Berkeley Parents Network >
I have a variation on the nursing strike. My 6.5 month old has
been taking a bottle with no problem since she was 2 weeks old.
Last week she sprouted her first tooth after several very
painful days and now won't take the bottle at all. It doesn't
matter what is in the bottle or even who tries to give it to her
because she won't even taste it - just sees it coming and turns
her head and tries to squirm away. I thought they didn't really
have ''memories'' yet at this age, but my best guess is that she
thinks the bottle will hurt her mouth. I should add, I'm also
still breastfeeding (even the breast made her cry in pain a few
times) and she has no problems with that but I work out of the
house and pump during the week. I know nursing strikes
typically last less than 2 weeks, but anybody have experience
with bottle strikes?
My daughter went through both nursing strikes and bottle strikes,
mostly when she was slightly younger (3-6 months). This did
correlate with teething,as she cut her first teeth at 5 months.
Though very frustrating at the time, it did not seem to do her
any harm, and never lasted more than 3-4 days at a stretch. On
her worst days, she only managed to get down 1 ounce of expressed
milk by bottle, while I was away for 8 hours. In our case, she
was able to make up for it at night, since we coslept and she was
a devoted reverse-cycle nurser, nursing A LOT in the night. Even
when she was on a nursing strike, she would still nurse in the
night when she was half-asleep. I'm not necessarily recommending
this for you, cosleeping is definitely not for everyone. But if
you give her some extra chances to nurse as much as she wants in
the mornings and evenings, hopefully she'll weather the strike
and be back to normal in a few days. Perhaps your daycare
provider can offer water in a sippy cup if you are worrying about
dehydration? My daughter started drinking water from a sippy cup
around 6 months.
My now almost 1 year old will no longer take a bottle. I
work, but mostly from home and so have been able to nurse
him during work hours most of the time. I used to express
milk and have him use a bottle, which he took well. Then, a
series of illnesses, vacations and the like, meant that he
had no bottle for 6-8 weeks (around 9-10 months). Now he
won't take a bottle at all, just chewing on the nipple and
getting a little liquid. He's fascinated by cups, but isn't
doing too well with a sippy cup. At this point, there are
times I have to be away from him for 8 hours or more --
yesterday, from 9 am until after his bedtime -- and he
still won't really drink much during this time. I thought
he might break down and use the bottle when I was gone all
day and evening, but no luck.
Any ideas about how to either get him back on a bottle or
get him to move more quickly onto a sippy cup?
When I initially tried to get my then 13-month-old son to
use a sippy cup, all he wanted to do was shake the cup and
throw it. I tried it with the stopper in and with it out (a
mistake, because milk went flying all over as he shook the
cup). Finally, I just showed him how Mommy was drinking
from the cup. I let him see me from a side view and face-
on, and, amazingly, he drank, too. I guessed that he hadn't
understood the principle of sucking out the liquid. Good
My daughter never drank out of a bottle - we tried every
brand made! Luckily, I stayed home and could nurse her
exclusively for the first 10 months or so. Finally, we
discovered (by accident) that she liked drinking through a
straw. So we bought some little straw cups by Playtex and
all was well! Later we found ''juice box'' cups by
Rubbermaid that also work and are much cheaper.
My daughter (17 months old) recently came down with hand-
foot-mouth disease, and refused her bottle because of the
blisters in her mouth. The only way she would drink her
milk (which she was still taking in a bottle) was from a
cup with a straw. There are lots of different straw-
included cups/sports bottles available (I got some at
Albertson's, they are probably elsewhere, too). Now that
she is well, she has not gone back to the bottle, and takes
milk from a straw-cup in the morning, and a ''sports bottle''
(with spill-proof valve) during the day.
Maybe the straws would be the thing for your child. Good
My daughter is also one year old, and she doesn't use a
bottle. She used to get expressed milk from a bottle, but
she's eating more now. I still nurse her about three or
four times a day (including before bed and first thing in
the morning). She drinks all other liquids from a regular
cup. We hold the cup for her so that she doesn't spill
much. She's just starting to use sippy cups, but she
hasn't quite figured out that she needs to hold the cup up
for liquid to come out, so I'm helping her learn. If I
were you, I wouldn't try to get him to take bottles
anymore. He sounds ready to learn about cups, like my
daughter, but he'll need lots of practice to get it right.
He can drink expressed milk from a cup. My daughter drank
expressed milk from a cup for a few weeks, but now she
takes juice or water instead.
You didn't mention if you are feeding your son solid
food yet, nor how he likes it. But at a year old, I'd guess
he's already got some favorites. If I recall the advice i've
gotten through doctors, books and other parents, after
a year, a child recieves most of his or her nutrition
through solid foods, not through breast milk. You might
want to check with your doctor on that. A year-old still
needs a certain amount of milk, but it may not need to
be strictly breast milk. If your doctor okays it--and you
do too--try cow, goat, or soy milk. I also recommend
the book Super Baby Foods for learning more about
feeding an older baby.
But back to the bottle. Perhaps the problem isn't the
bottle so much as what's in it. My son started taking the
bottle again when I gave him anything other than breast
milk--for that he wanted nothing but the natural
container. He pretty quickly picked up using a sippy
cup at about a year old, and likes a variety of different
liquids. If you try a sippy cup, remember that you might
have to try different kinds before you find one that your
You don't need to wean completely at this stage, even
if most of your son's nurtition is coming from
elsewhere. Breastfeeding will become something
different, no less nurturing, but different. My son is 18
months old, and I remember feeling a small sort of
loss when my milk became secondary to solid food.
But now I love the changes and how he is growing. We
nurse once or twice a day, and it's a very special time
for both of us. And it's a blast to help him explore the
world of food, especially here in Berkeley!
We have never had any luck with sippy cups. But our 13
month old now drinks expertly from a regular cup. Sure, it
takes a bit of supervision. We aren't fans of traipsing
about the house with food and/or drink, anyways. Why not
try going straight to a regular cup, and skip the sippy?
And thank your lucky stars that you won't have to ''wean''
from the bottle!
Which sippy cups are you using that are causing your son
trouble? My son had a horrible time with the Playtex ones
at the same age. They are very popular, so they must work
well for other kids, but my son couldn't get anything out.
The valve was too strong for him. Instead we bought the
cups made by first years. Instead of having a thick valve,
the cup lid has a little plastic flim with a slit in it
that was much easier for him. They are not as water-tight
as the playtex though... they will leak if tipped over or
upsidedown, but at least the baby can drink from them.
Have you tried a sippy cup with handles on both sides.
That seemed to be the key for my guy.
this page was last updated: Jun 3, 2007
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network