Bottle-feeding Basics

Perhaps the biggest advantage of bottle-feeding — whether you have a singleton or multiples — is that someone other than Mom can feed the babies. These days, using formula is easier than ever. For a premium price you can buy pre-mixed formula where all you have to do is pour, or you can save some money with concentrated or powdered formulas that you mix yourself.

Even if you're breastfeeding, there will be times when you'll want to give your babies bottles:

  • When someone else takes the night shift so you can sleep.
  • When you want to breastfeed one child individually. (Some experts recommend doing this once every day or so to promote mother/child bonding.)
  • When you have more than two breastfeeding babies and want to feed them simultaneously.

Don't let the threat of "nipple confusion" scare you away from using bottles, especially if your babies are doing well with breastfeeding. "Nipple confusion is less of an issue if you tickle the baby's upper lip with the bottle's nipple and let the baby do some of the work," says Catherine Watson Genna, IBCLC, a New York City-based international board-certified lactation consultant. Choose a slow-flow nipple. Genna says bottles tend to be too fast for baby's comfort, especially in the first weeks of life or when baby is preterm, and keep the nipple reservoir only half-full of milk so the baby has to really suck.

How can one person bottle-feed two babies at once? Until babies are old enough to hold their own bottles, it requires coordination. Some people place each baby in a baby seat or infant carrier, with babies either facing each other or the person holding the bottles. Other people modify the football hold to accommodate bottles, positioning babies with a V-shaped, angled breastfeeding pillow.

In the beginning, it may take a little time to find the feeding position that's most comfortable for you and your babies. And just the same, it may take a little time to find the feeding situation that's most practical for you and your family — breastfeeding, bottle-feeding ... or both!