Nipple Confusion

Bottle Nipple Confusion – is giving baby a bottle ok?

It’s Myth Bustin' time! We are here to address common misconceptions and questions that new parents often hear!
In the comments section below let us know what you’d like in future myth busting sessions. Did you hear advice that you weren’t sure was correct or do you have any breastfeeding or pregnancy-related questions you’d like us to address?

Nipple Confusion has been around for quite some time. As an IBCLC many parents ask me if this is a real concern if they’d like to occasionally offer a pacifier or bottle.

Are you exclusively pumping and bottle feeding? Read a review on using Milk Aplenty, our lactation tincture to increase breastmilk supply, from an exclusively pumping Mom.

Bottle Nipple Confusion is really a flow preference

Well, what we’ve come to realize now is that babies really don’t get “confused” (they are much smarter than most people give them credit for!), but the concern is that they can develop what is more of a flow preference. If a baby doesn’t have to work as hard at removing milk from a bottle then they can start to get somewhat frustrated at the slower flow and increased work while nursing.

Bottles for Breastfed Babies

If offering a bottle to a breastfed baby, choose a slow-flow wide based nipple and try to mimic breastfeeding as much as possible. This includes holding baby more upright so they are across from the bottle and have to work more to pull milk out rather than it flowing freely downwards into their mouth.

Tips:

  • Take breaks if baby is drinking quickly to allow them to breath and rest slightly between sucking bursts.
  • Try to get them to open their mouths wide by tickling their upper lip gently with the nipple so you get a wider latch on the bottle.
  • Also try switching sides half-way through the bottle so baby gets used to turning their heads slightly each way just like while nursing.
  • Try and hold off on offering any artificial nipples (pacifiers and bottles) until breastfeeding is well established to prevent causing issues. This normally happens around 6 weeks but if you’re struggling in the beginning with breastfeeding then it can take a little longer.

By keeping these tips in mind and trying to more closely match bottle-feeding with they way you breastfeed you shouldn’t have to worry about your baby getting “flow preference”!

Lastly, if you’re having difficulties with breastfeeding reach out and get help early! Breastfeeding isn’t always easy and you really don’t have to do it alone 

If you’re new to breastfeeding, read our article on nursing and breastfeeding tips to set you up for success! We also recommend breastfeeding on demand for optimal milk supply.