A while back my cousin played in the semi finals of the Iowa State High School Football Tournament. Of course we went. Not only because Hank and Gus think he is the best thing since sliced bread, but also because the game was in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Cedar Falls is not just the picturesque town that the block buster “Sleeping with the Enemy” took place. It is also the place where yours truly spent 5 years of college bliss. Which means a lot of my friends still live there.
College Bliss. We are all parents now. Yikes.
During my visit my sweet friend mentioned she helps out with her nephew during the week and the poor little guy hates bottles. No big deal, right? Just let the guy breastfeed. Yeah, every working mom just chuckled. Along with any stay at home mom who was hoping to leave the house for longer than a few hours. If you have fallen victim of a bottle hater, my heart goes out to you.
How do we alleviate this? Well there are a few things you can try at home. The first thing you need to ask yourself is this. Why? Why does your little one hate the bottle? Here is how to find out. Does he scream as soon as he sees the bottle? Or is he okay with the bottle but after a few sucks, he loses his mind?
If he is okay with the bottle until after he starts drinking for a bit, the problem is most likely the nipple flow. This is especially likely if you feel like you produce a lot of breast milk, and fast. When your little one is used to getting a lot of milk quickly, and then is offered a bottle that gives him a little bit slowly, he is going to get mad fast. Buy a faster flow nipple, it should help. Easy, right? I hope so!
If your little one just doesn’t want a bottle altogether, well….this is a little more complicated. There is likely a sensory component involved. This doesn’t mean your child has serious sensory issues. We all have sensory preferences, your child’s is just manifesting during bottle feeding. Because I love lists, and this seems to be the easiest way to offer a lot of information in a short amount of time (Because come on, what parent has a ton of time to read), we are going to bullet point this! Give these activities a try!
- Put your child in a bouncy seat, lounge pillow, or just lay them on your legs. Take the bottle and press the nipple on their sweet little hands. If this doesn’t make them upset, draw a line of milk up their arm. Not crying yet? Keep going! Put a few drops on their chest, then their cheek, then their chin, then their top lip, and….look at that….in their mouth. It is important that if they start crying when you put the milk in one place, you don’t go onto the next. This isn’t going to happen in one sitting! It may take a week or two! The more you do it, the faster they will make progress. Teach your daycare provider, babysitter, grandma, etc to do this!
- If your child is able to sit up, put them in a high chair. Use the bottle to spread a line of the milk across the tray and allow them to touch it. Dip your finger in the milk and spread it on their lips. Leave the bottle on the tray and let them manipulate it on their own time. Do this multiple times a day to decrease sensitivity and aversions.
- When you do put the bottle in your screaming kiddos mouth, do they try and chew on the nipple? Your little one may want a little extra input and thinks the bottle should provide it, and it super ticked off when it isn’t. So give him some sensory input. Give him a munchable! What is a munchable? Read about it here! Want a grocery list of munchables? I have that for you right here! I am feeling resourceful today!
- And if you are quite sure your kiddo just really likes to breastfeed and nothing else….well you could always try tricking him. Check out The Joovy “Boob” Bottle.
If you try the above tips for two weeks and still don’t see any progress, shoot me an email. No, really do it. I want to help you not rush home from work every day to feed your baby who has starved himself all day. I want to allow you to go away on a girl’s weekend without constantly worrying your child will waste away while you are gone. But, if I am going to give you free advice, the least you can do is invite me on that girl’s weekend. I am kidding….kind of.
Cedar Falls trips look a lot differently these days.