Let me start off by saying, by no means am I an expert on this, in fact, it is still very much a work in progress. But being smack bang in the middle of desperately trying to get my nine week old to take a bottle I thought I’d share all the tips and advice that we’ve been given along the way. I know it’s been super helpful for us so hopefully, you will find it helpful too.
My third baby, Brooklyn is nine weeks old. He is breastfed. I have a great supply of milk so we are happy to stick with breastmilk for the moment. I am not opposed to formula at all, in fact Paxton (my middle) had formula from early on for one feed a day as I always felt my supply wasn’t great for his 6pm feed. Both Harper and Paxton (my first two kids) were breastfed until about nine months and then given formula until 12 months. When I was in the hospital with Brooklyn, once my milk had come in, I had very cracked nipples so I expressed for 24 hours and gave him the bottle. It wasn’t easy but the nurses helped, and he managed to take it. In the first few weeks since coming home, we didn’t give him the bottle at all. But as soon as we decided to give it a go he just refused it. Cried, gagged, choked, just refused it. It turned into an incredibly stressful experience.
Why I think it is important for your baby to take a bottle
For me, I love my kids and I love breastfeeding but I also need my time out. I need my “me-time”. I need to know that I can leave my baby with my husband on the weekend and get out. Or with my mum during the week and go to an appointment if I need to. To me, making sure my baby can take a bottle is SO important for my own sanity. I know this isn’t the same for everyone but to me it is. So, Jase and I decided that we would do everything in our power to help Brooklyn take a bottle.
The tips and advice we were given on how to get your baby to take a bottle
I reached out on social media, I reached out to a night nurse, I reached out to a friend who is a lactation consultant. I have been given so much advice. So why not share it with you guys in the hope of maybe helping someone else…
- If mum is breastfeeding, need to make sure you are out of site and get someone else to give them the bottle. Baby will smell you and just want the boob.
- Be Patient and Persistent.
- Be calm and relaxed, they can sense when you are stressed.
- Try it in a place you know baby is relaxed, worked for us in the swing Brooklyn loves. Could even try in the bath if that’s a place your baby loves.
- Make sure the milk is warm enough. Even if you are giving breastmilk that has just been expressed, it will still need to be warmed up slightly as the temperature drops as soon as it goes into the bottle.
- With breastmilk, give fresh milk whilst trying to get the baby used to it. Sometimes frozen breastmilk can taste slightly different.
- For formula fed bubs, it’s also about finding the right formula for your baby.
- Test a few different bottles but not too many as it might confuse them. Try three to four and then go with the one that works best. For us it was the Pigeon wide neck- and that is the one that was recommended by so many. The Nuk, Mam, and Dr Brown bottles were also recommended and surprisingly I had a few people say the cheap K-mart bottle worked for them!
- Try holding the baby in a breastfeeding position.
- Try lifting bubs chin up and squeezing cheeks.
- Another suggestion was to try giving the bottle when your baby is not hungry (after a feed) that way he can play with it and figure out that yum stuff comes out of it. That way it becomes more of a positive association rather than something that comes after he doesn’t get fed.
- Put maple syrup on the teat and hold baby facing the tv so they are distracted. This one worked like magic for a friend of mine!!
- The key change for us was changing the teat. I have a heavy flow of milk so we moved him to a 6-month teat and now he is taking it.
Our update and what is working for us
Over the weekend, Jase has given Brooklyn six bottles! He’s still not loving it, fussing a bit at first but he is eventually drinking more than he has been. I am telling you, persistence and patience is key. Plus finding the right bottle and the right flowing teat for your baby to handle. We are going to keep at it and make sure we give him a bottle a day so he gets used to it.
If you have any more tips, please feel free to share them. As mentioned, I am not an expert on this. If you are really struggling and your baby is not putting on enough weight, please seek help from a professional, your GP, pediatrician or a lactation consultant.
Good luck and I hope this helps!!