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Sudden bottle rejection - what should I do?
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Sudden bottle rejection - what should I do?

I posted this in the Breastfeeding forum as well, but this forum has more activity and faster responses, and I need help and advice fast. :-(
I am at a loss as to why my son (10½ weeks old) has suddenly decided he will not have anything whatsoever to do with bottles anymore. I'm a working mom and I pump while at work, then deliver the milk to my grandmother-in-law during the day, as she's only a few minutes away from my workplace. On my lunch hour, I drop by her house and breastfeed him. At home, he is exclusively breastfed.
I've been back at work for at least six or seven weeks now, and since my GIL has been watching him during the day, he has had no issues with swapping from the bottle to the breast. The only "problem" we've had from the beginning is that he won't take a bottle from me...just anyone else. He gets pretty upset with me if I try to give him a bottle, but takes one with no hesitation from anyone else; so it's not like it's actually a real problem, just an interesting observation.
Anyway, as of yesterday afternoon, he's decided bottles are the most horrible things that could ever touch his lips. In the last six weeks, we've successfully used Avent, Medela, Gerber NUK, and The First Years Breastflow bottles. My GIL tried all the different types because she said he was choking and coughing with the Avent and Medela (even with slow-flow nipples), and he was fussy with the NUK bottle, but he has been using the Breastflow bottle for about three weeks now like it's been the best thing ever. But yesterday afternoon, he didn't want any of the bottles. It was only a couple hours before I picked him up and went home, so we figured maybe he was just having a bad day and it didn't have anything to do with the bottle.
Well, this morning he breastfed from 5-5:30 am, and I dropped him off at my GIL's at about 8:30 this morning. From 8:30-10, he was acting hungry (rooting, fussing, smacking his lips) but absolutely REFUSED to take the bottle during that time. I was called at work to come by if I could so I could either feed him or do something to calm him down (which was not taken well as far as getting permission to leave work). I got there and tried to bottle feed him, which of course didn't work, as he won't take a bottle from me. But I also did not breastfeed him because I don't want to encourage this bottle rejection, either.
The only thing he's taken today has been his NUK paci, and he's sucked on it so hard he's given himself a nice red "clown face." His eyes look exhausted since he'd been crying all morning. So on my lunch hour, I went by BabiesRUs and got him some NUK bottle nipples that are shaped more like his paci, as the nipple on the Gerber bottle was more of a breast shape and a small nipple. The regular NUK nipple is more elongated and flatter, shaped more like the paci than the breast.
I went back to test drive that bottle nipple with him, and sure enough, he took right to it--even from me! Well, he sucked and he sucked, and I swear I sat there and held that bottle for him for nearly half an hour and it looked like the milk just wasn't going anywhere. After some time went by, he started squirming and fussing and really sucking hard on the nipple. When I took it out, he had only gotten a half ounce of milk out of the 5 ounces in that bottle! The poor little guy! And that nipple was supposed to be the medium flow!
So we tried poking a needle sized hole just above the regular hole. You can hardly see it, so I didn't think that it would increase the flow significantly, only enough for him to get more down without so much effort. Of course, then he tried it and not only did he not want it anymore, but the few ***** he did attempt, he choked! So I resorted to breastfeeding him for a few minutes, just to get something in his tummy and because I felt so sorry for him.
I don't know what to do about this! I've got the whole weekend to figure this out, but I'm stumped. So far, the only nipple he's even willing to just consider is the NUK nipple. But I don't know how much longer that will last. And as much as I'd love to, I can't exclusively breastfeed him because I work full time.
At some point, will he just get hungry enough to take a bottle, no matter what the nipple looks or feels like? I hate to see him go through this and it's making me feel horrible that I can't breastfeed him, especially this weekend when we're all at home, because I don't want him to develop such a strong aversion to the bottle that we have to endure this every single week. I'll exclusively pump for however long it takes to get him through this phase.
But is that the right thing to do--take away the breast completely until he gets hungry enough to accept a bottle?
I'm so heartbroken over this. Please help!
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8 Comments Post a Comment
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184674_tn?1360864093
Ugh, the asterisked word is s u c k s.

Sheesh.
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Avatar_f_tn
My friends baby did NOT take the bottle for 5 days...... mind you my friend was working full time, and BF at night..... her child just didnt want ANYTHING to do with bottles. then one day she mustv realized WAIT im hungery!!!!! and takes them without a prob now!
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229760_tn?1291471470
The same thing happened to my dear friend! She was heartbroken like you. Her little girl out of the blue refused bottles at the sitters and she too went days w/out eating at the sitters. My friend still nursed her at home to make sure she was not sick and that was not the cause of not eating!Thankfully the showdown ended soon enough and all was back to normal w/in a few days! If all else fells take to the pedi he might have an ear infection. Hang in there girly!
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184674_tn?1360864093
Thank you for your replies. I really hope this is going to be just a short phase and he's ready to take bottles again by the time the weekend is over.
I can't imagine what it would be like holding out all day for food, then eating all night--oh gosh, that would be a drain on us both, I'm sure! :-/
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376739_tn?1317669990
It is just a phase. He prefers his momma, which is such a sweet compliment! But it is also so heartbreaking for you, I'm sure. *HUGS* Hang in there. He'll eat when he's hungry!
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Avatar_f_tn
I had a situation similar to yours.  I was(am) a mom that worked full time and pumped during the day and nursed when at home for the 1st year of my daughters life.  My daughter went through several phases during her 1st year where she had a bottle or breast aversion - these were just phases in our case and they passed.

Its not uncommon for baby to refuse a bottle from a breastfeeding mom because they are well aware that momma has the "real" stuff ;-)   It sounds like you need to keep experimenting with different nipples but you will need someone else to do this for you.  We went through about 6 different bottles/nipples before we found one that Jazmine liked and Dr Browns worked for us.  You might try  suc king on the the nipple/bottle yourself to see what type off flow you get and then experimenting with using different sized needles to open the hole to increase flow (like what you did, but different sized needles).  That way you might be able to get tailor milk flow a little better to your son and the trials were performed on you not him which means you can avoid the situation where he may choke and develop a fear of the bottle.

Is it possible he is teething?  This might be effecting the way he takes his bottle.

Out of curiosity, does your son eat solid foods?  We started Jazmine on rice cereal at about 6 months which we prepared using breast milk.  It took her about a week to take to it but its another way to get food and breast milk into their systems and doesnt involve the bottle.
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470885_tn?1326332637
I'm going through something similar with my 10.5 week old - although since I'm on mat leave until next February and can BF exclusively with minimal pumping (I just pump a bottle every other day so that DH can feed DS before bedtime every other day...and the occasional supplementary bottle to that, as needed) - so, while upsetting, it's not as big of a problem.

Does your son happen to have a runny/stuffy nose?  Mine does, and I suspect that's the problem...at least I hope so since if it is, it should resolve itself once the cold is gone.  

I really hope that your son's bottle rejection resolves itself soon .....I definitely understand how upsetting this is for you, and how difficult it must be to concentrate at work because of it..  I honestly admire you ladies who have to go back to work when your little ones are so small and deal with all of this, on top of your careers.  I'm in Canada where we get a year long maternity leave which is why I can be home for so long.
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184674_tn?1360864093
Thank you all.
I'm hoping this issue has resolved itself. By the time I'd picked him up Friday evening, my GIL told me that he finally took the bottle without a problem. I guess he got hungry enough to stop fighting it.
Looks like from now on, though, he is probably only willing to take the Nuk nipples since they're shaped like his paci. I got some great advice in the Breastfeeding forum about that brand and used a couple of pointers when I bottle fed him at home last night before bed, just to make sure he'd take a bottle for today when I'd drop him off with my GIL. He took the bottle without a problem and like it was nothing new. I was so relieved!
Guess I'm not too savvy on the bottles since all I ever have to do is breastfeed. Weird how I breast and bottle fed my first son and everything seemed to come naturally; we both could transition from one to the other with no problems. But with this little guy, I've been exclusively breastfeeding him (when he's with me) from day 1, and when I try to feed him a bottle, it's so awkward for me, like wearing shoes on the wrong feet, lol. I suppose it's the same type of issue for Greydon, which is why he fights me so much if I try to give him a bottle.
Anyway, I guess the latest test of him "reconciling" with the bottle will be today. I hope when I drop by this afternoon to see him that I'll get the news that he's taken his average two or three morning bottles and he's got a full belly and ready for his afternoon nap.
*Fingers crossed!*
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