Getting your baby to drink from a bottle after feeding him directly from your breast can be tricky. Using a baby bottle helps mothers have more control over their time, letting them attend to other things while their baby feeds. If you’re having trouble getting your baby to feed from the bottle, here are some tips that might help you, compiled from BabyCenter, Popsugar, and Mother & Child Health.
1. Try to make the milk taste most similar to the breast
If possible, use breast milk instead of formula, as most babies will accept breast milk easier. Make sure that the milk is at the right temperature—if it feels warm to you, it’s probably too warm. If it feels cool, it probably needs to be warmed. There shouldn’t be a difference between the temperature of the bottle and your palm.
2. Find a bottle that feels like a breast
Some parents use bottles like the ones from Breastflow, which mimic how breastmilk comes out of breasts during feeding. Does your baby use a pacifier? If your baby has a latex pacifier, find a latex bottle nipple. Make it feel more appealing by warming it with water. You could also put breast milk on the nipple to encourage feeding. (Don’t use honey, which can cause botulism if your baby is younger than 12 months old.)
3. Keep your distance
You might want to ask someone else to bottle-feed your baby. If you try to feed your baby with a bottle, he might be confused that he’s not getting your breast. By getting someone else to feed him, he might be more willing to give it a shot. You could also try leaving the house. Babies can smell their mothers even from a distance, so even if you’re just in the next room, your baby might get restless and call for you.
4. Try feeding your baby at different times of the day
Your baby might be more willing to feed from a bottle at night if she won’t take it during the day, or vice versa. You could try offering the bottle when your baby is sleepy, just waking up, or even already asleep—this is when they instinctively suckle.
5. Don’t force it
You don’t want your baby to associate the bottle with negative emotions, so if he rejects the bottle three times, set it down and try again later. Don’t force the bottle nipple in, and instead, tickle your baby’s lip with the nipple so that he puts it in his mouth himself.
6. Be patient
If it isn’t working, give your baby some time to get used to the bottle, nipple, and feeding technique before trying something new. Changing things too frequently might just confuse and irritate your baby.