Switching to bottle feeding a bottle refuser...

(36 Posts)
OnionRing Mon 25-Nov-13 00:14:22

I want to switch to bottle feeding.

DD2 is 7.5 months and so far has refused all attempts at bottle feeding. Do I refuse breast feeds until she is hungry enough to take a bottle, or is this a dreadful thing to do?

How did others make the transition?

CointreauVersial Mon 25-Nov-13 00:20:50

Don't use a bottle with a teat; at that age you can go straight to a cup with a spout. It's less confusing I think.

Start practicing with water, so she starts to get the hang of drinking before you think about stopping breastfeeding. She can play with the cup, and it won't make too much mess while she has a go.

OnionRing Mon 25-Nov-13 00:24:47

I considered that but she won't take milk from a sippy cup, but she will take water with meals. I suspect I will only be able to get the required volume of milk into her by getting her to accept a bottle.

ZuleikaD Mon 25-Nov-13 07:25:28

Go straight to a cup - open or a sippy one. I speak with many months of experience trying to get a bottle refuser to take one. At six months I stopped trying. Can you really not stand to breastfeed for another six weeks? At nine months solids start to take over from milk so getting a volume of milk into her won't be such an issue and you can get plenty of dairy into her diet in other ways.

ZuleikaD Mon 25-Nov-13 07:25:55

And yes, starving her to try and get her to take a bottle would be a dreadful thing to do.

OnionRing Mon 25-Nov-13 11:49:38

I can't breast feed for another 6 weeks as I currently get on average 2 hours sleep a night. It has been this way for the past three months, I have an older child to care for as well whom I feel I neglect as DD2 will feed for up to three hours at a time. I am a physical and mental wreck. Some days I don't feel safe to drive, I currently have eczema, mouth ulcers, bleeding gums and spots, I burst into tears at the drop of a hat, I shout at my older child too much and argue with my husband. I have to go to bed at 6.45pm with the children so all my housework etc. must be done by then and I have not had an hour in front of mindless tv, or any other similar activity, for eight months.

I now hate breastfeeding, it is stressful and painful yet I have stuck it out for this long as I wanted to give DD2 the same start as DD1 (who was easy to breastfeed to 12 months). I have seen umpteen lactation consultants and nobody has been able to give me any answers and they have all said they are not allowed to give me advice about safe bottle feeding, which is a fucking disgrace. When I manage to switch to a bottle I will feel nothing but blessed relief. Sorry for the rant, but that's why I can't carry on for another six weeks!

Oh and I intend to express milk until the baby is 12 months and put it in her bottle so she will still have some benefits. But she will benefit far, far more, as will her sister and father, from having a mother who can actually function rather than a weeping zombie.

CointreauVersial Mon 25-Nov-13 13:01:06

So if she is able to drink/swallow water from a cup, surely she can manage milk too? Pick a moment when she's not starving hungry (or feed her for a few minutes as usual) then give her a go with the usual cup she uses for water. Keep persisting! You may have a couple of days when she protests, or goes a little short, but she'll pick it up. But not when she's hungry, or she won't have the patience.

And look after yourself. You have given her the best start, and you are absolutely doing the right thing.

Parliamo Mon 25-Nov-13 13:03:23

You deserve to have a rant, that sounds beyond awful. I'm by no means an expert, but just have a few ideas based on experience. I also never used a bottle and went straight to a tippy cup for milk feeds. We practised drinking with a doidy cup first.

If I were you I'd be thinking extreme measures. Could your DH have a couple of days annual leave and deal with it while you (and maybe your other DC) go to your mums (or somewhere else you are likely to get TLC) if you really do want to express then take the pump and that will help with the engorgement.

And this maybe a bit out there but what about a few days of the baby in a private nursery or maybe even a nanny to come to the house for a few days. Take all the stress and emotion out of it and someone may have more success with the bottle.

How supportive is your HV? Mine would have been helpful in your situation.

Look after yourself, sleep deprivation on the level you describe will make you ill. IME no one takes it seriously enough.

ZuleikaD Mon 25-Nov-13 13:57:20

That does sound beyond awful, you don't need a bottle, you need some sleep. You're exhausted, and believe me I feel your pain. DS2, like his older brother before him, does not sleep for more than 90 minutes between feeds at night, and I haven't had more than two hours consecutive sleep for eight months. I also get mouth ulcers and some days my tongue's so swollen it hurts to speak. I'm up for the day at about 4am because that's when he wakes. Plus I'm back at work. BUT - my DH is fantastic. Supportive, helpful, useful, and does all he can to give me a break whenever he can.

The most critical things I would say are
1 - get some more support from your husband. He should be up with your older child in the night if necessary.
2 - ditch the housework, it doesn't need doing beyond the bare minimum of laundry. DH should be washing up and preferably doing some cooking too.
3 - have you tried a dummy? A 7.5 month old really should not need to feed for three hours solid, so she's probably falling asleep and staying asleep still sucking. I loathe dummies but in this case I could only see positives from training her to one.
4 - it seems like it's the nights that are the toughest - your problem is not with the breastfeeding but specifically the breastfeeding at night. She's old enough now to be able to do some night-weaning. If you can go to sleep (in the spare room?) your husband could keep her cuddled/entertained until 11pm at least - she could easily be taught to drop the late-evening feed.

You sound very run-down at best - are you eating properly? You do need to take care of yourself, but I really think that focussing on making the baby take a bottle isn't your best course of action at this point. You've stuck it out this long, there are now other options open to you.

BarberryRicePud Mon 25-Nov-13 15:44:15

I have had 2 bottle refusers. Ds (now 3.4) was started on a sippy cup at 12 weeks but didnt really get the hang of having more than 3oz til 7-8m. I used a tommee tippee sippy cup.

Dd is just 7m and we're weaning onto formula because I'm going back to work soon. She has bf first thing, night fed and any overnights so far. 10 and 2pm feeds are by cup and she'll have between 1&5 oz. And sometimes refuses.

So from experience some things to try:
Different colour cup for milk
Doidy cup
Give formula off a stainless steel spoon (nursery told me this trick).
Don't panic if they miss a feed, or 2. Especially if managing water well. Just up the yogurt butter and cheese.
Use formula on cereal to familiarize taste.
Persist. They will drink it when bm is no longer on offer. Truly.
Try different milk. If refusing bm try formula. Or different formula.

Good luck op.

Mrscalminmadworld Mon 25-Nov-13 17:41:38

Hi I have just come through this with my now 8 month old. He would not take a bottle at all for 7 months and although would have water from a tippee cup no worries would not take any quantity of milk from a cup. More than that though was the comfort of that sucking at night before bed.

I finally cracked it by using hipp organic formula as it tastes closer to breast milk apparently and sat him up one afternoon (so he wasn't tired before bed and need comfort just a bit hungry) in corner of my sofa and put the bottle in his mouth at arms length so he couldn't get confused at being on me in the bf position and smell the milk. He took a couple of oz. Did the same again at same time the next and took some more. 3rd attempt he took a whole small bottle in one go while I held him. Then I offered in the morning and he was fine and I then moved onto evenings.

I know where you are coming from its like being trapped when they can't leave your side. Good luck x

Sounds like you're having a very rough time.

Have you tried different cups...like hard spout, soft spout, free flow, ones with a straw? She's old enough now to be able to hold it herself as well. I would remove you from the house, and get dad to lie her down , propped with cushions to a nice feeding level and give her a bottle or sippy cup.

Will she take formula?

oscarwilde Mon 25-Nov-13 18:06:26

OP - you must be on your knees.
I've had two bottle refusers. The second one cracked but the first one didn't.
Lessons I learned / what worked for me the second time around:
Don't faff about switching formula. The stuff is too expensive. It's really not the taste that's the issue. That said, I would pick a powdered version. It is a little thiner and less uctuous and it's what worked for DD2.
Make it very warm - piping. You can work on the room temperature stuff later.
Make up small bottles - less to throw away as you can't reheat it.
Boil a kettle of filtered water in the morning so you have a sterile water source, and put it in a covered jug. Use that water to make up bottles and microwave water before adding the formula.
Don't change bottles and teats. Pick one and stick with it. You can move to a sippy cup, didn't work for me, DD2 wanted something a lot softer in the middle of the night.
Teething - sucking on a bottle teat draws blood supply to the gums more so than breastfeeding. So it hurts more. Pick your switchover time.
Only offer water from now on between 7.30 pm and 6/7am. If doing baby led weaning you will probably have to continue to offer a dream feed for a bit longer though.
They won't starve themselves. If she misses a feed or only has a couple of ounces, don't stress. Patiently offer a bottle/cup again in 30 mins. Never try to force it. Just offer and repeat.
You might have to bring lunch forward a bit, and offer more snacks. Don't fill her up with solids though.
Increase the amount of dairy - lots of cheese and milk in food. Very milky weetabix/porridge for brekkie. Add milk to yoghurt so it is thinned out and have at least one per day (not the high sugar kind)
If you are in a hot climate, try cold milk or a homemade milk ice pop/slushy.

You could hand her over to DH to get some sleep but personally ultimately I think that compounds the problem. You've gone missing and so are the boobs. Ultimately when she gets upset you are best placed to soothe and comfort her, and offer her another drink.

My DD1 went on total bottle strike at 7.5 months. I had to work overseas so had to wean her. Our GP/HV just said, get the dairy into her and she is fine, not a bother. She started to drink milk again naturally around a year and guzzles the stuff now. We made it a battle though and totally stressed about how many oz she should be having a day. With DD2 I was the person trying to feed her and after a couple of weeks she just seemed to accept it. She was a bit poorly though with a bad cold and more inclined to nurse rather than have any solids which I think was probably the key to success the second time around. By then even if I had wanted to, I didn't have the supply to increase her feeds. For now, decide which feeds you want to BF for, and don't offer at any other time.

DingbatWingDings Mon 25-Nov-13 18:16:11

Well it was a while ago and maybe not the done thing now..and my DD was a little younger at 5.5 months but it worked for me...

She had refused the bottle outright for several weeks. In the end what I did was get my breast out ready, get her about to latch on, then put the bottle in instead and keep her close. To my amazement it worked a treat. Over a few days I gradually got her further and further away from my ready breast until she took the bottle from me with no problem.

I'm not aware of anyone else trying it this way - maybe we were lucky/unusual - but worth a try perhaps.

Best of luck OP - you neeeeeed some sleep.

OnionRing Mon 25-Nov-13 20:57:28

Thanks everyone. This is all very useful. I love the idea of a private nanny to sort her out. Finances definitely don't allow for that or I'd be hiding in bed and letting Mary Poppins deal with her!

Well she's taken a couple of ounces from three bottles during the day and miraculously she's just had 6 oz from DH of a mixture of formula and expressed milk and is asleep. I have no idea how long she'll sleep for but time will tell.

I feel an enormous sense of relief at having decided to stop breast feeding. I will not miss it one bit. I'll continue to express once or twice every day until she is 12 months. I don't find that to be a hassle at all compared with the stress of her 2 hour feeds and the dread of her feeding all night.

DH is going to do the night feeds tonight at least (he is very supportive) and my mum will come to help tomorrow if it's a bad night tonight.

Parliamo Mon 25-Nov-13 21:26:27

For what it's worth, i think you're doing the right thing. it's hard to ask for help and make decisions when feeling so exhausted. I hope you dont feel any guilt at all because you have done your absolute best. Hardly any mums make it this long and you should be celebrating that rather than feeling negative about it.

It will be so nice to just think about something else. Have you thought about giving yourself a nice treat to look forward to when you're feeling a bit better? Lunch out with no children?

OnionRing Tue 26-Nov-13 04:21:03

I've had to take over at 3am and she's finally angrily asleep on me. She hasn't had that much more milk since bedtime but has needed to be walked around constantly to get her to sleep. I hope this transition period is a quick one as I've had almost no sleep and am feeling as desperate as ever. It also strikes me that I have little idea how to comfort her without feeding her. I am leaking milk everywhere too which doesn't help. Will I look back on this and laugh one day?!

GiraffesAndButterflies Tue 26-Nov-13 05:43:49

You poor thing OP. I totally empathise, I can't get even an ounce of milk in DD from anything except boob, my attempts are on hold at the moment due to teething.

My tgread's disappeared now but it was similar to yours: basically, I am bloody sick of breastfeeding!! Obviously I don't have all the answers else I wouldn't have needed to post it grin but some salient points were:

- for me this is DC1, so practically everyone was reminding/reassuring me that she will, actually, be okay if I leave her for a good few hours. Even if she wants to be bf, she will survive without it. Whoever is looking after her will find a way to comfort her, be it bottle, solids, rocking, going out in the pram (even at night) etc.

- try everything and anything, seemed to me to be good advice (no disrespect to a pp). Everyone seems to have a different tale of which bottle/cup/temperature worked for them. That said, I am envy of how much your DD has taken from the bottle today, I can't get even 1oz in mine grin so maybe you've got that part nailed!

- My hv gave the advice already mentioned and said 'if she won't drink the milk, then you have to spoon it in'- ie yoghurt, fromage frais, cheese, milky cereals or porridge, proper custard, any way of feeding her milk with her solids.

It does sound like night weaning is more your problem than bottle feeding though... Does she take more at night or in the day, could she be reverse cycling? Can you try feeding her more in the day to see if she's then less hungry at night?

Hope some of that helps... You are not alone at least flowers

Oh and I don't know whether we'll look back and laugh, but we will at least definitely look back!!

GiraffesAndButterflies Tue 26-Nov-13 05:47:24

She hasn't had that much more milk since bedtime but has needed to be walked around constantly to get her to sleep.

I'm very wary of painting myself as an expert confused but in my DD that to me would say teething right now. Any other symptoms?

Eastpoint Tue 26-Nov-13 06:14:50

I had a bottle refuser too, I was told I shouldn't try & give her a bottle as she'd be able to smell my milk, so DH had to takeover. We went straight to a cup (we had loads of different types as she was my third child). She was also the toughest to get to sleep through the night & despite being 5% percentile could get out of a cot or a travel cot at 16 months.

MigGril Tue 26-Nov-13 06:21:12

you said feeding was still painful? Has your baby been checked for tounge tie? I know you said you'd seen lactation consultants, but they are not all trained to check for this.

I know you want to stop but I'm pointing this out as it can make it hard for them to bottle feed as well. and possibly cause other issues later on with things like speech. So really worth making sure it's been check for properly.

OnionRing Tue 26-Nov-13 12:47:16

mig tongue tie front and back and lip tie. All fine. Her latch is appalling and always has been but nobody had been able to correct it. She hangs off my nipple, in the early days she would vomit up my blood.

girrafes sympathies. It's so hard. Yes she's been reverse cycling for weeks but was uncorrectable. I'd refuse to feed her at night hoping she'd feed more in the day but she always reverted back to night feeding. She may be teething, but in my experience they're always bloody teething!

She's had 80mls this morning, then 20mls mid morning and just refused the post lunch bottle. My mum has come to help so she's fighting with her now while I get a little bit of peace.

KateCroydon Tue 26-Nov-13 13:22:22

Night weaning? At 7.5 months that might be possible.

Also, unmumsnetty hugs and mumsnetty treble G&T. With lime.

MigGril Tue 26-Nov-13 14:38:27

Could be something like a high arch pallet, which can often be helped with exaggerated latch technicians. But can be difficult to do once they have formed a habit of latching badly. I take it they where board certified lactation consultants with tongue tie training. I wouldn't trust anyone other then that to diagnose correctly to be honest. Or a specialist pediatrician who is committed to cutting them. As so many are missed.

Anyway have you though about trying nipple shields at all as would help her get used to a silicon teat which may help her take the bottle more easily.

GiraffesAndButterflies Wed 27-Nov-13 01:25:42

Hope you're having an okay night Onion flowers

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