Help - Baby refuses to breastfeed, will only take milk from a bottle - any suggestions?

Beth - posted on 01/24/2009 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My son had colic pretty bad the 1st couple of months and would screamed 5 minutes into breastfeeding. My husband and I decided to see if a bottle would help his meal time go smoother. It worked but now he refuses to breastfeed. Why will my baby will only take milk from a bottle? He starts screaming every time I try. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on getting him to breastfeed again - pumping every time is so hard on me and it gets painful. I'm willing to do it for his sake but it would be nice if he would breastfeed in the mornings, evenings, and at night! He is 3 months old and growing wonderfully on breastmilk alone.

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Beth - posted on 04/09/2012

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Here's the thing. It is really hard to get your child to be satisfied from the breast when you have given them the bottle. Bottles give children less frustration so once they have the immediacy and consistency of the bottle its very hard to go back. Not impossible but hard. I pumped, bottle-fed and breast fed my first daughter and the only reason I even gave her the bottle was because my doctor scared me by saying she wasn't gaining. I later found out that i should have stuck with the breast feeding as difficult as it was to get her to gain because the bottle gave her what she needed and I so wish I had someone there to tell me to stick it out and not give up the breast feeding because as a new mommy I was so naive and began to supplement breast with bottle and she gained so nicely I started with the bottle more and more and breastfeed for only 6 months. My second daughter was easier to breast feed because I was more relaxed and less naive and I didn't get frightened into giving the bottle. My advice is if you really want to breastfeed, then do it all the time from the beginning to get your milk production sufficient and to get you and your baby on a good feeding schedule but it takes, commitment, persistence, and patience. Oh, and having a good breast feeding baby nurse is definitely a plus too. You need someone to give you that assurance to stick it out because the breast milk is so good for your baby.

Peta - posted on 08/02/2011

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I cannot emphasis enough how fantastic la leche league meetings are. There are groups meeting everywhere and the leaders are qualified lactation consultants. In my experience the la leche league leaders are the ones who will most likely be able to help you to get him latching again because they have the knowledge to do so.

Anne - posted on 01/26/2009

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Try a nursing holiday... spend lots of skin to skin time, try a bunch of different positions for latching, etc... as he gets better head control it will be easier for him and you. Get a lactation consultant or go to a la leche league meeting.
Also, pumping should not hurt.... try larger or smaller flanges on your pump... the lactation consultant or la leche league can help with that as well.

Kayla - posted on 01/27/2009

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my advice is keep trying, if you can do not give him the bottle. i know its hard but when he has the bottle its easier and will want it more

Susan - posted on 01/27/2009

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Wow!  That sounds like my son, crying after 5 mins and having air bubbles.  I kept at it and would put his pacy in and pat his back until he was calm again and if he didn't take then, I would offer the other breast.  Usually he took one or the other then.  Sorry, no ideas for getting him back to the breast from the bottle.

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Kayla - posted on 01/27/2009

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my advice is keep trying, if you can do not give him the bottle. i know its hard but when he has the bottle its easier and will want it more

Amy - posted on 01/27/2009

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hugs--  i hope things are going better.  i had lots of trouble (with thrush, and just my baby boy gettng the hang of it) this third time breastfeeding. i have discovered that every child is different....and that's okay.  

Beth - posted on 01/26/2009

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Wow, thanks for all the advice!  I used a nipple shield for a couple of days after he was born, then he was able to latch on without it.  I have tried the shield since but he knows it's not the bottle the minute it touches his lips, lol.  There may be another brand that I can try.  I'm going to try the skin to skin contact to see if that helps.  I had a overreactive let-down the first couple of months, I think that's why he was crying 5 minutes into the feedings.  I could also hear the air in his tummy.  I will try some other positions too if I can get him to latch on.  Wish me luck, lol!

User - posted on 01/25/2009

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I had the same problem. You need to take a whole day to do absolutely nothing but lay in bed with your little one with no shirt on and spend some skin to skin time. Even go and take a bath together. That's what my leader at the LaLeche League told me it only took me one day. Hope it works.

Katrina - posted on 01/25/2009

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I would suggest the nipple guard too if your baby will only take from a bottle. In addition try different positions while nursing. My daughter had a hard time when she was in the cross cradle position because I was keeping her to upright. Once I laid her down she stopped unlatching and crying. I think she was just getting gas. I would take her off and burp her before attempting to relatch. I nursed my son successfully until he was 13 months. listen for him to swallow and if you hear any air bubbles go down then he starts crying that may be your problem.

Mischele - posted on 01/25/2009

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After 3 months he's psychologically trained for a bottle. After all this time I'll admit it's really hard to try to get the baby back to the breast. Pumping shouldn't be painful - not anymore painful than breastfeeding is. You could have the pump on too high of a suction or you're pumping too long. 10-15 minutes MAX every 2-3 hours. If you're pumping more frequently or longer than that, you're demanding too much of your breasts. I pumped exclusively for my daugther for 9 months because she had such a bad latch and I tried many, many times to get her back to the breast.



You can try nipple guards which kind of mimmics the plasticity of a bottle nipple but allows them to breastfeed. Try your local La Leche League or see if your hospital has a breastfeeding support group you can attend where you can get help with trying to get the baby back on. It may be frustrating at first, but it's possible to go back.

Sarah - posted on 01/25/2009

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Get some nipple protectors. I never used them for protecting my nipples but as a middle ground between nipple and bottle. It could just be that he is so used to the bottle that he cannot latch properly onto the nipple. The nipple protector is a similar shape to the bottle but will get him used to taking milk from your breast and being close to your breast. Also your nipple will end up becoming the same shape as the protector as you feed so you will get to a point where you can slip the protector off quickly and see if he will take from the breast. I am still breastfeeding at nearly 9 weeks and i would have given up after a few days if it wasn't for the nipple protectors. Thomas is now a complete pro at breastfeeding and i think it is all down to the nipple protectors and perserverance. If he doesn't latch on when you slip the protector off perservere for a minute or so and if he still refuses put the protector on again. He will eventually take the breast without the protector, it could take one feed or it could take a week but the results are so rewarding (plus, he is much more gentle than the expressing machines lol). Hope all goes well, let us know xx

Faith - posted on 01/25/2009

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I would call up to the hospital and ask to speak to a lactation nurse, or sometimes your pediatrician will have a lactation consultant on staff!



Sounds like a special problem. I wonder if he had a poor latch and was getting frustrated? Maybe that's why your baby only takes milk from a bottle? You poor thing, I am no good at pumping, I sympathize.

Lea - posted on 01/24/2009

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Get THE MOTHERLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING from the library. It has some recommendations for this as well as nursing an adopted child that may help you to transition him back to the breast. It's a great resource book, worth the money to actually buy as well.

Katrina - posted on 01/25/2009

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I would suggest the nipple guard too if your baby will only take from a bottle. In addition try different positions while nursing. My daughter had a hard time when she was in the cross cradle position because I was keeping her to upright. Once I laid her down she stopped unlatching and crying. I think she was just getting gas. I would take her off and burp her before attempting to relatch. I nursed my son successfully until he was 13 months. listen for him to swallow and if you hear any air bubbles go down then he starts crying that may be your problem.

Faith - posted on 01/25/2009

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I would call up to the hospital and ask to speak to a lactation nurse, or sometimes your pediatrician will have a lactation consultant on staff!



Sounds like a special problem. I wonder if he had a poor latch and was getting frustrated? Maybe that's why your baby only takes milk from a bottle? You poor thing, I am no good at pumping, I sympathize.

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