May 18, 2021

At Sanctuary Early Learning Adventure, we welcome babies who are breast fed or formula fed. We know it can be very stressful for parents when their baby is refusing the bottle. A breastfed baby that is refusing the bottle is just likely to dislike the foreign taste and feel of the bottle nipple in their mouth. Making the transition from breast to bottle can be overwhelming without some extra support, below are some tips to assist with the transition.

1. Mimic the breastfeeding experience

Mimic the breastfeeding rhythm and flow by encouraging frequent pauses while the baby drinks from the bottle, just like when a mother has periods of let-down. Making quantities of formula similar to the quantity that a baby would consume can ensure that the flow is simulated and comfortable.

2. Hold and cuddle your baby

Whilst breastfeeding, skin to skin connection is encouraged so don’t stop this when feeding your baby a bottle. The contact benefits the baby physically, emotionally, and neurologically.

3. Elevation

Prolonged elevation of prolactin in the attached parent stimulates the opioid system, heightening the rewards for intimate, loving family relationships. – Linda F. Palmer, DC. Consider a pouch or sling to keep baby close, the warmth and closeness of baby boosts hormones, as well as reducing the stress hormone, cortisol.

4. Interact whilst feeding

Gaze into your baby’s eyes as well as stroking and patting them, interacting with each feature of their face, hands and feet. Feeding for a breastfed baby is a full sensory experience, mimicking this when bottle feeding makes the experience more fulfilling for both baby and the person feeding.

5. Avoid bottle propping

Instead of propping baby up somewhere in a bouncer or in their cot, pick up your baby and engage in the bottle feeding experience. Our early childhood educators take an active role in the experience.

6. Hold baby upright

It is key to hold baby upright when bottle feeding, with a switch from one side to the other midway through a feed. Holding baby upright is important for numerous reasons, as well as providing eye stimulation and brain development.

Remember sucking is a spontaneous response to a baby’s sucking reflex being triggered, when you repeatedly encourage the reflex they will voluntarily take the bottle. This takes time for everyone, for baby and for you and it will get easier. For more support, please come and speak with one of our experienced Educator’s for more tips and tricks to ease the transition.

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