Infant Not Sleeping and Not Taking Bottle

Updated on April 28, 2007
E.M. asks from Columbus, OH
18 answers

Hi all, I have a new infant 6 weeks old who I have been trying to wean off the breast. I go back to work in a week and a half and he will be going to a sitters. He absolutely hates the bottle. He screams and screams when I try to give it to him. I thought that it was just me as he had taken bottles from others before however now he is fussing for everyone. My pediatrician said when I started to wean to start with day feedings so I am still nursing in the evening, night, and morning. Now he is not sleeping at night either. He will go down for an initial 2 to 3 hours but after that he is up and down every hour. I am loosing it here and am truly fatigued. My husband is of little help, as my son just wails for him. I need him to start taking the bottle and am scared that he will scream at the sitters all day. Now all I do from his first bottle around 9:30 to when I breastfeed again around 5 is try to get him to take the bottle and deal with a fussy baby. My ped. also said try soy in case the formula is upsetting his stomach. Any suggestions.... I have tried different bottles too.

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D.S.

answers from Dayton on

Have you tried the Soothie bottles? My daughter is breast feed and she seems to like those (they are shaped like a nipple). You can get them at Target.

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H.B.

answers from Columbus on

I agree that pumping would probably be the easiest transition into the bottle. I also understand that pumping is sometimes difficult if not impossible at some jobs. If this is your case I would recommend pumping to get him used to taking a bottle then gradually switch him to formula before you head back to the workforce. If you can pump at work I highly recommend that option, it's free and will probably make your baby happier to still get the smell and taste he loves while you are away. Again, I totally understand if this is not an option, some jobs just make it impossible. Either way, remember, he will eat, he will not let himself starve, someday he will be running around with pudding on his face eating dirt and you will wonder why he turned away formula when he seems to find worms appetizing! Good luck and congratulations on your new bundle!

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H.S.

answers from Dayton on

I had so many problems getting my baby to take bottles. He lost weight and is now failure to thrive. Nurse or pump as much as you popssibly can. I know its hard as heck but picky babies become skinny babies and thats never good. Give him what he wants. Keep trying with the bottles and pumping and nurse him in the meantime. I would try a little rice cereal thinned out to make it more substantial during the day. I did it with my first who was nipple confused and he slept through the night.

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M.R.

answers from Cincinnati on

First of all, if you have to go back to work and can no longer nurse or feed your child breastmilk, do not feel guilty about it! Juggling the responsibilities of a newborn, a career, and a family can be difficult and you need to do what you can to keep yourself sane and healthy. You should be commended for the hard work you've already done in the six weeks you nursed him. Besides, your child won't sprout an extra arm or grow up stupid if he is on formula - plenty of kids were raised on formula and are well-adjusted, well-behaved, and actually do manage to contribute positively to society!

I know you said your husband is of little help, but try sending your husband in with the bottle. That gives your baby only one option of feeding - from the bottle, as he does not have a breast nor does he have the 'milk smell'. Also, try to not change everything about the feeding (allow a few feedings for a particular nipple and formula to avoid mass confusion) and follow a predictable routine (this will bring comfort to your child).

Good luck to you - only you know your schedule, your life demands, and your child best. I hope everything works out well for you and your family.

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J.D.

answers from Columbus on

E.,
6 weeks is so little. Sometimes it takes them a while to adjust to new things like switching from the breast to the bottle. Trust me on this, Ive done it with 3!!Also when you are nursing they have to eat much more often then if they are taking formula. My babies didnt sleep all the way through the night until they were about 3 months old. Thats when I weaned them off my breast milk and onto formula. For some reason I am never able to produce milk after 3 months. I have no choice but to switch.
What really worked well for me (and all babies are different, so you will have to play around and see what works best for your little one) is that I would buy the special nipples that are for breastfeeding moms. Then whenever it was time to eat, I would lay beside my baby on a bed or couch and hold the bottle very close to my breast, almost like I was going to nurse them.YOu can do it while holding him to, but for some reason mine did better when I was laying down. I think the key is to hold it close to your breast because they will sense your milk and they will give them the security like they are nursing. It took several times for them to eat without crying thru the whole thing. My youngest was the worst... she would cry and then take a few sucks then cry and then a few sucks. She did this for serveral days. But she finally got the hang of it. I think pumping is very hard, at least for me personally. Some moms are pros at it! But with all three of my babies I tried to pump when I went back to work and milk supply got so low sometimes I would only get a 4 oz bottle out of the whole day. Then of course by 3 months my milk would dry up.
The best thing is to try and stay calm and not get frustrated... because it is very frustrating sometimes. Just be keep trying. With my first baby I thought he would never sleep thru the night, that he would never wean thimself off of me, that he would never get on a schedule. I really thought my life would be this way forever! It was very hard.... but they do. They really do. You'll back in 6 months a hardly remember how how things were at this point. Thats why we have more!!!hahah!!
Hang in there!! You'll make it!! Just keep tryin! Good luck!
Good luck!

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J.S.

answers from Philadelphia on

Go to www.lalecheleague.org - the website for La Leche League. They have great information online. You can also look up the name and phone number of local le leche league support groups in your area. Call a leader - they give lots of free advice over the phone. Also, try visiting www.breastfeeding.com. Formula tastes so very different from breastmilk -and if you've ever tasted formula, you know it tastes pretty bad. Try pumping some breastmilk and seeing if the baby will take that in a bottle. I am a postpartum doula and have breastfeeding support training. You are welcome to contact me privately at [email protected]____.com
Best Wishes!
J.

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A.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hi E.,
Before you read any farther please understand that I am only offering you suggestions that might get you through the back to work transition and is not intended to sabotage your breast feeding. Some who offer advice do not seem to realize that your little one must accept a bottle, you can't breastfeed from work! And under no circumstance should you feel GUILTY!!! Having your baby take a bottle is not a bad thing and will not alter his life!

First, when your baby unlatches look in the mirror and see what shape your nipple is, buy a nipple that looks most like yours. Also, test the temparature of your milk and make the formula that temp. Try pumping for the next 24 hours and only offering the bottle. Don't give in! He will not hold out for long!

Have some one you trust keep the baby for the day if his fussiness is overwhelming. Offer him a bottle on a 2 hour schedule. If he takes at least 3-4 ounces go ahead and push it to 3 hours. If he only takes an ounce or 2 wait at least 2 hours so he is hungry before you offer the bottle again. It really will only take 24 hours. After he is taking the bottle all day add back in the nursing in the night when you want to keep him as calm as possible. If you intend to continue breastfeeding and pumping from work this will get you started. You can always give him the pumped breast milk in his bottle.

My web site is www.cincibabylady.com

I don't claim to know it all, I just have more practical knowledge than the books can offer. The truth is, you can find a book that will tell exactly what you want to hear, the trouble is sometimes you don't have the right book! Really, nothing always works, but something usually does!
Good Luck!
Angee
The Baby Lady

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A.H.

answers from Cleveland on

ok first try to put him on a schedule. i swear it helps! for the bottle he would get it every 3 to 4 hours. as for him not wanting the bottle, put the bottle in ffront of him. i wouldnt give him the breast anymore. im not sure what else to say! best of wishes!!!

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B.D.

answers from Toledo on

E.,

The same happened with my youngest son, he refused the bottle for my sitter and I cried when she told me, I felt horrible. Both of my boys were breastfed and both of them would only take 1 kind of bottle (and I tried numerous ones), try the Playtex nursers with a rubber nipple instead of silicon nipple. Rubber feels more like that breast to them. The playtex nursers cost a little more because you have to buy the liner, but to me it was worth it.

I agree with some of the others, that pumping may be a good option for you since he is used to your breastmilk maybe he will take that better from a bottle than formula. Also maybe try a new formula if pumping is not an option. We ended up using Carnation Good Start for my second son after I quit nursing him at 8 months and he took it wonderful, with no adjustment period.

As for the sleeping, from one working mom to another, I know this is hard to hear, but that is something you will have to get used to. It is definately very hard to be a working mom, I have been doing it for 5 years and have had many sleepless nights. My oldest honestly did not sleep through the night until he was 3 years old, my second was 1 year old. I just tried to look at the bright side that it was extra time I was getting to spend with them.

Good luck returning to work. It will all work out, your baby will eat when he is hungry and will be fine!

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M.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hi E. - Congrats on being a new mom - it is wonderful, exhausting, joyous, and everything in between, isn't it?

First, a few things to help you and your husband soothe your baby - from your local library (free) or you can buy if you wish:
1) Dunstan Baby Language DVD - awesome video helps you decode your infant's sounds (infants all over the world share a repertoire of universal sounds) so that you are helping them appropriately. More on this here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunstan_Baby_Language
http://www2.oprah.com/tows/slide/200611/20061113/slide_20...

2) Happiest Baby on the Block DVD or book - gives you additional strategies to help soothe the baby to sleep (yep, your husband can do this, too!):
http://www.theportablebaby.com/blog/2007/04/new-products-...

3) Make sure you have an excellent baby carrier so you can have 2 free hands and your baby can be happier (carried babies cry *significantly* less than other babies) - here's your local non-profit babywearing group where you can go for support, see a bunch of different carriers that aren't readily available in stores around you, try before you buy, ask questions of other moms who have been through what you're going through: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Ohio_NINO/
For a primer on the different types of carriers:
http://peppermint.com/guide.html

As far as the breastfeeding, formula feeding, working, and bottle:
1) Sounds like your baby is not tolerating the formula, and this is far more common than most moms are told about when they switch to formula. Please consider *not* weaning your child at all and pumping (any reason you are weaning to formula - big bucks to use formula! - instead of buying a nice double electric breast pump that you could use - one-time purchase of around $300 for a really, really nice pump?).

2) Are you really ready to miss out on the amazing health benefits to you (the longer you nurse, the more the protective effects against uterine, ovarian, cervical, endometrial, and breast cancers) and to your baby (shorter & easier illnesses esp if in daycare, less diarrhea, fewer allergies, better jaw development and eye development, lowered risk of childhood cancers and diabetes)? Continuing to breastfeed, even if only while you're at home, will be healthier AND cheaper. And your baby's tummy is *so* young - please consider going for the first 6 months before switching to formula.

3) As for the bottle thing, your baby is just really good at getting his needs met. He clearly prefers the breast (knows a good thing when he's got it!) to the bottle, however, there are tricks to getting your baby to take a bottle (we suffered the same issue - I worked full time and pumped): have you tried offering the bottle when the baby is really sleepy? while carrying the baby in a sling/rocking the baby (motion often helps)? These are times when the baby is more likely to accept a bottle. ALSO, if you haven't already, I would definitely suggest offering bottles of breastmilk *first* before trying to do 2 big changes (bottle AND formula) at once.

Best of luck... and I know you'll get a lot of encouragement to switch to formula, so I am probably the lone voice that will encourage you to see that many, many important factors are not-so-subtly making breastfeeding an option to consider instead of weaning: your baby's tummy doing better on your breastmilk, the health benefits to you and baby, the wonderful cost savings of not switching to formula, etc. If you need in-person help or encouragement from other moms who have continued breastfeeding while returning to work, please attend your next local LLL meeting:
http://www.lllohio.org/groups/columbus.html

And of course, if you *do* have to switch your son to formula 100% for some reason, obviously the love and responsiveness with which you feed him is still going to be there, and that is HUGE. :)

Best of luck to you!

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B.M.

answers from Cincinnati on

Both of mine did the same thing. Just try not to get frustrated. There is this bottle called the Breast bottle. You can get them on e-Bay for about $15.00. It's worth it. Try giving him a bottle after you feed him. Then he won't to hungry. It'll give him a change to get used to the new nipple when he isn't frustrated. Maybe stand up and bounce lightly or sing to him.

Good luck. I've beenm there. He'll get the hang of it... he just like you the best!

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K.M.

answers from Columbus on

E.,

You've received so many great responses! I'll just put my two cents in and you can do with it as you please...

Pumped breastmilk will be the easiest transition for you and your little one. If possible, pump after he goes to sleep (even though I know you said he's not sleeping much right now) or in the morning before he wakes up. This might get him used to the bottle initially if he has the taste of your milk. Also, pump at work if you can when you go back.

The first few times we gave my daughter a bottle before I had to return back to work, we had a tough time. I did not even attempt to do it, but had my husband do it. It was hard for awhile, but she eventually took it. Just keep trying.

A couple more thoughts to consider are: the type of nipple you're using. Some babies like silicon and others like rubber. Try a few different types/shapes. Also, maybe it's the type of formula. Maybe go for something that's more gentle on his stomach. Special ones formulated for gassy/fussy babies might work.

Good luck in your endeavors and congrats for nursing for the 1st 6 weeks! The first year is so hard, but so rewarding.

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A.G.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi, E.- That is so exhausting! My 3rd was/is like this w/o even trying to ween her...I wanted to cry everyday, and I stay at home!
My question for you would be do you have to go back to work right away? Little ones can sense our urgency & stress, and this weening might be added stress on him. It seems like he just wants and needs the comfort of you for now. Not demanding--he's too young for that--but just needing.
Would it be easier to go back to work and know that he's stressful for everyone to be with, or would it be easier to be at home & relax w/ him giving him what he needs for now, and ween him when he's less likely to resist?

Just something to think about if that's financially possible right now.

Blessings
A. G

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K.B.

answers from Cincinnati on

I found it easier to never feed my son a bottle. If I fed him he got a breast, if someone else fed him he obviously got a bottle. If someone else fed him, I wouldn't even be in the same room or possibly not even house. This way he didn't have an option. If he was hungery, he got a bottle if he wasn't with me. This took away nipple confusion and the want for only me...I don't know if this helps you at all but maybe...Best wishes

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M.R.

answers from Columbus on

You might try pumping and giving the breast milk in the bottle and get him used to that for a couple days. Then try slowly adding formula if you are going to stop breastfeeding entirely. Like the first day or so do maybe, for example, if he's taking 4 ounces, like 1 ounce formula and the rest breast milk, and gradually transition it all to formula. He may need more feeding at first since breastmilk doesn't generally keep babies full as long as formula. Hope this helps, and hopefully things get better!

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A.A.

answers from Dayton on

Formula is really hard on babies' tummies, and it tastes horrible. Your milk is sweet, and formula tastes like vitamins. Is pumping not an option for you? I think it's totally worth the time and effort you have to put into it for all the benefits for you and baby. Here's a good list of what you and your son would get out of continued breastfeeding: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/start/prepare/bf-benefits.html

Some people don't know this, but the surgeon general and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend breastmilk for an entire year, and nothing but breastmilk for 6 months. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for 2 years.

Anyway, good luck with your problem!

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M.M.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi E.: try Enfamil for fussy or gassy babies and some tylenol drops to help calm him-I have breast and bottle fed my daughter from the start so she does both which is a god send. Mix your breast milk in with the formula. Breast feed him to calm him then give him the bottle. That may work. I am breast feeding still since being back to work-I just do it less frequently and she takes formula at the sitters.

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R.S.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hi E.,

When reading your message I had a flashback of my son when we were trying to get him on the bottle because I had to go back to work also. Your story is parallel to ours, except we kept putting it off and I HAD to go back to work when he was 4 monthes old and he was really attached by then.

We eventually started using the Playtex rubber nipples instead of the silicone nipples because family and Dr. told us it was more silimar to the softness of the breast. I would pump at work, still giving him the breast milk, just in the bottle instead of nursing even at home. we began mixing the breast milk with the formula little by little until we were eventually just using formula.

Honestly, he was not a happy camper in the beginning, but we just had to be consistent and stick to our guns.

Good luck-
Hope this helps.

Ros

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