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bf babies who 'won't take a bottle'?

(47 Posts)
badguider Tue 26-Mar-13 17:19:19

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.


Angelico Sat 30-Mar-13 21:37:35

Haven't read all thread but basically what Brioche said at start. We gave DD a dummy from early on and used the Medela Calma teat which came with the Medela swing pump. Don't buy it specially (the teat) as it was pretty useless once she got a bit older. DD (6 months) now uses TT Closer to Nature bottles with size 2 teats (medium flow) and is very content smile I know the Baby Whisperer book recommends introducing a bottle before 3 weeks just to let them get the feel for it.

Also - I started expressing early on and found that I got problems with blocked ducts. It might have been coincidence but you would be sensible to wait 8 or 9 weeks until your supply settles before you start messing about expressing, unless you plan to express at the same time every day. Takes the pesky boobs a while to calm down smile From 4 months on I've expressed a lot with no difficulties, especially the last month when DD is going to creche for several full days and I need to express during her time away so a) she has milk for creche and b) I can keep my supply up for the 4 days when she is with me most of the day.

Weissdorn Sat 30-Mar-13 21:26:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MumOfTheMoos Sat 30-Mar-13 11:20:04

Well, mine was 5.5mths old when I did that and I do think it depends on the baby! DS is a very calm, phlegmatic soul.

Obviously, I always left ebm fro him and he was always offered it but, sometimes they just prefer to wait for the real thing and have a good long feed.

badguider Sat 30-Mar-13 08:35:27

Wow! I didn't know that a 5mo could last five hours without feeding and without getting upset... that's great to know.. I sort of assumed they'd still need bm on tap at that age prior to weaning.

MumOfTheMoos Fri 29-Mar-13 20:02:13

If you are only gone for 5 hours your dc will be fine whether they take a bottle or not.

My DS was bottle fed a mix of bm and formula until he was about 5 weeks old as he had TT. He had a bottle regularly after that but then became a bottle refuser and has never been that keen on sippy cups.

When I've left him for the afternoon to go to college he just waits until I get back to feed - no drama, he doesn't get upset just doesn't feed.

That said a couple of weeks ago (he's now 12mo) we started him on a straw cup and he loves it.

TwitchyTail Fri 29-Mar-13 19:37:03

Didn't mean to announce Geekette, sorry if it came across that way - was just sharing my (very limited) experience. Obviously keeping fingers wildly crossed it will continue smile

geekette Fri 29-Mar-13 19:32:17

twitchy if your little one is 5 weeks old, I would wait before announcing that bottle feeding works for you. babies change a lot (especially when you think you've sussed them out!) and most start refusing the bottle at the 3-4 month mark.

mine refused all dummies and teats until she hit 6 months. she started copying her ff friends and decided suckling on plastic wasn't so bad.

she happily took a doidy cup in between.

it could be a question of leaving her with a cup and trying the bottle later when she is more aware.

helebear Fri 29-Mar-13 17:51:09

I agree with all the people who say be consistent once you do start offering a bottle. I offered dd a bottle when she was a few months old in the hope that dp could give her the odd bottle of expressed milk, she took it happily so I thought 'great, she'll take a bottle if needs be'. Didn't bother again for a month or so and she refused to take one again until she was 9 months and i was due back to work and we tried just about every bottle on the market.

TwitchyTail Fri 29-Mar-13 17:37:43

I had no choice but to introduce a bottle from day one (top ups for early baby with jaundice and low blood sugars). We we able to establish full-time breastfeeding from day 5 so it didn't interfere with that, but now even 5 weeks later, he will happily take a bottle when I am out (a few times a week or so), which is a huge help. So it worked out well for us, but I'm sure every baby is different.

TeWiSavesTheDay Fri 29-Mar-13 17:37:12

I am aware of that, you have no idea how much experience they come from though, but hey thanks for being patronising.

EauRouge Fri 29-Mar-13 17:35:00

That's fine, OP, you have weighed up your options and chosen what is best for you.

TeWi, the posts on this thread are anecdotes. It's always useful to hear what other people have done but it should be taken alongside information about how breastfeeding and milk production work. There are reasons why introducing a bottle early should be done with precaution.

badguider Fri 29-Mar-13 17:24:34

I understand that bottles might spoil breast feeding but the alternative for me if my baby cannot be fed by somebody else is declaring my business bankrupt. I'd then be living on credit until my child is weaned then looking for a salaried job and putting the baby into childcare. Not what I want for my child or me.
If I can get bottle feeding to work then I can keep my flexible self-employed business throughout my child's early years and beyond.
For me, achieving that work/life balance so I can be there for my child in all the early years is more important than exclusive breast feeding and although I'd ideally feed them only bm, if I have to ff or ebm feed only to make that work I will.

TeWiSavesTheDay Fri 29-Mar-13 17:12:56

It is true in many, many cases.

Why does it need to be a proven risk, who is going to pay to do research on it? How would you do a double-blind study? That doesn't mean it isn't true.

I actually find that attitude that we won't tell anyone because there isn't any proof quite offensive. there is a reason why everyone on this thread has given pretty much the same advice. Because it's the best way in our experience to ensure a baby takes a bottle. You can still have a very good idea of what works and what doesn't without research. It's called common sense and experience.

EauRouge Fri 29-Mar-13 17:06:38

What is it that you think they are missing out? There is no proven risk that waiting to introduce a bottle will make it more difficult, that is why they don't tell people.

TeWiSavesTheDay Fri 29-Mar-13 16:45:43

That is not how it is presented by LLL and NCT.

I know very well from my own experience that they do not make people aware that the risk of introducing a bottle later is a baby who won't take a bottle.

I'm sorry but they are not giving ALL the facts.

EauRouge Fri 29-Mar-13 14:11:00

The information from LLL and NCT is based on scientific evidence.

Of course it's up to the parents when they decide to introduce a bottle but isn't it better to make a decision based on facts? If breastfeeding is very important then they may decide not to take the risk, however small it may be. They may decide to look into possible alternatives. On the other hand, they may decide that the benefits to them are worth the risk.

There's nothing wrong at all with introducing a bottle early if you are aware of and happy with the small risk that it may interfere with breastfeeding.

TeWiSavesTheDay Fri 29-Mar-13 14:04:10

The problem is Eau - is that all the LLL/NCT advice is focused around the fact that bf failing is the worst possible outcome of attempting to mixed fed 'too early'. It's also hopelessly optimistic about what will work to get an older baby whose reluctant to take a bottle take it, or other ways to feed them.

And for a lot of people, like the OP who will going back to work before her baby is weaned, the baby stopping breastfeeding is not actually the worst possible option.

I have been in that situation with a baby who would not take a bottle, and it was hideous and completely soul destroying.

EauRouge Fri 29-Mar-13 13:45:40

OP, I'm guessing you want to make an informed decision about this so I would gather some info from LLL and NCT about introducing a bottle to a breastfed baby.

There is no evidence that there's any window of opportunity for introducing a bottle or that you need to introduce one early to get a baby to take a bottle. As I said in my previous post, introducing a bottle too early can interfere with breastfeeding. This doesn't happen to every baby but the risk is there and I'm sure you want to be aware of it.

This is a really good article that might help you. There's also an article here about possible alternatives to a bottle.

PoppyWearer Fri 29-Mar-13 13:00:11

One bottle a day from early on, a few days old, as others have said.

My DC1 was a bottle-refuser at 3mo and it was 9mo when we finally cracked her (with much help from the nursery).

With DC2 we didn't want to fall into that trap and started him on one bottle a day, as well as bf'ing to 15mo. It worked beautifully.

In any case, DC1 started nursery at 6mo without drinking from bottles (still bf) and didn't go hungry, she just started taking on huge breastfeeds morning and night instead!

leedy Fri 29-Mar-13 12:14:39

...though be aware that introducing a bottle early is no guarantee that they'll continue to take a bottle, or that introducing one later means definite failure. I know several people whose babies went on total bottle strikes at random times - was talking to one woman last week whose daughter suddenly rejected all bottles at five months after having one a day for months. Babies == not an exact science. smile

TeWiSavesTheDay Fri 29-Mar-13 09:14:30

Introduce a bottle within the first 2 weeks is my advice.

Stick to 1 a day, at the same time each day to have minimal impact on bf.

(i mixed fed my DD this way, I waited until later to introduce a bottle to me DS and he never took it.)

woopsidaisy Fri 29-Mar-13 09:08:04

I introduced a bottle in the first two weeks with DS 1&2. Was not consistent with DS3, a bottle one day, none for a few days etc... By 6 weeks he refused it and dummy. So still bfing at 7 mo.

minipie Fri 29-Mar-13 08:57:14

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.

MsElisaDay Wed 27-Mar-13 12:12:21

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.

JammieE Wed 27-Mar-13 11:23:03

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.

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