Sudden bottle feeding strike, doo dah, doo dah
January 29, 2012 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Suddenly my ten week old baby is refusing bottles of breastmilk. Just in time for daycare. Help!

After ten weeks of taking an occasional bottle of EBM, the smallest Arthur shorty is on a bottle strike. We've tried my leaving the house, different positions, different people, different nipples, but it is all met with screaming. She starts FT daycare a week from Monday, so this is really bad timing.

How were you successfully able to reintroduce a bottle to your 3 month old refusenik?
posted by chesty_a_arthur to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: To clarify -she'll be breastfed at home, but we need the DCP to be able to feed her. And I'd occasionally like her dad to take night (again).
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:05 AM on January 29, 2012

I'd take a shirt with your smell on it and have the caregiver drape it over herself where the baby can smell it. And switching sides helps w/brain development. So make sure to instruct them to do that.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:10 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

This might be kind of extreme, but can you make yourself scarce for an hour or so on either side of a feeding? Hungry baby + dad + bottle + no mom in sight ?= bottle-accepting baby?

When I was a nanny, the 4-month old I took care of wouldn't take an (EBM) bottle until her mom was well out the door and she had gotten used to the idea. As time went on, it became no big deal at all and I would give her a morning bottle as her mom was getting ready.
posted by charmcityblues at 8:27 AM on January 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

My daughter started refusing bottles at around the same age. I got some of those Tommee Tippee bottles with the breast-shaped teats and went out for a few hours (on preview, what charmcityblues says). She eventually took the bottle.
posted by goo at 8:33 AM on January 29, 2012

Hungry baby + dad + bottle + no mom in sight ?= bottle-accepting baby?

We've had this help sometimes.

Also you don't mention anything about temperature - our oldest (now almost 4) would take a bottle at anything but ice cold. Our 5 month old will NOT take a bottle of anything unless it is right around body temp.
posted by Big_B at 8:56 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You might want to see if you can see the back of her tongue and throat--when Baby TChem went on a bottle strike, it was because he was ill and had a sore on the back of his tongue. The bottle touched the sore spot but a nipple didn't.

(The bottle strike was actually the first symptom of illness; he got a fever a day or so later, but was otherwise cheerful and healthy when he first refused the bottle, so we were very confused.)
posted by tchemgrrl at 8:59 AM on January 29, 2012

Try rubbing some breast milk on the nipple of the bottle.
posted by narcoleptic at 9:04 AM on January 29, 2012

Best answer: Have you talked to a lactation consultant? I know a really super one who would probably be happy to talk to you on the phone sometime next week. She runs my breastfeeding support group and is full of ideas for problems like this.

Off the top of my head I'd suggest: experiment with hunger levels - offer when she's moderately hungry and you're not around, and offer right after she's breastfed a bit and is more content. Maybe look into trying a cup or a spoon for feeding.

Read the kellymom stuff about bottle and other alternative feeding methods.

Is the pumped milk fresh? Some moms have an excess of lipase in their milk that starts to break down even in optimal storage conditions and gives the milk an off taste after just a couple days, leading to rejection from babies.
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:19 AM on January 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Have you taken a gander at her mouth and tongue lately? She could have oral thrush sitting on the very back of her tongue or in her esophagus and that might be why the bottle is rejected.

On preview: What tchemgrrl said.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:29 AM on January 29, 2012

Best answer: My daughter did the exact same thing, at the exact same age, at the exact same inconvenient time before starting daycare. We tried everything people have mentioned here with no luck. (It does turn out that I have the lipase issue thirteenkiller mentions, but I'm not convinced that's what put her off.)

I don't have any advice, but can offer some reassurance and tell you how it played out for us.

I brought my daughter in to visit daycare several times before she started and warned the caregivers of the issue, so they would be prepared to have to work with her. Also, her first two weeks were part-time, so worst case scenario, she'd go 4 hours without eating.

On her first day, she only drank 1 oz., the second day she drank 2.5 oz. and by the end of the week she drank two 3 oz. bottles.

I think the daycare environment is so different, she just "gave in."

She's now 9.5 months old in daycare full-time and has been happily switching between breast and bottle ever since.

Hang in there - it will work out!
posted by kittydelsol at 11:06 AM on January 29, 2012

Smart kid! :)

Are you dead set on the daycare situation I assume you've already picked out? I know it's a bit "out there" in our culture, but I would make an effort to find another breastfeeding mom to watch my baby, should I need daycare (this might be easier to find than you would think). This solves the current bottle refusing problem and heads off any future nipple confusion and prevents a preference for bottles from developing. You'd still need to pump to maintain your supply, but you could donate your milk to someone through Eats on Feets or the like (which is actually where I would begin to look for a lactating care provider).
posted by LyndsayMW at 1:00 PM on January 29, 2012

Our daughter did this, a bit later, and it turned out to be an ear infection - the only sign was that she stopped eating.
posted by dpx.mfx at 6:16 PM on January 29, 2012

Yes, just coming in to say what dpx.mfx said - this might just be a Thing Babies Do type thing, but if this continues or spreads to her not wanting to nurse from the breast either, just take her in for a quick look-see at the pediatrician. My son had an ear infection recently and the only way I could tell was that he wouldn't take any liquids. He was fine other than that, and it was just my stubborn persistence that got him in to see the doctor (while we were in Portugal, no less) at all.

Just something to bear in mind and it doesn't hurt to call your pediatrician to ask for advice on the bottle issue anyway.
posted by sonika at 6:24 PM on January 29, 2012

Response by poster: Update: after much parental angst, on a whim I tried giving her the bottle tonight after she'd nursed, and she took an ounce happily. Like cats, babies are weird.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:40 PM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I marked a couple responses that were particularly relevant, but appreciate everyone's input! I'll refer back to this if the issue persists.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:41 PM on January 29, 2012

Response by poster: And a final response -- our DCPs were extremely patient with her, and three months later she's a very enthusiastic bottle drinker. First we tried the Tommee Tippee bottles only, carefully warmed, and now she'll drink any temperature of milk -- and a few times formula -- out of any old bottle.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:41 AM on May 8, 2012

« Older Mobile me   |   Cheap Thrills! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.