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Premature baby fed with bottle milk and reluctant to breastfeeding. Could we give formula milk for all the feeds?

Feb 2013
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Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 3176 Questions
Hi Dr,
My baby is a premature baby of age 2.5 months and weighing 2.475 kgs.. She was fed my milk with bottle from day 2 as she was in NICU.. So she is habitual with bottle feeding.. When she came home she was reluctant to take direct breastfeeding so i started using nipple shield.. This was going very smoothly till 2 day back wherein my baby doesnt want to suck my breast at all.. Drs used to give her pre nan when she was in nicu and at home we gave her 2-3 times only.. Can she be given formula milk for all the feeds? We even tried watti and spoon she cries terribly.. Pls help
Posted Sat, 31 Aug 2013 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. E Venkata Ramana 1 hour later

Thank you for your query on Healthcare Magic.

The baby seems having nipple confusion or flow preference.

As the artificial nipple allows easy flow of expressed breast milk or formula milk, the baby's behavior is habituated to the artificial nipple and baby is reluctant to take direct breast feeds because of strength required to take breast milk from mother nipple is more.

This type of nipple confusion or flow preference is developed in babies who being fed with a bottle.

I advise you to follow the measures to help you for successful breast feeding:

1.Try to relax your self as much as possible. Baby often senses her mother's
tension and responds with tension of her own.

2.Be confident and remember that most babies with nipple confusion can usually
coaxed back into nursing within a couple of days.

3.Follow some tricks like putting a clean pacifier and allowing her to suck and
then introduce the mother nipple after removing the pacifier. Do it for some
times in a day.

4.Try to express some milk onto your nipples and onto your baby's lips as you
hold her in the nursing position.

5.Try pumping or expressing some amount of milk from your breast so that the
baby gets milk immediately when she latches on.

6. Massages or warm compresses on your breasts prior to nursing may also help
your milk let down and flow immediately.

7.Try offering breasts when the baby isn't particularly hungry.

8.Limit your baby exposure to artificial nipples for nourishment and comfort.

9. Try nursing the baby when she is sleepy.

10.If your baby still refuses, pump the milk from breast and feed the baby.Feed
her by cup and spoon. Put milk just at your baby lips and let her do the rest
of work.

As formula milk is not equivalent to the breast milk, I advise you to give exclusive breast milk to the baby till the age of 6 months.

Exclusive breastfeeding is the gold standard method of feeding.

Hope I have answered your query, if you have any clarification please let me know.

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