Good Morning! I hope to find everyone happy that it is FRIDAY!! 🙂
This is an incredibly complex question. It is not a “one size fits all” answer. In general, introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby will depend on how often you are home, and when you are returning to work. If your baby is not having any latch issues, then introducing a bottle can be done as soon as breastfeeding habits have been established.
For me, with my 2nd DD (3rd child), I had to return to work at 8 weeks. So I started pumping at 3 weeks, to prepare so she would only have breast milk and not have to be given formula. I was able to pump 3-4 ounces each time from each breast. So I would take the 3-4 ounces and give it to my husband in a bottle to feed her, while I was in the other room pumping the 3-4 ounces that I would freeze. I always looked at a picture of her, whether at home pumping or at work. It seemed to help me a lot. (this was also before I discovered my lactation cookies) If you do not need to return to work, and just want to be able to go out with your husband and have a sitter, I would introduce a bottle no sooner than 8 weeks, and only once or twice a week, so that you know the baby will know *how* to use it, and not feel too weird because it was different than your actual breast and nipple. For my 3rd DD (4th child) well, now that she is almost 3 years old~ I can understand why she did this, SHE is our stubborn child! BUT she would not take a bottle- she was bound and determined not to take a bottle. Luckily for me, I was able to become a SAHM after her birth on October 26th, 2009.
There was not a need to get her to take one, but when we did, it was hard. My oldest DD was helpful in taking her and trying the bottle from time to time. One thing I would say, and caution about, is to make sure that someone *other* than the Mommy feeds the bottle. So to simplify the answer, *IF* you are going back to work- between 8-12 weeks, start introducing a bottle about 4 weeks. Pumping and storing can start at 3-5 weeks. Make sure before pumping you have a comfortable chair, a pic of baby, massage your breasts before starting, and plenty of water to drink.
ALWAYS remember~ You can do it!!
“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”