My lovely baby has decided to go on a pacifier and bottle "strike." He had taken a pacifier and bottle before. Unfortunately, over the last week, he is refusing to take either one and only wants me to nurse him. He is absolutely refusing to even latch onto a pacifier or bottle. We have been trying nightly without any success. A lot of milk has been wasted in our futile attempts. To make matters worse, my husband has been working two weeks straight without a day off so I have been his primary caregiver. I have turned to my favorite breastfeeding website, kellymom.com, for answers and despite trying many of their suggestions, the baby is still refusing to take a bottle. We have a wedding to attend on Sunday but I am finding it less likely that I'd be able to go if this baby will not take a bottle. I would also like to start getting more than 3 hours of sleep. I can't do this if my husband cannot do a feeding with a bottle. My supply is well established (which brought its own set of problems that I can write another post about) so supply being compromised is not a concern. I have plenty of expressed breastmilk ready to give to him and we do not have to use formula. We have tried the following thus far:
- Feeding the baby when their cues indicate hunger, rather than on a schedule.
- Held in an upright position; it is especially important to avoid letting the baby drink from a bottle when lying down. Such a position is associated with bottle caries and an increased frequency of ear infections. Note also that babies should be held often at times when they are not being fed, to avoid the baby being trained to eat in order to be held.
- Gently, allowing the infant to draw nipple into mouth rather than pushing the nipple into the infant’s mouth, so that baby controls when the feed begins. Stroke baby’s lips from top to bottom with the nipple to illicit a rooting response of a wide open mouth, and then allow the baby to “accept” the nipple rather than poking it in
- Use a silicone rather than a rubber nipple to avoid an unpleasant odor or taste.
- Warm the nipple under running water before offering the bottle to the baby.
- Make sure the milk is not too warm and not too cold. If when holding the bottle in your palm, it feels warm to the touch, it is most likely too warm. If it feels cool to the touch, it is most likely not warm enough. If you can feel no difference in the temperature of the bottle and your palm, the milk is probably at the right temperature.
- Most babies will accept expressed breastmilk more readily than formula.
- Offer the bottle while holding the baby with his back to your chest so that he is facing outward, rather than trying to cradle him.
- Move with the baby - rock, sway, bounce, walk, walk in circles, etc. as you offer the bottle.
- Place the baby in a swing, bouncy seat, infant/car seat, etc. and offer the bottle. Try to distract the baby with something else as you offer the bottle.
- Place an article of mother's clothing up near the baby while offering the bottle, or wrap the bottle with an article of mother's clothing.
- Lightly tickle the baby's lower lip with the nipple and allow him to pull it in his mouth rather than trying to force the nipple in.
- Offer the bottle when the baby is already sleepy or just waking up (but not fully awake) or once the baby is already asleep. Many babies will instinctively suckle at these times.
- Try to use a bottle with a newborn or slow flow nipple no matter how old your baby is so that he always has to work hard with the bottle just as he does with the breast.
- Having my husband feed the baby without me in the vicinity of the bottle.
We have tried Tommee Tippee bottles and Medela bottles. Our older baby used the Tommee Tippee, Medela and Dr. Brown's bottles without any problems. He also used a pacifier until he was four months old and we discontinued using the pacifier. This baby is six weeks old and I do not know if the six week "growth spurt" is the cause of our troubles. Does anyone else have any suggestions or ideas?? I love my baby but mommy needs to get some sleep!