7 Tips How to Get a Baby to Take a Bottle
Parenting is one of the most exciting experiences. Feeding time can be a moment of peace and is often a great time to bond with your little one. Just looking at their big cute eyes as they gently suckle fills many parents with joy. We know that not every parent has the opportunity to breastfeed their child exclusively, and for those who have, there often comes a time when they must stop and transition into bottle-feeding their baby formula.
Babies are not always on board with transitioning from breastfeeding to taking a bottle. Some may want nothing to do with it, which can get a bit stressful and leave you wondering, "What if my baby never takes a bottle?"
However, there's no need to panic, as most children need a little time to learn and adapt to this new form of feeding. Your baby may struggle to take the bottle, but we have some tried-and-true methods for getting them to adapt.
Causes and Signs of Bottle-Feeding Problems
Most of the time, bottle-feeding problems are not caused by underlying medical issues but rather simply due to timing. Babies are born with an automatic sucking reflex that becomes voluntary 2-3 months later, meaning they can then refuse feeding from either the breast or a bottle.
When is the right time to introduce the bottle, you ask? Well, when you're sure that your baby has gotten the hang of breastfeeding, usually at the age of 2-4 weeks, they are ready for the bottle. Otherwise, offering it too early or too late may result in your little one no longer wanting the change.
A range of signs indicates your child is struggling to take the bottle. These include;
- Turning away the bottle once it comes close to their mouths.
- Placing the bottle's nipple in their mouth without latching or compressing to squeeze out the milk.
- Sputtering while feeding
- Failing to swallow the milk and some drips from their mouth
Once your baby starts showing these signs, they are clearly struggling to get used to the bottle, and it's time to take action.
How to Get a Baby to Take the Bottle
When your baby refuses to take the bottle, it can get frustrating. However, here are 7 simple tips that could get them to take it.
Switching between breast and bottle
Refusing to take the bottle is not lasting; some babies get used to it quickly. A lot can depend on how the bottle is introduced to them. Therefore, to give your baby the best chance at developing their bottle-feeding skills, gradually introduce this technique by regularly switching between baby formula and breast.
When using this technique, you switch between breast and bottle during one feeding. Start with what they are comfortable with and switch once they are relaxed and eating. This will increase the chance of your baby noticing; before they do, they will have gotten used to the bottle. This is quite a seamless way of introducing the bottle and is worth a try, especially when the baby is still young. Furthermore, feeding them organic baby formula made from organic skim milk that mimics real breast milk will increase your chances of success.
Have Someone Else Offer the Bottle
Once a baby gets used to being breastfed, taking the bottle, especially from the mother, will be difficult. Breastfed babies often associate the concept of feeding with the comfort of nursing, which the mother provides.
One of the best bottle-feeding techniques is to let someone else offer it apart from the mother. Having someone else feed your baby with the bottle can help your baby associate the bottle with a new person, making it more likely they will accept it. For some babies, the mother has to be away entirely for them to take it from another person.
Try Different Positions
Every baby has a unique and preferred feeding position. Many little ones appreciate a bottle-feeding position that comes close to the breastfeeding one. This often means the same setting:
- skin contact;
- social interaction, such as someone playing with their fingers;
- the cradle hold.
Some babies may also prefer being held sitting upright and facing outward towards the room rather than facing their caregiver. Finding the right position may be just the trick to getting your baby to take the bottle. Try different positions and find the one that works for your little one.
Change Bottle Nipples
Sometimes, the problem of bottle-feeding can come from the bottle or nipple they are feeding from. There is a plethora of bottles and nipples to choose from.
The best choice of a nipple is one that comes as close to the shape of the breast nipple as possible. This means one with a broad base supporting a long and straight nipple that the baby can easily latch on to, as they do with the breast nipple. Choose a bottle nipple size and flow level suitable for your baby's age but not too fast flowing. The natural flow of breast milk is relatively slow, and sizing a little down might help in the beginning stage of transitioning to the bottle. Once your baby is used to the bottle, you can go for the age-appropriate flow level.
Make It Natural
Dealing with a baby requires patience and consistency; those are the best traits to apply when getting the baby to take the bottle. This means making the process as natural as possible by avoiding forcefully inserting the artificial nipple into their mouths.
If your baby can learn to latch onto the breast with a wide open mouth, they can do the same with the feeding bottle. You can try tickling the baby's upper lip to encourage them to open wide, then latch on to the nipple as they do with the breast.
Getting your newborn to take a bottle can take patience and time. It's important not to get frustrated or discouraged if your little one doesn't take the bottle right away.
Some babies may need more time and practice to learn how to suck from a bottle, especially if they are used to breastfeeding.
It's key to approach the process calmly and with a positive attitude. A Baby can sense stress and tension, so try to remain relaxed and patient, even if your little one is fussy or resists the bottle. With time and patience, your baby will likely become more comfortable with the bottle and feeding will become easier for both of you.
Contact an expert
If you're having trouble getting your newborn to take a bottle, don't hesitate to seek help from a pediatrician, lactation consultant, or parenting expert. They can offer expert guidance and support to help you and your little one through the process.
Change is inevitable but can be hard sometimes. With the above tips, you can make the transition from breast to bottle easier for your baby by introducing the bottle at the right time and in a comforting environment. Using natural and tasty organic baby formula while transitioning will help in this process, allowing the baby to accept the change easily.
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