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Bottle refusal - return to work - withholding breast?

(39 Posts)
jusdepamplemousse Sun 18-Sep-16 13:31:15

I know there are probably tonnes of bottle refusal threads but posting as getting a bit desperate. I go back to work in just under 2 months and DD (6 1/2 months) will not drink anything from a bottle or cup. We have tried ebm / aptamil / hipp / water. We have tried three varieties of cup and countless varieties of bottle. She has on 3 occasions taken a couple of ounces of aptamil from a mam bottle but not recently and there was no consistency to what made her decide to take a bit on those occasions. I've already pushed my return to work back and cannot do so again without major stress and financial difficulty.

I'm thinking the only way to get around the refusal will be to essentially stop offering breast and just offer bottle until she relents. Tbh I feel like a totally shit mother for even thinking about it - it's not something I want to do and honestly I'm not sure I can bring myself. Obviously if we do try it I won't let it go beyond a set amount of hours (maybe 6-8? feels very long but she can go for this long reliably without a feed overnight and is also doing fairly well on solids now).

Worst fear is that we do this, it shatters her trust in us and doesn't work anyway. Also scared it will mean the end of bf'ing full stop.

Just wondering if anyone else has had to go down this route and did it work? Did you have to only give bottles from then on or could you mix feed?

Please don't be too harsh in replies - I know some people will just think it's awful to even consider this - I do myself tbh - but we're now in a desperate times desperate measures situation.

Banananananana Sun 18-Sep-16 21:55:37

I sympathise. It's shit. Try Nuk latex fast flow teats with warm formula or expressed milk. That's what worked for my fucking stubborn DS.

Banananananana Sun 18-Sep-16 21:56:19

And don't worry - it won't shatter trust or break your BFing. flowers

lcoc2015 Sun 18-Sep-16 21:58:41

I worried and worried about this and ended up going back to work at 9 months. I fed her before i went to work and then planned to feed her 3 times between when i got home and midnight. She ended up taking a (nuk bottle latex teat) on day 1 when she got hungry enough. Its like she knew the game was up! They are down to around 4 feeds per day then anyhow because of solids..

5madthings Sun 18-Sep-16 22:00:12

If you have another two months and she is doing well with solids I wouldn't worry too much tbh.

She will gradually start drinking from a cup and she can have watery foods. How many hours a day will you be away from her and how many days?

Will she be going to nursery or childminder or family? Chances are she will just adapt to doing things differently for them, babies do that. Mine wouldn't take a bottle from me or dh but was fine art nursery.

Mybeardeddragonjustdied2016 Sun 18-Sep-16 22:02:29

Make sure someone else offers the bottle as she will associate you with bf!!

teainbed Sun 18-Sep-16 22:03:50

My third was like this and it honestly wasn't a problem. She had a bit of water and juice, a bit of breastmilk from a Nuk bottle but hardly any. Ate really well, fed lots in the evenings and at night and we survived. It was stressful not knowing what she would drink but she kept making wet nappies and feeding fine at home.

SnookieSnooks Sun 18-Sep-16 22:07:49

I know who can help you .... Try the NCT breastfeeding helpline. They are trained to help with such issues 0300 330 0771, open 7am til midnight every day. The people working on it are impartial, very experienced and know all the latest research. They will help. Just phone.

All the best of luck, though. I feel for you.

chocdonutyy Sun 18-Sep-16 22:11:28

Is it just you trying to feed her? Babies often refuse bottles if breast is nearby!

maygirl Sun 18-Sep-16 22:11:49

I was in the same position with my DS years ago. He would hardly ever drink from a bottle, wouldn't nap without a boob, and also refused solids. I pushed back going to work and got so stressed about it I made myself ill. In the end he had to go to nursery, with the most successful bottle and some ebm. We had some settling in sessions before I returned to work so he wasn't left too long to start with. After a few days he was taking the bottles of ebm just fine. The nursery carers keep records of how much they've drunk and they have regular meal and snack opportunities. They also see a lot of other babies having bottles and cups and learn to copy them. I would advise enjoying your last couple of months maternity leave, keep feeding to keep your supply good if you want to keep bf and expressing. Keep offering bottles and cups but in a relaxed way. Let her play with a bottle and perhaps she'll end up sucking from it. Also she will change so much in 2 months, by then she may have started to enjoy using her sippy cup with meals. Sorry its not answering exactly what you asked but hopefully might give you some hope that it will all work out ok !

coragreta Sun 18-Sep-16 22:19:53

I'm living this.
I considered doing what you suggested but was advised against it.
Breast feeding support worker said to drop the bottle and go straight for the sippy cup so you could try that. (Didn't work for me).
I currently feed before work as soon as I pick up and then two more times before bed.
Mine is a 8momths now and doesn't eat very much at all so is basically starving all day. Milk is offered and refused as is most food. But there's lots of smiles, laughs and energy so I'm taking my cue from that.
Hope your return to work goes well.

CelticPromise Sun 18-Sep-16 22:30:29

By that age she will be OK on solids when you are away and maybe catch up when you get home (look up reverse cycling). I wouldn't stress about it. She will probably get better with a cup but if she doesn't she will still be fine.

jusdepamplemousse Mon 19-Sep-16 08:27:04

Thanks so much for replies. Some hopeful stories / some daunting stories of v stubborn babies!

To answer a few queries...normally DH tries to bottle feed. When he's away though overnight with work I try. We've tried all different times of day, positions etc. DD will be going to nursery, not family or CM. I guess they'll have seen it before? I was actually worried they'd just say they wouldn't take her til she could drink...

In a way it's good to hear about babies who manage without fluids during day at nursery but it makes me feel quite sad the idea of her sitting thirsty all day. I also am fairly stressed at idea of reverse cycling / being up feeding all night, my job is client facing and highly pressurised and I don't know if permanent sleep deprivation plus full time work is sustainable. Not just stress wise but work cock ups for me can have v major consequences for clients. I know I can't have it every which way, I know there's no guarantee of a sleeping infant for working parents anyway, but it's just so frustrating and so isolating that it's all on me, not on DH. I don't resent it but it's just arggggh.

Banana - We had high hopes for nuk latex but they were one of the most hated - much screaming. I know generally they're popular with BF babies though.

Coragreta - can I ask the reasons why you were advised against doing it? Also, are you up all night feeding now? How are you coping if so?

jusdepamplemousse Mon 19-Sep-16 08:28:10

Also will call that helpline during nap (if it happens confused) - I didn't think they'd be able to help with essentially reducing bf'ing. Thanks.

Bear2014 Mon 19-Sep-16 08:49:36

Hi OP I was basically you 2 years ago. This is how it went with us. DD had never taken a bottle despite trying on and off my whole mat leave. The thing we had very limited most success with was a cheap Tommee Tipper free- flow spout beaker. But still only less than 1oz on a couple of occassions.

DD started nursery 3 days per week at 9 months and I sent the beaker plus a bag of breast milk. She never touched it and after a month i stopped sending it. But i felt better having given her the option. She had a big BF in the morning, one at 5.30, one at bedtime and usually one night feed. But she always had that so it wasn't an extra feed. At nursery she had food and water and was happy all day. She BF until she was 22 months in the end. Even though she's still a crappy eater at home she's always been amazing at nursery.

They eat a lot more at 9 months than they do at 6 and need a lot less milk so please don't panic!! Good luck winebrewcake

FruitCider Mon 19-Sep-16 08:52:07

Have you tried helping her drink from an open cup? That's another idea.

Solasum Mon 19-Sep-16 08:52:31

My DS went on hunger strike at nursery then fed like a newborn at night. I believe it is called reverse cycling. It passed after a couple of months.

jusdepamplemousse Mon 19-Sep-16 09:05:22

Have tried open cup yes...not keen. Will take a sip or two but mostly dribbles it all out again. Perhaps she'll get better. Not sure if nursery would help her with this anyway although tbh she won't hold any cup or bottle at all. We've never made it a battle but she loathes the sight of them anyway sad.

Really think bottle refusal needs to be flagged up as a serious issue by mws and hvs. Serious implications for working mums. DD took a bottle grand at start but at 3 weeks a mw scared me into stopping offering until 7 wks. She would never take it then. It was such rubbish too as BF was going grand then, she was feeding round the clock and climbing centiles. But I got a bollocking about 'nipple confusion' and made feel like I was just selfishly looking for time off hmm.

Believeitornot Mon 19-Sep-16 09:08:25

My dd never had a bottle. She drank from a cup with a straw instead - I returned to work at 9 months. this was the cup which was brilliant!

jusdepamplemousse Mon 19-Sep-16 09:22:20

Just ordered that cup believeitornot - fingers crossed. Haven't tried a straw type one actually so who knows although not holding out much hope.

I'd say our bottle / cup collection has a retail value of about £300. confused

And bf'ing apparently the cheaper option!

Bear2014 Mon 19-Sep-16 09:23:02

jusdepamplemousse - totally agree! I know that nipple confusion/bottle preference is a thing but in my experience of myself and all my friends, bottle refusal is a MUCH bigger risk.

Believeitornot Mon 19-Sep-16 09:29:02

grin good luck!

I used to stress so much about this especially as mine didn't take formula at all so I had to use other milk. But dd took to solids quite well and got the hang of water. Plus our childcare provider knew what she was doing and it was all fine.

SmallestInTheClass Mon 19-Sep-16 09:31:13

Hi, so many people have been thought this, and what works is different in each case as you'll see from the answers. I managed to combine BF and bottle when I went back to work. After literally weeks of trying I did manage to get it to work for my LO. We tried several bottles. Dr Browns was the only successful one, I think because the shape of the teat was more like my nipple shape lol. I got sick of expressing milk only to throw it away (no way she was going to take frozen and defrosted milk). So, set off on a mission and expressed 1 oz of Breast milk each morning (the only time I could successfully express) and tried every day for about 2 weeks. What worked finally was giving it to her just as she was waking from a nap and making sure it was really warm. I don't mean hot, but much warmer than I had been used to getting it. You do need to test to make sure not burning, but if you feel fresh breast milk is, it's surprisingly warm. Once she took this I gave her an ounce every day and then built it up. Switching to formula wasn't that hard, it was the bottle she struggled with. This was all at about 7 months, so similar to your LO. Good luck!

MunchCrunch01 Mon 19-Sep-16 09:40:02

both of mine were bottle refusers, cup refusers at 6.5 months - but by the time they're 8.5 months it's often a different story. My advice would be to stop feeding her bf at night, and offer a bottle then because it'll possibly reduce night waking if nothing else, and with stubborn ones I'd pick one other feed in the day to offer a bottle, and stick with doing that consistently, part of what they don't like is it's not what they expect. I wouldn't worry too much though, dc1 went straight to cups, always refused a bottle, dc2 eventually took a bottle about 7-8 months and went to cups from a year.

HappyAsASandboy Mon 19-Sep-16 09:57:48

None of mine took a bottle when they went to nursery. The nursery offered milk or water in a sippy cup, which was eventually mastered, and I fed them a lot overnight.

I don't think you need to refuse the breast as long as you're happy to keep feeding. Your baby will take a cup or a bottle if they're hungry enough, or they'll wait for your breast if they want to. Either way will be fine.

Although feeding all night is hard work, getting baby to take a bottle in the day is no guarantee that they won't want to breastfeed all night anyway! They may well want the cuddles and affection that breastfeeding brings even if they've bottle fed during the day ....

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