Breastfeeding from a Bottle


There was an interesting discussion, "I Pump—So What?", going on in the Breastfeeding Moms group about breastfeeding exclusively from a bottle. (It's a private group that you have to join.) For various reasons (health, work, comfort), a lot of women express milk and then feed their babies from a bottle rather than nursing them. Some of the women that give their babies breast milk this way, felt they were being criticized by other breastfeeding moms.

But according to "Breast-free Breastfeeding," a recent article on, feeding baby breast milk from a bottle is growing in popularity. More and more moms are feeding their babies breast milk exclusively, but never "straight from the tap," so to speak. And moms who pump are trying to do what they think is the best thing for their babies (as we all are), but they often get very little support.

"Women who have only nursed their children can have a hard time understanding exclusive pumping, which many see as an overly mechanized chore to achieve a natural end," writes Kate Tuttle. "Others, including husbands and relatives, urge these women to use formula rather than embark on a grueling pumping schedule. Even doctors may be less supportive of pumpers, who nevertheless feel they're making a medically responsible choice."

Ruth Lawrence, M.D., one of the doctors interviewed, says, "I would opt for breast milk in a bottle rather than no breast milk at all." But then she goes on to list some of the reasons "drinking pumped breast milk from a bottle is considerably different from nursing." You can take a look at the article if you're interested.

Are you a breast-free breastfeeder? What's your take?



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Peajewel Peajewel

I work so I did both.  However, my daughter hated drinking from a bottle so by 3 months old, my Mom was giving her breast milk from a sippy cup.  It was a crazy thing to watch.  My theory is who cares how you feed your baby as long as you ARE feeding you baby!  Breast milk any way or even formula!  Babies need nourishment and love and as long as they are getting that what else matters?

joyfu... joyfullem

I want to breastfeed this time around exclusivly.  With DD I did too but the nurses gave baby bottles after I and my husband said not to and after that she would not latch at all!!  So I pumped and fed her for a little while it was painful and I wasn't getting enough milk out at all.  So I would say becareful what you do breastfeeding is better on your boobs!!

Cafe... Cafe Suzanne

Peajewel, you are so right!

sunmo... sunmoonstars

Thanks for this story and link.  I bf exclusively but since I work, half of thatcomes from the bottle my dh gives her during the day.  I think the possibility for overfeeding is definately there due to the baby having less control over the flow rate, and the feeder's idea the bottle needs to be finished because mommy pumps 3x a day (better not waste it).  Despite this, the ped thinks my baby is the cutest, healthiest, happiest she could be, even though at 9 weeks she was a hefty 15 pounds!  Exclusivsly breastfed!! 

We think we confused her need to suck with being hungry, since dh went for the bottle whenever she fussed. Now she is enjoying pacifiers and her milk consumption has gone down, so I am considering pumping only 2x a day now!


Katie... KatieCrandall

Obviously when I'm at work my son eats expressed milk, but I also try to feed him from a bottle whenever I'm out in public.  It's still the fresh squeezed stuff (I pump in the car whenever we go anywhere as a family), just coming from different packaging.  I enjoy our moments at home when he gets it from the tap, but otherwise what we're doing is working fabulously!

I've stopped looking for support when it comes to breastfeeding, though.  It seems that we're all supposed to let our babies self-wean and should be staying at home tending to our babies at all times.  Solids before a year?  You should be thrown in jail!

Sorry, the extremists have really started to get to me. :)

TeaAn... TeaAndrews

Thanks for the article. My son will be 10 months old in 4 days. I have been exclusively pumping breastmilk for  him since he was 3 weeks old. I am still pumping for him. It sure is a lot of work, but I really wanted to breastfeed and was heartbroken when it did not work. I started pumping in order for him to get the nutrition he needed and for him to get what is best for him. Sure, I envy women that can breastfeed from the breast, I wish I could have. Though, with pumping, I have been able to share my milk with other families that need it for their babies in need. I never wanted to pump exclusively as my only option. Ideally, I had wanted to feed my baby from the breast. This has been a hard road, but very much worth it. I love that my son can still get breastmilk. It takes a lot of dedication. I did not know it was becoming popular though. How interesting. There is a group here called Exclusively Pumping Mommies. It is helpful and nice to get support from women in the same boat.

It makes me sad that women like me do not receive the support. What is worse is when other breastfeeding moms act like it is less than to pump for a baby and demand that they should be on the breast. It is not always possible. Thanks again for this article and your input. I appreciate it.

ivans... ivansmom07

I did both.  I think it's great that a baby gets breastmilk, be it straight from the tap or from the bottle.  Personally: I HATED pumping.  With a passion.  I nurse my son whenever we are together, it's just so much easier for me.

The moms above me have pointed out great points: support.  It's hard to get it from moms, especially if you're not doing things their way.  Fortunately for me, I've found a GREAT group of moms here on CM that are not judgemental and support me and provide assistance when I need it.

manda... mandawest

If the only way baby is going to get breastmilk is from a bottle - then wonderful!  And for the moms who pump at work so their babies can still get the best - wonderful, too.  Pumping can be a PITA, but it is so worth it.

However, the blurb here, as well as the Babble (a site notorious for half-baked parenting articles) article are a bit misleading.

Joy Kondash, M.D. says: "When you express milk for later bottlefeeding, it's not the same as breastfeeding.  Proteins, enzymes, hormones, and live cells may be destroyed during handling, freezing, or heating.  The timing between foremilk and hindmilk is lost.  Also lost are the daily changes in composition in response to the baby's changing needs and the external secretions of the areolar Mongomery glands.  Therefore bottlefeeding breastmilk is not the emotional or nutritional equivalent of feeding at the breast."

If that is the only way that baby can get breastmilk, then it's worth it.  It's a lot harder than to soley nurse or to formula feed.  The dedication of an exclusively pumping mom is to be highly commended.  It's just not an elective choice to take lightly, is all.

Mom_t... Mom_to_Skyler

NEW YORK - The exercise that babies get while suckling at the breast may be an essential component of the respiratory benefits associated with breastfeeding, new research shows.

Dr. Ikechukwu U. Ogbuanu of the University of South Carolina in Columbia and colleagues found that by 10 years old children who were breastfed for 4 months or longer had larger lung capacities than their counterparts who had been nursed for a shorter amount of time or not at all. The breastfed children were also able to expel air from their lungs more quickly.

While the children's speedier exhalations could have been related to the beneficial components of breast milk, "the lung capacity cannot be really explained by the immune factors in the breast milk," Ogbuanu told Reuters Health. Instead, Ogbuanu and his colleagues argue, the harder work required of babies who drink from the breast rather than a bottle is a more likely explanation.

check the link for more info......breast is best

Lexsi... LexsiesMommy

Oh well at least their giving the baby their breast milk ..pumping is better than nothing ,

i mean i see others saying OHHHHHH you shouldnt pump your breast you should breast feeeed! but dont do it the way you want,

oh blah least their doing it, its good for the baby the milk ...not just the breast itself, first people say its the milk thats best now others want to say??? NOOO ITS THE BREAST THAT MAKES THE BABY HEALTHY??

ummm its the milk that comes out of the breast that makes all the differance so why care how their doing it?

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