Does anyone have a breast fed baby that refuses the bottle?

Stephanie - posted on 03/03/2010 ( 99 moms have responded )

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I have a 2 month old that refuses the bottle. I use to be able to get her to take at least an ounce or so but now she won't take any and I have to start back to work in a month. I feel like a prisoner because I can't go anywhere now. I am afraid to get a babysitter because I know she won't eat for them and she will cry the whole time. Has anyone encountered this? If so were you able to change it. I have tried every nipple avalible and she won't take any. My husband tries to feed her and so do others but nothing works. I have tried spoon feeding her and that does not work either

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Rebecca - posted on 03/01/2012

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Yep! I have 5 kids, all breasted, who refused the bottle. Apparently it's because the sucking motion to drink from the bottle is a learned skill whereas the breast feeding is a natural movement of the baby's mouth. A midwife suggested putting a little bit of liquid milkshake into the milk in the bottle as the flavour will encourage the baby to drink. ( raspberry was recommended as allergic reaction is more common with strawberry apparently). This worked for all of mine. Once your baby can drink from the bottle you decrease the amount of milkshake gradually until they're drinking just formula or expressed milk...

I am also a childminder and this worked for a child in my care, too, so mine aren't the only ones!

Good luck!

Sheryl - posted on 03/10/2010

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Hi Stephanie Mbreats miyour y Daughter Shnysse wouldn't take a bottle either. Don't worry it's not the end of the world. Have you tried a sippy cup. Now you are thinking she is way too young for a sippy but Shnysse started a sippy at 3 months. SHe has never drank from a bottle you can pump and put it in a sippy cup. Shnysse is now 21 months she is starting to drink from big girl cups now. I found with the bottle it was too slow for her unlike the breast she was getting much more so I tried it and it worked she never even choked the first time I was surprised. Give it a try !

Erin - posted on 03/10/2010

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I feel your pain! My daughter is now six months old and I had the exact same problem. When she was about 6 weeks old, she decided to stop taking the bottle. I have spent over $100 on different bottles & nipples only to find nothing worked. I was at the point where my husband & I had to make a decision as to whether or not I could return to work. The daycare where we take her understood our situation and they were willing to work with us. We were using the playtex dropins because we could basically squeeze it into her mouth. Around the same time she decided to stop taking her binkey as well. After being in daycare for a month I decided to try her binkey again and she took it all day! I have the Nuk binkeys. Nuk also makes bottles. I can only find them at Target & Kmart. They are the wide nipples, like the playtex ones, so the baby actually has to latch on. My daughter got really sick (RSV) and one day decided to take the Nuk bottle and she stopped nursing on her own. I swear by the Nuk bottles! They are the only thing that works for us! I am actually afraid to try anything else at this point because I don't want to go back to how things were before! Good luck.

Tamara - posted on 03/11/2010

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My daughter (now 5 mo) is the same way. I am a stay at home mom so it isn't too much of a big deal but it does mean that the baby goes where you go! Keep trying but don't ever regret breastfeeding, they are only infants for a short time-enjoy every minute!

[deleted account]

The advise I was given and have passed on to others is to first use an old fashioned nipple that is straight up and down (not the expensive new closer to nature ones that are supposed to mimic a breast). The reason for this is that baby cant flick the old fashioned ones around in their mouth so much. Also when you are feeding to hold baby close to you and calmly keep talking and reassuring her and tap the side of the bottle with your fingernail. Hopefully this might work for you, it has for others. Goodluck.

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Kayleigh - posted on 03/11/2010

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Try having a blanket with you when you breastfeed him and then when he bottle feeds use the same blanket. This is what I've had to do with mine.

Angela - posted on 03/11/2010

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My daughter is now 10 months, and we had the same problem then around 4 months I tried giving her milk in a sippy cup & it worked! She would not eat as much as normal but at least she ate some, hope this helps!

Melissa - posted on 03/10/2010

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My daughter who is still breastfeed at 18 months, wouldn't take a bottle until she was nearly a year and by that point she mostly used a cup. She never got hooked on the bottle but it did work if I wanted some time out and she wanted something other than her cup.

Maria - posted on 03/10/2010

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My son now is the same, he is 7 months and refuses the bottle, we are now working on a cup, he seems to be more accepting of that. My previous child never took a bottle I finally weaned her at 14 months and went straight to a cup, she spent the first week crying and not drinking a whole lot but the following week she jus took the sippy and loved it! They know when they are absolutely too hungry not to eat and they will take what they can get when they get to that point.

Faith - posted on 03/10/2010

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My daughter is the same way. She is 7 months now and she had a bottle when she was 6 weeks old when I had to go for my check up and leave her with my mom and took it fine, and would never take it again. Now that she is eating solids its not as bad. I stay home with her everyday and never leave her with a sitter so it was never a problem for me.

Christina - posted on 03/10/2010

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For the best help with any breastfeeding challenges, please seek out the professionals who have been trained and the mothers who have been successful! GO to http://LLLI.org THey have discussion boards, professional advice, and trained leaders in your area you can contact!!! Good luck!

Catherine - posted on 03/10/2010

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My 2 month old also refuses. My friend who is a nurse that helps delivere babies suggested this - premie nipple and add a small amount of rice cereal. I haven't tried it yet. Good luck!

[deleted account]

both of my kids went from breast to cup...
but I have a tip for you, really take your time and enjoy the times when you breast feed but when a feeding time comes when you would like her to take the bottle instead leave the house but make sure that the person that bottle feeds her does the same snuggle time that she would have with you.
Good luck.

Christine - posted on 03/10/2010

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I thought my little girl was doing the same thing...turns out the milk was just a little to cool. try just a tad warmer? Just a thought.

Kara - posted on 03/10/2010

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I had the very same problem, my eight month old refused the bottled completely. we tried everything. And then one day my mom, who is her babysitter while I work, found this bottle made by Nuby that you actually squeeze the milk into their month, they don't latch on at all, the bottle part is soft and you just squeeze a little milk at a time. My mom was then able to give her a few ounces to tide her over till I got home. She ate more at night but at least she wasn't starving during the day. The other thing is one week, when my mom was sick my best friend watched her. My friend is much calmerr and wasn't as worried about the bottle as my mom, she also caught the baby before she was starving and crying. She got her to drink 6 ounces. it was amazing. I know how you feel. when you are going back to work after having a baby it is hard enough, but feeling like they are starving when they are not with you makes it so much worse. Hang in there, look for the bottle (we got it at babiesrus), and remember at 6 months they can eat food! My baby eats babyfood now while I am at work and breast milk from a sippy cup. She is eight months and loves controlling the sippy cup herself and eats more babyfood for my mom than she does for me.

[deleted account]

I didn't read any of the posts above, so I don't know if anyone has already suggested this, but I just thought I'd share my recent experience with my 9 month old who had refused the bottle since he was about 4 weeks old, he just didn't know what to do with a bottle teat. A nurse suggested to me to try the NUK orthodontic teat, because even though the teat looks totally different to a human nipple, the sucking action is actually quite similar to breastfeeding. My son took to it almost straight away, actually started sucking it rather than pushing it around in his mouth like he did with all other teats.

I'm not sure if this is important to you, but it was to me, NUK actually have a glass bottle available, so if you're worried about nasty chemicals in the bottle, this is a great bonus.

And another suggestion that worked for me was to give the bottle, and if refused, end the feed and don't breastfeed until the next feed is due. With the bottle, I found that I couldn't feed on demand anymore, I had to put my son on a schedule. I think it just made it more predictable for him what to expect and when to expect it.

Go to www.nuk.com to find out where you can buy the NUK bottles.

Kelia - posted on 03/09/2010

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My second child refused to take a bottle so she was breast only. It is a hard experience to have to go through but you can do it. Don't give up. I just had another baby just 2 weeks ago and I dont know if she is going to take a bottle yet myself. Good luck with your baby.

Jennifer - posted on 03/09/2010

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My son wouldn't drink from a bottle either. Try a sippy cup (one that just flows out) or, if you're really desperate, a syringe works too. It just takes a while to get all the food in!

Crystal - posted on 03/09/2010

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My 8 month old refuses the bottle. Ihad to leave him with grandma once, and he screamed for 2hrs! thats not going to happen again any time soon. we r working on a sippy cup. he likes it. but he plays with it more than he drinks from it.the way I see it is hes going to be 1 soon so he SHOULD be drinking milk., Idont really want to leave him any way. so enjoy it while it lasts.

Kelly - posted on 03/09/2010

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I did! My daughter refused anything that was artificial - wouldn't take a soother, refused bottles, it didn't matter if it was breastmilk or formula in the bottle, either, or if I left the house, or if my partner wore my housecoat or something that smelled like me - so hard! I was chained to her for about 6 months. I finally managed to get her to take a bottle after an Australian friend lent me a bottle she brought to Canada with her. I don't know what it was about this particular nipple but it was the ONLY nipple she would take. The brand was called "Pigeon." I managed to find some that were imported here but not the same nipple that my friend ended up giving to me, bless her. So - could be the nipple! All you can do is keep trying. But - it's cold comfort but the truth is if she gets hungry enough, she will take something however it's given to her. Babies do not starve themselves!

Valerie - posted on 03/09/2010

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You've had a tremendous amount of posts to your question. Looks like it's more normal than we think. My daughter is 7 months and I've never been able to get her to take a bottle. My mom and my sister both watch her for me while I am at work. The cup has worked best! We've also tried giving her milk through a seringe, with a straw and even frozen breast milk (Kinda like a slushie) LOL! Hey whatever works. Ive gotten used to the fact that she probably will never take a bottle.

Shona - posted on 03/09/2010

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My daughter is almost 9 months old and has never taken a bottle... I had a couple of really nasty yeast infections on my nipples and the doctor told me at one point that I should take a break from nursing until my nipples cleared up but my daughter refused to take a bottle! I ended up feeding through the yeast infections which was quite painful. Now I am trying to start introducing a cup... so far not much luck there either LOL!

Erin - posted on 03/09/2010

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my baby only loved my milk but when I had to leave her she willingly took the bottled milk from her dad or sitter! Just had to hold her tight up against their body! If she even thougth I might be home they would have to walk around my room and the kitchen then sit down again to feed her. she had to know it was the only option! She went to the cup as soon as she could hold on to it! and she nursed till 24 months, her bother 9 mo, he went to the cup and finger food! and her sister till she could walk and get into everones food! Good luck finding a solution that works for you, you will all be happy, she will grow and learn to eat more cereal and banna's too! Remeber if she eats well you have three hours you can go and get back! Or a really good friend can nurse her along with her baby too! Thats how its done in italy when I was there! the girls fed who ever was hungry and avalible! God bless your family with a solution and enjoy your time as a family learning together!

Sarah - posted on 03/09/2010

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my son is 2 months too and he refuses to take any sort of bottle teet very fustrating, so im taking him to see his nana tommorrow who has been a nurse for 36rs and she is gonna try anything for him to take a bottle, cos im goin out for my sixteenth next week

Yuki - posted on 03/08/2010

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Neither of my kids took one, neither did my husband or any of his eight siblings and neither did I. Hopefully your little one will get used to the idea once you have to go back to work. I've realized, though, that some kids just don't like them. It's been the same thing with pacifiers for us, which I actually think is a good thing. Good luck!

Jill - posted on 03/08/2010

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Oh my gosh...yes. My son is 6 mos old...and will not take a bottle, sippy cup, or anything besides mommy! I rarely have to leave the house (I work from home) but when I do it's very hard on my husband. We've tried everything! Even a medicine dropper w/breastmilk. That WAS the most successful...but still a challenge.A cup didn't work, he won't suck on a nipple or sippy cup...the dropper worked best. I know you feel trapped...but try to hang in there. Even if he only nurses for one year (I know...seems like a long time) he'll only be this little once. What's one year's devotion compared to a lifetime of being his mother? Sometimes...there is no easy answer...an I've come to deal with the fact that this is one of those times. What works for one will NOT work for the next. Hopefully everyone giving advice realizes this, too. Good luck! If you ever need to vent...feel free to contact me! I know how it is! lol!

Ally - posted on 03/08/2010

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Our 7 month old has also refused the bottle from day 1. Last night was the first night that he actually drank 2 ounces from the bottle. My mom was babysitting (the first time I had ever left him) for 2 hours, I don't know what she did but he drank from the bottle. She did say that she didn't wait for him to start crying but just long enough that he was slightly cranky. I wish I could figure out her secret.

Jen - posted on 03/08/2010

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My daughter was a premie who took the bottle frequently when she was in the intermediate care nursery but would also breast feed. Now she is 3 months old and refuses the bottle and gets very angry when i try to give it to her. My son was the same way, but eventually he did take it around 6 months old. I guess it's better to refuse the bottle then the breast so that you can have that special bond that only breastfeeding can give.

Jessie - posted on 03/08/2010

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yeah my son is 6 months and he will not take the bottle but he will drink out of the sippy cup he just chews on the bottle but i like it that way i love breastfeeding him i guess if your baby got hungry enough he or she would take the bottle, but i have not tried pushing it on my son...good luck!

Jennifer - posted on 03/08/2010

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I have twins who are 11 months old, and they have never really been interested in taking a bottle. I am a SAHM so, I have only had to leave them with someone else a handful of times. I have been giving it to every other feeding. I think if she is hungry enough that she will eventually take it. I hope this works good luck!

Meredith - posted on 03/08/2010

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My 9 month old wont take any substitutes...no pacifiers, no bottles, just me :) I have had moments when i feel a bit trapped but then i remember that this is only a short time in her life and I will be able to go places without her soon. Right now she needs me and thats okay! We did introduce a sippy cup at 6 months. she hasnt really took to it, but has started drinking out of it a little. I can always "top her off" before i go somewhere and leave some munchies and her sippy. it's enough to get me through dinner and a movie ALONE with my hubby if i need to get out. Then i nurse as soon as I get home. You will get there too! hang in there!!

Christa - posted on 03/08/2010

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When a baby loves breastfeeding they wont like the bottle & wont want it. just keep trying it will take time & patience. my son loves breastfeeding but we also started him on other things at a young age.

Christa - posted on 03/08/2010

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I have had the same experience with my now 5-1/2 month daughter...used to take it but now she won't. It isfrustrating and confining for mom--I feel the same way. I am a stay at home mom so I don't have to worry about returning to work, but it would still be nice to get out alone for more than a 2 hour stretch!! My oldest daughter was the same way...refused bottle for everyone! Finally, one day she took to it for her daddy and I quickly weened her! Just keep trying...and do be sure to leave the house while daddy or someone else that has much patience tries to feed her. Good luck!!!

Dyan - posted on 03/08/2010

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I couldn't read all of the posts but I wanted to put my 2 cents in. My son was the same way (he's 4 months now) would only take an ounce or so from the bottle, and only occasionally. Luckily I work from home so it wasn't a problem, but this is the advice I was given... Weird as it sounds...to get them used to the nipple use a bottle with a wide nipple base (like one of the Playtex drop-ins or VentAire, or the Breastflow) my son did appreciate these more. Rub the nipple on your nipple...there are oils and milk on yours and this will make the smell of the nipple more like you, less like silicone... Then leave the house for a while before your husband tries to feed him (preferably while baby is sleeping). Have your husband warm the bottle and feed the baby skin-to-skin. It may take some time, but it may work. Also, another suggestion I got was to distract the baby...carry around facing outward while husband is feeding.

Lisa - posted on 03/08/2010

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I could not read all the other responses, and I am sure this has been said before. Both of my kids did not want to take the bottle. I had to leave, and be gone long enough that they got the hint that they needed to take it. I had my husband and my babysitter do this so they got used to taking the bottle from those people. If I was anywhere near ( the can SMELL that you are home!) all bets were off. We actually got on a schedule, too which helps. that way they know they need to take a bottle from a certain person at least once a day. that helped too. it is about repetition. they will refuse at first, but eventually will give in, realize it is a good way to get milk and then will take it. Good luck.

Jennifer - posted on 03/07/2010

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My baby started refusing the bottle at 6 weeks, and he had 1 bottle almost everyday of his life starting from 3 days old. We gave up after a while, and my husband now brings the baby to work at lunch so I can feed him then. I started working part time at 4 weeks and went back to full time at 8 weeks. I don't have any more suggestions than trying higher flow nipples, if you haven't already. I can just tell you that I feel your pain. We're introducing solids earlier than planned (@4 months instead of 6) to give my husband options for feeding when I'm not around.

Kelly - posted on 03/07/2010

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My daughter also refused the bottle after 2 months or so, my mother-in-law had her for a few days when I went back to work and she wouldn't take anything from the bottle. She managed to give her a few ounces via a dropper! She spent rest of the night nursing to make-up for the lost calories :( I also took her to nursing specialist hungry... and even she was unable to have her take the bottle! I was on the fence about returning back to work after maternity leave, so I just decided that I would take a few years off to care for her. I pretty much nursed her until 19 + months :)

Jennifer - posted on 03/07/2010

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That was about the time my son decided he no longer wanted his bottle as well. But fortunately I have decided to take the year off to bond and so forth. So what we did was switched him to a sippy cup, and he took that for abut a month or two. Shortly after that we started him on food. The food satified him longer so the nursing is more spread out. I hope this will help.

[deleted account]

My son did the same thing. I tried everything and the only thing that worked for me was placing the bottle under my arm like I was about to nurse him. He played with the nipple a little at first but eventually started to suckle. We did this for a few days and then passed the duty onto my husband. He will now take a bottle from anyone. I hope this helps...Please don't feel guilty about bf you did a wonderful thing for you and your baby. Good luck honey!!

Carla - posted on 03/07/2010

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I have a 5 month baby and I feed her just with breastmilk and I had to back to work too so this is what I did while I was at home I pumped breast milk and gave her in a bottle and tried all kind of niples too but the only one it worked was playtex the brown nipple ,so I did that for about two weeks so now I dont have any problems, when I come back from work she still gets breastmilk from me, I hope this will help you, good luck

Jemma - posted on 03/07/2010

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my son was the same. only when i stopped braestfeeding at 8 months did he take it when he got thirsty enough. it was the same with a dummie as wel. he didn't take to them until he took to the bottle.

Maureen - posted on 03/07/2010

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same with me i had 2 kids one girl and one boy same history,, i tried to bottle feed them but thier refused thus way its been a years before they let go and i did not work either,, now mu youngest his drinking 3.5% milk but not in the bottle his drinking milk in a bottle straw,, now his 11mons in 14,,i wish after his 1 year he will stop breastfeed. dont stop trying giving him a food as long he eat and keep on trying

Aideen - posted on 03/07/2010

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my little darling wouldn't touch a bottle until recently! He's 1! He's the best boy in the world! I found feeding him directly to be fab...never had any problems with engourgement except for a few days when i first went back to work. Feeding my daughter was a lot more hassle as i wanted the freedom to leave her while studying. I wouldnt stress about taking bottles!

Shannon - posted on 03/07/2010

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My son is now 8 years old but I had this problem when he was around 6 weeks old. I pumped all of my breast milk out and then he would not take the bottle. It was awful. He screamed for hours before he finally drank a few ounces. The trick that I learned with him that I used on my now 6 month old daughter is to feed them in a calm, quiet and dark place. Hold the baby on your bare chest when you give her the bottle so she still has the skin contact. Sing a song while feeding her to keep her calm and most importantly try to keep yourself calm. Babies can sense when you're upset and that will make them upset. I am not sure if the bottle I chose is better than any other but my daughter will only use the wide nipples that are shaped more like a breast. She will not use the skinny and more commonly used nipples. Good luck.

Cassandra - posted on 03/07/2010

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My son had the same problem. I ended up bf him for a long time but he would only take one certain nipple. It was a nipple that had bumps all over it. It was the only one he would even CONSIDER taking.

Melissa - posted on 03/07/2010

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My daughter was the same way and i tried everything from a cup to staying in another room to refusing to let her feed from the breast and nothing worked. I had to go back to work and she still wasn't taking a bottle at all. The only thing that worked was taking her to daycare where i was no where around and eventually she started taking the bottle with no problem. I think it may have taken about a week or so and she learned she was going to have to take the bottle. I brought adiri bottles, which are most breast like and she did fine with them. I am still breastfeeding her and she is 9 months old. She will eat from me and from the bottle. You should be proud you started breastfeeding because it is so much better for them and I promise, things will get better and it will get easier. Don't give up!

Kate - posted on 03/07/2010

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My son has issues with the bottle too! he has taken a bottle when he has needed to if I am not around but he hast to be really hungry! I have tried so many differnt things, he really dpsn't like formula so stay with brest milk in the bottle for now. I have herd some brestfreed baby's only will use a sippy cup. keep trying differnt bottles and different nipples but i bet it only will work if he is real hungry! keep trying and ps soon she will not eat so much during the day so it will get eaiser!

[deleted account]

All four of my kids dont like the bottle...first two flat out refused! and my twins will take it but mostly just play with it...it's not uncommon...Good luck..but if you don't actually NEED her to take a bottle just wait...she'll be ready for a sippy at about 6 months...good luck

Amanda - posted on 03/06/2010

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Are you giving her breast milk or formula? My son would only take water out of a cup or bottle and refused any milk at all, until I worked out he only liked cold breast milk out of a bottle, won't touch formula though. Its just a lot of trial and error, is there any way you can postpone going back to work or have someone bring her into work so you can feed her?

Ashley - posted on 03/06/2010

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My efforts would be spent on writing letters to my government about this atrocity. There is no reason why the USA should be one of the very last countries on this planet to not support mothers to stay at home and be able to breastfeed for at least a year. I'm incredibly thankful to live in Canada.

Use a spoon or a cup to feed. Good videos of cup feeding are here:

Cup Feeding:
http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_...

And also read:

When mother is working outside the home:
http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_...

Finger & Cup Feeding:
http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_...
feeding&catid=5:information&Itemid=17

Starting Solids:
http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_...
(early solids are proven safer for a 3-4 month old baby than potentially dangerous formula)

Hope you find some help in these links!

Ashley - posted on 03/06/2010

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My boys had no desire to use a bottle. Although, we didn't try very hard. u can use a medicine syringe and put ur pinky (fingernail down) in her mouth and let her suck a bit, then use the syringe at the corner of her mouth and slowly squirt the milk out. Some babies will do this and others won't. It won't hurt to try.

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