Having spent nine months in the comfort of the womb, it takes a considerable amount of time for babies to get accustomed to life outside. During a baby’s initial days, their mother’s breasts are a huge source of comfort for them. In addition to being a source of nutrition, breastfeeding also helps pacify your child and helps them sleep. This is why a baby won’t take bottle without putting up a fight.
However, every mother knows that although breastfeeding is good for babies, it cannot go on for long. This is particularly true for working mothers where the baby needs to learn to take a bottle instead of depending on the mother’s breasts.
To help you teach your baby take a bottle, we have jotted down the top 10 most practical tips that every new mother swears by.
Why Babies Have A Hard Time Taking A Bottle
Before we begin with the tips, it’s important as a mother to recognize the problem your baby is facing with taking up the bottle in the first place. Here are a few reasons why your champ is not ready to part with your breasts:
1. The Artificial Nipple Is New To Them
Babies have heightened senses when it comes to recognizing their mothers. When your nipple is replaced by a plastic one, they immediately recognize the foreign item in their mouth. The unfamiliarity scares them and makes them reluctant to suckle.
2. Eating Without You Is Not An Option For Them
The long months of breastfeeding make them associate meals with you and your breasts. When the routine is suddenly broken, they find it difficult to adapt to the new eating style.
3. External Factors
The problem is not always in the baby’s mind or habits — maybe they are allergic to cow’s milk. In this case, you can use a breast pump to pump out your milk beforehand and store it in a container.
What To Do When Your Baby Refuses To Take The Bottle
Teaching your baby to take a bottle is a long-term goal. For short-term aid, here are some hacks if your baby won’t take a bottle:
1. Let Someone Else Hold The Bottle
If the mother approaches the baby with the bottle, they will be expecting a familiar taste. In the mother’s presence, they won’t take a different nipple in their mouth. Hence you need to ask your husband or someone else in your family to hold the bottle.
2. Try Moving Around
Scoop up your baby and move around a little or gently bounce him in your lap. This might make it start suckling.
3. Do Not Force The Nipple On Your Baby
Instead of forcing the artificial nipple in your baby’s mouth, let it latch on to the bottle on its own. You can hover the tip over their lips to arouse their curiosity.
Top 10 Tips On How To Get Your Baby to Take A Bottle
If your baby won’t take bottle, use these 10 practical tips to slowly shift them from your breasts to the bottle:
1. Start Early
The reason why babies refuse to take a bottle is that it’s foreign to them. They have already gotten accustomed to your breasts for meals and babies do not like change. So start early and familiarize them with the bottle. Keep breastfeeding as the primary means but make sure to use the bottle once in a while.
2. Help Them Relax First
When your baby feels restless, breasts are often the source of comfort for them. Hence, if you are planning to introduce the bottle, ensure that the baby is already calm and doesn’t need to be pacified.
3. Find The Right Opportunity
If your baby is too hungry, then nothing but your breasts can pacify them. On the flip side, if he is not hungry at all, he will not take any interest in the bottle. Hence, the secret is to find the right window when the baby is hungry enough, not too much nor too little, to take the bottle without throwing a fit.
4. Try A Different Position
If your baby is accustomed to suckling in a particular position, it might expect your breasts when put in that position time and again. So you can try changing the position to expose them to the new experience. You never know what small change can work wonders for your baby.
5. Check The Flow
Babies need time to consume the milk. So if the flow of your bottle is not on par with their sucking capacity, they might feel suffocated and thereby reluctant to use the bottle. Hence, you need to ensure that the flow of the bottle is not too strong for them to deal with.
6. Check The Temperature Of The Milk
Babies get accustomed to your body heat. So, when you offer them cold milk in plastic bottles, they find it difficult to adjust. Warm up the milk to at least 37 degrees Celsius before feeding your baby.
7. Use A Brown Nipple
A brown nipple looks more realistic than a transparent one. Matching the color of the artificial nipple to your own nipple will create a sense of familiarity for the baby. After all, babies are only scared of things they are not familiar with.
8. Dip The Artificial Nipple In Breast Milk
To make your baby latch onto the bottle, dip it in your breastmilk first. The familiar scent and flavor will most likely attract your baby.
9. Wrap The Bottle In The Mother’s Clothes
Initially, you can try wrapping the bottle in a shirt that smells like you. Babies just want to be as close to their mothers as possible. Your smell might do the job and attract them to the bottle.
10. Use A Nipple Shield
If you want to ensure that your baby doesn’t get too attached to your nipple, wear a nipple shield. It will make your little one accustomed to artificial nipples.
The transition from breast to bottled milk does not happen overnight. You need to be patient and gentle, letting the baby adopt the nipple at its own pace. All babies are different but they all share a deep–seated bond with their mothers. It’s difficult for them to part from the comfort of your breasts but do keep trying — it’s only a matter of time until they take the bottle.