184674 tn?1360860493

Sudden bottle rejection - what should I do?

I am at a loss as to why my son (10½ weeks old) has suddenly decided he will not have anything whatsoever to do with bottles anymore. I'm a working mom and I pump while at work, then deliver the milk to my grandmother-in-law during the day, as she's only a few minutes away from my workplace. On my lunch hour, I drop by her house and breastfeed him. At home, he is exclusively breastfed.
I've been back at work for at least six or seven weeks now, and since my GIL has been watching him during the day, he has had no issues with swapping from the bottle to the breast. The only "problem" we've had from the beginning is that he won't take a bottle from me...just anyone else. He gets pretty upset with me if I try to give him a bottle, but takes one with no hesitation from anyone else; so it's not like it's actually a real problem, just an interesting observation.
Anyway, as of yesterday afternoon, he's decided bottles are the most horrible things that could ever touch his lips. In the last six weeks, we've successfully used Avent, Medela, Gerber NUK, and The First Years Breastflow bottles. My GIL tried all the different types because she said he was choking and coughing with the Avent and Medela (even with slow-flow nipples), and he was fussy with the NUK bottle, but he has been using the Breastflow bottle for about three weeks now like it's been the best thing ever. But yesterday afternoon, he didn't want any of the bottles. It was only a couple hours before I picked him up and went home, so we figured maybe he was just having a bad day and it didn't have anything to do with the bottle.
Well, this morning he breastfed from 5-5:30 am, and I dropped him off at my GIL's at about 8:30 this morning. From 8:30-10, he was acting hungry (rooting, fussing, smacking his lips) but absolutely REFUSED to take the bottle during that time. I was called at work to come by if I could so I could either feed him or do something to calm him down (which was not taken well as far as getting permission to leave work). I got there and tried to bottle feed him, which of course didn't work, as he won't take a bottle from me. But I also did not breastfeed him because I don't want to encourage this bottle rejection, either.
The only thing he's taken today has been his NUK paci, and he's sucked on it so hard he's given himself a nice red "clown face." His eyes look exhausted since he'd been crying all morning. So on my lunch hour, I went by BabiesRUs and got him some NUK bottle nipples that are shaped more like his paci, as the nipple on the Gerber bottle was more of a breast shape and a small nipple. The regular NUK nipple is more elongated and flatter, shaped more like the paci than the breast.
I went back to test drive that bottle nipple with him, and sure enough, he took right to it--even from me! Well, he sucked and he sucked, and I swear I sat there and held that bottle for him for nearly half an hour and it looked like the milk just wasn't going anywhere. After some time went by, he started squirming and fussing and really sucking hard on the nipple. When I took it out, he had only gotten a half ounce of milk out of the 5 ounces in that bottle! The poor little guy! And that nipple was supposed to be the medium flow!
So we tried poking a needle sized hole just above the regular hole. You can hardly see it, so I didn't think that it would increase the flow significantly, only enough for him to get more down without so much effort. Of course, then he tried it and not only did he not want it anymore, but the few ***** he did attempt, he choked! So I resorted to breastfeeding him for a few minutes, just to get something in his tummy and because I felt so sorry for him.
I don't know what to do about this! I've got the whole weekend to figure this out, but I'm stumped. So far, the only nipple he's even willing to consider is the NUK nipple. But I don't know how much longer that will last. And as much as I'd love to, I can't exclusively breastfeed him because I work full time.
At some point, will he just get hungry enough to take a bottle, no matter what the nipple looks or feels like? I hate to see him go through this and it's making me feel horrible that I can't breastfeed him, especially this weekend when we're all at home, because I don't want him to develop such a strong aversion to the bottle that we have to endure this every single week. I'll exclusively pump for however long it takes to get him through this phase.
But is that the right thing to do--take away the breast completely until he gets hungry enough to accept a bottle?
I'm so heartbroken over this. Please help!
5 Responses
171768 tn?1324230099
I have no experience with bottle rejection, but lots of experience with the Nuk nipple, as that is the only one my girls would take.

I think the Nuk is good for certain babies because the hole is on top. So when the baby pauses to breathe, it doesn't flow to the back of their throats making them choke. I know this really helped my first who had coordination issues. Thought I'd mention it because you mention he was choking on some nipples.

As to why at 10 weeks... i might have some insight as well. My first had feeding issues related to her prematurity- she had a weak s.uck and coordination issues. It made bottle feeding challenging, but these problems became MUCH worse around 8 to 10 weeks. My LC explained to me that the baby was being more bothered by these problems at that age because she was older and becoming more aware of it. Interestingly, this baby also became a bit more challenging to feed around then too.

So... back to the nuk... are you using the older narrow based Nuks or the newer wide-based nuk? Both girls latched much easier on to the narrow Nuk. About the problem with flow- some Nuks, especially when new, don't vent properly. You can apply a little pressure next to the vent hole as the baby s.ucks to get it going using your finger or something narrow like a paperclip. Or you can use a paper clip before the feed to make sure the vent hole is venting properly. You should see bubbles as the baby feeds. A large percentage of the Nuks I bought did have this problem. Some work great from the start, some got better with time, others I tossed.

I would start out with the slow flow Nuk in small. The medium flow is probably too fast for him at this point. If you haven't tried the narrow based one, I would as that is much more like the pacifier.

Once I found the right nipple, many of our feeding problems resolved. It just took a LONG time to find it. We actually needed the size small medium flow nuk, which has been out of production for over 5 years. Took me forever to find it and have it shipped.
646779 tn?1281996041
This happened to my sisters baby.... Only difference is he never liked the bottles, period. She breastfed him the year (full time back at work when he turned 6 months) and then he went onto sippy cups with formula. But bottles never worked before then. She had to bteastfeed when she got in from work for the whole evening because he was not eating/ feeding in the day. She breastfed alot during the night too - in the end she had to stop (at 1 year old) due to sheer exhaustion.
I'm not sure what the solution is but I would breastfeed him whenever you can really, even though it must be tough. If you are going to have lunch in your GIL's you could spend that time breast feeding while eating?? Not sure how practical that is mind, but he is going to loose weight (like my sisters baby did) because he will hold out for you. On the positive side, he shows some tolerance of bottles, so you should continue with them and hopefully he will become more accepting of both breast and bottle feeding.
646779 tn?1281996041
Oh, and good luck! :)
184674 tn?1360860493
Thanks. I do breast feed him when I go by at lunch. I tried to hold out on him today because I was afraid that might encourage him to keep rejecting the bottle the rest of the day. But I felt so sorry for him; he was so exhausted and hungry and had only gotten a half ounce from that stupid NUK nipple.
Urgh, why did he have to start doing this? I mean, I'm not angry, just frustrated and heartbroken because my baby is hungry and he wants me to feed him, and I can't be there for him every time he's hungry because I have to work. :-(
I hope this is just a short phase and he gets back to normal next week.
Thanks again for your reply.
184674 tn?1360860493
Thank you for all the great feedback, especially about the Nuk nipples. I am in fact using the narrow kind, as the newer, wider type have already been tried and he wasn't very happy with them. I bought the narrow kind knowing they were shaped more like his pacifiers, and thought that would help with the bottle issue.
I intended to get him the stage 1 slow flow, but accidentally picked up the stage 2 medium flow without realizing it until after we opened them and were trying to use them. However, that was the one we were having troubles with anyway, because he was only able to get a half ounce after drinking from the bottle for over 20 minutes. It makes much more sense now that you mention the valve may have been too small and not letting enough air vacuum through. We poked a small hole in the nipple and that helped matters, but by then he was so upset about still being hungry that he wanted nothing to do with the bottle again. Turns out, though, by the time I'd picked him up that evening to go home, he had gotten hungry enough to take the bottle and finish it off with no problem, thank goodness. My GIL said he had no issues with choking on it, either. I figured a flow that was faster than what he was getting wouldn't cause him to choke, knowing he nurses fine when I have a very strong and fast letdown that doesn't ever seem to bother him...but I think he was choking on the other bottles because he was so upset and screaming and fussing that the milk was choking him when he'd inhale to take a breath. Poor kid. Then he'd just get more aggravated.
Anyway, I breastfed him all weekend except for Sunday night, just to make sure he'd be up for taking the bottle Monday morning. He took the bottle *from me* with the Nuk nipple like it was nothing new, and, referring to what you told me about the vavle, I pinched it a little extra when he first started feeding to open it up more, and once I did that, he drank the whole bottle without a problem.
Hope this means the problem is solved. Thanks again for your help!

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