If you ever want to leave the house, without your baby, for more than an hour (including to go back to work) you will need to introduce a bottle. For Aiden, we introduced the bottle at three weeks. Three weeks wasn’t necessarily a special time, it just took me that long to be settled and comfortable enough to figure out how to work the pump! Plus we were going on a road trip and thought it would be helpful to be able to offer him a bottle.
We started with a small one-ounce bottle shortly after one of his normal feedings. Dan fed him the bottle we heard was the best way so that he wouldn’t be confused or refuse it. He didn’t have any issues and took it fine. From then on, we gave him a bottle at least once a week, but usually a few times a week to make sure he was comfortable with it. He would drink warm or cold bottles, but we later found out he was a little less fussy after if we heated the bottle slightly. We use the Kiindle bottle warmer, or just run the bottle under hot water for 5-10 minutes.
At around eight weeks I was getting ready to go back to work so we purchased a few different types of bottles to see which worked best for Aiden, he was a gassy baby so we always got anti=colic bottles, they seem to make a little bit of a difference. We settled on the Munchkin Latch and Avent Natural 4 oz bottles.
UPDATE 6/25: We were just introduced to the Lansinoh Momma bottle by a lactation consultant and we have added it to our cabinet. The nipple is much more like a mom’s and is pliable and stretchy where the others are hard and definitely don’t stretch. It’s a great option for a breast fed baby.
We always feed Aiden in an upright position and use the pace feeding method, which was recommended to us by a class we took at the hospital. Another thing that we learned, that was surprising to me, was that as a baby grows he does not need more milk. The general volume stays the same. I actually tested this theory and it seems to be true — more below. (Note, if you use the Babywise Method and your baby drops feedings, total volume per feeding will go up slightly to accommodate for the dropped feeding.) Also, your baby will not need to use different nipple flows as they grow. Especially if they are breastfed, they are used to a slow flow that doesn’t change, so the bottle nipple doesn’t have to change either. We have only used a size one nipple.
So, how do you know how much to feed your baby? There are a few ways to estimate how much your baby needs to get in a day. The first/easiest way is to divide the number of feedings your baby has on an average day by 25. This will give you an estimate of the number of ounces your baby gets per feeding (25 is the average number of total ounces per day a baby drinks). Another way that you can estimate the number of ounces your baby drinks per feeding is to weigh him before the feeding, feed him and then weigh him again. The difference between the first and second weight is the number of ounces he drank. I am fortunate enough to have a breastfeeding support group at my hospital where I can go to weigh him so that is how I was able to confirm that he consistently takes in about the same amount of milk. Another variation, if you are not able to weigh your baby on a baby scale, is to weigh yourself without baby then add the baby and subtract to get a base weight then feed and repeat and subtract the two weights to get an estimate. If you are willing to spend the money (or have a baby shower coming up) you could get the Hatch Baby scale. This scale/baby changing “pad” tracks growth, feedings, diapers, and sleep on a smartphone. I would definitely put it on my registry if I could go back and do it again.
To clean the bottles we use the Baby Brezza Sterilizer. When we are done with bottles we throw them in soapy water and at the end of the day put everything in the sterilizer and thirty minutes later it’s done. It’s helpful that we don’t have to wait until we run the dishwasher for all the bottles to be clean.