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I’ve had one goal the past 3 months: to successfully transit Finn completely to direct boob feeding. And I’m pleased to say that we’re finally there, more or less.

After having tried formula feeding (with Tru) and expressed bottle feeding (with Kirsten), this is so ridiculously convenient.

Instead of having to spend 40 minutes at the pump, washing the bottles, sterilizing everything, warming the milk, then finally feeding the baby, I just have to pop out my boob and I’m done. When I’m out, my baby bag is more like a baby satchel with some spare clothes, diapers and wipes.

But there’s a downside to it, which is that baby Finn now refuses the bottle. Did I say refuse? I actually meant that he hates it. With a passion. He makes a face, pushes it out with his tongue and looks at me like “hey, don’t you give me no bottle when I can see boobs right there. Now give me the real stuff.” But you see, I’m training him for those days where my breasts are unavailable and he’s with my mom or in-laws. So I pass him to the husband for boot camp bottle training and he goes into meltdown mode. He’ll struggle and scream and tears will be flowing out of his eyes and milk will be sputtering everywhere like he’s choking. And amidst all the frenzy, I’m pretty sure I can make out something like “BOOBS!!! GIVE ME BOOBS!!”

Sometimes, when he’s positively starving, he’ll struggle through a feed like it’s the nastiest thing he’s ever had to drink. Then when he’s done, he’ll launch into a complainy monologue of baby talk to drive home the point.

Other times, I’ll cave and offer him a boob and while he’s drinking, he’ll put one hand on it and look at me as if to say “just so you know, this is my property.”

Ok, it’s really cute but this means that being apart from him for any length of time at all will be a problem.

Any tips on how to reintroduce the bottle?

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  • Reply Elaine November 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Congrats on getting him to the breast! It is indeed a feat worth celebrating!!

    On reintroducing the bottle – are you in the house when he is given a bottle? My babies would only take a bottle if I left the house. If they could smell my presence, they would resist the bottle.

    Also, if you aren’t away for too long, and he doesn’t want the bottle, it’s okay. He will just make up for it when you are back with him later on in the day. There are babies at this age who sleep through the night for a longish stretch of 6-8h, and are none the worse for it. So it would be ok if he went without milk for the same amount of time in the day.

    • Reply Daphne November 20, 2012 at 11:13 pm

      I think you’re right about the smell! It’s like he can sense my presence or at least the presence of my boobs.

      I actually don’t mind him skipping a feed but it’s my folks who have to deal with his screaming, which I’m hoping to avoid.

  • Reply Jasmine November 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Can you share how you succeed in getting Finn to feed from the boob? I failed to breastfeed my first child and will like to know how can I succeed the next time round.

    • Reply Daphne November 20, 2012 at 11:18 pm

      It’s probably down to the kid’s temperament. My first two also refused to latch on but this time, I kept trying to latch on every 2-3 hours and it worked. You might also want to try getting help from a lactation consultant, some of them even do home visits to help you identify any problems with breastfeeding.

  • Reply Apple November 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Can try different teats/bottles which are made to immitate mommy’s breasts. I’m not sure if I can mention the brand here though.

    • Reply Daphne November 20, 2012 at 11:20 pm

      Of course you can! Do share what worked for you. He initially drank from the Tommee Tippee ones but he’s been refusing it of late.

      • Reply Apple November 21, 2012 at 4:02 pm

        You can try MAM available from Mothercare.

  • Reply Peg November 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    We had the same problem. I tried several bottles and only the Playtex drop in system worked. Go google it. And use the silicon teat.

    • Reply Daphne November 20, 2012 at 11:20 pm

      Thanks for the tip! :)

  • Reply jaime November 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    my first loves the bottle due to inexperience me…so for second I was adamant to enjoy the convenience of 100% latch…yes was very successful until I need to return to work…
    refuse the bottle..tried a couple of times before work start to no avail…but I suppose they will learn to bottle feed instead of being hungry….n I use pigeon teats..but it took a while n some consolation she wasnt starving coz she started semi solid at the same time…

    • Reply Daphne November 20, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      That’s true, I think he will eventually adjust if there’s no choice. Thanks for sharing, btw!

  • Reply jaime November 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    n my pd said..u can’t be bottle feeding..some one else..the baby can’t “smell” u at u hide while another caregiver feed

    • Reply Daphne November 20, 2012 at 11:23 pm

      Hahahha I think I have to leave the house..will try to see if it works

      • Reply jaime November 20, 2012 at 11:29 pm

        mean time enjoy the convenience of direct latching. .no FM…just nursing cover n baby…I miss that!

        • Reply Daphne November 20, 2012 at 11:47 pm

          Yeah it’s so convenient! Just take the baby and go out.

  • Reply Leona Wong November 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    MAM bottles. The teats are made from silk, super soft, like the real thing. Worked for my little girl, who was refusing the bottle too.

    • Reply Daphne November 20, 2012 at 11:23 pm

      Sounds great! Made of silk for real? I’ll definitely check it out.

  • Reply Anonymous November 19, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    I skipped the bottle and went straight to the straw cup. The pigeon straw cup was manageable for my baby even though he wasn’t 6 months old yet. I think my kid took to it cos it was easier to drink from, instead of having to suck from a teat.

    • Reply Daphne November 20, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      Good idea but I think he’s still a little young for a straw cup, maybe I’ll introduce it in a couple of months.

  • Reply Jean November 19, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    You and whoever is feeding him just have to be stoic about the bottle/cup/spoon. I always tell moms that no baby ever starved himself to death – it will take him a while to understand that it’s the bottle or be hungry – and eventually he’ll drink.

    • Reply Anonymous November 20, 2012 at 2:34 am

      Yupp, super agreed with Jean

    • Reply Daphne November 20, 2012 at 11:29 pm

      Yeah my pd said the same thing to us too, about the starving bit. I’m not sure if I should enforce the bottle feeding as a practice session even when I’m home or just let him go cold turkey when he’s with my folks.

      I’m just concerned that they’ll have to deal with the screaming and fussing, which can get very draining for them.

  • Reply Ei-Leen November 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    my bub is currently on BF/ bottles.
    Stick to your guns & not give in.
    Also, setup a routine of sorts when bottles are used & boobs are given – Mine knows his night feeds are boobs hence is upset when he gets the bottle instead.
    so far this works well, esp when he’s already in infant care.

  • Reply Emma November 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    When I returned to work after 12 weeks of maternity leave, my firstborn did not have any milk during the day. For five days straight. We made up for it with marathon nursing sessions in the evenings, so imagine how fun it was for a flustered working mother. I tried a few brands and teats and finally my daughter decided that she liked Pigeon best. Good news is she took to the bottle after that first nightmarish week. Even better news is, we’ve never had any problems weaning her off the bottle.

    • Reply Daphne November 20, 2012 at 11:33 pm

      OMG that’s tough! Good to know that it was only 5 days of nightmare. So did you still breastfeed at night after that or was it all bottle from that point?

      I’m still hoping to breastfeed directly most of the time, he just needs to drink from the bottle on the days I can’t be around.

      • Reply Anonymous November 21, 2012 at 9:18 pm

        Yes I breastfed at night, and she got used to the idea of taking the bottle when mommy isn’t around. But around the time she turned one, she refused the bottle again and drank milk from the straw or directly from the cup.

  • Reply Rhapsody November 20, 2012 at 1:21 am

    I breastfed my daughter till she was 5 months and had to introduce the bottle as she got teeth early and was biting me. It was a nightmare. I chose to introduce the bottle in the afternoon feed mainly because even if she didn’t drink any, she wouldn’t starve.

    For the first week, she refused to drink from the bottle and I didn’t top up with breastfeeding so I let her wait till the next feed, on the second week she would drink half and right about the 3rd of 4th week she accepted the bottle. It does take a lot of patience.

    I also went through several bottle brands before I found one that worked. I used NUK latex teat.

    Hope it helps and good luck x

    • Reply Daphne November 20, 2012 at 11:34 pm

      Thanks for sharing! I’ll give that a shot :)

  • Reply Jing November 20, 2012 at 1:31 am

    Daphne!pretty pleaseee can u please share ur experience on full latch on breast feeding esp thru the night where they fall asleep mid feeding and u have to be at it for hours and when ure out.the stares of passerbys.will breasts tend to sag more if breast feeding and the pain of it?i was so determined to breast feed but got deterred when the pain was too much to handle:((

    • Reply Daphne November 20, 2012 at 11:38 pm

      Actually he’s been sleeping through the night most of the time so I feed him at 12 and then again at 6/7am. I haven’t experienced much staring in public so quite thankful for that. But as for the pain, I totally understand! I still get sharp shooting pain from time to time but they go away after a while. It’s been getting better though! I think the first 2 months of breastfeeding was the toughest and it’s much easier now.

  • Reply MieVee @ November 20, 2012 at 3:22 am

    My home-visit nurse told me that the window to introduce the bottle-teat is 6-8 weeks. To prevent rejection, need to offer 1 bottle every 1 or 2 days.

    As an SAHM, I latched baby#1 on directly all the time. He rejected the bottle teat, so I used a small open cup. Even newborns can use this method. Or try syringe / spoon, whichever the caregiver prefer. It’s perfectly fine not to insist on the bottle teat if baby refuses it.

    Baby#2 has never been offered the bottle. At ~6 months old, I offered him fluids through a spoon / bowl / open cup. He simply drinks like adults do. Economical and easy washing too.

    All the best! :)
    MieVee @´s last post ..How to cook baby porridge & family rice in the same pot

    • Reply Daphne November 20, 2012 at 11:40 pm

      Thanks! I’ll try the different feeding options to see if they work..

  • Reply Elaine November 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I’ve tried everything that all the people commenting here have suggested. Nothing works, except the stick to the guns bit. Basically if he’s hungry enough he will reluctantly drink from the bottle. For Sophia, the day I decided to put my foot down, which was when she was 4 months old, she didn’t drink as she slept through the night, took one feed direct, then starved for another more than 10 hours before she was willing to drink from the bottle. And, by the way, from that moment on if I ever so much as let her latch on once, she will regress back to rejecting the bottle with a vengeance again. And then there are babies who are happy to switch back and forth. I hope Finn will turn out to be more like them than like Sophia.
    Elaine´s last post ..My affectionate little girl

    • Reply Daphne November 20, 2012 at 11:44 pm

      Sighh it doesn’t sound like fun at all. I’ll probably try to introduce one bottle a day first, most probably in the afternoon to see how it goes. Let’s hope he adjusts.

  • Reply The Pleasure Monger November 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Hi Daphne,

    My daughter is the same age as Finn and she rejects the bottle vehemently too. I started with direct latching and successfully introduced the bottle twice a week when she was 5 weeks old. Lo and behold, she wised up and realised it wasn’t the real thing at 8 weeks old and I haven’t been able to get her to take the bottle sans meltdown ever since. My first bottle was the Medela btw. We tried having someone else feed her when I am in the house, out of the house, hiding in the room, whatsoever and it doesn’t quite work, even with Nuk latex teats. She does however cave after an hour of full-on screaming but my caregivers are too soft to take the crying. Lately, I have been trying the Pigeon wide neck Peristaltic Plus bottle and teat. She refuses to take it from anyone, even if I am out of the house, but I have had some success in getting her to at least have the teat in her mouth without her spitting it out and crying. I do this while rocking her in a cradle hold though (rocking her up and down sends her into trance). The irony is I am the only one who can achieve that…this defeats the purpose as I, like you, want to have her take the bottle when I am not around. She also doesn’t suck on the teat, she chews on it instead but I reckon this is a start to getting her to accept a teat in her mouth. Perhaps you can try this bottle? The teat resembles the breast i.e. not so protruding if you know what I mean.

    I am very frustrated too, as she latches every 2 hours in the day (thankfully she sleeps through the night) and I can’t step out of the house to run errands, let alone go back to work. I have decided to let up on the training sessions as my MIL can’t bear to let her cry. My mum can, so i will return to my mum’s for a few days a week to let her try. If all else fails by the time my daughteris 6 months old, I am skipping straight to the sippy cup or a KeepCup.

    Good luck to you (and to me)!!!!
    The Pleasure Monger´s last post ..An Open Letter to My Mother

    • Reply Daphne December 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      Thanks for the tip! Finn finally drank from the bottle today at my in-law’s place. Apparently he likes the Nuk latex bottles, yay!

  • Reply effortgirl November 22, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Had a horrible time introducing bottles. Gambatte! Love reading your blog.

    • Reply Daphne December 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      Thanks babe!

  • Reply Marie November 23, 2012 at 11:35 am

    I had the same issue with both kids. #1 refused the bottle and I had to go back to work when she was 5 months old, we tried all sorts for a month – different bottles, someone else feeding etc… Her doctor told us, since I had to go back to work and there was no choice, she had to go cold turkey, OMG it was the worse 3 days of my entire life. She refused to drink, my maid finally got her to drink from a sippy cup on day two!! And only after day 4 she started to drink when I gave her the bottle (she finally settled for Tommee Tippee). I had to just pump and feed from then onwards.
    For #2, we kept giving her a bottle every day, even then, at around 3 months she went rouge! But we insisted and finally she understood if she wanted her afternoon milk it’s only via bottle (and someone else always had to feed) and only the playtex bottle would do.
    Good Luck!
    Marie´s last post ..Exercise

    • Reply Daphne December 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      I think every kid just has their quirky preference. Finn finally settled for the Nuk latex teats today – hopefully it lasts!

  • Reply Anonymous November 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Indeed it’s a challenge. My baby is now slightly over a yr n I’ve intro bottle during the day since 3mths but till today she still refuses n can even go on strike. Depending on how hungry, she’ll cave in at times thus I tend to drag her feeds so she’ll drink more. It’s definitely the smell n the environment association. She sees the bed n me getting in position n she’ll go berserk! If uve manage to get a breakthrough, do share as a post!! I’m trying to wait till she’s totally ok a the bottle before weaning. Desperately wanting her to wean but the nights r just too tough!

    • Reply Daphne December 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm

      I do like the convenience of breastfeeding at night though! Especially when he was waking up every 2 hours the past couple of days, I could just latch him on to feed without the hassle of bottles and all.

  • Reply judebabe December 1, 2012 at 12:11 am

    My #1 refused the bottle when she was about 2 months old.

    And I was really hard-hearted and went on a nursing-strike, when I re-introduced her the bottle.
    Pigeon and Medela teats works well for her, which I basically only offer her the bottle in the day, and nursed her at night. for 3 days, she cried, stuck her tongue out and played with teats with her tongue.
    I also tried letting someone else feed her the bottle, and letting her drink from the bottle, from her high chair, or anything position not similar to breastfeeding.
    And I was lucky that by the 4th day, she got the message, and drank from the bottle.
    I read that babies can pick new skills or change their habits, in 3 days.

    Hope this helps!
    Good luck! :)

    • Reply Daphne December 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      Well at least 3 days isn’t so bad.. Hopefully when I wean him he can do it in 3 days. It’ll be a very long 3 days though..

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