StorkNet interview with
Anne Smith, IBCLC
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

Q's and A's:

INTRODUCING BOTTLE TO BREASTFED BABY

Terri: My son just turned 5 months old. I am breastfeeding, however, I have been trying for weeks to get him to take a bottle of my breast milk. I have tried three different nipples hoping he would take one. No such luck. I have had others try to give him the bottle with no success. How can I get my 5 month old to now take a bottle?

Anne: Getting an older baby to take a bottle can be challenging. Babies often get pretty set in their ways after the early weeks of nursing, and may decide that milk is supposed to come out of breasts, not bottles, and they just won't accept a substitute for the real thing.

Will he take juice from a bottle? Some babies will accept juice but not milk, and if he will, then you can try adding a tiny bit of milk to the juice (maybe 1 tsp to an ounce of juice) and then gradually increase the amount of milk until he learns to accept the taste.

Are you in a situation where he absolutely has to take supplemental feedings regularly? For example, are you returning to work or going on a trip without him? If not, then that kind of takes the pressure off a little bit.

The article on "Introducing Bottles and Pacifiers to a Breastfed Baby" may have some tips on getting him to take a bottle, but at this age, you might have more luck at offering him a cup. Many babies this age are very interested in cup feeding, and are more likely to accept it than a bottle because they associate sucking with breastfeeding, but not cup feeding. I would try offering him breastmilk in a cup, and if he refuses that too, I would try the juice trick.

With time and patience, I'm sure you'll get him to accept supplemental feedings of milk from someone other than you. It sounds like he is a smart young man who knows what he wants, and isn't willing to settle for anything else, (you really can't blame him for figuring out that "breast is best"!) but I'm sure he'll come around eventually.

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