Going Back to Work! How Do I Get My Baby to Embrace the Bottle?

Updated on November 24, 2009
O.F. asks from Snohomish, WA
8 answers

Looking for any advice you all might have. I am going back to work 2 days a week then moving to three days a week in Jan. My son is 3/12 months old and not that keen on the bottle. I have been giving it to him with minimal success since 2 months old however he never really would suck on it.
My husband is our daycare and is doing a great job but baby is still not really sucking much on his own with the bottle. I have just finished my forth half day back at work. Next week I will do two full days.
SO I plan to continue offering him the bottle in the mornings the rest of the week, however other moms have told me to have my husband do this.
The problem is he has to go to work the rest of the week. So I can either give the bottle to baby in th mornings mimicking how things are when I'm gone or have my husband do it when he gets home even though he's tired, hoping that after a week of this that little boy will catch on.

Any advice greatly appreciated!

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answers from Portland on

Kids will not starve themselves. They may wait a bit for their preferred type of meal, but eventually he'll learn he has no choice, if he wants to eat, he has to use the bottle.

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answers from Seattle on

So this won't nessicarily get him on a bottle, but my mother had the same problem with my little brother and this is what she did. They make these things called supplemental nursing systems and it is a bottle that you put milk in and hang around your neck with a thin tube so that you can breast feed and then supplement at the same time. My dad used this to feed my brother by taping the end of the tube on his finger. My brother was more willing to suck on my dad's finger than the bottle (I guess it was more "boob-like" than the bottle). This seemed to work and they no longer had to struggle with the bottle. My little brother atre this way for the first year of his life.

Good luck!!

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answers from Seattle on

I am prefacing this advice with you must figure out what works for you and make your final decisions. I do have a background in breastfeeding having lactated continually since 1997 and have helped 100's of moms with nursing when I was a childbirth educator and since as well....

I too have a 3.5 month old child too. I too work full time, in fact went back to work when he was less than 1 week old. I have been blessed however and was able to start back partly from home and partly part time. I also am blessed since I have a job where I do not have to separate from my small children and take them along. Is there any chance you could do that with your job? ( you did not say what you do)

I would suggest in order to maintain your milk supply that you never ever give baby a bottle when you are there yourself. If you are working and away it can really effect your milk supply. I would also suggest that if you don't that you sleep with your baby and nurse while you sleep so baby does not need as much milk during the day. ( I have to do this since we are on the go with my job so much during the day) The more my babies nurse at night the less they need during the day and the easier my life is.

Also consider feeding baby with a cup instead of a bottle. A tiny shot glass or tiny dixie cup carefully fed to baby often works better and the sipping motion the baby does more closely similates nursing so is often easier for baby, it also has the benefit of being easier for clean up, baby does not get air in their little tummies and also no nipple confusion. I would also suggest that if you are pumping or hand expressing at work. ( and you should be) that you do not do it on an exact schedule, having a more varied schedule make for more milk production.

You baby is smart and prefers you to a bottle. Make drinking milk from a cup something different he does when you are gone and he is more likley to take to it than if you try to give him a bottle when you have the breast right there. Many moms I helped who were going back to work have used this tactic I've described very sucessfully.

In summary,

*Nurse baby when ever you are with baby
*Nurse baby just before leaving.
*Nurse baby @ night and relatch him any time you wake at night ( of course sleeping with him)
*If you are able to be with baby at work or at least on a break nurse then
* Pump or express as often and frequently as you can when you are away and on the non nursing side some when together too so you have enough for him.
*Cup feed baby instead of a bottle.
* NO Pacifiers at all ever
*Nurse baby the moment you get back home

Please let me know how it works!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

You don't say whether or not you're using expressed breast milk in the bottle. Also, how big is the whole in the nipple? Adjusting it, making it a tad bigger might make sucking easier for him.

Most definitely, your husband is the bottle feeder, not you if you wish to continue breast feeding. For me, when I got home at the end of the day, nursing my kids was my greatest joy and stress reducer from the work day. We all got centered.

Your baby is going to learn that Dad gives him the bottle, that this is how he gets fed when Daddy is holding and feeding him. With you, it's the breast. It's going to take sometime, but persistence and routine are important. That means training Daddy as much as training baby. The baby will also sense Dad's frustration, so Dad needs to learn to unwind as well. You say Dad is your daycare, but he's tired when he gets home? Will your be working opposite shifts? Again, Dad always with the bottle, you always with the breast. It takes some time, but relax, it will happen. Adjust the opening in the nipple to make easier, offer the bottle when he's hungry so he makes the connections, Dad=bottle, bottle=milk, milk=no more hunger.

It will work.

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answers from Seattle on

My daughter never took a bottle from me. I went back to work FT after 6 mo and had been PT before and she took the bottle just fine from my husband, my mom and her caregiver at daycare later on.
I really wouldn't worry about it too much at this point, I am sure as he gets hungry he will eventually be just fine with the bottle, though your husband might be in for a few rough days.
I do have one more tip: try different shapes an materials of nipples. My daughter only drank from orthontic shaped latex nipples (Gerber NUK) after we tried about 5 different kinds. I ended up giving away all of my AVENT bottles because she would simply refuse them no matter how hungry she was.
Good luck!

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answers from Seattle on

I have a 4 1/2 month old and went back to work PT at 3 1/5 months. It took lots of work to get her to take the bottle. We had to try different types of bottles with different nipples. Then I learned there are different hole sizes in the nipples so we tried that. What really came down to, was having someone other than me, because I had the breasts, to give her the bottle. It also took work, but now she is doing well when we are not together. Keep at it, you guys will figure out what works for you.



answers from Portland on

Have you tried other style nipples? My granddaughter refused some nipples. She finally settled on the style that has a flattened nipple shape. The part attached to the bottle was the standard shape. The nipple part it's self was flatter. This is not the one that advertises that it's closest to the shape of a mother's breast.

Also, are you using the softer nipple that is made for the younger baby? It's easier to suck.

I also remember my mother making the hole in the nipple larger so that the milk came out easier.

Are you putting breast milk in the bottle? If so you could try formula. Maybe he "feels" duped. :)

Do remember that your baby will eat when he's hungry. When he doesn't suck don't give in and give him your breast. That's why it may be easier for his father to feed him. There is no breast to wait for.



answers from Canton on

Surely your husband wouldn't be too tired to sit and give the baby a bottle. He needs to do it.

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