Using Bottles

(picture of infant being bottlefed) Some mothers never use bottles. But if you want to use them, you can. It is best to wait at least four weeks to give the baby time to learn how to breastfeed well and to give your breasts time to get used to making milk. Once your baby is used to nursing, you can give bottles for some feedings without confusing your baby.

Some babies need to try a couple of times before they learn to take a bottle. If you try a bottle when your baby is very hungry, the baby may be too upset to learn how to use it.

Most babies do well with a regular nipple. Using a short, flat-ended nipple teaches some babies to bite during feedings. Try one type of nipple several times before switching to another type.

Hand Expressing and Pumping

Learning to express or pump milk takes practice. Do not worry if you only get a little milk. Many mothers get less than an ounce each time. With practice, you will be able to express more.

You can get milk to use in a bottle by hand expressing, using a hand pump, or a small electric pump. Wash your hands first.

(picture demonstrating hand expressing)Hand Expressing

Start by gently rubbing your breasts in small circles (the size of quarters). Rub all around the breast, starting at your chest and working toward your nipple.

Hold your breast in your fingers with your thumb on top. Push straight back toward your chest. Gently bring your thumb and forefinger together. Do not pinch the nipple. It may take several minutes to get the milk to flow. Keep moving your hand around your breast until you have softened all parts.

(picture demonstrating breast pump) Using a Breast Pump

Follow the directions for the breast pump you have. Just like the baby does a suck and then a swallow, the pump should do a pull and then a release.

Storing Your Milk

The first time you hand express or pump, put the milk in a clean glass or plastic bottle or disposable bottle liners. Keep adding to the bottle until you have the amount you need. If your baby weighs less than 10 pounds, put 2-3 ounces in a bottle. Once your baby weighs more than 10 pounds, make each bottle 4-6 ounces.

Store milk you will use within 48 hours in the refrigerator. To keep it longer, put it in the freezer. Thaw frozen milk when you are ready to use it.

Put the bottle of breast milk in a bowl of warm water. It will warm quickly. DO NOT WARM MILK IN A MICROWAVE OVEN. The milk can get too hot and burn the baby's mouth.

Using Infant Formula

You can breastfeed at some feedings and give infant formula at other feedings. It is best to wait until your baby is four or more weeks old and your milk supply is established before giving formula. The more formula you use, the less breast milk you make.

Your baby will grow on any of the major brands of iron-fortified formula.

Infant formula comes in three forms:

Powdered formula is the most convenient for breastfeeding mothers because one bottle can be mixed at a time.


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