Q: I'm breastfeeding my baby and soon will be going back to work. I want to make it easier on my baby and the babysitter by starting to give her a bottle. Any tips?
A: Making a switch from the breast to the bottle can be quite a transition for you and your baby. One idea to help ease that transition, especially when you are headed back to work, is to plan ahead and if possible, allow for at least a few weeks to successfully make the transition. Some babies will transition more quickly and easily than others, so it’s very important for everyone involved to be patient and provide a wonderful, calm, and comfortable feeding environment. Initially, you may want to have your babysitter feed your baby, during a usual time that you usually nurse, when you’re out of the room. Although it’s hard to read a baby’s mind, it’s possible that if you’re too close (physically) to your baby during the feeding—at least initially—she may associate you with food and refuse or have difficulty taking the bottle. You can do this for a few days and then add another bottle until your baby’s feeding routine mimics that of when you’ll be at work.
The transition from breast to bottle is also a wonderful opportunity to allow others—your baby’s dad, grandparents, and even friends—to bond with your baby. You may feel jealous sometimes (as I did) when others feed your infant, but allowing them to help you feed and take of your baby gives you a much needed rest and break from the demands of childcare and can help your baby develop healthy relationships with others.