Bottle Refusal

You've tried everything to help your baby take a bottle and nothing has worked. 

 

Perhaps it is time for a fresh set of ideas. I've helped hundreds of bottle-refusers learn to take a bottle. Let's walk through some steps:

  • First, choose a good-fit nipple shape. Bottle refusers often tolerate a soft, flexible, shoulder-less nipple like this this one.

  • Start with a fed and rested baby. Learning a new skill is hard. Contrary to popular lore, hunger is not a motivator for the bottle refusing baby.

  • The breastfeeding parent SHOULD offer the bottle. You know your baby best. Together you have shared hundreds of feeding sesions. Your baby trusts you more than anyone. Your baby will work hard for your praise. Let's utilize that trust.

  • Respect your baby. Sneaky tactics are rude. Allow baby to see the bottle, touch the bottle, touch and explore the bottle. Babies are mammals. Mammals see, touch, smell their food before consuming it. 

  • Place the bottle nipple across baby's lips and wait (patiently) for baby. 

  • Until baby can quickly and willingly suck on the empty nipple, refrain from offering milk. Milk is not a motivator to a bottle-refusing baby; it is a stressor.

Myth buster #1:  sucking on an empty bottle does not fill the belly with air. Gulping and chugging causes gas bringing air and fluid into the belly with each swallow. 

If you are still feeling stuck, let's meet.  I cannot make your baby take a bottle, but I can help you figure out why your baby is struggling.  I can offer strategies and help you make a plan to move forward. 

During a bottle consult, I will

  • Evaluate your baby - including a full oral evaluation

  • Observe a feeding session

  • Recommend a good-fit nipple

  • Give you and your baby some 'homework' to start on right away

We will stay in touch during the entire process and for up to two weeks after the visit. 

Lastly, do not wait. If you and baby are struggling with bottles, it will not get better on its own. It takes time to learn skills and having an expert in your corner will make the process less stressful for all!

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Looking for a place to start?

Bottle Skills for the Bottle Refuser