My daughter Savannah Bee made life easy on her mother and I taking to breastfeeding and the bottle from the moment she was born and then one day she refused to drink from the bottle anymore. Savannah’s mother and I were not sure what to do at first. I think we both thought it was a phase or maybe I was just doing something wrong. Savy Bee had been drinking breastmilk from the bottle for two months already so why would she suddenly stop. Alex had left the house to run to Cost Co and probably Target too when Savannah started to fuss. I warmed up her bottle per usual only this time was not going to be like all the times I had fed her before.
Alex arrived back at home about half an hour later and Savannah had refused the bottle the entire time. Luckily mom was there to calm Savy down. That would not be the end of the story. Savannah never wanted a bottle again.
At this point, Alex and I were two months into being parents and we had a nice little routine down that seemed to be working well. Savannah would wake up at least once but usually twice a night. We split the night into shifts which almost always meant that we both would get at least four hours of sleep and often six or even seven hours. Alex would pump twice a day and I got to feed Savannah every night and sometimes during the day also. When Savy stopped taking from the bottle, that meant I couldn’t feed her at night and Alex would need to get up every time. We are still working through it and we have not given up on the bottle just yet.
In the meantime, here are 9 ways dads can help moms when baby won’t take a bottle
Since mom is going to be getting up every time baby wakes up in the night, dad can switch places with mom once baby has finished eating and rock baby back to sleep. That way mom can try to get as much sleep as possible and she doesn’t feel like she is alone. Parenting is a team effort and it is very important for dads to help in any way they can. Dad might not need to get up every time, but it sure is a good way to help your spouse when they are desperately wanting to get some zzzz.
Routines help baby recognize patterns and begin to develop a schedule. Creating a morning routine is a great way for your little one to get their day started out right. Beginning baby’s day with some conversation and encouraging them to smile helps you and baby wake up on the right side of the bed. Changing their diaper, putting on a fresh outfit, and feeding baby are some helpful and fun habits for baby’s morning routine. This is a great time for dad to jump in and assist while mom is taking a shower or enjoying some morning coffee.
Long nights with baby waking up multiple times to feed or maybe just needing a diaper change will turn mom and dad into nap people if they weren’t already. If baby isn’t taking the bottle then right after mom gets done feeding, dad can offer to take over and let mom have a rest. Baby is sure to be content right after feeding so dads can be confident to play and watch their little one while mom is sleeping on the couch watching some Netflix show dads not interested in watching. This is another great way for new dads to bond with their baby and earn some brownie points with mom.
Babies generally eat between 8-12 times a day typically for half an hour sessions. When baby is eating, this is a good opportunity for dads to find a way to help mom. Dads may already help with house chores, but this is an easy way dad can do something beyond what they normally do. Making sure the laundry is going, keeping the kitchen clean and the dishes put away, vacuuming, taking out the trash throughout the house are all easy tasks dads can take ownership of to help mom.
Mom is going to be feeding baby a lot so a nice gesture is for dad to cook dinner for mom. Cook some of your family favorite meals or experiment with a fun recipe from Pinterest. Sometimes Pinterest recipes do not turn out, but dad is still going to get some major brownie points. Before baby, mealtimes could easily have turned into a quick grab-n-go then dash back to the office or living room to watch more Netflix. Mealtimes are a great way to decompress the new stresses that come with being a parent. Moms and dads are sleeping less and have less time for themselves. Make breakfast, dinner, and even lunch is you can a time to build and foster your relationship with your spouse.
Every couple is going to show affection for their partner in their own unique way. One example is to give mom a back run. Breastfeeding can actually be hard on moms back. Mom is typically leaning forward during feedings and carrying around a precious 10+ lb bundle of joy all day long which puts pressure and stress on moms back. A back massage is a great way to help mom relax and get more sleep.
If mom is doing all of the feeding than dad can change all the diapers. Diaper duty may be smelly, but this is shore to be the long end of the stick. Changing a babies diaper is quick and easy and baby is always appreciate. This is an opportunity to bond with baby in a different way. Sometimes it can feel like mom is getting all of the bonding time so finding your own way as a dad is important. Mom will appreciate your help too.
Different bottle brands will have their own unique nipple sizes and flow. Usually each brand of bottle will also offer different nipple flows and typically babies want to increase the flow as they get older. Dr. Brown’s bottles for example use a vent which slows down the flow and you can also use the bottle without the vent to try increasing flow. Other bottles shape the nipple to try and have a shape and feel like mom. Experimenting with different nipple flows can be helpful. Always be careful and be ready to pull the bottle back if baby is getting too much milk too quickly so they do not aspirate.
Whether your baby never took a bottle or suddenly stopped taking a bottle after a few months do not give up. Everyone situation is different, and mom may not always be available to save the day. Maternity leave may not last forever and mom may need to return to work. Mom and dad may want to find a babysitter for a fun night out. Mom may just take a much-needed run to Target and dad is going to have to find a way to feed that little one. Try feeding baby a bottle at least once a day. The best time is immediately after baby has just finished breastfeeding. Experiment with different nipple flows. Double check the milk temperature. Dads will find a way.