What you Need to Know About Bottles

Julie Bendix, MPH RD LC CLC

Bottles! Here we go.

When your baby is about 2 weeks old, start introducing the bottle at least once a day. This will get your baby used to the bottle and keep him or her used to taking one. It is important to keep offering a bottle on a daily basis so that your baby does not forget (or start to refuse) the bottle in preference for breastfeeding. 


How to Get your Baby to Take a Bottle

Tip 1: Taste

When you are first starting with bottles, squirt a little of the milk on the nipple so your baby can taste it and know to start sucking. Rub the nipple on your baby’s lips and allow them to open their mouths and latch onto the bottle.

Tip 2: Pump fresh

Offer freshly pumped breastmilk in a bottle. Older milk or milk at colder temperatures may be refused in the beginning. Start with ½ ounce at a time so you do not waste your milk. 

Tip 3: Keep mom away

Babies usually associate breastfeeding with mom. Consequently, some babies are more receptive to a bottle if it is offered to them from someone other than you. Allow different caregivers to try and, if possible, go on an errand or a walk so you are not nearby. Your baby can smell you!

Tip 4: Baby is alert

Try to offer the bottle while your baby is sleepy, such as immediately after they wake up from a nap. 

Tip 5: Don’t give up!

Keep trying every day. Allow different caregivers to try. Keep it calm and never force it. If your baby starts to cry or push the bottle away, move on and try again the next day.

Tip 6: Try different options OR be patient

You can try different types of bottles and nipples but this can end up costing you a lot of money. If you are consistent with the same bottle, your baby WILL eventually take it.

Tip 7: Seriously, be patient

Remember, all babies will eventually adjust to taking a bottle when their breastfeeding moms are away. It can be stressful during this trial period but your baby will not refuse food when he or she is hungry enough and you are not nearby.


Bottom line: If you have to go back to work, remember daycare workers are trained in infant feeding and are experienced in handling bottle refusal.


Up Next: How to prepare formula the right way


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