Bottle at Night for Breastfed Baby
Archived Q&A and Reviews
I just had a baby, three weeks ago, and am in that sleep deprived, completely incoherent state--seems like making complete sentences is a challenge. Trying to sort through all the advice in parenting/baby books is too overwhelming--so I need help! When can I start pumping milk and feeding my baby with bottles? I'm really desperate to have my husband do one feeding a night so I can sleep for 3-4 hours. I can't deal with the sleep deprivation--feel like I'm going to go crazy. How do people do this? I'm irritable, impatient, frustrated, and feel like I can't enjoy my baby. Not the blissful time I'd hoped for. So what's the deal with bottles? Any advice on this much appreciated--what kind of bottles to buy, what kind of nipples, pumping--when? how often? how much? There's just too much information in some ways, takes too much energy and mental focus to sort through right now. sleep deprived and wanting bottles
I sympathize with you whole-heartedly. I had my first baby 4 years ago but reading your note made it seem like yesterday. I always thought someone should write a book or article about what it is REALLY like coming home with a little demanding being that keeps you awake all night and you are supposed to love immediately (it took me a good 3 months to ''fall in love'' with my first baby). What you are feeling is completely normal, just that no one ever talks about it!
I had to supplement w/formula due to lack of sufficient milk supply (had previous breast reduction surgery). With both my babies, I waited at least 6 weeks before introducing a bottle and that seemed to be a good time. Doctor recommended this, and it worked well. The baby was used to breastfeeding by then, so went from breast to bottle without much of a problem. It was a long, difficult 6 weeks both times (the first was the hardest though) especially since I had to use an SNS - a contraption with a tube that I had to tape to my breast so the baby got additional formula along with my milk. But the wait was worthwhile. I came to enjoy nursing baby, especially when I was not so tired. Another thing that helped was I would sleep with baby and nurse while laying down at night, so at least I could rest.
I used Advent bottles (and still do for my 1.5 yr. old). They are supposedly good for the breast-bottle transition. I have always been happy with these, and never felt the need to try anything else.
Good luck to you, and remember, it does get eaisier. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to be supermom, and most of all, follow your instincts. The best thing I did was to not read too many books. Some other new moms I know read so many books and were so ''confused'' about what they were supposed to do, that they became depressed and distracted so didn't get to enjoy just having a baby in their arms.
Based on what I've read, and my own experience, you can start pumping when your milk supply is ''well-established''. For me, this meant when my baby was almost 2 mos. old. I pumped prior to that, but didn't get very much milk (and I use one of the best pumps--the Medela Pump in Style). I stopped pumping when she was 4 to 7 weeks old (for reasons I explain below) and found that when I started again, voila--I was getting much more milk.! p; So if you start pumping now and find you are not getting very much, stop for a few days and then try again. AT this age, your baby should probably be eating two to three ounces per meal.
As for when your baby can take a bottle, it is when breast feeding is ''well-established''. Again, this is different for every mom and baby. I will tell you my tale: our baby took a bottle of formula at 2 and 3 days old because she had lost too much weight before my milk came in. At that tender age, she went back and forth between the bottle and breast just fine. So I pumped when she was 2 to 4 weeks old so my husband could give her a bottle/day. She continued to go between breast and bottle fine. Then, we stopped giving her a bottle at about 4 or 5 weeks of age because she seemed to have become a lazy latcher on the breast. When the issue did not cure itself after three weeks w/o a bottle, I saw a lactation consultant who helped me fix the problem, which turned out NOT to be related to bottles. So I promptly started pumping again once/day (and was getting far m! ore milk than earlier) but then, our daughter refuesed the bottle! She did take it from my aunt (whom she had never met before), but would not take it from my husband or me. We finally tricked her by having her sit in a bouncy seat facing Baby Mozart DVD and reached around from behind her and stuck bottle in her mouth. This worked well enough and in a short time, we could feed her the bottle in her bouncy chair regardless of whether she could see us or not. However, she still wouldn't take it from us in our lap. To spare you the rest of the details, our baby is now almost 4 mos. old and has regressed a bit on the bottle and now acts as if she doesn't know how to suck the milk from it. So my advice to you is to give your baby a bottle now (assuming you are having no latching problems w/ the breast) and if she goes back and forth between the bottle and breast okay for a couple/three days, t! hen keep at it--don't stop using the bottle (at least a couple times/week), lest your baby be like ours and refuse/forget how to use it.
The Avent bottles with the newborn nipple work for many babies, as does the Dr. Brown bottles.
As for how much pumping and when: most women produce the most milk in the wee hours, like from 1 to 5 a.m., so pumping in the morning is good. Pump mid-way between feedings. And if you want to give only one bottle a day, you need to only pump once/day (assuming you pump enough for a feeding). Hang in there--things WILL get better! Best of luck.
I was told that I could begin bottle feeding at 4-6 weeks. In fact, assuming no problem with latch-on, etc., earlier is better because if the bottle is introduced later, it may take more work on your part before it is accepted. With my daughter, I waited for 4 months to introduce the bottle, and it was a lot of work. But with my son, we introduced at 5 weeks and it was as easy as pie. Also, it is a good idea to start pumping early because your milk production will probably become more regulated and less abundant later on. If you start now, you should have no problem feeding and then pumping the extra. I never turned over a regular feeding to my husband, but I had a huge supply for nights out, a short trip away at 7 months, and my return to work. On the sleep depriv! ation, all I can say is that it passes sooner than you think. In a few months your baby will be able to sleep longer stretches. For now, sleep when the baby sleeps and start exercising as soon as your doctor okays it (that really helps improve your mood, even when sleep is lacking).
The sleep deprivation is horrible and i felt exactly like you. I did not feel like the first three weeks (or even months for that matter) was blissful at all. In fact i remember wishing someone would just come and take my baby away for a few hours so I could just sleep. In some ways it was really terrible and I wondered if I would ever make it through the first year. The absolute best thing I did was join a Mom's group (or 2 or 3!!) because i met other Mom's going through the exact same thing. I didn't manage to do this u! ntil our baby was six weeks old though...that's how long it took me to feel good enough to get out and do something productive. So don't worry...what you are feeling is totally normal (and don't forget nursing takes up a ton of energy so not only are you sleep deprived your body is exhausted from nursing!). Unfortunately from what i understand you should wait till the baby is between 4 - 6 weeeks before introducing the bottle so breast feeding will be well established. But like everything each baby is different. We did finally introduce the bottle at around six weeks so my husband could do one feeding at night. We used the Avent system...bottles and pump. The pump we used was the Avent Isis hand pump which I thought was great. I haven't used any automatic pumps so can't comment on them. I would try to pump one bottle a day so he could have the bottle at night. The only other thing I can say again is what you are experiencing is normal and I've been through it. It does get better...really it does, so hang in there. And in the meantime if you can get any help at all...hire a sitter/cleaner etc, get a grandparent/aunt/friend to help cook meals do the laundry etc then go for it. Or, if possible, after your husband gets home and has a chance to unwind from work, or on the weekends, try and get a break somehow...even if it is just to lie down for a few hours knowing your husband will bring the baby when it is time to nurse again (not just because the baby is crying and needs a cuddle or a diaper change!). Good luck and hang in there.
3 weeks is the perfect time to start a daily bottle if breastfeeding and growth are going well. Pump in the morning (before you feed the baby) when you have lots of milk. Drink extra fluids, eat well, rest well because you'll be trying to increase milk production a bit. Keep the bottle in the fridge, warm it by putting the bottle into a bowl of hot water (test it on your arm first), give it to the baby at night. Type of nipple doesn't matter. Good type pumps are Medela Pumpinstyle, ameda's purely yours and avent isis manual.
Try to nap whenever possible and learn to breastfeed lying down so that when baby nurses at night you can doze or even go back to sleep. Good luck and hang in there! You should start feeling better but if you don't, go see your doctor and make sure you don't have postpartum depression.
You will get LOTS of feedback on this one! First, everything you are feeling is normal and WILL GET BETTER. Survive the first six weeks and you will see your life start to improve. You might want to join a mom's support group or start calling a girlfriend to get reassurance that you will live through this and that you are not the only one to feel these things. Second, with both of my kids, the first day I pumped was liberation day. Do it! My postpartum blues dissipated when I watched my husband feed the baby. I had the best luck with Nuk Newborn nipples but babies have individual tastes about nipples so try a few. My advice is to invest in a really good pump, if you can. A cheap one will make your pumping experience unpleasant. I just pumped whenever I had a free minute to do so. Drink a ton of w! ater, eat something and pump away, even if you just nursed. It is hard to find to time with a newborn so do it whenever you have a sec. Get a good book. I recommend Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott so while you are pumping you will be reminded that things could be worse!!! Good luck.
First of all - it will get better, I swear. I am now the fairly well-rested parent of a 5-month old who only gets up once a night, but who was a 3-week old who nursed every 45 minutes to an hour and half. It was a rare two hours that went by without a feeding. Anyway, IMHO, start pumping and giving that bottle now! My husband started giving our son a bottle once a night and he continued to be a great nurser at all other times. In fact, once he started sleeping longer, we discontinued the nighttime bottl! e feeding and now he refuses to drink from the bottle! one a day is fine...
First let me tell you something you will more than likely hear from many, many people - the lack of sleep with a newborn is nearly devastating, and so shocking it is enough to make you feel crazy. So, your feelings are normal. That said, just hang in there. Life will get better. You can pump, but know that you'll probably still wake when your partner does the feeding. Your milk may let down or you may just have a natural curiosity about the baby's well being. Are you getting out of bed for each feeding or just bringing the baby in with you? Even if you do not want to have a family bed, this is easiest and most restful for you when the baby's a newborn. And then when you're ready for them to sleep elsewhere, they will. Also, let things go around the house and sleep when the baby does - day or night. This was incred! ibly hard for me to do but when I finally did, I began to feel better. As hard as it is to believe, you will remember this as a precious time with your little one. There are many days I wish I had my newborn back - and I never thought I'd say that. Best of luck and a warm congratulations.
Your baby should start sleeping for 3-4 hour stretches soon. It does get better. Best not to introduce bottles until 6 weeks or later. Pumping can be just as demading, anyway. At 3 weeks, your baby is going through a growth spurt. Wait a couple days -- you might be surprized!
Hi- I'm sure you will get many responses regarding bottles but I too was in the same situation as you after my baby was born last year. It was extremely important to have my husband feed my daughter a bottle of my expressed milk because not only was I so tired but also I was starting a consulting job and needed to attend meetings which meant my daughter would be with my sister or husband and therefore would need to accept a bottle. Both my husband and I were in agreement about introducing a bottle early on and we did so at three weeks. My husband was the one who introduced the bottle and at first my daughter refused profusely. I have to give my husband credit because he endured. He kept trying and trying every night for approximately 30-40 minutes. It was difficult because she cried and we both felt terrible but it was something we needed to do so we kept at it. He walked around with! her in his arms facing out and talked to her, sang to her and all along kept trying to put the bottle in her mouth. Finally after about three days of trying and her crying she began to drink from it. From that point on my husband put my daughter to sleep with a bottle every night. It worked well for us because he bonded with his daughter and he really enjoyed spending that special time with her before she went to sleep. It also provided me with a little time to myself and a much needed rest. Good luck to you I hope this advice helps a bit.
Oh dear, I feel for you. I was in your shoes just a few short months ago -- don't worry, the rule right now is CHANGE and before you know it you and your baby will be in a whole new stage.
You should start giving your baby bottle at least once a day NOW. I cannot emphasize this enough-- I have many girlfriends with babies who end up refusing the bottle because they waited too long to introduce it or were not consistent in giving it EVERY DAY. Babies who are introduced to the bottle later may refuse, but at 3 weeks are usually pretty accepting. If you stop the bottle for a week while on vacation, don't be surprised if your baby refuses the bottle when you come back, never to take one again. I don't mean to be over-dramatic, but having a baby who does not take a bottle means you do not get a break as long as you are nursing... so it's worth it to make sure your baby learns.
You will probably get lots of advice about bottles and nipples, and the variety out there is mind-numbing, but I recommend the Playtex nurser system. We started out with Avent bottles because they seem to be the ''in'' thing these days, but we disliked them because they are so thick it takes a LONG time to warm a bottle up if you're warming stored breastmilk (I guess if you're doing formula you can just add warm water). Five minutes in a warm water bath is a long time to wait if you're dealing with a screaming, hungry baby. We switched to the Playtex nurser system with the ''drop in'' disposable plastic bags and have found them to be incredibly easy -- no bottle to wash, and the bags are so thin that they heat in about 40 seconds when placed in a hot water bath. You can buy a ''starter kit'' which comes with about 6 different types of nipples as well as the 4 and 8 ounce bottles and bags, and experiment with which nipple works best for your baby. Our baby was not picky about the nipple, but we found the silicone slow nipples to be our favorite.
Okay, the basic scoop on pumping and bottles is below. (In fact, I think I'm going to have to do this in parts, because it got long.) But first, I've gotta tell you something you aren't going to like: Bottles are probably not the solution to your craziness. They might or might not help with sleep deprivation; chances are, most of the time you'll wake up when the baby is hungry anyway. If your natural attunement to the baby doesn't wake you, your husband fumbling around probably will. And although some babies seem to sleep a bit longer after a bottle than they do after nursing, others have a much harder time sleeping because the bottle causes gas! When the baby is so young, failing to either nurse or pump around the clock could compromise your milk supply, so it's best if you don't do it too o! ften -- and when you do skip a night feeding, you're likely to get uncomfortably engorged. Plus, pumping is work. So is washing and preparing bottles. It takes time and effort you don't have to spare right now. And a lot of what you're feeling is hormonal stuff that isn't directly related to sleep deprivation anyway. That said, some parents do find that splitting the night into shifts - Mom goes to bed early, Mom sleeps through first night feeding while Dad gives a bottle, Dad goes to bed late, Mom wakes for next night feeding - helps a lot with a baby who still isn't sleeping at least a 4-5 hour stretch after the first month or so. It's worth a try. But learning to nurse side-lying so you can just take the baby to bed with you and doze while he (she? your message didn't say) eats may be a more effective solution.
I had exactly the! same experience you've described with my first child. Everyone around me, including her father, was insisting that breast feeding was the very best thing to do for my baby....meanwhile, I was exhausted from no sleep at night, I felt sick during the day, and felt nearly incapable of making my own decision. Long story short, I finally just switched her to a bottle when she was about 4-weeks-old. I was able to sleep at night (more or less), and better able to enjoy the experience of having a new baby. My daughter certainly didn't suffer from it! And I felt human again. Do what is right for YOU! You and your baby will both be glad for it.
I can totally relate to how you're feeling! I went through the same thing. In my case, I waited too long to start with the bottle and my son NEVER took a bottle. It was very frustrating and! made for a diffucult time for me for the first 5 months when he seemed to want to eat endlessly. Unfortunately, I don't have advice about types of bottles, etc., but I will tell you that you need to start the bottle at least once a day RIGHT AWAY! Many lactation experts will tell you to wait (as they told me), so that the baby won't have nipple confusion (whatever), but because I waited, I missed the opportunity. I wish you the best of luck and, don't worry, it does get better! Wish I'd started sooner
I think you can start now, if your milk supply is good. I found that the Avent Isis manual pump was the easiest to set up and use, but everyone's experience is different. Pumping can actually help prolong the breastfeeding experience by making it easier on the mom. I have a friend who was able to breastfeed her first child for 6 weeks only, because she was ! told not to pump, and she found nursing really tiresome (I know it's heresy, but I did too, frankly). With her second, she started pumping almost immediately and 8 months later, she's still giving her baby breastmilk (while holding down a full-time job). It depends on the mom, but it can be easier to pump - you know what the baby is consuming, the father (and others) can help out.
We had an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (the ''official best'' kind) come visit us when my son was two weeks old. She contradicted a lot of stuff that is on most web sites (including La Leche League), but absolutely everything she said was right on. She said that she recommends starting bottles at 2 weeks, as long as you do only one or two a day, and use Avent bottles/nipples. What my husband and I did was I pumped at bedtime, he took care of the baby from 8:00 pm - 2:00 am, and I took the 2:00 am to 8:00 am shift.
Not a huge amount of uninterrupted sleep, but much better than I had been getting.
Starting the bottle actually helped my son, who had trouble learning to nurse, to do a much better, more efficient job (went from taking 45 minutes to nurse to doing it in 15 minutes).
You dear person -- I was where you were 7 weeks ago. And it was so very very grim. Hang in there. Everyone said it would get better -- which annoyed me and gave a glimmer of hope. And it was true. But it didn't change how grim it felt at the time. I had twins and both babies use different nipples. The Avent ''0'' nipple (the newborn nipple) worked for one baby but was too fast a flow for the other baby. For him I used the Gerber Nuk Orthodontia nipple (which the lactation consultant I used preferred). There are two ''speeds'' for 0-6 months: slow flow and medium flow. The slow flow were easier for us to find at Albertsons/Longs/Target etc. The medium flow we only found at Rockridge Kids.
We had purchased Avent before their birth and then had to just try out which other nipples were going to work best. Also, we found that it has been a real benefit for everyone for my partner to feed the babies as well.
first of all - you are not alone! Having a new baby to care for, trying to care for yourself and keeping everyday life together after the birth of a baby is extremely hard. I went through the same exact thing 3.5 years ago when my first son was born (and at the time, my experience with sleep deprivation was so horrible, I never wanted to have another child again. Now I have another baby, and it's much easier...) You're right, there is a lot of advise out there - on the one end there are lots and lots of hard-core doulas and lactation consultants that want to be supportive, and on the other end mother-in-laws who swear by formula. I chose to pump and bottle feed my son and I can tell you all about it. I would pump every 3 hours in the day time and then twice/night in the very beginning. after ahile I would only pump once/night (when the baby was around 6 months or so). You can buy a used medela pump-in-style for around $75.00-100.00, and it works fine. You can also rent a hospital grade medela breast pump, which is more effective but is too large for travel.
I could go on and on - please feel free to contact me - I would really love to tak with you if you are interested. I wish I would have had someone to give me useful advice when I was desperate for sleep. When you're this tired, it's just too hard sorting through heaps of info.
I would suggest trying to pump and feed with the bottle right away. We waited too long (our daughter is 4months old now) and she refuses the bottle. She knows the difference between the bottle and the ''real'' thing!
And the sleep deprivation gets much better... along with the rewards of parenthood. Hang in there!
Hi! Sorry you are having a tough time right now, though it does get better! My baby used to nurse every two hours, 45 min at a time, so I can relate. He was also very gassy and in pain in the early weeks, so we tried a couple of different bottles. Avent didn't initially work as well (does now), and Playtex with the drop in liners worked well. Not a lot of cleaning too!
Due to problems with breastfeeding, we had to do quite a bit of bottle feeding for the first month of our baby's life. All in all, I think getting her used to a bottle was an excellent thing since she now has no problems taking them. We just pump extra in the morning and store that for her late night feeding. One bottle a day definitely did not cause her to lose her ability to suck from a breast nor did it make her ''lazy.'' We use the Avent newborn nipples (even now at 3.5 mos.) but it seems that certain babies prefer certain nipples, so if those don't work, try other ones. Good luck!
I think this is just about the right time to introduce a bottle. As long as breastfeeding is going well, your latch is good, etc. you can go ahead and try a bottle. Its good! to get the little one comfortable with the idea so that they have no problem accepting it. I think we did it at about 4 weeks. Our guy liked the Dr. Browns set-up, but they are all different. As for pumping for the nightly feeding, it never really worked for us because when my husband would feed him a bottle, I'd have to get up and pump anyways or my breasts threatened to explode. However, I know it has and can worked for many people.
As to your other question-how to survive-here are a couple of my quick points of advice (as a mama of a 5 month old):
1-This too shall pass. Remember that and perhaps adopt it as a mantra. By 6 weeks your baby will probably get the whole night/day thing down, and start sleeping in longer chunks. All of the sudden it will be 1/2 a year later and you will have virtually no memory of this time.
2-Get out of the house. Sounds counterintuitive, but I found that even if I had only slept for an hour, a walk and fresh air really helped my mental heath.
3-Get help. Can Mom or friends bring food? Can you hire a housecleaner for a couple months? If not, get takeout and eat on paper plates. Do laundry only, make hubby pick up around the house and thats it for now.
4-Limit visitors. They always come when the baby is sleeping, keep you awake, then leave just as baby is waking up. I! f you can't keep them away, feel free to say ''it was so great to see you but I have to go lay down''.
5-When the baby is sleeping, at least lay down. I had trouble with napping during the day, but you must force yourself to at least lay down while the baby sleeps. Give up TV, movies, books and anything else for a while. Lay down.
6-Nurse in bed or find some other way to sleep and nurse at the same time. If you are a family bedder, you know how to do this, but if not, and I'm not, find some way to be able to scoop the baby up, nurse and be back asleep in seconds. I spent many nights asleep in the glider with baby in my arms on the Boppy. A Co-sleeper would be even better. This will really help! Either that or get dad to get up, get baby, change if needed and deliver to you for nursing.
Sometimes if I was so tired I was going to cry, my husband would go sleep with the baby ! in another room so that I could get really solid sleep without constantly hearing/looking at the baby right next to me.
7-Sometime in the next few weeks, join a mom's group. Comisseration does wonders for the psyche somehow and the support is really, really crucial.
This is a wild time, but one that in retrospect you will cherish as a sleepy, tender time with your baby. Your baby will never be this little again-hold her (or him), smell her, kiss her and do all of this laying down in the ready to sleep position. Good luck to you-and remember this too shall pass!
I also had a baby recently (2 weeks ago) and went through a couple of extremely difficult nights of nursing. My problem was that my daughter did not seem to be satisfied and appeared to be constantly hungry. This left me exhausted, and overcome with a complete sense of helplessness. When I discussed this with our pediatrician she suggested supplementing with formula through the night, which is what i am now doing, and it has made a tremendous difference.
So, long story short, my daughter has been doing fine receiving both the breast and the bottle. It is better for you to give your child a bottle and get adequate rest then be unhappy and discouraged with your experience. Additionally, without enough rest you stand the chance of depleting your milk supply. You can discuss this with your pediatrician, but I can attest that I am not having any problems with providing both.
I feel your pain. I am a lactation consultant and still I struggled with the same issue. I have 3 boys all older now but I was sleep deprived for the better part of 7 years because none of my boys would sleep more than 3 hours at a time. A few words of caution. Babies use different muscles in their mouths to bottle feed and breastfeed. It is easier for them to 'latch on' to a bottle nipple than a mother's nipple. E! ven if your baby is already breastfeeding you run the risk of them refusing the breast when then realize how easy it is to suckle from a bottle. It doesn't take long. All new moms are sleep deprived (it comes with the territory), that being said your physical and mental health is important, if you feel that the sleep deprivation is in any way making it difficult for you to care for your baby during the day, then you may have to take that chance. If you choose to bottle feed here are a few suggestions: Have your husband feed the baby in another room. If the baby is in the same room as you they may not take to a bottle because they can smell you and they may prefer the warmth that comes from being close to you while nursing. As far as bottle types go, I had to use three different types of bottles (a different one for each child). Some babies will take any nipple, mine were very finicky. It was a matter of trial and error. I! bought the one that I thought would be best (I choose playtex nursers because I was able to squeeze out the excess air) and if they didn't take to it I bought another brand until eventually I found the one that they would take. I've already written way more than I planned. Please feel free to contact me directly if you'd like more details. Good Luck and know that one day you'll wake up feeling fully rested, your baby will be sleeping through the night. This too shall pass.
Hello (and congratulations!) tired mom, I can definitely relate to your exhaustion and frustration! I have a six week old and my husband and I started feeding our little girl bottles with expressed milk when she was three and a half weeks old. She had already established a good latch on to the breast-- so we were told to go ahead and start with the bottles around 3-4 weeks. I've been warned about nipple confusion, but also told by numerous friends not to wait beyond 4 weeks to start with the bottle or the baby might not take it. Anyway-- our baby hasn't experienced nipple confusion at all and my husband takes her every morning around 7:30 and gives her a feeding or two to allow me some uninterrupted sleep and a shower. We've been using Avent (''naturally'') bottles and nipples that are designed for different ages. My sister recommened them after using them sucessfully with her son, and we've been happy with them. (They seem to protect against the baby sucking a lot of air.)
And as far as pumping is concerned-- I usually pump sometime while my husband is feeding the baby in the morning (using the Medela system--which is great). If you want to skip a night feeding-- I'd suggest pumping before you go to bed to prevent waking up engorged. If you want any more detailed advice, I'd be happy to talk to you about it.