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Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA
Lactation Specialist

Q&A: Baby Won't Take Bottle?

I have to go back to work in a few weeks, and my baby doesn't seem interested in taking a bottle of expressed milk. Will he starve at daycare?

No. Being away from mom can disrupt any baby’s feeding preferences — I’ve even heard of a baby who had been bottle-fed from birth and refused a bottle for the first week at daycare. Feeding — no matter what kind — is part of a relationship with a baby. Clearly that bottle-fed baby took one look at the strange caregiver and said to herself, “I don’t do this with anyone but my mother.” After some time getting to know her new caregivers, this baby began to bottle-feed again. My best suggestion is to arrange for the baby to spend some time with his future caregiver and let them work out the bottle-feeding together. Your baby will not starve himself when there’s food available. Just note that some babies do wait all day for the mother to get home to eat. This will mean turning his days and nights around, making him wake to nurse more frequently at home. This works too. But you might be really tired.

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