How long do I need to wait after getting home from the hospital before I can start pumping my breast milk and introduce a bottle?

asked 23 Oct '10, 14:26

Jess's gravatar image

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edited 06 Nov '10, 17:37

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦

I pumped right in the hospital because we had some difficulties getting a good latch at first.

As Alexander has already stated it is recommended to wait before introducing a bottle or other nipple. Our puplic health nurses said, "until breastfeeding is well established". That being said, I know of many moms like myself who had to use a bottle early on for different reasons and their baby didn't experience nipple confusion.


answered 23 Oct '10, 20:19

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Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 24 Oct '10, 18:18

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Scott ♦♦

Great news, right away! However, the colostrum should apparently be expressed by hand, if I read the Tiny Tot correctly. We didn't actually start until about a week after we came home, but just because we didn't want to give her a bottle before. And actually it is recommended to wait even longer w/ the bottle (unless of course you want to exclusively bottle feed).

We found that using the smaller bottle nipples worked better for us, as she could put her mouth around the larger part of the silicon nipple to kind of simulate the areola. I guess that helped with not confusing the bottle and the breast, as we still want to mainly breast feed, but sometimes mom just needs some sleep and dad (me) can feed her with the bottle.

See the Tiny Tot online here, page 362, following and before.


answered 23 Oct '10, 17:54

Alexander's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

I wouldn't recommend giving a bottle until a month to avoid nipple confusion.

(27 Oct '10, 15:26) Michelle

That's what we were told too and the Tot says so too (waiting 4-6 weeks w/ bottle unless you want to exclusively bottle feed anyway). However, at some point my better half just couldn't stand it any longer as our little one was feeding every 20 minutes for more than a few hours, that we gave her one bottle, so I could do it and my better half could go to bed. That was before we even made 2 weeks :) That said, she's now ~ 4 weeks old and we are regularly giving her the bottle, so my better half can get out on her own and I can feed.

(28 Oct '10, 16:53) Alexander

Colostrum will be coming out for at least the first few days of pregnancy and breast pumps aren't good about extracting that. Remember that the size of your baby's stomach is like a walnut at birth and due to the supply-demand relationship, you will not have a lot of milk to be pumping out the first few weeks. As your baby's appetite increases, your supply will increase.

Some women can take as long as a week for their milk to "come in". And you should give yourself at least 2 weeks to get the hang of breastfeeding (esp. if this is your first time). My friend's doctor told her to wait at least 6 weeks before introducing a bottle. You want to make sure baby's jaw muscles get strong for breastfeeding as well. All these variables that are hard to measure right?

Ultimately, it's your choice. You can always stop pumping and exclusively breastfeed and vice versa whenever you want. Many women have successfully exclusively breastfed their babies after the baby has been in the NICU for weeks being fed formula through a bottle. Your dedication to breastfeeding makes all the difference. The supply-demand design is highly intelligent and your baby customizes their milk every time they nurse.

Good luck!


answered 24 Mar '11, 20:39

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edited 25 Mar '11, 11:51

My doctor said to wait a few weeks to make sure my supply had evened out; otherwise you risk oversupply. As Tammy said, you should wait about this long to introduce the bottle to avoid nipple confusion.

That being said, my guy had a couple of bottles of formula in the hospital due to some mild blood sugar issues, and he never had a problem. Some women have low supply from the get-go and they probably should start pumping early. If you have any special scenarios, talk to a lactation consultant.


answered 25 Oct '10, 13:16

Anne's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%


Yeah, Alexander, It does exist. . I've had one oversupply issue or another with all of my kids (and it doesn't always go away when engorgement passes). It just gets a lot less attention than undersupply for the obvious reasons. (it's kinda hard to complain about having too much milk to the poor woman crying because she doesn't have enough!)

(25 Oct '10, 21:21) Neen

There is not such thing as oversupply just because you breast pump. See the Tiny Tot again, page 323: "Milk production is a matter of supply and demand. Nurse your child or express milk within 6 hours of delivery to stimulate your breasts." So, if you pump, you will get more supply, as your body thinks baby needs more. And you do need more, because you want to freeze or keep the milk for a bottle, that's ok. If you stop pumping or pump less, you will get less milk. The body stops producing, when baby stops. Just do it right.

(26 Oct '10, 02:42) Alexander

You're right Alexander, oversupply just because of pumping doesn't exist, but for a woman who is predisposed to oversupply pumping often will create the kind of problems that lead to premature weaning. (Blocked milk ducts, mastisis, and secondary lactose intolerance suffered by the baby.) Which is why many Doctors advise against early pumping if they think oversupply may be an issue for the Mom. Supply "should" be completely dependent on demand, but for many women, it isn't. Some of us produce far less milk than our babies need regardless of what we do, some of us produce far more.

(26 Oct '10, 07:21) Neen

Alexander, you may be right if you immediately feed the baby the pumped milk instead of freezing it -- in that case, the supply and demand is the same. But if you hold off on bottle feeding to make sure the latch is working well, you actually are artificially increasing the demand and do risk overproduction.

(26 Oct '10, 13:12) Anne

@Anne: According to Neen's article, pumping and keeping the milk, is not the cause of oversupply on its own. They say this for possible causes: "The cause of the problem is usually a combination of an overactive letdown reflex along with a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance."

So in general, start pumping right away, but some women have to be careful.

They even say this: "Consider donating to a milk bank if there is one in your area. Some mothers with abundant supplies can pump several extra bottles each day with minimal effort. Often this is more that their baby can possibly use."

(26 Oct '10, 16:09) Alexander

As well as the possible detrimental effects on the supply-demand relationship and the possibilities of nipple confusion, both mentioned by previous posters, and neither minor points, since either could lead ultimately to breastfeeding failing. You may also like to consider that pumping and putting the milk into a bottle allow harmful bacteria into the milk - whereas breastmilk going straight from nipple into mouth contains only those live elements that are supposed to be in it.

All of these together would suggest leaving it until 1. breastfeeding is established and 2. the baby is strong enough to deal with any possible infection you may inadvertently introduce.

Precisely when this is will vary from baby to baby, but as a rough guide, at least 6 weeks?


answered 21 Mar '11, 16:42

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Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%


I know it is hard to brest feed a child, but think about it this way, wen you are breastfeeding your baby, you are not only feeding his body, also you are reinforcing the bounds between you too, you are trasfering to him the experience of touching another human beens skin, feling the worm and soft tissue of your breast.

He would be a much better person if you do this

Breastfeeding has been demonstrated to enhance psychological interactions between mothers and infants. Several studies have shown that breastfeeding benefits infants of psychologically healthy mothers by increasing bonding opportunities.10,11 For example, one noteworthy study demonstrated that breastfeeding mothers touch their infants more frequently and that greater maternal-infant touching occurred during feeding as well as during a subsequent play interaction, suggesting that the relational benefits of breastfeeding extend beyond the feeding situation.12 Other research has shown that mothers who breastfeed exhibit increased physiological and social responsiveness toward their infants,13 that breastfed infants are more alert and responsive,14 and that more reciprocity and affection is observed in breastfeeding dyads.15-17

enjoy that moment and try not to use a bottle in a long time, even if you can.Blockquote


  1. Lavelli, M., and M. Poli. Early mother-infant interaction during breast- and bottle-feeding. Infant Behavior and Development 1998; 21:667-84.

  2. Worobey, J. Development milestones related to feeding status: Evidence from the child health supplement to the 1981 national health interview survey. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 1992; 5:363-69.

  3. Kuzela, A. L., C. A. Stifter, and J. Worobey. Breastfeeding and mother-infant interactions. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology 1990; 8:185-94.

  4. Wiesenfeld, A. R., C. Zander Malatesta, P. B. Whitman et al. Psychophysiological response of breast- and bottle-feeding mothers to their infants' signals. Psychophysiology 1985; 22:79-86.

  5. Worobey, J. Feeding method and motor activity in 3-month-old human infants. Perceptual and Motor Skills 1998; 86:883-95.

  6. Bernal, J., and M. Richards. The effects of bottle and breastfeeding on infant development. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 1970; 14:247-52.

  7. Dunn, J., and M. Richards. Observations on the developing relationship between mother and baby in the neonatal period. In Studies in Mother-Infant Interaction, ed. R. Schaffer. New York: Academic Press, 1977.

  8. VanDiver, T. A. Relationship of mothers' perceptions and behavior to the duration of breastfeeding. Psychological Reports 1997; 80:1375-84.


answered 05 Nov '10, 22:23

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accept rate: 0%

edited 06 Nov '10, 17:14

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦


-1, What's wrong with you? Have you ever breastfed? Have you ever been feeding a child for hours and hours, without any time for yourself? Is it too much to ask to get some relief by pumping some breastmilk and letting daddy bond, by feeding the baby with the same health reinforcing milk baby's getting from mom, so she can finally take a shower and drink a coffee?

(06 Nov '10, 00:04) Alexander

-1: A little judgmental, don't you think? This question is not about debating the benefits of breastmilk or breastfeeding, nor should you attempt to infer the OP's motivation behind the question.

(06 Nov '10, 03:40) Kate

Sometimes no matter how much you know the benefits and would love to breastfeed there are multiple reasons why it won't or can't work. Even if it does work as Alexander points out, sometimes you need a break. Attitudes such as this perpetuate the notion that you cannot be a good mother if you are unable to breastfeed. Women, without the lectures often always feel depressed, anxious, and failures. An unhealthy, unhappy, overly stressed parent is also not good for a child.

(06 Nov '10, 14:14) Tammy ♦♦

I have spent every night and day since my child was born, taking care of my her(feeding, cleaning, bathing, etc). of course always sharing the load with my wife. i'm sorry if i was perceived as rude or arrogant, it was not my intention. It's just that there are a lot of (modern) mom's that put her appearance and well been before his child necessity. moms have been breastfeeding their child's since ever, and now, oppressed by the fast lives that we all live in the modern civilization, the are leaving this gift of live and love, relegated to some machines that milk the moms like

(08 Nov '10, 15:21) Ktstzo

an animal and then put a plastic container into the childs mouth. If you are a mom, make a little sacrifice. the rewards all worth it. and sorry again if i hurt some one. but, if you are able to breast feed your baby doit.

(08 Nov '10, 15:23) Ktstzo

Ktstzo's answer did not make a judgment about the OP's motivation. The points (s)he makes are valid and backed up with evidence. Just because they may not fit with the way some people would like the world to work there's no reason to down-vote the answer.

(21 Mar '11, 16:35) Meg Stephenson
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Asked: 23 Oct '10, 14:26

Seen: 10,960 times

Last updated: 25 Mar '11, 11:51