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Newborn and Infant Care

Breast milk supply (second reply)

02/12/1999

Question:

Thank you for the reply to the last question I asked. As you had mentioned it wasn't exactly the answer I was looking for. However the information was very useful. The real question that I was wondering is " What is the standard lenght of time that it takes to get a good established routine of breastfeeding, so as to not cause confusion when you offer a bottle." The thing is is that I am due March 27 and have a court case scheduled for early May. I will be in court for 3 days and have to probably get a sitter. Will it affect my child to have so many bottle feedings so early? Will he loos interest in my breast? I don't want to have to pump all day every day if he does. I do not prefer formula since my first child had such a hard time with it. I hope this is a better way of explaining what I mean. THANK YOU...

Answer:

It is a good idea to avoid introducing a bottle until a baby has demonstrated that she/he can consistently latch-on and suckle effectively at the breast and milk production is well established. It usually takes about 2-3 weeks for a baby to learn to consistently breastfeed effectively and for a mother to establish appropriate milk production. So wait at least three weeks if you can. By then most babies have developed good breastfeeding patterns and are unlikely to become confused when occasionally offered something other than the breast. (It may take a little longer if a baby has a slow breastfeeding start after birth.)

If you introduce a bottle at some point, a slow-flow nipple/teat on any bottle may be a better choice for breastfed babies. These teats usually state "slow flow" on the packaging. Many mothers recommend the Avent bottle system--a "slow flow" variety is available and a baby "latches" onto this teat in a way that is more similar to the breast than with many other bottle teats. However, other slow-flow brands also work. (To test a teat for slow flow, put water in a bottle and tip it at the angle used for feeding. Between drips from the teat, you should be able to slowly count to at least "three.")

To avoid confusing an infant, optimize the benefits of breastmilk and maintain adequate milk production, keep supplementary bottles to a minimum. Be sure to breastfeed (and/or pump with a hospital-grade, electric breast pump) at least 8 times in 24 hours for your baby's first several months. Research indicates that introducing too many bottles too soon is associated with early weaning from the breast and inadequate breastmilk production.

Don't hesitate to contact Net Wellness again if you have additional questions. Enjoy your new little one....

Karen Kerkhoff Gromada, MSN, RN, IBCLC *Editor's note: Sorry for the delay in posting this response. We had a problem with our new software.

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Response by:

Karen Kerkhoff Gromada, MSN, RN, IBCLC
Adjunct Clinical Instructor
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati