Hints for Offering a Breastfed Baby a Bottle

Usually a breastfed baby balks at accepting an artificial nipple for his feeding. These suggestions may help you when offering a bottle to a resisting baby.

  1. It may be helpful to have someone other than mother offer the bottle, especially if that person is confident and patient with a fussing baby. Mother should be out of the room.
  2. Try to give the baby a bottle before he is overly hungry. The more mellow he is the more likely he is to accept something new. Sometimes it helps to catch baby before he is fully awake and instinct takes over.
  3. Cuddle with the baby as the bottle is given, just as he is cuddled while nursing. If the baby resists, try holding him with his back against mom's chest and let him look out into the room. The distraction may be helpful.
  4. If he resists being cuddled, try feeding him in an infant seat.
  5. He might not like the taste of latex rubber, so try clear silicone nipples. Pur and Evenflo make silicone nipples.
  6. If the flow of milk from the nipple is too fast, try a slow flow nipple or a preemie nipple. A preemie nipple is also softer than latex or silicone.
  7. Some babies do best if breast milk is in the bottle, and others do better if something else is in it (formula, water, etc).
  8. Some babies prefer the fluid to be warm like breast milk.
  9. It may be helpful to warm the nipple under warm water, although a teething child may prefer the nipple cold (chill in refrigerator).
  10. For a younger infant, try starting with an eyedropper, spoon, etc. first, then go to a nipple.
  11. Let infant suck a clean finger first (nail side down). then slip the nipple into baby's mouth along side the finger, then take the finger out. (Keep nails short to prevent injury.)
  12. If plastic, let baby play with an empty bottle for a day or two to become familiar with it.
  13. Use short, frequent trials until baby takes the nipple without difficulty, better to try short trials than have a major bout of screaming.
  14. When the baby is at least 6 months old, try a trainer cup with SMALL holes. Some babies will go to a cup and bypass the bottle entirely.
  15. Dip the nipple in warm breast milk.
  16. Stimulate the baby's mouth with the artificial nipple as is done with the mother's nipple at first. Let the baby "mouth" the bottle nipple and become familiar with it.
  17. Don't give up. Baby will accept it gradually, even if he doesn't at first.


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