Start Out With A Slow
Milk flows differently from a bottle than it does from your breast. If you use a nipple with a fast flow, your baby could have trouble swallowing the milk quickly enough, which could lead to gagging and coughing. When you’re bottle feeding a breastfed baby, start by offering them a bottle with a slow-flow teat. Finding a teat that resembles a nipple can also make feeding easier for them. You’ll also need to get into a good position to feed your baby.
My Baby Wont Take A Bottle Why
Ill tell you first off that its probably not because they are having a hard time latching or because they cant get the mechanics of the thing. Sucking from a bottle is actually easier than latching onto you. A breastfed baby that is refusing the bottle is doing so because they likely:
- Dont like the feeling of the artificial nipple in their mouth, its just so foreign to them!
- Associate eating so strongly with you that they dont understand or want the bottle substitute
- Have had a negative experience with taking the bottle
And, of course, it could be a combination of all three. Im big on getting to the why of the problem because it often gives you a lot of direction in the how to fix the problem, its the OT in me. So, lets talk about a few warning signs for each of the reasons above, while you promise me that you wont stress too much over figuring this out!
Other Things To Keep In Mind
If your baby is still refusing a bottle, donât worry. Most babies will take one eventually.
If you have a routine with your baby where you feed them at the same time every day, itâs okay to change it up. Sometimes your baby may enjoy doing something else like cuddling, playing, or taking a ride in a stroller.
Whatever it takes, you and your baby will find what works to keep them fed and happy. After all, your baby loves you and knows that you are there to help them and make sure everything is okay.
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Reasons Why Your Baby Might Refuse A Bottle
There are a few different reasons why your baby might refuse a bottle. Usually, you can try a few things to get to the bottom of it and get them feeding again in no time.
Check the temperature. Check to see that the temperature of the milk is just right. Some babies prefer their milk cold while others like it better when itâs a little warmer.
Check for a block. The bottle’s teat is the hole where the milk comes out of. Sometimes this becomes blocked. You can check this by holding the bottle upside down. The milk should flow rather quickly.
Check the size. Different teats can affect the flow of the milk. If your baby seems frustrated by the milk flow, try switching to a different size teat.
Check the expiration. Are you using baby formula? Check to make sure that it isnât expired and hasn’t been open for longer than recommended.
Canât find anything wrong with the bottle or the milk? Check if it has something to do with your baby:
Are they sick? If your baby has a cold, ear infection, or throat infection it might be painful or uncomfortable for them to eat or drink. If you suspect theyâre sick, have your doctor check on them.
Are they distracted? When you try to give your baby the bottle does it seem like their mind is elsewhere? Sometimes, even television can distract babies from feeding. Ensure you have a peaceful place where you can keep them connected to the moment.
How To Bottle Feed Your Baby
Bottle feeding is a chance to feel close to your baby and get to know and bond with them. Babies will feel more secure if most feeds are given by you, your partner or their main caregiver.
Make sure you’re sitting comfortably with your baby close to you. Enjoy holding your baby, look into their eyes and talk to them as you feed them.
Hold your baby in a semi-upright position for bottle feeds. Support their head so they can breathe and swallow comfortably.
Brush the teat against your baby’s lips and when they open their mouth wide let them draw in the teat.
Always give your baby plenty of time to feed.
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How To Make A Baby Bottle With Breast Milk
Preparing a bottle of breast milk is of course much more straightforward, since the milk itself is ready to go. But when grabbing a bag of breast milk to use, its important to keep an eye on when it was pumped and how its been stored since. According to breast milk storage guidelines, its safe to use freshly pumped milk thats been stored at room temperature for up to four hours, in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to 12 months. Always use the oldest milk first. If baby doesnt finish a bottle, you can offer it again within two hours of the last feeding.
Before giving baby the bottle, you can warm the milk up by placing the bottle in a cup of warm water for a few minutes, or pop the bottle into a bottle warmer. Whatever you do, steer clear of the microwave, which can cause dangerous hot spots.
Breastfeeding To Bottle Feeding
Jack drank from a bottle probably twice in his life.
I mean, I was home with him all the time He nursed well. I never left him for more than a couple hours at a time , Forrest didnt feel like feeding him a bottle would help them bond moreso there wasnt any reason to.
So when I had to feed Oliver breast milk via bottle during those first few months a couple times a day, I was thrown for a loop! All of a sudden I was trying to find the best bottle for him, make sure he didnt get preference for a bottle over the breast, and I was totally stressed out.
Fortunately, I was able to find a lot of great information online, and it helped me immensely. Now that we dont use bottles anymore, my life is a little bit simpler, but Im glad I was able to experience a bit of the bottle feeding world just so I understand it a bit more.
With that said, I know a lot of people want their breastfed baby to take a bottle either out of necessity because of work, a tongue or a lip tie, or just because they want to be able to leave their baby with a babysitter for a while. All of these are good reasons!
However, you should take certain precautions when try and mix bottle feeding with breastfeeding. Heres a little bit about what you should know about bottle feeding a breastfed baby.
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You’re Ready To Move On To A Bottle With Something In It
Once theyre convinced that the bottle isnt going to do them grave bodily harm you can fill it with about one ounce of pumped milk. Warm? Cold? Doesnt really matter. Try one, try both. Most babies dont have any problem drinking cold breastmilk straight from the fridge.
Youll want to start with baby sitting up, and you want to slowly touch the nipple tip to their lips so theyll open their mouth, and then to the roof of their mouth right behind the gumline, allowing them to suck it in.
When Baby Wont Take A Bottle
Breastfeeding is not just a way of feeding a baby calories. Breastfeeding provides comfort between feeds, a way to fall asleep, and a regular connection and cuddle with mum every couple of hours . Consequently, while some babies are happy to switch between bottle and breast, some babies wont take a bottle at all because they prefer to breastfeed. This poses a problem if a mother needs to be away from her nursling for any length of time. This article looks at twelve ideas to encourage a reluctant breastfed baby to accept a bottle whether for occasional feeds or on a more regular basis and explores alternative ways to feed a baby.
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No Shoving No Forcing No Screwing The Bottle Into Baby’s Mouth Keep Your Tone Light And Fun Don’t Let Them See You Sweat
Once you get your baby to allow the bottle nipple into their mouth, you may need to trick them into sucking on it and drinking. There are lots of ways of doing this.
Im going to give you a boatload of ideas- but its very important that you DO NOT TRY THEM ALL AT ONCE. Try a few of these in one session if your baby is calm and happy. If your baby gets upset, STOP!
- Hold baby facing out and walk around
- Wear baby in a baby carrier or sling
- Go outside and show baby distracting, colorful things
- Bounce on a yoga ball or… well probably not a trampoline, but, you know, whatever way you bounce your baby, do that
- Distract baby with a shiny loud obnoxious light-up moving toy
- Turn on the TV or iPad
- White noise is your BFF try it
- Hold baby as if they are nursing
- Offer the bottle when baby is juuuust waking up and hungry but still sleepy, like a dream feed
- Try laying baby on their side
If you DO get baby to suck and swallow, even once or twice, be super sweet and happy about it in a calming way. They have to learn that this is okay and not threatening and that sometimes even when were loudly celebrating, it confuses them.
Keep it happy and soothing! And if they only do one or two sucks and swallows and then stop, dont force it. Count it as a win and try again later.
Because heres the thing Ive found in every single bottle refusal consult Ive done- if baby isnt taking the bottle THERE IS A REASON. Babies dont refuse bottles just to be jerks and show us whos boss.
How To Use A Cup Or Syringe
It can be quite messy while you and your baby are learning to use a cup or syringe, so parents often find it useful to loosely swaddle their baby. Ask your midwife to show you if you are unsure.
From around four months old, many parents have success with a soft-spouted beaker or open slanted cups. Youll need to have your baby sitting upright, with their head free to tilt back so they can stop when they need to .
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What To Do When Baby Wont Take A Bottle
I can still remember the stress, anxiety, and absolute overwhelm when I was a mother for the first time 7 years ago and I realized: my baby wont take a bottle.
Before Sams arrival, I was both excited and nervous to breastfeed. Im a pediatric occupational therapist and already knew a thing or two about feeding babies.
But, because Im type A, I read everything I could from a mothers perspective to make sure I did everything right. I felt like there were endless stories from everyone around me that breastfeeding just didnt end up working out for them.
That was the last thing I wanted, so with my first child, I followed all the rules and was so relieved when it was obvious very early on that he was going to have no trouble nursing at all. What I didnt expect was that my sweet little breastfeeding champ would refuse to take a bottle for 12 months, which was the entirety of our nursing relationship.
Ill admit that, at some point, I stopped trying and lived with crazy work schedules and feeling completely helpless.
Ive learned a lot since then, I had two more kids that DID take bottles and could switch between being bottle fed and nursing just fine, as long as I wasnt around.
Combining all my mom experience between these three babies that nursed for a year, and all my pediatric occupational therapy tricks from helping other moms, Ive got you covered with 11 tips that will serve as your guide for exactly how to get a breastfed baby to take a bottle.
Why Do Many Babies Have Problems When Switching To A Bottle After Breastfeeding
Theres no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. In most cases, bottle feeding problems arent due to abnormal oral motor function, nor are they usually due to an underlying medical issue.
Actually, one of the most common reasons breastfed babies wont take a bottle right away stems from not being introduced to one early enough in their growth. In fact, the number one mistake families make is offering a bottle too late.
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How Much Do Bottle
Newborn babies commonly have 6-8 feeds every 24 hours, but theres no set amount of food or number of feeds your baby should have. Different babies drink different amounts of formula or breastmilk. Some might have some feeds close together and others further apart.
For formula-fed babies, you can use the chart on the formula tin to see how much infant formula to make up in a bottle, but information about quantity for age on formula tins is just a guide. It mightnt necessarily suit your baby.
Just feed your baby whenever baby is hungry. You ll see baby cues that say Im hungry for example, your baby will make sucking noises or start turning towards the breast or bottle. Your baby will also let you know when theyve had enough by stopping sucking or turning their head away.
As the amount of solid food your baby eats increases, the total amount of breastmilk or formula baby takes in a day will decrease. The amount of formula will also decrease as your baby starts to drink from a cup instead of a bottle. By 12 months of age, when your baby is ready for cows milk, baby will generally be drinking around 500-600 ml of breastmilk or formula a day.
Stay Persistent And Be Patient
If baby still wont take the bottle, dont fret. Just keep exposing them to the bottle once every day or once every few days. . With the help of the other techniques weve mentioned, chances are theyll warm up to the bottle eventually.
All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your babys health.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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Give The Bottle In A Quiet Place
Switching from the breast to a bottle is a huge change for babies who are exclusively breastfed. It can be overwhelming for them, and you should provide a comfortable, relaxing environment for them to learn in.
A noisy area may over-stimulate them when they are being introduced, which will hinder the process. Not only will the baby not be susceptible to trying new things, and it may also teach them that they dont like the bottle in the future either.
Giving Baby The Bottle
Make yourself comfortable and cuddle your baby close to you, holding baby gently but firmly. Its better for your baby to be on a slight incline so any air bubbles rise to the top, making burping easier.
Put the teat against your babys lips. Your baby will open their mouth and start to suck. Keep the neck of the bottle at an angle so its filled with formula or milk.
When your baby stops sucking strongly or when about half of the formula or breastmilk has gone, gently remove the bottle and see whether baby wants to burp. Once youve tried burping your baby, you can offer the bottle again.
Its a good idea to change the direction your baby is facing for part of the feed or at different feeds. This helps to stimulate your babys senses equally.
Holding, cuddling and talking to your baby during feeding will help baby develop and grow. Its also a great opportunity to bond with your baby.
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Feed Your Baby In A Bouncy Seat
Holding and feeding your baby as if you were nursing can feel confusing to him. Hes expecting to breastfeed and doesnt understand why hes given a bottle.
But what if you make the experience completely different? Place him in an infant seat, or even propped on your thighs so youre facing each other. Encourage him to drink as you smile and praise him for his efforts. That way, youre introducing the bottle as a new experience and avoiding any confusion.
Experiment With Babys Bottle
Your baby may also prefer to eat while in a certain position, which typically differs from breastfeeding positions. Try different angles and placements to see if there is one they favor. For example:
- Cradling them in your arm at a 45-degree angle while keeping their head and neck aligned.
- Sitting upright so that their back is against your stomach.
- While sitting or lying down, bend your legs and position your baby so they face you with their head resting against your knees, their back against your thighs and their feet on your stomach.
No matter what position you use, remember to angle the bottle so that milk only comes out when your baby sucks, and never prop the bottle in their mouth. Also remember to never lay your baby completely flat while feeding.
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