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  • Writer's pictureMegan Dunn

Tired of pumping and want to start nursing again?

Transitioning from Bottle Feeding to Nursing This process may take some time and not every step will apply to you and your baby. Reads through these suggestions and decide which apply to you and your baby.

1. Cuddle your baby skin-to-skin often. Not only is this comforting for your baby, but it can help baby associate your chest with comfort and it helps to restart the feeding reflexes baby is born with.

2. Watch your baby, even when sleeping, for early hunger cues (rapid eye movement, wiggling) and try latching them when they’re just barely awake. Nurse baby often- every 2 hours or more, at every hunger cue- hungry babies are very impatient and have trouble learning new skills. You can lay in a comfy place with your baby, skin-to-skin all day. Some parents call this a "baby moon" because like a honeymoon, you are just trying to reconnect and cuddle with your baby.

3. Use a bottle nipple with a moderately wide base so that baby needs to open their jaw and mouth wider like when nursing. Examples of these nipples include: Evenflo Balance, LactationHub, Lansinoh NaturalWave, Pigeon, and Motif.

4. Do not allow baby to get too upset while trying to latch to the breast. If baby begins to get very fussy or cry, use the bottle like usual and try again later. Talk to and encourage your baby. While they may not understand the words, they know your voice and a gentle tone is soothing to baby. You can also try singing to your baby as they love your voice!

5. Skip the pacifier! Comfort suckling can happen on the breast instead of using a pacifier.

6. Use a nipple shield temporarily if baby needs the support. A shield can make a nipple feel firmer and shaped closer to a bottle. You can then move toward weaning from the shield later.

7. Use your hand to shape your breast into more of a mouthful. Using your thumb, gently pull back on the skin above your areolae so that your nipple is tipping up towards the roof of your baby’s mouth. Place your actual nipple right under your baby’s nose, and make sure their chin is firmly touching your breast underneath your areola. When baby opens their mouth they will need to come up and over your nipple- some people call this the "Flipple" technique.

8. If baby refuses to even try to latch to the breast, try the bait and switch. Feed using the bottle but hold baby skin-to-skin with your shirt off, then a few minutes into the feeding, as their eyes begin to close, remove the bottle then quickly and try to latch baby to the breast.

9. Think about nursing for comfort not necessarily for getting lots of milk. Baby's skills are increasing and we want to make nursing a pleasant experience. Offer nursing as a "dessert" for baby after bottle feeding.

10. Try slowing down milk flow on the bottle by tipping the bottle down for every feeding so that there is no milk in the nipple for at least the first 10-30 seconds. This will help baby learn that milk does not flow immediately and they need to suck for a while before milk flows.

This process can take some time, even short times with baby on breast is a win! Be patient with yourself and your baby throughout.

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