When it comes to making feeding decisions, try to talk all the options through as a couple, and be supportive of your partner’s wishes – even if these change after birth.
There are three ways of feeding your baby:
Breastfeeding is recommended as breast milk is the best food for your Baby. It’s always available, cheap and contains the essential nutrients, antibodies and prebiotics your baby needs.
The father can also participate in breastfeeding! The mother can express her milk and store it in a sterilized bottle. In this way, the milk will be ready to be given by the father during the night or while the mother takes a well-deserved break.
However, expressing isn’t an option for every woman, and it’s a good idea to leave it until your baby is around six to eight weeks old, as introducing a bottle too early can confuse them.
If you decide to bottlefeed, call your doctor: they will be able to offer support and advice on how to manage bottlefeeding. They will help you on how to start preparing by choosing a baby milk and buying the required equipment, such as a steriliser, bottles, teats and a bottle brush
Some women may need to combine bottlefeeding with breastfeeding. This helps ensure your baby gets the goodness they need from breast milk, and can be helpful for women who struggle to solely breastfeed. Just be aware, it is usually recommended that you breastfeed for at least six to eight weeks before introducing a bottle. This will reduce the chance of your baby developing a preference for bottlefeeding.
If you choose to do combination feed, you will need to invest in all the equipment described: those for breastfeeding and those for bottlefeeding!
Call your doctor if you need to do combination feed: they will be able to offer support and advice on how to manage combination feeding.
Introducing combination feeding: If you need to combination feed, it’s best to introduce it gradually – this ensures your partner’s breasts don’t leak or become engorged. Dropping one feed a week at first will give her breasts some time to adjust. Here are a few more tips to help you both in the early stages:
- Develop a routine with your partner so you can all adjust and get used to it
- Try different teats – latex is the closest to breast, so your baby may find it easier to adjust to
- Follow the preparation instructions before giving the bottle to your baby.
It may take some time for the mother and the baby to get used to mixed feeding. Try to be patient and not despair if it is a bit difficult to adopt this way of feeding at first.