5 Top Tips for Bottle-Feeding

By Jennifer Bright

May 11, 2021 5 min read

Feeding your baby is a wonderful experience. That's good, because you'll be doing it often! Newborns typically feed every two to three hours, more often during growth spurts.

Newborns should be fed breast milk or infant formula only. Formula may be more nutrient-dense than breast milk, so formula-fed babies may go slightly longer periods between feedings.

Many new moms choose to supplement breastfeeding with formula for a variety of reasons, such as challenges with breastfeeding, convenience or going back to work.

Here's what our Mommy M.D.s — doctors who are also mothers — do to bottle-feed their own babies.

"I had planned to breastfeed for the first six months, but unfortunately, I was only able to breastfeed for approximately four months," says Kathleen Moline, D.O., a mom of one daughter and family physician in private practice with Central DuPage Physician Group in Winfield, Illinois. "Pumping at work was challenging, and eventually my daughter preferred bottles to breastfeeding. In parenting, what I planned or expected wasn't always the way it worked out, and this was OK."

"There's a lot of mommy guilt if you can't breastfeed, but formula is an option if you can't," says Jeannette Gonzalez Simon, M.D., a mom of two daughters, a pediatric gastroenterologist in private practice, and founder and CEO of Dr. Simon's Remedy, a line of natural products for your baby, in Essex County, New Jersey. "Formula is comparable to breast milk. It has all the necessary nutrients and vitamins your baby needs to ensure she grows well."

"For bottles and nipples, I swear by Dr. Brown's," says Sadaf T. Bhutta, M.D., a mom of a daughter and triplets and an assistant professor and the fellowship director of pediatric radiology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children's Hospital, both in Little Rock. "I had a hard time getting my baby to take a bottle. The only nipple that she would take was the one we brought home from the hospital nursery. I took that nipple to Walmart and compared it to the ones on the shelf. The closest one I could find was Dr. Brown's."

"I started out wanting to breastfeed," says Rachel S. Rohde, M.D., a mom of a daughter and a son, an associate professor at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and a partner in Michigan Orthopaedic Surgeons in Southfield, Michigan. "I was planning to pump between patients and between surgeries at work. My daughter was a champ, and even though she was growing, she wanted to nurse constantly. I was exhausted and miserable, which decreased my milk supply.

"Finally, I allowed myself to switch my baby gradually to formula. I felt guilty for a while, until I realized that we were the only people who had to be comfortable with it. It was the best decision for us, and we have no regrets. She has been growing beautifully, and thankfully, she has been healthy."

"When I went back to work after spending three wonderful months at home, I had to work fast to teach my first baby how to drink from a bottle," says Lesley Burton-Iwinski, M.D., a mom of two grown daughters and a grown son and a retired family physician in Lexington, Kentucky. "I was warned to introduce some of the feedings by bottle earlier, but I just didn't want to go to the trouble of doing that. It was so much easier to just flop down in a chair and nurse. Pumping breast milk and then putting it in a bottle and heating it just didn't seem efficient at the time."

"I had to pay the price for procrastinating, though, when my baby completely rejected the bottle," Burton-Iwinski adds. "I was to go back to work the next week, and I became frantic. I called our pediatrician's office, and the nurse suggested that I offer the bottle for five minutes at a time. I was to let my daughter cry and fuss for 20 minutes and then try again.

'When she's hungry enough, she'll take it,' the nurse assured me. On the fourth attempt, my baby grabbed the nipple of the bottle and drained the contents in record time."

Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, founding CEO of woman- and veteran-owned custom publisher Bright Communications LLC, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years" and six other books in the Mommy MD Guides series. She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: Beeki at Pixabay

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