5 Tips for the Mama of the Baby Who Just Won’t Take a Bottle

August 17, 2016·

Thank you to Munchkin LATCH for sponsoring this post! All thoughts, opinions, and stories are 100% my own. 

When I first got pregnant with Lilly, I was the hardcore “research” mom-to-be. I read every blog, book, website, etc. about all things parenting and really thought I was going to have it all figured out.

Oh how naive I was!

I learned pretty quickly through my pregnancy, labor, and delivery with Lilly that, oh wait, I DON’T have it all figured out and I WON’T ever have it all figured out. The truth is, throughout my pregnancy, labor, and delivery with Amos AND as I approach Lilly’s third birthday, I’ve learned that parenting is just a whole lot of trial and error.

Every pregnancy is different. Ever labor is different. Every delivery is different. And every baby is totally different. While Lilly and Amos have the same mom and dad, they are completely different in so many ways – especially as babies.

One thing that I am incredibly passionate about when it comes to my kids is breastfeeding. Don’t get me wrong, I am team FEED YOUR BABY, and however you choose to do that – whether it be through breastfeeding or formula, that is awesome. For me, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed my kids and so I was determined from the start that would be what we’d do and I’d breastfeed as long as I could. Since August is actually Breastfeeding Awareness Month, I thought it would be the perfect time to share a little bit of my story with you guys!

nursing Lilly
This is one of the only pictures I have of me nursing Lilly. This was taken the night before she turned one year old… it is so special to me.

My breastfeeding journey with Lilly was such a blessing to the both of us, but especially to me. I am not going to lie, we struggled at first, but once she got the hang of it, she was a great nurser. Lilly was never a “cuddly” baby, so that time spent nursing was the closest thing I had to snuggles with her. Lilly actually nursed until she turned 21 months old… she was the one who ended it and said she didn’t want it anymore, and while I was sad, I was thankful for the time we had. One day I’ll share my full nursing story with her… I really should probably do that!

Honestly though, even with our rough start, once Lilly figured out how to latch, Lilly nursed and took pacis and bottles easily! Our nursing, bottle taking, and weaning journey was pretty easy!

Amos, on the other hand, has been a different story.

In true boy fashion (as my husband says), Amos took to the boob right away in the hospital. Pretty much the first time I tried to get him to latch, he got it immediately. My milk came in SUPER fast (it was fully in even before we left the hospital) and Amos has nursed like a champ ever since.

Family Centered Cesarean C-Section Birth Story | (C) 2015 Rebecca Keller Photography (45)
(C) 2016 Rebecca Keller Photography

Trust me, I am so. so. so. soooo. thankful that my nursing journey with Amos started off so smoothly and that he has nursed so easily and well since he was born… I am thankful because I know that is not always the case for a lot of moms.

HOWEVER, on the flip side, he nurses SO well, in fact, that getting him to take a paci or take a bottle has pretty much been impossible. That means that since Amos was born, I’ve essentially been tied to him every day, all day because he nurses about every 2-3 hours. I can sometimes get him to stretch his feedings to every 4 hours, but those times are rare. …Not to mention, he still wakes a couple times a night and is ravenously hungry when we wakes up. Photo by Be True Baby

Needless to say, I am exhausted, overwhelmed, and have had moments where I felt trapped. I love my son so much, but man… it is TIRING to be someone’s sole source of nutrition day in and day out for months on end. Hence why Amos has been my travel buddy all summer going with me to Utah, NYC, and beyond. 🙂

John and I had tried and tried and tried, unsuccessfully, to get Amos to take a bottle… and he. just. would. not. take. a. bottle. I had never experienced this issue with Lilly, so I was in uncharted territory! Over the last month or so, though, I have been in “GO TIME” mode working with him on the bottle because John and I were going away for a night earlier in the month for a wedding and I have some things coming up in the next few weeks and months that will require me to be away in the evenings and, Lord knows, someone other than me has got to be able to feed him!Photo by Be True Baby

And while we are nowhere near perfect yet, we have made MASSIVE strides in the bottle-feeding department with Amos. So much so that John and I were able to get away for that night to go to a friend’s wedding and my in-laws took care of the kids and everyone survived – including Amos and he ate! VICTORIES!!munchkin-latch-photo-1

With ALL of that being said (I realize all that was a large setup to this part of the post), I thought it might be helpful if I share with you some tips and tricks that might help you in your journey if you have a baby who doesn’t want to take a bottle!

Now, this list is meant for the “older” baby (3+ months) who won’t take a bottle. Introducing a bottle to a younger baby is a different story… this is meant for the older babies who are more stubborn and just want mama.

1. LEAVE THE HOUSE and have someone else feed the baby.

No seriously, get out. This is so hard, but mama, you have to leave. This is important for a couple of reasons… 1. babies can SMELL you and your milk and if you are around, baby will want you and not that plastic thing that’s being shoved in their mouth. 2. It’s hard on you and hearing them cry can be really tough! This is probably the hardest part for me… because when Amos is hungry, he gets MAD. He will scream and scream and that is just so hard for me to hear. Having John or my dad or my in-laws help with trying to feed him was vital and it was even more vital that I not be there.

2. Try different bottles and especially look for bottles that mimic the breast!

One of the few bottles that Amos has been able to eat from is the Munchkin LATCH bottle. The LATCH bottle is awesome because it has an accordion-style nipple that pumps and moves just like a breast. The nipple also stretches and moves along your baby’s soft palate which helps with latching. Additionally, the bottle has a one-piece, anti-colic valve that keeps air from traveling through the breast milk, reducing the risk of gas and colic.


3. Get up and move! Sing! Talk! Try different tricks…

For Amos, one of the things that helped him was singing to him, talking to him, and MOVING. For some reason, he would have an easier time taking the bottle if he was distracted by something else. I realize that seems counterintuitive, but for him, it worked! The distraction from this “plastic thing” being shoved in his mouth. The more I distracted him, the more he would eat. And some babies may be the complete opposite and need absolutely no distractions at all. The reason I share this with you is because don’t think that you HAVE to be sitting in a rocking chair with baby propped up to feed.

4. Don’t give up!

There were times over the last couple of months where I would literally feel like it would never happen for us… I thought Amos would NEVER take a bottle and when John and I left earlier this month, I truly thought we’d get a call that night and that we’d have to turn around and come home because he hadn’t eaten. But guess what? That didn’t happen! While it may be tough, babies eventually will get hungry enough and they will eat! Once he got hungry enough, Amos ate!munchkin-latch-photo-2

5. Make sure to pump a lot and have a back up plan

While I am not the biggest fan of pumping, I knew pumping regularly would be really important to have a good supply of milk for others to feed him (and for all our trial runs! So. Many. Trial. Runs.) The Munchkin LATCH nursing pads and pump cleaning tools are incredibly helpful for times like these… And, for our backup plan, we had a syringe! If all else fails, feed the baby with a syringe just like you’re giving the baby medicine.

And remember, if baby gets hungry enough, baby WILL eat… I promise. 🙂

What about you? If you chose to breastfeed your little one(s), did you have an easy or difficult time? Did they take bottles easily? Share your tips in the comments!

Thank you to Munchkin LATCH for sponsoring this post! All thoughts, opinions, and stories are 100% my own.