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As some of you may know from this post, I have been struggling for almost eight months to get Wren to take a bottle. I’m not weaning her, I just would like to have a little more flexibility with her feedings. I scoured Pinterest (and Google, of course) for solutions to my dilemma, and the only advice that came up were a bunch of expensive bottle brands (that didn’t work), or tips from mommies who had obviously started introducing their babies to the bottle when they were still newborns. (Whoops.) I was despairing. This must be a common problem! Maybe I just suck at googling, but I came up with zilch. My niece never took a bottle. My poor sister in law just had to wait until she was old enough for sippy cups. So I know I’m not alone.
Anyway, after months of trial and error, (and not telling hapless babysitters that Wren was certain to angrily refuse that bottle I left for her, sorry Mom!) I am pleased to announce we have a bottle feeding baby! Well, not entirely bottle feeding. I still plan on nursing her until she is a year at least, but the point is I can leave her side for more than three hours at a time. It has been a long seven and a half months. Without further ado, here are my tips for getting your stubborn breastfeeder to take a bottle.
1) Keep trying! Don’t give up on the bottle. You never know when your baby might stop crying and just drink the bottle. Once your baby becomes more acclimated to it, she might discover that it dispenses milk as well.
2) Don’t go crazy buying a ton of different “breastfeeding” bottles that have more parts than your average rocket engine. My rule was if it came with a blueprint on how to assemble it, then forget it. Babies are creatures of simple habits. They just want to suck some milk down. And if you are like me, your baby is way too old for you to be worrying about gas pains and colic anyway. For me, the tommee tippee bottles worked best for my two babies who preferred the breast.
The nipple on the Avent doesn’t get sucked into the bottle while she is drinking it, which is better because it means she doesn’t have to periodically stop sucking to let the nipple pop back out. But both work fine.
3) Try sitting the baby upright. My oldest wouldn’t drink a bottle while reclining. She would only drink it sitting up.
4) Warm up the milk a bit. Now, officially I know I’m supposed to say to hold the bottle under flowing warm water. But any of us that has tried this knows it doesn’t heat up the milk at all and ain’t nobody got time for that! Try a bottle warmer instead.
5) Have someone else (other than the haggard breast milk dispenser) feed the baby the bottle. My husband has the most success giving my babies their bottles. Maybe because he is just as obstinate as they are. Do not let skittish relatives who “don’t want the baby to hate me” to even attempt this feat. It will just prove discouraging for all concerned. Choose someone with a will of iron.
6) I have heard from mothers who feel less hatred for pumping than I (I have the inexplicable feeling that I am cheating on my baby with a machine) that it helps immensely to put breast milk in the bottle. That is what the baby is used to drinking, after all.
7) Offer the bottle during the times when the baby nurses the most. For my babies, that is when they first wake up in the morning and the final nurse before bed at night. My husband also started offering it for Wren’s night feedings to try and gauge how hungry she really was at night after she was about six months old. (The answer was: not very hungry as she would fall back asleep after only one ounce.)
Well, I hope these were helpful. Not having to worry about rushing home or being stuck somewhere while my baby goes hungry is such a relief. Have any of you had this problem? What helped your babies to take a bottle?