He Will NOT Take a bottle...help

Updated on December 30, 2008
J.P. asks from Saint Michael, MN
12 answers

My 2 month old loves nursing and I love nursing him, too. However, I go back to work in a month so we have been trying to use the bottle a little to prepare him for daycare. Also, with it being the holidays we have different parties to go to and he won't take a bottle for his grandparents (babysitting).
When it's breast milk he seems interested but will not suck on the bottle and when it is formula it's worse.
Any suggestions of how to get him to take the bottle?

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answers from Milwaukee on

We had the same problem. Find someone who is very patient, then leave and let them work at it. I had my mom help me and it took a week, with her giving him 2 feedings per day, before he stopped crying and gave in. Once he did, he actually started taking a pacifier and sleeping through the night!

My mom was very patient, talked to him in a calm voice, and tried multiple positions. She finally found that he would take the bottle if she propped one ankle on her other knee and laid him across her legs with his head away from her body. She then had to cover his feet. He took a bottle like this for a few days before he would finally take it in a normal position. Just shows that each baby has his/her own little quirks :)

Another thing that helped was the Adiri bottle. It's a little pricey, but is shaped like a breast and seemed to help with the transition. It did leak a lot, so I didn't care for it much, but it was a good learning bottle.

Good luck to you!

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answers from Eau Claire on

My son was the same way. He refused all bottles. We tried almost everyone one on the market and he refused them all. The only one we had semi-good luck with was the Playtex Nurser.

I went back to work when my son was 6 weeks old. I still nursed him at night and had breast milk for him during the day. He started reverse cycling where he wouldn't eat during the day and would nurse constantly at night. It was to the point we were lucky if he ate 3 ounces from 7am - 5pm. He would scream the entire day because he was hungry, yet wouldn't eat.

I finally gave up and quit my job and stayed home with him during the day and worked part time in the evenings. It wasn't until he was about a year that he would start taking a bottle regularily.

I hope I'm not freaking you out, I just want you to know that you aren't alone. There are a lot of us with stubborn babies who know what they want and will force their opinion on us. :)



answers from Omaha on

Talk to a La Leche League leader to help you with this transition. Just google it and you will find someone in your area.

Also look at askdrsears.com. He has great help for mom's!

The best thing is to keep nursing him when you are available. This is a short chapter in both of your lives and the opportunity is here. There are lifelong, significant benefits that you won't want to miss out on. Your baby will only be this little once and work will always be there.

Another site to look at for benefits is www.lightlink.com/hilinda/Diane/breastorbottle.html

The days are long, but the years are short. Enjoy this time with your baby and good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter was the same way (she is now two) and my son (who is 10 weeks) seemed like he has the same tendencies, but we make sure he has had the bottle once or twice a day since he was around 5 or 6 weeks old. He only gets breastmilk, so no experience yet with formula. A tip to help you right now is to warm the bottle. Buy a bottle steamer. My daughter and now my son will take it if it is warm milk. Also, have your husband do the bottle-feeding. If she sees it is you and she prefers you, it will make it more hard. Work with your husband to find the best bottle technique for her and then teach this to the grandparents. And yes there are many different techniques with babies. Some like a very quiet room. Others like to be swaddled while fed. Sometimes it is the type of bottle. We use the Born Free bottles. Make sure she has a good latch on to the bottle. I hope this helps!



answers from Milwaukee on

I just had this situation with my daughter who is 4 months old. I just returned to work Dec 1.

What worked for us was we went to just bottle feeding for a FULL day- my husband had to do this b/c after her screaming for an hour I just wanted to grab her and nurse her again. I was in tears b/c I knew she had to get used to the bottle but also b/c I knew she was hungry. But after about 3 hours she finally latched on and drank the bottle which made me happier. After this she would get one bottle a day while at home with me.

We spent a fortune on different nipples to try to get one that she would actually like. My son as an infant he didn't care about the nipple, would take whatever was put in his mouth. My daughter, we had to buy the "Breastform" brand from Target (probably have them at other places)- these bottles are weird and have an insert in the nipple that is supposed to make it seem like actual nursing for a baby. She wouldn't take the bottle with the insert so we have removed it and she finally started to drink. We also are using Avent bottles as both these and the Breastform are bigger nipples like the breast.

Even after all of this, she went to daycare and at NOTHING all day with the new people around her. My pediatrician finally told me to stop worrying b/c when they get hungry enough they will eat off the bottle.

I would recommend pumping though and giving her breast milk at daycare unless you are planning to stop nursing when you go back to work. This way she would only have to get used to the bottle and not a new taste/ texture of the formula and you won't diminish your milk supply.

Good luck!!!



answers from Milwaukee on

What you need to do is start mixing the breast milk and formula, 6oz breast milk to one oz formula, for a few days, then increase it to 4oz to 2oz, then 3oz to 3oz, and keep increasing it until he is weaned...I had this same issue with my son...



answers from Appleton on

We went through the same thing with our son. What worked for us was changing our bottles to Dr. Browns bottles, still at 10months that is the only bottle he'll take. Also the temp of the breast milk made a huge difference. My husband says that when you test it it has to be hot. I know it sounds awful but thats what works for our son. good luck!



answers from Grand Forks on

I bought two Adiri Natural Nurser bottles and my DS loved them. The opaque nipple area is squishy and it helps baby adjust while weening from breast to bottle. They're kind of pricy but they worked great for my DS and they are BPA free!
Good Luck!



answers from Bismarck on

First keep trying. Try different bottle and nipples. Make sure the breastmilk/formula is warm. Have someone else give the bottle and you leave the room or even the house. Baby will not go hungry and eventually will realize that the bottle is food too. Others had great advice here too. Try everything. Good luck



answers from Des Moines on

All the ideas so far are great ones! I also suggest to whoever is giving him the bottle to hold him differently - so he isn't in the same position as nursing. We did this and my children figured out that if they were held just right it was for nursing and held any way else was for bottle. Usually with their head AWAY from the body. When they were small still my husband would hold them with his legs together babys head at his knees and feet at his tummy and bottle feed them this way.

Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

This sounds harsh, but when he is hungry enough, he WILL take the bottle. He just has to learn that that is his only option when you are not around. He will get used to it.



answers from Duluth on

well, this is complicated, and im so sorry you have to go back to work. remember that full time nursing is possibly and protected so pumping is a great option. i know my insurance covered the cost of a pump as long as my dr prescribed it, and i got the medela pump in style! :D FREE.
so check on that.

however, with your baby, you will just have to give it some time. i know you are worried if he doesnt eat anything, and thats normal and natural, but KNOW that your baby will NOT starve himself. normal healthy babies will eat when they are hungry. it might take some time, and 'strikes' are common, but he will not starve to death. give it some time, make sure that the person giving the bottle is not you (baby knows its you and will naturally prefer the 'real thing' LOL) and even leave the room, though it may be hard to do. he will use the bottle.
i highly discourage using formula as its not as good for baby - its harder on digestion because its more concentrated. its OK if you WANT to, its not that much worse nutritionally, but remember to add a little bit of water to baby's diet in order to try to prevent constipation, thats all. :D

anyway, good luck, just keep trying, and nurse/pump as much as you can. you can always store up lots of extra between now and when you go back to work, so that you possibly wont have to pump at work, or you wont have to pump as much. night nursing is GREAT and healthy and normal and natural for baby too so i hope you can somehow be willing to night nurse/cosleep for more of that connection when you are there. its not for everyone, but i found it very comforting and helpful to cosleep. my son coslept until he was between 15-17 months, he nursed and we both went back to sleep. it was awesome. :D
anyway, trust your intuition, and your instincts, about what to do. i know financial issues are a priority with everyone these days, but see if there is any way to alter your work schedule to work for your family. im sure you have done the math, and that day care isnt enough of a cost to validate you working or whatever.... you dont want to be spending more on day care than you viably make working, you know? i work at home, in home day care, so i not only dont have to day care my own child, but my child gets lots of in home companions/social life :D we love it.
good luck!

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