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Thread: Oral aversion from bottle training?

  1. #1

    Default Oral aversion from bottle training?

    My LO is almost 10 weeks old and EBF. I return to work in a week and a half and in anticipation, I've started bottle training with expressed breast milk. She absolutely refuses and is hysterical when the nanny or DH offer it to her, regardless of whether I am in the room or out. We've tried 4 different bottles and nipples and no luck. I would usually break and offer the breast after 20 minutes of struggle or so but these last 4 days, the nanny and I buckled down and only offered bottle during what would be my work hours. She would sometimes take an ounce, maybe 2, with great struggle and only in a side-lying position (how I normally breastfeed her). She seemed to mostly be holding out until I offered the breast at 4 pm. Now, over the past 2 days she seems to have developed total oral aversion and screams hysterically at bottle, breast or pacifier. She wants nothing to touch her mouth and hates being put in any of her preferred feeding positions. I am only able to feed her now by offering breast while I stand and dance around the room while shushing frantically. I absolutely have to return to work, and am heartbroken at her refusal to eat. Does anyone have any ideas, advice, or tips? Or a clue of a specialist or someone I could see? My pediatrician just keeps saying "She will eat once she is hungry enough" but she has held out for period of 6 hours or more at a time. I don't want to see my baby failing to thrive or losing weight. Please help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Oral aversion from bottle training?

    My first suggestion is to stop trying to get baby to take a bottle or a pacifier for at least several days. I know you are worried about baby taking a bottle when you are at work, but for breastfeeding duration, the most important thing is to get baby comfortable with nursing again.

    Try not to stress to much about what baby is taking. While I do not 100% agree that a hungry baby will always eventually eat, there is some truth to this of course. I do not know why baby is refusing to nurse, but I take it you think baby has likely become overwhelmed and confused with the bottle pressure. This is possible. Your baby is over two months old and I assume baby is healthy and gaining normally, so less nursing for a few days is not a big deal. It is even common for nursing behavior to change around this age, and one of the normal changes that sometimes occurs in some babies is shorter/less frequent nursing sessions

    Don't force baby to nurse. Try to calm yourself with assuring mantras, visualizations and breathing exercises or whatever works for you so baby does not sense your stress. Instead, thy leaning back on a couch or bed in a 'couch potato' position- leaning back to some degree but not flat on your back, with your back and head supported comfortably with back of couch/cushions/pillows. Try to hold baby skin to skin snuggled on your chest as much as possible. If this is not possible or uncomfortable, be clothed but still hold baby snuggled on your chest as much of the time as possible. Baby snuggled against you, with babies head above their tummy is what babies usually prefer as a comfort positions. Let baby live on you, asleep and awake. Offer to nurse at the earliest cues or before cues. baby can typically nurse in this position, just slide baby down to breast height and make minor, gentle adjustments as needed. Don't make a big deal of assuming a nursing position, in other words. If baby starts rooting in sleep, be there and ready to nurse- comfort nursing often comes first after breast refusal. A calm, relaxed baby nurses best. If baby is clearly hungry but persists in refusing to nurse at all, offer a little milk - half ounce to an ounce at most- in an open cup or syringe- not a bottle if that can be avoided, to calm baby so baby will nurse. Also, you can try instant reward by dribbling expressed milk on your nipple as you latch baby and baby starts nursing. Many more ideas here: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/

    These ideas are in addition to your dancing around the room idea. If that is working, do that as well or course. Basically you want baby calm and happy to be nursing at the breast again. Whatever road takes you there is the right road.

    Once baby is nursing more calmly, know that there are alternatives to bottles that work quite well for many babies. Cup feeding for example is very helpful in cases of bottle refusal or when there is the concern that baby is becoming adverse to breastfeeding due to bottles.

    besides trying alternatives to bottles, make sure you and nanny understand how, how much, and how often it is typical for a baby to eat when mom is away. The typical way bottles are given is all wrong for breastfed babies.

    I think part of the problem, aside from being too insistent about baby taking bottles in general, may be the way bottles were given and the expectations that baby would or should take more than an ounce or two at a time. Many babies do not eat more than that at a time. They just eat more frequently. Also, many caregivers overestimate how much a baby should eat while mom is away- both per feeding session and overall. Assuming baby is nursing with normal frequency when with mom, which at this age would usually mean over night at least a couple times, as well as during the evening and morning times when mom is there, then baby will only need about one ounce per hour of separation up to perhaps an ounce and a half per hour of separation. So, 8 hour separation would be about 8-12 ounces per day total, given in amounts as baby prefers and as often as baby wishes. and of course some babies take even less during separations and make up for it when they can nurse.

    Cup feeding video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R95FUa7_s84

    Bottle feeding breastfed baby: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

    Paced bottle feeding Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH4T70OSzGs

    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; March 27th, 2015 at 12:12 PM.

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