Breast vs Bottle Feeding

Did you know that babies use completely different muscles to feed from the breast than from a bottle? They use more of their tongue and jaw at the breast and more lips and cheeks on a bottle. Breastfeeding is also a more complex feeding process where a vacuum is made in baby’s mouth from the tongue forming a seal against the roof of their mouth. Babies don’t need to create as strong a vacuum in the mouth to still bottle feee, as they can compress the nipple and milk still flows.

Bottle feeding is not a developmental skill. There is no age when a baby needs to take a bottle if breastfeeding is going well. Historically, babies went from breast to cup. Bottles are a relatively new invention with the formation of rubber nipples. It is developmentally appropriate to start open cup drinking by 6 months. That means if you’ve been exclusively breastfeeding and need to go back to work or your baby is starting table foods, you can skip the bottle and go straight for a cup. Starting with a small cup, like a medicine cup, shot glass, or @ezpzfun Tiny Cup are great ways to start. Your baby has been watching you drink from a cup for months and understands how it works. Straw cups are also great at this age and many babies will get the hang of it in a few tries. Using a straw cup like the Honey Bear has the advantage of you being able to squeeze the milk up to baby to teach baby how to get the milk by sucking.

When did you start cup feeding? Want to learn more? I have many videos of cup and straw feeding on my YouTube channel. Link in bio!

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