Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bottle Strike! Help!

My son is a picky eater. Well, only as far as milk goes. He will eat any kind of cereal, fruit or vegetables I throw at him. Not that I throw things at him...but I digress...

He's 8 months old. He'll be 9 months on Friday.

When he was first born, he would only eat from a bottle. He wouldn't nurse for six weeks. But I hung in there, reviewing the costly nature of formula and all the arguments for mother's milk in my mind every day...and pumped (and pumped and pumped) and finally, at six weeks old, he decided that it would be okay to nurse.

So then everything was grand for a few months...he would take a bottle if I wasn't there, I could leave him in the nursery or with a babysitter, and if I was home, he would nurse, and it just worked out perfectly.

And then this summer, we got busy with camp, and I just nursed him, and didn't think about giving him a bottle because I was always with him... and then all of a sudden, he's 8 months old, and he will NOT take a bottle. Or a sippy cup of mother's milk. I can get him to drink about an ounce of formula out of a sippy cup, but he thinks it's gross, and that wouldn't be enough to keep him happy with a sitter for a few hours anyway.

So...does anyone have ANY tips on getting him to take a sippy cup or bottle? It's not a big deal to just nurse him most of the time, but I would like to start weaning him off of a couple of his nursings here in the next couple of months...and if he won't take milk from a sippy cup or bottle, I won't be able to do that! Help!!! :)

To see the dilemmas that other people are asking for help with, head on over to Shannon's place for the Dilemma edition of Works for Me Wednesday.

Edited To Add (4/09): I notice a lot of people are finding this post through Google searches, and if you're here looking for help, please read the comments - there are SO many great tips there! If you've already tried everything, and your child will NOT take a bottle...well, what ended up working for us is that I just stopped trying with the bottle/sippy cup & nursed him exclusively, until I started introducing whole milk along with the nursing, at 11 months, weaning him at 12 months. I know 6 months sounds like a long time to never be away from your little one, but, oh, it goes SO fast. I look back now & wish I'd even nursed longer. :) So hang in there, moms, and SOMETHING will work out. :)


Anonymous said...

I had a similar situation with my daughter. Have you tried several different types of bottles? One that my daughter likes was Breastflow bottles. Also Playtex Nursers seem to be good too. Make sure you are using the newborn nipples so the flow will be similar to nursing. I would try pumping and giving her a bottle maybe once a day or every other day to get her used to it. Good luck.

3XMom said...

that is a toughie. All of my kids went through a period where they refused the bottle, but as a work-out-of-the-house mom, they really had no choice. After a few days, they got used to it. Since you are around, and your son doesn't HAVE to take it, I don't know. Have you tried warming it? I would definately go with the sippy cup at this point - they usually want you to switch from bottle to sippy at a year, and if he can drink from that, I'd use that. Maybe if it is warmed (like it is straight from mom), he'll take it? Or if you have tried that - maybe make it cold? Maybe he will try it cuz it feels new and different? Good luck!!! You need to get some time for yourself!

Anonymous said...

My son doesn't need a bottle very often but he's only 5 months old. I did read somewhere that babies can smell your milk from up to 20 feet away - if they know you're there they are more apt to refuse a bottle. Also since your baby is older, he'd need a nipple that has an easier flow than a newborn would need. I think.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

My oldest never took a bottle & it was pretty hard at this age. We weaned to an Avent sippy cup. I had to take the valve right out so it would pretty much pour into his mouth. This meant it was messy but also meant he didn't have to "work" for the milk.

It worked for us. Also, I agree, try the milk cold. You might also try water, diluted pear juice or other liquid in the cup. Doesn't hurt as much to see juice wasted as it does precious pumped milk!

E. Tyler Rowan said...

They say that at 9 months most babies are ready for high-fat cow's milk. If you can tough it out for another month, maybe he'll like that in the sippy? I know my kids never would take breastmilk from bottle or sippy - it made them mad that it wasn't me. But if I put formula and eventually cow's milk, they were good. Different source - different flavour.

And trying the dif temperatures is also a great idea, 3xmom!

Steph at Problem Solvin' Mom said...

We also had luck initially with the breastflow bottle, it is very much like nursing...and if you're the one offering the bottle I would suggest you have daddy or someone else do it, b/c it might be the "comfort" he's after.

If you're going to try sippies, I like the nuks b/c they are flexible like a bottle and they have some staged ones you can use to help transition.

Best of luck, that's a toughie!

Anonymous said...

I know -- it's not fun. My baby went through that period. I just had to LEAVE THE HOUSE! I left for a whole day (bringing my pump with me) and eventually she took a bottle from my husband. She won't starve herself!! But now we're going through something similar -- at 10 months, she's not all that interested in nursing so much, but will only take about 2 ounces of my milk from her cup. It's always something . . .
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

My son was really picky too.
I went through a month of him screaming everytime I got a bottle near him and then started back to work. He HAD to take one feeding from a bottle while I was working. It took about 3 days but once he had no choice he stated taking a bottle again.
Also he would only take formula from a bottle if it was warm (even though he would drink it cold from a sippy cup once he got older).

Suz said...

I can took me the first 4 wks to get my son to latch-on effectively. I worked away from home and my son would only take a bottle from the daycare provider and even then he was famished when he got home.
My experience was that I couldn't be there and we couldn't do it at home. He had some keen sense that I was around and would wait for me if we tried the bottle at home or when I was there (even when I stepped out of the room for a long time). He would reluctantly take a bottle for my sister when I left him long enough, but poor hubby never got a successful bottle down.

I was lucky that mine would take a cup, although sometimes we used juice to get him motivated.

Persistance is key... don't make it a struggle, just give them the option with a small amount of juice if you need to and let them get familiar with it. If you get frustrated by it, your baby will to and it will only make it take longer.

My suggestion... take a night off every week and have someone you trust try and give him a bottle or cup (make it the same on everytime so baby can get used to it) and have a good time relaxing or doing something you've missed out on having a baby in the house!

Anonymous said...

My daughter refused every bottle on the market. I do know moms that used therapists at their doctors offices, but when my baby refused the bottle for so long I finally just started trying sippy cups.

I figured why train a transition from breast to bottle only to do it again from bottle to sippy? It can be expensive trying every single one, but you will find one that works. The first one my daughter took (at 12 months!) was Dr. Brown's.

One downside was that it was a little heavy, but it was SO easy for her to suck. The other cups on the market seem like blowing a balloon up backward. It takes a lot of force to drink and breastfeeding babies get really frustrated with those. Good Luck!

Superchikk said...

My son decided not to take a bottle too. We'd successfully given him bottles for a while, and he finally just quit taking them. He'd take one today and refuse it tomorrow sort-of-thing. And since he was about 8 months old, I decided it wasn't really worth the fight and started him on sippy cups.

It took a while for him to really take to the cup, but I just kept giving it to him. I'd put water in it and let him play with it and finally he got it. And he loves the cup.

Now, he is a year old and still isn't a fan of milk, but he loves to drink from a cup. He still nurses, but we are in the process of weaning.

So all of that to say that if you don't have to worry with it, don't. Just move to the cup and don't stress about it.

mamatutwo said...

You might try giving him something water in a special sippy or bottle. I know that he can't be sustained on water alone, but if you can initially get him to take anything out of a sippy or bottle, then you may be able to gradually move over to some milk in it.

Also, you might try having Dad or someone else give him the bottle. I know that my little guy reached a point where he realized that Daddy didn't have the goods, and he'd take a cup or bottle from him.

shoutingforha said...

I had the same problem with my son when he was only 4 months old. He had always taken a bottle but suddenly decided that he only wanted to breastfeed.

Instead of continuing to push the bottle, I started him on a sippy cup... the kind with two handles. I think it worked because it wasn't a horrible breast impostor! Plus it was easy for him to hold onto.

Faerylandmom said...

There are all kinds of things you can try. :-) You can do syringes (those big 1tsp ones), spoon-feeding him the milk, or even going straight to regular cup. These all take extra time, of course, but are worth a shot.

Another thing you can try is to take the plug out of the sippy cup, or use the kind that aren't 100% spill proof. It might be more gratifying for him...

I hope something helps!

Anonymous said...

At his age, I don't think you need to worry about it. If he is eating other foods, then I am sure not getting milk at all during the few hours you aren't around will hurt him or his growth. The sitter can also mix your milk with cereal to get him to take it.

Laura said...

I enjoyed the comments, lots of things to try. I'll just add to make sure that the flow of the bottle matches or is easier than at the breast. My son wouldn't take a bottle until I got fast flow nipples, since it better matched nursing flow, or it was just easier. But that helped A LOT. With my little girl I had to go really slowly and start with just having the bottle next to us while she nursed, then holding it while she nursed, to get her to connect the bottle with feeding. IT took a long time, but eventually they'll get it! hope this helps!