9 Suggestions to Try When Your Baby Won't Take a Bottle During the Day

So you've been a champion breastfeeder for months, your baby has a great sleep routine, and now it's time for you to go back to work. No problem, right? You've got the perfect daycare lined up and you're excited for this new change. You drop your baby off at daycare on your first day back and with a somewhat heavy heart, full of mixed feelings, you head off to work. After a successful work day, you go to pick up your little bundle of joy. The daycare teacher said he was very good, except that he wouldn't drink more than a few ounces from his bottle the whole day. What now? Your baby begs to nurse and acts ravenous the rest of the evening and into the night, waking every couple of hours to nurse. You're exhausted and have to function at your job the next day. Sound familiar?

Helpful tips for bottle feeding a breastfed baby

Helpful tips for bottle feeding a breastfed baby


Follow these tips to transition your baby from the breast to the bottle when your baby refuses to feed from a bottle.
 

  • Establish an early bedtime for your baby. Being around other babies at daycare can cause shorter naps, which leads to an overtired baby by the end of the day. Putting your baby down to sleep between 7pm and 8pm is best. Be sure any feedings throughout the rest of the night are done with the least amount of stimulation and in as much darkness as possible to keep your little one in sleep mode.

  • If your baby is 6 months or older, try feeding your baby breastmilk from a sippy cup. Sometimes this option appeals more to a baby. Try a few different kinds of sippy cups with various types of nipples.

  • Try sneaking in some extra nursing sessions throughout the day. Try to nurse as soon as your baby wakes up in the morning and before arriving at daycare. If your job allows you some extra time during your lunch break, visit your baby and nurse, or if possible, have someone bring your baby to you during your lunch break. When you get home from work in the evening, try cluster feeding until bedtime. Cluster feeding means to hold several feeding sessions close together within just a few hours.

  • Use loud white noise throughout the night to help keep your baby calm and in a deeper sleep.

  • Feed your baby a bottle in a quiet, non-distracting place. Take your baby to a quiet area for a few minutes and rock or sing softly to get your baby comfortable with the area. Then gently offer the bottle.

  • Don't try to offer a bottle when your baby is starving. You would think offering a bottle when your baby is very hungry would cause him to eat out of desperation, but this sometimes backfires on you. Experiment with trying to find your baby's midpoint between acting not too interested in feeding and being quite hungry. It will take some trial and error.

  • When bottle feeding, hold baby in a different position than when you breastfeed. Babies often do better with a bottle if they are not cradled similar to when breastfeeding. Face your baby away from your body, somewhat reclined, with their back to your stomach.

  • Experiment with the nipple flow. Some babies like a slow flow and others like a faster flowing nipple. If you choose a faster flow, be aware some babies can't handle it and may choke easily.

  • Try different bottle types. Some babies prefer a wider mouthed nipple that resembles the breast, while others prefer a smaller size. Don't go out and spend a fortune on different types, though. Two or three different kinds should be enough with which to experiment.

During this time, be sure to have your daycare keep track of wet diapers. To avoid dehydration, you want to make sure your baby has 6-7 wet diapers per day.


This can be a very frustrating time for parents. Between sleep deprivation and the transition to working again, it can seem like your world is upside down. Have patience. All babies are very different and many take time to get used to a new routine. Stick with it and he'll soon accept the new feeding routine.


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6 Tips to Getting Your Baby on Track: Sleep Scheduling and Controlled Crying

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Sleep, oh the beloved word of parents in wishing they simply had more of it. Nothing prepares you for the sleep deprivation you will somehow survive through when you become a parent! Don’t co-sleep….Co-sleeping was the best thing we ever did….Don’t let your baby cry it out, it might ruin him….Crying it out was what worked for us…..the list of dos and don’ts in regards to the best sleeping method goes on and on. So what in the world should parents really do?  

There is no “one method fits all” for babies. I encourage all new parents to read and research as much as they can and choose a method or variety of methods that they feel comfortable with. Whatever method you choose, consistency is crucial and giving the method a good 3-5 nights before giving up on it and trying something else is key. 

According to Moms on Call 6-15 Months Book, “Let the baby cry on and off, even if the crying lasts an hour or two. They will fall asleep. Give it three to five nights. Parents are always so afraid the child will feel abandoned. So we have to ask: Are they abandoned? No, they are not abandoned. Then we parent out of truth. They are not abandoned and you will show up every morning at that predictable time and they will be ready for your warm embrace.” I personally like this philosophy and the Moms on Call book because they use a lot of reassurance for parents that your baby is going to be just fine and you will be so glad once you’re all getting a good night’s sleep.


Controlled Crying

If you feel uncomfortable with leaving your baby to cry alone, another method of what I like to call “controlled crying” can be used, the Ferber Method. Ferber designed a method of anytime your baby cries when he’s supposed to be sleeping, you can do check-ins at certain time intervals to pat and comfort your baby for about 30 seconds, without picking him up and then leave the room again when he’s still awake. Over the period of several nights, you gradually increase the time between check-ins, allowing your baby more time to learn to self soothe.  

Some other tips to try if you are in the midst of trying to sleep train or transition your baby from your bed to his own or from your room to his own:

1) Implement using a white noise machine throughout the duration of sleep time. Conair Sound Therapy on Amazon is the perfect, inexpensive machine that does a great job. Be sure it’s on the loudest volume setting so you can hear it on the other side of the closed door when you leave the room. Place it about 2 feet from the head of the crib at the same height level as the crib mattress. White noise promotes longer stretches of the deep REM sleep.

2) Utilize a bedtime routine. Having a warm bath, dimming the lights, reading/singing softly while cuddling is a great time for bonding and a great way to end baby’s day peacefully.

3) Once baby is in his designated sleeping room, do not take him out of that room for the remainder of the night. Taking baby out into the light in the middle of the night only causes him to be more alert and harder to put back to sleep.

4) Keep the sleeping area as dark as possible. Babies are not scared of the dark, so night lights are not needed and complete darkness promotes melatonin production for more restful sleep. 

5) Be sure baby is in his bed for the night between 7pm and 8pm. A late bedtime actually counteracts restful sleep and you will just end up with an overtired baby who doesn’t want to go to sleep and when he does, has a hard time staying asleep soundly.

6) Be sure the crib is free of distraction and entertainment. Mobiles and toys are cute, but you want baby to realize his crib is for sleeping, not playing.

Babies are creatures of habit and once a certain habit gets engrained in their routine, it takes time to break them of it. For example, if your baby has been used to nursing completely to sleep before being put into bed at night for 5 months, of course, the first night you lay him down without nursing, he is likely going to “sound an alarm” like a fire truck! But have no fear, it will get better, I promise!

If you're not local to metro Atlanta, consider engaging our Remote Sleep Plan service. Don't waste your time researching and reading material on your own! Speak with our expert sleep consultants to devise a personalized plan for your baby, tailored to the needs of your family. Good for babies 0-12 months.

Perfect your pregnancy posture to maximize your chances for an easy and fast labor and birth

PHOTO COURTESY OF BIRTH BOOT CAMP

PHOTO COURTESY OF BIRTH BOOT CAMP

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