Monday, October 1, 2012

Getting a breastfed baby to take a bottle - part 1

My baby loves the boob

Our little IQ is a real boob baby. She's been exclusively breastfed on demand from birth. If she's hungry - she gets boob, if she's tired - she gets boob, if she's scared - she gets boob… you get the picture. She nurses to sleep most nights and without nursing, she rarely goes to sleep on her own. While having an exclusively breastfed baby is an amazing and wonderfully natural thing, it makes what you can do/go/wear very limited. I knew that sooner or later though, she'd have to get used to taking expressed milk from a bottle. 

Giving IQ a bottle wouldn't happen very often. Only on the rare occasion if we wanted to go out on a 'date night', if I wanted to go shopping without her, or if hubs wanted to take IQ out for the day by himself. He wouldn't be able to take a boob, nor could I leave one behind and I don't want to start giving her formula. (I'm not saying formula is bad. You wouldn't like it if someone replaced the meal you're about to eat with something you've never eaten before and you only find out as you start eating it? No, that would be mean.)

Nipple confusion?

I held off giving IQ  bottle because I'd read (stupid internets) about something called nipple confusion. It's apparently where breastfed babies are given bottles/pacifiers and somehow get confused between those and the breast. This results in them apparently getting 'confused' about which one will give them milk and result in them refusing the breast. Obviously this scared the hell out of me. I'd worked so hard and there was no way I was going to suffer from bleeding/cracked/sore/swollen nipples and rock hard boobs for my baby to forget how to feed.

(I know now that) In reality, this probably wouldn't have happened. I'd scared myself stupid into thinking that if I gave her a bottle, she'd forget how to feed and all my hard work getting her to breastfeed would be wasted. It wasn't until she was 10 weeks old that we really tried giving her a bottle as a replacement for a nursing session.

Trying and Failing (mainly failing)

We've tried (and failed) on a few occasions to give IQ a bottle of expressed milk. Some resulted in her taking the milk fine and without quarrel but the majority of attempts ended up in a screaming meltdown and hubs handing over a very inconsolable baby who is so wound up, she refuses to nurse. Those were very stressful times for all of us. I'd usually end up in tears before we all gave up with the bottle and I whipped a boob out and everything calmed down.

Crunch Time!

It was last week, at 10 weeks of age, we decided that we HAD to get her used to taking a bottle. Before now, all of our attempts had been last minute decisions and because the attempts were not that thought out, they ended in disaster. We have a wedding to attend on Saturday (6th Oct) and the plan is for my parents to babysit. As most grandparents would be, they are so excited to be asked to babysit but this would only be possible if we are able to get her to take a bottle. I know they'd be devastated if they couldn't look after her as planned. 

We want to take her during the day to meet all of our friends and wanted the evening to ourselves so we can have a few drinks. There will also be lots of friends that we haven't seen for nearly a year. Tomorrow is the last chance that we'd have to get IQ to take a bottle, so tomorrow on hubs day off, we're going to try her with the bottle. I'm nervous about not nursing my baby. I feel cruel to not nurse her when she needs/wants to. I have a feeling it may end in disaster and tears...

Please check back for part two tomorrow for the report on how we get on!


  1. My kids would never drink from a bottle BUT the youngest would drink expressed milk from a small open cup even when he was just a few weeks old, worth a try perhaps? (We used a doidy cup from amazon)

    1. Hi Sewphie! We had been recommended a Doidy cup. How on EARTH did you manage to get a young baby to sip from one?! Was it difficult?

      I think I'll definitely get one for when she's weaning, around 6 months or so, as they look so cool! I love the angled look and I'm sure they're a great alternative for sippy cups.

      Well done for getting you little one to drink from a cup!