[ARTICLE] Beating Bottle Refusal – Haven Magazine, April 2015

If there’s one topic that’s hotly contested amongst mothers-to-be and new mothers, it’s the decision on how to feed bub. Breast or bottle has ignited debate for decades, with opposing camps staunch in their beliefs.

But what if you want to do both? Breast AND bottle can be just as challenging – avoiding nipple confusion, combating bottle refusal, and helping baby to return to the breast if bottle feeding was a temporary measure.

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Tips to get your baby to take a bottle.

I remember when our first born was about 4 weeks old and my hubby wanted to have the experience of feeding her.  She was a little gobbler- but had the tiniest mouth, cherry shaped- ala mini Angelina Jolie! I had been a midwife for over a decade then  so was used to several types of bottle types (avent, tomee tippee, natures first, pidgeon, and medulla systems), so had a little of understanding about flows, suction, colic reducing techniques etc)- couldn’t be that hard huh?

So at 5 weeks of age after  1 week of traipsing around baby bunting I had selected my bottle system, had my electric sterilizer ( gift at birth), and my hand expressing machine! All set- pumped away, proudly got 50mls (hell would that be enough?) and put it in the bottle all ready for the next feed for hubby- and guess what all hell broke loose. It was on- it took 5 weeks…5 weeks before my child finally took a bottle!

So here are my tips for introducing a bottle 101:

– Make sure your bub is showing hunger cues- you want to make sure you are feeding at the right time and that your baby is hungry.

-stroke around the bubs mouth to elicit the rooting reflex- bub will open mouth wide.

-Put a little of your breast milk on the tip of the teat

-offer it a little earlier than your normal feed time so bub is hungry but not starving and likely to crack it and refuse out right!

– get hubby or someone else that the baby knows to give him/ her the bottle- less likely to cause immediate confusion as to why she is not getting the breast.

-Position, position, position- the bottle feeding position on a bub is more upright, so support around the back of the neck (head in the crock of your elbow) until bub is comfortable sucking and swallowing is important.

– test the temp of your milk- I just shook a little onto my forearm or wrist- now it will be body temperature if it is just come from you..

-bib on- highly likely with the first time bub might spit up.

– put bottle in baby’s mouth- making sure that the milk always covers the inside of the teat to prevent bub sucking air.

TOP TIP- look at Mimijumi Bottles- with these the baby has to suck and draw back just like breastfeeding. [su_permalink id=””][/su_permalink]

Simple huh? Any refusal- patience- let bub lick the nipple and play, most times bub will just start to suck.

Try again at another feed but remember introduction of a bottle can take time- so if you have an event to attend or are going back to work allow at least 2 weeks of trial.

Remember it will be easier the earlier on you introduce a bottle for a smooth transition- but if your bub is older don’t anticipate a fight- bub will sense this. The number 1 main reason for bottle refusal is the difference in learning how to suck with a bottle.


Good Luck!

making bottle feeding easy

making bottle feeding easy