Refusing a Bottle and Alternative Methods of
Feeding Your Baby
Introducing a bottle can be a little tricky. If
it's introduced too soon, some babies develop nipple
confusion (or bottle preference), and others, when introduced
"too late" (after 6 weeks) refuse the bottle.
There is also the baby that you've introduced the bottle to at the
"right time" and baby still refuses to have anything to
do with it. This can be very upsetting if the family had expected
that baby would be able to take a bottle occasionally, or if mom
needs to return to work.
It is good to know that in the event this happens, there are other
ways of coping than assuming there is nothing you can do, or that
you "have" to force the bottle. Feeding should NEVER be
associated with unhappiness, and forcing the issue with the bottle
can make matters worse.
There are several alternatives
to bottles including cup feeding, finger
feeding and feeding with dropper, spoon, or syringe. For a younger
baby, some parents opt for finger feeding or feeding with a dropper
or spoon. If baby is older parents may be more comfortable with
offering a cup. These alternative methods may take a little bit
longer than conventional bottle feeding, but none of these methods
are difficult to use.
If your baby refuses a bottle, keep in mind there are alternatives
that work, and that over time, it won't matter anyway. Eventually
baby will be big enough that bottles are not an issue, and the bright
side of this is that you won't have to worry about weaning from
a bottle later!
FEEDING WITH DROPPER
Tips for using a dropper include:
- Place the baby on your lap, in an upright, sitting
position. Be sure to safely support the baby's head. Many babies
prefer to FACE you, rather than being in cradle position which
baby associates with nursing. Some parents prefer to swaddle baby
so the arms are not "flailing" or waiving around &
in the way, but we never had trouble with hands/arms getting in
Use a small dropper and insert only slightly, gently, into the
baby's mouth. Some babies do better with it between the cheek
and gums.Others do just fine with it laying gently inside lower
Gently squeeze the dropper or syringe, allowing a small amount
of breast milk to enter the baby's mouth. At first it's just "drops"
at a time, but as baby (and you) get better at it, more can be
offered at a time.
- Wait for baby to swallow. The baby may occasionally
spit some of the breast milk out.
Once you and baby get the hang of this, it is not
hard nor does it take an excessive amount of time to feed the baby.
As a matter of fact, it's one way to really interact with the baby
while the feeding process is going on!
These suggestions are for the full term, healthy breastfed baby.
If you have questions about alternative methods of feeding your
baby, please check with your health care provider or see an experienced
lactation consultant for additional information.
Although it does take some practice to use a cup,
bowl, spoon or other alternative method, it also takes some time
and practice to bottle feed correctly. With just a little practice,
alternative methods such as using a cup, do get easier. In addition,
with the use of the cup, there will be no need to wean from the
bottle later.A small cup, like a shot glass, or a flexible bowl
maybe a little easier to use than an adult sized cup. Some moms
use small Dixie cups. By feeding slowly and using the following
suggestions, the baby should be able to drink the milk.
by holding the baby upright as possible
clothing from spills with a towel or diaper.
a small amount of the supplement (ebm or formula) in the
cup, glass or bowl
tilt the container to the baby's lips, placing the edge
of the cup at the outer corners of baby's upper lip, resting
gently on the lower lip with the tongue inside the cup. (Some
babies may prefer their tongue under the lip of the cup.) Leave
the cup in position during the feed (do not move the cup from
not pour the milk into the baby's mouth. The baby will usually
lap the milk, or may sip it. It doesn't take much, so go easy!
the baby time to swallow before offering more.
your baby to set the pace for the feedings, but stop after
about 30 minutes so that baby will not become overly tired or
your baby is tired, or does not appear to be alert, do not
try to offer the cup.
Reference: The Breastfeeding Answer Book, LLL
Additional information and references on cup