Breastfeeding A to Z

Giving Your Baby Something Besides Breastmilk

Information listed by baby’s age

Delivery, Week 1, Week 2

If you need to be away from your baby, you can express breastmilk and leave it for them, or try to feed them before you leave and be back before they would eat again. You can also just take them with you.

Exclusively breastfeeding offers your baby many protective effects that will be altered if something besides breastmilk is given. (1)

If you travel or need to miss a feeding, you can express your breastmilk for use in a cup or special nursing system until your baby is 2-4 weeks old gaining weight and breastfeeding is going well. If you offer a bottle before that time baby may have difficulty going back to the breast. Sucking on a bottle is very different than nursing at the breast. Sometimes it can be confusing to your baby until they are well established with breastfeeding.

If you would need to be hospitalized, often you can take your baby and breastfeed them or use a breast pump at the hospital (depending on the situation) as long as someone cares for the baby in your room. Often the hospital may have an electric breast pump to use. Ask the nursing staff.

  1. Lawrence, RA, Lawrence, RM, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Professional, 7th edition, Maryland Heights, MO, Elsevier Mosby, 2011, p 183.

Week 3

Usually at three weeks, if baby is back to birth weight and breastfeeding is going well, you can think about introducing a bottle if desired.  This is not necessary, but if you will need to leave your baby and need them to be able to take a bottle, this is the time to begin practicing.  It is preferred breastmilk be offered if at all possible, especially if you have a family history of allergies.  If you have checked out the baby aisle at the store you know there are a lot of choices of artificial baby milk (formula).  Check with your healthcare provider before changing your baby’s diet and for help in determining what and how much to give your baby.

If you would like more information about making the decision to give your baby something besides breastmilk the following articles might be of interest:

http://massbreastfeeding.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Just-One-Bottle-2014.pdf

http://www.bellybeginnings.com/Handouts/EvenTheOccasionalBottle.pdf