Re-introducing the bottle to a breastfed baby! HELP!! ADVICE PLEASE!!

Antonia - posted on 01/01/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )

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Hi Everyone:

This is for all of you nursing moms out there, who may have for one reason or another had to start offering bottles to your nursing baby at one point or another. My son, Nathan will be 9 months on January 8th, and he is exclusively a breast fed baby. Early on, after he was first born, we offered him a bottle, one feeding a day, which he would accept at that point, however the feeding had to come from someone other than myself. My husband was returned to his ship, which was on a deployment, when my son was just 5 weeks old. Needless to say, offering a bottle become impossible, I would attempt to, however, it caused stress, and trauma I think to both myself and my son, so I just stopped offering the bottle to him.

Now, at nearly 9 months old, despite the fact that he has solids 4 times a day, (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime snack), and he is nursing as well, my son's weight is only in the 5th percentile, and while he doesn't complain like he is hungry, I am concerned that he is not getting enough nutrition, and think the culprit may be that he is not getting enough milk at each nursing. So hubby and I are attempting, yet again to re-introduce the bottle to him. This is not the first time we have attempted the bottle with him. We began offering it to him at 4 and 1/2 months when my husband returned from deployment, figuring it would be a great way to bond for the two of them, if Nathan would accept the bottle. We have tried, different types, of nipples, be it shape, silicone vs rubber, and different flow speeds. But no matter what we try, the attempted feeding ends up with my son screaming inconsolably, and my husband and I frustrated, not to mention my husband feels a little bit left out at times, because he feels that our son prefers me all the time over him. I am unable to pump for my son, due to a breast reduction I had many years ago, in fact, it was even questionable if I would be able to nurse. (YAY!) So, our only option at feeding times is formula.

So ladies, have any of you had as difficult time in trying to introduce a bottle to your baby? What kinds of tricks seemed to help in offering the bottle, and how sucessful were you at getting your baby to take a bottle?!

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Sara - posted on 01/04/2010

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What kind of formula are you trying? I have been bf pretty much exlusively and then a few months ago we were able to get her to take one bottle of formula at night before bed because she is only in the 10th percentile. She refused everything but soy formula, I guess it is the closest in taste/smell to breastmilk. Also I agree with other moms that you might just need to go straight to cup. My daughter can't figure out the sippy cup because she tries to treat it like a bottle. So once or twice a day I help her with a small soft plastic cup to give her water. She is picking it up pretty well so far. Good luck!

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Amber - posted on 01/05/2010

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Hi Antonia, My 8 month old boy has still not taken a bottle with same process, flow, different nipples ect.I decided to try a sippy cup, found one @ the loonie store of all places.It has a soft rubbery sipping part (very important not the hard ones)I put just water in at first, then mixed in some juice and even tried 2% milk.He took to it after a few tries and now drinks from it happily.I think if they don't want it don't make them, try someting completely different.The baby's know what they want and do not.....don't fight it.Hope that works... ;)

Amber - posted on 01/05/2010

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They have the sippy cups without the valves in them and they allow the liquid to flow faster which works for my son he won't suck the ones wit the valve which just means he can't be given a cup you must sit there with him because when he's done he just allows it to spill everywhere

Carey - posted on 01/04/2010

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Is your pediatrician concerned or just you? As long as your son is dropping drastically in growth percentile there's probably nothing to worry about. My son will take a bottle, although I have never tried formula, and he still is often frustrated for whoever ends up giving it to him. He also will not really accept it from me. My husband just gave up on trying to feed him bottles and has no trouble feeding him baby food, so he gets to feed him baby food when I can't be there to nurse him. Talk to your pediatrician, if they're not worried about Nathans weight and growth, don't force it. Bonding doesn't happen when both the lil man and the big man are frustrated with each other. Hope this helps :)

Cristine - posted on 01/03/2010

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My daughter was the same exact way until about 3 days ago. She was exclusively breast fed, but we gave her some bottles of breastmilk when she was an infant every once in a while. At around 4 months, I tried to give her a bottle and she refused it. I tried every once in a while for the next 4 months to no avail. I tried different bottles, different nipples, fast flow, slow flow, having someone else feed her, being out of the house COMPLETELY when they fed her, etc. She would have rather skipped a meal completely than take breastmilk from a bottle.

She turned 8 months old on Dec. 22nd and I had been thinking about weaning her soon. My New Year's resolution was to get my daughter used to a bottle so I could wean her. Starting with the very first feeding of the morning, I gave her a bottle of breastmilk. I started with that feeding because I knew she'd be hungry and more likely to take it if that was the only thing offered to her. I guess my dauther woke up with the same resolution because she actually took it! And she's been taking a bottle ever since! Granted, I'd tried doing the first feeding of the day from a bottle before and she screamed bloody murder the whole time. I'm not sure what clicked to make her want it now.

I guess my advice would be just to be patient. My oldest took bottles very easily because she had consistantly been exposed to them from birth (she was exclusively breastfed for 6 months). We hadn't used them as much with our youngest so she wasn't used to getting her meals from anyone/anything but me. I enjoy the bond we had with breastfeeding, but I have to say my life's gotten a little easier in the last 3 days! Tell your husband not to take it personally if your son won't take the bottle from him. My daughter did the same thing to my husband. Just keep offering it to him and one day he'll get it. If he doesn't take anything from the bottle, offer it to him the next feeding, too. Don't give him solids in between and don't put him on the breast if he rejects the bottle. He might just be hungry enough to take it from the bottle the next feeding. If not, don't put him on the breast and offer it again the next feeding. He might just need one or two feedings after not eating for a while to learn that drinking from the bottle is okay, too.

Hope that helps!

Cressida - posted on 01/02/2010

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I guess your son just isn't ready yet. Its hard to deal with, but thats just part of the uncertainties of parenthood.

I am sorry your husband feels that way. It isn't nice for him or you. I guess the only thing you can do there is try to reassure him that its not personal. It makes things more difficult for you too, so I feel for you.

In the end you have to be reassured that babies will drink when they are thirsty enough. But your son is still fairly young so maybe forcing him to be weaned isn't so important yet?!? When the time comes, it might not be difficult but everyone manages in the end - even if it involves some crying.

In the meantime, try to be positive. A positive attitude (even if contrived) works wonders on my daughter. Also, I didn't push the sippy cup. I offer it. If she doesn't want it I don't force her. I put her on her play mat with the cup nearby and every so often I offer again. She didn't take it for the first 6 to 8 weeks, but now she is ok with it. Again, she still doesn't take much, but at least its a start.

It might not work for you, but it is worth a try, isn't it?!? Remember, patience is a virtue!

Lisa - posted on 01/02/2010

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My daughter refuses to take a bottle as well. A nurse suggested that at this age there is no sense in trying a bottle and to go straight to a sippy cup. Madelyn is learning the sippy cup but doesn't get anything substantial from it yet. We also help her to drink from a normal cup at least once a day so she can learn that skill. Good luck!

Antonia - posted on 01/02/2010

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Cressida,

I have done the same with my son, using a cup to get him to drink from. He has no interest in the sippy cups either. I think the ones that are considered "age appropriate" have the suck method for liquid flow, and may seem too much like a bottle for him, he will take fluids from a cup, like what you were doing with your daughter. It is so frustrating for sure. I can't seem to convince my husband that sometimes a baby just won't accept a bottle, he takes it personally, like our son dislikes him or something. :(

Cressida - posted on 01/02/2010

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Mine wont accept a bottle either. I had the same issue with screaming - absolute refusal. She is drinking a couple of ounces out of a sippy cup now though - which helps to top up the breast feed. I decided to give the bottle a miss because it just made her so distressed. First I gave her little sips from my cup (glass of water). She liked that because she was imitating me. Then I tried a sippy cup. She hardly had anything at first, but now she is doing OK. I would love it if she would do more, but I guess we just have to be patient - slowly slowly!

Antonia - posted on 01/01/2010

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As well as several other failed attempts since my husband's return to offer him the bottle.

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