Bottle Feeding the Breastfed Baby: When and How?


As a self-employed International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), a very common question my clients ask is when they should introduce a bottle.

In the US, the majority of nursing parents are returning to work soon after baby is born. Understandably, early on these families are thinking about how their baby will take a bottle during that transition. For those breastfeeding parents who are not returning to work, often at some point they will be away from their babies as well. For nursing parents that never are separated from their babies, they can continue to breastfeed without ever using a bottle.

In most circumstances, I now often encourage families to practice with bottles around 3-4 weeks. This is a much earlier recommendation than I used to suggest. As I started to work with older babies who were struggling to take a bottle, I saw good results with starting earlier and regularly offering small bottles even if there was minimal separation early in baby’s life.

In a study from Kearney & Cronenwett (1991), they found that babies at 1 month generally took a bottle easily (around 70%), and only 4% refused. But by 2 months, 12% refused bottles and at 3-6 months 13% refused.  As you can see, many babies are just fine starting a bottle at older ages. But I have seen good results with babies starting younger, once nursing is established and consistently taking small amounts in bottles in order to hopefully avoid a higher chance of bottle refusal. Usually this means around 1/2 ounce or so about two times a week. Often this allows the nursing parent to not miss an entire feeding when practicing with the bottle, and pumping/self-expressing about 1 ounce a week is not typically too disruptive.

Waiting until 3-4 weeks allows for supply to be established, though some babies do need to take a bottle much earlier. Regardless of the time frame or reason, there are 3 important things to keep in mind while bottle feeding:

-Paced Bottle Feeding is essential for all babies who get a bottle — including an occasional bottle, exclusive bottles, and bottles with breastmilk or formula.

Kellymom has lots of information on Paced Bottle Feeding:

-The flow rate and shape of the nipple is important.

The book, Balancing Bottle and Breast is a great resource:

-If your baby will not take bottle, sometimes offering in a different way can help.

La Leche League has great tips on bottle refusal:

If your baby struggles with a bottle (for example: leaking, choking, not sucking well) or will not take a bottle, contact an IBCLC near you for support. IBCLCs are feeding specialists and often have experience with many parts of feeding besides nursing. I assist with bottle feeding babies of all ages in the Central New York area. For more information or support with bottle feeding your baby, visit my website at or follow me on Facebook at .

Jen has been a birth and postpartum doula (DTI) since 2013 and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) since 2014. After years of both doula and lactation work, she is exclusively transitioning full time into private practice in-home breastfeeding consults.
Jen brings years of experience and depth of knowledge on breastfeeding topics from prenatal preparation to extended nursing. She has seen a wide range of breastfeeding issues and is prepared to help you meet your goals. Contact her today to find out more about her in-home consults and classes.
Jen Deshaies (315) 263-7558 Email

July PlaySpiration

As a mom of two little ones (23 mos. and 3.5 yo), my husband and I are always looking for new ideas for purposeful play.  Specifically ideas that are beneficial and fun but involve LITTLE to NO PREP! We decided to put together a July calendar for your family! All of these ideas can be differentiated for the age of your tot, can be made simpler or more challenging. Please feel free to share the link to our calendar with your loved ones. Please also consider sending us a picture of your tiny human loving an activity! Maybe you tried something different and we would love to hear about it! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram (@play2learntot)! Email if you have any questions! Happy Summer!

july calendar

Foldin’ Laundry? Give Your Tot a Reading Boat!

Do you love to be snug,curled up, cozy? So does your LO!
Utilize the Laundry Basket!


1) Self Regulation: In the classroom, my students loved having their own personal space to curl up in a “Reading Boat” aka laundry basket!  At home we toss in a soft blanket or throw pillow too! Setting up a quiet, cozy corner not only promotes a love for independent reading, but also teaches young children how to self soothe, calm down, focus, or “take a break,” in an effort to regulate their emotions.  Certainly a pop up tent (like the one we have at P2L) can serve just as well!
2) Motor Benefits: Encourage your LO to push or pull the basket! Maybe a younger sibling, maybe a load of books from their bookshelf; pushing and pulling is great motor work!

3) Pretend Play: In the 3rd photo, the children were pretending to be Santa and practicing two hands working together to hold the reins/ ring the bells as the little reindeer pushed the sleigh! Sleigh, race car, boat…

4. Sensory Play: Add ball pit balls and let your little one dig and burrow through the balls in the basket! Toss, catch, sort by color!
Looking for other ideas for pursposeful play at home? Follow us

Get Busy Bunnies…Easter is Almost Here!

Basket Ideas for your Toddler

So if you are like me, you start thinking about all the sweet things you want to fill their baskets with two months in advance and then you BLINK and Easter is about two weeks away and you still have an empty basket!!!

Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite things for birthday or holiday gift ideas!

  1. Do A Dot Art! Markers 6-Pack Rainbow– washable, great for hand eye coordination, fine motor, creativity
  2. The Learning Journey My First Match It, Things I Eat(we have and love the food version) Great for fine motor, critical thinking and language
  3. Fat Brain Toys Kids Spinagain Toy– this toy promotes a lot of teamwork and sharing in our household, colorful, cause and effect
  4. Giant Foam Building Blocks, Building Toy for Girls and Boys, Ideal Blocks/Construction Toys for Toddlers, 50pc, Waterproof,Safe, Non-Toxic.– easy to clean, throw in the tub, build in your family room, must have!
  5. Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set, 4 Pk– we often use these at Tot Time in our sensory bins
  6. Melissa & Doug Water Wow! -the fat water pen is easy to grasp for little ones, great for car, plane, church, restaurant
  7. Squigz Starter Set, 24 Pc: Our Mini Movers have been LOVING these! Stick to the floor, wall, mirrors, fine motor fun!
  8. Kidicut Safety Scissors– I love the visual of keeping the bunny’s tail up in the air as he hops along and your tot chops the paper
  9. Elmer’s Disappearing Purple Glue Sticks 3pk– go on purple so the tot can see where he/she applied glue, fit well in their hands
  10. Easter Bunny (Baby Touch and Feel)– is one of our favorites! Great for tactile exploration!
  11. Play-Doh Numbers, Letters, N’ Fun, Playdoh scissors, Playdoh press- build fine motor skills while engaging in sensory play.





*I provided affiliate links through Amazon, If you purchase items using the links provided you will not only be purchasing gifts for your loved ones, but also adding to our Family Fun Fund. TIA!


It was “in the cards” all along…

The week I graduated from my master’s program, I was invited to a dinner party at which a psychic was going to be doing readings.  Totally not my thing. At all. In fact I had anxiety just thinking about my potential reading.  I had to go, it was at a professor’s home, an odd sort of graduation send off party.  Listening to her read my tarot cards was definitely a unique experience. She quickly dismissed the guy I had been dating for years and mentioned that she didn’t see me teaching, instead she saw a briefcase in my hand. Huh, okay. So…dump the long time boyfriend?! And here I was applying to about fifty teaching positions all over Central New York.  Great. Of course I carried on with my plans and goals at the time.  Ultimately I landed a great teaching job back home and eventually found my way to my hubby.

Fast forward eleven years.

Play2Learn was a dream.  An idea.  A busy mom of two toddlers looking for a way to give her children weekly opportunities to socialize, play, learn, speak, create, sing, explore… with me! I was looking to bring an enriching family experience to my community.  I had a desire to make an impact beyond my household, after being a stay at home mom for three years.  Business names were brainstormed, logos designed, social media platforms created…a drive downtown for a “D.B.A.” and Play2Learn was born.

While I would say I’m not sure I’m the briefcase kinda gal, (let’s be real, it’s more like an extra large diaper bag that will fit my laptop and clipboard,) those tarot cards were on to something.  Or maybe I just listened closely to my heart and took a leap of faith.

I’m done. I am done saying out loud, “I am not an entrepreneur; I am a teacher.” I have said those words in one way or another COUNTLESS times since embarking on the journey of Play2Learn.  Of course it is somewhat true, I am a certified teacher with my BSED and MSED in teaching and I have never taken a marketing or business class in my life. Never. But these last few weeks, I’ve gained some real clarity.  Recruit help, listen to podcasts late at night, think big, and just learn.  Big learning curve, but JUST do it.  So I’m gonna own it. Kelly, you’re an entrepreneur now, baby.

Maybe it’s time to get a chic leather messenger bag…



Need Ideas for Intentional Play at Home?

Thanks for stopping by Tips for Tots!

Every morsel of early childhood research says that tremendous brain development occurs before age five and that young children learn best through play.

As a SAHM, I am constantly looking for ways to promote healthy play for my two toddlers.  They get SO excited when they find a new “invitation to play” set out for them.  Allow me to clarify, nothing has to be glamorous, Instagram post-ready!  Maybe its a basket of arctic animal themed books I dug out from the basement and some penguin and polar bear figurines from their zoo set.  Perhaps I spread out craft materials from my art box (popsicle sticks, googley eyes, yarn, markers) and encourage them to create!  But every so often I am looking for something new and exciting! When I find something that works for my family (3.5 years old and 19 months) I would love to share it with you and YOURS!

Pop in regularly or follow us on Instagram to see what we’ve tried out at home and at Play2Learn classes!

One of our business goals truly is to inspire and educate families in ways to foster healthy social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth. Raising little people is no easy task; let’s all learn from one another!