25 answers

Help with Introducing a Bottle to a Breastfed Baby

Help! My baby is spoiled on the boob and REFUSES any artificial nipple. I pump and pump but he will not take a bottle. The doctor told me that I started him too late - he is now 3 months old, and we started at 2 months. My mom said she will take him for 24 hours and he will eventually take the bottle. Is this good advice

He is going to have to take a bottle of some kind when I go back to work. I do plan on exclusively giving him breast milk until he's a year old (I can pump at work). I need to hear some real good advice from you moms! Thank you in advance.

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The playex drop in bottles with nice soft nipples worked better for my daughter...my husband would have to put one of my dirty shirts on his chest and I'd rub the bottle nipples on my boobs before I left for work and eventually she would take the bottle...not happily, but she got fed! Some babies just hate anything other than mommy but if he gets hungry enough he will probably give in to the bottle. It can be a long exhausting process when they cry and scream and gag dramatically on the bottle nipple. Good Luck!

Just one thing you don't mention.. are you the one trying to give him the bottle or is someone else? If it's you he's more likely to resist, because that smart little cookie knows the real thing is right there. I did exactly as you.. pumped at work for over a year, and she did eventually take the bottle, but someone else had to give it to her. Good luck!

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It is not too late! I did not start my 2nd child till 4 months. I went back to work at 6 months (he is 7 mo now.)

I would find a wide mouth bottle (my lactation consultant recommended Born Free). Have daddy or some one else try when he is not too hungry -- this will give time to get used to it (play with it). My son started biting it. It took an hour for an ounce or 2 ... so find some one with patience.
Also make sure the milk is warm enough but not hot.

Then try every day ... tool us almost 2 weeks.

The first month I was back at work he ate a little slow ... almost an hour for 6 oz but he is up to speed now :)

Oh, I wouldnt ask a Dr any ?'s about breastfeeding see a lactation consultant or LLL http://lllnorcal.org/groups/PeninsulaCA.html

you didn't start introducing an artificial nipple too late. most lactation consultants will tell you if you start any earlier infants will be "confused" and have a difficult time eating at all. my advice is:

1. establish some kind of eating schedule for you son if he's not on one already. that way he will be hungry at meal times and looking for food.

2. have some one other than you feed with a bottle.

3.feed little bits at a time - say 2 ounces- so if he doesn't eat you don't waste the bottle.

Hi G.,
My baby did this as well and I found that she really liked the latex nipples from Gerber. The brownish colored ones. They feel different than the silicone (clear ones) The silicone ones are very slippery and completly unlike the breast nipple. The latex is a little closer to your boob. And your baby will learn the difference and be just fine switching between the two sources of food. They are smart little people they are. And they know where the good stuff comes from! Anyways...good luck, and don't stress! Your baby WILL eat when hungry : - )

I agree with some of the others who have suggested trying the latex (brown) nipples. My son never liked the silicone (clear) nipples but he took the latex nipples just fine. I used the ones that go with the playtex drop-in bottles.

Just one thing you don't mention.. are you the one trying to give him the bottle or is someone else? If it's you he's more likely to resist, because that smart little cookie knows the real thing is right there. I did exactly as you.. pumped at work for over a year, and she did eventually take the bottle, but someone else had to give it to her. Good luck!

Hi G.! First of all, rest assured your beautiful baby WILL take a bottle... some kids are just more wilfull than others. He's 3 months old so I'm calculating a January boy like mine... oh those Capricorn boys :-)

My son was also VERY resistant to the bottle. I ended up having success with the old fashioned Platex latex nipples (the old brown rubber ones). They are softer and warm up when the milk goes through them more than the silicon... plus they're just more booby-looking than the clear silicon.

Also, when my son finally took a bottle it was when I pumped directly into the bottle, put the nipple on and gave it to him with my shirt off. I know they say someone else should try (bc lots of kids won't take a bottle if they know the real thing is near by) but my son took a bottle from me for a couple of days before he started letting me hand him off to his dad or my mom. After that, it was another week before someone else could actually START the feeding.

Good luck, mama. Hang in there.


Good for you for wanting to give your baby the best! Contact the La Leche League - they should be able to give you a lot of suggestions and work with you until the problem is resolved.

Good luck!

I introduced the bottle to my first 3 children at the same age.

Some kids just won't have it.

My 3rd child absolutely refused the bottle, and NEVER took one. I flew my mom out here from Colorado and left him with her for 8 hours when he was nearly 7 months! He wouldn't take a bottle ALL DAY. I, too, was gearing up to return to work. So, I left him with the home care provider 3 part-time days in one week to see if she could coerce him (thinking that he could still smell my milk in the house with my mom). He still wouldn't have it, even though I was pumping my breast milk. He was eating some solids, so he wasn't screaming all day or anything - but once he saw me, it was ATTACK. I tried EIGHT different nipples! Oh, joy!

Anyway, I trained him on the cup, and put my pumped milk in a sippy cup. I was fortunate to work nearby, and went on my lunch break to nurse him. I nursed in the morning, pumped at 10 am, nursed at lunch, pumped at 3pm, nursed before dinner and at bedtime.

So, try working the cup in there - and if you can manage a lunchtime feeding, go for it. Good luck.

My fourth child is 5 months, and I won't be returning to work until he is 1 year old - so, I've decided to skip the bottle routine altogether with this child. But I have introduced the cup already with my breastmilk in it. I thicken it with a bit of cereal so it doesn't drip down his face.

Congrats! If you can transition slowly by doing a couple of days a week and add one day until a full week, it may help your son get the picture. Blessings to you!

I am assuming that when you say "any artificial nipple" that you have tried every size, shape & make when it comes to the nipple on the bottle? I only say that because babies are particular about things like that, as crazy as it sounds.
What does the pediatrician say about it besides you started him too late? Maybe the doctor has some advice if you are unsure of your mom's suggestion.
However, if all else fails, I would consider trying your mom's advice. It may sound cruel, but the way I see it, she is Grandma - she isn't going to do something that will hurt her grandson. Besides, she raised you well, right? :)
Best of luck!

i dont know why you are going to have your mom take your baby for 24 hours, but if it isnt necessary, you should realize that this baby is going to be so much more ready for it in several months or at least a year. i say this not to criticize you, but to help you relax and enjoy being your babys #1.
my second kid was different than the first regarding acceptance of the bottle. i dont think you are too late, i think all kids are different. it sounds like you will have to come up with something if you are going to work full time. i just say to stick with it. both of my kids needed to be forced and the caregiver just has to keep his/her cool and not stress out.
have you tried a small cup? my mom fed my 3 1/2 month with tiny cup when she helped me out during "the hard time" -- approx. 6 weeks. also, you can make really runny rice cereal with b/milk to keep the kid from being so hungry hes angry. your kid is lucky to have you for the first 6 months and i would not fret about how the transition will be. i can tell you he will be a different being 3 months from now and that i think you should continue to offer your child the bottle when you leave for, say 3 hours at a time, but that you should not worry that he will not take the bottle, because when it comes down to it, he will.

I can think of trying the following things: try different nipples. Make sure you are out of the area and have someone else give the bottle. Try giving the bottle from different positions, like having him sit in a bouncy seat and giving the bottle from behind. These are all things we did and eventually it worked out well. Good luck! Keep trying!

Your mom is right. We had the same issue with our youngest, and the pediatrician gave me the same advice. Our son would take a bottle anytime, from anyone, so we didn't worry when our daughter came along. She was almost 2 months old when we tried to start her on the bottle and she absolutely refused. After a lot of tears and a long conversation with the pediatrician, I finally had to take our son (and the breastpump) and leave for the day. My husband and father-in-law (who can handle anything) spent the day soothing the baby. She cried, then calmed down, cried harder when they offered the bottle, slept, cried some more. Finally, hoarse, after 8 hours, she caved and drank a few ounces. I nursed her that night, and then left again the next morning. That day, she cried again, but not as much. By noon, she was ready to take a full bottle. I went back to work a few weeks later, and my daughter still loves her daddy. :) BTW, I continued to nurse her until she was about 14 months.

It might actually be easier for all if your mom takes your son for 24 hours, just because it would speed up the process. Babies are really good at holding out for what they want, and if he senses you're nearby, he'll wait for the "good stuff."

You might want to test a couple of bottle/nipple styles; we tried several, and my daughter choked on the flow of all but the slowest-flow Avent nipples. Eventually, she took anything, but the first month or so we were very careful. Another idea to consider: I had a friend who used plastic nipple shields (look on the baby aisle at Target) for several weeks because hers were sore, and she thinks it helped her son get used to the rubber feel of the bottle in his mouth.

Let us know what happens, OK? A lot of us have been through this. It's really hard, but you can do it, and it IS worth it!

You didn't start too late, don't worry! Plenty of babies transition to a bottle after six months. Your baby is still very young. He is probably confused because he smells you and your milk and this tells him by instinct to nurse. Having someone else give him his bottle until he accepts it (he will because his hunger will force him) should solve the problem. (YOu should stay out of the room). After he has done this for a few days, you can try giving him the bottle. I would not take him completely away from you for 24 hours, that would be distressing. But having your mom give him his feedings for a day would be a great solution. In the end, he will learn that sucking from a bottle is easier than from a breast and that will help. My husband gave my son bottle feedings at night when he was four months old so I could sleep, and within a few weeks he developed a lazy suck, and was taking in all his calories at night and just "pretending" to nurse during the day. I had to wean him before I wanted - but it does go to show that they will take the bottle from someone who does not smell like breast milk! Good luck!

One very important point your baby doens't "have" to take a bottle at any point. We introduced our son to a bottle at the appropriate time. He took it occasionally, then one day (around 3 months) he stopped taking any bottle. I was going back to work and was very stressed about how he was going to eat. It ended up being fine. Look up information on bottle alternatives and you'll find that bottles are not the end all be all when mom's not around. His nanny feeds him with a medicine dropper - my husband uses a deep bowled flexible spoon (I think it's by gerber). Since he's gotten used to sipping out of a spoon, my husband can now use a regular cup and the little guy (he's 6 and a half months now) just sips it up. I just didn't think it was necessary to go through any kind of 'bottle lock down' just to force him to drink out of a bottle.
I have friends who's now 3 year old also refused a bottle, although they went through all of the 'appropriate' steps. They's day care fed her with a spoon, but she transitioned to a sippy cup pretty early (5 or 6 months).
Good luck finding something that will work for you.

If you continue to have trouble getting him to accept a bottle, try a sippy cup. Start with the cheap kind that have just a simple lid (like a plastic coffee cup) so that he gets a little milk without sucking, and then you can transition to the better non-spill kind once he gets the idea.

Just wanted to agree with some of the others and encourage you not to give up. I agree with many who suggested having your husband (or mom) try offering a bottle every now and then to see if his acceptance changes--- at his young age, he'll change so much even over the course of one week! I'm not even sure it's necessary to switch bottle types, as you'll never know whether it's the bottle or the boy that changed! We have used Playtex nursers with slow flow nipple for both of our babies, and they worked well and I'm still EBF my second baby while working full time with no hitches. If it doesn't work out, you can always try your mom's "cold turkey" approach closer to your return to work.

They are smart. They know the source is right in front of them so they may fight the bottle. My son used to take the bottle for his dad but not myself. Eventually, he will get used to the bottle and may feed for you with the bottle periodically but until you wean him completely at a year or so he will fight you every step of the way. It is a comfort thing as well-smile!

My daughter was exclusively on the breast until 8 months, then we figured out that she would take a bottle but only by someone other than me. Might work for your son as well.

Hi G.,
Don't give up! It is not to late. Doc's usually have not taken any breastfeeding courses and are not up to date on new stuff in that area.
Try all different kinds of bottles - yes they are picky.
Try the routine, and have Dad do it - don't let him give up.

One last thing is my milk when refrigerated has a lot of, I think it's lactase that tastes soapy. I was advised by a mom to scald the milk after pumping to remove that soapy taste, then store as directed. Oddly enough maybe your milk changes a bit and baby isn't used to that. You may want to contact a La Leche League Leader for more info on that.

Don't give up, I did and I regret it. Thatcher wouldn't take a bottle or a paci! Everyone was all freaked out about nipple confusion...I am sure some babies have it. But we tried to get him to take the bottle at 2 months and he was stubborn. I gave up too soon.

By the way my SIL had the same prob with her son when she went back to work. And her mom watches him for daycare and he eventually took the bottle and now he uses a bottle and nurses. So grandmas are good and it can be done. If dad can't stand the crying then maybe your mom can come over once or twice a day to get him to take it...she may have more determinatiion than dad.
You can do it. I wish someone had told me that.

Just keep trying he will eventually take it. The best was the playtex bottles because they were soft but I don't see them anymore. Best for others to feed him for a bit because he knows and smells you.

I introduced the bottle (pumped breastmilk) at 4.5 months because I was getting ready to go back to work. My husband introduced the bottle. After HOURS of waiting her out, my daughter finally took the bottle because she became too hungry. Don't get me wrong, it was difficult and there were LOTS of crying.

Babies will not starve themselves - keep that in mind!

The playex drop in bottles with nice soft nipples worked better for my daughter...my husband would have to put one of my dirty shirts on his chest and I'd rub the bottle nipples on my boobs before I left for work and eventually she would take the bottle...not happily, but she got fed! Some babies just hate anything other than mommy but if he gets hungry enough he will probably give in to the bottle. It can be a long exhausting process when they cry and scream and gag dramatically on the bottle nipple. Good Luck!

my baby was the same way and only took to the bottle the day before I went back to work at 3 mos. We had tried from the time we were home from the hospital to transition but she flat out didn't want anything but boob. The only thing that worked was wrapping her in one of my worn shirts and turning on the vaccuum. We had to turn it on the entire time she was feeding but as soon as it would turn on, she would take the bottle. Giving her a drop or two of the milk to taste got her to actually know that she was getting what she wanted, too. After a couple of days, we didn't need it. Another thing I noticed was to turn her slightly outward, otherwise she would go for boob. It was a rough patch to get her to take the bottle but I am happy to report that she's primarily bottle-fed. Don't stress about it- eventually, I'm sure that your baby will take the bottle if there is no alternative available.

I had to force my first daughter (I had two) to accept the bottle at around 3 months. It takes persistence. I held the bottle to her mouth while I was nursing her, and gradually she got used to it being on her lips. I tried warming the (yucky!) rubber nipple in my mouth and then gently insinuated it between her lips as she sucked. She didn't like it, but I kept trying it for longer and longer times until she grudgingly accepted it. When she realized that mother's milk was coming out, she finally liked it, especially since it came out quicker and she was always hungry !

Your mom is right! He won't take a bottle from you "The Boob Source" but he will take it from other people once he determines they don't have Boob for him. These little buggers are smarter than we think! have Daddy give him a bottle when you know he's hungry - duck out of the house or go fold laundry or something in a back room so Baby thinks you're gone. then he'll accept the bottle from Daddy once he figures out what it is. don't procrastinate or your hubby will have a really rough time when you go back to work.

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