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Tips on Offering Bottles

When offering the bottle, it's often best to offer a small amount, 1/2 to 1 oz of breastmilk, at a time when the baby isn't too hungry. Offer the bottle in a low key way. Encourage baby to open wide for the bottle like he should be for the breast by stroking his lips from nose to chin with the nipple, until he opens, then gently allow him to accept the bottle into his mouth and allow the milk to flow into the nipple.

Here are things that have worked for other moms:

  • Let someone else besides mom give the bottle. Baby associates mom with the pleasure of nursing, and will often hold out for the real thing. Mom may need to be out of the room, or even out of the house.

  • Try offering the bottle when baby is not very hungry.

  • Wrap the bottle in a piece of mom's clothing (or a diaper, men's hankie, or hand towel that you have slept with ), so that it smells like mom.

  • Instead of pushing the bottle into baby's mouth, try laying it near his mouth and allow him to pull it in himself. Or, tickle baby's mouth with the bottle nipple to get him to draw it in.

  • Try using different temperatures when offering the milk - some babies will take it cold, others barely warm, and still others prefer it VERY warm (but not hot of course)

  • Run warm water over the bottle nipple to bring it up to body temperature. If baby is teething, cooling the nipple in the refrigerator may help.

  • Try different bottle nipples to find a shape and substance (rubber or silicone) baby will accept.

  • Try different feeding positions. Different babies prefer the nursing position, sitting propped up on caregiver's legs (like sitting in an infant seat), or being held facing out with baby's back against caregiver's chest.

  • Try giving the bottle while moving rhythmically: rocking, walking or swaying side to side. Some babies who refuse a bottle at other times will take one when riding in a car seat.

  • Try giving bottle to baby when he's sleeping.

  • Continue to try other methods of feeding: sippy cup, regular cup, spoon, eyedropper.

Copyright 2000 - 2006  Jim Yount

Send email to Paula Yount for any questions or comments about this site.

Disclaimer:  The pages contained herein are meant purely for informational purposes and every effort is made to provide accurate and up-to-date information. This information, however, is not meant to take the place of your doctor, nor should the information contained on this web site be considered specific medical advice with respect to any specific person and/or any specific condition. The author, therefore respectfully but specifically disclaims any liability, loss or risk - personal or otherwise - that is, or may be, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from use or application of any of the information provided on this web site.