Tuesday, 13 August 2013
Help! My breastfed baby won't take a bottle!
I thought I'd write a post on this to share with other mums who are facing the same problem! Unfortunately for me it's not possible to feed him at lunch time or anything like that. Even if I did take him on the 1.5 hour commute (involving walking, a bus, a car and a boat) a leave him in the creche at work my lunch break is too short to feed him anyway. I'll be away for around 11 hours at a time so him hanging on till I get back (as I've heard some people do with their babies) isn't an option either. Plus I need to express during the day unless I want my students asking me why I have two big wet patches in the middle of a lesson!
Thank goodness I'm only going back 3 days a week, but after 8 months of not being away from my lo for more than a couple of hours inbetween feeds this is still a daunting prospect!
Babies who are used to breastfeeding often don't take to a bottle very well. Can't blame them really, but for many people it has to be done! My lo has never really liked pacifiers so it didn't surprise me when he didn't like his milk from a bottle! Every time I tried giving it to him the most we could get is a couple of little sucks but mainly he just saw it as a toy/teether and chewed on the teat without actually drinking anything! When he was really hungry he wouldn't let me put the bottle anywhere near him, he would just scream and push it away.
He's still not at the stage where he'll take to a bottle like he does to the breast but he has improved and he'll now drink 2-3 ounces at a time and he'll actively reach out and put it in his mouth. He stills chews the teat but sucks too now! These are the things that worked for me:
- Only give him the bottle when he's in a good mood
- Never try to force him to have it, be very patient and let him figure it out and play with it if he wants
- Get a teat with a big hole (I've got this one, I also have some other teats and I just cut the hole bigger with scissors - this way the milk goes into his mouth even when he's just chewing it)
- Give it to him while he's distracted doing something else e.g. watching a cartoon
- Don't try to make it breastfeeding replacement, sometimes he just wants to comfort of breastfeeding it's not just about the milk, so I don't try to give him the bottle instead of the breast, at first I still breastfed him the same amount as before, this is something extra that happens at a different time so he doesn't feel like if he has the bottle I'm not going to breastfeed him.
- Give it to him in a doidy cup - sometimes he prefers this to a bottle
- Give it to him sitting up
- Co-sleep (safely!) so they can make up for for the lack of bf during the day!
- Start to wean him onto solids so he's not so dependant on milk. So far we've been doing a combination of spoon feeding and baby led weaning, we've tried baby rice (mixed with breast milk), mashed potato with other vegetables, pieces of watermelon on the skin (so big lumps don't break off into his mouth), baby crisps, baby rusks, potato wedges, small pieces of very soft cooked chicken, bread, peanut butter, cream cheese, yoghurt.
And these are some other suggestions I've found in my research that haven't worked for me or I couldn't or haven't tried but anything is worth a go, every baby is different so you just gotta keep trying until you find what works for yours!
- Put your little finger into their mouth with the teat
- Disguise it under your top so they think they're breastfeeding (apparently this works for some but my baby figured it out straight away and seemed rather angry that I was trying to trick him!)
- Get someone else to give it to him, i.e. someone who doesn't breastfeed him!
- Try different teats if you can afford to! (I tried latex as well as silicone and different shapes but didn't seem to make much difference, the thing that worked was a bigger hole)
- Squeeze some milk into their mouth if you're trying a teat with a small hole so they realise what on earth this thing is!
- Spoon feed the milk!
This week I'm taking my lo to nursery every day - an hour on Monday, 2 on Tuesday and 3 on Wednesday so that hopefully by Thursday he'll be ready for a whole day! Today was his 2 hour slot and he was fine thank goodness, so I'm feeling more confident for Thursday! Please leave a comment below to let me know how you coped with leaving your baby and getting them to take the bottle! Good luck!