“I will be returning back to work soon, and my breastfed baby refuses to take a bottle of breastmilk or formula. Help!”
By Amy Black, IBCLC
Question: I will be returning back to work soon, and my breastfed baby refuses to take a bottle of breastmilk or formula. Help!
Answers: When attempting to offer a baby a bottle for the first time, there are a couple things to remember:
- Offer the baby a small amount of food when the baby is not too hungry and perhaps a little sleepy.
- Let someone other than mom feed the baby in a location that is not the normal nursing spot for mom and baby.
- Since baby connects food with mom, sometimes it is best for mom to leave the house.
- Tickle the baby’s lips with the nipple of the bottle to get the baby to open his mouth wide. Let baby take the lead in drawing the nipple into the mouth.
- Hold the baby in an upright position with the bottle at a horizontal position to the mouth. This will mimic breastfeeding and allow baby to eat at own pace without overfeeding.
- Once the baby starts drifting off and letting go of the nipple, cease feeding the baby. Follow the baby’s cues and be finished when he or she is done; do not force the last bit of milk into the baby by jiggling the nipple or waking the baby.
By following “paced bottle feeding”, a caretaker can assist the mother in feeding the baby the “right” amount of milk based on the baby’s wants. By not overfeeding the baby, mom will be able to keep up with pumping at work and maintaining her milk supply.
Do you have any more tips? Let us know!