a mother decides she wants her life back.

Taken from "The baby whisperer solves all your problems" P125-129
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 19:40:41 pm by Vikki ~ Dylan's mommy »
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