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Dec 10

I think my baby is suffering from nipple confusion. Can you help?

This is what was suggested in “The Nursing Mother’s Companion”:

“If you have waited longer than a month (to give a bottle) and the baby refuses to take a bottle, be sure to have someone else try. Frequently a baby is more confused and upset by the bottle when her mother tries to persuade her. Trying to force the baby is upsetting for everyone, and rarely successful. Some parents have succeeded by offering the bottle while walking with the baby. Hold the baby facing away from you and bounce her gently as you walk. Some babies dislike the taste of formula; try breastmilk instead. Tasteless silicone nipples may be more readily accepted than rubber types. Recently I’ve been successful in getting babies to take a bottle fitted with the Avent Fast-Flow nipple or the Evenflo HealthFlow nipple. Another technique that has been sucessful for some mothers is to nurse the baby for just a few minutes, then unlatch the baby and slip the bottle into her mouth. If she objects, you can try again after a few minutes more.

The baby who refuses a bottle may do surprisingly well with an ordinary cup, particularly if she is about six months or older.”

Here is my personal experience: ( Min)

Laura (aged 3 1/2 and breastfed for 28 months) was given a bottle too early, so refused the breasts for the first few weeks until she was re-trained to nurse directly from about 5 weeks. In the first few weeks, she was fed bottle fed EBM. My mom was ill at that time, so I spent a lot of time in the hospital with my mom which took me away from her. I nursed her whenever I could and only give her a bottle if I can’t make it back in time for her feed. I was afraid she would regress and not take to the breasts again but she didn’t, so everything was fine until she was about 3 months old. My mom had to be admitted into hospital again and the admission took a long time. I was away from Laura for more than 6 hours. She refused to drink from a bottle and chose to sleep instead after crying her lungs out. Since I was and still am a SAHM, I didn’t pursue trying to get her to use the baby bottle again and just worked around her feeding time and brought her with me whenever I could.

Adam (aged 9 1/2 months and still breastfed) was born with a tongue-tie, so couldn’t nurse directly in the first month. He was cup fed EBM for 4 weeks until he could nurse directly with the help of nipple shields. He drinks a lot and I work part-time, so he has to be fed EBM by my maid while I am away. At about 2 1/2 months, he refused the bottle too and would cry before taking to the bottle again. Initially, he was fed with a fast flowing nipple and he drank a lot because he still wanted to suck after the milk had finished. I was reluctant to give him pacifier but decided to try. He refused the pacifier! With some struggle at each bottle feeding time, he eventually accepted the bottle and now knows that when he wants milk and I am around he will nurse directly. When mama is no where in sight, he accepts the bottle from Dita. He still uses a slow flow nipple which seems to fulfill his sucking needs while giving him nourishment.

Julia, perhaps you can try cup feeding your baby while trying to get her to accept the bottle again. You can either get a feeding cup (especially made for cup feeding infants) from Medela or just use an ordinary cup. Pour small amount into the cup so your caregiver won’t risk spilling your precious EBM.

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