Tips For the Reluctant Bottle Taker

Some breastfed infants initially reject any attempts to feed by bottle.  With patience and understanding, this initial reluctance usually gives way over time.  Here are some suggestions to help you teach your baby to take a bottle.  While it would be impossible to do all of these things at once, if one idea doesn’t work with your baby, another may.  Remember that you can also feed your baby with a cup, spoon or eyedropper.Wait until your baby is latching on easily and your breasts and nipples are comfortable before starting bottles (or other artificial nipples), if possible.  Plan to introduce the bottle about two weeks before you return to work or are separated from your baby for an extended period of time. This will give you time to work out any problems that may occur.Let someone else introduce the bottle.  Your baby may not take a bottle from you because she can smell yourmilk and wants only the breast.  She may be more willing to take the bottle from a caregiver other than her mother.  It may be necessary for you to leave the room or even the house.

Offer the bottle before the baby is too hungry.

Wrap the baby in a piece of Mom’s clothing while offering the bottle.

Experiment with different types of nipples.

Run warm water over the nipple to bring it to body temperature.

Rock, walk or sway with the baby while offering the bottle.

Have the caregiver hold the baby in a position other than the traditional  “cradle hold” when offering the bottle,such as having the baby facing outward or propping her against the caregiver’s outstretched legs.

Hold the bottle in an armpit and draw your baby close as though breastfeeding.

NOTE: If one of these tips doesn’t work with your baby, the next suggestion
may be the one that will.  Don’t give up, most babies take a bottle eventually.


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