I recently had a new mom reach out with a very common problem. She was breastfeeding her baby and bottle feeding him when he was with his grandparents once or twice a week. Suddenly , her 2 month old started refusing the bottle. She tried changing the type of bottle but that didn’t work out so she needed some guidance since she’ll soon be returning to work. I was happy to assist.
Babies refusing the bottle can be very frustrating and stressful for mamas at any time, but especially when you have to return to work. There are a few things you can try to help your baby overcome their refusal of a bottle.
First, try to remain calm! This is especially important for the grandparents or any other person that may be feeding your child. When providing the bottle, make sure your child isn’t too hungry, but is calm and not “hangry.” This will make him/her more frustrated if they are too hungry.
Have you tried changing the nipple of the bottle? Some exclusively breastfed babies do better with a nipple that is darker, more like the appearance of the breast, as well as a wide base. Warming the nipple can also help.
Something else that may help is for the person who is feeding your child to hold something that smells like you while feeding. A little skin-to-skin contact can also help during this process if you and the person who is feeding your baby are comfortable with it. Sitting your baby up in a more upright position may help too if they do not appreciate being cradled by others and also if the flow of the bottle nipple is faster than the flow of your breast.
Also know, that your baby will not starve their self. If he/she gets hungry enough, when milk is provided, they will eventually eat.
Every baby is different and there are a lot of different ways to encourage the use of a bottle. You may have to try a few different ways before you find the right fix. If you run into any road blocks, I’m always happy to help new moms with their breastfeeding needs. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns.