I will take this opportunity to issue a public service announcement: if you are going back to work (or just want the option of giving your baby a bottle now and then), you really need to get the baby used to switching between breast and bottle early. The breastfeeding support group I go to now (the same one I went to with Pumpkin) recommends giving a bottle at about 3 weeks old. Petunia and Pumpkin both got their first bottle at about that time. Once you get your baby to take a bottle, you should keep giving a bottle every day or two, even if you don't really need to. I have never actually met anyone whose baby refused the breast after being given a single bottle a day (although I'm sure those people are out there), but I personally know many women who have struggled to get their baby to take a bottle because they waited until the baby was older or because they didn't give the bottle frequently enough. This only adds to the stress about returning to work... so don't let it happen to you!
Updated to add: Laura makes an EXCELLENT point in the comments- you can do everything "right" and still have a baby refuse to take the bottle. All you can really do is try to increase your chances of success by starting early and not stopping.
Also, here are some of the suggestions about how to try to coax a baby to take a bottle that I've heard from people in real life:
- Try a "dream feed"- i.e., wake the baby up an hour or so after she falls asleep and try giving the bottle. Or, if the baby is still waking up in the middle of the night, try on that feeding, when the baby is really sleepy.
- Try giving the bottle when the baby is likely to be very hungry, like at the first feeding of the day.
- Try giving the bottle after nursing for a little while.
Another recommendation I've heard is not to be too persistent- don't try to force the bottle on the baby, or the baby may develop an aversion to the bottle, making things even harder.
And now, I'm going to count my blessings that Petunia seems happy to eat from the bottle or from me!
Another update: my friend reports success- achieved on the day before she had to go back to work! The bottle that finally did it for her baby was the Nuby Softflex Silicone Nurser. Apparently the magic trick was squeezing that nipple to show the baby that milk came out. Her baby sucked on it a bit the first time they tried it, and then after a few days, was back to taking a bottle without complaint.