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How to bottle-feed

Simple ideas to help introduce bottles to your baby

In Newborn

    4-minutes read

    Quick points for mum

    Try using expressed milk first for a familiar taste            

    Give your breasts time to adjust to the change

    And when supporting mum

    Offer to do the first feeds until baby gets used to bottles

    Hold the bottle at an angle to help prevent any wind

    When breastfeeding isn’t possible, you can use a bottle to feed your baby. Some babies take to it straightaway, others need a little gentle encouragement. To help you out we’ve compiled some advice on introducing a bottle.

    How to introduce a bottle

    • You can give your baby either expressed breast milk, formula milk or a combination of both
    • Some babies will refuse a bottle and expect a breastfeed if they can smell mum nearby. So try letting someone other than mum give the first feeds
    • Just in case the bottle causes upset, don’t wait until your baby is very hungry – they’ll only get more frustrated
    • Try different teats – there are lots of different types and designs, and it may take some trial and error to find the one your baby prefers
    • If your baby makes a really big fuss, take a break for a few days before trying again. Eventually your baby will get used to the bottle
    • If you’re moving to formula milk, use expressed breast milk for the first time to help your baby get used to the bottle
    • Hold the bottle at an angle, so the teat and bottleneck are always full of milk to decrease the chance of your baby getting trapped wind
    • Speak to your health advisor or public health nurse if you are thinking of introducing a formula feed, so they can advise you on an appropriate feed for you

    “My trick was letting my baby suck on my clean finger and then swapping in the bottle.”

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    When breastfeeding isn’t possible, you can use a bottle to feed your baby. Some babies take to it straightaway, others need a little gentle encouragement. To help you out we’ve compiled some advice on introducing a bottle.

    How to introduce a bottle

    • You can give your baby either expressed breast milk, formula milk or a combination of both
    • Some babies will refuse a bottle and expect a breastfeed if they can smell mum nearby. So try letting someone other than mum give the first feeds
    • Just in case the bottle causes upset, don’t wait until your baby is very hungry – they’ll only get more frustrated
    • Try different teats – there are lots of different types and designs, and it may take some trial and error to find the one your baby prefers
    • If your baby makes a really big fuss, take a break for a few days before trying again. Eventually your baby will get used to the bottle
    • If you’re moving to formula milk, use expressed breast milk for the first time to help your baby get used to the bottle
    • Hold the bottle at an angle, so the teat and bottleneck are always full of milk to decrease the chance of your baby getting trapped wind
    • Speak to your health advisor or public health nurse if you are thinking of introducing a formula feed, so they can advise you on an appropriate feed for you

    “My trick was letting my baby suck on my clean finger and then swapping in the bottle.”

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    Important advice to mothers

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. SMA® Nutrition fully supports this and continued breastfeeding, along with the introduction of complementary foods as advised by your healthcare professional.