Confession: I’ve actually never fed Charlotte a bottle. I am still exclusively breastfeeding Charlotte, and I only started pumping milk for bottles when I went back to work. That’s when I suddenly found myself furiously googling “best bottles for breastfed babies” and honestly, I was overwhelmed with the choices. Now I know you probably think I’m insane for not introducing a bottle sooner, so let me say this: I know a lot of people introduce bottles much sooner even when they’re breastfeeding, and we certainly did with James. I avoided bottles the first month with Charlotte as I wanted to establish a good breastfeeding relationship first, but then things got really crazy — we moved in with my in-laws while we were finishing our renovations, went to Florida, and then moved again — and with our lives in boxes and moving around so much, I just found it easier not to deal with pumps and bottles. And honestly, I strongly dislike pumping, and I’d rather be sitting and cuddling my baby than my Spectra (but if you’re in the market for a pump, check out my breast pump comparison guide here). I only did a limited amount of pumping my first few months to keep my supply up and froze most of it. Again, that’s just me and how it worked for our family. I definitely support doing whatever makes the most sense for you and your baby.
I went back to work when Charlotte was four months old (and same with James), but I was committed to breastfeeding longer. No judgement — I’m a believer in fed is best — but it was working for us, and I wanted to continue doing it. We have a nanny who watches the kids during the day, so I knew we needed to introduce the bottle. With James, I was already supplementing with formula by the time I got back to work, so he was already accustomed to bottles, but I had never used a bottle with Charlotte.
Point being, we introduced a bottle to Charlotte for the first time a few days before I went back to work. I was worried that she would either reject the bottle or that she would reject my breast after using a bottle, so I spent a lot of time researching the right bottle to use. With James, I used Dr. Brown’s bottles at the recommendation of a friend. They have a lot of parts, which is annoying to clean, but they’re supposed to be the best for avoiding air bubbles and gas, which was important to us because James had bad reflux. I really liked the bottles, and he switched back and forth between the bottle and breast easily. But I was also supplementing with him starting fairly early as I just couldn’t make enough milk, so I wasn’t as worried about whether the bottle would lead him to go on a breastfeeding strike.
This time, however, breastfeeding was much more successful, so it was even more important to me to keep the momentum going and find the right bottle.After a lot of research and polling every mom I knew (and the entire Internet — love you Instagram), I decided on the Comotomo bottles, which came highly recommended. We still had James’ old Dr. Brown’s bottles, but I liked the silicone shape and how it’s supposed to mimic your breast/nipple or whatever. The reviews are not wrong. Charlotte took to it pretty quickly, and had no problem switching back and forth. When Dakota chewed our one bottle (I only ordered one to test it out), we tried giving her one of James’ old Dr. Brown’s bottles, and I actually struggled to get her to nurse after — I think because she didn’t have to work as hard with the Dr. Brown’s bottles to get the milk out, but then that also made her a little more gassy and irritable.
I know there are a ton of bottles out there, and like with everything with kids, every baby is different. What works for Charlotte might not work for your breastfed baby, and even James and Charlotte were clearly very different. But if you are breastfeeding, I have found the Comotomo to be the best option for switching back and forth without issues.