Bottle refusal please help! — The Bump

Bottle refusal please help!

LO is 14 weeks old. Been consistently giving a bottle a day since week 9. Was a struggle at first but then he seemed to get a hang of it so I increases the bottle to 23 per day since I'm going back to work soon. Just last week he has started to refuse the bottle completely. He has cried and screamed every time we tried to feed him a bottle! I don't know what to do. I started at week 9 because I wanted to make sure he would be ok with daycare but now I'm completely stressed and frustrated because it's getting so close and we are struggling again. Have any of you ladies experienced this? And how should I approach it? I know baby can sense our frustration and that probably doesn't help the situation. I need advice!

Re: Bottle refusal please help!

  • Are you the one trying to give him the bottle? Sometimes babies will refuse a bottle from mom because they prefer the breast but will take it from someone else if mom is nowhere in sight. Have you tried different bottles and nipples? I have several friends who swear by Dr. Browns nipples.
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  • Ugh.  I had a bottle refuser as well.  She stopped taking it around 2 months old. I was freaking out as well, since I have to go back to work.  She finally started taking it again at around 4 months old.

    The best advice I can give you is to keep trying every day.  Try to approach baby with happy face and keep it light.  If baby starts screaming, back away and try  again later.  If baby only gums it and plays with it, but doesn't scream, consider it progress and don't try to force it too much.  She started taking it laid out completely flat.  I would also put the TV on, and the slight distraction seemed to help for some reason.  We would also pretend we were drinking fromteh bottle then offer her some.  Seems silly, but she seemed to be paying attention and it may have helped. 

    Just keep trying.  I thought my baby would never get back on the bottle and was ready to start trying sipply cups, etc.  Then, she just decided to take the bottle again.   Good luck!  I know it is stressful.



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  • image greeneyed_bride:
    Are you the one trying to give him the bottle? Sometimes babies will refuse a bottle from mom because they prefer the breast but will take it from someone else if mom is nowhere in sight. Have you tried different bottles and nipples? I have several friends who swear by Dr. Browns nipples.

    So far, it's me, H, and MIL that have tried. Weird thing is he was taking it for so long ok then suddenly refused.
  • I was a nanny for a little girl who refused the bottle. Her mom worked from home so she just made sure to be around for feeding times. Once mom simply had to be away when she would want to nurse so she left me a bottle of
    pumped milk hoping for the best.

    I held her in my lap holding the bottle near her. It was not quite feeding time yet so she wasn't agitated. I think that helped. Then I held it to her lips without forcing the issue. She looked at it and at me. Then I engaged her with something else for a few minutes. Then again with the bottle. Eventually she took it. The whole thing took about 30 minutes.
    Then and now. How did my boy get so big? 

  • DS was a bottle refuser. Try putting him in a bouncer, get him nice and distracted by all the toys, and then try. Sometimes DS would also take it lying down. He got past it by 6 or 7 months and he will take it anywhere now. Consistancy and perserverence!! Good luck, i know how rough it is.

  • This is not uncommon and you are not alone. Yes, the LO can sense your frustration and now your anxiety every time you try and that WILL make the situation more difficult. There are several things you can try...some will cost money some won't. Some will only cost sanity. You can try changing the type of bottle and/or nipple you are using. Every baby is different and will prefer to feel something different when they feed. You can also TRY (no guarantee it will work, but...) there are out on the market (I saw a set at Walmart today for $9) nipple covers. They are silicone covers you wear while nursing. They are meant to aid with nipple tenderness. However, in your case, can be used to get baby back to being comfortable with the bottle quickly. It will be you (close, warm, natural) with something a little more like a bottle nipple. IF your LO takes to it without too much stress, try moving on to the bottle again with a nipple shaped as closely in size and shape to your own and see if he will take it. Also, when you give the bottle, try pre-warming the nipple in hot water until it is warm and soft (like you). This also may help.

    Most of all, remember that baby will NOT starve to death. If it comes down to it, and daycare time is upon you and your LO is still not taking a bottle...he will eventually. When he realizes there is no Mom to the rescue, and there is no alternative but to feel hungry, he will eat from a bottle. He is most likely sensing ALL your stress about going back to work, being separated from him, anticipation of further exhaustion, and the simple anxiety of all that is going on at this time. This is his way of telling you he doesn't like it. It will pass. It may be uncomfortable and ugly for a bit...but if you are persistant, baby will calm down and so will you. Try giving him a bottle just after you have taken a few moments to breathe deep, relax, take a bath, do some stretches...anything to take your mind off the upcoming changes and your anxiety over his behavior. Those anxieties make it more uncomfortable for him and he will resist harder. Try having a friend or neighbor come by every couple of days and have them try giving him a bottle. Sometimes, knowing they are in a familiar set of arms (Mom, Dad, Grandma, etc) means if they refuse, Mom will step in and rescue them. Don't! Leave the house if you must. Go for a walk or a drive. Resist the overwhelming urge. He will take a bottle eventually.

  • Oh, Mama... That is stressful, isn't it? Both my babies were/are bottle refusers. It's tough.

    The advice given above is so great, and I don't have much to add; but I wanted to let you know that baby will eat when he's hungry enough. DH and I just went on a ten day trip without our LOs and our daughter took a 4 ounce bottle the day we left and then didn't take another bottle until 5 days later! Granted, she's 9 months and eating some solids, but she definitely prefers Mama's milk. It was so stressful for me to hear that she was refusing the bottle, but she eventually did, and when we got home, she was fine. She even gained weight while we were away. Kiddos are more resilient than we sometimes think.

    If babe is still refusing the bottle when it's time to go to DC, just be prepared for a period of reverse cycling (baby wants to nurse all night to get the nutrition he missed during the day).

    Oh, and have you tried a sippy cup? We introduced one at about 3 or 4 months with some success. And I think we tried every. single. bottle/nipple. on the market. Good luck, Mama! 

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