6 Tips to Get Your Breastfed Baby to Take a Bottle
It’s not uncommon for a breastfed baby to put up a fight when given a bottle. Babies have preferences too and let’s face it, a synthetic nipple is just not the same as the real thing. If your little one has made it known he prefers you (there’s nothing like mom!), it may take a few attempts, the help of a loves one, and some tricks to make the transition from breast to bottle with ease.
The following tips on getting your baby to take a bottle are some of the many we’ve received from parents, friends, and co-workers. Only one trick may do the job, but don’t hesitate to use a combination of them.
- Wait until your baby is about 4 weeks of age before giving him a bottle. If you try too soon to give him a bottle, it may confuse him and lead to more problems for you and baby. In most cases, it’s easier to get an older baby to take a bottle than it is to undo nipple confusion in a younger baby.
- It may take someone other than you to get a baby to take a bottle. Why would he want a fake when the real thing is within reach? If he’s balking at the bottle when you give it to him, let someone else (e.g. dad, grandma, caregiver) take over the feeding.
- Try putting your baby in a different position when offering a bottle. Some babies view bottle feeding as a completely different act than breastfeeding and may be more comfortable in a different position. Try placing your baby in your lap facing out as he eats or place him (facing out) in the crook of your arm.
- Walk around the room as you give your baby the bottle or put him in a sling as you bounce him. Soothing motions can sometimes put baby at ease while you trying to persuade him to eat from a bottle.
- Give your baby a bottle after a feeding. A satisfied baby is less likely to turn away a bottle than a hungry one, which is why it’s best to start to introduce a bottle after a feeding. Get him used to the nipple and bottle by letting him casually suck on a little bit – an ounce or less – of breast milk or formula.
- Give your baby a cup instead of a bottle. If he just can’t get used to a bottle, try switching to a sippy cup.
Although getting your baby to take a bottle may not be as easy as you initially thought, with these tips, he’ll be bottle feeding in no time.
It’s important to remember: don’t rush the process! Pushing the bottle on him will only frustrate you both. So, if he seems angry by your attempts, wait a day or two before giving him a bottle again.