Transitioning from Bottle to Breast: An Update

The bliss of breastfeeding can be suddenly interrupted when baby decides that she will never, ever consider drinking expressed milk from a bottle.  As you may have heard from my desperate post awhile back, my own baby went ten hours without drinking a drop of milk when I went back to work, just because she decided not to.  We had tried all temperatures, all bottles, and all times of the day, but she held fast to her decision to starve to death rather than suckle on silicone.

transition from breast to baby bottleLuckily, with the help of our readers and some ingenious thinking on my husband’s part, we have gotten her to loosen her policies on bottle rejection.  She still only drinks about three ounces a day while I’m gone, which makes for long nights of breastfeeding, but we’re grateful she’s taking any milk by bottle.

Here are some of the great suggestions we had from our wise readers:

  • Hold a used nursing pad up to baby’s face while feeding for the smell.
  • Put a drop of breast milk on her tongue while she’s calm and wait for her to suck.
  • Make sure the bottle temperature is quite warm.
  • Hold baby close while feeding.
  • Offer the bottle every hour, but only for five minutes or less unless baby starts to drink.
  • Keep trying with bottle feeding even when mom is home so baby gets practice.
  • Try soft latex nipples or the Adiri Natural Nurser bottles.
  • Try using a spoon or even a cup and letting baby lap up the milk.
  • Have the feeder take off his/her shirt so the baby has skin to skin contact (obviously you couldn’t ask your daycare provider to do this but partners, mothers and sisters might be willing to try).
  • Feed the baby while she’s sleeping so that she doesn’t realize that she’s drinking from a bottle.

Thanks so very much for rescuing us with your wise advice!  My stay-at-home husband was coping with my son’s first week of preschool, a stomach virus, and a screaming baby so your help was very much appreciated.   Please feel free to share any tips on how to get our little one to chow down more food during the day!


  1. I had the same problem. My little guy wouldn’t take a bottle from anyone in the same position I nursed, usually cradled. My mother in law watched him for the first couple weeks and had to face him out – usually towards the window and distract him from the fact he wasn’t being fed by me. My husband had to do the same thing, he even used the tv once to distract him – but at least he was eating. And we used the Adiri Nursers too – it was the only thing he’d take. He went to daycare after that and she too had to start over. At daycare it was a case that he was too busy watching the other kids to eat, even at 4 months old! Good luck.

  2. oh, my heart goes out to you. that must be so stressful!

    this is obviously unhelpful to you, but maybe to someone else…i’d read that the “magic” time to introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby is at 5-6 weeks. earlier, and supposedly you risk nipple confusion and baby preferring the bottle, and later and baby may become more inflexible. thankfully, our little one would take either, but i know we were lucky and there is no real “magic” answer for everyone–just a lot of trial and error.

    may your little one continue to become more and more comfortable with the bottle and soon!

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