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 him. However, sometimes this process can be difficult if your child refuses or has issues accepting the bottle.
Keep in mind that you’re not alone in this situation and it’s normal. Many babies struggle with the change, but there are different strategies that can help your little one start accepting the bottle. Here we share some advice that you can use during this stage of adaptation:
- Ask different people to bottle feed your baby in a nursing position, which means a reclined position.
- Try to offer the bottle when he is not very hungry. That way, he’ll be more patient while learning this new skill.
- Try different feeding positions; for example, walk around the room while you hold him.
- Let your baby latch to the bottle himself instead of putting it into his 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 his gums and cheeks so that he can adapt to it and get used to the texture and feel.
- Try feeding him with something different, like a spoon or a sippy cup.
Once your baby accepts the nipple, put a finger in it (without attaching the bottle) and rub it gently against his tongue to motivate him to suck. When he is 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 him with them. 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 he might not ready for it. For example, if he is 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 is able to hold the bottle by himself.
We understand that this stage can be frustrating and that you have tried everything to help your baby achieve this skill but remember to be patient and always treat your baby with love. Try to be nice and give him positive feedback. Little by little, he will start accepting the bottle.