Bottle refusal — The Bump
Babies: 0 - 3 Months

Bottle refusal

I need some advice. My 11 week old is refusing the bottle. I have tried six different types of bottles, warming the nipple, having my mom and husband try. We have tried waiting until she is sleepy, waiting until she's really hungry, holding her, not holding her and nothing works. She screams the whole time. It takes over an hour to get half an ounce in her. 

How long do we let her go without reverting back to the breast? I worry about her getting dehydrated. This morning she went five hours between feedings after a two hour struggle with the bottle. I just sat and cried. I am back to work next week and feel completely hopeless. 

Re: Bottle refusal

  • Poor you! Check out kellymom if you havnt already, that website is a wealth of information
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  • Try using a nipple shield if she is at the breast. My son struggled going back and forth between breast and bottle and the nipple shield helped nursing feel more like a bottle so he would go back and forth easier. Maybe it will help!
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  • Oh no! I'm so sorry....first of all, you're not alone and though it's hard to see now, I know you will see the other side of this. My LO also refused bottles, she had taken a couple fine around week 4 and when we retried around week 7 as I was going back to work when she was 10 weeks, she flat out refused similar to what you're describing. I personally would have DH or my mom stop the bottle feeding attempt and wait 20-30 minutes and then nurse her just to put some time space between her refusals and getting to eat. Especially if you're in the room when LO is refusing and holding out, they've gotten old enough to discern that mommy means food. It's so stressful for us, but from LO's standpoint, it is a compliment to you.

    Have you tried leaving the house completely if your DH or mom are going to attempt the bottle? 
    Is there one or two of the bottle types you've tried that have had "better" success than the others? 
    I know for my LO, I had better luck about a week before I went back when I just forced myself to leave the house 10-20 minutes before they were going to try and feed her. She took a few ounces from both my mom and DH which was an improvement. Also, many sources I researched when we were going through this recommend just picking and sticking with a bottle at some point instead of continuously rotating to let them get some consistency with one particular type. 
    I second the Kelly Mom recommendation above....here is a link I loved, there are a TON of tips at the bottom of this article that I suggest reading: https://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/feeding-tools/bottle-feeding/

    Also there are alternatives to bottles like cup feeding and spoons/droppers. Kelly Mom discusses these as well.

    Is it possible for you to have your first couple days or week back cutdown to under 40 hours? I went back my first week part-time, 2nd week resumed full-time. That first part-time week was a blessing adjusting to these eating issues with LO. And your LO may surprise you too when you go back to work...my LO had still not taken more than 2 ounces ever at one time from a bottle when I went back to work. After her first week in daycare, she had no issues. They said she gummed the bottles her first couple of days and then got over it. They've seen the issue on numerous occasions and weren't fazed in the least when trying to feed her. Your LO may reverse cycle like mine did where for her first little bit at daycare, she really didn't eat a large amount so she made up for it by chowing down in the morning before I went to work and immediately when I got her home. 

    Hoping for good things and peace for you!!!
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