Friend Having Difficulty Weening off Breast

Updated on August 03, 2008
D.K. asks from Woodstock, IL
13 answers

My good Friend starts back at work next month and her daughter refuses to take a bottle, she has tried several bottles including bottles that are $13 and several different people tried to feed her and no luck. She immediately screams when either a bottle or pacifer come anywhere her mouth. She will scream for over 30 minutes. Any suggestions on what she can do would be very helpful. She is very concerned since she starts back at work next month.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Concerned friend

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C.A.

answers from Chicago on

I wanted to let you know that sometimes it takes getting into a routine. I in the past have used the platex bottleswith the plastic sleeves. They were great as far as not allowing to much air. Hopefully this will help. C.

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J.W.

answers from Chicago on

They are little buggers aren't they? So young and a mind of their own.
My little guy tried to pull that stunt, I had a nephew that did it and a good friend's baby. All the babies were first born, all survived, all seem fine - the oldest of this bunch 13yrs.
The worst of them did not take a bottle for the first few days that her mom went back to work. Occassionally as she drifted off to sleep they could slip a bottle in for a few sips, but other than that, the baby - 3mos - chose to do all it's feeding once the Mom came home.
My nephew did that for day 1, as did my own son.

You just need a good, patient, loving care giver for that first few days. The baby will adjust. And in the end I think it's harder on us mothers and the guilt we can carry, more than anything else.

Hope all goes well.

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K.B.

answers from Chicago on

Well, it does depend if she is trying to wean entirely to formula, or just trying to get the baby through the day while she is at work.

If she's trying to wean entirely, IMHO the baby is telling her that formula's not going to cut it, and she should probably pump for at least a short while as she switches her daughter to formula. They taste different (heck they smell different!) and so the best way to wean her onto formula would be to do full breast milk in a bottle; when she takes that go to 3/4 breast milk and 1/4 formula, then 1/2 and 1/2, then 1/4 EMB and 3/4 F, and finally all formula.

If she's just trying to get her to take a bottle of EBM, then here is what she is going to have to do: pump, have daddy or someone else feed the baby AFTER she leaves the house. She cannot be there or the baby, who is no dummy, will not eat that bottle. She can go sit in the garage and cry for 3 hours, or she can go enjoy a few hours out. (If there is a patient relative or friend who can endure a 3 hour span of time, then it's a great date-time for her and her hubby, but if not, then she can have a girl's day or something.

Personally, I wouldn't try that when it's baby's bedtime at first, I'd do it during the day and I'd leave about 15-30 minutes before the next feeding. Pump and then leave; the baby won't starve in 3 hours and will most likely get hungry enough to eat something.

My son was a TOTAL stinker about not eating for anyone. I was a teacher when he was tiny (I became a SAHM when I had my second child in 2 years) and I got so desperate for sleep that I coslept with him until he was about 7 months old. He nursed most of the night and then during the day ate between 4 and 8 ounces TOPS. They call it reverse nursing. When I went back to work after that summer (he was 7 months then) he would not take a bottle, a sippy, anything! We finally got him to take a straw (which the sitter put EBM in) but by that time he was eating solids so most of his liquid during the day came from the fruits and veggies he ate.

Good luck to your friend. :)

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D.B.

answers from Chicago on

Is she trying to wean permanently or just get her baby to take a bottle while she's at work? I went back to work when my son was 4 months old. I had tried getting him to take a bottle so he could take that from the sitter and nurse the rest of the time, but he absolutely refused up til the day I went back to work. I was so worried he would starve, but the very first day he took the bottle from the sitter with no problems at all! Just tell your friend to pump, drop her off and pray she takes it when she's hungry. If she doesn't, then she'll have to decide what to do next!

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E.C.

answers from Peoria on

I'm having the same difficulty with my 11 week old, and I go back to work in 2 weeks! I've even been working with the nursing consultant. She tried different feeding methods (cup feeding, finger feeding, spoon feeding)- my baby wouldn't do any of these, but maybe your friend could try these in case her baby won't take a bottle in time. She also stressed that the feeding experience has to be a positive one for the baby. She said that babies can feel overpowered, which makes them scared and do things like scream and refuse when you try next time. She said to talk to the baby, distract her with a favorite toy etc, and to stop if the baby becomes upset and give her lots of love and comfort. She said the baby has to feel in control of the situation. I hope this helps your friend- I'm still working on it myself!

I've begun having some luck with the Aderi bottle- it looks and feels a lot like a breast. You can find it at nurser.com.

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J.G.

answers from Springfield on

My daughter was so stubborn about this. We didn't realize we had a problem until I had to teach a one week course and left her with my grandmother in the mornings. I was pumping and Grandma was supposed to give her bottles of EBM. No such luck ... DD went on strike and wouldn't drink anything!! However, when I showed up she nursed up a storm. We worried about this all summer and tried several different bottles ... DD continued to be stubborn and even skipped eating for 8 hours when I had to be gone one day. I was sick thinking of what it would be like to return to school ... when the day came, she transitioned without fuss!! Not kidding ... she just did it. I swear they do what they want, when they want and how they want. They won't let themselves starve ... :) Tell your friend to keep trying, but don't worry about it. Just trust her daughter to do what she needs to do .... and then nurse and cuddle her like crazy after work! ;)

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G.W.

answers from Chicago on

I had the same problem when weening my youngest son and someone suggested putting aloe vera juice/gel on my nipple. The first time he made a face when he tasted it but then commenced to nurse anyway. But I kept putting it on and he eventually stopped.

In regards to a replacement, perhaps you don't need to press the issue. When they're ready to drink, just hand them a cup.

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A.J.

answers from Chicago on

Hi D., I'm An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in Skokie. I would be happy to speak with you by phone ###-###-#### or email [email protected]____.com. There are several different options. The most important one is keeping your milk supply going as long as possible. A year's worth of formula costs approx. $2,400. So the longer you use breast milk, the more money you save and the healthier you baby will be. The trick is to find a feeding source other than a bottle to feed you baby while you are gone whether it's breastmilk or formula. (Then breastfeed while at home). Hope to hear from you,
Sincerely, A. J.,RN,MN,APN/CNS,IBCLC,FILCA
PS: how old is your baby?

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J.N.

answers from Chicago on

Babies aren't dumb. If they want the breast, they will fight for it. I had a little bit different situation with my second son where my milk supply dropped after getting my period (while still breastfeeding exclusively at 4 monrha old) and he had to transition to a bottle because he wasn't gaining proper weight. He wouldn't supplement so we had to switch cold turkey to a formula bottle. He went on a hunger strike for three days. By this time, he was taking some baby food but I couldn't believe he could hold out that long. The pediatrician said to try for twenty minutes with each attempt and then revisit later. This seemed to be the key - consistency and routine. They have to know a change is occuring. It was an awful three days but he finally took a bottle at a friend's house. She kept him all afternoon. He is now two and a half and is doing great. Hopefully this encourages your friend a little. I'm not sure the different bottles or nipples are the problem - I think it is resistance to the change. Pick one and stick with it - since she has some time, pick one feeding a day to try the bottle with and make that her bottle feeding time each day. Give her daughter the control with the other feedings and keep them the same.

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G.H.

answers from Chicago on

1st she has to find a nipple that basically matches her own. She needs to place drops of her own milk on and in the nipple and hold the fake over her own until baby grabs that. Babies get use to 1 nipple and that's what they want. Repeat as many times as necessary until baby "goes for it". Then screw it on the bottle and feed. Hopefully your friend is pumping until baby gets old enough to mix the moms milk with bottled to crossover at that time. Tell her "good luck".

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K.G.

answers from Chicago on

My friend had the same issue with her daughter and it turned out to be something weird with her breastmilk! I don't recall what the "issue" is called, but when she would pump and store her milk it developed a tinny metalic flavor. It didn't effect the quality of the milk, just the taste. But it was enough that her daughter wouldn't drink it. She talked to her doctor and figured out how to deal with it and her daughter has been drinking breastmilk from a bottle ever since. So have your friend taste the milk right when it's expressed so she knows how it should taste. Then have her taste it again when they go to feed the baby. If it tastes the same, then this isn't the issue. But if it tastes metalic you have an easy answer!

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A.H.

answers from Springfield on

I had the same problem. My sister was his daycare provider at the time, and we lived in a duplex. So she would just take him next door. He'd scream, but when he was hungry, he'd take it! We started this a couple of weeks before my leave was over, so that helped, too. It also helps if she's nowhere around. Could she go for a walk or to the store while someone tries feeding the baby? Its been my experience that no breast fed baby is going to take the bottle(formula or breast milk) if they know that mama's around. We tried a couple of bottles, too. I know the ones that say they are most like the breast were the ones that he hated the most. We went with the Playtex drop in type. My son spit his bink out at 4 months, so I have no tips on that front. I wish your friend the best of luck!

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C.J.

answers from Chicago on

She can google finger feeding and cup feeding. I have heard that they work well for babies who don't like bottles. Has she tried the bottle that actually looks like a breast? I have seen them at babies r us. Check www.breastfeeding.com for more info.

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