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My Baby Won’t Take Bottle: How to Solve This Feeding Issue

My Baby Won’t Take Bottle How to Solve This Feeding Issue

Every baby needs the right nutrition for them to grow up big and strong. You can start introducing them to baby bottles as early as 3-4 weeks old!

Yet, some babies won’t take bottles right away. I know it can be a frustrating issue when you need your baby to eat.

If your baby is one of them, let me help you figure things out as we solve the problem of how to get your baby to drink milk from a bottle.

Baby Won’t Take Bottle? Follow these Hacks!

Baby Won’t Take Bottle? Follow these Hacks!

I remember my sister having difficulty shifting from breastfeeding to mixing it with bottle-feeding breast milk and later switching to formula milk because my niece would vehemently refuse.

I had to help my sister try every trick in the book until my niece finally embraced the bottle-feeding life, giving my sister the peace of mind that her baby could eat even while she was away.

To aid you through your baby’s bottle-feeding journey, here are some tried-and-tested tips to help your baby transition to bottle-feeding.

Tip #1: Gradually Introduce the Baby Bottle 

The first thing you need to try if the baby is hesitant is to introduce the baby bottle gradually. Do not suddenly use a baby bottle and tear your baby from the comfort they associate with breastfeeding.

In this step, you need to switch back and forth between breastfeeding and bottle feeding for at least the first two weeks of introducing the latter to the baby. 

This is an essential tip because the more you force a baby to change through baby bottle feeding, the more resistant the baby becomes.

Tip #2: Do Not Force Your Baby to Latch Onto the Bottle 

Like the first tip, the next thing you MUST remember is to never force your baby to latch onto the bottle.

Forcing babies will create more harm than good as they will surely resist, given that the baby bottle, although made to simulate a breast, still has noticeable differences in mouthfeel, shape, and milk flow.

Your baby will pick up on this and outright reject it.

Tip #3: Try Different Feeding Positions

The third tip that worked well for my sister and her child is trying different feeding positions.

You can explore bottle-feeding your baby while you are in the following positions:

  • Lying down while the baby’s back is on your bent legs
  • Sitting upright while the baby’s back is on your stomach
  • Sitting or standing while cradling your baby in your arms

After trying these positions for at least five days each, you can assess their preference by asking the following questions:

  1. What position was my baby comfortable in?
  2. What position made my baby drink more milk from the bottle?
  3. What position enabled my baby not to refuse to bottle-feed?

Once you have answered the questions above, you can choose the best position and try it with others who will care for your baby when you aren’t in the house. 

Aside from changing the feeding position, you can also try paced bottle-feeding for your baby’s transition to bottles.

Tip #4: Create a Comforting Bottle Feeding Environment

It’s always vital to create a comfortable feeding environment to make your baby’s transition to bottle-feeding easier.

You must condition your baby by introducing a pleasant, cozy environment during bottle feeding.

It can be achieved through white noise, giving the best baby toys, calming music, or any other entertaining activities.

Remember to do this while bottle-feeding during the first four weeks before you return to work to condition the baby. After that period, you can start bottle-feeding daily when the baby is well-adjusted.

The baby must be acquainted with the difference in the environment between bottle-feeding and breastfeeding. This keeps the baby interested and looking forward to the bottle-feeding moment and its associated feeling.

PRO TIP: You can also apply this hack when your baby transitions from breastmilk to formula.

Tip #5: Try Different Nipples and Bottles

Babies will like and dislike certain nipples and bottles.

As a parent, you need to try different brands, sizes, and designs of baby nipples and baby bottles until you find the ones your babies are most comfortable feeding with.

You will know if the baby likes (and chooses) a particular nipple and bottle when they do not resist feeding. They don’t push it out of their mouth with their tongue and latch onto it on their own.

Moreover, a baby accepts the bottle when they prefer holding the baby bottle on their own.

Why Won’t My Baby Take a Bottle?

Why Won’t My Baby Take a Bottle?

Your baby refusing to take a bottle is quite normal, and there are a lot of reasons that explain this phenomenon. 

The reasons behind this baby situation are the following:

  • The baby’s senses are still trying to grasp the unfamiliar feel of nipples and baby bottles.
  • The baby is not familiar with the fast milk flow of some baby bottles.
  • You are bottle-feeding the baby when they are still not hungry enough.
  • The baby does not like the milk temperature from the bottle as it may be different from the breastfeeding temperature they’re used to.
  • The baby may have a medical condition that makes latching onto a baby bottle uncomfortable.

Signs Your Baby Doesn’t Like Bottle Feeding

Signs Your Baby Doesn’t Like Bottle Feeding

As I mentioned earlier, babies not taking bottles is typical in the baby-feeding world. Nevertheless, here are the signs that explicitly tell you that your baby doesn’t like bottle-feeding at all:

  • The baby throws tantrums upon seeing baby bottles and nipples near them
  • The baby intentionally coughs, squirms, and cries while bottle-feeding 
  • The baby plays with the nipples by chewing them rather than drinking from them
  • The baby deliberately leaks milk while bottle-feeding

REMEMBER: Sometimes, these signs are also apparent when the formula does not agree with the baby.

When to Stop Breastfeeding

A dilemma that has plagued parents forever has been finding the answer to the question: when do I stop breastfeeding my baby?

In that case, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that a baby be exclusively breastfed for six months.

After that period, the baby must be introduced gradually to a mix of bottle-feeding, the best baby formula, and other healthy food options until the baby reaches one year old.

FUN FACT: You can mix breast milk and formula milk to make the process of transitioning much easier.

Baby Bottle Recommendations

Baby Bottle Recommendations

I understand that one way of solving your baby’s bottle refusal is by recommending some of the best baby bottles on the market. So, here are some of the baby bottles that I can wholeheartedly recommend:

My sister and I chose all the baby bottles mentioned above by inspecting them with a keen eye and checking for the following considerations: 

  • What material the baby bottle is made of (e.g., plastic, silicone, glass)
  • Durability
  • Weight
  • BPA-free
  • Nipple design
  • Baby bottle shape

FAQs

It is always important that, as parents or guardians of babies, we learn as much as possible to ensure they receive the best care. That is why I’ve answered some of your frequently asked questions in this section. Read on!

Why Does My Bottlefed Baby Suddenly Refuse to Take a Bottle?

Sudden bottle refusal happens to bottle-fed babies because one or more of the reasons I listed below may be present in your situation:

  • The baby is not hungry 
  • The nipple and the baby bottle may not be suitable for the baby’s growing body
  • The baby may have experienced a recent traumatic event involving bottle-feeding 
  • The baby may be teething

Moreover, it may signify that it is time to wean the baby off the bottle. 

Why Is My Baby Screaming When I’m Trying to Give the Bottle?

Your baby may be screaming when you are trying to give the baby bottle because THEY may be uncomfortable with their current feeding position, the milk flow, or the temperature of the liquid.

Do what you can to make the process more comfortable, and adjust parts of the process based on your baby’s inputs and reactions. If they feel discomfort, they’ll be sure to let you know.

Conclusion

As a working mom, you no longer need to worry when you return to work, as your baby will undoubtedly adapt to bottle feeding when you follow the tips mentioned above.

Given time, you can even find your baby falling asleep while bottle-feeding because these tips will help them find the most comfortable feeding position, ensuring your little one remains relaxed and full!

Just remember that shifting from exclusive breastfeeding to a mix of bottle feeding is not a walk in the park and should be gradually introduced to your baby at least six weeks before your leave ends.

When followed intently and with the advice from your pediatricians, the tips and tricks in this article will help you transition your baby from breast to bottle in no time.

Sky Bustillo
Sky Bustillo

Hi, I’m Sky!
As a Filipina in her mid-20s, a sister to young ones, and a tita to my nieces and nephews, I somehow share the same sentiment as other parents. I have a growing aspiration of becoming a mom someday!
But there also comes a worry that you won’t be able to give the best to your children, especially with the food they eat, the products they use, and the new habits and hobbies we introduce to them.
Your kid’s safety and welfare are your top priority, that’s why I always make it to a point to learn from the stories and experiences of other moms.
It’s a delight to share what I learned and know to help the moms close to my heart, and this time, I’m writing to relay advice to you from the insights of other moms and my experience around kids, too.
I’d love to be a part of your journey, and I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful for you and your young one!