Ask Joanne - Baby Won't Take A Bottle

06/01/2010 23:32 | Updated 22 May 2015

What's your biggest challenge in family life? Send your questions and dilemmas to experienced life coach Joanne Mallon via this confidential form. Your name can be changed on request.

Kay asks:

"My daughter turned 16 weeks old today and I have breastfed her exclusively since day one, but I really want to get her to take a bottle feed so as to free up some time for me. My eight-year-old boy had no trouble taking both but my newborn is not being fooled by any bottle!

"I have tried several teat shapes, several times, taken all the health visitor advice tips – and doctors too – but to no avail. It doesn't help that my partner isn't very helpful. The steriliser sits and sits and sits... help!"

Here's our life coach's reply:

Dear Kay

The decision as to when to cut back or stop breastfeeding is a very personal one, and every mother will know when the time is right for her. Unfortunately, as you are finding, baby doesn't always agree with what you decide is the right time to stop! Your baby is taking her first opportunity to exert her personality and show you that she's no carbon copy of her brother.

Some babies never take to the bottle at all, so one solution could be to wait a few months and go straight to a soft cup with a spout.

It's a shame that your partner isn't supportive – why do you think this is? Have you really talked this through? Does he understand how strongly you feel about this? One of the methods you can try to get baby on to a bottle is for you to leave the house for an extended period when you know she's due a feed. However, a supportive partner is essential for this to work, as they are the one literally left holding the baby. So before you do anything more, you need to talk to your partner more about this.

GPs and health visitors are not always the most helpful people to consult with what they will consider to be a relatively minor situation. I think you would get much more practical advice from a specialist breastfeeding advisor. The La Leche League has a telephone helpline you can call – details here.

Good luck


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