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Thread: Best bottle for expressed breast milk?

  1. #1

    Default Best bottle for expressed breast milk?

    Hey, all.

    LO is 6 weeks today and is exclusively BF. I am going back to work, and it's important that he take a bottle of expressed milk, but it's been quite difficult! I have about 6 weeks to work with.

    When we attempt to give him the bottle, he just mouths it for a while, and some milk will come out. Then he usually just screams. I feel horrible for him

    Here are some extra details that might help you help me:

    - He doesn't take pacis. Doesn't like them, and I haven't pushed it because I didn't want to create nipple confusion.
    -So far we have tried Madela and Avent bottles. He gets really made because the milk will come out when he is not sucking and it shocks him. They are both slow flow so I don't get it.
    -The nipples of the bottles we have also seem really long to me, and he will mouth the tip, but doesn't want to put it back into his mouth. He gags. We don't force it on him either. We are very, very gentle.
    -Daddy has tried feeding (with me far away) and I have tried alone, we both fail
    -I have offered him the bottle when he was starving--bad idea...he was inconsolable
    -I have tried to offer him the bottle when he had just a little food, but if it sucked at all, he would spit up from choking
    -We have tried to give him a bottle drowsy, but he just spits it out and falls asleep.

    Bottles I have recently purchased but not tried:
    Dr. Brown
    Nuk Orthodontic
    Tommy Tippy

    I guess I don't know what to do. I don't want to make him hate the bottle, but I NEED him to take it. Do I keep trying new nipples? Stick with one for a while?

    Any advice appreciated

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Best bottle for expressed breast milk?

    It is always so stressful when baby won’t take a bottle. This IS a pretty common issue and in most cases it all turns out just fine. I don’t have any particular suggestion of a bottle because one baby's pleasure is so often another babies poison when it comes to bottles.

    Here is what I suggest at this point.

    Make sure your expressed milk does not smell soapy after storage (in rare cases it can even happen to fresh milk.) If it does, it indicates an excess lipase issue. The milk IS SAFE but some baby’s refuse it. Get back to us if you discover your milk smells soapy.

    Try a different temperature of milk. Some babies prefer cold milk.

    Try cup feeding. YES, an open cup. (see video linked below.) This need not be the way baby will always be fed, but this can work very well in a pinch and also may be helpful to get baby used to the idea of taking milk from something other than mommy. Baby's who refuse bottles often will try a cup, I don't know why.

    Often a baby who is refusing will do better if the bottle is not given by mommy and in fact if mommy is not even there. Not even in the house.

    Don't push it. Stop at any point baby is getting upset or frantic and try again later. Also stop if caregiver is getting frantic! Keep things calm.

    As you have found, it is best to try before baby gets very hungry. You want baby in a calm, experimental mood with bottle or cup.

    This describes a way to offer a bottle that can be helpful for many reasons. http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf This is generally the way all bottles should be given, because it slows down the feeding and lets baby set the pace, just as your baby is used to doing at the breast.

    Cup feeding video: Please note, this was taken during as lactation consultation so mom in video has no top on. http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/conte...me=vid-cupfeed
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; July 23rd, 2013 at 05:16 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Best bottle for expressed breast milk?

    I would try the Soothie brand by The 1st Years. Walmart carries them tho you may have to get them online. This is the only kind my daughter will take. They are basically the Soothie pacifier with a hole in it--very slow flow.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    Default Re: Best bottle for expressed breast milk?

    You could try the Calma bottle by Medela. Babies R Us has them, and the milk only flows when the baby is sucking. I tried one for the first time today in preparation for going back to work in three weeks, and it seemed to work really well.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Best bottle for expressed breast milk?

    Second the Calma. Just be aware that once baby does get the bottle to "let down" it can come out kind of fast so you have to anticipate that and tip the bottle away as needed till baby gets used to it. It is very expensive for one bottle but it really is wort it in my opinion

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Austin, TX

    Default Re: Best bottle for expressed breast milk?

    Hi there. We dealt with a few months of bottle refusal. The best advice I can give is be patient, persistent, and creative. We started practicing with the bottle with our son at the same age as your LO, 6 wks, with 6 wks before he had to start daycare, for just a few minutes once a day. Most of the time we got a total meltdown. We didn't continue to force it when he got fussy -- we didn't want to create a negative association -- so hubs would just set it aside and try again later, and/or next time maybe try something different. My son also rejected pacifiers ... he was just boobs or bust! And really, why shouldn't they be? They want their very favorite meal from their very favorite restaurant! Smart baby doesn't want a substitute Anyway, here are the things that we tried (apologies if I'm repeating anything from the PPs).

    Bottle type is one thing you can experiment with. Some brands are designed to mimic the breast (like Tommee Tippee, Breastflow, Calma) and some women say that they are better for a breastfed baby. I've also read that selecting a bottle with a nipple that looks anatomically close to you can encourage acceptance. Personally neither of those things made a difference for us - my baby rejected three types of bottles supposedly designed for breastfed babies, and ultimately accepted Born Free, and their nipples don't look like me OR mimic the breast, so who knows! Although they are pretty slow flowing so that probably helped. Also, even though they will ALL say they have "slow flow" nipples (and you should never use anything else but the slowest flow, stage 1 nipple with a breastfed baby, regardless of baby's age -- your breasts don't move up in flow so why should the bottle?), truthfully some are faster than others, and your baby might have a preference for one over the other. Practice with one brand for at least several days (maybe a week?), to give baby a chance to catch on, before you switch to something new. You'll also want to make sure you're doing paced bottle feeding, so that it's not as overwhelming to baby and he can control the flow better. (LLL has a good handout on that, you can find it on this website.)

    However there are other things you can experiment with in addition to bottle brand, such as:
    -Milk temperature: Room temp, warm, very warm ... babies can be very particular about that.
    -Hunger level: You can try when baby is already hungry (he might be more inclined to eat), or alternately when he is between feeding times and less hungry (less hunger might mean less frustration, and more like "here's something new and fun to play with, and it has milk in it!")
    -Different holds/positions: You can try it from a traditional cradle hold, a more upright almost-seated cradle position, sitting baby with his back against the belly of the person feeding him, or positioned seated in front of the person feeding him (either in an infant seat or reclining against the adult's propped up thighs).
    -Mimic Mom: You can also have the caregiver wear a piece of your clothing (like a scarf you've slept on, or your robe, that has your scent), or nestle the bottle under their armpit with baby in a cradle hold, so that the experience mimics breastfeeding.
    -Use movement: You can try feeding him while walking around, gently rocking or swaying -- movement can calm and distract them a little.
    -Where are you during the feed? I'm assuming you are not giving the bottle (and ideally you shouldn’t –to support your breastfeeding you want baby to associate you with nursing, not bottles–plus if your baby is refusing bottles overall, he’s even LESS likely to take it from you!). You might need to leave the room or even leave the house (if my baby could see or smell me, or just knew I was nearby, he wouldn't take the bottle).
    -Try different caregivers offering the bottle -- partner, grandparent, a friend, etc.
    -Trying warming the nipple first, and dipping it in the breastmilk so he can smell and taste it. This is the "Instant Rewards" technique.
    -You can also try alternative methods, like syringe or cup feeding, and see if your daycare provider is open to them. Daycares tend to push bottles because they are low maintenance and fast for the caregiver, but they are certainly not the only way to get milk into a baby.

    Or try these things in combination. It takes a bit of trial and error. Don't be afraid to go back and try something again that didn't work before -- on a whim we went back to a bottle that my son had initially rejected, just to see what happened, and he accepted it! That, plus feeding him while walking/rocking, made it a whole new ballgame.

    Here are some links to articles that were helpful to me:

    You might also try to prepare yourself for possible reverse cycling (baby sleeping more and eating less during the day and ramping up night nursing to get their calories -- totally unfair for a working mom, I know, but such is life).

    But your baby will not starve -- babies are smart and they do understand what's going on. My very wonderful daycare director told me "No baby will purposely starve himself" and she was right. Just a few days before we started daycare, at 12 wks old, he finally took about a half-ounce from the bottle, and we felt like throwing a party! Over the next two months, we slowly worked through what I called "bottle reluctance" ... at first he would take 2-3 oz spread over the course of the daycare day, and eventually that gradually worked up to 5-6 oz per day, and then one day, he just DECIDED to accept it, and was fine from that point forward. He did reverse cycle for all those months, which was rough on me! And if he had never been willing to take a bottle, my daycare was willing to experiment with syringe or cup feeding. I'm sure your LO will get it together -- mine did and he is definitely the most "determined" baby my daycare has had! But even if he doesn't, and he is a reverse cycle baby for a little while until you can transition him to cups, it will be OK too! Just stay optimistic and keep trying and it will work out.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Best bottle for expressed breast milk?

    This was soooo helpful! Thank you, everyone!!!

    As a little update, it's been about a week since I posted. After trying every day for a few minutes a day, HE FINALLY TOOK AN OUNCE.

    He ended up spitting up almost an entire feeding after breastfeeding, and I was totally drained. He was frustrated because he wanted more, and I had my husband sit and give it a try. It took him about 35 minutes to figure it out, but he was really willing for some reason. It was like he knew, "You just tried momma...you know she's got nothing for you!" He took it from an Avent bottle (one that he previously rejected)....and the vacuum was running because it made him stop crying. Haha. It was weird but it worked.

    I really appreciated everyone's thoughtful responses. Mercy Street and Meg-AWESOME resources!! I know that this is going to be a learning curve and what worked today might not work tomorrow, but I am optimistic that over these next 5 weeks he will get better!! If he regresses some at the next feeding, I am going to try some of the techniques you mentioned.

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