Whether you are returning to work, heading out on a day trip, or just need a break from breastfeeding, sometimes giving your breastfed baby a bottle is necessary.
There are risks involved, but as long as you understand them, you can work to avoid them.
Getting your baby to take a bottle can be difficult as well, but there are tips you can try to figure out how to get baby to take bottle quickly.
Potential Risks of Switching From Breast to Bottle
After giving a breastfed baby a bottle the baby may struggle with eating from the breast.
This could mean that the baby prefers the bottle, and many times it is because drinking from a bottle is easier than latching and sucking from the breast.
You may find that switching back to the breast is difficult for the baby.
If you aren’t nursing as much as your body is used to, you may become engorged. This means that your breasts will become extremely full, causing extreme pain and uncomfortableness.
Engorged breasts may lead to clogged milk ducts or mastitis. You will have to make sure you are pumping much more than usual to avoid becoming engorged.
Your baby may start eating more from the bottle
When drinking from a bottle, a baby is likely to get more milk than they get from the breast. It also comes out of a bottle more quickly, and the baby doesn’t get full as quickly.
This results in the baby eating more from the bottle than they do from the breast, and it could cause issues when you are trying to pump enough milk to keep up with the baby’s demand.
How to Get Baby to Take Bottle Quickly
1) Start early
If you know ahead of time that your baby will need to take a bottle, introduce it ahead of time. A couple of weeks ahead of time is best, but even just a few days before can be helpful.
This gives your baby a chance to get comfortable with the bottle before it is absolutely necessary that they drink from it.
When you do introduce the bottle, only give it to the baby a couple of times a week to avoid nipple confusion.
2) Breastfeed before trying the bottle
When first introducing the bottle, don’t try to do it when the baby is starving. Instead, breastfeed a little bit to help baby settle down and get in a good mood.
Then you can slip the bottle in their mouth. The baby might be more apt to try something new when they are in a good mood and not super hungry.
3) Try a different bottle
Sometimes a baby just doesn’t like a certain bottle or nipple. If you are struggling to get your baby to take a bottle, try to switch the bottle first.
You may have to switch multiple times before your baby finds a bottle that they like. This is normal, and it happens often with breastfed babies.
4) Use a slow flow nipple
A breastfed baby is used to milk flowing slowly out of their mom’s nipple, so it is important to use a bottle nipple that also has a slow flow.
This allows the baby to drink at the pace they are comfortable with, and it may encourage them to take a bottle.
5) Give the bottle while the baby is eating solids
If you are struggling to get the baby to take a bottle and you’ve tried other options, giving the bottle during meal time might help.
If you give the baby a bottle while they are eating finger foods or being fed pureed baby food, they may be more likely to drink from it.
6) Hold the baby in a different position
If you are holding the baby in the same position that they are breastfed in, it might lead to some problems.
They are so accustomed to being in that position for nursing that they might not accept the bottle. Try to hold them a different way and see if it helps.
7) Express some breastmilk onto the outside of the bottle nipple
Allowing the baby to taste the breast milk on the outside of the nipple can encourage them to latch on and start drinking.
The baby associates that taste with eating, so it might be all they need to make the switch.
8) Use a medicine dropper or a spoon
If all else is failing, you can try putting milk in a medicine dropper or on a spoon and using that to feed the baby a little bit at a time.
This process ensures that the baby is at least getting a little bit of milk, and it may encourage them to try the bottle. When the baby realizes that they won’t be getting the breast, they may settle for the bottle.
Check this technique in the video below:
9) Give the bottle in a quiet place
Switching from the breast to a bottle is a huge change for babies who are exclusively breastfed. It can be overwhelming for them, and you should provide a comfortable, relaxing environment for them to learn in.
A noisy area may over-stimulate them when they are being introduced, which will hinder the process. Not only will the baby not be susceptible to trying new things, and it may also teach them that they don’t like the bottle in the future either.
10) Have mom leave the room
This might be hard for mom, but it is sometimes essential to get the baby to take a bottle. When mom is nearby, a baby just wants what he/she is used to, which is the breast.
A baby can “smell their mom”, so even if she is in the room, the baby will want milk straight from the source.
Figuring out how to get baby to take bottle quickly can be a difficult process. There are tips you can follow that should help with the process, however. Every baby is different, so what works for one baby may not work for another.
There are also some risks involved in giving a breastfed baby a bottle. It is important that you understand all aspects before beginning the process, and it is helpful to know what to try if it doesn’t work the first time.
- How to Figure Out When to Change Nipple Flow On Bottles?
- These Solutions Can Help When Your Baby Won’t Take Bottle
- Breast Engorgement After Stopping Breast-Feeding Suddenly
- Clogged milk duct: Symptoms, home remedies, and prevention
- Plugged Ducts and Mastitis
Video credits: dreamflight6000.