Some babies have to learn to drink straight from a bottle because the mother can no longer produce milk. But there are times that babies have a difficult time transitioning from breastmilk to the bottle.
In this article, we will discuss several ways on how to teach your baby to drink from a bottle.
Why does my Baby Won’t Take a Bottle?
You notice that your baby keeps on turning and shifting his head to avoid the bottle. Sometimes he starts to cry and fusses around.There can be a range of reasons why your baby won’t take a bottle. Maybe he is not that hungry much or he is distracted. Or it seems that he is tired or has a different feeding pattern.
I’ve been trying to feed my baby from a bottle but it’s actually hard. What can I do?
Don’t worry! Actually, it’s common for a baby to feel uncomfortable when you introduce him in bottle-feeding. To help you with this, please read the following details about this matter below.
Tips and Methods in Helping Your Baby to Drink from a Bottle
Based on the suggestion of many lactation experts out there, the best way to introduce a bottle to your baby is waiting until he or she is at least a month old. Remember as well that breastfeeding must be well-established before introducing a bottle.
Bottle feeding and breastfeeding have different tongue and mouth movements so you need to consider that your baby needs to have some time to get used to the change. Below are some simple tips and methods from an article in Baby Center that you can try for an easy transition:
- Make the surroundings calm and peaceful – Going to a quiet, non distracting, and relaxing location can make a huge difference. Before someone attempts to give your baby a bottle, have them go to this location for a few minutes and let them be rocked or swayed for a few minutes so they are nice and relaxed. In a calm and gentle approach, the bottle can be offered.
- Give him a bottle in the evening after his regular feeding – This will help him get used to the nipple. Start with a small amount of breast milk – about half an ounce.
- Try paced (or responsive, or cue-based) feeding, which resembles breastfeeding. – You can use a slow-flow nipple, keep the bottle horizontal, pause frequently during feedings, switch sides as you would when breastfeeding, and stop feeding your baby when he shows signs of being full.
- Get help from someone else to feed him the first bottle. – If you try to give your baby his first bottle, he may wonder why he’s not getting your breast. He may be less confused if someone else makes the introduction. Ask your mother, your partner, a childcare provider, or a friend to help.
- Try to be out of the house. A baby can smell his mother, even from a distance, so he may know that you (and your breasts) are just in the next room.
What are some Simple Ways that I can do if my Baby has Difficulty in Transitioning to Bottle-Feeding?
If your baby is struggling with the transition, here are some simple ways and techniques that you can do to assist him:
- Use a bottle nipple similar to your baby’s pacifier. If she sucks on a latex pacifier, use a latex bottle nipple (rather than a silicone one) and vice versa. Warm the nipple with water to make it feel more appealing.
- Put some breast milk on the nipple. When your baby tastes it, she may start sucking to get more.
- Allow your baby to play with the nipple so she can familiarize herself with it. If she just chews on it, let her for now. She may actually start sucking on it soon.
- Hold her in a different position: Put her in an infant or car seat so she is semi-upright, and then feed her the bottle while facing her. Or try feeding her on your lap with her back to your chest. Once she is used to taking a bottle, you can hold her as you usually would for feedings.
- Try different temperatures. It could be that your baby prefers her milk slightly warmer or colder than you’ve been giving it to her. Experiment with different temperatures to see what she prefers. You might also see if there’s a difference between giving her fresh milk or milk that’s been frozen.
- Offer the bottle at other times of day. If your baby won’t take a bottle during the day, try offering it during a nighttime feeding or vice versa.
With this informative guide, we are hoping that you can help your baby transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding. Still, breastfeeding remains as one of the best ways to make your baby have the essential nutrients for his health and well-being. But bottle-feeding has its own advantages as well like its convenience when you’re busy from work or during travels.