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advice/experience needed - weaning from BF and DD won't take a bottle - help!

(19 Posts)
poppeto Mon 18-May-09 11:39:10

I've never posted on mumsnet before, so I hope that this is in the right place etc.

I need some advice on weaning my DD from BF. She is 19 weeks old at the moment and has been exclusively BF since she was born. She is a big, hungry baby, so for my own sanity, I was hoping to try and wean her round about 6 months (probably after I've got her onto solids), but the problem is, she has NEVER taken a bottle. This has not been for want of trying - I've tried different bottles, had her in my arms, in a chair, my DH giving it to her, me close by, me out the house, etc etc, all to no avail. I kind of gave up on the bottle idea a few weeks ago and started trying to give her a cup instead. This hasn't been that successful either, but she seems to be starting to realise now that she has to swallow the milk, rather than just dribble it down her chin!

Anyway, if I wean her, I'm sure a cup will be fine for during the day, but the problem I can see if I stop breast-feeding is that a cup full of milk will be no good at all at bed-time - no comfort, no sucking and it's long and messy to give it to her.

So after all that, my question really is, has anyone else been in a similar situation? Should I continue to persevere with the bottle in the hope that she might one day work out that she has to suck it?? Or should I just abandon it and carry on with the cup?

Any advice would be really appreciated, as I'm fairly frazled with this whole thing now!!

Ponymum Mon 18-May-09 12:03:20

Hello poppeto. Yes, I have definitely had this problem and have since found others on MN have too - you are not alone! I thought that after 6 months of exclusive BF, "giving in" to bottle feeding would be easy... how wrong I was! DD refused every bottle, every teat, and every clever suggestion anyone could come up with.

My only advice is Perserverance and Desperation! Choose a teat and stick with it, have the milk nice and warm, and keep trying.

My method (quite unintended, DON'T try this at home) was that I was rushed to hospital for an operation, so DH had to bottle feed her or she would starve. That night he cuddled her really close to try to stop her thrashing her head from side to side to escape the nasty bottle. When she screamed he put the bottle in. When she closed her mouth to take a breath she "accidentally" found herself drinking and eventually she gave in, relaxed, and drank the whole lot! From that moment on she has never refused a bottle.

Good luck, HTH.

incacat Mon 18-May-09 12:34:34

I am in a similar situation to you.I have a 5.5 month old who is bf and although I don't want to give up, I have had to go back to work part time. She stays with my Mum and I express for her. It's only 4 hours at a time but she point blank refuses the bottle or a cup. We have even tried a syringe. She just howls until I collect her. Poor little thing. I am just persevering with the bottle, or rather my Mum is. The ebm just ends up being poured down the sink It's a big problem to which I have no solution either, I'm afraid. Good to know that there are others in the same boat, though. Btw this is DD 4 and the other 3 just took the bottle no probs. Some babies just love thier Mummies too much.

mama01 Mon 18-May-09 13:46:56

If you read a lot of similar posts on mumsnet you'll realise that at some point most babies will eventually take a bottle. Knowing this kept me sane the last month or so.... DS had a bottle at a couple of weeks then didn't try again for a few weeks when he decided NOOOOOOOO! I just kept trying, mainly when he wasn't that hungry with him in his bouncy chair - I had no-one around to help me during the day. He generally just mucked about with it but I think it just got him used to the teat.

I put two weeks aside at the end of last month/start of this determined to get him to take a bottle of EBM and one afternoon he did with his back to me on our rocking chair!! I think I held my breath for the whole 2oz, and then went and warmed up another 2 which he took.

I'm back to work next week, he'll be 5mo and today is his first full day at the CM's. It feels so good to have the day to myself (even though I've spent it cleaning!) that it is worth all the hassle and wasted breastmilk. Plus, it's much easier to express when they've not fed for a few hours.

Persevere, you'll be so chuffed when she starts bottle feeding x

poppeto Mon 18-May-09 16:24:00 least I know I'm not alone in my struggle! I just wish I'd have given her a bottle earlier than I did, but I'm a first-time mum and I was trying to do everything 'right' and as my health-visitor advised me to do hmm

can I just ask another quick question then mama01, if you put two-weeks aside to get your DS to take a bottle, how many times a day did you try to give him one? I've just been giving my DD about 1-2oz once a day, but is it a good idea to try more times than that? (sorry if that's a really stupid question!)

poppeto Mon 18-May-09 16:43:13

sorry, should have asked as well - is it best just to give-up on giving my DD a cup until I get her onto a bottle, or should I continue to try her with that as well?

Skimummy Mon 18-May-09 17:19:58

I have been through the same thing, my DD is almost 8 months and has been exclusively BF until now...I am back to work in three weeks and she starts settling in to nursery next week.

If I had more time I would have persevered with a cup but ended up having success with a Breastflow bottle. It took a week until she took more than 50 mls from it. I just tried on one feed a day (the mid-morning one) for a week and am now onto the afternoon feed, which I will do for another week. Then she will be OK at nursery! I am going to try to keep feeding her morning and night but expect she will eventually go to the bottle for these feeds as well.

So I think it is just perseverance and finding a bottle that works (I have friends who tried almost every brand - I just lucked onto the Breastflow as a second try after Avent as my sister had one). Good luck!

mama01 Mon 18-May-09 17:33:46

I was the same with 1-2oz, I didn't want to waste too much each time. I'd say I did once a day on average sometimes twice and some days I just didn't get chance. I'd say do it twice if you get the chance.

I also tried the cup but without much success but I sdo know some BF babies skip the bottle and go straight to a cup.

Know what you mean about giving bottle earlier ALL my friends who have struggled with this have said the same......

dairycow Wed 01-Jul-09 19:46:20

hi poppetto,
just interested to see if you have solved the anti- bottle situation?(I have exact same problem).

csqm Wed 01-Jul-09 21:52:10


I also wish I'd given my baby a bottle earlier than when I tried for 1st time (DS was nearly 5 months). It was a battle to make him drink any milk at all from anything other than breast. Bottles - tried a few without any success. He would just chew on the teat (he would do the same with a dummy, by the way).

But after trying every beaker/cup on sale and with some perseverence, he finally started drinking from the Tommee Tippee "weaning bottle" (it is sort of a beaker with a valve system, but quite different from others on the market).

However, when he started at the nursery (6 and half months)he stopped drinking any milk altogether (not even from that weaning bottle he was already accepting). And now I cannot give him any at home either. I am back to work and bf once at night, just before he goes to sleep.

It had never been clear to me as to whether the problem was the milk (I had to move him to a special formula as per medical advice given my son was diagnosed with multiple food allergies) or the vehicle through which he was getting the milk from. But I now realise the problem is not the milk; he simply does not like to suck from anything other than my breast - it is the comfort he needs and is used to. And being at nursery seems to have made things worse - perhaps because he is more tired and needs extra comfort from me at the end of the day.

If I mix the milk with his baby rice and spoon feed him - he will take all of it with delight provided it is not at bedtime!

And the problem I now have (and I really do not know how to solve it) is how to stop the night feed as he cries for the breast like mad if I refuse.

In summary, I really do think that some babies really like their mums breast too much! And the longer you delay introducing the bottle or a dummy, the more difficult it can be for them to accept it. I now know what I will do if I have a second baby - I will try and give one bottle feed at night from an early stage and I will also give her a dummy - and I will not listen to anyone else's contrary advice!

Good luck to everyone with "breast adicted" babies! wink

Kempie101 Thu 02-Jul-09 21:35:04

Hello Poppeto, I know exactly what you are going through and how stressful, tearful and exhausting the whole experience of getting a breastfed baby to take a bottle/formla milk. My baby has been exclusively bf since birth and is now 7 months old, he takes beaker with water or juice in and eats anything. However as soon as either my expressed milk or formula milk from either a bottle or beaker was given he would turn his head from side to side so could not get any where near mouth and would spit out any that had gone in mouth, I like you tried all the different positions like sitting on lap, in chair etc, tried hot/cold milk, someone else giving etc etc all to no availe. Well two weeks ago I got fed up with all of the faffing around and trying different stuff, so like you sought advise from mn. I then decided on the milk he was having, the temperature and just kept on giving the same milk at same tempature at the same time everyday, and for the first time today has actually taken formula milk through his beaker and through a bottle, although he only took 2/3oz is a really big start and hopefully he will do same 2m. So what I am really saying is decide what teat, bottle, temperature, time, milk, position etc you want to use and stick to it, hopefully then your baby will get used to it. at about 6 months I gave my baby the beaker and just let him play with it and eventually he got used to it and drank from it. Also know what you mean about bedtime, my baby has got used to falling asleep on breast also so dont really have any advise on what to do about this. My baby takes dummy, so I am going to try giving formula in beaker/bottle and if he wants to suck to sleep then will give him his dummy, for now!! Good Luck.

dairycow Sun 05-Jul-09 22:49:02

Hi it's dairycow again, (am all over this subject!) Just wanted to say that it is making me angry that I was not warned that this can happen, - and it is so well documented that introducing a bottle too early will cause 'nipple-confusion' and make the baby reject the breast. What about the fact that not doing so can cause months of misery trying to get the baby off the breast.
Don't get me wrong breastmilk is very good for baby, but exclusive breast-feeding for several months has certainly affected my self-esteem. It would be nice to be able to buy a proper bra, be able to go on a diet, and wear decent clothes, not just breast-feeding tops. It would also be nice to have the option of leaving baby in the capable hands of hubbie, while I went out even just for a bit, to do something independantly. I know this will happen eventually, but I haven't left my baby at all since she was born 5 months ago, and it just annoys me that they don't tell you that bit. Anyone else or am I selfish? P.S Might be on the verge of a breakthrough with the doidy cup.

row78 Mon 06-Jul-09 09:04:28

I'm trying to to give my 6 month old baby a bottle once a day, mainly to get him ready for childcare but also so I can occasionally leave him with my hubbie. For the past 3 weeks he has gone from alternating between complete refusal to taking 3ozs on a very good day, with any amount inbetween (most commonly 1 fl oz). On saturday I tried singing nursery rhymes whilst offering it and all the way through the feed and he took 6 ozs, same thing yesterday, so hoping if we keep this up for a week he'll get used to it and will take it without the singing! I think it distracts him enough and takes the attention away from the bottle. It's worth a try if you are struggling - good luck!

Ninkynork Mon 06-Jul-09 09:27:00

MAM bottles seem to be preferred by bottle-refusers, they were the only type my DS would have - at ten months! BF babies like the silky teat I think. And Hipp Organic ready-made formula was all he would have. It's very sweet and slightly vanilla-flavoured. I have spent a fortune trying out different brands.

Now he's two and has so far refused every cup on the market hmm

poppeto Thu 09-Jul-09 14:36:00

Hi everyone

I haven't checked this post for ages, so didn't realise there was so much more on it. I'm glad I'm not the only one going through this struggle; although I feel terrible for you all, as I know what you're going through.

dairycow, I completely agree with you - my hv was so stern telling me about not giving my dd a bottle before 6 weeks (probably terrified that I might give her the dreaded formula), but then weeks later when she just wouldn't take it, she just shrugged her shoulders a said 'oh well, some babies just don't like bottles'. grrrr!!!

I don't know whether I should say this and make everyone loose heart, but I am STILL trying to give my dd a bottle - that's me been trying for about 5 months - and she is still refusing. I can't even tell you how frustrated I am. There have been a few days where I think I've been crying more than she has sad

I'm still trying her on the bottle every day, in the hope that one day she might just take it. What's making it more stressful now is that I have to leave her soon for a couple of nights and I don't know how my mum is going to be able to feed her while I'm away. And even without that, I just need a break...I've done every single feed with her since she was born in January and I am exhausted.

Anyway, I hope you are all having more success than me at intorducing a bottle, and if not feel free to have a wee rant here - I'm sure I'll be back to join in with you!!

josiedubs Sun 12-Jul-09 22:38:41

Dear Ladies
Thank you all for your postings. I feel so relieved at knowing (unfortunately!) that so many of you have been/are in the same boat!

Any ideas as to how long i could withold feeds during the day in the hope of bubs caving in & accepting a bottle? He's 28 weeks now. He's been slowing taking to weaning for the past month but isn't really interested unless he self-feeds...oh, the fun of it all!

I exclusively BF my 1st baby & at nearly 7 months decided to introduce a bottle for the sake of my sanity. As many of you have since found out, he also did not want to entertain any idea of milk obtained in any way other than by breast! I finally gave up worrying until he was 1 & after about 2 weeks he finally gave in.

I thought i'd introduce a bottle asap with No2 and amazingly he didn't mind what teat he had at all but that soon changed 6 weeks ago when for various reasons incl. going on holiday I stopped expressing & found to my horror that on my return with the intention of starting to drop feeds, he refused the bottle.

My poor husband has been trying for over a week but the minute the baby sees the bottle he screams and cries until it's put away. It makes no odds whether it's breast milk or formula. NCT and Health Visitor suggested training cups, cups, spoons etc but nothing's worked so far. I need a breast scan in 6 months so have to give up asap.

The longest he has gone without milk so far is 10 hours following sleep at night so we thought he would cave in for his morning feed but no chance, he just gloated when he finally got boob! We've tried quite a few different teats now, all getting more expensive the more desperate we're getting. He didn't want the NUK teats & have had the odd 1 oz success with the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature which is the only bottle No1 baby would take. Someone suggested the haberman bottle but they're about 17 pounds!I now think i might try withholding breast feeds during the day & only offering a bottle but feel anxious about him not getting liquids. I've started weaning so hopes this helps & may just ensure they are more watery... I think the advice of deciding a plan of action and sticking to one type of bottle may be the only solution. hmm Any ideas gladly accepted please!

Hope you are all having better luck this week?
Ps Dairycow, you are not selfish, just normal-I completely agree with your views -it's awful that no-one warns you that exclusively breastfeeding my make it impossible for ages to bottle feed a baby.

poppeto Tue 14-Jul-09 21:47:34

Hi Josiedubs, no advice on witholding feeding to encourage them to take a bottle I'm afraid. It is something that I've thought about, but I just don't have the heart for it. I know I just couldn't let my dd cry for that long without caving in. Plus, at 6mo my dd seems to have already developed a will of iron, so I'm sure if she had to, she could go for a very long time without the boob! Good luck if you do try it'll need to let us know if it works.

I'm almost too scared to say it, but I actually think that we have finally made a bit of a break-through. dd has taken a bottle three times out of the last five mornings. I honestly felt like crying with joy the first time she did it. It's only been small amounts she's taken (about 3oz) and there were the usual screaming matches on the two mornings she wasn't interested, but feel we might be making a tiny bit of progress.

The only thing is, I'm not really sure what I did differently on the mornings she did take it and on the mornings she didn't. If it's any help at all, I've abandoned expressed breast-milk (just got fed-up pouring it down the sink) and started using Hipp formula, and using latex NUK teats in a cheapo tesco standard sized bottle. Not sure if any of that made a difference really, but think the latex may feel a bit softer than silicone, so a bit more like you, but then who knows...

anyway, hope it's going better for everyone this week. I'll keep my fingers-crossed for all of you. And I'm hoping that tomorrow morning my dd will decide it's another day when she'll take her bottle.

sunfl0wer Wed 15-Jul-09 17:00:30

Hi, My lo too completely refuses bottles. I've just given up and resigned myself to bf for the time being. DD is 5.5 months so i'll be weaning soon anway but i completely sympathise with you all. I just couldn't cope with th stress of it all
Those who perservere are obvioulsy more strong willed than me
sorry typos - one handed as feeding wink

kittymch Thu 06-Aug-09 09:14:25

Just a quick one to add to this that sometimes it doesn't matter even if you've got your LO used to a bottle early doors. My DH used EBM and very occasionally formula from around 6 weeks to 13 weeks successfully - and then overnight DS refused point blank to entertain the idea of a bottle. Cue much wailing and nashing of teeth from all involved.

Am trying to decide whether or not to persevere - I can't decide which route is best for better mental health wink

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