How do I introduce the bottle to a dedicated breastfeeder?
My daughter Olivia is seven months and I would like to reduce breastfeeding and move to bottle feeding. Unfortunately the only advice in Gina’s book I didn’t listen to was to introduce a bottle early on in her life. Now Olivia will not take a bottle and I have to go back to work soon.
She is 20lbs and is a gorgeously contented baby. She follows the routine to the letter and I have no other problems with her (she is prone to constipation from time to time).
Getting an older baby to accept a bottle can be a difficult problem to crack. It would be a good idea to start weaning her on to a bottle when you have someone such as your husband or mother with you to help the process. Olivia associates you with breastfeeding so I suggest you let someone else try to give her a bottle first before you do it. Although you want to give up breastfeeding I would suggest you use expressed milk at first so Olivia is not given too many changes all at once. Ensure it is given when Olivia is really hungry and keep out of her eyesight and hearing. She may protest at first but with encouragement and a little perseverance you may be lucky and she will accept it. If she drinks several ounces, I would then offer her the breast to finish.
If Olivia appears to be able to handle this way of feeding without too much distress, I would begin to wean her off one feed at a time by offering more milk in the bottle each time and decreasing the breast feeding at the end. At her age, I presume she is only having 3 feeds a day, at 7am, 2/30pm and 6.30pm The best feed to drop first would be the 2.30pm. After 2-3 days, offer the whole feed in the bottle. Once she accepts that feed change on to formula.
Use the same method for the 7am followed by the 6.30pm. After a few days of Olivia accepting the bottle from someone else, try giving it to her yourself. Use a softish teat, such as those made by Tommee Tippee, who claim their “nubby” teat is the nearest thing to a breast. These teats will fit all wide-necked bottles.
Begin to offer her a cup with water at her lunchtime solids if you have not already done so.
As you are returning to work shortly this problem has to be solved. It may well mean a few days of a distressed baby but when she is really hungry, she will accept a bottle. There is a case study in The New Contented Baby Book on page 181 which would be worth reading.