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.

He'll be 5 months when I go back, but I plan to start him on a bit of baby rice just before 5 months, so that I begin the weaning process, rather than the CM (this is on advice of my hv, who thinks he's ready just now.) I suppose if he doesn't take the bottle then food and a sippy cup should ensure that he gets enough milk during the day. I've ordered a playtex bottle with a latex teat too, and I tried him with the avent bottle at 11 today - he chewed on it for a while then screamed for his 'proper' milk. I even tried inserting it into his little mouth when he was feeding and all sleepy and milk drunk, but he screeched immediately. He knows what he likes...

teacher123 Thu 29-Nov-12 16:32:51

I think that once they are eating, it becomes A LOT less stressful! Good luck with the other types of bottle. smile

Thanks, I'll let you know how Saturday goes <stifled sob>

neontetra Fri 30-Nov-12 07:15:07

Good luck! I, like you, started dd on solids at about 5 months, as that was when I went back to work, and although she does take the bottle she doesnt have loads of formula. Giving her solids gave me the reassurance thatshe wouldn't get hungry/thirsty. Nursery put a lot of forumal into her rice or porridge!

DoingTheSwanThing Fri 30-Nov-12 17:44:08

Good luck, remember it well!
DS1 was a champion refuser (18 hours without... I was stupid enough to listen to HV's "he'll take it when he's hungry" advice). He never did go back to bottles despite accepting happily for the first 3 months-ish. We too weaned early when I returned to work PT at 5m - he "ate" EBM with a little baby rice by day then reverse-cycled. It was all fine, try not to worry too much.

DS2 has also bean threatening to refuse completely but can often be tricked pursuaded whilst walking around - if distracted by pretty lights etc he'll root to teat if cheek is tickled with it. One to try, perhaps? He looked pretty pissed off last night once he noticed he'd been drinking it grin

We're also having partial success with the really cheap tesco's own bottles -squishyest teats I've found. They cost about £1.80 and are sold individually.

Distraction with pretty lights is a good idea, he loves lights (someone said we should get him a strip light for Christmas smile.) I'll mention that to DH, as he'll be the one carrying the screaming, crying DS round and round the house tomorrow in a last ditch attempt to get him to take bottle. That's interesting about the Tesco bottles too - so far I've spend almost fifty quid on different types of the darn things - our darling little bottle refusers have spawned a massive, lucrative market smile

I suspect what will happen in the end is that I'll just have to reduce the breast feeds down to morning and night in a week or so (to give my milk supply time to adjust) and try to get as much formula as I can down him during the day, with spoons, cups and in a few weeks, powdered food. What a dreadful plan...

teacher123 Fri 30-Nov-12 21:49:11

Oh my word I have spent a FORTUNE on bottles. Not to mention the litres of formula that I have poured down the sink! DS will not entertain drinking the powdered stuff, so it's ready made all the way, which is costing me shed loads. However I keep telling myself it's only until he's a year and then it's cows milk all the way. I found that my milk supply has adjusted pretty quickly, so hopefully if you drop a feed a week it should be fine. Let us know how tomorrow goes-he may surprise us all!

Firsttimemum2012 Sat 01-Dec-12 15:07:18

How did things go today? Had a little success yesterday and today as DS has taken 3 and then 4 ounces of breastmilk from the Playtex bottle whilst sat on his bouncy chair. Not sure I like the bottle or this drop in system much (and just my luck I got a pink bottle from the random colour selection). Am wondering if to try his usual bottle again or try mixing formula with the breast milk as getting him used to formula is more pressing.

Hi! That's good that your DH took some from the playtex bottle Firsttime! Mine hasn't arrived yet, and it does look a bit of a faff with the inserts (and I just realised I didn't specify colour either) but I'm pinning all my hopes on it now...

On my way home just now (6.30pm.) I left the house at 10am, and I haven't spoken to DH in depth about everything that occurred yet (although he did say something about accidentally deluging DS in formula because he forgot to secure the cap on the bottle...) but the bottom line is that DS has refused the bottle all day long. DH walked around and around with him and the bottle at 3pm and they looked at the twinkly lights, and at that point DS took 50ml, but from chewing on the teat and swallowing (fast flow, Avent), not from sucking. He hasn't cried at all (apart from when he got a formula bath smile) which is really reassuring, but neither has he taken anywhere near enough milk.

I really don't want to spend any longer away from him than I have today, so my new plan is thus...

BF in the morning, then only offer bottle (and sippy cup) all day, then BF last thing at night and offer bottle (and sippy cup) during the night. The reason I'm offering sippy cup too is because he takes more from that, and I'm concerned he might not get enough otherwise. It's a crap solution, but I can't see any other way.

Will update further after I've grilled DJ about everything that occurred...

My dd would only take hipp organic formula milk when I was weaning her off me onto bottle. My ds refused at first and my dh persevered & managed to get him to take formula from bottle. Once you start weaning not such a big deal as you can mix up milk with baby rice & make sure he's getting milk that way. Good luck & good luck going back to work smile

Piemistress Sat 01-Dec-12 18:47:48

What eventually worked for us when DS had a bottle strike was to pour hot water over the teat so it was nice bad warm. That was after trying everything else over and over for two weeks. That one thing worked for us :-)

Firsttimemum2012 Sat 01-Dec-12 19:45:53

: 0 ( cheap wine - you can't say you didn't try - hang in there - everyone tells me that it's painful but things do get better.. I have bought some of the Hipp organic ready made milk which I will mix with breast milk tomorrow. I am also going to start giving the mid morning feed he has by bottle and see how we get on.

Thanks very much for the info - I think Teacher mentioned HIPP Organic milk too, so I'll give that a go. Just finished a mammoth bf with the little guy, he has had dry nappies all day as a result of this 'experiment', so I wouldn't particularly advise anyone else to try it - I'm not sure why HVs persist in recommending it as a sensible course of action when trying to get DCs to take a bottle, as it really doesn't seem to work. Unless I just grew a particularly stubborn one... smile

Although BFing is obviously great for DCs, and has been a lovely lovely experience for me, I do wish there was more support for this transition from BF to bottle, as I'm finding it more stressful than anything else to do with DS so far.

I'll keep you all updated on how I get on with HIPP and Playtex, and please keep the advice coming, it helps a lot.

Ps. Am going to change my name later on tonight, I had it as a joke with another Mumsnetter, but it looks wildly inappropriate in this thread. wink

Firsttimemum2012 Sat 01-Dec-12 21:10:51

I totally agree re lack of support - people have to do it for all sorts of reasons - apart from giving the one use bottle with the latex teat to try there wasn't much help given by my HV - and it's obviously a common problem. I hope you don't mind me piggy backing on your thread but I feel better knowing I am not alone - at least when my MIL basically tells me it's my fault for "insisting on breastfeeding" I know I am not the only one in this situation.

I don't mind at all, it's very nice to know that I'm not the only one in this situation, and I think it's great that we can all support each other and suggest different things to try. I had a difficult time when DS was born and breastfeeding was the only thing I could do for him for quite a long time, and I think we developed quite an intense bond through it as a result. In that sense, everything I've done with him up until now has felt really natural and instinctive. And this transition feels totally unnatural and rubbish. But knowing that you're all getting up every day too (probably much earlier than us) switching on the steriliser, tidying up the remains of yesterday's failed feeding attempts, plastering an enthusiastic smile on your face and offering the bottle to a cross little person for the zillionth time, helps me a lot.

Ps. That is spectacularly unsupportive of your MIL - I think a trip to the pound shop for her Christmas present is in order wink

teacher123 Sun 02-Dec-12 00:30:58

Let's hope these American bottles arrive soon and he'll accept them! I totally agree that no one tells you how awful it can be swapping over. I have had days when I've sobbed and phoned DH at work saying I wish I'd never bothered to bf in the first place! Keep posting, we're all in this together. Today DS would only drink from his cup in the pushchair if he was holding it...

I said the exact same thing to my DH yesterday about wishing I'd never BF DS in the first place. I didn't really mean it, because I know it's done him and me a lot of good, but people who formula fed their babies from the beginning and who are going back to work soon are having a lovely last month with their LOs, while we're stuck at home desperately trying to figure out a way to feed ours when we're back at work, being advised by HVs that we have to starve them into submission (for gods sake) and in a lot of cases still BFing them every couple hours at night, and having to work out a way to stop that as well. And it's not good for the babies either, because they're facing a situation where they may well stop taking enough milk on board, at a time when they still really need it. And the likelihood is that I'll have to keep BFing him morning and night when I'm back at work now as well, to keep up his fluids, which I didn't want to do for lots of reasons (and if one more person asks me why I can't express milk at work for him I'll scream.)

I know that a lot of the people who formula fed their babies would have liked to have been able to BF, and couldn't for various reasons, so I don't want to belittle that, or to be all
'woe is me'. I just want some acknowledgement that BFing is actually a much longer-term commitment than a lot of people realise. It's all like, 'oh even if you just BF him for the first couple of months, that's great for him.' Oh really? And how do you suggest I feed him after those couple of months, once he's been trained to only take the breast?

Oops, bit of a rant there. I would still strongly encourage any of my pregnant friends to BF, especially if they're off work for a year, but if they're only off for 6 months or less I would probably tell them to do mixed feeds, either formula and BF or solely BF but with quite a few BF feeds in bottles. I really wish someone had told me to do that when I first started [stares fixedly at chirpy HV who just keeps wittering on about how he'll take bottle eventually if I literally starve him.]

teacher123 Sun 02-Dec-12 07:08:05

I'm lucky in that I'm not going back to work until DS is quite a bit older than your DS, and we've been able to wean. I have managed to get him down to breastfeeding morning and evening and formula the rest of the time. He's now 7 months, and I had absolutely no desire to breastfeed at all past 6 months, but I don't know how to stop. When DS was born I had a very traumatic delivery, and then he lost 11 % of his birth weight, and I was distraught. He has been 91st centile since then, and regained his weight within a few days, but I think I am still massively anxious because of this. (Honestly he is huge-you would laugh at me if you saw him!)

Firsttimemum2012 Sun 02-Dec-12 09:29:49

To be fair to MIL she suggested having a FF once a day when DS was younger but BF was going so well and he was taking expressed milk when required so I thought it was all fine and I am/was really enjoying the BF. I really should have listened!

My DH suggested the same thing about a formula feed at night, and I was all like, no no, I am BREASTFEEDING him don't you know, there's no POINT in formula. Ah, how wrong I was.

And Teacher, I think you're right, there is a very real concern running though all of us that if we stop BFing them and they refuse the bottle, then they are going to get dehydrated or lose weight. It must be even more worrying for you if you had a difficult start with him, I hope you're fully recovered now.

My wonderful mum is coming up for a visit tomorrow for a week, to see if she can help persuade her little grandson that formula isn't actually that bad. Will let you know how we get on.

Oh, and I got the HIPP organic milk in a carton too today - pricy - part of me hopes he doesn't take to it, or else Santa will have a rather empty sack this year... smile

And I can't figure out how to change my name on the mumsnet iPhone app, so I'm stuck being Cheap until I can get to a computer smile

teacher123 Sun 02-Dec-12 22:54:41

Sometimes I feel like just tipping the formula down the sink, cut out the middle man entirely. There would be less crying that way maybe! Yes am fully recovered now thank you, but it has definitely made me mega anxious.

On a positive note though, I had to be out over bedtime today as i had to work, and for the first time EVER someone else put DS to bed. DH did an amazing job, DS has now decided that he doesn't hate the cup as much as before, but will only drink from it if he's holding it himself... So DH propped him up in cushions on the sofa and gave him his sippy cup, then did bath, cuddle and bed and DS dropped off in 5 minutes with only minimal whinging! A month ago I could never have done that. So, it WILL get better x

xkcdfangirl Sun 02-Dec-12 23:35:29

Hello. I had this problem at 6 months and had a lot of tears and anxiety before coming up with this trick which might work:

Have a think about the position that your baby is in when BFing, and the position you are holding him in when offering a bottle - how similar are they? Can you make the position for bottle more similar to what he is used to?

My DS would not take a bottle at all until I held the bottle basically under my armpit, with the teat near my nipple - that fooled him into thinking he was getting what he was used to - but the issue really was that I had been trying to get him to drink while lying on his back, which he had never done before. It wasn't long before he started to understand what a bottle was for and he was happy to take it any old how.

Hi, thanks very much for joining us and for your advice. It's really funny because I was thinking this exact same thing just now when I was feeding him - he struggled to get the hang of BF, and because I was ill we just let him get on with it and so he developed his own little technique where he hangs off the nipple and sort of pulls and laps. And I was just thinking, actually, that would be pretty hard to replicate in a different position (especially if he's like me and takes ages to get to grips with things that require coordination.) will be up and tucking him under my arm first thing tomorrow. Someone should invent a plastic thing that fits over your boob and pumps milk through a teat, bet that would work really well into fooling the little cherubs. Although I can't see DH agreeing to wear it... smile

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