When is it okay to transition a baby from breastfeeding to feeding breastmilk from a bottle?

When is it okay to transition a baby from breastfeeding to feeding breastmilk from a bottle?

This is one of the hardest questions plaguing mothers who simply may have to make the switch. For whatever reason, most mothers struggle with a number of issues related to swapping their little one from breast to pumped breast milk in a bottle.

Parents or other older relatives and friends may be judgmental. With the rise of social media groups, peer pressure may be an issue. Transitioning your baby from breast to bottle is a personal decision outside of any doctor ordered medical risks. Don't let public opinion sway you.


transitioning from breastfeeding to bottle feeding

There is no perfect age to transition a child from breast to bottle.

Many babies make the switch within the first few weeks of life due to parents leaving to go back to work and they suffer no issues from it.

There are also extreme breast feeders who are still breast feeding toddlers.

Age largely has to do with the baby and the mother. If the mother starts having issues with production, her body may be telling her it's time to start weaning the baby, whether it actually is or not.

Sometimes women have better luck with pumping than with a tiny mouth latched on, for one reason or another.

If pumping works better for you, there is no set age to transfer your baby on to a bottle.

Often times mothers with teething youngsters decide enough is enough.

If your child is a biter or is injuring you, speak to your doctor about your options immediately.

There is no reason to endure possible permanent injury to feed a child if they will take a bottle instead.

After all, you may need those for another sweet little one, one day in the future.

Latching On Issues

how to get a breastfeeding baby to take a bottle

Image Via: My Baby's Heartbeat Bear

Some children simply do not have a good suction. This can be because of several issues, but to be perfectly honest, some kids are just lazy. Your gallant author was one of those lazy ones, in fact :).

This can be seen across the board in every species known to man.

Though there are sweet licks and rubs that can be applied to nipples to entice a latch, sometimes these don't work either.

This does not make it your fault, and it does not mean that your baby is in some way against nursing. Don't take it personally.

Sometimes little ones just don't like the breast.

If a baby refuses the breast at multiple feedings or cannot get a good grip, it's time for a doctor visit. If the doctor cannot find anything wrong with the baby, trying a bottle is a good way to look for other issues.

Sometimes bottles can show medical issues easier since you can see how the child is drinking and at what rate due to the clear material of the bottle.

Some children just prefer a different way of feeding, and that isn't their or your fault

Medical Problems

Children with cleft palettes, sinus or ear problems, or tongue malformations may have serious issues suckling from a breast.

While the former two are huge medical problems that must be seen to immediately, the latter is often overlooked or simply ignored.

That says nothing of mothers with too-small ducts, breasts that are too heavy or shaped wrong for comfortable breast feeding, mastitis or any other plethora of problems.

Those who have had breast reduction or implant surgeries may suffer from too much scar tissue for the baby to properly feed.

Or some mothers simply may just not make enough milk without pumping no matter what they do.

Medical problems come in all shapes and sizes, with children sometimes requiring a bottle to survive.

Though it may be difficult to cope with or understand why, it's always best to do what your doctor recommends.

If your child has a medical problem that makes it difficult for them to suckle at the breast, and your doctor recommends a bottle instead, it's time to make the switch.

Parental Availability

As adults without children, we take a lot for granted. Freedom of availability doesn't rely on whether or not the baby may need something.

Work schedules that once were so simple 9 to 5 grinds now become laborious afternoon routines trying to make sure that your new baby has enough milk.

If mom is back to work before the baby weans, the vast majority of businesses will not allow the baby to come with her.

They also won't give her enough breaks to pump milk and run it back to the day care or back home.

It's best to pump when you have a chance and freeze. This means that it's time to introduce your little one to a bottle.

Sometimes work isn't a factor. Maybe mom and dad just need a break from their little bundle of joy.

It's better to go ahead and introduce a bottle if you think you'll be away from your child, even infrequently, so that pumped breast milk can be used in your absence.

When you do that is up to you, but for those who are not absolutely against bottles, the earlier the better.

It gives a baby more time to get used to the difference between rubber nipple and natural feedings.

After all of this I think we've come to the conclusion that transitioning a baby from the breast to the bottle is just a personal choice.

Beyond doctor's orders, the only reason to do it is convenience.

If out shopping or at work, it's far easier to give the baby a bottle and continue on with your day than it is to stop and have to hold them while they breast feed.

That doesn't mean that your baby isn't your number one priority. The child clearly is, but you do have other things to do sometimes, and that may mean that a bottle has to come into play.

Questions? Comments? We're happy to help and happy to hear them. Leave'em below!

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