baby taking bottle

Getting Your Breastfeeding Baby to Take a Bottle

Have you decided transition from breastfeeding to bottles? Here are some tips to help make getting your breastfeeding baby to take a bottle seamless.

When offering the bottle to a breastfeeding baby, it’s often best to offer a small amount, 1/2 to 1 oz of breastmilk. If baby is starving and really upset, wait to try the bottle at a calmer time. Offer the bottle in a low key way. Encourage baby to open wide for the bottle like he should be for the breast by stroking lips from nose to chin with the nipple, until he opens, then gently allow baby to accept the bottle into mouth and allow the milk to flow into the nipple.

10 Easy Tips That Have Worked for Other Moms

1.First thing to do to get your breastfeeding baby to take a bottle is let someone else besides mom give the bottle. Baby associates mom with the pleasure of nursing, and will often hold out for momma! Mom may need to be out of the room, or even out of the house. Having mom leave for longer than 3 hours may be helpful (go get your hair done momma!).

2. Try using different temperatures when offering the milk – some babies will take it cold, others barely warm, and still others prefer it VERY warm (but make sure it is not burning hot).

3. Run warm water over the bottle nipple to bring it up to body temperature. Is baby teething? Cooling the nipple in the refrigerator may help.

4. Try offering the bottle when baby is not very hungry. Breastfeeding babies that are starving often are very set on feeding the way they are used to.

5. Make the feed smell like mom. Wrap the bottle in a piece of mom’s clothing like a blanket, tee-shirt, or bra.

6. Try different bottle nipples to find a shape and substance baby will accept. Try to stay with slow-flow nipples.

7. Try different feeding positions. Breastfeeding babies may prefer the nursing position. But some prefer sitting propped up on caregiver’s legs (sitting facing caregiver) or being held facing out with baby’s back against caregiver’s belly when they are offered a bottle.

8. Try giving the bottle while moving – rocking, walking or swaying side to side. Some babies who refuse a bottle at other times will take one when riding in a car seat.

9. Instead of pushing the bottle into baby’s mouth, try laying it near his mouth and allow baby to pull it in themself. Or, tickle baby’s mouth with the bottle nipple to get him to draw it in.

10. Do it in a schedule. Pick the same time over 5-8 consecutive days and keep trying. It can take several tries, with ups and downs, and that is okay.

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Emily Sylvester

Emily Sylvester is the Founder & CEO of Mother of Fact. As a Licensed Registered Dietitian, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and Mom of 3, she's helped thousands of families in many low/middle income communities feel confident and supported in their feeding journey. Her mission is to eliminate the deficit of equitable breastfeeding & formula feeding help for all households & healthcare systems.
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