Written for BabyCentre UK
Jill Irving answers:
Your baby is used to suckling at your breast, so it's only natural that he should need a little time to adjust to a teat instead. But there are plenty of ways to encourage him to get used to this new way of feeding.
You could begin by asking someone else to give your baby a bottle while you're not there, such as your partner or childminder. Your baby may be happy to do this for other people because he won't be expecting breastmilk from them, or be able to smell it.
If you want to try to give your baby a bottle, it may help to hold him in a different position to your usual breastfeeding one. Try holding him propped up against your front and facing outwards. Once he's used to bottle feeding, you can then hold him close and look into his eyes as you feed him.
When giving your baby a bottle, help him to get used to it by letting him play with the bottle while you hold it. Whatever you do, don't force him to feed if he really doesn't want to. As soon as he starts to fight or show signs of distress, stop, and try again in a few days' time.
It may help to experiment with the temperature of the milk in the bottle. Some babies will drink from a bottle at body temperature, just like breastmilk, but others prefer it cool or at room temperature. Also try a variety of bottle teats, and try softening them with warm, boiled water.
If your baby really won't accept a bottle, then you could try feeding him with a spoon or a soft-spouted beaker. If he's around six months he might manage to drink from a cup. Some babies never bottle feed, moving happily from breastfeeding to using a cup as part of the family meal.
Moving your baby on to a bottle can be an emotional and frustrating time, especially if your baby is reluctant at first. If you need to return to work then you may feel understandably anxious about this. Try to take it slowly and enjoy the time you have with your baby before you go back to work.
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