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bf babies who 'won't take a bottle'?(47 Posts)
This is a completely premature worry as am only pregnant now but I need to go back to work for half a day a week at 3months and for 1.5-2days a week at 5months. I should be able to then keep it at less than 2 days a week for the rest of the first year or two.
I want to bf to start with. Obviously I know from reading mn that this is easier said than done, though I always assumed I would bf (my mother did). But my question is, if I establish bf will my poor LO starve her/himself when I have to leave them at 3months with a bottle (hopefully of ebm)? Should I maybe not bf at all? I never read of ff babies who refuse the bottle.
If there genuinely is absolutely no choice but the bottle at 3months, will the baby take it? Would switching to entirely bottle-fed at 3months make this more likely? I am willing to try whatever will make this least traumatic for my LO.
There are other methods of feeding if a bottle is no good. At 3 months they can feed from a cup (with help) so if you need to go back to work and a bottle doesn't work out then your baby won't starve
Some people advise introducing a bottle as soon as possible 'to get them used to it' but introducing a bottle too early can interfere with breastfeeding. Usually it's best to wait 6 weeks.
Thanks - that's good to know about the cup, I've only heard about babies using cups from 6months.
I gave my dd a bottle of ebm at 6 weeks and she took it well. I used a Medela Calma bottle which is good for breast fed babies as it needs the baby to use the same action as on the breast. I only used it a handful of times and now at 13 weeks she takes tommy tipee closer to nature bottle without a problem.
I think it might have helped that she had a dummy.
I waited the six weeks as I felt it was more important for her to feed from the breast than the bottle and as Eau says there are other ways if the bottle is refused.
My DS is 5 months and has been given bottles of bm from 8 days old. We did this on the advice of the HV as I'm in a similar work situation and knew he would have to take a bottle. He did both brilliantly from the beginning - he had 1 bottle feed from dh every other day. He had an excellent natural latch for the boob from the very first feed so I suppose I was luckily in the respect that I didn't have any other difficulties to deal with in addition to introducing the bottle. Interestingly, now at 5 months he has started refusing bottles altogether! But that's a whole different topic!!
IME it is best to introduce a bottle as early as possible and do so consistently. Whether its EBM or formula. Obviously only do once bf is established. You are also only away a half day at first, the baby will not starve.
MWs advised me to introduce a bottle sooner than 6 weeks as, in theri experience, it can be too late by then. I started DD on the occasional bottle of EBM at 3 weeks and she took to it straight away.
Thanks all, I guess it depends how bf goes in the first place... and whether we have issues or not.
If it establishes relatively easily then I can worry about introducing the bottle when I think we've got the hang of bf but if it is the sort of hellish nightmare that you often read about on here then I guess I might have to give up and go straight to the bottle anyway.
Also, I know some women say they can't express anything either, I really want my LO to have bm but I guess I just have to wait and see...
At slight risk of going against the grain here....
Are you SURE you need to work half a day a week in one go????
I'm self employed and basically put both my DCs in a routine quite early then did little bits of work when I could (so like maybe an hour at lunchtime nap or an hour at 7pm) that way I just stayed with LO, and worked from home as the need arose.
I then went back to the office half time at 6 months but structured it so I could pop home and feed at midday and then morning and evening as normal.
I did find once the bottle appeared my milk disappeared, so I tried to introduce 1 bottle a day with DS1 at 6 months and he just went straight over full time to bottle with DS 2 I knew what would happen so hung out to 9 months before going to bottle.
oh and "won't take a bottle" is shorthand for "shut I - I don't want to bottle feed - don't ask me again"
Just some advice for when you try: I also went back to work a couple of days a week around 3 months. I hadn't tried a bottle consistently until around 8 weeks as I had trouble getting my supply up and found baby on the breast the only way to do it. My boy refused bottles of expressed milk for ages until my Mum made it super-warm, at which point he guzzled it happily! So if you have trouble check temperature. Lots of people I know introduced 1 bottle a day around 4/5 weeks and had no trouble. Also, while the general wisdom is that a good electric pump is essential for expressing, I didn't get on with the Medela Swing at all and actually had much more success with an Avent hand pump (and hand expressing). I pump 2 days a week while at work now and can do it super-fast with the hand pump, so do bear that in mind too (lots of people find the opposite though). Good luck!
sparkle - the half a day a week is teaching, I have to do it in one go.
I am planning to do a bit more work but from home and in dribs and drabs, but teaching is out of the house for 5hrs or so.
and it's only for one semester... (the half day that is)... but after that LO will be 6mnths+ and hopefully eating a bit and who knows what'll happen then etc. etc.
At 3 months old going 5 hours isn't going to have your little one starving. If you make a habit of feeding before you leave and having some expressed milk in a cup or bottle for if they get hungry they can take it if they want or not if they don't. My DS combined fed from 4 weeks onwards all breastmilk but he didn't mind whether it was breast of bottle DD I didn't bother even trying a bottle until 6 moths ish by which time she wasn't keen but we did manage to have success with a sippy cup instead so all good :D
However if you're planning on pumping, start pumping from the get go because with DS I pumped from the start as he had both bottle and breast and got loads of milk out, with DD I had loads of milk at the start but as it gets adjusted for your baby and your baby is more effective at sucking milk out than a pump I struggle to get as much out even with an electric pump. So best start pumping from the beginning if you're going to try having both as you can keep it frozen anyway.
oh and "won't take a bottle" is shorthand for "shut I - I don't want to bottle feed - don't ask me again"
Not for us. Bottle/cup refusal caused us a lot of angst and practical difficulties and it wasn't imagined, thanks.
OP your baby will probably accept a bottle fine if you try in the first 6-8 weeks, and if so I would really try to give one daily so you all stay in the habit.
I am the other end of the spectrum. I am due to go back to work in 4 weeks and my dd is ebf and is 5 months old. I have tried every bottle, teat, cup, beaker, breast milk, formula etc etc for the past 3 weeks, and nothing! She simply hates it.
Its so stressful.
My son took a bottle at 4 months easily so i think i left it too long and now i am stuck breastfeeding whilst trying to figure out how to do my 12 hour shifts at work.
My advice....introduce a bottle ASAP.
I wouldnt want anyone having to put themselves, or their baby through what I am going through x
Good luck x
Agree with snowchick...
1)introduce a bottle early, and
2) give one daily (don't fall into the trap of thinking that because they've taken a bottle once or twice they'll continue to be happy to take one - you have to offer one regularly or they'll forget they ever had a bottle)
Aim to introduce a bottle by 6 weeks; I introduced a daily bottle at around 2/3 weeks with all three of my DC which worked really well and didn't interfere with breastfeeding at all, but all babies are different, I wouldn't advise introducing one this early if you weren't happy that you had fully established breastfeeding.
My ds took a bottle happily as long as it wasn't from me.
Dd wasn't a bottle fan but when I had to be away for 5 hours when she was about 4 months, he got her to drink enough to stop crying by dipping fingers in and putting them in her mouth, and getting the cup closer until she could slurp straight from it. She was ok with a bottle from 6 weeks to nearly 3 months but then clearly I was better.
I find it incredibly patronising to say that not taking a bottle is shorthand for not wanting to give up breast feeding. I waited until 8 weeks before trying to introduce a bottle of expressed milk. Have tried every bottle going, other people have tried etc etc and dd has been very stubborn. We don't want to starve her into submission so have been left Doing some complicated workarounds in order for me to do some pieces of work. It has been stressful and upsetting and involved a lot of tears.
I wish I had introduced a bottle much earlier, at 2-3 weeks. I love my dd dearly and have enjoyed nourishing her to the amazing baby she is, but she's nearly ready for weaning and I can't wait to be able to hand over the reins of caring for her to other members of the family and to get a bit of space for myself to do some work and properly catch up with friends on the odd night out.
Introduced dummy at 4 weeks and bottle of ebm at 6 weeks. Ds had approx 1 bottle a week for the first 6 months then introduced a daily bedtime bottle. All fine.
Think pp is right when she says that having a dummy makes them
More likely to take a bottle.
Interesting. It seems that the key is making sure that a bf baby encounters a dummy or bottle early enough and regularly... I know that some people do have a nightmare introducing a bottle at a later date, I just hope introducing it early will solve this.
Interestingly when you read threads about people giving up bf earlier than they'd have liked they never talk about how the baby might not take the bottle.
This hopefully won't be relevant to you but I have to use a nipple shield when I bf as my daughter was born with a tongue tie and high pallet so she has never been able to latch properly, despite going to bf class, seeing a lactatio specialist and getting a private consultant on tongue tie to come and see us and cut the tongue tie. I have pretty much exclusively used shields since she was 1 day old. The only other option when she was newborn was syringe feeding which was an absolute nightmare. Because she uses a shield she has no objection to a bottle. I guess using a shield is like a hybrid between bfing and bottle feeding. She dribbles for England when taking expressed milk from a bottle but has never refused to take it and cries if I take the bottle away before she is done.
The only person I know who has had a problem getting their child to take a bottle every now and again was trying to use formula. I guess it tastes different so that could have been part of the problem. That said, I am the only person from my antenatal classes whose baby is exclusively on breast milk and everyone else switches between bm and formula without difficulty.
I'd agree with others who say the best thing to do will be to give a bottle of EBM early, and regularly.
My DS had his first bottle when he was four weeks old. Due to poor weight gain, I was advised to express and feed via a bottle, as we really struggled with establishing breastfeeding.
Anyway, the breastfeeding didn't click for some time and we exclusively expressed until he was 10 weeks old, when he began latching on.
Since then he's been feeding well from me and has rocketed up through the centiles. However, we've kept up the bottle, as I knew I was going back to work when he was five months old.
The way we did this was by DH doing one feed a day (usually the 5am ish one) and I'd express at the same time. I wanted to keep DS used to the bottle, and it was also useful to express so I could build up a freezer stash of milk.
He now has no problem taking EBM from a bottle at all, and will happily take it from my DM, my MIL or DH when I'm working.
If it helps, we used Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles and teats. He has swapped between these and my boobs with no trouble.
i agree with the advice to give one bottle a day from about 4 weeks or so, once BF latch and milk supply are established. not only does it get them used to the idea that bottle equals food, it also means DH can do a feed and you can get some sleep!
We found the NUK latex teat worked well.
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