26 answers

No Longer Wanting to Breastfeed, Wants a Bottle

My 3 month old now goes to daycare, he now rarely wants to actually breastfeed. He will cry hysterically to the point that I have to give him a bottle. I wouldn't be that concerned about giving him a bottle but I am not pumping enough for the amount that he drinks. I work so it's hard to pump every 2-3 hours. Any suggestions of what I can do? I started some formula but I really only want to give him breastmilk.

What can I do next?

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My three month old is doing almost the same thing, just not too much. I breastfeed her all day, and I pump milk in case I decide to drink more than 1 glass of wine. Last night she was crying, but she wouldn't take the breast. I gave her a bottle instead and she loved it. She gets to eat and look around at the same time. Someone gave me the advice that this happens at 3 months because they are all excited about looking around their world and that it will pass.

I wasnt producing enough for my daughter either.....I just gave her all that I pumped and then substituted formula for the rest of the time....sometimes I even mixed breast milk and formula together...doing it this way gave her enough to be full yet gave me the comfort that she was getting good breast milk also.

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try feeding your baby with a cup. any soft cup will do, but la leche league might have information on special cups for babies. sometimes babies experience "nipple confusion" when they are both breast and bottle fed. even newborns can drink from cups. just hold the cup close to the baby's lips and the baby will lap at it. this is considered a better method than bottle feeding so that the baby will take the breast longer. hope this helps.

My three month old is doing almost the same thing, just not too much. I breastfeed her all day, and I pump milk in case I decide to drink more than 1 glass of wine. Last night she was crying, but she wouldn't take the breast. I gave her a bottle instead and she loved it. She gets to eat and look around at the same time. Someone gave me the advice that this happens at 3 months because they are all excited about looking around their world and that it will pass.

Don't give up!! My friend successfully pumped for 8 months- her son couldn't breastfeed b/c of bad reflux. Electric pumps are more effective. The morning hours are best b/c your milk is greatest than. Pump as often as you can and when home continue to try and breastfeed- supply and demand will increase production. If this doesn't seem to help call La Leche- they give great advice. Good luck!

Have you attempted to start nursing him 15 minutes before he is actually hungry? He may be irritated because the flow is not fast enough for his appetite. If you can "let down" your milk and catch him before frusteration sets in it might be easier for both of you.

A thought with pumping-- I've had the most sucess building a milk supply when I pump during nursing too (for example: if nick is nursing on the right, I am pumping at the same time on the left). Granted, it takes practice... but once you get feel for it, it really works well. Just a thought :)

Good luck!

I nurse my son for 20 months. I remember hearing in breastfeeding class that it takes more work for a baby to get the breastmilk from your breast than it is to get formula (or breastmilk) out of a bottle. It could be as simple as your baby has figured that out and doesn't want to work that hard for breastmilk from your breast if he can get something (breastmilk or formula) from a bottle. The nurse who taught our class told us if we needed to use a bottle, to get the Nuk brand nipples. I guess if that is the case, get the slow flow type so your son can work harder for whatever is in the bottle. If you want to continue nursing, keep trying to breastfeed and keep pumping.

Another suggestion is a tough one: perhaps you could refrain from giving him a bottle when you're together so that he can remember how to nurse. I know the crying/screaming will probably get to you (my son's screaming still gets to me and he's 2), but if he's hungry enough, he'll try to nurse again if that's all you offer. If you're really worried about trying that method, you could always try feeding him breastmilk/formula with a spoon or through a tube. When my son was a newborn still in the hospital and my milk hadn't come in yet, we had to supplement with formula and did tube-feeding. The hospital had these little tubes that you could connect to a syringe. We filled the syringe with formula, my son would suck on my finger, and we slide the end of the tiny tube against my finger and into his mouth. Offer the breast first, then whatever other option you choose as a last resort.

Now, if he's crying hysterically WHILE you're trying to nurse...like, he latches on and starts to nurse but then stops, arches his back and cries, and your son might also spit up, have gassiness, and/or diarrhea, then the issue might be *your* diet and your son's sensitivity to something in it. I had to cut out a lot of foods while nursing because of my son's issues with my diet.

You might also want to contact the La Leche League. I'm sure they can give you some other tips on things to try if you really want to continue nursing.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me.

Good luck!

Hi J.,
Hate to say it, but the more you pump the more milk you'll produce. I know it's hard to pump every few hours at work, and sometimes you feel like a cow with these electonic pumps glued to you =), but if you can - I'd stick with that. Also make sure you are eating lots of good food and drinking LOTS of water to make sure you keep producing milk. Are you breastfeeding him in the morning and at night? Or just at night? If it's a night, maybe he senses that it's time to go to bed - and that's what he's fighting. Dim the lights, rock, use a boppy and have that be "your" time together. If all else fails - formulas are really good now and don't feel badly at all about having to supplement with formula - or switch to formula. Good luck.

I'd recommend contacting your closest La Leche League. You can google them and find the closest one as well as phone numbers for the league leaders in your area. I've found the DC league leaders to be super helpful and have great ideas and suggestions. I've even called other league chapters when I've been out of town and had a problem. Everyone I've ever talked to has gone out of their way to help.

I didn't have this problem exactly, but I had a similar problem with a nurse telling me that I should give my breastfeeding infant juice by bottle in between feedings because she wasn't gaining enough weight. This gave her diarrea so it was exactly the wrong advice. She also was sort of "addicted" to the sweetness of it. So I drank apple juice in the hopes that I would be adding some of that flavor to my milk. I paid attention to what I could be eating or drinking that might make my milk taste bad. I had my husband test the flavor of my milk periodically. At first I put a little juice on my nipples to help give her interest. I also found out that she wasn't gaining enough weight because she was just a very active baby - kicking a lot - some of it was because she had colic and needed to raise her legs to push out the gas and a warm hot water bottle on the tummy would help with colic, too.

Breast milk is the best, though it is understandable why you can't give breastmilk during child care. Make sure the formula is not too sweet - not sweeter than your breastmilk and make sure the day care is not putting something else in the bottle. I know how hard it is not to give in to a crying baby, but they learn very young that they can get their way if they do what's needed. I was taught that you can't spoil an infant, but I learned that that's not true. If rocking & loving doesn't work, try putting him in a quiet dark/dimly lit room until he calms down and then go in. If he cries and you put him into the quiet dark room each time, then eventually he will learn that crying doesn't get him what he wants. You will give him what he needs and he can learn to communicate with you about his needs in other ways as he grows up, but you need to learn to say "no".

Also, you can ask the day care provider what the feeding routine is or take some time off of work to observe. Maybe there's something else he desires that goes along with the bottle feeding. Another idea: I understand that nipples on bottles these days make it very easy to suck to get the milk & sucking on their mother's nipples is harder work, so changing the nipple of the bottle that is used only at day care to one that is more like your own could help also.

- J. Dowling
Mother of 2 grown children, grandmother, & award-winning child care provider http://www.joycedowling.com/
Developer, Prince Georgians Care http://www.pgcares.com/

I had this problem with my third child. She came out refusing the breast. I was very disappointed. Just remember that any amount of breast milk that you have given, or are giving, is good for him. Don't feel guilty. Sometimes it just doesn't work out. My fourth child was completely breastfed, actually refused to EVER take a bottle. Every child is different. I would suggest to keep pumping as you want, every little bit helps. Don't stress yourself more that can hinder your production of milk. Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job. Good luck!

Be sure you are using the slowest flow nipple on the bottle and only feeding about an ounce per hour. Breastmilk is not like formula so bebe doesn't need huge amounts since breastmilk changes to suit bebes needs. Maybe this link will help?


Good Luck to you Mama!

I would suggest speaking with a lactation consultant to see if there is anything you can do. But it could be that whole "nipple confusion" thing. Maybe try to give him a bottle to ease the initial hunger then top him off by nursing. Bottles have faster flows than we do so he may have gotten used to that and gets frustrated nursing. This way he can get over the initial hunger then enjoy the snuggle time with you and get the benefits of breast milk. That may also wean him back to you.

When I was trying to get my son to take a bottle I would nurse him then give him the bottle then he'd nurse more and I'd give him the bottle, just trying to wean him on to the bottle. I would think the same concept would work...?

Hi J.,

First of all, tell yourself that things will work out. Stress will produce a decrease in milk production.

Start pumping your breast on a schedule, say every 4 hours while awake, to get your milk to start coming back in. I believe you can freeze your milk for awhile. Carry a container that you can keep your milk cold during your work day. Tell yourself that the milk will come down and be expressed. Check to see about how the day care workers are feeding him and contact the Le Leche League about your problems, they are trained to educate mothers about breast feeding. Hope this helps. D.

you have to pump more to supply your son with more breastmilk because supply equals demand. the more he drinks your breastmilk the more you will produce and be able to pump. also, the more formula you give him, the less breastmilk you will produce. for me it was tough the days that my twins wanted more milk until my supply caught up with them. i wasn't working either. good luck! oh, you could also contact La Leche League for advice too!

Hi J., My name is L. and I nursed both of my sons and I took a breast pump to wrk . When i felt that milk filling up , i expressed . Girl , that is a Blessing to nurse your child. Babies like that closeness.I also ,nursed when i got home and at night. You must eat a balance meal and drink plenty of fluids. The baby has to build up his or her supply. Your baby may only take 4 to 6oz . The milk must build up. So, be proud of yourself. Be encourage , God is Love

Hi J.,
i had this problem with my firstborn, not because she went to daycare but she had become accustomed to the bottle (milk dispenses faster from the bottle than from your breast). contact La Leche League for advice, they are the experts. Also contact some local lactation consultants for advice...best of luck to you.

J., my heart goes out to you. I breast fed and supplemented both of my sons and worked full time with the first (part time when the 2nd was 3 months old). I pumped at work with an electric double pump - I felt like mooing! ;-)

I felt sad and inadequate when my supply didn't seem to meet demands, and really wanted to be one of those people who could say I fed both for a year or more, breast milk only. Many people will tell you that you can control your supply and your son's reaction to feeding by pumping more to build supply, relaxing more, quitting your job, whatever. The reality is that you are doing the right and perfect thing for your baby, by meeting his needs, and there is not a set of particular things you can do to create the perfect nursing experience without giving up many other things that make you a loving and good mommy for this boy.

With a 9 and 7 year perspective looking back on the agony I felt when I couldn't keep up the supply with pumping more, drinking fenugreek tea, relaxation, drinking more water, or staying home from work (and I did every one of those things), I wish I'd been able to let go of my vision of perfect nursing and take hold of the new reality that children bring. Pump as much as you are able and as long as you can without obsession and frustration, feed your baby whatever he needs to grow and be happy, and savor every touch, cuddle, smell, and moment. And most of all be gentle to yourself. Good luck, congratulations, and welcome to the wonderful turbulent experience that is motherhood!

Breastmilk works by supply and demand... One way to increase milk supply is to pump more often, I know it can be hard if you're working but if you're not putting the demand on the breast to produce more milk, unfortunately, your body will not think it needs to produce as much milk. Something I tried, when I pumped, was after I emptied the breast I would keep pumping until I got a second "let down" and would pump until it emptied again (which may not be much, but a few seconds more). If you consistently do this after every pump, your body will meet the demand and produce more milk. You could also pump after he nurses to put more demand on your milk supply. One thing you could do is give him formula during the day and try pumping at least once during the day and have him to where his is at least getting your breast milk in the morning (maybe before work) and then for the rest of the evening that your home. It may not be the best case scenario for a mommy who wants to strictly breastfeed but it would be one way that you could see that he's getting enough to eat during the day and still getting the immunities from momma's milk. That has to be a decision that you make...

As for the reason he cries when you try to breastfeed him, it's probably becauase the hungry little man doesn't want to have to wait for your "let down". With the bottle, the milk is right there and ready to go... If you had your heart set on wanting to breastfeed him, you could always try pumping your breast a little, until your milk starts to come, and then offer him the breast.

Just some thoughts and some things that I tried. I hope I helped. Good Luck!

I have 4 children. I have worked and nursed also. The main thing is it can work. You do need to plan some and be committed to doing things to encourage nursing. One of the biggest differences in bottle and breast is the bottle supplies instead gratification where as the breast takes some work before it lets down the milk. So the baby may be crying because he wants immediate results when he starts feeding. I would suggest using the pump just long enough to cause let down and then offer the breast. I have even heard my children "talk" to the breast and milk in little grunts, groans and fusses until let down. So this may stop the fit he has when offered the breast. Also, make sure you give your body enough time after pumping at work to build up enough milk to nurse the baby when you get home. To increase your milk supply, pump one breast while the baby is nursing on the other. Before you leave for work you should nurse the baby and pump until you have emptied both breast.

Hooray for Mom! You're doing your best and that's all you can do. Just whatever happens, don't feel guilty -- that won't help anyone. Formula has come a long way. And it definately sounds as if you're doing all you can for the little one ... if he's getting any breastmilk at all, you are doing him a favor. :-)

Hi J.!

To increase your milk production, make sure you drink lots of water during the day. At work (I'm breastfeeding too), I often "forget" to drink because I'm so busy. Make sure you eat well and also, a girlfriend of mine suggested sardines. She is Moroccan and said the women in her neighborhood used to eat sardines to increase their milk supply. I told my boss at my regular job that if they wanted me to maintain a pleasant disposition, I would have to pump as often as necessary to stay comfortable...lol.

Good luck momma! Breastfeeding is awesome. My daughter has a mix of formula (goodstart) and breastmilk.

Also, I work fulltime as a project manager for a translation company, I am a full-time Mary Kay consultant, and a full-time "soccer mom" to 3 kids. I would have LOVED to stay home full-time to raise my children but with how expensive it is, it's almost impossible (at least until i work my business to that point). All 3 of my children LOVE me to death, we bond, we play, I take them to basketball, football, cheerleading, etc. It's hard, but it's doable. My youngest daughter has been in daycare since she was 2 months old and can't WAIT to nurse when she gets home. She drinks a bottle all day. Your son could just be "smelling himself." ;-) You know, getting a little independent a little early. Don't worry momma. Everything will be just fine!

Be blessed!!


Try taking Fenukreek. It can be found at any GNC or Vitamin store. It should boost your milk supply. You only need to take it for about 3 days but you'll need to take about three of those pills 3 times a day. It will probably make your sweat smell a bit like syrup and perhaps even the baby's urine. I tried it and it worked well for me. I believe Fennel is another good supplement to maximize production. You can research it further on the web. Just google "fenugreek and milk supply."

Why not pump your milk at night, place it in bottles for the next day. A lot of moms do that. Good Luck

I am really sorry that you had a woman reply and make you feel worse about working. I am a fulltime mom and an inhome daycare operator. I have seen many moms with the same issue as you. Not everyone has the financial luxury of being able to stay home full-time. We all do the best that we can. How dare she be so judgemental. Please, don't let her make you feel guilty with her crass response.

Like I said, I have seen many moms in my daycare with the same issue. All you can do is your best. They have supplemented with formula, even at home and when breast milk is no longer in production, they have just switched over completely. Formula is so close to breast milk that your baby will be just fine. Trust me with doing daycare for 7 years and taking care of my fair share of infants, there is really no difference in the health and wellbeing of any of the children rather bottle or breast fed. Yes, you may lose that close bonding time, but you will get the same connections in other activities. Just look at the bright side, now others will be able to help in the feeding time so mommy can get things done. It may not seem like much now, but you will really appreciate it later.

Many dads feel good too, b/c then they can get the bonding like mommy when feeding with a bottle.

Don't feel guilty, you are not abandoning your baby by bottle feeding, you are only supplementing, which is normal. Just be glad you could do it for this long (many moms can't).

Anyway, have you tried looking at a picture of the baby while you are pumping, sometimes that helps. And try placing moist heat on your breasts for a few minutes before you pump, sometimes that helps increase milk production.

Good Luck!!!

RE: Courtney

You have shared some very strong OPINIONS in your post. I am a nurse and up until a year ago worked with post-partum mom's in the hospital. Your post is an OPINION and should be stated as such. J. didn't come on mama source to be belittled by you for providing shelter and clothing for her son by working! Abandoning/neglecting are parents who leave infants home alone and change the diaper only once daily. http://www.gearbits.com/archives/bad_parents/

Breast feeding is highly adaptable. No lactation consultant I know would recommend pumping every hour to build up milk supply. It would be counter productive by exhausting the mom involved and setting generally unrealistic standards. Yes, directly breast feeding is best but you can successfully pump milk at work to maintain the milk supply.

If you want more milk, pump more often simple as that. You could also take Fenugreek and Mother's Milk Thistle to boost supply, but again it also requires frequent pumping.

I breastfed my first till 13 months and still breastfeeding my second (11 months) and am expecting my third. I also work and pump at work. You just need to make the time (eat at your desk if need be) to have time to pump.

Also like a another mom mentioned, use slow release nipples on the bottles that way it makes your child work the same amount as it requires via breast.

I wasnt producing enough for my daughter either.....I just gave her all that I pumped and then substituted formula for the rest of the time....sometimes I even mixed breast milk and formula together...doing it this way gave her enough to be full yet gave me the comfort that she was getting good breast milk also.

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