How long should I keep trying the bottle?

(84 Posts)

The age old problem - I'm back to work in a few weeks and my ebf 4 month old baby has flatly refused a bottle for the past few weeks. I have been in the house each time we've tried, and my health visitor has said that I need to leave the house entirely and let him cry it out, and he'll eventually take it. I was out for four hours tonight (DS usually feeds every 2 hours...) and my DH said that DS cried solidly for those 4 hours, refusing and refusing the bottle. My question is, how long do we carry on like this for? When do we draw a line under it? Another HV suggested using a sippy cup, which is messy and time consuming, but a viable alternative (tho possibly not in the eyes of our poor childminder.) my last month with my beautiful DS is being ruined by this dilemma. Any advice appreciated.

GrimAndHumourlessAndEven Tue 27-Nov-12 23:22:36

I wouldn't stress too much about it, you could try the again every couple of days, interspersed with teaspooning it in, syringing into cheek, doidy style cup, soft spout cup. And yes, for your DH to do it rather than you, because DS will be smelling your milk and wanting to feed direct from you

DS will prob surprise you by quickly accepting feeds from the CM

Thanks very much for your reply. Will persevere a bit longer, but will try not to stress about it. Seems like only yesterday I was trying to get him latched on the right way, can hardly believe it's time to get him latched off.

funchum8am Wed 28-Nov-12 03:33:40

Have you spoken to the childminder about it? My 7 week DD refused the bottle but the cm I used for a kit day last week was confident she could get her to take one. She was right and now dd takes bottles from DH, me and DM too. It is a huge relief! Good luck.

I hadn't thought of that, it's certainly worth a try. He has his first 'getting to know you' session with her next week, just for a couple hours, but I'll ask her if she'd mind giving the bottle a go. I wonder how your CM managed it - really feels like we've tried everything. She doesn't live in Scotland does she?! smile she could probably make a fortune setting herself up as a 'bottle whisperer', I know so many people in the same position!

teacher123 Wed 28-Nov-12 06:37:46

Sippy cup is what we're going for, but DS is a bit older (7mo) I spent a month trying to swap to formula in the daytime...! He used to take a small bottle at bedtime most days so I thought transfer would be easy! (Hollow laugh) he then point blank refused any bottle during the day. I tried lots and lots of types and then finally decided to cut my losses and move onto the cup. We use the cheapest tommee tippee sippy cup, and there is a lot of mess but it's the only way he manages to drink in the daytime. Good luck!

I've been trying to introduce a sippy cup during the day too, and he'll happily take about 30ml from it (over an hour long period where we both end up saturated in formula) but then he cries for bm afterwards. Which he can't have straight away because it seems to make him sick having both formula and bm in his belly. It's difficult enough knowing that I've got to leave him soon without making him miserable by withholding milk that I still have in plentiful supply. This is one of the hardest things I've done, I can't bear to see him cry. Oh dear, I'm getting sentimental again, it's probably time for another no nonsense pep talk from the terrifying HV...

Boop33 Wed 28-Nov-12 11:35:11

Hey Cheap
I'm guessing that you are introducing formula to you baby ?? Would it be possible to express your milk and give him expressed milk rather than formula ( for a while anyway to get used to the bottle ) . I know you might not want leaky boobs at work etc... but you can express and freeze plenty to keep you going ?? Just a thought ...............

Good luck hope you get sorted xxx

Hi, I've tried giving expressed milk in the bottle and he still refuses. The main problem is that he just won't suck on the bottle. However, I've decided that he'll just be given formula when I'm back at work - my job is really full on and there is nowhere to express, so it won't work for me to keep expressing.

There's so much conflicting advice. One HV said to go straight to a sippy cup, another said to keep trying bottle and he'll take it when he's hungry enough, one said try bm in bottle, another said just to go straight to formula in bottle because he has to get used to it. And meanwhile, he just wants boob sad. I'm going out for 6 hours on Saturday (on advice of HV) and my DH is going to attempt to get him to take bottle. He's got three different bottles to try, and formula and expressed milk. You'll probably all hear the screams from wherever you are...

Ps. Thank you for all the support, it's really kind of you all to take the time to read the post and reply smile

teacher123 Wed 28-Nov-12 13:24:04

I found that before I started weaning, DS just wasn't hungry enough. He would ebf on demand when I was there, and then if I went out, he'd just wait until I got back. Was soooo frustrating! However what I did when I started him on solids was to put his feeds in a routine, this has really helped as he now knows when his milk is coming. He still sometimes refuses it, in which case I distract him for a bit, and then try again. However he's gone from completely ebf on demand, breastfeeding every 1 1/2 to 2 hours throughout the day to having bf morning and evening, and formula at 11 and 2.30. I am still bf morning and evening. He will get there, he will! I also found that he doesn't like formula warmed up, he likes it cold from the fridge! And will only drink ready made hipp organic so is costing me a small fortune... I just keep telling myself its only until he's a year and then cows milk all the way!

BertieBotts Wed 28-Nov-12 13:27:11

Have you tried latex teats (the brown ones) for some reason this was the only kind of bottle my friend's bottle refuser would take.

Thanks Teacher, that info is all really helpful. My DS bfs every two hours as well, and so far I've not gone out without him (apart from last night) because I was worried he would just get too upset and be very hungry. But quite a few people are telling me just to leave him with his dad for a few hours - I know he'll cry, tho there's a chance he'll take the bottle if I'm out - do you think it's ok to leave him, knowing that he'll get really upset? I'm worried it might traumatise him forever... I'll try the HIPP milk too, and the routine is a good idea. We've not got much of one just now, simply because I'm so so tired that if he'll sleep in a bit then I'll be sleeping too, but I do want to start one properly.

Thanks for the tip about the latex teats - do you know of any brands that make them? I was going to get a playtex one but they're only available in the US.

Big grin to all of you for your help! Good to know I'm not the only one in this faintly ridiculous predicament!

madeuplovesong Wed 28-Nov-12 19:51:47

NUK do a latex teat and its the only teat my mostly bottle refusing baby has ever tolerated... Available in boots. he started refusing that as well a few weeks ago. I've given up trying so will be interested to hear how you get on!

Firsttimemum2012 Wed 28-Nov-12 21:41:12

Cheap I could have written your post.17 week old taking the bottle (with expressed milk) beautifully until 10 days ago when formula introduced- now wont take bottle whether formula or breast milk. He has the teat in his mouth but just wont suck! Having tried everyday and gotten nowhere he did take 4 ounces today from MIL from a bottle with a latex teat that HV gave me. Have ordered a Playtex bottle online at Amazon as HV thinks he is too young for a sippy cup. DH thinks he will take a bottle if I don't feed him for a number of hours but not sure I want to do that to him - would be interested to see how you get on on Saturday so please do update.

Thanks, I'll let you know how Saturday goes. I have a strong feeling it'll be an unmitigated disaster, but I can use the short-lived freedom to go to boots to buy that teat smile my childminder said that she's never come across a baby who has refused a bottle before, she thinks he'll be fine once he starts going to her in January, but if we wait till then to get him on bottle it does seem likely that my boobs will actually explode, probably in the middle of a very important work meeting. They already go rock hard and spray all over the place after just four hours (if by some miracle he accidentally lets himself sleep that long.grin gah, and I thought the giving birth part was the hard bit. (Feel I should add here that I love him to pieces and he is the best thing ever to happen to me, (rock hard, spurty boobs aside.)

Firsttimemum, it's a freaking nightmare isn't it. Perhaps they can sense our desperation. My DH is exactly the same as yours, I think he sees it as a challenge. Just as well that he does though, because there's no way on earth I could listen to DS cry and cry for two hours and not just bf him. I asked a HV today if it would traumatise him to leave him to cry, and she just said 'needs must.' I don't know if she meant that he must unfortunately be traumatised because we need him on the bottle, but I suspect that's what she meant. If Saturday and latex teats don't work out, then I don't have a clue what to do. Guess I'll just have to go cold turkey when I go back to work and risk getting mastitis. On the upside, I'll get to look like Pamela Anderson for a few days (in the chest department at least...)

teacher123 Wed 28-Nov-12 21:57:49

Oh god it is so hard, isn't it? My lowest point was when MIL (who I absolutely love by the way so this is not at all a MIL bashing comment) said 'well I don't want to be the one giving him his formula as it just makes him cry'. I went home and sobbed, I have HATED trying to wean DS onto the bottle, he has cried and cried and I just wanted to shout 'do you think I want to make him cry?!' It just feels all the time with parenting that you just get the hang of something, eg breastfeeding and then you have to change what you're doing!

I couldn't agree more - I literally feel like I've just got the hang of breast feeding, and now it's over already. It's utterly miserable. I mean, I love my job and I know that i'm lucky to have it and its my decision to go back after 6 months and to wean onto formula etc, but the thought of forcing my little guy to take a bottle when he really doesn't want to is heart-breaking. Well, I obviously won't force him, but you know what I mean. I feel the tears coming every time I look at his innocent little face now, especially thinking about going back to work and he'll think I've abandoned him. Ugh.

neontetra Wed 28-Nov-12 22:22:09

I had this too - tommy tippee closer to nature bottles worked for me in the end, but it took almost all of the month I gave myself before my return to work, just trying every day - one day it just clicked. Strangely, I first got dd to take the bottle by taking my top off and holding it at breast level! Perhaps she is just not very observant.
On a different note, are you sure you want to stop bfing altogether when you go back. I still bf when I am home with dd, though I work full time, and I never have to express at work now or suffer discomfort - my supply has just adjusted to meet the usage. I did have to express at work to start with, for comfort, but just decreased the amount I was expressing over about a week, till I no longer needed to. To be honest, for me, being apart from dd in the day and then not having the closeness of bf in the evening would have been two big wrenches at once, and too hard for me. I know its different for everyone though, and we all need to do what works for us. Good luck!

teacher123 Wed 28-Nov-12 22:25:01

He will not think you've abandoned him! It will become the new routine, and he will adapt. Before I had DS I thought I'd be all relaxed and groovy and go with the flow. DS is not a baby who goes with the flow. He is a baby that puts himself to bed at the same time every night to the minute, and wakes at exactly the same time every morning! I have realised that for him to be happy, I have to help him by setting up a routine that means that other people can look after him, as i am going back to work as well. He will be fine, but we are programmed to feel horrendous about this!

On a practical note Try distracting him, not holding him on your knee, try feeding him in his pushchair in front of numtums (lots of bright lights and noise!) or when you're out and about. When DS wakes from his nap, I give him 20 minutes of playtime and then put him in his highchair or car seat or take him for a walk and offer it then. I have also found that DS would bf for comfort, but will only take as much formula as he needs. So he won't drink such huge quantities.

Good luck!

Thanks Neon, it's good to know that perseverance pays off. I'll try it every day with him and hope that he remembers how to suck (he took it easily when he was 4 weeks & I had to go back into hospital for a while, so I know he can do it.)

I might do a night or morning bf when I'm back at work, it sort of depends on practical issues - I may not be back till 7.30pm, and he usually wants to go to bed at 7pm (he's quite rigid in his bedtime.) It's good to know that my supply would adjust if I did decide to do it though.

You're right Teacher, we do need to build a routine around offering it - I've been pretty lazy (groovy?) smile in the routine side of things and have been guided by DS a fair bit, but now that he has established a natural routine of his own with regard to naps, I can build around that. It's probably time I took the control back a bit anyway, I had a HV who told me that DS was the one in control in our relationship (that was in terms of breast feeding, because he developed his own technique and couldn't be persuaded to change it) but I was happy to be led by him, didn't seem to do any harm. But now that he's going to be left with someone else I need to give him a routine so that they both find it easier to settle down.

P.s. does it really have to be the Numtums? smile I can just about stomach Balamory, and I'm strangely fascinated by the Small Potatoes, but the Numtums freak me out. DS loves the TV tho (bad mummy) so it'd probably work even if I did it in from of antiques roadshow. Worth a try!

In 'front' of

teacher123 Thu 29-Nov-12 09:41:18

I agree with the small potatoes being strangely fascinating! My HV was completely rubbish about helping me to get DS to take a bottle, there are some really good ones at our clinic but I always seem to get the same one! She told me to go away overnight leaving DS when he was five and a half months, as 24 hours with DH would 'crack him'. I can only imagine the screaming, DH is a brilliant dad, but it wouldn't be fair on either of them to do that. So I went for routine and gradual swap over of feeds. However (disclaimer!) I only started doing this when I'd started DS on solids, so I wasn't worried he was going to starve. He also took to solids really really well and I hide shed loads of formula milk into his food, eg porridge and baby rice. Will he be 6 months when you go back to work?

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