It is best to introduce the bottle to newborns at approximately 3 weeks of age; by this time, they have typically mastered breastfeeding and can manage going back and forth between mom’s breast and an artificial nipple. For babies who are resistant or refusing to take a bottle the following tips will be helpful:
- Someone OTHER than Mom introducing the bottle
- Type of bottle-may need to try several different brands (Avent works well for many)
- Older babies (after 3 months) use the next level up nipple-has 2 holes for more flow
- Mom pumps out some FRESH breast milk 1 hour before bottle intro (taste and texture is important-don’t use stored milk)
- Mom needs to REMOVE herself from the room-better yet, leaves the house!
- Intro session occurs about an hour before baby’s normal feeding time
- Dad/Partner or someone other than mom holds baby in cradle hold, with baby facing away (their back is against your tummy) OR put baby in car seat/infant seat
- Perhaps have one of mom’s shirts with her scent to hold against you while holding baby
- Run nipple under warm water just prior to intro
- Intro session goes no longer than 10 minutes- NOT a marathon session lasting an hour!
- Intro session once a day for a week
It may be helpful for the person introducing the bottle to sit on the edge of the bed and while holding the baby- gently bounce up and down on the bed- motion often assists the baby to be lulled into taking the nipple.
After a week or so, IF the baby still is not taking the bottle-there are OTHER ways to feed the baby-including: sippy cup, spoon, syringes etc…don’t get stuck on the BOTTLE is the only way. Good lactation consultants can assist you!