Help! My Breastfeeding Baby Won't Take a Bottle
You work hard to get breastfeeding going well and feel like you have finally arrived. Now the time comes and you'd like to have some freedom to leave your baby for an hour or two to do something by yourself or with your husband or friends or perhaps the time has come to return to work. You plan to have someone give your baby a bottle for you. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?
Unfortunately, it's not always so easy. Many breastfeeding babies refuse to take a bottle…from anyone. Now what? Babies do not ever have to take a bottle; the majority of babies in the world don't drink from bottles.
But what do you do when you want or need to leave your baby?
What are the alternatives to a bottle?
1. Sippy cup
2. Regular cup
3. Frozen breastmilk from a spoon, like ice cream
Some tricks and tips:
- Never force the nipple into the baby's mouth. Breastfeeding babies are in control of their feedings, rightfully so.
- Talk with the baby about what you are doing and why.
- Tap just above the baby's upper lip and ask them to open wide.
- Sit the baby on your lap facing away from you when offering a bottle, perhaps looking out a window.
- Try using a nipple shield for a few feedings and then offer a bottle.
- Soak a latex nipple in breastmilk for several hours before offering it on a bottle. Do not put it in the dishwasher.
- Play a game with the bottle, teasing the baby with the nipple/bottle.
- Keep it completely stress-free.
- Take the baby outside to offer the bottle.
- Offer the bottle while the baby is lying on his side.
- Offer the bottle before the baby fully wakes up.
- Offer the bottle for the first feeding in the morning.
- Let the baby play with a bottle along with his other toys. Have a little bit of breastmilk or water in the bottle. He will likely chew on it, if he's old enough, and start to associate drinking from the bottle.
- Some babies will drink a bottle of warm milk; others will drink it cold.
- Offer the bottle once; do not push; if baby does not drink, wait a day or two before trying again.
Does it matter if you or someone else gives the bottle? This depends on the baby, but for many babies the trick is getting them to take the bottle not necessarily who gives the bottle.
Keep bottle feeding attempts completely stress-free and fun.
What tricks have worked for you?
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