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  1. #1

    How can I get my baby to take a bottle?

    My 4-month-old breastfed baby won't take a bottle. I've tried every bottle and nipple there is. When I leave her with a babysitter, she won't eat until I get back, and she cries and cries because she's hungry. I feel like I'll never be able to leave her anywhere again. What should I do?

  2. #2
    Hi Krystel,

    As a mother of 5, I understand how there are times when caring for your baby just seems all consuming, and you may truly need a break. I also understand that infants truly need the closeness of mum nearly all the time. God created the breastfeeding relationship to remind both mum and bub that they need that bonding time. Bub has a need to eat, and mum's breasts will have a let-down and start leaking if she goes too long without feeding. It's a beautiful, symbiotic relationship, that creates a mother/child relationship that is like no other.

    So what's a mum to do when she needs a break? The easiest thing for mum AND bub is to make those breaks last no more than about 2 hours. If you want to go to a movie with your husband, then it's just a movie. If you want to go to dinner or to lunch, then it's just out to dinner or lunch, but not a movie and dinner. If you want to go shopping without baby in tow, then have lunch before you go, put baby down for a nap, and then go shopping, returning before it's time to feed again.

    Being a mother has brought many changes into your life, and one of those is that you simply can't come and go as you used to... or you may not be able to stay away for as long as you used to.

    I took my children with me everywhere and I didn't use babysitters. I do remember leaving my first baby with my Aunt once, for more than 3 hours, and she was miserable. She would not eat, and she could not be consoled. That was my first child, and I quickly realized that I couldn't be away from her longer than about 2 hours (for feeding) and I also realized that it was just easier to keep her with me.

    So that's what I did - I took her everywhere. Sometimes in the front pack, sometimes in the back pack. Sometimes I took the swing with me and she would sleep in the swing. Sometimes I took a pack-n-play and put her in there. Often I would take her little clip-on chair to restaurants and she would sit at the table with me. She learned how to be quiet and we regularly received compliments on how well behaved she was. I did this with all of my children and received compliments on all of them.

    Taking them with me wherever I went taught them how to be respectful of others, and none of my children ever had any separation anxiety issues once I realized the trauma those separations caused my first child.

    Your daughter obviously prefers being close to you and having the warm, soft skin/nipple in her mouth, as compared to a cold, hard, silicone nipple.

    I would encourage you to be patient during these few months and enjoy your breastfeeding experience. Many babies will actually come to prefer the bottle and reject breastfeeding, which then leaves mum feeling like she should have done something differently. In fact this happened with a friend just a few months ago. She left her daughter so often that her daughter started preferring the bottle and rejected mum. This meant that in order for mum to keep her milk supply up for her baby, she had to pump more often, which she didn't do... and eventually her milk dried up. It was a sad time for her.

    Your daughter's need to be fully breastfed won't last much longer. Many babies start to eat solids around 6 months of age, and as they do, their need for breast milk is reduced. Breast milk will be the primary food until baby is 1 year of age, but even at 1 year of age, you will not be breastfeeding as much as you are now, which means you will be able to go out for longer periods of time without needing to be back to feed your baby.

    I would highly suggest that you look at these next few months as a precious gift that is only for a time. If you give your daughter the closeness and all the feeds she needs now, your relationship with her will be stronger later.

    I hope this helps. I greatly enjoyed my breastfeeding years, and now they are gone. I miss them but am so thankful for the time I had, with a little one at the breast. Nobody else can nourish and nurture your baby like you.

    Warm Regards,

    Kate

  3. #3
    Thank you so much for taking time on my concern. Your advice made me feel that my baby greatly depends on me to survive which is such a wonderful feeling!

  4. #4
    You are most welcome Please post anytime you have a question or just need an encouraging word!

    Kate

  5. #5
    Oh - and another great way to have some quiet time is to have a babysitter come to your home and watch your baby while you take a nap, read a book, relax in the tub... You might get a good 2-3 hours of "alone time" while still being close enough for baby if she needs to feed.

    Kate

  6. #6
    What wonderful advice from Kate. My youngest boy turns 1 in a couple of weeks and recently I have noticed how he has often gone many hours without breastmilk - this was unheard of when he was a new baby and it makes me ache a little for those early days again. Of course, he is a wonderful, energetic, cheeky boy (who is still feeding around every 4/5 hours) but it is not the same as the early days. Do as Kate has described and wallow in the undivided attention of your little baby feeding at your breast. It's time well-spent for sure!

    I know it feels now like you will never have a break but that time will come. How much better, when it does arrive, to be able to look back at your early days with happy memories of hours of breastfeeding bonding. Knowing that you gave your baby just what she needs. I personally feel there is too much of a push in today's world to get the baby onto the next stage and this can have a negative impact on mum and baby's bonding and attachment.

    I have found babywearing (wearing my baby in a sling for a significant time each day) excellent for giving me a 'break' each day. I can feed with him in the sling, he can sleep in the sling, I have my hands free.....it's great I really like Kate's idea of having a babysitter come round whilst you pop upstairs for some 'me time' too.

    Warm wishes to you and your bubba,

    LJ

  7. #7
    Thank you LJ. I agree, mothers do really need a "me time" to balance things out.

  8. #8
    Yes, and you should not feel guilty about this

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