i have another question about BF!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
i have another question about BF!
Sat, 04-19-2003 - 11:28am
OK, I was talking to a friend of mine that had a baby 11 weeks ago. I asked her all about breastfeeding and how it went for her. I am planning on breastfeeding, but there is one part about BF that bothers me, and that is the fact that others won't be able to feed/bond with my baby if my baby is exclusively BF. And I am so afraid (after reading my books)about the whole nipple confusion thing that I am petrified to feed with a bottle for fear that he/she won't go back to breast.

If I had a choice, I would love to be able to BF and pump and be able to go back and forth without fear of nipple confusion.

So I asked my friend about it because she works 3 days a week and pumps. She told me her doctor said 'nipple confusion is a load of rubbish'. And that he had never seen BF not work out because of it. My friend herself said she had no problems going back and forth.

But this is why Bf gets so confusing. I feel that sometimes I can't differentiate from advice that goes "way overboard" with advice that may be more accurate.

So my question to you guys is, How many of you really had/have that problem?

What did you do about it?

Did it ever get so bad for anyone here that they couldn't continue with BF?


(sorry for all of the novice questions!)

Take care!



Avatar for luv_my_boyz
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Sat, 04-19-2003 - 12:13pm
Nipple confusion does happen! Plenty of lactation nurses have seen it. Also, pediatricians are not always a great source of breastfeeding advice- many of them actually quite clueless. "Human lactation" is a discipline in and of itself- many pediatricians haven't taken the time to become properly educated. Sometimes their education even comes from the formula companies (talk about a conflict of interest).

To avoid nipple confusion, wait at least 6 weeks before you introduce an artifical nipple. Also, consider that there are other ways for dad, siblings, grandparents etc. to bond. My husband burps our baby, bathes him, hugs him and cuddles him but doesn't feed him. If God (or mother nature) intended that dads needed to feed in order to be bonded, he would've given them breasts too!

Here is what Dr. Jack Newman says about pediatricians and nipple confusion:

Myth- There is no such thing as nipple confusion.

Not true! The baby is not confused, though, the baby knows exactly what he wants. A baby who is getting slow flow from the breast and then gets rapid flow from a bottle will figure that one out pretty quickly. A baby who has had only the breast for 3 or 4 months is unlikely to take the bottle. Some babies prefer the right or left breast to the other. Bottle-fed babies often prefer one artificial nipple to another. So there is such a thing as preferring one nipple to another. The only question is how quickly it can occur. Given the right set of circumstances, the preference can occur after one or two bottles. The baby having difficulties latching on may never have had an artificial nipple, but the introduction of an artificial nipple rarely improves the situation, and often makes it much worse. Note that many who say there is no such thing as nipple confusion also advise the mother to start a bottle early so that the baby will not refuse it.

Myth- Physicians know a lot about breastfeeding.

Not true! Obviously, there are exceptions. However, very few physicians trained in North America or Western Europe learned anything at all about breastfeeding in medical school. Even fewer learned about the practical aspects of helping mothers start breastfeeding and helping them maintain breastfeeding. After medical school, most of the information physicians get regarding infant feeding comes from formula company representatives or advertisements.

Myth- Pediatricians, at least, know a lot about breastfeeding.

Not true! Obviously, there are exceptions. However, in their post medical school training (residency), most pediatricians learned nothing formally about breastfeeding, and what they picked up in passing was often wrong. To many trainees in pediatrics, breastfeeding is seen as an "obstacle to the good medical care" of hospitalized babies.

Here is a link to an article Dr. Newman wrote about how to know whether or not your dr. is supportive of breastfeeding:


Hope I've helped!


Avatar for all_girls4me
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-19-2003 - 2:00pm
I have 3 girls and none of them had nipple confusion. I even did the big "no no" and gave them formula at night and BF during the day, and they still were fine with it. DH would get up at and could feed the baby, which was a definite plus in my book. So not only did they not have nipple confusion, they also didn't seem to mind to switch from from formula to breastmilk, and that's from day 1. So in my opinion you need to do what you think will work for you and your family.

Hugs Ilka...mom to Sidney(4), Brenna(2) and Mackenzie(9m)

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-19-2003 - 2:12pm
i think as long as you wait to introduce a bottle you will be fine. i waited 6 weekes with ds and will offer my 5 week old dd a bottle (or breast milk) next week. ds took a few bottles of week while i worked part time without a problem. once i introduced solids (6 mos) i usually left him with fruit, cereal or yogurt along with a bottle of breast milk. he never took a bottle from me and would refuse if i was in the room. however, it worked well when i was out. GOOD LUCK!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-19-2003 - 2:32pm
maybe i'm confused? i thought you only bf'd for a short time?

if that's the case i'm not sure you can guage if early introduction of a bottle effected long term bf-ing (as you were heading toward 100% bottle feeding anyway? right?).

bottom line -- waiting 6 weeks to introduce ebm is really not a big deal. my dh never felt "un-bonded" because i exclusively fed ds (and am exclusively feeding dd) in the early weeks. there's a ton to do for a new born.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-19-2003 - 5:32pm
Nipple confusion exists, and on top of that, it's not a black-and-white issue. It's not that "either you have it or you don't". Some kids get confused "mildly" and others in a big way.

I have haerd that 80% of newborns will develop confusion and that goes down by around 6 weeks, but there is ALWAYS a risk.

Why should bonding be limited to food though? Just curious if you read my posts on food and bonding further down the board...why not bond during a bathtime, or cuddling, or playing or taking a walk in a tummy pack or something? WHy only food???

What kind of message does that send that food is all that is important to bond with???


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 04-21-2003 - 10:45am
The nurses in the NICU at our hospital also said nipple confusion is rubbish. To be honest, at the time I was concerned that they just didn't want to take the time to cup feed or finger feed (because that is what I would have preferred), but in the end I gave in, DS got an Avent bottle very early on (DH brought one from home because I wanted one most like the breast), and he's never had any trouble going back and forth between the bottle and the breast.

It was/is very important to me that I had the freedom to leave DS with DH and go shopping or out for lunch with a friend. I wanted to be able BF and have that freedom - and I do. I have a freezer full of EBM, and if my hair appt. runs long or I get stuck in traffic, I know my baby doesn't have to scream until I get home. It's much easier on anyone who watches him that way - and on him too! I don't want him to be miserable if I'm not there.

I believe the recommendation is to wait at least 4 weeks, but not too many more (maybe by 6 weeks?) to introduce the bottle. If you wait too long they may reject it, but even those who believe in nipple confusion will usually tell you it's fine to introduce it after 4 weeks when BF is pretty well established.

I'm SO glad that Henry takes a bottle because I had a migraine over the weekend that would only go away if I took non-BF-safe meds. (My migraines have been known to last for over a week if I don't take the effective meds.) I had to pump and throw away the milk for 24 hours after taking it. What would I have done if he didn't take a bottle? Fortunately, the bottle doesn't bother him at all. On a side note though, his discerning little pallette will only accept formula when he's truly famished - otherwise he doesn't want it. EBM only for him - LOL.


- Ingrid and Henry, 4 month-old nursling

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-21-2003 - 11:10am
First of all, nipple confusion is NOT a load of rubbish!!!!

Ask my friend who will have to nurse with a nipple shield for the rest of her nursing relationship because her baby was given bottles in the hospital.

Think about it...if a baby is given bottles too soon...the milk flows freely from the bottle with little effort by the baby...now baby's belly is full and he/she has no motivation at all to learn how to latch, suckle, and succesfully get milk.

This is EXACTLY what happened to my friend.

Does this mean you can NEVER give a bottle? Of course not! A "safer" time to introduce the bottle is between 4-6 weeks when breastfeeding is well established. But I think it would be unwise to introduce it sooner than that.

As for others bonding with your baby? There are many, many, many ways for others to bond with your baby. Dad can give baths, rock to sleep, sing to the baby, cuddle the baby....but only Mama was equipped with breasts. So I do believe that Moms are the ones that are meant to bond in THAT way with their babies.

Keep asking questions- that way you can make really informed decisions! Good for you!

Lisa C. and Grant (8 mos.), 2 DA's

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 04-21-2003 - 12:10pm
Actually, your friend can stop using the breast shield but it's hard work. Henry was on one because they wouldn't let him come home from the hospital until he was nursing well - they were monitoring his blood sugar. Anyway, it's hard work, but it can be done. I do not by any means recommend using them unless you have to (we were using it under the guidance of LCs who also helped us get off of it in time) - but you can wean the baby off of it. I only went down that road because I would do anything to get him home with me.

- Ingrid and Henry, who've been through hell and high water to get here...

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 04-21-2003 - 3:21pm
No nipple confusion here... and we alternated a lot. I still pump bottles for her on the rare days when I have to meet with a client (I generally work from home), and she also occasionally gets a bottle of formula. She doesn't seem to have any trouble switching.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 04-21-2003 - 7:12pm
Nipple confusion/preference definately happens. When Crispin was born got supplemental EBM and fomula firstly through a syringe and then from a bottle. After just a few syringe feeds he learned that if he mucked about at the breast he would get food he didn't need to work as hard for. Fortunately we did get nursing figured out eventually but I know that his latch never looked quite as perfect after the bottles as it did for his first feed. I was too scared of losing what we had worked hard for to ever want to introduce an artificial nipple but as I am a SAHM and Crispin is an easy-going go-anywhere type of baby it's never been a big issue for us.

Isabel and Crispin

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