Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Introducing the bottle

I have begun pumping milk so that eventually we can feed Calvin with the bottle. Unfortunately, Calvin isn't impressed with the bottle yet, and keeps choking on it. We will keep trying. Any suggestions are welcome.


At October 11, 2005 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

make sure you're using a slow-flow nipple. it makes a big difference! good luck

At October 11, 2005 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calvin might be reclining too much, so try having him sit up a bit more. You might want to try support his neck with the crook of your arm, while sitting indian style.

another option would be to have him lay down on a bed tilt his head to one side and feed him while he lays flat, a slight incline might help if he has reflux.

or if all else fails, put him in his car seat, strap him up a little looser than than you would to travel, and then feed him in there. you can easily alter the angle he sits at by tilting the seat forward or back. or try the same thing in swing. this option is good if he squirms around alot while you try and feed him. as the seat neck support will limit his head thrashing side to side. one other thing about this, it doesn't get in the way with bonding as you can get really close to him while he feeds and kiss his forehead or cheeks.

but whatever you do try lots of different positions and methods, maybe rotate thru the ones that work.

At October 11, 2005 4:05 PM, Anonymous beth said...

We did pumping and bottles for our newborn part of the time, and found that the Medela's Haberman feeder worked really well for our son. He couldn't get the hang of other bottles, but the haberman really saved us. As he got older we switched to Dr. Brown's. Something about the valve system on both that makes it easier for them. Don't know if that helps, but thought I would mention it.

By the way, you have a sweet little baby there. :) Good luck!

At October 11, 2005 4:36 PM, Anonymous Melissa said...

What a cute little boy! Congrats!

When we introduced bottles, our son had a bit of trouble too. For us, it was the Avent nipples, which I'm noticing you are using. He was just never able to use them without gagging, I suspected that it was the length of the nipples that caused a problem.

We switched to Playtex bottles (with the liners) and used the slow flow nipples, as mentioned above, and he stopped having issues. I've heard really great things about the Dr. Browns bottles too if you don't want to bother with bottle liners.

Best of luck!

At October 11, 2005 5:32 PM, Blogger Carissa said...

My first thought is that he's only a month old? So that's a little bit on the early side for introducing a bottle. No idea how nursing is going for you. If it's compleatly been smooth sailing then you may be OK with introducing a bottle this soon. Most experts recommend waiting until closer to 6 weeks. Are you under any pressure to get him to take a bottle in a certain time frame? (Return to work or school?) Try going really slowly and be patient.

Platex nipples can be really bad for some breastfed babies. They aren't shaped like the breast, like an Avent is, and can end up causing baby to suck on just the tip of mom's nipple when breastfeeding - OUCH! Most breastfed babies will do well with an Avent. I'd give it a little more work before switching nipple brands.

The others are right about the milk flow though - a breastfed baby always needs to use a slow flow/newborn nipple so that he doesn't get overwhelmed with too much milk AND so that the bottle doesn't become too easy and cause him to prefer it over breastfeeding. Make sure you have the right flow rate.

Maybe knowing a bit about how the bottle works as opposed to the breast will help you understand why he may be choking on the bottle some right now. At the breast, he has to work to get anything to come out and keep working to keep getting milk. With a bottle, you stick it in there and it just drips out. He has to work to STOP the flow of milk. So it's the opposite of what he's been doing so far, which is probably why he is choking right now. It may take him a while to get used to the idea.

Go slowly, no pressure, and offer the bottle when he isn't starving because he'll be more likely to cooperate with trying to learn something new then.

Have dad or another person offer the bottle. It may be best if mom isn't in the room. Babies are smart and may hold out for the real thing if they know it's close by. :)

Vary positions. Try holding the baby in a position that is nothing like nursing, facing out or laying propped against the caregiver's legs. If that doesn't work well, try mimicing the nursing position. Also try sitting in the spot mom normally nurses or somewhere else in the house.

Sometimes it helps for the caregiver to walk around with the baby. My first was the only one who had to take a bottle. When my hubby was teaching him, he had good success with wearing him in a front carrier and walking around with him while he got him started with the bottle.

If he gets upset or the person giving the bottle gets frustrated, let it go and try again later.

Some good links on introducing a bottle -




Hope this helps!

At October 11, 2005 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not too early to start a bottle. I started both of mine at 2 weeks, and it worked well. However, my first child did have reflux and that was the reason for the bottle. He was also choking when nursing. So I pumped breast milk, and had to thicken it with a tiny bit of rice cereal (ASK YOUR DOCTOR FIRST!), on recommendation from my Pediatrician. I also used slow flow Avent nipples. I have no idea if this helps. The thickening things was necessary in my case because my milk was too think and there was the reflux. You may want to look into that if you are really struggling.

At October 12, 2005 3:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've probably read this already, but breastfed babies are used to sucking quickly at first to start the flow of milk, then they slow down and settle into a slower pattern. Babies who then start on bottles don't know that and often choke trying to do the initial quick suck. They have to get over that learning curve to know that this is a different device!

We tried many different bottle+nipple combos with our baby. EvenFlo Elite, Avent, PlayTex Natural Shape, and a few others. And the different flow rates as mentioned. Your baby may just need some time to adjust, but you may want to try other styles; every baby is different and what works for some may not work for others.

At October 12, 2005 9:48 AM, Blogger Carissa said...

I started both of mine at 2 weeks, and it worked well. Well, that's good, I'm glad it worked for YOU and YOUR baby. Unfortunately, they don't all come with labels on their little heads to tell us which ones will do OK and which will get nipple confusion if started on the bottle too early. EXPERTS recommend waiting until around 6 weeks. EXPERTS would say that 2 weeks is too early.

NEVER GIVE A BABY CEREAL IN A BOTTLE. Even for babies with reflux, there are other options. Starting cereal in a bottle is #1 a choking hazard and #2 introducing cereal too early can lead to problems with allergies, etc. (And I work with lots of breastfeeding mothers and I've never heard of anyone's milk being "too thin" - if a doc told you that then I'd be very leary of how much education he has about breastfeeding. Most of them get about a 2 hour lecture on the topic.)

At October 12, 2005 3:44 PM, Blogger Fitzgerald said...

Wow, sounds like you are getting some great advice here. Nothing to add, but I hope Calvin gets the hang of the bottle soon.

At October 12, 2005 3:52 PM, Blogger Carissa said...

Let us know how it's going and if he's adjusting to it any better! :)


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