Getting Breastfed Baby to Take a Bottle

Updated on November 28, 2007
K.H. asks from Great Falls, MT
13 answers

I am trying to get my 4 month old daughter to take a bottle so my husband and I can go on a date. We have tried several types of bottles and different styles of nipples with no success. My daughter just licks the bottle nipple and moves it around in her mouth. She also seems to gag easily because of the length of the nipples. I have not been able to find any of those really short nipples that Playtex used to make. Any suggestions for helping her figure out how to suck on the bottle so she can be bottle-fed every now and then? Does anyone know if they still make those really short bottle nipples?

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answers from Lincoln on

my sister in law had the problem that her son wouldn't take the bottle from her because he knew she had the "real thing". So the only way he would take the bottle was if it was someone other than her.

Hope that helps.
G. D.

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answers from Madison on

I recently led a La Leche League meeting about alternatives to bottle-feeding for moms going back to work (or on a date!! what an idea!) A lactation consultant loaned me the 'breast bottle' as an example of something out of the ordinary... One of the breast fed children at the meeting was enthralled with this thing - she walked around with it in her mouth for half the meeting. :)
they're a little expensive, but it might be worth it. When you get it, the nipple is closed and you have to clip one, two, or all three holes in the nipple depending on how much flow you want. These bottles really look and feel like the breast, so it might be a good option.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Davenport on

The best thing you can do is as often as you can pump milk and have someone else feed your baby when you are not present. Sometimes the temperature makes a difference. Whomever may care for your child while you try to get away is probably the best person to bond with your baby for feedings. Try having your baby have skin-to-skin contact while the feeding takes place. The "natura-latch" nipples colapse like that of a breast. There are also large nipple bottles you can find on Ebay:

Some people are told not to give pacifiers and bottles due to "nipple confusion" but I highly recommend always introducing other tactics in case mommy cannot be around. In my situation, noone would even care for my son when I was around for fear of his detachment and lack of bottle feeding. It got easier when some food could be introduced. The best thing is to at least once p/day have your baby use a bottle. I know it's easiest for you to nurse but if noone else is around, try it. I felt guilty and did not have any desire to do that so I never did. It made my life very difficult and my husband resented me for it. (He travelled a lot so he was unable to keep up his end of the bargain of the once p/day feedings.)


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Billings on

Another alternative is to cup feed. We use one ounce soft medicine cups to offer supplement to newborns. Sit baby on your lap and hold medicine cup over bottom lip. Often they still their tongues out and lap up the milk. You can slowly tip the cup up to offer a bit at a time and baby will swallow the milk. Go slow so you don't choke the baby. As they get older you can offer breast milk with a sippy cup too.

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answers from Lincoln on

We actually started using preemie nipples until our daughter got used to taking a bottle and then switched to the Playtex "natural latch" nipples. After a while, she would take any type of bottle. Just keep trying and be patient... this is a learning process for you both!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sioux Falls on

If you look at the packs of nipples, there are ones that are for newborns and so on. The newborn ones are not very big and work great for those who seem to choke on the bigger ones. I used them with my babies.



answers from Salt Lake City on

I wish you the best of luck on this!

When my daughter was a baby, she flat out refused a bottle. I even tried the nipples for the bottles that you are referring to and even pumped milk to put in the bottles while I was gone. We tried countless nipples and several different people tried to feeh her, she wouldn't. (I also nursed her until she has a year and a half because she wouldn't take anything else, BUT me).

I left the room, house, etc. No matter how hungry she was, it didn't work. The nurses told me that because I hadn't breast fed her when she was so young, she just may not ever take a bottle.

The best thing I can suggest if you can't get her to bottle feed, is to make sure she has a full tummy before you go and also be back a few minutes before she is due for her next feeding.




answers from Omaha on

my son did well in transition with the 'AVENT' level one nipples. they are soft silicone and have a more "natural" shape (at least that is what the package says) and are supposed to be the most similar feeling for the baby. the level one have the smallest opening and the baby has to work at it like he were breastfeeding..this will help him not get used to the fast flow of typical bottles and therefore wean from the breast sooner.
good luck!



answers from Saginaw on

the nipples you are talking about are the yellow plastic aren't they ? My first son hated anything made with that yellow plastic. My newborn is now using the playtex drop ins with the Natural shape nipple and loves them. While it is a different motion for them to breastfeed vs. bottle feed and it will take some learning for them to use the new one, you may have to try a couple of different bottles ie nipple shapes before you find the one that is right for your child. I used Avent the first time and got lots of leaky bottles but I absolutely love the playtex ones we are using now, and when we go to the bigger size I plan on switching to the Playtex vent aire natural shape which has the same nipple we are currently using.
Good luck,



answers from Salt Lake City on

My only suggestion - keep trying, eventually she'll get it. Have you're husband try feeding instead of you (don't even be in the room where she can smell or hear you). I used the Avent bottles which seemed to work well for my daughter and used the number 1 nipple which has the slowest flow.

My daughter did the same thing and it took a few weeks of trying to finally get her to take a bottle. Good luck!



answers from Great Falls on

I had good luck with the playtex vent-air 'natural shape'. With my second child we waited until about 3 months to try the bottle so it was a little difficult, but we had better success when dad gave it to him rather than mom. best of luck



answers from Milwaukee on

I struggled with the same issue. My son was and still is a wonderful nurser, but hated the bottle. I went through a few different bottles, but found that one worked the best for us. I used a bottle called Second Nature which mimiced the nursing actions and assisted with avoiding nipple confusion. The nipple seemed long to me, but once he got the hang of sucking on the bottle the gag reflex went away.
The temperature of the bottle, nipple, and milk really affected him. I had to make sure the bottle and nipple were at body temperature.
An odd tip I received was to apply the nipple cream I used to the nipple of the bottle. Since I used it on myself it was a familiar taste and texture for my son. It actually seemed to help him take the nipple better.
I went against convention and gave him the bottle myself until he was comfortable with it. I would hold him like I was nursing, but just gave him the bottle instead of the breast. Once he got the hang of it Dad started to give him the bottle.
Another tip that I received was to pump and then give the bottle right away. It is at the right temp, fresh, and you are empty so the smell isn't attracting the baby to you.
In the end my son did take bottles, but only out of necessity. He only drank 4-5 ounces at a time till he was 11 months and only 2-3 times a day. He adjusted his eating schedule to my work schedule. On weekends I would nurse before leaving and sometimes he would take the bottle and other times he would wait for me to get home. The key is that they continue to grow and gain weight. They always figure out away to get what they need.



answers from Lincoln on

I would suggest a few things:

#1: If you are breastfeeding, have your husband or someone else practice the bottle with her. She sees you in a different way and may think the bottle is just a play thing or toy so it is better to have someone else introduce the bottle.

#2: It takes time. Usually about two weeks for some babies before a baby becomes receptive to the bottle. Pick the same time each day for the bottle feeding. Then, that helps it become a habit and you can add more bottle feedings in a day if needed.

#3: Make sure the milk is warm enough and the nipple is warm. Even the slightest bit of chill can make your baby not want it.

#4: You should be able to find the Playtex bottles just about anywhere. They revamped the design so they may just look different to you. Use the #1 nipple and just let her practice each day. Once she takes the bottle well for someone else, she will start to take it from you too when needed.

Good Luck.

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