If you are expressing breast milk with a breast pump, either to relieve breast engorgement, to get baby used to taking a bottle, to share feeding with dad, or if you are going back to work, or just prefer to feed baby with a bottle, then here are our starting tips.
To get baby to drink from a bottle, let baby play with the bottle first. (When it is empty or with cold boiled water). Then they might put it in their mouth, suck a little maybe, and must be familiar with it.
If you are expressing breast milk with a breast pump, store this in the freezer. You can store it in special breast milk storage bags or you could freeze it in the icecube tray and then put the frozen cubes into a snap lock bag in the freezer.
Just defrost a small amount of milk first, like 20mLs or so. Otherwise if your baby rejects the bottle on your first attempt all that milk is not wasted. So much work goes into getting breast milk!!
Try it at a lunch time feed. Try your baby on the bottle before baby is really really hungry, before they start crying and wind up too much. You want to try this when baby is in a calm and happy mood.
Just nudge their lip with the bottle teat, and if they open place the teat inside. baby should then suck like on the breast. Tilt the bottle upright. You should see bubbles coming through the milk.
If baby keeps mouth shut and does not drink, try a few more times. If no luck, try again tomorrow with a small amount of milk. ALWAYS DISCARD the milk after trying. Don’t reheat it.
View our breast milk storage guidelines
After baby has learned to drink from a bottle, sometimes they get lazy and will reject the bottle as they prefer to drink from mom’s breast. There are some special bottles available that help to minimise “nipple confusion” and the bottle teat works the same way as a breast. It can also help if you get Dad to feed the baby, as if baby smells that you are around they can get very picky!