Musings of a crunchy, domestic goddess

Just another mama musing about her kids, Attachment Parenting, activism, photography, and life in general

Help – re: feeding expressed breastmilk February 28, 2007

Filed under: Breastfeeding,Jody,Photography — amygeekgrl @ 11:08 pm

OK, here’s the situation…

I have a newborn photoshoot at someone’s home on Sunday. I was planning on having Jody and Julian come along with me in case Julian needed to nurse, while my sister watched Ava at our house. My sister had an emergency come up with her boyfriend who lives out of state and is now going there this weekend, so she can’t watch Ava. I can’t very well have Jody bring both of them and expect to get anything done. Ava will want to be right in the action. LOL. So we were thinking that I could pump some milk and if Julian should need to nurse while I’m away (and it should only be for 2-3 hours max), then Jody could give him a bottle. The problem is, he’s never had a bottle before. We never did bottles with Ava either so we’re feeling a bit clueless.

I pumped some milk today so that Jody could give it a try tonight and Julian would have none of it. Who can blame him? That plastic nipple looks and feels nothing like the real thing. He wouldn’t close his mouth around it and just kept protesting until I fed him. I admit I caved pretty quickly because it was too sad to see him wanting the real deal and knowing I had the goods right there to offer.

I’ve heard there’s a window for introducing a bottle to a baby and I’m pretty sure we are well past it now that he’s 3 months old.

Does anyone have any suggestions on things we could try between now and Sunday in hopes of getting him to take a bottle? I am pretty sure he will be fine and not even need to nurse while I’m gone, but I’d hate to have him get hungry and Jody not have a way to feed him and me have to leave the photoshoot to race home. The nice thing is it’s less than 2 miles away so I could get home quickly, but it’s not very professional to have to walk out in the middle of a shoot. I’m sure they would understand, but still.

So anyway, I need help. What do you all suggest? Thanks in advance!


21 Responses to “Help – re: feeding expressed breastmilk”

  1. Karen Says:

    What kind of bottle/nipple are you using? The normal kind with the little nipples are pretty baby unfriendly. My baby didn’t get a bottle until he was about 4 months old, and he HATED the normal ones. Have you tried the Avent bottles? The nipples on those are bigger and seem to be more happy for babies. It worked for us, anyhow. Also, it’s helpful if you aren’t in the room when he’s being fed a bottle. If he knows the real thing is right there, no substitute will ever be good enough.

    Good luck!

  2. amamasblog Says:

    I used the Advent nipples with Ryan and Cole (I like them- they are full at the bottom- more like the real thing), and we never had a problem with them refusing them. I don’t think we gave Cole his first bottle until he was 4 or 5 months, and grandma did. Some nipples can regulate how much milk is coming out as well- I know the Advant ones have stages to match their suck, so that may help as well, so if he is used to getting a certain amount, he won’t be getting a gush like a 9 month old would.

    One thing is they KNOW when you are around, and a lot of times babies will REFUSE the bottle if you are around. Maybe Jody could try again with a different nipple and you should leave the house so J. knows you are not around.

    Finally, he may not take a bottle if he is not really hungry, but from my experience, if he is hungry he’ll take it.

  3. paula Says:

    Our son took the bottle when he had a nasty stomach flu, because we had to measure how much he was taking. He wasn’t super thrilled about it, though. We tried a variety of nipples and ended up with a NUK “slow/medium flow” (made by Gerber – I’m assuming they’re available in the US).

    I agree with amamasblog – if he’s hungry enough, he’ll take it. Good luck!

  4. Alicia Says:

    Hi, longtime lurker…first time poster…My best friend has to go back to work in about a week-part time- and has been training her baby to take the bottle (he is about 4 months now) It was a struggle…first, you have to ask your husband to give him the bottle when you aren’t in the house…a baby can smell/sense his mother within 20 feet…also, you might have to try several bottle’s/nipples/combo’s…She ended up with some luck with Dr. Brown’s. Best of luck to you, you have a beautiful family.

  5. antropologa Says:

    I have no idea, having always had the opposite problem. But it sounds like you’ll be gone a short enough time you might not want to fret about it. Some babies never take the bottle, just as some never take the real thing, and it’s hard to make babies do things! That said, this website says what nipples are most like mother:

  6. Kellie Says:

    I have heard that if worse comes to worse using one of those medicine style syringe’s to feed some EBM to baby has worked … if he truly won’t take any kind of bottle and is hungry …

    good luck!

  7. amygeekgrl Says:

    thanks for the suggestions, ladies.

    i have the avent isis handpump and the avent bottles that came with it. the only nipples i have for it are the ones that came with it – which are with 1 hole for newborns.

    someone on maya’s mom suggested this bottle – – but i think it’s only available online and i don’t have time to get that before sunday. i might try buying some different nipples though to see if he’d like something else better.

    jody tried to give him a bottle twice last night and both times he screamed and refused. i wasn’t in the room at the time, but maybe i should try leaving the house all together.

    paula and karen – welcome to my blog. 🙂

    and alicia – glad to see you come out of lurkdom. nice to “meet” ya.

  8. hankwillie Says:


    I just went through this with Henry, who successfully took a bottle in the NICU, then became the perfect breastfed baby and refused the bottle until we finally got him to take it at 7 months.

    I think it is a combination of things–try when you are not around FOR SURE, try the Playtex nurser (we tried EVERYTHING, and this worked–Jody can stick his finger up inside the plastic bottle liner and push, mimicking the squirt of the milk let down, and have him be PATIENT. I think it also helps to try when he is not starving–less stressful for everyone.

    It won’t happen in one day, but he is definitely not past the window, so if it is important to you and your family that he be able to take a bottle, keep at it, and it will eventually work. I was SURE Henry would never take it, but he did, after 6 months of exclusive breast feeding.

    I feel for you! I know what it is like to try and get something done in your 2-3 hour window!
    Mom to Will and Henry

  9. Erinne Says:

    Hi Amy,

    I found your blog via – Makeshift We Are – I read your blog on occassion and find it quite interesting.

    I had the reverse problem as you – my daughter refused to breast feed – it was a huge struggle for us and I found out soon due to medical reasons why this was so painful to her! So I also used the ISIS pump and the avent bottles.

    Because your little guy has been breastfeeding so well perhaps go up to the level 2 nipple since he already has his sucking down pat! That being said if you are only gone for a few hours he will eat if starving and worse comes to worse your hubby could also try syringe feeding which we had to do with our daughter several times.

    Hope you don’t mind the comment – I believe sharing experiences gives us power and enables us to learn from eachother.

    My blog is private but please email me if you wish for an invitation! Erinne 😉

  10. anniem Says:

    I wish I had words of wisdom, but I got nothin’. Neither of my kids have taken a bottle, ever. We’ve just always had to plan perfectly. We still try often with Harper, but with no luck.

  11. Kate Says:

    HI Amy! Someone else suggested a medicine dropper & if you have one that has a squeezy bulb at the end (that’s the technical term I’m sure 😛 )it should work pretty decent if Jody doesn’t tip him back to far, have him squeeze it more in the sides of his cheeks. Or if it came down to it I’ve been able to get a baby a little younger than Julian to (with a lot of patience) take it out of a little medicine cup just using it like a mini cup for him. pump a little extra as there are sure to be some spills (the ones that normally come on the top of a bottle with medicines)I hope you find a solution these worked for me when I was doing my postpartum doula work. Good Luck! Will this be your first time without him?

  12. Heather Says:

    try soothie bottles – we got a free one from somewhere – they are like the pacis they give out at the hospital (not that you’re using it) it’s the only one Maya will take. I found it at target I think. Kyle liked the avent bottles but Maya would have nothing to do with them. also, it worked best to try when she was really hungry, not after nursing. after nursing a little she wanted nothing to do with the bottle. I agree you need to be gone for it to work. K never took a bottle & I later regretted it, so I was sure to do it this time just for a little mama time everyonce in awhile. we skipped a week or 2 & she wasn’t so sure again when dh tried to give it to her, but then she picked it right back up the next week with no problem.

  13. amygeekgrl Says:

    Anna – Thanks for the tips. That’s encouraging that Henry eventually took a bottle. I’m not sure how aggressively we will try after this weekend. It’d be nice if he would take one though so in the event that I do start doing more photoshoots, I wouldn’t have to worry about being gone for more than a cpl hours.

    Erinne – Thanks for the comment. I don’t mind at all! 🙂 Glad to “meet” ya.

    Kate – I think I’ll get a medicine dropper ready just in case. My worry is that he’ll get himself so worked up from being hungry and just wanting mommy and then choke on anything Jody tries to give him.
    I’ve been out to the grocery store a few times without him, but this is my first photoshoot since his birth.

  14. amygeekgrl Says:

    Heather – Oooh, might have to try a Soothie bottle. He will sort of suck on the Soothie pacifier we have leftover from Ava. Mostly he just wants to chew on it though, but at least he’s familiar with it. Thanks!

  15. Neither of my kids would take a bottle. We tried and tried with Sy…14 different nipples, different times, letting him get hungry. He once went w/out food for 14hrs at 4mos bc he had to have an MRI and *still* wouldn’t take a bottle (I was pleased, actually at that point!). So I have no tips on making it work :P. But I will say that when I’m not there the boys have been happy to wait. Somehow the distraction of someone who’s not mom made it so they were OK for 2-3 hrs w/out me. So hopefully Julian can wait too. Is the shoot far away? Can you try it and if Julian cries have Jody come by later?

  16. amygeekgrl Says:

    UPDATE: he actually drank a bit from a bottle tonight, so i think we are making progress! yay!! i had jody give it a try when he wasn’t really hungry and that seemed to help because he wasn’t to the point of being all pissed off.

    nicole – the shoot is only about 2 miles away so that’s a definite plus. the only problem is we only have 1 car so if he gets really worked up, i will just have to come home since jody will have no way of getting there. i’m feeling fairly confident things will be just fine though. he seems to go longer stretches in the morning of not nursing (which is when the shoot is). it’s in the evening that he likes to cluster feed.

  17. Steph (Sydney's Mom) Says:

    I hope you find something that works! I had luck a few times with the Playtex nurser for Adam. And I definitely think it’s a good idea to have Jody try when Julian isn’t hungry and ready for food immediately. Think about your milk flow, too – I’ve always had a fast flow and an overactive letdown, so those stage 1 nipples just frustrated Adam – he was used to getting it fast! That said…after his cleft lip surgery, he refused the bottle and we haven’t tried since. He’s a confirmed boob-boy. 🙂 Good luck!

    I just got my laptop fixed after a few weeks and wanted to let you know that the latest pictures of your kids are really great! Julian is SO cute and getting so big already. 🙂

  18. Steph (Sydney's Mom) Says:

    Almost forgot….if you do get into a bind, you could syringe-feed him with those medicine dispensers they give you at the pharmacy. After Adam’s surgery he wouldn’t nurse so I did that for a couple of days…it’s not ideal, but it does the job!

  19. I think I’m too late to help, but we have had luck with a nipple called the “naturalatch” from Playtex, supposed to most imitate the breast. Gabe seems to like it the best, and we’ve tried several.

    Hope everything goes well tomorrow!

  20. Penny Says:

    prolly too late but can you guys get Tommee Tippee stuff in the States? They have a new teat out that looks like a nipple and I’ve heard really good things about it. This is the one here –
    Like you my breast pump takes the Avent nipples but if I had to give EBM with any frequency I’d consider getting the TT system.
    There is also this “breastbottle” which looks interesting.

  21. Lindsay Says:

    Ok, I think I have the answer… I had the EXACT same problem and thought my son would never take a bottle. He would kick and cry when I tried to give him a bottle, EVEN though it was filled with MY milk! We bought every single nipple on the market. I gave up for a while… Well, I got an infection in my breast and was forced to stop nursing when he was 4 months (which was on the 17th of March!) We finally tried – again – the orthidontic nipples by Playtex. They are similar to his soother (which also took forever to get him onto!) so he took it, but ONLY if he was lying on the couch, on the floor or in his bouncy chair! If he was in my arms or someone else’s arms, he would get confused and frustrated. When he was all by his lonesome on the ground etc… he took the bottle. I started to CRY I was so thrilled! It’s been about 3 days now, and I can hold him in my arms now… I tried the stage 1 nipples that the Playtex Drop in bottles come with, and he would choke on them. Don’t listen to people who say ‘if he’s hungry, he’ll take it’… they won’t. Everyone said that to me. Until they are ready, they won’t take it no matter what the situation. My son hadn’t eaten in 5 hours one night, and refused the bottle so I had to nurse him. They are smart little creatures. Anyway, keep trying, and try not to be stressed while feeding him. I used to walk with him and gently bend my knees up and down to soothe him while I talked to him. I thought it would NEVER work, but now he takes it like it’s the best thing on earth – this coming from a child who treated bottles like the plague 🙂 Good luck. Lindsay

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