Getting a baby to eat can feel like playing a game of chess: Most of your time is spent developing a strategy for your next move, hoping it’s the one that causes your newborn to latch onto the nipple. Some nursing babies have a favorite side, and some bottle-fed babies will only eat from certain nipples. It’s not always easy to figure out their preferences.
Some fathers, though, have come up with a pretty clever hack to get their little ones to eat. Take for example, Anthony Favors, a New York dad whose daughter wasn’t having any of his bottle ( she prefers mom’s breast).
Favors had a trick up his sleeve: He made a hole in his shirt, put the nipple through, and his baby girl latched on.
He explained his hack in a Facebook post: “Wife was working and my daughter didn’t want me because I didn’t have breast milk so I tricked her [and] cut a hole in my shirt.”
He’s not the first father to try this adorable feeding method, though. In 2016, stay-at-home dad Christopher Allen filmed himself attempting to “breastfeed” his daughter, Destiny, by placing a bottle through a hole in his tank. His video went viral pretty quickly, earning him praise from exasperated parents everywhere.
“I realized sometimes throughout the day at different times of me feeding her, she would be comfortable sometimes and other times she wasn’t as comfortable,” Allen told TODAY Parents in 2016. “One day, I decided to take matters into my own hands after Destiny was a little restless during one feeding, so I cut a hole in my shirt and stuck the bottle in it and fed her. That was the most comfortable I’ve ever seen my baby during a feeding with me.”
I have to say, it’s a pretty genius way for dads to get their breastfed newborns to bottle-feed. But if you want to save your shirts, here are three other feeding tips dads could try:
1. Remember skin-to-skin contact.
There’s more than enough research to show that skin-to-skin contact benefits your baby, even years later. But skin-to-skin contact doesn’t have to be limited to breastfeeding sessions with mama. While bottle-feeding, hold your diapered baby close to your bare chest so they can feel warm and comforted.
2. Try different bottles and nipples.
Not all baby bottles are the same, and different babies like different bottles. Breastfed babies can be especially picky about non-human nipples, so check out some of the options designed specifically for them. Low or no flow nipples, flesh-toned nipples and nipples with multiple holes are all commercially available and can make bottle-feeding a baby who is used to nursing a little easier.
3. Don’t give up.
Dads, it’s easy to be discouraged when your baby doesn’t want to latch onto the bottle. But keeping trying, even if that means trying different nipple types, different bottle types, different ways of holding your baby or different locations to feed. Remain calm and confident, and you’ll get it!