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My Baby Breaks My Heart Why Won't She Eat With Me?

Posted by on Jul. 13, 2013 at 8:41 AM
  • 34 Replies

My sweet Abigail was born in April 2013 which makes her about three months old.  I have started working and now she wants to be a bottle baby.  I can't get her to go to breast for almost anything.  She has always liked eating in the tub when we take a bath together, but that leaves me taking up to 4 baths a day, and I've noticed that she is starting to reject the breast more often there too.  I'm having trouble maintaining my milk supply with just a pump.  I have had to supplement with formula about 5 times in the last two weeks.  I hate that! 

I feel like I'm failing her.  Sometimes I feel like she is rejecting me, not just the breast. Though I know in my mind that isn't true, my heart is unconvinced.  I cry about it every day.  How do I get my baby to eat with me again?  I miss our special time together so much.

by on Jul. 13, 2013 at 8:41 AM
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by on Jul. 13, 2013 at 8:45 AM
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How much is she getting per bottle?  Per day?

How much are you pumping every day?  What pump?  How often? 

What kind of bottle nipple- slow flow, fast?

by on Jul. 13, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Abby is not having a problem with how much or how often she eats, so she is eating on demand about every 2-3 hours durring the day and sleeping through the night.  She eats anywhere from 2 oz. to 6 oz. at a feeding, but averages about 4 oz.  per feeding and about 20 - 24 oz. per day.  I am using an evenflo hand pump.  It is hard on the wrist, but easy on the nipple and I can adjust the speed and intensity for comfort unlike a machine.  I pump every time she eats when I am at home.  Sometimes I make her wait until I am done pumping to eat even if I have milk in the refrigerator because the sound of her crying helps me produce.  The nipple she uses is just a regular nipple that comes with the bottle.  I think it feeds her just a little slower than I do. 

by Ruby Member on Jul. 13, 2013 at 11:34 AM
2 moms liked this
Take her to bed with you, do lots of skin-to-skin, offer the breast every time she wiggles. You should never be the one to give her a bottle. When you are working, she only needs 1-1.25 ounces per hour of separation, in servings of mo more than three ounces each, fed every 2-3 hours, with the slowest flow nipple. She should be held sitting with the bottle held parallel to the floor, and burped after each ounce. She has developed a nipple preference but this can be overcome with work. If you must offer supplementation when you are with her, it can be offered by dropper, syringe, SNS. Look at for information on getting na y back to breast.
by on Jul. 13, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Thank you so much!  I really believe this will work.  I am so excited and can't wait to get started so this message will be short, but I noticed the cross on your profile and I want you to know that I will be praying for you to be blessed abundantly.  The information you gave me will surely bless me. 

by on Jul. 13, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Quoting abbynuttsmom:

Abby is not having a problem with how much or how often she eats, so she is eating on demand about every 2-3 hours durring the day and sleeping through the night.  She eats anywhere from 2 oz. to 6 oz. at a feeding, but averages about 4 oz.  per feeding and about 20 - 24 oz. per day.  I am using an evenflo hand pump.  It is hard on the wrist, but easy on the nipple and I can adjust the speed and intensity for comfort unlike a machine.  I pump every time she eats when I am at home.  Sometimes I make her wait until I am done pumping to eat even if I have milk in the refrigerator because the sound of her crying helps me produce.  The nipple she uses is just a regular nipple that comes with the bottle.  I think it feeds her just a little slower than I do. 

Too much.  Like pp said, 1-1.5 oz per hour of separation, unless you are gone for nearly 20 hours a day, she doesn't need that much milk; maximum amount should be three ounces per bottle, this never changes- seems hard, but it is to protect your nursing relationship from a bottle prefence, which is what you have right now.  A slow newborn nipple will make her work for the milk- regular flow nipples actually do not take much work at all to get milk out.

 You also need a better pump to be honest.  If you are working, a double electric is a must to maintain your pump output.  Many have adjustable settings for speed and level of suction, all the best ones do.  There is a sticky that lists preferred pumps- most insurances cover pumps now, if you don't have insurance you can check your local health department, many rent hospital grade pumps.  You yourself should be pumping every two to three hours when away from her, ten to fifteen minutes long sessions.  I would pump once in the morning before she got up, then three times at work, and once in the morning on weekends.  No making her wait while you pump- if you want to pump at home, nurse her on one side and pump the other, you will get a much better response to the pump that way instead of making her wait.  

I pumped at work to fifteen months with my first, eighteen months with my second.  It can be done but there is a lot of effort and work involved.  If you have any questions, let me know :)

CafeMom Tickers
by Ruby Member on Jul. 13, 2013 at 12:18 PM
Thank you! Keep us posted as to how things are going--ee'll get you through this.
by Gina on Jul. 13, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Ignore your heart. The hujman heart is wrong most of the time anyway. No more tears. Time to get TOUGH. She's gonna be pissed at touy but that merely means you're doing the Mom Gig right. She WILL be pissed with you more than pleased with you for the next 18 years.

I'm going to add some infor for you.

by Gina on Jul. 13, 2013 at 1:11 PM

How to bottle-feed the breastfed baby

JULY 28, 2011. Posted in: FEEDING BABY

…tips for a breastfeeding supportive style of bottle feeding

PDF version (great for child care providers)

by Eva Lyford. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Often, as infant feeding specialists, lactation consultants and other experts in the field of human lactation are asked how to properly bottle-feed a baby. Direct breastmilk feedings from the mother’s breast are always preferred to any artificial source or substance. In addition, there are often alternatives to bottle-feeding, such as cup feeding, which should be explored. For the baby who has to be bottle-fed, following is some information to help make the experience a good one for the baby and also to make sure that breastfeeding is fully supported even when artificial feedings are used.

This information can also be useful in evaluating infant care providers and for instructing them on how to bottle-feed a breastfed infant. Note that when working through any feeding difficulties with an infant, a lactation consultant is an excellent resource for evaluating methods for their appropriateness to the specific situation.

While useful for any bottle-fed infant, this information is particularly targeted towards infants between 12 weeks and 6 months of age.

Babies should be bottle-fed:

  1. When their cues indicate hunger, rather than on a schedule.
  2. Held in an upright position; it is especially important to avoid letting the baby drink from a bottle when lying down. Such a position is associated with bottle caries and an increased frequency of ear infections. Note also that babies should be held often at times when they arenot being fed, to avoid the baby being trained to eat in order to be held.
  3. With a switch from one side to the other side midway through a feed; this provides for eye stimulation and development, and thwarts the development of a side preference which could impact the breastfeeding mother.
  4. For 10-20 minutes at a time, to mimic the usual breastfeeding experience. Care providers should be encouraged to make appropriate quantities last the average length of a feeding, rather than trying to feed as much as they can in as short a time as possible. This time element is significant because the infant’s system needs time to recognize satiety, long before the stomach has a chance to get over-filled.
  5. Gently, allowing the infant to draw nipple into mouth rather than pushing the nipple into the infant’s mouth, so that baby controls when the feed begins. Stroke baby’s lips from top to bottom with the nipple to illicit a rooting response of a wide open mouth, and then allow the baby to “accept” the nipple rather than poking it in.
  6. Consistent with a breastfed rhythm; the caregiver should encourage frequent pauses while the baby drinks from the bottle to mimic the breastfeeding mother’s let-down patterns. This discourages the baby from guzzling the bottle and can mitigate nipple confusion or preference.
  7. To satiation, so that baby is not aggressively encouraged to finish the last bit of milk in the bottle by such measures as forcing the nipple into the mouth, massaging the infant’s jaw or throat, or rattling the nipple around in the infant’s mouth. If baby is drowsing off and releasing the bottle nipple before the bottle is empty that means baby is done; don’t reawaken the baby to “finish.” See Bottlefeeding tips from

The benefits of bottle-feeding in this manner:

  1. The infant will consume a volume appropriate to their size and age, rather than over- or under-eating. This can support the working and pumping mom who then has an increased likelihood of pumping a daily volume equivalent to the baby’s demand.
  2. This can minimize colic-like symptoms in the baby whose stomach is distended or over-fed.
  3. It supports the breastfeeding relationship, hopefully leading to longer durations and increased success at breastfeeding particularly for mothers who are separated from their nurslings either intermittently or recurrently.

Bottle-feeding Myth 1:
Bottle-feeding lets me know how much nutrition the baby has had.

Moms who bottle-feed, whether using expressed breast milk or anything else, should be aware that while artificial feeding may seem to be a very accurate measure of volume consumed, in fact it is often not. Bottle-fed infants more often regurgitate some quantity of a feed, or get a less than perfect balance of fore and hind milk than they might if feeding directly from the breast. If a substance other than breastmilk is used, the increased metabolic workload for the baby, lower digestibility of nutrients and increased waste substantially dilute the benefit of a feed, although it is more easily measured.

Bottle-feeding Myth 2:
It is easy to bottle-feed safely.

Bottle-feeding caregivers face certain challenges in feeding a baby safely. One extra piece of work is sterilizing all infant feeding equipment for at least the first 4 months. And, if artificial substances are used:

  1. Lot numbers should be kept for any artificial milks fed to the baby, so that parents can determine whether the product was subject to a recall.
  2. A clean source of water must be available, free from bacteria. If tap water is used, the caregiver must decide whether to boil the water to eliminate bacteria (which may concentrate any heavy metals in the water), or to use unboiled water. If bottled water is used, lot numbers should be recorded. Powdered infant formula should be mixed with water that is at least 70°C/158°F to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present in the powdered formula.
  3. Quantities the baby will need should be carefully estimated, since unused formula must be discarded. Overestimating can lead to having to throw out the unused amount – and that is quite an expensive piece of waste.

For more information on infant feeding myths, see Dr. Jack Newman’s Breastfeeding Myths


by Gina on Jul. 13, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Help — My Baby Won’t Nurse!


By Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC


The following techniques have proven helpful for a wide range of problems with baby refusing the breast. Some of the babies who might benefit include:

  • a newborn (or older adopted baby) trying to figure out how to breastfeed
  • a previously-weaned baby whom you wish to breastfeed again
  • a baby who seriously resists nursing (or even being placed in a nursing position)
  • a baby with nipple confusion
  • a baby who is a fussy nurser (but does not completely refuse the breast)
  • a baby on a nursing strike

Even if you have a baby who adamantly resists nursing, getting your baby to breast is very possible but it will probably require time, patience, and kangaroo-style frequency. Expect “two steps forward and one step backward.”

If you’re getting discouraged working with your non-nursing baby, read this: My Baby Just Doesn’t Get It. If you have a newborn who is not latching on, do keep in mind that almost all reluctant nursers will start latching by four to eight weeks of life.

The Basics

Follow the Rules

The two primary rules when you have a baby who is having problems nursing are:

  1. Feed the baby. A baby who is getting the right amount of calories and nutrition is best able to learn how to nurse. First choice for what to feed a non-nursing baby is mom’s own milk, second choice is banked milk from another mom, third choice is infant formula.
  2. Maintain milk supply. If mom’s milk supply is being maintained with an appropriate frequncy and amount of milk expression, more time is available for baby to learn to nurse, and baby’s efforts will be better rewarded (with more milk).

Suggestions for a typical nursing session

  • Very careful, supportive positioning can be very helpful when baby is having problems breastfeeding; for example, a cross-cradle hold or a modified football hold can be useful.
  • If your baby is tolerating it, then work on latching for up to 10 minutes or so. If baby is getting upset, then go with shorter sessions. It’s not a good idea to keep trying for more than about 10 minutes – after this baby will be tired, latching will be harder, and there is a risk of baby developing an aversion to the breast if you persist too much.
  • Don’t continue trying to get baby to take the breast after major frustration (either mom’s or baby’s) sets in; stop for a bit and calm baby (and/or give mom a break) before continuing – let baby suck on a finger, or snuggle baby high up between mom’s breasts, or hand baby to dad.
  • Sometimes it can be helpful to offer a little supplement at the beginning of a feeding; this can take the edge off baby’s hunger so he has more patience to work on the breastfeeding. If you’ve been working on latching and hunger is getting in baby’s way, go quickly to whatever alternative feeding you’re using. If you’re both totally frustrated, give a whole feed, but if you think your baby is up for it (and you are too), only offer enough supplement to calm him and go back to working on breastfeeding.
  • If baby does not latch or does not suck effectively (or won’t sustain a suck for more than 3 sucks even with breast compressions), then either try supplementing at the breast (see below) or stop and offer baby a little supplement (1/2 ounce or so of expressed milk or formula), and then have another try at nursing. If the second try is unsuccessful, then go ahead and finish up the feed with whatever method of supplementation you are using.
  • Any time that baby does not nurse at all, or nurses but does not soften the breast well, pump after feeding baby. This will help to maintain your milk supply, plus you will have some “liquid gold” available the next time baby needs a supplement. See Establishing and maintaining milk supply when baby is not nursing.


by Gina on Jul. 13, 2013 at 1:13 PM
1 mom liked this

Feed the Baby!

  • Do not try to starve your baby into nursing. Your baby is not refusing to nurse just because he doesn’t want to and is being stubborn, so ignore anyone who tells you that “baby will nurse when he gets hungry enough.”
  • In general, a baby who won’t nurse, can’t nurse. Your goal is to (hopefully) identify why baby can’t nurse and either remedy the problem, work around the problem, and/or preserve your milk supply until the problem remedies itself (sometimes necessary for ill, small or premature babies). A board-certified lactation consultant is a great partner to have in this process.
  • Keep baby as full and happy as possible, i.e. continue to offer expressed mother’s milk, banked milk, formula or solids (if baby is old enough), but gradually get closer and closer to the nursing position, skin-to-skin, etc. Click here for tips for weaning from formula supplements.

Maintaining milk supply when baby is not nursing

It is important to express your milk to maintain milk supply while baby is transitioning to full breastfeeding. See Establishing and maintaining milk supply when baby is not nursing for more information.

Coaxing baby to the breast

General tips

Your goal is to coax baby to the breast. Do not attempt to force your baby to breastfeed. Forcing baby to the breast does not work, stresses baby, and can result in baby forming an aversion to the breast. As baby gets better at nursing and is able to get more milk via nursing, he will grow to trust that breastfeeding works and will have more patience when latching.

  • Wear clothing that allows very easy access to the breasts. Baby may get very impatient in the split-second it takes for mom to lift the blouse and undo the bra. Spend time, if possible, in a warm place that allows both mom and baby to be naked from the waist up.
  • Lots of skin-to-skin contact can help your baby nurse better and even gain weight faster. Keep your baby with you as much as possible, and give him lots of opportunities to nurse (even if you’re not successful). Get skin-to-skin with him, first when he is sleepy, right after a bottle feed (or however you’re supplementing). This way baby has the opportunity to sleep and wake up happily, skin to skin at mom’s chest, and mom is right there to catch the earliest hunger cues. If baby moves toward the breast and then falls asleep before even mouthing the nipple, or after sucking twice, then these are positive baby steps, not failures. (Read more about kangaroo care or take a look at the book.)
  • Offer the breast often. Try breastfeeding in baby’s favorite place, in his favorite position, in the bath, while walking around, while lying down, with baby upright, baby flat on his back, in his sleep, just as he is waking, any time baby looks as if he might be interested, or any other way you can think of, i.e. any time, anywhere.
  • Avoid pressuring baby to nurse. Offer in an ultra-casual way and pretend you don’t mind if he refuses (easier said than done, but try not to show any frustration – your aim is to avoid pressuring baby to nurse). Don’t hold the back of baby’s head or push or hold baby to the breast. If baby pulls off the breast, then don’t try to make him go back onto the breast at that time – simply try again later. If baby seems frustrated with your offering the breast, then turn the pressure down and simply make the breast available (lots of skin-to-skin!) without offering. It can be helpful to have lots of skin-to-skin time with baby where he is cuddled at the breast with no pressure to nurse – give control over to your baby, so that baby decides if and when to nurse and when to stop nursing.
  • Carry your baby close to you (a sling or other baby carrier can help with this). “Wear,” carry, hold and cuddle your baby as much as possible; carry baby on your hip while doing other things, play with baby, and give baby lots of focused attention.
  • Sleep near your baby. If baby sleeps with you, you’ll get more skin-to-skin contact, plus baby has more access to the breast (see this information on safe co-sleeping). If baby is not in the same bed, have baby’s bed beside your bed or in the same room so that you can catch early feeding cues, breastfeed easier at night, and get more sleep.
  • Nipple shields can be helpful at times for transitioning baby to the breast. Talk to your lactation consultant about using this tool.
  • Comfort nursing is often the first to come, followed by nutritive nursing. Offer the breast for comfort any time you see a chance- at the end of a feeding when baby is not hungry, when baby is going to sleep or just waking up, when baby is asleep, and whenever he needs to comfort suck If your baby is actively resisting nursing, then try encouraging comfort nursing after baby is comfortable with skin-to-skin contact. After baby is willing to nurse for comfort, you can then proceed to working on nursing for “meals” as well.

You are working to seduce your baby back to breast. Again, coax, don’t force!

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