Getting baby to take a bottle (Cross-posted) — The Bump
Attachment Parenting

Getting baby to take a bottle (Cross-posted)

Hi all,

I've lurked this forum for a long time but this is my first post. My first daugher is 9 weeks old, and I strongly identify with AP/gentle/evolutionary parenting principles. Currently we exclusively breastfeed and I hope to continue for at least the first year. I am going back to work part-time in 3 weeks so we had wanted her to learn to take a bottle, but she has adamantly refused (refuses pacifiers too).  I had my mom try last night and within a few minutes, she was really worked up crying so I had to step in and say that was enough.  Of course my mom says "She'll never learn if you jump in to save her so quickly. She has to get to the point that she gives up, which will probably take some crying.  You have to break her."  I replied that "She's not a horse, I am not comfortable with the concept of 'breaking her,' to do anything, especially this young and when I could just as easily breastfeed her."  (NOTE:  My mom is not normally a big CIO type, so while our views on parenting are different in some areas, she doesn't really pressure me to do anything I don't want to do normally...this was just her response based on the assumption that it was very important that we get her on the bottle before I go back to work. I'm not really looking for advice on how to deal with my mom, because this wasn't a big deal or anything.  The real point of this post is below, I'm just giving you some background here.)

So here's the kicker -- I work from home and we have family that will be coming to our home to watch her, so worst case scenario, I could just have them bring her to me in my office and she could breastfeed at my desk while I work. Also, my husband and I have pretty much decided that my return to work isn't permanent, that I'll return for a month or two and give proper 2 weeks' notice before leaving, rather than quitting while on leave. This fact makes me feel like it's really not THAT imperative that she take a bottle, but at the same time, it would be nice to be able to have her take one occasionally so her dad could feed her if I ever wanted to run out for a period of time.  So my questions are:

1.  Any tips on *gently* getting my baby to take a bottle of my breast milk?  I've had both DH and my mom try, since I know it's not supposed to be the mom who does it.  We've tried with me out of the room, out of the house, etc.  We've warmed the nipple.  We've tried her when she was pretty hungry, when she had just eaten, and when she was in between. We've had her in cradle position, more upright, and even in her bouncy seat (which she loves) so dad could give her more direct eye contact.  Nothing has worked!

2.  Anyone else NEVER give their baby a bottle?  On one hand I love this idea because I love BFing, on the other hand I'd like to be able to run out every once in a great while without having to hurry home for her next feed.  I also know that it's really only a couple more months before we can start teaching her to drink out of a straw cup, so that is another solution that could work to allow me some occasional free time.  Honestly I don't mind waiting a few months, I know it's important to have "me time" but she's still so little that I'm perfectly okay with the 1-2x a week that I'm currently going to the gym for now. 


Any help or advice you could give would be greatly appreciated!

BabyFetus Ticker

Re: Getting baby to take a bottle (Cross-posted)

  • No advice. DS never took a bottle. It was like we were torturing him. Tried different things, different bottles, nothing. I just gave up. And he ate every two hours until like 12 months (esp at night). I also live in Canada, where I get a year for mat leave, and I extended (unpaid) mine until he was fifteen months, so I never really had to make sure he learned to eat from a bottle. However, he would take a sippy cup (not with a straw, more like [but not quite] a bottle nipple) with breast milk at about eight months, but not all the time. GL.
  • With regard to your work situation, I wouldn't stress about getting her to take a bottle in order for you to go back to work.  With your daycare setup, you'll be able to continue breastfeeding, even if you can't get her to take a bottle before you must begin working.  Given the short time you'll be back to work before giving notice, I wouldn't worry too much about it if you can't successfully get her on a bottle before your return to work.  I have a friend who worked f/t from home while relatives provided care for her DD.  She bf for 2 years with this arrangement.

    That being said, it probably makes sense to introduce her to a bottle at some point, so that you can do things like go out with your husband to adult functions, etc.  Your mom, your H, or your daycare provider may have better luck getting her to take a bottle if you're not around.  If the baby sees, hears, or smells you, she's more likely to hold out for you.  Maybe leave the house for a bookstore or coffee place nearby so you can come home if things get really out of control, and let your H, your mom, or the sitter give it a try without you around.
    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
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