I’ve had loads of calls from very frustrated mums about this recently. Just because you’ve decided you need or want your baby to take a bottle, doesn’t mean your baby is going to play along!
The following tips are intended to be used when a baby who has been fully breastfed for some time is refusing to take feeds from a bottle and you would like him to
In general, it is the idea of a bottle which the baby is objecting to, not the type of bottle or what it contains.
Be gentle but persistent. Don’t force the bottle into your baby’s mouth, and don’t battle with him or her.
- Try with expressed milk if your baby has not had formula before-this will enable you to work out if baby is objecting to the bottle, or the contents.
- Try warming the milk as this makes it more attractive. You can rewarm milk numerous times within an hour, but it must then be thrown away if not drunk.
- If you’ve already bought lots of different bottles, choose the one your baby objects to the least and stick with that one. Constantly offering a different teat will confuse your baby more.
- Try different feeding locations. In your arms facing away from you, in a bouncy chair, the buggy, the park, a café, with the TV on etc.
- Distract your baby from what you are doing-walk around with him, show him the view from the window, the photos on the wall. If a baby is engaged in something they often take the bottle without realising.
- Try at different times. Many babies will take a bottle more easily at night-maybe if being woken for a late feed. Give the bottle before your baby is fully awake and thinking about making a fuss!
- Early morning is another good time-baby is ravenous, and faced with daddy and a bottle or nothing, may give in gracefully! (You have to hide in the bathroom!)
- Many babies do make more fuss with mummy than anyone else. Try someone different offering the bottle who doesn’t smell of the milk!
- Keep offering the bottle at regular times-if baby sees that it’s part of feeding and not that OR breastfeeding he may accept it.
Don’t forget that you CAN offer baby milk in a cup-breastmilk or formula. Do ask for individual advice on this if your baby is younger than 6 months. Some babies will take water or juice from a cup, but not milk. Once your baby is 6 months old and on solids he can survive during the day without a breastfeed as long as he can take other fluids.
I hope these tips help-this is one of the trickiest problems I am asked to help with. Often the baby will accept a certain brand of bottle only(no one magic bottle, I’m afraid!), or from a certain person.
Good luck! Let me know what worked for you and I can add it to the list!