Getting my baby to go from breastfeeding to bottle feeding has been a difficult task! Originailly my goal was just to be able to pump and allow someone else to feed baby if necessary. I have a 2 year old as well and I had visions of being about to go on mommy/toddler dates with my guy and leave baby with my husband, which would mean leaving him with a bottle. I wanted to wait until my son was at least 5 weeks old to introduce the bottle to avoid nipple confusion (as suggested by doctor and lactation consultant), but once I finally did, it took 2 long months to get him to finally take a bottle! SHEESH!
So I decided to compile a list of helpful tips to hopefully make your breast to bottle journey a little easier!
Who is giving baby the bottle?
This may vary from one baby to the next but some little ones will not take a bottle from the breastfeeding mother, they will smell the breastmilk and want to nurse. You can try different positions (see below in "where") to help this OR if possible start introducing the bottle by having your spouse and or family member give baby the bottle while you are not in the room.
If you are home alone with baby and don't have the option to have someone else give baby bottle, you could prop baby up in a rock and play (like THIS one) or just use your nursing pillow (THIS one is my favorite) to hold baby at the appropriate angle (to prevent ear infections) and prevent baby from thinking it's nursing time!
What type of bottle, what goes in the bottle, what is the flow of the nipple?
These were probably the areas I tested the most to try to get Haines to take a bottle.
Here are the TOP BOTTLES I found that people had positive remarks about consistently in my research:
Dr. Browns Narrow Neck Bottles ---(we use this one)
Lansinoh Breastmilk feeding bottle
Playtex nurser with drop ins
As far as what goes in the bottle goes, if baby is breastfed I would start with only breastmilk then slowly start to add in formula if necessary/when ready. The trick for my guy was to warm the breastmilk slightly.
The flow of the nipple was crucial too. If you have the premie or newborn bottle nipples, the flow could be too slow, causing baby to get frustrated, you can probably tell this if baby is sucking frantically and pulling off and crying. If the flow is too fast, it is pretty obvious because milk will be spilling out the sides of the baby's mouth and baby may gag/choke.
Helpful tip: If you have a pump, take time to pump a bit and learn your natural rhythm, this will help you best determine which nipple flow is good for your baby.
Where is baby being fed, and how is baby being held during feeding?
I have heard some moms cannot feed their baby a bottle where they usually nurse. For instance if you always nurse baby in the same chair in the nursery, you might want to try a different location so baby doesn't assume its time to nurse and get frustrated when you try the bottle.
I think its best to hold the breastfed baby out away from your chest when bottle feeding, just to affirm that nursing is not going to take place.
I had to feed Haines while bouncing on an exercise ball for the first couple weeks. The bouncing helped soothe him. Crazy kid! :) heres what I have: Ball 55cm
The timing of feeding time is important: not too hungry and not only snacking.
Haines fed best from the bottle at the 3 hour mark. 3 hours from his last feeding, after a great nap, he would take 3-4 ounces from the bottle. If I tried to feed him sooner, he would only snack 1-2 oz. If I waited too long, he would get frustrated and want to only nurse.
I wanted to take a second and remind you and myself why I was trying to hard to get my baby to take a bottle. If he preferred breastfeeding, why would I want to stop that? Well my why will probably be different than most of your "Why's", the important thing is that you prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the weaning process, since you have started this sweet bond of nursing your babe it may be hard to let that go. Just remind yourself of your WHY constantly and eventually your baby will move forward, take the bottle, and continue to grow up strong and healthy.
Best of luck!