Baby Prefers Bottle to Breast: How to Reintroduce Breastfeeding

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Last Updated: February 23, 2020

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 mama, 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 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  because you miss the bond with your baby nursing provided.

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

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.

Back to the Breastfeeding Basics

Before we go any further, I want to introduce you to a resource that helped me get back to the basics of breastfeeding. Because let’s face it – it can be easy for new moms to over-complicate things.

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class takes you through visual and voice-over explanations of the fundamental breastfeeding techniques you may have missed in the beginning.

Maybe after watching this intriguing 90 minute online class, you will have picked up on something you didn’t know before that ends up being a game-changer for your breastfeeding goals.

P.S. To further help you succeed at breastfeeding, I’d like to also gift you a pumping and milk supply course for FREE after you enroll in The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class. 

*Contact me after and I’ll get you set up!

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

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!

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

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

I noticed more success in getting my little one interested to nurse when my breasts were fullest and I would have a quicker letdown.

Another tip, is to express a little bit of breast milk out onto baby’s mouth so they get a taste before they have to work for it.

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

4. Introduce breastfeeding 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… the 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.

5. Breastfeed in a quiet and distraction-free room

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 also be a nice opportunity for skin to skin as well which will help relax both you baby.

6. Practice more 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.

Related: From Under-Producer to Overcomer: A New Mom’s Breastfeeding Journey

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 to resume breastfeeding you baby also work for you!

Keep track of the last side you nursed with this FREE printable!

Image of free breastfeeding tracker printable in a frame with time nursed filled in.

This is just what I need!

Final Words

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

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. 
  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 Get the Perfect First Latch: Breastfeeding 101

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