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Bottle Feeding
How to Get a Breastfed Baby to Take a Bottle
~ a message board archive

From jeanaj: I have an almost 4 month old baby who won't take a bottle for anything. I don't know if she is confused or what. I would love to get her to take a bottle so that maybe, just maybe, I could leave for more than an hour and let my dh feed her. Any suggestions?

From bjones: I had the same problem with my son and the best advice I got came from a lactation consultant, and it worked. The LC advised me to find someone (another loving family member) to give him the bottle, with me out of the room, or preferably, out of the house. Dh tried to give Nick his bottle, but Nick sensed that daddy really didn't know what he was doing, and refused. So, my mom gave it to him while I left the room and went upstairs to take a shower. Before I could even get in the shower, Nick was sucking away on the bottle - I couldn't believe it! Then my mom sent dh and I out on a date. I had expressed enough breast milk to last a few hours and we went to a movie.

The key thing was for me not to be the one giving the first bottle, and also for me to be away from the baby. It was also important for the bottle to be coming from someone who knew instinctively how to give a bottle (in our case, that person was grandma).

The LC advised me to give him at least one bottle a day so he wouldn't "forget" - but I started out only doing it a couple of times a week and he didn't forget. Also, he didn't give up on the breast just because he had taken a bottle or two (something I was told would happen, but didn't.)

Also, your baby may go through phases in which she'll set "conditions" in which she'll take the bottle - Nick at first wouldn't take it from me. Then he would ONLY take it from me. Then he would only take it if he was in his infant carrier. Then, he would only take it if we were outside (still don't get that one).

We used Nuk size 1 slow flow nipples on the medela bottles that came with the breast pump.

I'm not sure how much milk your baby takes, but at 4 months, you may want to start with 4oz - 6oz of breastmilk at a time.

From jeanaj: Thank you so much. I hadn't thought of leaving the room. I was just having dh try, but I was always standing right there. Thank you!

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From katy: The only thing I know about heating breastmilk is that you can NOT heat it in a microwave. The micro kills a lot of the good stuff in breastmilk, so don't use it. You can heat it in a pot of warm TAP water (not boiling!), or I think a bottle warmer is okay too. But I would first try just letting him try it cold.

From Ms_Mommy: The first time my DD got a bottle was from my mother. I was getting my hair cut at a nearby salon. My mother called me on my cell phone frantic because DD had refused the bottle for 30 minutes and was crying. By the time I returned home (with wet hair), DD was happily taking her bottle with not a tear in sight. We never had a problem again with DD taking her bottle, just the first time.

You may want to make sure your bottle AND nipple are warm. With DD, we usually use a disposable bottle with the Gerber milk bags. Therefore, we warm the milk in the bag and insert it into the bottle that has been kept at room temperature. Once, I left a reusable bottle in the refrigerator, but DD refused it. I think because it was in the refrigerator, the nipple hadn't gotten warm when the bottle was warmed. Just a thought.

From M. Bonnett: You might want to experiment with bottles and nipples too. Ethan was very particular about a certain kind and Riley was very particular about a certain kind too, but they were different. My plan had been to nurse Zoe for longer, so I tried what most refer to as closest to breast, the Avent. This time I did them, the disposable kind, and I love them and so does Zoe. The good news is if you're out and about, you only need one bottle and a few liners instead of multiple bottles.

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