Do you remember learning in Biology class about the scientist, Konrad Lorenz, who taught baby ducks to follow him around as if he were their mother. He found that there are critical windows when you can imprint behavior in ducks. OK, I'm not saying that your baby is a duck, but what most lactation consultants and pediatric nurses know is that you can imprint feeding flexibility in your newborn also during a "Magic Window".
Scientists use the term, critical window, but my patients seem to like the term, Magic Window. better. Why am I telling you this? Well, if you are a new mom and you have to return to work or know that you're going to want your baby to be able to take a bottle of pumped milk, or formula once in awhile and continue to breastfeed, you have to know about this Magic Window.In general, newborn babies are flexible and will take bottle and breast without giving up on one or the other - "IF", and this is a big "IF", you offer one bottle each day sometime between 3-6 weeks. If you wait until after 6 weeks, the chances of getting your baby to take a bottle are slim. If you only give one or 2 bottles during this time, likewise they aren't interested. However, if you provide them at least 1 bottle each day, you will most likely have a flexible, happy baby, who will be content with mommy or a bottle and switch back and forth without issue.
I know, you're worried about nipple confusion. And, this is a good question. To avoid nipple confusion, wait until breastfeeding is well established, by 2-3 weeks and then offer 1, maybe 2 bottles/day. Babies are like Goldi-locks, you can't offer the bottle too early, or too often, it has to be Just Right.
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