Q&A: My breastfed baby won't take a bottle. Help!
I have a 4-month-old that is breastfed and previously has taken the bottle from her daddy. Recently we went on vacation where she was strictly breastfed. Now she will not take a bottle at all. I was wondering if you have any suggestions on getting her to take a bottle. I do pump milk for her to have. We have also just started rice cereal and are having problems with that.
The situation you find yourself in is common. Breastfeeding brings more than just food to infants. It brings you, and the warmth, comfort and familiarity you provide. Many infants won’t relinquish that great package without a protest!
However, bottled breast milk creates more freedom for you, lets her father become involved in feeding her and is a perfectly reasonable request. You may find it easier by:
1) Beginning with the time of day when your daughter is least fatigued or stressed and in need of comfort. Usually, this is midmorning or afternoon.
2) Be consistent.
3) Most importantly, let someone other than you offer the bottle. Most infants will take the bottle from dad or another caretaker much more readily since they don’t expect the breast from dad. With persistence and consistency, you should be able to create a feeding schedule that works for you.
Rice cereal, the first solid food usually offered, is generally introduced and accepted around 6 months of age. You shouldn’t put it in the bottle, but make a paste of cereal and breast milk or formula to the consistency of thin oatmeal and offer it with a shallow, plastic-coated spoon. If, after offering this a few days in a row, your daughter still turns away or refuses it, she is not ready. Try every few weeks until she willingly takes it, but don’t worry about her refusal at 4 months.