Susan Schulman MD FAAP Breastfeeding Expert DrMDK.com
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Susan Schulman: Some people will ask me if the baby can have any bottles at all. In the first few days of life, it's better for the mother to nurse round the clock. However, some mothers are so exhausted, specially if they had cesarean or they were up all night in labor, then the baby has to be given something, the baby can be given formula in the first couple of days of life. The fewer bottles the better, because of this problem, what would they call, nipple confusion. When they feel a very long, chewy, rubbery nipple, they prefer that to a breast nipple. So we like to get the baby used to the breast first, before we start offering them anything else. Later on, if the mother has to go out, it's best that she pumps out some milk and give the baby her own milk, by bottle, or the baby can get supplemented by formula if it's necessary. I don't want mothers to feel absolutely guilty if the baby has to be given a bottle. In the beginning just to get them set on the breast, it's best to use as few bottles as possible. Especially, the first month of life. If the baby has been nursing terrifically well for a whole month, giving them a bottle is a good idea, because you want to able to get out sometime. If you never give a bottle, then the mother is tied to the baby indefinitely. So at some point in time, between three and four weeks, we tell them to offer him a bottle, at least a couple times a week, to see if they will learn how to take it.

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