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How to help your baby take a bottle

crying baby rejecting bottle

Key points:

  1. It is common for babies to struggle with accepting the bottle, but different strategies can help make the transition smoother.
  2. Tips for helping a baby accept the bottle include trying different positions and nipples, wrapping a piece of clothing with the mother’s scent around the bottle, and offering small amounts of milk at a time.
  3. It is important to be patient and not force the baby to accept the bottle.
  4. Introducing the bottle should be done when the baby is ready and can hold the bottle themselves, and always treat the baby with love and positive feedback.

There are many reasons to bottle-feed your baby. Maybe you will be going back to work or your little one needs to eat a little bit more after you breastfed them. However, sometimes this process can be difficult if your baby rejects the bottle and has issues accepting it.

Keep in mind that you’re not alone in this situation and it’s normal. Many babies struggle with the change, but different strategies can help your little one start accepting the bottle. Here we share some advice that you can use during this stage of adaptation.

If your baby rejects the bottle try these tips

  • Ask different people to bottle feed your baby in a nursing position, which means a reclined position.
  • Try to offer the bottle when they are not very hungry. That way, they’ll be more patient while learning this new skill.
  • Try different feeding positions; for example, walk around the room while you hold them.
  • Let your baby latch to the bottle themselves instead of putting it into their mouth.
  • Wrap a piece of clothing or anything that you wore so that your little one can recognize your smell.
  • Change the milk’s temperature.
  • Try using different nipples.
  • Put the nipple (without attaching it to the bottle) in your baby’s mouth and rub their gums and cheeks so that they can adapt to it and get used to the texture and feel.
  • Try feeding them with something different, like a spoon or a cup.

Once your baby accepts the nipple, put a finger in it (without attaching the bottle) and rub it gently against their tongue to motivate them to suck. When they are comfortable, put a few drops of milk in the nipple without the bottle. Start by offering small amounts of milk and make sure to stop if your baby shows signs of being satisfied. You can continue these steps until your child accepts to be bottle-fed.

It’s important to remember that your baby might reject some of the stimuli suggested in the tips above, so don’t force or tire them with too many attempts. It’s best to try it another time. Take into account that it’s possible that your baby will take some time to get used to the bottle or they might not be ready for it. For example, if they are learning how to breastfeed, it’s recommended to avoid introducing the bottle just yet. The best moment to do this is when your little one can hold the bottle by themselves.

If your baby rejects the bottle it can be frustrating and we know that you have tried everything to help your baby achieve this skill. However, remember to be patient and always treat your baby with love. Try to be nice and give them positive feedback. Little by little, they will start accepting the bottle.

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