Both my girls were a complete nightmare to wean off breastfeeding. I was at my wits end because neither of them could be left for more than a few hours even at 9mths old. My breastfeeding story is similar to lots of Mums who find the transition from breast to bottle is a struggle. Here are some top tips to hep if your baby is resisting the change
The First Bottle
Babies need to use a different sucking action when feeding from a bottle compared to when they were breastfed. So it will likely take them time to get the hang of this new feeling.
To help, look to give your child their first few bottles when they are relaxed and happy as opposed to instances when they’re hungry and more likely to want to get fed by their usual method. It could also be wise to offer your baby a bottle in the evening once their regular feeding has been complete — you don’t need to give them that much milk as it will be more about getting your child used to the feel of a bottle’s nipple.
Another tip is to get someone else to give your baby their first few feeds — the dad or a friend or family member — as that way your baby will not be near you and smelling your breast milk. It may also be best if Mum is out of the house while the baby is being bottle fed, as many youngsters can smell their mother even from a distance. You only need to do this a handful of times until your child is used to drinking from a bottle.
Try not to force your baby to feed from a bottle too much, and only feed them enough milk until they let you know that they’ve had enough. This needs to be a smooth transition, so your child will be more likely to rebel if they aren’t enjoying their bottle in the early stages.
What to do if baby is resisting
If you are struggling to get your baby to make the transition from breast to bottle, there are some techniques that could help.
Try some different bottles for baby. A bottle with a nipple that is similar to your child’s dummy will likely make it more appealing to your little one, for instance. While a slow-flow nipple can get around times when your baby gags due to regular bottle nipples delivering them with too much milk at once.
A First Sippee Transition Cup from Tommee Tippee ticks all of these boxes, they are specially designed for a baby’s first sips and has a super soft spout that is gentle on your child’s sensitive gums. You many have heard of these cups after a dad’s desperate search last year to find a replacement cup for his autistic son. The plea received over 12,000 retweets and well done to Tommee Tippee for the grest efforts they went to make sure the boy has his favourite cups. The full story can be read on the BBC website.
It’s not just the design of the bottle or cup that can help your baby with the transition. Your baby may start sucking from the cup or bottle’s nipple if you place some breast milk on it and your child tastes it and enjoys the familiar taste.
Let your infant get used to their new bottle or cup in their own time too. Don’t be quick to take the product away from them if they begin to chew on the nipple — let them do this for now as they may switch to sucking on it once they are familiar with the feeling.
Babies may also feel more comfortable drinking from a bottle or cup when they are held in a different position to how you breastfeed them. Feed them from a bottle or cup when they are in a semi-upright position in a car seat, for example, or by having them on your lap but with their back to your chest.
If you baby is old enough try experimenting with giving them water from a variety of different water bottles. This will help them get used to different nozzles and spouts and help hopefully encourage the transition from breast to cup/bottle easier. For some great suggestions hover here.
Hopefully with this advice, your baby will be reaching for his bottle or cup for their feed before you know it (and you'll get a few nights out!).
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.