Baby Prefers Bottle to Breast: How to Reintroduce Breastfeeding

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Do you have a baby that prefers bottle to breast and has gone on a nursing strike?

Are you struggling with wanting to still have the option to nurse, but your baby just isn’t cooperating?

Maybe you’ve also tried and failed many times reintroducing breastfeeding after bottle.

I have been in the same boat! I started out nursing exclusively, but that only lasted maybe a month. Which led to my baby only wanting to take a bottle and refusing to nurse at all.

Even with all of that stacked against me, I wasn’t ready to give up the idea of nursing just yet and so I had to find a solution.

Which is where the tips I have for you today came from and guess what, they worked! Hopefully they’ll help you out as well.

So mana, If you’re looking for a solution to this problem, keep reading to find out how to fix it!

Baby prefers bottle to breast.

Why Reintroducing Breastfeeding is Worth the Work

According to the cdc, breastfeeding a baby until they are at least twelve months old provides your child with the ideal nutrition and supports growth and development.

There are also great health benefits for mom as well. Such as, lower blood pressure and less chance of sickness and disease for both mom and baby.

These are all wonderful and legitimate reasons for wanting to break your baby’s nursing strike.

However, maybe your main reason for wanting to reintroduce breastfeeding is the convenience of nursing on demand or the ability to drop a couple pumping sessions a day.

Or, maybe you’re reading this because you want to switch back to exclusively nursing after a period of pumping and bottle feeding.

No matter the reason, the struggle of reintroducing breastfeeding after bottle can be really frustrating for both you and baby.

Suggested: Weird Breastfeeding Facts and Pumping Phenomenons

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Reasons Why Baby Prefers Bottle to Breast

Before we discuss some tactics to help you break your baby’s nursing strike, let’s look at some reasons why a baby would prefer the bottle to breast.

  • Baby was introduced to a bottle early on before a solid breastfeeding relationship was established.
  • Mother returned to work and baby is bottle fed most of the day.
  • An infection or latch issue removed the ability to nurse for a short period of time.
  • The wrong nipple was used and baby has become a little lazy.

The most common reason a baby would begin to reject the breast after receiving a bottle is that the bottle was an easier route to take.

A little further down, you will see which bottles and nipples are best for breastfed babies.

Furthermore, some women have slow let-downs or even too powerful let-downs which can frustrate a baby. The baby may realize that a nipple and bottle are much less work for them and begin to prefer that over the breast.

Most of the time however, this nursing strike takes place when a baby has been given a bottle too regularly and gets confused when switching back and forth. 

The bottles listed below should also help eliminate nipple confusion.

Suggested: Beginner’s Guide to A Breastfeeding and Pumping Schedule

Additional Breastfeeding Resources 

Before we go any further, I want to introduce you to a breastfeeding resource I personally loved.

If you like to learn online and in the comfort of your own home, these online courses by Milkology are the perfect learning tool for you.

Choose between The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class to help a new-to-breastfeeding, first time mom prepare for a smoother breastfeeding relationship with her new baby.

Or, start with The Ultimate Back to Work Pumping Class to help you prepare for the transition of breastfeeding while at work and how to build a freezer stash while on maternity leave. 

You could also snag both courses with a 20% off discount on the second class in this two course series.

P.S. I will also send you my Pumping Pro Course for free if you choose to enroll in any of the courses using the links above. Here are the details.

Suggested: 7 Best Online Breastfeeding Courses for New Moms

Breastfeeding Positions you will learn in an online breastfeeding course infographic image.

7 Tips to Reintroduce Breastfeeding After Bottle

These tips helped me reintroduce breastfeeding when my baby developed thrush and had to be bottle fed for an extended period of time until it cleared. 

Needless to say, she quickly began to prefer the bottle to breast and the struggle began. However, I did have success with these tips and the nursing strike was lifted!

Suggested: Best Breastfeeding Diet and Supplements to Help with Breast Milk Production

1. Start with the nipple

As explained earlier, the type of nipple used on a breastfed baby can play a huge role in whether a baby will begin to prefer bottle to breast.

I recommend switching to one that has a slow flow nipple. Using a slow flow nipple will get the baby used to working a little harder for his or her milk.

This will make the bottle look a little less appealing when your baby is hungry and wants that milk ASAP!

2. Use a bottle that is designed to be the most like a breast.

  • Mam bottles were created for breastfed babies, they feature skin-soft nipples that make it less confusing for baby to switch back and forth.
  • Comotomo bottles also made the list as best bottle for breastfed babies because of their breast-like nipple shape.
  • Philips Avent Natural baby bottle because their petal shape nipple design makes for a more natural latch and similar feel to the breast.

best bottles for breastfed babies
Comotomo Bottles for Breastfed Babies

3. Offer the breast when you’re full, before a pumping session.

I noticed more success in getting my little one interested to nurse when I was full and would have a quick letdown.

Another tip, is to express a little bit of breast milk out so she would instantly get a taste of what she wanted.

She didn’t always last a full feed like this, but it was good practice to get her more used to and comfortable with idea of nursing again.

4. Introduce the Breast First thing in the Morning 

Try nursing your baby when he or she first wakes up and lay them next to you.

If you co-sleep like me, this technique seems to work out pretty seamlessly. My baby is thankfully much less picky in the morning because that is when she is thirstiest.

Mornings are also when my breast milk supply is the most abundant. Which means, she will stay on longer to get her tummy full and it’s nice and quiet in the house, no distractions.

This is also why I wanted to reintroduce nursing again. Getting this extra time in the morning to sleep in while I’m nursing her is the best breakfast in bed I could ever ask for!

Another plus, she always falls back asleep after this feeding for another thirty minutes or so, ah heaven.

See Also: Best Breastfeeding Subscription Boxes and Bonus Material!

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Grab yourself this FREE ultimate pumping at work bundle with 7 must-have digital goods to help make the back-to-work breastfeeding transition more seamless for you!

I am a big believer in co-sleeping!

It has been an amazing experience for my daughter and I. She’s a better sleeper because of it and I am too!

As a first time mom, worry and anxiety has been my middle name!

With co-sleeping, I am able to hear my baby while she sleeps and can place a hand on her tummy at any moment during the night and that gives me so much peace, it’s priceless. 

I wouldn’t be able to co-sleep safely or as easily without a DockATot.

You may want to read this DockAToT review to learn EVERYTHING you need to know before buying this premium product.

5. Go to a quiet and distraction-free room in the house.

It is much easier to attempt anything new with a baby when there aren’t as many sensory distractions.

Use a room you have had prior success nursing in. This could be a nice opportunity for skin to skin as well.

6. Skin to skin contact

Skin to skin assists to create a more natural feel when nursing.

A bath is the best way to get in a ton of skin to skin with your baby and sometimes it’s an easier way to bathe them and relax at the same time!

Always be sure you are using non-toxic, baby safe bath products! I really like Tubby Todd for their organic baby wash and shampoos.

The skin to skin also supports hormones that are responsible for milk production. Which in turn, keeps your breast milk supply bountiful.

7. Be patient

Talk your baby through the process. By doing this, I found it really made a big difference in getting my baby to participate with nursing.

When I would stay calm and not get frustrated, she would also follow suit. I’d give her lots of “attagirls” when she would latch, even if just for a second.

Positive affirmations made the experience for her more enjoyable and she resisted much less at the next try.

One day, it all clicked. She went from totally refusing to nurse to being completely ok with it.

I can now nurse her a couple times a day and get that bonding experience back I craved and a couple less breast pumping sessions too!

I hope these 7 simple tips work for you!

Image of free breastfeeding tracker printable in a frame with time nursed filled in.
Free printable breastfeeding tracker to put in glass frame and keep track of feedings with dry erase marker.

Final Words

We went over seven simple solutions on reintroducing breastfeeding after bottle. Baby’s that prefer bottle to breast can put up quite a fight when you try to reintroduce breastfeeding.

However, if your goal is to once again nurse your baby and get that bonding experience back, you can!

Here’s a quick recap on the tips we went over today:

  1. Use a slow flow nipple to make the bottle less appealing.
  2. Introduce breast-like bottles. Such as Comotomo Baby Bottles.
  3. Offer your breast when you are full and will have a quicker letdown.
  4. Try nursing first thing in the morning when baby is tired and relaxed.
  5. Nurse in a quiet and distraction-free room.
  6. Get plenty of skin to skin contact.
  7. Remain patient and positive!

Read Next: How to Bond with Your Baby without the Act of Nursing

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