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?

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

Teacher, that's really good to know about the cup, because I'd been wondering when he would become proficient enough with it to sustain himself with milk. So that would be a couple of months after I start back at work, so if all else fails I can muddle through with food and BFing at night and in morn for two months and then switch to sippy when he's big enough to manage it. I think it's so cute that your LO will only drink it if he's holding it, they get independent so quickly - I very much see DS as my tiny baby still, when in fact he's growing and adapting really quickly x

teacher123 Mon 03-Dec-12 17:06:19

I know, it's ridiculous how independent he is becoming! He very much knows his own mind... (Don't know where he gets that from!) I think keeping persevering is the way forward, DH took DS into town this afternoon and DS drank all of the milk in his cup (about 125ml) in one go, holding the cup by himself. He's suddenly got much more confident at sitting unaided, and he can now coordinate to get the cup into his own mouth, so I think a bit of leaving him to it is called for!

That's great! I have good news too - my mum arrived at 2pm from down south, and by 5pm she had got 60ml of formula down DS with no fuss at all, using the sippy cup. So that's the 4pm breastfeed stopped, just like that! I know he's meant to be taking about 180ml in one go at his age, but he still BFs about 4 times a night, so he probably doesn't have room for that much yet. We can build it up slowly. Am so relieved - I know it's not ideal (he still completely refused the bottle from her) but the main thing is that he's taking on fluids from a source other than me, like your DS teacher, so I don't need to worry that he'll starve while I'm away from him! There's still quite a way to go, but it's really good to know that he'll be able to hold it himself in a couple of months. Am off to have a celebratory nap wink

teacher123 Mon 03-Dec-12 17:59:28

Wahoo! That's great great news! Well done your mum :-) enjoy your nap you lucky thing! X

xkcdfangirl Mon 03-Dec-12 19:24:08


Firsttimemum2012 Tue 04-Dec-12 06:04:24

That is great news! And that's quite a bit for a baby that wouldnt take formula two days ago!

smile Thanks, am so relieved. He loves his granny, she was the one who looked after him for first 6 weeks of his life (alongside DH) so maybe that helped. Who knows?! On the downside, he still fed every 2 hours last night, but going to start offering him cooled boiled water before feeding him now when he wakes to see if that'll settle him. x

teacher123 Tue 04-Dec-12 08:01:11

I found that every time I changed a feed-eg when I stopped feeding before naps, he would wake a bit more for feeds in the night whilst he settled into his new routine, then it would settle down again. I think they have to adjust gradually to things. Last night though he had a massive tantrum when I got home, an hour of whinging interspersed with crying (he has a horrible cold poor thing) but then he went to sleep and didn't wake up till 7-I had 7 1/2 hours of uninterrupted sleep!!!! grin

You're certainly right about the gradual adjustment - DS took a 10am formula cup feed today quite happily, then a BF around 1, but when it came to his 4pm formula cup feed he too had a massive freak out and cried and cried. He also decided that today would be a good time to try out shouting 'mam, mam' while crying and crying, which made me feel terrible. But then we distracted him with cbeebies and he cheered up - I'm glad mum is here, because if she wasn't I probably would have given in and given him a BF. It's really hard, tho I know he won't remember it when he's older.

madeuplovesong Tue 04-Dec-12 19:07:17

Hi there can I ask what type of cup you used? And how, exactly, did you get him to take it? I have a bottle refusing ebf baby. I'm not going back to work for a while but I would like to get him started on a cup soon so that I know he can get nutrition from somewhere else, because at some point (shocking I know) I could do with a break! I bought a tommee tippee easy flow cup the other day and gave it to him to play with which he didn't seem too interested in, but I haven't intervened to get him to drink from it yet as don't really know what to do...

teacher123 Tue 04-Dec-12 19:37:16

I read that you should aim to drop one feed a week, so to swap over gradually, so maybe just stick to his morning cup feed for a week and then tackle the afternoon one? I first stopped feeding at nap time, then tackled the 11am feed, then the 2.30pm one a week later. Great news about this morning's feed though! We use the cheapest tommee tippee sippy cup. He now holds it nonchalantly in one hand sipping from it whilst in his pushchair!

Firsttimemum2012 Tue 04-Dec-12 20:00:52

Good news that he took the morning feed though cheap - I think you have done brilliantly. I have continued using the Playtex bottle and it's going ok, sticking with dropping the afternoon feed. Today was 3.5 oz breast milk and 2 oz formula and he finished 5 oz. increasing formula tomorrow - hope to start dropping mid morning feed towards end of the week. Thanks for all the handholding - it nice to be doing this with some company!

Hi Madeup, welcome to Bottle Refusers Anonymous :0) I too use the tommee tippee easy flow cup, it's a plastic beaker with a spout with 3 little holes in it. I got it free in my Bookbug Pack at his third set of injections (in Scotland) but I think you can get them in tesco for about a pound (sounds like you have the same one.) how old is your baby? Mine is 4 months and 1 week, and the HV told me that if he's refusing a bottle then it's best to go straight to a sippy cup (better for his (non-existent) teeth, and saves you having to wean them off the bottle when they're 1. Anyway, we've been using it for roughly 3 weeks I think, and he's getting good at drinking from it. I cradle him in my arm, pretty upright, and tip the spout gently into his mouth and he half sucks and half laps it. It is undoubtedly messy, and he probably dribbles about 10-20ml at each feed, but he can take about 70ml now in twenty mins, which is good for a BF baby I think. I let him play with it too when I first introduced it (empty) and he spent a long time just chewing on the spout, getting used to the feel of it. Teacher's DS is 7 months and is using a sippy and he can hold it and drink from it himself now. I think the advice we'd all give you (depending on the age of your little one) is that the sooner you start, the better, because it's a long old process. I'd give it at least two months to wean him from BF to bottle or cup - would others agree?

Teacher and Firsttime, you're right about taking it slowly - felt like I had two big rocks stuck to my chest by the end of today. I was keen to replace a couple of feeds while mum is here because I might cave when he cries and just BF him, but my supply needs more time to adjust.

Firsttime, I'm so glad your little one is starting to warm to the bottle. My playtex one still hasn't arrived, think my DH is still placing all his hopes on that bottle, but I'm sort of resigned to a sippy now.

One thing I'm learning is to be a bit stronger in myself when he cries (mean mummy smile.) my mum showed me that with a bit of distraction and cuddles he can be happy again in just a few moments, so I need to focus a bit more on the long term goals and not panic when he gets upset. It's hard learning a new skill but seems like we're all getting there bit by bit.

madeuplovesong Tue 04-Dec-12 22:31:55

Hi thanks for the advice that's really helpful. He is 18 weeks tomorrow. He started off life drinking from bottles due to a tongue tie, we had that treated on day 5, and bf got sorted after that. I had always intended that he would have a bottle in the evening but because we had a tricky start to bf, I was nervous about messing it up, so he had occasional bottle but we didn't persist and by 10 weeks he was deeply offended by being offered a bottle. Now I would just like an occasional free evening but something tells me that even if he does get the hang of a cup soon that won't replace the 45 min long bf he likes to have before bed! Am really impressed though with stories of these clever babies who can learn to drink from cups and tempted to just forget about bottles (havent tried one jn weeks anyway) because the trauma involved is horrible... Going to offer the cup as a toy regularly and see how we go! Do you think I should put water in it or just milk when he 'gets' it? Good luck with your cup feeding endeavours!

Same age as my DS roughly. He was born 31st I think, if you have time before you go back to work, then a sippy cup will work better for you when he's slightly older - 6 or 7 months, because he can hold it then and it might be easier. I'm having to do the transition now because I'm back to work in a month. But I appreciate that you need some time to yourself and I completely understand that - I think part of the reason I was so upset when my DS wouldn't take a bottle was that I was just so desperate for a few hours break. So if you want to start now, here are my (baby-brain-addled) suggestions.

What you put in the cup depends on if you want to transition to formula or expressed bm. I want my DS to take formula, so my HV told me to use it in the cup from the get-go, because he had to get used to it. It was good advice as it took him a few weeks to even swallow the stuff. He likes it now. I think that letting him hold the cup and put it in his mouth etc is a good idea, just be careful it doesn't become an actual plaything, as I guess he needs to see it as food too.

Maybe just set aside half an hour every 2 or 3 days just now, when he's relaxed and nearly hungry but not quite, stick the TV on and introduce the cup to him as a feeding tool, with milk in it. I started by gently tipping a little bit into his mouth, it needs to be a slow and gentle process, and not too intense (hence the TV). Once he has the hang of it then someone else could do it for you, but make sure they understand that a sippy doesn't give a young baby much control over their intake, so it's really important to be gentle with it and not tip in too much at a time at first. My DS lurches forward for it now, he got the hang of it pretty quickly. And now it means I can go to my work Christmas party next week - cue one over-excited new mum getting wellied on two glasses of cava and having to take the early train home :0)

He still BFs every two hours at night though, but that's a whole other challenge that I'll be tackling once the sippy is implemented in the daytime.

letsgetreadytoramble Thu 06-Dec-12 13:13:02

Playtex bottle finally arrived today! And health visitor has said that 60-70ml formula at a time isn't enough for him to be taking from the cup, so I can't replace any more feeds until he takes more. But I can't start BFing him at those times again either or my supply will adjust accordingly again. Rock and hard place. HV said to offer him bottle four or five times a day, but the problem is that he needs to be a bit hungry to take bottle, and because he won't take it I need to cup feed him too. And to add to the misery, he has a horrible cold and is now waking every hour at night wanting BF, presumably because it's now restricted during the day. Sorry, Stressed out ramblings.

letsgetreadytoramble Thu 06-Dec-12 13:48:30

Oh, that last last post was from Cheap, my new name is letsgetready

teacher123 Thu 06-Dec-12 14:10:08

Don't get disheartened! You've been doing so well! How many weeks until you get back to work? Have a look on the formula packet and see how much they are supposed to have at that age, I can't remember... Like I said upthread, trying to drop all the daytime breast feeds in one go will be really hard and he will just feed all night. Also if he's ill it's all a nightmare.

Firsttimemum2012 Thu 06-Dec-12 22:10:30

My HV said I might find DS would feed more at night when I went back to work and feed less during the day - I think it's called reverse cycling. It's fine if the baby is in your room as you can feed whilst both of you are half asleep.

Keep going - you have made some much progress - DS is proving very particular. Today was a 1/3 breast and 2/3 formula mix but it took quite a while to get 6 oz down him. When it went a bit cool he refused to take it but went back to sucking when it was warmed up again. He has not been as settled at night though - this parenting is hard work!

letsgetreadytoramble Sat 08-Dec-12 09:04:20

I'm back to work on 7th January. I worked out a plan with my mum before she went - at the moment I bf at 6am, formula at 10am, bf at 1pm, formula at 4pm, baby rice at 6pm and BF at 7pm. Going to replace the 1pm BF with formula the week after next and then replace the 6am bf two weeks later. I'll keep doing the 7pm bf for a month or so after I'm back at work because it might help him settle a bit better into his new routine.

Because he's only taking 60-70ml formula at a time though I'm worried he might be getting dehydrated, especially as his wee has been smelling really strong for the past week which I read can be a sign of dehydration (taking him to doc next week to check though) although he still has lots of wet nappies.

I spoke to the HV again yesterday (I hate being the mum who phones them constantly) but the advice is still just to keep offering him a bottle several times a day. So I offer him the playex bottle first (he chews on it and takes about 20ml that way) and then give him the rest from the cup. The playtex bottle is really good in terms of the teat being most like a normal nipple, but I just spent another £20 on the inserts too so they're not cheap.

The HV said he should be capable of sleeping 6 hours at night now (he's always woken every 2 hours and I've always just fed him), and I think she was suggesting that I try a bit of controlled crying, but I'm totally flummoxed because if he needs to make up for the lack of daytime fluids at night, perhaps I should still be feeding him every two hours at night.

I guess my real concern is that he's not getting enough fluids anymore, but the doctor will be able to help me with that. It's so hard, especially when your natural instinct (or mine is anyway) is to let them feed all day long if they want.

I think HVs should be asking BF mums when they plan to go back to work and advising them to offer a bottle once a day from an early age. I know that's no guarantee that they'll take it later on, but it would help a lot of people avoid this situation.

letsgetreadytoramble Sun 09-Dec-12 16:53:41

DS finally started sucking on the bottle! My DH came home from the pub where he'd been watching his team win a football match (so maybe he was in a 'winning' mood), put the playtex latex teat on the avent bottle (the new inserts for the playtex bottle haven't arrived yet), filled it with formula from one of the ready made cartons, cradled DS in his arm and started singing loud football songs (while I hovered anxiously nearby) and DS just suddenly started sucking, and drank 45ml in two minutes. He then looked very startled, cried, did a massive burp and went to sleep. I'm really hoping it wasn't just a one off, and that he'll do it again later! The latex teat does fit the avent bottle but probably not ideal as a feeding tool all the time as the nipple kept disappearing into the middle bit.

God, I'm so relieved, I really hope he keeps it up. The cup feeding is such a pain in comparison!

teacher123 Sun 09-Dec-12 17:02:57

Wahoo!! Well done your DH and his winning football team. Your plan for dropping feeds seems like a good one. Who is looking after DS when you're not there? Is it nursery or childminder? I'm sure they'll be experienced in getting babies to drink. Also I do think that babies like a bit of routine, when he starts childcare, that will be the new 'normal'! DS continues to refuse to drink any milk unless he's in the pushchair or carseat, preferably on the move...! Baby steps...

Firsttimemum2012 Sun 09-Dec-12 21:01:18

Yay that's great news. I couldn't get the Playtex teat to work properly on the avent bottle - I might have a look at that again as using the Playtex bottle is a pain as I find the inserts a real fiddle. That being said today DS took 5.5 oz of powder formula so tomorrow we will be dropping the 9.30 Ish feed and hopefully the lunchtime feed by the end of the week. I am going to keep the first morning feed and night feed for now.

Lets - can I ask how you are generally feeling about returning to work. DS will be going to nursery 3 days a week and family the rest of the time. We have our first settling in day tomorrow and I have spent all today feeling quite sad. He is just such a great little boy and I feel so guilty about leaving him at this age - I don't have much choice unfortunately. I want to cry every time I think about it!

letsgetreadytoramble Sun 09-Dec-12 21:39:45

My DS is going to a childminder 3 days a week, my MIL is looking after him 1 day a week and I'll be at home on the Friday (doing full time but 5 days compressed into 4, so 8am-5.30pm). So my situation is much the same as yours Firsttime. CM has got 15 years experience and good references (though not v up to date in new practices, new research etc) and MIL is also very good, but I feel utterly miserable about leaving him. I can't really sleep for worrying about things that might go wrong (they might overheat him, leave him crying, not change his nappy, not cuddle him enough, not feed him enough...etc.) I guess it's normal to feel like this but it's kind of all-consuming. I just love him so much, can't bear the thought that he might get neglected in some way and I wouldn't know. Sorry, I'm starting to sound crazymad, I think it's the lack of sleep. I had no idea it'd be this hard to be honest, keep trying to think of ways I can extend my mat leave but it's financially impossible.

We have the new Avent bottles (they're called Avent Natural or something) with the petal teats, don't know if they're maybe different to the ones you have? The latex teat doesn't fit it that well, we were just using it as emergency back-up before the inserts arrived - typical that he decides he likes that combination the best! :0)

Teacher, DS also likes to be on the move when drinking, usually while being carried. Very odd, I find it hard to drink while walking around, not sure why they like it. The Christmas tree is up now so I walk him round and round that! smile

letsgetreadytoramble Sun 09-Dec-12 21:43:28

Ps. Firsttime, that's great about your DS' progress with the bottles! You've done a fab job there, at least you can be reassured that he'll be able to feed well while you're at work. And I'm sure both our DS' will have a great time in childcare - mine is very sociable and is visibly happier when surrounded by people. It'll prob be harder on us than them x

chipmonkey Mon 10-Dec-12 12:27:28

Long time ago for me but when ds3 refused the bottle, we eventually got him to take it by
1/ playtex bottle ( Do we notice a theme here?)
2/ Holding ds3 away from me with teat in mouth
3/ Walking around singing very loudly!
He never was very good at taking the bottle compared to ds1 and ds2 who were happy with either breast or bottle.
I was so worried with ds4 that I expressed and fed him from the playtex bottle every other night from when he was 2 weeks old.

Bramshott Mon 10-Dec-12 12:36:42

If he'll be 5 months by the time you're back to work, I'd be tempted to chill out a bit (easier said than done!). DD2 was very like this, and started with her childminder at 5 months. We got through it by:
1) starting weaning at 5 months, and including lots of milk/yoghurt in her diet
2) me feeding her at the childminders when I dropped her off
3) the CM giving a mid-afternoon formula feed in a sippy cup, which TBH she never drank that much of
4) cramming in 3 breastfeeds when she came home - teatime, bedtime and dreamfeed

chipmonkey Mon 10-Dec-12 13:47:41

Oh and ds3 also used to feed all night when he got home. It''s called reverse-cycling I believe. Also known as maternal torture.

letsgetreadytoramble Mon 10-Dec-12 14:23:41

Oh god, reverse cycling - that's something I'm very keen to avoid - he already feeds every 3 hours at night, so if he starts waking up more often we'd both just need to stay up all night really...

He took 40ml from the avent/playtex hybrid bottle today from me (singing loud Christmas songs) - I would prefer to stop BFing altogether now but I think he may be wise to that, because he only takes enough formula to take the edge off his hunger, and then I have to keep BFing him to make sure he gets enough nutrition and stays hydrated. We're getting there though. I fully expect to be a mad wreck of a person when back at work anyway, so breast feeding DS all night long won't make a huge amount of difference. smile (Think MN needs to add a sleep deprived smiley...)

letsgetreadytoramble Tue 11-Dec-12 22:13:12

Gah, DS has croup and has wanted to BF non-stop for two days, it's the only thing that calms him down. Deep breath... Will recommence Operation Bottlesarenottheworkofthedevil on Monday.

Firsttimemum2012 Wed 12-Dec-12 17:06:57

Oh no Lets! Sending hugs and hoping little Lets gets well soon - here Granny arrived at the beginning of the week and yesterday he took 5 oz from her out of a normal avent bottle for his mid morning and late afternoon feed! Result I thought but last night he woke up at 12 and refused to go back to sleep! I BF but he didn't seem that interested - it might be wind or gum hardening but either way he was awake until 6. He only had 2 oz from his bottle this morning but 5 oz this afternoon so I don't think I can say we have cracked it as yet

letsgetreadytoramble Thu 13-Dec-12 18:28:19

Oh my goodness Firsttime - 12 till 6?' I feel your pain. It's like torture isn't it. I think you're doing so well though, he's actually taking the bottle so it'll probably be a natural progression when you start work for him to start to take more.

I'm just on my way home from my work Christmas lunch (they kindly invited me even though I've been languishing on mat leave these past few months :0) and my Mil was looking after my baby boy. She text me and said he'd taken 95ml formula from her this afternoon between a bottle and baby rice, so she's doing better than me. He lost his voice with the croup and I just couldn't do anything but BF him these past few days, because I knew that's the only thing that makes him feel better. In some ways it might be better for him to be going to a CM now rather than later, because he's happy to stay with anyone who'll sing to him and smile at him at this stage, whereas when he's older he might find it harder. desperately trying to make self feel better about it...

letsgetreadytoramble Sun 16-Dec-12 12:29:48

How's it going Firsttime? DS still has croup so I'm struggling to refuse him a BF when he wants it, but he's still very hit and miss with the bottle. Our new routine is:

6am - BF
9am - 3 x teaspoons banana porridge mixed with 80ml formula
10am - 20ml formula from bottle (if I'm lucky)
1pm - big BF
4pm - 40ml formula from bottle and cup
6pm - 4 teaspoons baby rice mixed with 60ml formula
7.30pm - BF
Midnight - BF
3.30am - BF

I know it's the world's worst schedule. I've started offering him a bottle at midnight and at 3.30am, but he cries so much and then starts coughing, and I'm also worried that he then won't be getting enough milk, so I give in and BF him. Can't go on like this, I know I'm making a meal of it.

DH wants to give him 3 solids a day, mixed with formula, to get more formula into him, but I can't get my head around the fact that a solids feed (mixed with formula) could replace formula from a bottle.

The CS has asked me to give her a print out of our routine ahead of him going to her beginning jan. hahahahahahaha. Sob.

letsgetreadytoramble Tue 18-Dec-12 20:13:13

Just want to add a postscript to this thread (in case anyone having similar problems stumbles upon it) to say that DS, a staunch bottle refuser, took 120ml from a bottle from me today in 5 mins flat. Here's my advice for anyone else in the same position:

1. IME, starving them into submission does not work.
2. IME, the Playtex drop in nurser bottle with the brown latex teats are the most effective (that's what he eventually took) (infantcaredirect and amazon do them)
3. It took at least a month of us offering various bottles every day, several times a day to get him used to it.
4. What finally worked for me was to stop his nighttime breastfeeds (which he doesn't need anyway at 5 months) and to refuse him the breast all day one day and offer the bottle every hour or so that day. He needed to know there was no alternative. It was really hard but worth it when he took the bottle.

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