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How to Get a Breastfeeding Baby to Take a Bottle: 10 Tips and Tricks to Try out

Bottle feeding baby

Breastfed babies tend to be fussy about taking the bottle. It is hard for the baby to switch to a bottle after weeks or months of feeding on the snuggly, warm source. This whole situation is stressful for the baby and for the mother as she tries to make her baby adjust to the switch.  

Just like with most things about taking care of a baby, getting the baby to take the bottle can be extremely easy, or it can be a real nightmare. The good thing is that there are ways for the parents to make this switch go easier and with less fuss. Check out the following 10 tips, and hopefully, they will help you.

1. Timing is very important

Probably the best time to introduce the bottle to a baby would be when the baby is at least 4 weeks old. It is important to wait until the mother has established breastfeeding for her body and the baby, and that takes around 3-4 weeks. Make sure to start this process at least two weeks before you go back to work, which will give you and your baby enough time to adjust to the whole situation.

2. Give your baby a bottle right after you have nursed him/her

Drinking from the bottle is a bit different than feeding on the mother’s breasts, that’s why it takes time for the baby to get used to the bottle’s nipple. You try this trick in the morning after you have breastfed the baby you see the baby is happy and rested, take the bottle put just a little bit of milk in it and offer it to your baby. Give your baby a chance to get familiar with the bottle and get used to its nipple. A good trick is to dip the bottle’s nipple into breast milk it will trick your baby to give it a try.

3. Make sure you buy the right bottle

It is no surprise that the nipple and the bottle you choose will play a big role in whether your baby will accept it or not. What you want is a bottle that can mimic breastfeeding as much as it can. Thankfully the market offers such bottles, so hopefully, you will find the perfect one for your baby. You will also want a bottle that won’t flood the baby with milk but rather has a slow flow, which is similar to the breast milk flow.

4. Sometimes it is best to give this job to someone else

Usually, babies, when they see their mother, it associates them with the breast as a food source. This is why they will be less willing to accept a bottle if it is offered by their mother. Here is the best time for your partner to step in and take over this process. It is also good for the baby to not see the mother while they try to offer him/her the bottle.

5. Don’t wait till the baby is starving

Adults are ready to eat anything when starving, but babies are pickier when they are hungry. Watch when your baby starts to get hungry and have your bottle ready. It is good to squirt a little bit of milk into the baby’s mouth to get his/her appetite going.

6. Don’t rush it

It is not unusual for babies to refuse the bottle at the beginning. If the baby starts crying when you give him/her the bottle, don’t force it, soothe the baby and try again later. If there is still no success, nurse the baby and try the bottle after you feel the baby is not as hungry.

7. Warm up the milk

Warming up the milk is a usual thing to do because the milk that comes from the mother’s breasts is also warm, and that is what the baby is used to. In case the baby doesn’t like it this way, you can always try it with cold or lukewarm milk. Fresh breast milk in the bottle is always the best way to go.

8. Explore different feeding positions

Unlike breastfeeding the bottle feeding is more flexible, thus gives you more feeding positions. Finding the right position is sometimes all it takes for the baby to accept the bottle. There are many positions to explore, and there no way that you won’t find one that suits your baby. You can also try strolling during the feeding.

9. Find the right pacifier

Babies that are used to sucking on the breast for longer periods will need something to keep them occupied after the bottle feeding. The best pacifiers are those that are designed to not disturb the baby’s natural latch, and these are the best to keep the baby happy after you have finished with the bottle feeding.

10. Don’t give up, keep on trying

Sometimes it only takes a try or two, but sometimes it’s going to take you a lot longer for your baby to accept the bottle. The important thing is to don’t give up and try different approaches. Trying at different times of the day is also important. Usually, it is the morning when parents are the most successful in this process. Once the baby has accepted the bottle, you should use it at least once a day. Your partner or some other family member can help you with this.

For the moms, it is important to take care of themselves while they are not around their baby. We know that pumping schedules are a challenge, especially if the mom has to go to work. Nursing pads are a must as you don’t want leaking and wet spots on your blouse.

Sometimes a baby will not accept the bottle until the day you drop him/her at daycare, and they will have no choice but take the bottle. It is important to relax babies. Also, react to your emotions. Just give it time and try to remain calm. Good luck with this little adventure! 

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