Tips To Help Introduce Your Baby To The Bottle

Readers of this blog may recall that my own attempts at breastfeeding were not particularly successful and, after 10 weeks with sitting with Caitlin for what seemed like hours, I swopped to formula feed and never looked back.  Caitlin wasn’t putting on enough weight and as soon as I made the change she started to really thrive. But it’s understandable to be nervous about making the switch to bottle feeding a breastfed baby.

bottle feeding a breastfed baby - baby drinking water from a bottle

Perhaps the problem was, as an older mum at 43, my milk just wasn’t up to the job.  When Ieuan was born just 19 months later, he went straight on to formula.

At some point, though, most children learn to take a bottle and it can be a bit of a daunting experience – particularly if you need them to learn this new skill in a bit of a rush.

There are many reasons why you want to introduce your baby to a bottle. You might 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 ensure they have some milk while you’re away from them.

Switching to bottle feeding a breastfed baby

Whatever the reason, here are some useful tips from Tommee Tippee whose bottles got both my two through their early years.

The guide sets out how to go about giving your baby their first bottle, top tips in the early stages of introducing your little one to a bottle, and tactics that you can use when your child 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 and, it’s likely to take them some time to get used to this new feeling.

To help, give your child their first few bottles when they are relaxed and happy as opposed to instances when they’re hungry and more likely to want to get fed by a method that they are used to.

It is also a good idea to offer your baby a bottle in the evening once their regular feeding has been complete — you don’t need to give them that much milk in this instance, as it will be more about getting your child used to the feel of a bottle’s nipple.

Get someone else to introduce the first few bottle feeds

Another tip is to get someone else to give your baby their first few feeds — the dad or a friend or family member — as that way your baby will not be near you and smelling your breast milk.

It may also be best if the mother is out of the house while the baby is being bottle fed, as many youngsters can smell their mother even from a distance. You only need to do this a handful of times until your child is used to drinking from a bottle.

Don’t overdo it

Refrain from forcing 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 child will be more likely to rebel if they aren’t enjoying their bottle in the early stages.

bottle feeding a breastfed baby - sleeping baby wrapped in a blue blanket

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.

You should take the time to find a suitable product for your baby. A bottle with a nipple that is similar to your child’s dummy will likely make it more appealing to your little one, for instance. A slow-flow nipple can get around times when your baby gags due to regular bottle nipples delivering 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 your child tastes it and enjoys the familiar taste.

Let your baby take their time

Let your infant get used to their new bottle or cup in their own time too. Don’t be quick to take the product 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 in a car seat, 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 know it.  The changeover to bottle feeding a breastfed baby just takes a little time.

*PR Collaboration. Post contains an affiliate link.

Review & Giveaway: What Does Baby Want? A Book On Breastfeeding For Kids

This is a really cute and whimsical board book about breastfeeding.  It has been created for the enjoyment and engagement of babies, toddlers and adults by Japan’s top design duo, Tupera Tupera.

What Does Baby Want? Board Book by Tupera Tupera

It’s a short but sweet story that features a hungry baby and a breastfeeding mother. The baby won’t be soothed by a teddy, ball or even a shiny tambourine and eventually, mum realises that the only thing baby wants is milk.

The design of the book is amusing because when open it resembles two breast-shaped rounds and it provides a handy tool for parents to explain to young ones why their younger sibling might be rather noisy and unwilling to settle down.

Inner pages of What Does Baby Want Board Book by Tupera Tupera

The book is aimed at nursing babies and their older siblings, parents and parents to be and, the authors suggest, every child who has a doll to feed.

As World Breastfeeding Week approaches (1-7 August), this little book is a great conversation starter and, let’s be honest, the topic certainly has the potential to polarise opinion among nursing mothers and parents in general.

Baby on the breast - What Does Baby Want? Board Book By Tupera Tupera

I have written before about my own breast-feeding challenges and whilst “What Does Baby Want” would make a lovely gift, I would hesitate to call it an ideal baby shower gift.  Firstly because I’m not a great fan of the American baby shower tradition which seems to have come over here and secondly because I am always wary of making any mother feel that she has to breast feed.

If you would like to make your own mind up, I also have 2 copies to give away.  Entry is via the rafflecopter and the usual terms and conditions apply which you can find on my competitions page. UK entrants only.  The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday 30th July.

Back cover of What Does Baby Want Board Book By Tupera Tupera

What Does Baby Want? is published by Phaidon as a shape board book RRP £8.95 22 pages.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get ready for the great outdoors this summer with Milton

Festival and camping season is approaching as is, hopefully, the warmer weather. And if you are taking your little ones with you, hygiene is even more important.

Milton, the UK’s number one sterilising and hygiene expert has a great range of travel essentials and read on because there’s a giveaway coming up.

woman camping blowing bubbles outside her tent

It can be a nightmare ensuring that your kids’ feeding equipment is properly sterilised but it’s easy to use the trusted Milton Cold Water Method even away from the safety of your own home. Milton is clinically proven to kill 99.9% of germs, including bacteria, fungi and viruses, leaving items sterile, and keeping nasty bugs at bay.

Here’s what you can use.

The Milton Solo Travel Steriliser is 2-in-1 microwave or cold water steriliser, ideal for sterilising when on the go. It cleans and sterilises bottles, teethers, plastic toys, breastfeeding equipment and other small baby equipment from 2 minutes in the microwave and in 15 minutes for cold water. RRP: £10.99.

Milton Combi Steriliser


The Milton Combi Microwave or Cold Water Steriliser – not only will this clean and sterilise bottles from 2 minutes in the microwave, you can also take it camping because it can be used for cold water sterilisation, killing up to 99.9% of bacteria in just 15 minutes.  Back home, it’s small enough to fit into most microwaves but will take up to 5 bottles from any brand. RRP: £24.99

Practical and portable, Milton Sterilising Tablets are ideal to use when travelling. Made up with regular tap water, items are sterilised in just 15 minutes and stay sterile in the solution for 24 hours – meaning you can sterilise baby’s feeding equipment again and again. RRP: 2.46/ 28 tablets.

Milton Sterilising Fluid (500ml/£2.35) is a camping essential, as not only can it be used to sterilise baby’s feeding equipment, but you can also use it to clean the following:

· Outside of tents and gazebos
· Caravans inside and out
· Camp kitchens, even the outside kind exposed to all weathers
· Paddling pools

Camping is tremendous fun but let’s face it, it can get pretty messy so keep you family safe and well with Milton’s range of hygiene products.

Banish mucky fingers with Milton Antibacterial Hand Gel. Ideal for keeping hands clean and fresh when you are on the go and even when in the middle of a field! Kills 99.9% of germs in seconds, non-sticky and dries quickly. With an added moisturising agent to protect the skin, the gel is gentle, with a pleasant fragrance. RRP £2.20/100ml.

New and improved Milton Antibacterial Surface Wipes with ‘no rinse’ & food safe formula means parents can use them to wipe clean soothers, teats, teething rings plates and cutlery without worrying about the need to rinse afterwards. The formula is bleach free, preservative free and fragrance free, they kill germs quickly and leave no residue or odour so they are perfect for disinfecting babies’ small accessories as well as their general environment including high chairs, potties, changing mats, car seats, and buggy chairs/handles. RRP £2.19.

If you go camping it’s good to know you can keep everything hygenically clean with the minimum of fuss.

Milton Hygiene Kit


Breast is Best For Baby But Not Always Best For Mum

Breastfeeding is a topic that tends to polarise opinion between mums and, indeed, the medical establishment. There are those who insist it is the ONLY way to feed and then there are those who are far more relaxed about offering formula from the start.

Given the furore surrounding the latest suggestion by the NHS that a financial incentive of £200 should be offered to new mums to encourage them to breastfeed, I thought I’d record my experience.

breastfeeding - Caitlin at 9 months in August 2008
Caitlin at 9 months in August 2008

From this week, new mums in parts of Yorkshire and Derbyshire will be offered £120 in high street shopping vouchers if they sign up to declare they have breastfed their baby for 6 weeks.  They will get the £80 balance if they continue to breastfeed for six months.  If the scheme is successful, it has been mooted to roll it out nationwide.

Leaving aside the stunning flaw in this ‘cunning plan’ – i.e. that there is no actual way i) to prove the babies are breastfed or ii) that the money is not spent on booze and fags, isn’t this the Nanny State going too far?

When I was pregnant with Caitlin in 2007 there was a subtle, continuous pressure from nursing and midwifery staff to breastfeed.  I dutifully went to the ante-natal classes for a session on breastfeeding.  I was fully prepared to give Caitlin the best start I could.  The actual experience was not the milky Mother Earth experience I was expecting.

For a start, I found it really difficult to express – it hurt and I had the midwife round to the house twice (she was patience personified) to explain how to position my nipple correctly. You do not, as I thought, just stick the baby on to your breast and let them get on with it.

After ten weeks of sitting through entire episodes of Midsomer Murders during which Caitlin seemed to suck constantly but ineffectively, I became worried as her weight began to drop.  I was clearly producing insufficient milk – possibly due to my age of 43 – I am an older mum.

After 10 weeks I was really worried and it took one particularly down-to-earth midwife to say “look, you don’t need our permission to stop breastfeeding.  If it’s not working, try formula.”.  Even though I felt like a failure,  I swopped to SMA formula and Caitlin thrived from then on.

When Ieuan was born in 2009, I put him on formula straight away. I was then 45 and decided that since my first attempt at breastfeeding hadn’t been a success, I didn’t want to risk a similar experience with him.  And you know what?  All the extra stress and upset I went through with Caitlin meant I had less time to bond with her, to cuddle her without the extra worry – just to spend those precious first moments enjoying my new baby.  She was born by emergency caesarean so I had to recover from the operation at the same time as wrestle with breastfeeding.

I don’t think you can dictate to a new mum what is right for her.  And I object to making women who don’t want to or for whatever reason can’t breastfeed, feel guilty or ‘less’ – and Lord knows there are enough “sainted” mothers who look down on those of us who have had caesareans as somehow having copped out without adding breastfeeding into the mix.

As for offering £200 to enforce breastfeeding, frankly, I would rather see the money put towards improving the education of young people about contraception.  And in any case, given the pressure, A&E units are under and given yesterday’s news that the number of drop-in medical centres is decreasing thus putting extra pressure on A&E or the difficulty the NHS seems to be having to recruit midwives, surely this is where the money should be going.

To new mums out there I say, don’t feel guilty.  You are absolutely NOT a failure. Do what you feel is right. As my feisty midwife said to me – if mum is happy, the baby is happy.