Bonding While Bottle Feeding: How to Maintain the Intimacy

There’s nothing quite like the bond between mother and child. In fact, it’s arguably the most intimate connection possible between two living beings. It’s only natural that when time comes for a mother to begin to resume her duties outside the nursery, the fear of tarnishing that bond begins to rise. As a child moves from breastfeeding to bottle feeding, the question becomes even more real. Is it possible to maintain that sacred bond while introducing baby to the bottle?

Of course it is; just as it’s possible to maintain that bond as a child enters preschool, goes on his or her first sleepover, or even treks off to college.  The key lies in how it’s done – gradually and with great care.

Start Slow

One popular means for making this particular transition is with combination feeding or partial weaning. Just like the name implies, this process involves introducing bottle feedings while still continuing with regular breastfeeding. You can begin as early as six weeks or once you establish a regular breastfeeding schedule.

It may take time for your baby to accept milk from a bottle, but patience is key. So long as the mother is introducing the bottle, the likelihood that the child will accept it is much greater.

At the same time, because daily breastfeeding sessions are part of the partial weaning process, a new mother can reinforce that intimate bond. In fact, alleviating the stress of multiple breastfeeding sessions throughout the day actually allows the mother to be more present and available to connect with her child.

Before beginning any change, however, be sure to talk to your doctor to make sure it’s appropriate for you and your little one. If you do opt for formula, be particularly discerning. Choose FDA-approved organic infant formula, such as HIPP formula, Holle formula, and Lebenswert formula.

Make Each Feeding Count

Another way to solidify the bond while bottle feeding is to make each feeding – whether from breast or bottle – more than just an act of physical nourishment. Think of it like a practice of meditation or mindfulness, a sort of “date” between you and your child.

Pick times when you’re both relaxed, create a soothing environment, and maybe even put on some calming music to reinforce a loving atmosphere each time you feed. This will ensure that each act of feeding between mother and child, even if it is less frequent, is still special.

A few more tips include turning off your television, putting away your phone and all other distractions, talking to your baby, and putting in the effort to make it a special time just for the two of you. Removing excess clothing and encouraging skin-to-skin contact also strengthens the intimate feel of each feeding. The closer you can get to your baby, the better.

Lastly, leave your guilt behind. Many moms struggle with feeling of failure because they cannot solely rely in breastfeeding alone for whatever reasons. Remember that moms are humans too, and no matter why you chose to introduce a bottle, you are no less of a loving parent for doing so. Those feelings of guilt only take away from your time with your child and should be left outside the nursery.

Just remember that introducing bottle feeding into your baby’s life is a necessary part of a growing child’s life – and yours. The bond that exists between mother and child is and always will be a sacred one.  Adding bottle doesn’t mean you are losing or lessening that connection.

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