Bottle-refusing EBF baby at nursery. When should I start panicking?

(27 Posts)

6 month old DS has been going to nursery three half-days a week for about a month now. He is absolutely refusing to feed there - EBM from bottle or cup. He hasn't the slightest interest in solids either, so no chance of making up the milk-deficit that way. He'll be there for four hours outright refusing feeds in any form, where normally he'll feed hourly when he's at home with me, so he feeds like a demon when I pick him up. We practice at every opportunity with his bottles at home (refuses, although he did used to take them, albeit reluctantly - I have tried every strategy that MN and the rest of the Internet can throw up). I've bought the same cup that the nursery are trying with him. I'll be going back to work full time at the beginning of Feb, and am planning to very gradually increase his hours at nursery until then, but while he's on hunger strike, I obviously can't do that.

Has anyone else had a feed-refuser at nursery, and if so, how long did it take yours to finally feed??

AndMiffyWentToSleep Thu 15-Nov-12 12:12:43

I'm experiencing this at the moment - although he does eat food.

I'm wondering about MAM bottles as I've read things about them being the only bottle some babies will take...think I'll post about them now actually...

Those are the only ones mine once took. They're the ones he's refusing now. Also tried Dr Brown's, Breastflow, Tommee Tippee and Avent. I really don't think there's a point in trying any more now - just going to persist with the Mam bottles and Tommee Tippee cup.

Can anyone give us reassurance that our babies aren't going to starve?

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Thu 15-Nov-12 14:08:24

does he drink from a bottle at home?
maybe try one of those sippy cups instead?

and he'll be fine.
they know when to eat and when they don't need to smile

He's refusing a bottle at home as well, although he did take one for a little while. We've tried both sippy cups with different types of spout and an open Doidy cup. I've seen him take milk well from all of the above, he just chooses to hold out until his preferred option is available.

So, hypothetically, if I were to extend one of the half days to a full day you think he'd take more? I'm just afraid he'd start reverse cycling. Dunno why I'm worried about that, mind. He's the most godawful sleeper in the world anyway...

AndMiffyWentToSleep Thu 15-Nov-12 15:55:23

Elphaba I think our babies are the same - I'm also worried about sleep and night feeds!

My DS is supposed to be doing whole days at nursery next week.

I'm sure they'll not starve, but when and how they decide to eat is my concern!

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Thu 15-Nov-12 16:08:44

he might do.

if he knows that within 3 hours, he will be able to have the real stuff, he'll hold out.
he'd probably get to stage where he'll drink it however it comes, if he can't see how long it's going to be before he can have it again.

my DD would often be fine without milk for nearly 3 hours but as soon as i walked through the door, she'd be throwing herself at me.

teacher123 Thu 15-Nov-12 18:15:20

I have a bottle refusing baby, but not at nursery. Have you tried feeding him in his pushchair so you're not holding him? DS point blank refused a bottle, (like your DS having accepted one before) so am using the tommee tippee first cup. He will drink formula whilst sitting in his pushchair or car seat or his high chair. I feel for you, has been a really upsetting month trying to wean DS off breastfeeding.

The only way I can come close to getting him to take a bottle or cup is when he's in his bouncer or high chair. He won't entertain the idea of either if I'm holding him and he will not let DH feed him at all - turns his head away and clamps his mouth shut which is usually his reaction at nursery as well.

feekerry Thu 15-Nov-12 21:06:19

Hi. My dd is a bottle refuses and i never pushed the issue as couldn't be bothered and I'm not due back to work til Feb. I found when dd was.about 6 months she started showing more interest about things in her mouth so tried a tomee tippee first stage sippy spout cup (non leak or drip one) and she loves it. Its got a soft rubber spout. She will take a few good ounces of ebm from it now when I'm out and now at 7 months can tip it and drink all by herself holding it!!! I wouldn't bother with a bottle now at your ds age, just keep trying with different cups

Beamur Thu 15-Nov-12 21:12:58

Mine went to nursery at 7 months and never took a bottle or any kind of milk while she was there, but would take water from a sippy cup and was on solids.
She did not starve, bf a lot when I got home, but was away from me longer than 4 hours. I went back to work 4 days a week. Had 2 days in nursery, 2 days at home being looked after by Dad/my Mum.
I must be heartless - it never worried me!

MrsHoarder Thu 15-Nov-12 21:34:13

Ds is also a 6mo bottle refuser. We're teaching him to drink from a cup now, he'll take a decent amount of water whilst sat independently now, so hopefully will take formula by the time he starts bursary in Feb. Think about it this way: he is barely started with cups/food now, he will have had 3 months practise by feb.

RubyrooUK Thu 15-Nov-12 21:53:06

DS went to nursery full time from 9mo old. Never took a bottle at home; didn't take one there either.

He ate meals at nursery (he was eating a lot more at 9mo than 6mo) and he liked yoghurt so was spoonfed some Greek yoghurt when others had their bottles.

Then he breastfed all night. And I mean all night. grin

Nursery did persevere offering two bottles a day for two months at which point they politely asked if they could stop as he had never taken one.

He drunk water happily from a cup by 9mo but wouldn't touch milk. Ironically now he is 2, he loves drinking milk and excitedly points out formula in the supermarket DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE WOULD NEVER TOUCH THE STUFF AND I CRIED MYSELF TO SLEEP WORRYING ABOUT HIM STARVING.

So he survived and all my worries that he would starve to death were unfounded. Also my worries that he would not sleep without breastfeeding at nursery also proved unfounded and he still apparently just zonks straight out whereas for me he is a nightmare. Thanks kid.

I hear you Rubyroo. Nursery can get him off for naps by raising an eyebrow at him. I need to use bribery, exploitation, blackmail and grand larceny (and boobs).

It's the breast feeding all night that worries me, plus the fact that everyone else here has mentioned that their bottle refusers also took solids. Mine does not want to know and gags/vomits with any attempt.

I know I've got a few more weeks to keep trying, but aybe my next thread will be, 'How does your nursery cope with tube-feeding?' confused

sleeplessinderbyshire Thu 15-Nov-12 22:09:32

My dd held out against bottles for all her half day settling in sessions. The first whole day I left her (not quite 6months old so wasn't on any solids at all) she held out from 8 am til about 4pm when she drank all the bottles of ebm I had sent with her and from then on she was fine with bottles.

RubyrooUK Thu 15-Nov-12 22:16:06

Elphaba I would wait a few weeks before ordering the tube feeding equipment on EBay.

DS wasn't particularly good at eating at 6mo. But it changed very quickly, literally within weeks. So do wait a little bit to see if that improves.

Also in the same way that DS slept at nursery, he apparently used to polish off various meals that he wouldn't touch for me.

So hopefully it's more that your DS is only just starting solids so still not quite used to them rather than not being interested in food. That may all have changed by February.

tilder Thu 15-Nov-12 22:20:02

My dd was a bottle refuser. I basically offered a bottle three times a day before a feed from around 5 months. It took nearly 3 months and a lot of waste but after months of playing with it an taking 30 mins to take 1oz she now takes a bottle in minutes. She still has boob as well.

I found it best if she was sat on my lap looking forward. With ds1 it worked when he was in his bounce chair. I would say keep going and good luck!

teacher123 Fri 16-Nov-12 09:14:41

I have also found that moving from feeding on demand to a bit more of a schedule has helped (including solids). DS was completely ebf on demand, and would eat lots if I was there. But would happily go four hours between feeds and refuse a bottle if I wasn't there. He just wasn't hungry enough. His schedule now is:
7am breastfeed
8am breakfast
10.30am formula
12pm lunch
2pm breastfeed
4pm dinner
5.30pm breastfeed/formula
6pm bed

Weaning has provided a great distraction, and I try and sneak water and formula into him at every opportunity. For the last week I have managed to stick to the above schedule and am planning to try and drop the 2pm breastfeed next week, so will only be breastfeeding first and last thing. I want him to be totally on formula by the new year. I found it impossible to drop breastfeeds before he started weaning, which then meant he was never quite hungry enough to bother with a bottle.

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Fri 16-Nov-12 13:51:54

talking of solids, how are you doing that?
purees or finger foods?
i just ask because if you're doing finger foods, he'll just play with them for a couple of months, but it might give him the idea of it.
and DD wouldn't take anything from a bottle, but at 7 months would happily drink water from a sippy cup.

I've tried a bit of BLW (my preferred option) and a bit of purées and all he does is gag and vomit profusely with either. He was taking bites of finger foods but he seems to have stopped that now and he won't open his mouth for a spoon - I can't help but wonder if the gagging/vomiting is putting him off. We're getting his tongue tie sorted on Monday to see if that makes any difference. If it doesn't, I don't know if we just keep trying him each day with something to try and desensitise his gag or what...confused

DknyQueen Fri 16-Nov-12 20:02:09

Have you tried overcooked broccoli? My DS was the same at 6 months, totally not interested in solids. I waited another couple of weeks then tried again with steamed broccoli as finger food and he took to them really well. From there, he moved onto other foods really quickly and within a month he enjoyed his solids so much that he was letting me feed him with a spoon (which I only did with yogurt or other liquid foods).
Really things change so quickly at this age and then you look back and you can't remember why you worried so much about something wink
He's always refused bottles too but now that he's on 3 meals a day and can drink really well from a sippy cup it really isn't such an issue anymore. You have plenty of time to get him used to solids and drinking from cup before you go back full time. Just don't despair!

I have tried broccoli a couple of times. First time, he gave it a really good gnawing, then the next time he'd had a few vomiting/gagging episodes and just wanted to examine it, wave it around then throw it at the dogs (I've seriously considered suggesting it should be re-named 'Doggy Fed Weaning...). I got the very tiny tip-end of a spoon of fromage frais into him today between tightly pursed lips and it was the first time he's actually swallowed something without gagging, which makes me wonder if I should just give up on BLW for now and go the old school route.

With carrying on with trying to get him to take a sippy cup - how much should I push it? You can, hypothetically, get the spout into a clamped-shut mouth, thereby at least seeing if you can get something in to 'whet the appetite'. Or would this just put him off completely and I should only try it when he's more amenable, which is basically never? I can sit with him for ages and he'll gnaw happily on a bottle teat and even put the bottle in his own mouth, but not take anything, whereas he will occasionally take something from a sippy cup but be generally more hostile to it.

Oh, BABIES! Why can't they follow the script?!

RubyrooUK Fri 16-Nov-12 21:09:16

Have you tried just plonking something tasty in front of him - say puréed apple. And then just dipping his finger in it, giving him a spoon, eating it yourself - just not feeding it to him but letting him have a play with it?

You probably have so forgive me for being stupid but I found that when DS was clearly interested in food but kept gagging at 6mo, this seemed to work. He liked being in control of eating and his spoon. He has never liked being fed and was master of his own spoon very early on.

He did a mix of BLW finger foods and mushed up stuff (because I had to go back to work and he hated bottles so I wasn't relaxed enough to do BLW on its own).

But I found that generally the "oh look at this here food oh and it's apple oh yum and it's just sitting here being inoffensive and nowhere near your mouth" was a good approach.

I also spent a lot of time with a sippy cup pretending to drink from it myself and saying "glug glug glug" in a stupid voice which cracked DS up. And made him a little more willing to pick up his own cup.

These babies are a total mystery though. So feel free to ignore my advice as it may not work at all for your DS. It may not even have worked for my DS but because he decided to eat and drink eventually, I think it was my doing! grin

Yes - that's exactly what I've been doing a couple of times a day for the better part of two weeks. Started off interested, grabbed and took bites of things, but gagged and vomited so much that he almost seems to have developed an oral aversion. I did try a few spoons of puréed stuff in there as well (both feeding to him and letting him feed himself) but mostly soft-cooked veg, mashed potato and fruit in fingers. Gag, gag, vomit, vomit, gag. And I don't just mean posset - VOM. IT. With a few heaves. A mop was actually required this morning after a tiny finger-tipful of grated apple.

Haven't tried the glug-glug thing with the cup, though. Sounds daft interesting! grin

RubyrooUK Fri 16-Nov-12 22:27:47

Ah well, good luck - it's very early days. Maybe stick to very smooth textures for now? I know you are supposed not to make everything totally smooth in case your baby becomes fussy but maybe that would help? So maybe yoghurt as a good start since he didn't hate that too much and build up again to the other stuff?

I'm obviously not much cop for advice though as I still often do the "glug glug glug" thing to make DS laugh during dinner times as he is now two and eats like a small bird despite weighing a tonne. smile

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