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Breastfeed refusal after introducing bottle

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#1 Portuguesemum

Posted 24 November 2018 - 07:00 AM

Anyone have some tips when your 13 week baby refuses to breastfeed? Please help!
Our Dd went a week in which she only increased 20g (below the 3rd percentille). So the doctor said to give it another week to see if she regained her weight. So during that week we reduced time between feeds to 1.5h hours and let her feed for as long as she wanted to (sometimes up to an hour). However at the end of the week when we went to weigh her she had hardly gained any weight and our pediatrician recommended supplementing with formula 3x a day after breastfeeding.
She took her bottle fine but now there are certain times when she will refuse to breastfeed and we know she is hungry because we made the mistake once of giving her her bottle after she refused to breastfeed and she drank all the formula.
I'm at my witts end because I'm worried that eventually she will simply stop breastfeeding because she finds it a lot easier to be bottle feed, and I planned on bf her until at least 12 months. I also feel like all the effort I put in to get her to breastfeed (the grated nipples, the endless repositioning for her to latch properly, etc) were all in vain as she now prefers to be bottle fed.

Any suggestions are welcome.

#2 Soontobegran

Posted 24 November 2018 - 07:19 AM

My eldest daughter was critically ill at 4 weeks of age and was not fed at all for a week and to get her back on the breast was difficult.
She had been fully breast fed beforehand but getting her to attach was very very hard and it remained hard for the rest of her BF journey.

Have you seen a lactation consultant ? The first thing to tackle is perhaps the reason she lost weight in the first place.
Is your supply okay?
Does she have an attachment issue which has led to poor stimulation and reduced supply?
Is she otherwise well ?

Babies are wise, they seem to want the most milk for the least amount of effort and once they realise that is 'easier' from a bottle it takes quite a lot of tricking them into trusting maternal supply again so this is where a Lactation Consultant will be a huge benefit.
It can happen though. We used the quiet and dark room approach and waking her to feed to get her attached before she actually got hungry which not only got her used to the style of sucking again it increased my supply which was reduced despite endless expressing.

I wish you luck but sometimes our best intentions do not come to fruition and it is not your fault.
My DD did get back to the breast but it was never the same and we always had to feed in private........we only got to 6 months when she started to refuse again but I was pregnant unexpectedly and clearly she did not like that.
Lots of good luck.

#3 Apageintime

Posted 24 November 2018 - 07:30 AM

You need to see an international board certified lactation consultant asap. Bottle preference can be hard to overcome.

Has baby been checked for tongue and lip tie? They're easy to miss and could be the cause of the problems with weight

#4 cvbn

Posted 24 November 2018 - 08:24 AM

Can you try dream feeding, feeding while sleepy? One of mine refused to feed and that is how I get him fed during that period

I feel for you, I had very small babies and was lucky to have a supportive GP who wasn't fussed as long as they were gaining.

I hope you get the support you need.

Happy to chat via PM.

#5 Caitlin Happymeal

Posted 24 November 2018 - 08:34 AM

Definitely get a LC involved but please, oh my goodness, please if it doesnt work out, please be really kind to yourself... i know what this feels like. We had to formula feed after much effort in breastfeeding. One of my twins was just so small and weak that once she got a bottle in her mouth and realised it was way less energy to feed that way, there was no going back really. We tried lots of things. Shes 9 now and apart from a genetic condition which has absolutely nothing to do with what she was fed as a baby, shes healthy.

Do try all avenues suggested here but if it doesnt work out, please know that it's not the end of the world.

#6 CallMeFeral

Posted 24 November 2018 - 09:15 AM

It won't fix it but one thing that can make bottle feeding less 'easy' is to use an infant nipple - the ones with much slower flow. They like getting more milk for less labour, and that might not change, but making the bottle a bit more labour intensive can reduce the gap a bit!

#7 Lallalla

Posted 24 November 2018 - 09:23 AM

Are you confident about your supply being there? The only time I had outright refusal was when I didn’t have enough. All is not lost even if that is the case, there are ways and means of increasing supply like lactation cookies, fenugreek and motillium (spelling??).

I agree with PP, go see a good lactation consultant, I found one who was both a GP and a lactation consultant who was great. Also if it doesn’t work out don’t beat yourself up. Fed is best

#8 lucky 2

Posted 24 November 2018 - 11:24 PM

Sorry to hear that feeding is still challenging.
I'd also encourage you to see a LC asap to assess the situation, meanwhile have a look at the ABA webpage on Breast Refusal, it has good tips on coaxing a baby back to the breast.
The flow is different with bottle, if she'll latch you can try breast squeezing to help milk flow and switch breasts as soon as she fusses, tugs or grizzles.
Extra milk can also be given at the breast if needed rather than via a bottle, such as a supply line.
You can give expressed milk rather than formula, that way you could increase your milk supply, supplementation with formula won't increase supply.
It is not uncommon for older babies to get fussy like this if they have an underlying difficulty with some aspect of breastfeeding, they tend to do grow ok initially then milk production can drop over time causing even more fussiness.
A LC can help work out why this is happening which is the first step in trying to change things.
Babies can also be very distracted at this age.
I hope you can get some help and that bfing improves for both of you.

#9 Portuguesemum

Posted 25 November 2018 - 12:13 AM

Hi everyone,
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer, I can't express how much it means and how supported I felt.

To answer some of the questions above:
- We are going to try and see a lactation consultant next week.
- Before these last 2 weeks I never thought about my supply being low as she was always gaining weight, although she has always been a slim baby. Also after being fed she always seemed content and a lot of times had a little milk on the side of her mouth. Saying that though she has always been a fussy eater, any noise would startle her and nursing usually has to be done in a quiet room preferably with no one around.
- Might be that she's not latching properly as she has always taken an extremely long time to nurse (30 minutes or more).
- We are using a slow flow teat bottle so that bottle feeding isn't easy.
-She will dream feed and sometimes takes the morning feed, it is after giving her the bottle that she refuses to breastfed.

Thank you once again for all the support and feedback.

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