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  1. #1

    Introducing Bottles and Dummies to Breastfeed Babies

    My son is 18-days-old and I am exclusively breastfeeding. In general, it is going well. His latch is strong and he is gaining a healthy amount of weight (at his two week check-up he gained .5 kilograms since leaving the hospital, and up 312 grams from his birth weight). However, we had some latching issues at the beginning, forcing us to use a nipple shield. We still use the shield here and there, due to him not being about to latch after a while of trying. I let him suck for a few minutes with shield, then remove it and he'll usually latches like a pro.

    With that information in mind, I would like some insight on when and how to introduce a bottle and a dummy. I know "they" say 3-4 weeks is average, but I am afraid of creating "nipple confusion" due to our latching problems in the first few days of his life.

    Breastfeeding is important to me and I plan on continuing to do so with my son. Nonetheless, there are times in which, I would like to leave the house without feeling rushed to get home before his next feeding or run the risk of him wanting to eat before the recommended 2-3 hours time period.

    I would also appreciate some information in regards to dummy: the pros and cons, how and when to introduce and how to avoid my child becoming, so-called, addicted to them (I do not want him to be using a nappy when he is 3 or 4 years old). I have noticed that my son likes soothing himself by sucking. He will get upset and begin to cry, I put him to the breast in which, he eagerly sucks at first but then becomes frustrated or angry because of the milk. At times, I know he just wants to suck, is it too early to give him a dummy?
    Last edited by andee1924; 4th February 2012 at 04:04 AM.

  2. #2
    I would not introduce bottles or artifical nipples to a a baby that young, especially if the baby has already dealt with a difficult latch. I know it can seem overwhelming to not be able to leave for long periods of time, but I really would wait. I would try to wait until at least 6 weeks, if not a bit longer. This article gives good tips on expressing milk. In regards to dummies - if your son gets frustrated at the breast, he may actually be trying to get more milk and is frustrated that he is not getting it any, or he may be getting too much at one (oversupply). Does he pull off and choke or cough (oversupply/ forceful let down)? Or does it take a few minutes until you feel let down?

  3. #3
    Yes, I believe it's too early to introduce that to your son. Breastfeeding may not be easy during the first few days or weeks, but eventually you will be able to adjust. Just be patient and just think about the benefits it provides you and the baby. With my situation during the first few weeks, I barely go out of the house or if I do baby is really with me. Or if there's really something important that I should do and I should get out of the house, I feed him before I leave then try my best to be home before he gets hungry.

  4. #4
    Hi Andee,

    I would suggest that you try to put off introducing a dummy until at least 6 weeks in order to avoid nipple confusion AND in order to help your milk supply become well established. The more baby sucks at the breast the better your chances will be of establishing a really good milk supply.

    I had a baby that had a hard time latching and I found that if I used an electric pump to help pull the nipple out and then popped baby on as soon as I had a let down, baby would easily latch and drink.

    As for going out without baby for more than about 2 hours... I would encourage you to try to take baby everywhere you go. This may mean that you don't go as much (the body needs to heal during the first 6 weeks after birth anyway) or that you just learn a "new norm" for this season of your life. If you find you just can't take baby with you, and you need some ideas, feel free to post back and we will try to give you ideas of different things you can do or try so that you can breastfeed at every feeding. If you don't breastfeed when baby is ready to eat, you may find that your body will tell you that you need to feed your baby by having multiple let-downs or the breasts becoming engorged so you'll likely need to either pump or feed about every 2-3 hours (and sometimes more often when baby is going through a growth spurt and just wants to be at the breast all day long).

    Warm regards,

    Kate

  5. #5
    I have to agree with what the other ladies I have said. You should definitely try and wait before introducing an artificial nipple. Know that the first month of breastfeeding is absolutely the most difficult, but it does get better.

    This is a difficult time, but a brief one in the scheme of things. Give it some time and hold off on the dummy. I think you will be glad that you did.

  6. #6
    Dear andee1924,

    I hope all is going well for you and your little one. I know when my son was 18 days old I was still feeling overwhelmed with: the breastfeeding, dealing with the emotions I felt during the labour, feeling responsible for my beautiful new bundle which I felt I knew nothing about. Be nice to yourself in these early days and take it easy and try to sleep when your baby sleeps.

    I wonder if you would find meeting a lactation consultant helpful. I saw one when my son was 3 weeks old and it helped hugely with getting the latch just right.

    Have you considered using a baby carrier or sling? You can find more about this on the babywearing section of the forum. Wearing your baby close to you can help you baby to feel comforted and settled (this may be useful if you feel he is sometimes feeding just to be close to you) and enables you to have your hands free too. You can even breastfeed in it when you are out and about so wouldn't have to rush back home to feed him.

    If you want to express your breast milk; you could consider cup feeding him rather than using a bottle (to avoid nipple confusion). I am also wondering if your baby is old enough to have started sucking his thumb or fingers yet? One of the disadvantages with using a dummy is that a baby may take less milk from the breast as he learns that something else comforts him, therefore, it makes it harder to 'feed on demand'.

    You are doing a fantastic job already. I agree with mom2many that the first month is the hardest month and it will get easier. I'd love to know how you are doing this week.

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