How to Get a Breastfed Baby to Take a Bottle

Switching to a bottle for a breastfed baby can be a hard transition. Tips on how to get your breastfed baby to take a bottle.

Some breastfed babies have no problems taking a bottle, however some would rather go hungry than take anything but the breast.  When a mother wants to breastfeed, but has to go to work the latter can be a huge problem.  Here are some tips to keep both baby and mom happy. 

1.  Try a bottle before you go back to work.  Don't wait until your first day back at work to try a bottle.  It will make you anxious about going back to work and if your baby doesn't take it you might be cutting your work day very short.  Most pediatricians say wait until your baby is about a month old to try a bottle in order to avoid nipple confusion.  However waiting too long can make your baby more stubborn about taking the bottle. 

2. Start with a very small amount, 1-2 ounces, of breastmilk in the bottle.  Remember no matter which nipple you use, none of them are exactly like the real thing.  It may take your baby awhile to get used to drinking out of a bottle.  Using a small amount at a time will not waste your precious breastmilk. 

3. Use different nipples/bottles.  If traditional nipples seem to "gag" your baby, try the orthodontic type.  Try latex and silicone and various brands.  Each nipple brand may be a little bit different shaped.  Hopefully you will find one that your baby likes.  The bottle probably doesn't make that much of a difference, but typically the nipple and bottle go hand and hand.

4. Most people say that someone besides mom should try bottle feeding a breastfed baby.  If all else fails try mom, the familiar face might just do the trick.  

5. Try different positions: first try the position that most simulates breastfeeding.  If that doesn't work try rocking and feeding or walking and feeding.

6. Don't give up.  The first 2, 3, or maybe even 10 attemps might be unsuccessful.  If your baby is hungry she will eventually figure it out.  Try different times of the day.  Maybe she will take it better when she is really hungry or maybe when she isn't really hungry.  

7. If nothing else works see if you can visit your baby at day care on your lunch break and breastfeed her at least once a day.  It may not be convenient, but it will put your mind at ease that your baby is getting fed if she refuses a bottle.      

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