study found that 95% of babies will become confused if given a bottle
during the first 3-4 weeks of life. For some babies it may take many
bottles before they show any nipple confusion; for others it can take
only one or two. For this reason it is best to avoid offering your baby
a bottle before he is 4 weeks of age.|
What about pacifiers, you may ask. A pacifier must be considered an
artificial nipple just as a bottle nipple is. When using a pacifier in
the early weeks, watch your baby closely for signs of nipple confusion.
If you notice any, it is best to limit or completely avoid pacifier use
until the baby is older. Signs of nipple confusion in the baby include:
pushing mother's nipple out of the mouth, crying in frustration at
latch-on or shortly thereafter, pushing back from the breast, or trying
to suck at the breast as he does with the bottle. Additionally, you may
have sore nipples.
What if supplements are medically indicated before your baby is 4 weeks
of age? There are a variety of feeding methods available that are
satisfactory alternatives to bottle feeding. Even a very young baby can
be fed with an eyedropper, feeding syringe, soft, flexible, medicine
cup, spoon, bowl, or nursing supplementer which can be used at the breast or attached to a finger. If your doctor has advised supplements, please contact a lactation consultant or La Leche League leader in your area for additional support and encouragement.
She will be able to assist you with alternative feeding methods and
maintenance of your milk supply until baby is back on your breast
Written by Becky Flora, IBCLC
Last revision: December 29, 1998
Source: La Leche League International's " The Breastfeeding Answer Book" (1997) by Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC and Julie Stock, BA, IBCLC