Q: From birth, my baby has had nothing but breast milk. Now she's 3 months old, and I'd like to go out with my husband occasionally. I have saved plenty of breast milk, but she won't take it from the bottle. What can I do?
A: Of course, your daughter won't starve to death if she takes nothing at all for the length of a feature film, but you naturally want to make both your baby and the sitter more comfortable when you go out. We are not too surprised she rejects a bottle. Many breast-fed babies want nothing to do with a rubber nipple if they haven't gotten used to one early in life. We advise mothers who are successfully breast-feeding but who plan to use a bottle occasionally to let the baby practice with it once in a while beginning at about 4 weeks.
But you needn't feel you've created a big problem, even though you didn't get your daughter bottle-ready. Feed her right before you go out. Then when your daughter seems hungry the sitter can drip breast milk into her mouth with a spoon. Though this is slower than a bottle, it should keep your baby content for a while.
Dr. Wilson is director of general pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center; Dr. Joffe is director of adolescent medicine.