When your breastfed baby refuses to be bottle-fed

When your breastfed baby refuses to be bottle-fed

Don't panic if your baby refuses the bottle. There are better options to get your baby to drink through a bottle or to drink via other means. Try one or all of these suggestions-- each baby is unique.

Babies are smart and they can be funny-- in an unpredictable way. Even when you have fed them with a bottle before, chances are your breastfed baby refuses bottle when he turns one month and beyond. They somehow know the difference between their mother’s breasts and the bottle.

Seeing this happen can be frustrating and stressful especially when a mother plans to go back to work in a few weeks. A similar predicament happened to one of our FB friends, Jessica Lee.

She has been breastfeeding her baby but when she introduced a bottle of expressed breast milk, her baby wouldn’t take bottle feeding.

So, what do you do if you are in this situation? Would it be alright if you just follow the advice to wait until your baby gets hungry and drink from the bottle?

Can you force feed your child or are there better options?

Here's what you can do if your breastfed baby refuses bottle

Every baby is different, so try some of these suggestions from mothers who had tried and tested them and see what works for you:

  • Ask another person to feed your baby from a bottle without you in sight. If the mother is around, a baby won’t settle for anything less but his mother’s breasts so seeing you around, your baby will be refusing bottle feeding. But when he or she knows that you are not there, he or she would most probably take the milk offered through a bottle.
  • Use different teats and find out which is acceptable for your baby. Try different nipples and see which one is good for your baby. There are many mothers who recommend using NUK orthodontic nipples which can equalize pressure or the NUK yellow-colored teats which looks closely similar to breasts.
  • Make the nipple warm before giving the bottle to the baby. Sometimes, babies would prefer a warm nipple just like their mother’s rather than a cold one. So, you can let tap water or warm water run through the nipple before giving it to baby.
  • Include your baby’s feeding bottle along with his or her toys. Let him or her play with a feeding bottle and allow him or her to become familiar with it. Then put a little water, juice or breast milk in it. Encourage him or her to latch on to the nipple. If he/she can already do it then put one feeding of milk and give the bottle to drink the next time. He or she will just look at this as part of playing. Most probably would not notice that he or she is being fed.
  • Feed baby by using a dropper, spoon or “sipper” cup. If your breastfed baby refuses bottle still, then it’s time to turn to the alternative methods. You can use a dropper, a spoon or a cup depending on the age of the baby. Use a dropper if baby is still less than six-months-old. Let baby sit in an upright position. Insert gently a small medicine dropper into your baby’s mouth and slowly squeeze the milk into his or her mouth. Spills are but normal but you can do it better as you continue to do it. Use a deep plastic or a soft rubber-coated spoon for babies at least six months old. For older babies, using a cup will be just fine. Though it takes more time to feed baby through these methods, it is all worthwhile. And you will notice that your baby can be fed in ways other than breastfeeding or bottle feeding.

Finding ways to feed your baby can be exhausting. But if you are patient and consistent, feeding will turn out easy. And, you won’t have to worry that your baby is starving while you are not at home.

Also read: When your baby goes on milk strike

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Written by

Karen Mira

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