Helping moms learn to balance breast and bottlefeeding
Website companion to Balancing Breast and Bottle: Reaching Your Breastfeeding Goals


Breastfeed comfortably
If you are planning to introduce a bottle, it is imperative that breastfeeding is going well first.  A baby who has a successful latch on his mother will have an easier time switching between breast and bottle.  On the other hand, if breastfeeding is difficult for a baby and later a bottle is introduced without "fixing" breastfeeding, this baby might learn to prefer the bottle as an easier feeding method.   

Breastfeeding "helpers" have different qualifications.  Remember, help in person is usually most effective.
IBCLC stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, sometimes called RLC or lactation consultant.  IBCLCs have the highest level of skill.  They are also the only "helper" required to stay current in their knowledge by receiving continuing education and re-testing every 10 years.  Some IBCLCs are employed through the hospital, WIC, or in private practice.  There is often a fee for service.  IBCLCs may have different areas of expertise, so be plan to seek further help if your needs are not met.  Find an IBCLC at

Lactation Counselor or Educator is a "helper" who has taken a class, sometimes 6-weeks of instruction, though sometimes as little as 5 days.  Many hospitals and WIC agencies employ lactation educators.  Sadly, they are sometimes referred to as a lactation consultant, though their training and experience is substantially less.  Lactation Counselors/Eduacators are a great first choice for solving common breastfeeding difficulties.  

La Leche League Leader is a mother who has successfully breastfed her own child, and has been trained by La Leche League International in helping other mothers breastfeed.  La Leche League Leaders are excellent in answering breastfeeding questions over the phone, and they are a perfect resource for older-baby breastfeeding questions, too.  Find a LLL Leader at

WIC Peer Counselor is a mother who has breastfed her own baby and is also currently a WIC participant.  She has received training for helping other mothers breastfeed.  She is another great resource for common breastfeeding questions. 

As with all helpers, if you feel your questions or concerns are not resolved, contact another breastfeeding helper, working your way up the list for more difficult problems.

Be prepared
Attend a class
before you have your baby.  Classes may be found through your hospital or a local La Leche League group.  To find a a group near you, visit

Understand baby-led feeding,
which is the most current, evidence-based approach to breastfeeding.  Also called biological nurturing, this feeding style uses a baby's natural movements to help breastfeeding go smoothly.  Learn more in Balancing Breast and Bottle: Reaching Your Breastfeeding Goals

Delay . . .
Bottle or pacifier introduction
for 3 - 4 weeks.  During this time, your baby will become skilled at breastfeeding, and your milk supply will become abundant.  

Hormonal contraception
for 6 - 8 weeks as studies suggest.  If you choose a hormonal method, a "mini-pill" that contains no estrogen is the best choice.  If you find your milk supply drops, you can choose a different method until your baby is older.  

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