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Combining Breast and Bottle Feeding

Gear Up

Your little sucker might have a preference when it comes to bottles, so you may need to try a few different types before you hit on the ones he likes best. Just be sure the ones you try are free of BPA, a potential toxin.

If you're hoping to pump breast milk on a regular basis (you're going back to work, for example), you'll want a double electric breast pump. While they can be pricey (they average about $300), you'll soon save that much in formula expenses. If you're going to supplement with formula and won't be expressing much, a less-expensive manual pump will do the job.

Not sure how you'll feel about pumping? Try it out by renting a hospital-grade electric pump for about $75 a month. Ask at your hospital or find locations near you at Medelabreastfeedingus.com. Another great tool to have is a super-convenient hands-free bra/bustier, which means that you can e-mail, eat lunch, or entertain your toddler--all while pumping! (Sounds strange, but trust us--it makes a huge quality-of-life difference.) Or you can get the same effect by cutting two vertical openings in a sports bra to hold your pumping cups in place.

Get Ready

The idea of "nipple confusion" (the notion that once a baby is fed from a bottle, he'll never accept the breast again) has been largely debunked. The general guideline is that you want to wait until your milk supply is established, usually around two to three weeks after birth, and your baby is feeding well before introducing a bottle. But there aren't any hard-and-fast rules. Some moms successfully introduce a bottle almost as soon as they come home from the hospital.

However, it's also possible to wait too long, says Susan Burger, a lactation consultant in New York City. Since babies start to get more socially aware around 6 weeks and become more specific about their preferences, some will balk at or even refuse the bottle if it's introduced much after this age.

A good time to introduce those first few bottles is during the second feeding of the day, when your baby is hungry but not starving, and likely to be in a good mood. It can also help to have your partner or Grandma feed your baby the first bottle, so that your boobs aren't there to tempt him.

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