Question: My breastfeeding baby won’t take a bottle. What should I do?
Answer by Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett MD:
This is a common challenge for many babies.
The mechanism of bottle feeding is different from breastfeeding. Bottle feeding primarily works by gravity. And depending on the type of nipple, has a more rapid flow than breastfeeding.
On the other hand, breastfeeding requires a different kind of sucking mechanism and also involves milk letdown.
Before we get started, please note that it is important to wait until baby is 3-4 weeks old before presenting a bottle to minimize nipple confusion.
Here are some tips for successful bottle feeding:
There is a group of babies that despite trying everything, refuse to bottle feed.An alternative is to increase night and evening feeds.This is also known as reverse cycle breastfeeding.This pattern of feeding compensates for not taking day time feeds. Also, when leaving baby with another caregiver, make sure baby is breastfed just before leaving and right away upon returning to baby.
Huggins K., The Nursing Mother‘s Companion 7th edition, Harvard
Common Press, 2017.
Pryor, G, Nursing Mother, Working Mother, Revised: The Essential Guide to Breastfeeding Your Baby Before and After Your Return to Work, Harvard Common Press, 2007.
Dr. Poinsett is a board certified general pediatrician with over 25 years' experience. She is California based. She has a special interest in health care advocacy and health care social media.