Switching from breastfeeding to formula feeding may seem like an impossible mission to some mothers; you search the market for the best baby formulas you can find, try out different bottles, but nothing seems to help – your child still refuses to take it.
I know how frustrating this transition can be, and even though it may sometimes feel like it, you are not alone in this. There are a lot of parents out there battling the same problem; I’ve struggled for months to get my son Leo to try a bottle of formula.
Luckily, you’ve come to the right place; if you don’t know by now, my name is Emma, and I’m here to share with you some of the most valuable tips on how to deal with a baby that won’t take formula.
Advice On How To Deal With This
Take Your Time
I cannot stress this enough – you need to introduce bottles and formula as early as possible, and you need to do it gradually. That will give you more time to ease into it and, more importantly, more room for unsuccessful attempts.
Most moms suggest offering the bottle in the evening after you’ve regularly breastfed the baby. That may help your little one form a connection between the two and get used to the feeling of the bottle’s nipple in their mouth.
Try A Spoon Instead
Using a spoon might be the last thing that comes to mind as a solution, but it worked for some moms, including me, so it’s worth to give it a shot. The idea behind it is to ease into formula feeding by giving your baby a little taste of formula using a soft, silicone spoon like this one.
High-Quality Nipples Are Key
Sometimes the solution is finding the right bottle and nipple combination. I know it may sound simple, but once you get to your local baby store and walk into the bottles and nipple aisle, you’ll be overwhelmed by all the choices.
Assuming your child is still a newborn, you’ll want to get a nipple designed for slow-flow. These are made to release the formula slowly and eliminate the choking hazard. Some manufacturers also claim their bottle nipples resemble a woman’s breast, which may help your baby feel more comfortable with the transition from breastfeeding to formula feeding.
There’s no real guarantee it will work for you, but in case you want to try it out, this is one of the highly recommended slow-flow nipples available on the market and the one I bought for Leo when I wanted to introduce formula.
Add Some Sugar To The Mix
Another useful trick that seemed to help a lot of moms is adding some sweetness to the bottle to make it more appetizing for the baby. You could add something to the formula (for example, applesauce) or you could try wetting the nipple and putting a tiny bit of sugar on it.
However, that is considered to be somewhat of a controversy, and some moms are strongly against adding sugar to baby formula. Talk to your pediatrician about this – as long as they approve it, don’t worry about what others have to say on the matter.
Mix Breast Milk With Formula
That was a trick that worked like a charm with my son Leo; I always recommend this to moms as a way to get their babies to drink formula. I started mixing breastmilk (I would collect it using a breast pump) with formula in an 80:20 ratio and gradually increased the amount of formula in the mixture.
Chances are your baby won’t even notice the difference, and eventually, you’ll be able to feed them formula without a problem.
Distract The Baby Or Use A Pacifier
Your child will instinctively reach out to you when it’s hungry, as it associates you and your scent with food and comfort.It may feel like you’re a bad mom for doing this, but next time your baby gets hungry and reaches out to the breast, try to distract them in a way. Why? Because as long as baby’s focus is on mom’s chest, there’s no way you’ll get them to take the bottle.
There’s no right or wrong here – colorful scarfs or blankets, even a beaded necklace – anything that will get the baby’s attention off of you and give you a chance to try and introduce the bottle with a formula.
If the issue seems to be that they simply don’t like the feeling of a bottle, a pacifier might be the solution – it will somewhat desensitize your baby.
Additional Tips And Tricks
- Pay attention to how you (preferably someone other than the mom) hold the baby while trying to get it to take formula. There are split opinions on this – some will advise you to handle the baby the same way you would if you were breastfeeding, others say it’s best to try holding them differently (propped up); you just need to find what works for you and your little one.
- You may need to leave the house; I’ve heard of cases where dads and other family members had a lot more success with formula feeding once mom was out of the picture for a couple of hours.
- Your common sense might tell you to offer the bottle when the baby is starving, because that’s when they’re most likely just to accept it, right? Wrong. You need to find a window of opportunity when they’re hungry enough, just not too much.
- Talk to your child calmly and encouragingly, and smile as you introduce the bottle.
- I know how frustrating it can be to try to soothe a colicky baby, so as an additional tip, I’d like to suggest some of the best formulas on the market that helped me calm Leo down during his bouts of colic.
Have Some Patience
One thing all of us can agree on is that it takes time and perseverance. Whenever you feel like the stress is becoming too much, remember this is a temporary issue and keep trying. One day you and your baby will get there. In the meantime, try not to lose your mind over it.
Go For The Cup
If you didn’t have any luck with these tips, why not try skipping the bottle and going straight to the sippy cup? I’ve heard of cases where babies just weren’t interested in taking the bottle; the cup, however, wasn’t an issue at all.
I admit I’m a bit skeptic about it, but some moms claim they succeeded in getting their babies to drink formula this way. Even if drinking from a cup doesn’t become a regular thing, your child will get used to the taste, which will take you one step closer to finalizing the transition.
Visit a store that offers a wide selection of baby equipment to make sure you get the best sippy cup for milk available.
“It Takes A Village To Raise A Child”
There’s no shame in confessing you need help, professional or otherwise. Sometimes those closest to you, family and friends, might have a word of advice.Remember what I said at the beginning of this article – even though it may seem like it, you are not alone in this.
Alternatively, you can ask your pediatrician for some recommendations, as he’s certainly dealt with moms in the same, stressful situation as you.
This, Too, Shall Pass
Only someone who’s had a baby can understand how frustrating it can get. Dilemmas pile up quickly; you start to lose sleep over this and question your parenting skills.
There’s no magic way to deal with this and make your baby take formula; you’ll have to try a lot of different tricks before you find what works for you. Adding sugar, using spoons and sippy cups – whatever makes your little one change their mind about taking formula.
If you feel like sharing some tips that used to work for you and your baby or have any questions about the topic, feel free to leave a comment.