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Baby Refuses the Bottle

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How soon can I give my 3-week-old a bottle of breastmilk?

January 2004

I just had a baby, three weeks ago, and am in that sleep deprived, completely incoherent state--seems like making complete sentences is a challenge. Trying to sort through all the advice in parenting/baby books is too overwhelming--so I need help! When can I start pumping milk and feeding my baby with bottles? I'm really desperate to have my husband do one feeding a night so I can sleep for 3-4 hours. I can't deal with the sleep deprivation--feel like I' mgoing to go crazy. How do people do this? I'm irritable, impatient, frustrated, and feel like I can't enjoy my baby. Not the blissful time I'd hoped for. So what's the deal with bottles? Any advice on this much appreciated--what kind of bottles to buy, what kind of nipples, pumping--when? how often? how much? There's just too much information in some ways, takes too much energy and mental focus to sort through right now. sleep deprived and wanting bottles


I sympathize with you whole-heartedly. I had my first baby 4 years ago but reading your note made it seem like yesterday. I always thought someone should write a book or article about what it is REALLY like coming home with a little demanding being that keeps you awake all night and you are supposed to love immediately (it took me a good 3 months to ''fall in love'' with my first baby). What you are feeling is completely normal, just that no one ever talks about it!

I had to supplement w/formula due to lack of sufficient milk supply (had previous breast reduction surgery). With both my babies, I waited at least 6 weeks before introducing a bottle and that seemed to be a good time. Doctor recommended this, and it worked well. The baby was used to breastfeeding by then, so went from breast to bottle without much of a problem. It was a long, difficult 6 weeks both times (the first was the hardest though) especially since I had to use an SNS - a contraption with a tube that I had to tape to my breast so the baby got additional formula along with my milk. But the wait was worthwhile. I came to enjoy nursing baby, especially when I was not so tired. Another thing that helped was I would sleep with baby and nurse while laying down at night, so at least I could rest.

I used Advent bottles (and still do for my 1.5 yr. old). They are supposedly good for the breast-bottle transition. I have always been happy with these, and never felt the need to try anything else.

Good luck to you, and remember, it does get eaisier. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to be supermom, and most of all, follow your instincts. The best thing I did was to not read too many books. Some other new moms I know read so many books and were so ''confused'' about what they were supposed to do, that they became depressed and distracted so didn't get to enjoy just having a baby in their arms.


Based on what I've read, and my own experience, you can start pumping when your milk supply is ''well-established''. For me, this meant when my baby was almost 2 mos. old. I pumped prior to that, but didn't get very much milk (and I use one of the best pumps--the Medela Pump in Style). I stopped pumping when she was 4 to 7 weeks old (for reasons I explain below) and found that when I started again, voila--I was getting much more milk.&nbs! p; So if you start pumping now and find you are not getting very much, stop for a few days and then try again. AT this age, your baby should probably be eating two to three ounces per meal.

As for when your baby can take a bottle, it is when breast feeding is ''well-established''. Again, this is different for every mom and baby. I will tell you my tale: our baby took a bottle of formula at 2 and 3 days old because she had lost too much weight before my milk came in. At that tender age, she went back and forth between the bottle and breast just fine. So I pumped when she was 2 to 4 weeks old so my husband could give her a bottle/day. She continued to go between breast and bottle fine. Then, we stopped giving her a bottle at about 4 or 5 weeks of age because she seemed to have become a lazy latcher on the breast. When the issue did not cure itself after three weeks w/o a bottle, I saw a lactation consultant who helped me fix the problem, which turned out NOT to be related to bottles. So I promptly started pumping again once/day (and was getting far m! ore milk than earlier) but then, our daughter refuesed the bottle! She did take it from my aunt (whom she had never met before), but would not take it from my husband or me. We finally tricked her by having her sit in a bouncy seat facing Baby Mozart DVD and reached around from behind her and stuck bottle in her mouth. This worked well enough and in a short time, we could feed her the bottle in her bouncy chair regardless of whether she could see us or not. However, she still wouldn't take it from us in our lap. To spare you the rest of the details, our baby is now almost 4 mos. old and has regressed a bit on the bottle and now acts as if she doesn't know how to suck the milk from it. So my advice to you is to give your baby a bottle now (assuming you are having no latching problems w/ the breast) and if she goes back and forth between the bottle and breast okay for a couple/three days, t! hen keep at it--don't stop using the bottle (at least a couple times/week), lest your baby be like ours and refuse/forget how to use it.

The Avent bottles with the newborn nipple work for many babies, as does the Dr. Brown bottles.

As for how much pumping and when: most women produce the most milk in the wee hours, like from 1 to 5 a.m., so pumping in the morning is good. Pump mid-way between feedings. And if you want to give only one bottle a day, you need to only pump once/day (assuming you pump enough for a feeding). Hang in there--things WILL get better! Best of luck.


I was told that I could begin bottle feeding at 4-6 weeks. In fact, assuming no problem with latch-on, etc., earlier is better because if the bottle is introduced later, it may take more work on your part before it is accepted. With my daughter, I waited for 4 months to introduce the bottle, and it was a lot of work. But with my son, we introduced at 5 weeks and it was as easy as pie. Also, it is a good idea to start pumping early because your milk production will probably become more regulated and less abundant later on. If you start now, you should have no problem feeding and then pumping the extra. I never turned over a regular feeding to my husband, but I had a huge supply for nights out, a short trip away at 7 months, and my return to work. On the sleep depriv! ation, all I can say is that it passes sooner than you think. In a few months your baby will be able to sleep longer stretches. For now, sleep when the baby sleeps and start exercising as soon as your doctor okays it (that really helps improve your mood, even when sleep is lacking).
The sleep deprivation is horrible and i felt exactly like you. I did not feel like the first three weeks (or even months for that matter) was blissful at all. In fact i remember wishing someone would just come and take my baby away for a few hours so I could just sleep. In some ways it was really terrible and I wondered if I would ever make it through the first year. The absolute best thing I did was join a Mom's group (or 2 or 3!!) because i met other Mom's going through the exact same thing. I didn't manage to do this u! ntil our baby was six weeks old though...that's how long it took me to feel good enough to get out and do something productive. So don't worry...what you are feeling is totally normal (and don't forget nursing takes up a ton of energy so not only are you sleep deprived your body is exhausted from nursing!). Unfortunately from what i understand you should wait till the baby is between 4 - 6 weeeks before introducing the bottle so breast feeding will be well established. But like everything each baby is different. We did finally introduce the bottle at around six weeks so my husband could do one feeding at night. We used the Avent system...bottles and pump. The pump we used was the Avent Isis hand pump which I thought was great. I haven't used any automatic pumps so can't comment on them. I would try to pump one bottle a day so he could have the bottle at night. The only other thing I can say again is what you are experiencing is normal and I've been through it. It does get better...really it does, so hang in there. And in the meantime if you can get any help at all...hire a sitter/cleaner etc, get a grandparent/aunt/friend to help cook meals do the laundry etc then go for it. Or, if possible, after your husband gets home and has a chance to unwind from work, or on the weekends, try and get a break somehow...even if it is just to lie down for a few hours knowing your husband will bring the baby when it is time to nurse again (not just because the baby is crying and needs a cuddle or a diaper change!). Good luck and hang in there.
3 weeks is the perfect time to start a daily bottle if breastfeeding and growth are going well. Pump in the morning (before you feed the baby) when you have lots of milk. Drink extra fluids, eat well, rest well because you'll be trying to increase milk production a bit. Keep the bottle in the fridge, warm it by putting the bottle into a bowl of hot water (test it on your arm first), give it to the baby at night. Type of nipple doesn't matter. Good type pumps are Medela Pumpinstyle, ameda's purely yours and avent isis manual.

Try to nap whenever possible and learn to breastfeed lying down so that when baby nurses at night you can doze or even go back to sleep. Good luck and hang in there! You should start feeling better but if you don't, go see your doctor and make sure you don't have postpartum depression.


You will get LOTS of feedback on this one! First, everything you are feeling is normal and WILL GET BETTER. Survive the first six weeks and you will see your life start to improve. You might want to join a mom's support group or start calling a girlfriend to get reassurance that you will live through this and that you are not the only one to feel these things. Second, with both of my kids, the first day I pumped was liberation day. Do it! My postpartum blues dissipated when I watched my husband feed the baby. I had the best luck with Nuk Newborn nipples but babies have individual tastes about nipples so try a few. My advice is to invest in a really good pump, if you can. A cheap one will make your pumping experience unpleasant. I just pumped whenever I had a free minute to do so. Drink a ton of w! ater, eat something and pump away, even if you just nursed. It is hard to find to time with a newborn so do it whenever you have a sec. Get a good book. I recommend Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott so while you are pumping you will be reminded that things could be worse!!! Good luck.
First of all - it will get better, I swear. I am now the fairly well-rested parent of a 5-month old who only gets up once a night, but who was a 3-week old who nursed every 45 minutes to an hour and half. It was a rare two hours that went by without a feeding. Anyway, IMHO, start pumping and giving that bottle now! My husband started giving our son a bottle once a night and he continued to be a great nurser at all other times. In fact, once he started sleeping longer, we discontinued the nighttime bottl! e feeding and now he refuses to drink from the bottle! one a day is fine...
First let me tell you something you will more than likely hear from many, many people - the lack of sleep with a newborn is nearly devastating, and so shocking it is enough to make you feel crazy. So, your feelings are normal. That said, just hang in there. Life will get better. You can pump, but know that you'll probably still wake when your partner does the feeding. Your milk may let down or you may just have a natural curiosity about the baby's well being. Are you getting out of bed for each feeding or just bringing the baby in with you? Even if you do not want to have a family bed, this is easiest and most restful for you when the baby's a newborn. And then when you're ready for them to sleep elsewhere, they will. Also, let things go around the house and sleep when the baby does - day or night. This was incred! ibly hard for me to do but when I finally did, I began to feel better. As hard as it is to believe, you will remember this as a precious time with your little one. There are many days I wish I had my newborn back - and I never thought I'd say that. Best of luck and a warm congratulations.
Your baby should start sleeping for 3-4 hour stretches soon. It does get better. Best not to introduce bottles until 6 weeks or later. Pumping can be just as demading, anyway. At 3 weeks, your baby is going through a growth spurt. Wait a couple days -- you might be surprized!
Hi- I'm sure you will get many responses regarding bottles but I too was in the same situation as you after my baby was born last year. It was extremely important to have my husband feed my daughter a bottle of my expressed milk because not only was I so tired but also I was starting a consulting job and needed to attend meetings which meant my daughter would be with my sister or husband and therefore would need to accept a bottle. Both my husband and I were in agreement about introducing a bottle early on and we did so at three weeks. My husband was the one who introduced the bottle and at first my daughter refused profusely. I have to give my husband credit because he endured. He kept trying and trying every night for approximately 30-40 minutes. It was difficult because she cried and we both felt terrible but it was something we needed to do so we kept at it. He walked around with! her in his arms facing out and talked to her, sang to her and all along kept trying to put the bottle in her mouth. Finally after about three days of trying and her crying she began to drink from it. From that point on my husband put my daughter to sleep with a bottle every night. It worked well for us because he bonded with his daughter and he really enjoyed spending that special time with her before she went to sleep. It also provided me with a little time to myself and a much needed rest. Good luck to you I hope this advice helps a bit.
Oh dear, I feel for you. I was in your shoes just a few short months ago -- don't worry, the rule right now is CHANGE and before you know it you and your baby will be in a whole new stage.

You should start giving your baby bottle at least once a day NOW. I cannot emphasize this enough-- I have many girlfriends with babies who end up refusing the bottle because they waited too long to introduce it or were not consistent in giving it EVERY DAY. Babies who are introduced to the bottle later may refuse, but at 3 weeks are usually pretty accepting. If you stop the bottle for a week while on vacation, don't be surprised if your baby refuses the bottle when you come back, never to take one again. I don't mean to be over-dramatic, but having a baby who does not take a bottle means you do not get a break as long as you are nursing... so it's worth it to make sure your baby learns.

You will probably get lots of advice about bottles and nipples, and the variety out there is mind-numbing, but I recommend the Playtex nurser system. We started out with Avent bottles because they seem to be the ''in'' thing these days, but we disliked them because they are so thick it takes a LONG time to warm a bottle up if you're warming stored breastmilk (I guess if you're doing formula you can just add warm water). Five minutes in a warm water bath is a long time to wait if you're dealing with a screaming, hungry baby. We switched to the Playtex nurser system with the ''drop in'' disposable plastic bags and have found them to be incredibly easy -- no bottle to wash, and the bags are so thin that they heat in about 40 seconds when placed in a hot water bath. You can buy a ''starter kit'' which comes with about 6 different types of nipples as well as the 4 and 8 ounce bottles and bags, and experiment with which nipple works best for your baby. Our baby was not picky about the nipple, but we found the silicone slow nipples to be our favorite.


Okay, the basic scoop on pumping and bottles is below. (In fact, I think I'm going to have to do this in parts, because it got long.) But first, I've gotta tell you something you aren't going to like: Bottles are probably not the solution to your craziness. They might or might not help with sleep deprivation; chances are, most of the time you'll wake up when the baby is hungry anyway. If your natural attunement to the baby doesn't wake you, your husband fumbling around probably will. And although some babies seem to sleep a bit longer after a bottle than they do after nursing, others have a much harder time sleeping because the bottle causes gas! When the baby is so young, failing to either nurse or pump around the clock could compromise your milk supply, so it's best if you don't do it too o! ften -- and when you do skip a night feeding, you're likely to get uncomfortably engorged. Plus, pumping is work. So is washing and preparing bottles. It takes time and effort you don't have to spare right now. And a lot of what you're feeling is hormonal stuff that isn't directly related to sleep deprivation anyway. That said, some parents do find that splitting the night into shifts - Mom goes to bed early, Mom sleeps through first night feeding while Dad gives a bottle, Dad goes to bed late, Mom wakes for next night feeding - helps a lot with a baby who still isn't sleeping at least a 4-5 hour stretch after the first month or so. It's worth a try. But learning to nurse side-lying so you can just take the baby to bed with you and doze while he (she? your message didn't say) eats may be a more effective solution.
I had exactly the! same experience you've described with my first child. Everyone around me, including her father, was insisting that breast feeding was the very best thing to do for my baby....meanwhile, I was exhausted from no sleep at night, I felt sick during the day, and felt nearly incapable of making my own decision. Long story short, I finally just switched her to a bottle when she was about 4-weeks-old. I was able to sleep at night (more or less), and better able to enjoy the experience of having a new baby. My daughter certainly didn't suffer from it! And I felt human again. Do what is right for YOU! You and your baby will both be glad for it.
I can totally relate to how you're feeling! I went through the same thing. In my case, I waited too long to start with the bottle and my son NEVER took a bottle. It was very frustrating and! made for a diffucult time for me for the first 5 months when he seemed to want to eat endlessly. Unfortunately, I don't have advice about types of bottles, etc., but I will tell you that you need to start the bottle at least once a day RIGHT AWAY! Many lactation experts will tell you to wait (as they told me), so that the baby won't have nipple confusion (whatever), but because I waited, I missed the opportunity. I wish you the best of luck and, don't worry, it does get better! Wish I'd started sooner
I think you can start now, if your milk supply is good. I found that the Avent Isis manual pump was the easiest to set up and use, but everyone's experience is different. Pumping can actually help prolong the breastfeeding experience by making it easier on the mom. I have a friend who was able to breastfeed her first child for 6 weeks only, because she was ! told not to pump, and she found nursing really tiresome (I know it's heresy, but I did too, frankly). With her second, she started pumping almost immediately and 8 months later, she's still giving her baby breastmilk (while holding down a full-time job). It depends on the mom, but it can be easier to pump - you know what the baby is consuming, the father (and others) can help out.
We had an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (the ''official best'' kind) come visit us when my son was two weeks old. She contradicted a lot of stuff that is on most web sites (including La Leche League), but absolutely everything she said was right on. She said that she recommends starting bottles at 2 weeks, as long as you do only one or two a day, and use Avent bottles/nipples. What my husband and I did was I pumped at bedtime, he took care of the baby from 8:00 pm - 2:00 am, and I took the 2:00 am to 8:00 am shift.

Not a huge amount of uninterrupted sleep, but much better than I had been getting.

Starting the bottle actually helped my son, who had trouble learning to nurse, to do a much better, more efficient job (went from taking 45 minutes to nurse to doing it in 15 minutes).


You dear person -- I was where you were 7 weeks ago. And it was so very very grim. Hang in there. Everyone said it would get better -- which annoyed me and gave a glimmer of hope. And it was true. But it didn't change how grim it felt at the time. I had twins and both babies use different nipples. The Avent ''0'' nipple (the newborn nipple) worked for one baby but was too fast a flow for the other baby. For him I used the Gerber Nuk Orthodontia nipple (which the lactation consultant I used preferred). There are two ''speeds'' for 0-6 months: slow flow and medium flow. The slow flow were easier for us to find at Albertsons/Longs/Target etc. The medium flow we only found at Rockridge Kids.

We had purchased Avent before their birth and then had to just try out which other nipples were going to work best. Also, we found that it has been a real benefit for everyone for my partner to feed the babies as well.


first of all - you are not alone! Having a new baby to care for, trying to care for yourself and keeping everyday life together after the birth of a baby is extremely hard. I went through the same exact thing 3.5 years ago when my first son was born (and at the time, my experience with sleep deprivation was so horrible, I never wanted to have another child again. Now I have another baby, and it's much easier...) You're right, there is a lot of advise out there - on the one end there are lots and lots of hard-core doulas and lactation consultants that want to be supportive, and on the other end mother-in-laws who swear by formula. I chose to pump and bottle feed my son and I can tell you all about it. I would pump every 3 hours in the day time and then twice/night in the very beginning. after ahile I would only pump once/night (when the baby was around 6 months or so). You can buy a used medela pump-in-style for around $75.00-100.00, and it works fine. You can also rent a hospital grade medela breast pump, which is more effective but is too large for travel.

I could go on and on - please feel free to contact me - I would really love to tak with you if you are interested. I wish I would have had someone to give me useful advice when I was desperate for sleep. When you're this tired, it's just too hard sorting through heaps of info.


I would suggest trying to pump and feed with the bottle right away. We waited too long (our daughter is 4months old now) and she refuses the bottle. She knows the difference between the bottle and the ''real'' thing!

And the sleep deprivation gets much better... along with the rewards of parenthood. Hang in there!


Hi! Sorry you are having a tough time right now, though it does get better! My baby used to nurse every two hours, 45 min at a time, so I can relate. He was also very gassy and in pain in the early weeks, so we tried a couple of different bottles. Avent didn't initially work as well (does now), and Playtex with the drop in liners worked well. Not a lot of cleaning too!
Due to problems with breastfeeding, we had to do quite a bit of bottle feeding for the first month of our baby's life. All in all, I think getting her used to a bottle was an excellent thing since she now has no problems taking them. We just pump extra in the morning and store that for her late night feeding. One bottle a day definitely did not cause her to lose her ability to suck from a breast nor did it make her ''lazy.'' We use the Avent newborn nipples (even now at 3.5 mos.) but it seems that certain babies prefer certain nipples, so if those don't work, try other ones. Good luck!
I think this is just about the right time to introduce a bottle. As long as breastfeeding is going well, your latch is good, etc. you can go ahead and try a bottle. Its good! to get the little one comfortable with the idea so that they have no problem accepting it. I think we did it at about 4 weeks. Our guy liked the Dr. Browns set-up, but they are all different. As for pumping for the nightly feeding, it never really worked for us because when my husband would feed him a bottle, I'd have to get up and pump anyways or my breasts threatened to explode. However, I know it has and can worked for many people.

As to your other question-how to survive-here are a couple of my quick points of advice (as a mama of a 5 month old):

1-This too shall pass. Remember that and perhaps adopt it as a mantra. By 6 weeks your baby will probably get the whole night/day thing down, and start sleeping in longer chunks. All of the sudden it will be 1/2 a year later and you will have virtually no memory of this time.

2-Get out of the house. Sounds counterintuitive, but I found that even if I had only slept for an hour, a walk and fresh air really helped my mental heath.

3-Get help. Can Mom or friends bring food? Can you hire a housecleaner for a couple months? If not, get takeout and eat on paper plates. Do laundry only, make hubby pick up around the house and thats it for now.

4-Limit visitors. They always come when the baby is sleeping, keep you awake, then leave just as baby is waking up. I! f you can't keep them away, feel free to say ''it was so great to see you but I have to go lay down''.

5-When the baby is sleeping, at least lay down. I had trouble with napping during the day, but you must force yourself to at least lay down while the baby sleeps. Give up TV, movies, books and anything else for a while. Lay down.

6-Nurse in bed or find some other way to sleep and nurse at the same time. If you are a family bedder, you know how to do this, but if not, and I'm not, find some way to be able to scoop the baby up, nurse and be back asleep in seconds. I spent many nights asleep in the glider with baby in my arms on the Boppy. A Co-sleeper would be even better. This will really help! Either that or get dad to get up, get baby, change if needed and deliver to you for nursing.

Sometimes if I was so tired I was going to cry, my husband would go sleep with the baby ! in another room so that I could get really solid sleep without constantly hearing/looking at the baby right next to me.

7-Sometime in the next few weeks, join a mom's group. Comisseration does wonders for the psyche somehow and the support is really, really crucial.

This is a wild time, but one that in retrospect you will cherish as a sleepy, tender time with your baby. Your baby will never be this little again-hold her (or him), smell her, kiss her and do all of this laying down in the ready to sleep position. Good luck to you-and remember this too shall pass!


I also had a baby recently (2 weeks ago) and went through a couple of extremely difficult nights of nursing. My problem was that my daughter did not seem to be satisfied and appeared to be constantly hungry. This left me exhausted, and overcome with a complete sense of helplessness. When I discussed this with our pediatrician she suggested supplementing with formula through the night, which is what i am now doing, and it has made a tremendous difference.

So, long story short, my daughter has been doing fine receiving both the breast and the bottle. It is better for you to give your child a bottle and get adequate rest then be unhappy and discouraged with your experience. Additionally, without enough rest you stand the chance of depleting your milk supply. You can discuss this with your pediatrician, but I can attest that I am not having any problems with providing both.


I feel your pain. I am a lactation consultant and still I struggled with the same issue. I have 3 boys all older now but I was sleep deprived for the better part of 7 years because none of my boys would sleep more than 3 hours at a time. A few words of caution. Babies use different muscles in their mouths to bottle feed and breastfeed. It is easier for them to 'latch on' to a bottle nipple than a mother's nipple. E! ven if your baby is already breastfeeding you run the risk of them refusing the breast when then realize how easy it is to suckle from a bottle. It doesn't take long. All new moms are sleep deprived (it comes with the territory), that being said your physical and mental health is important, if you feel that the sleep deprivation is in any way making it difficult for you to care for your baby during the day, then you may have to take that chance. If you choose to bottle feed here are a few suggestions: Have your husband feed the baby in another room. If the baby is in the same room as you they may not take to a bottle because they can smell you and they may prefer the warmth that comes from being close to you while nursing. As far as bottle types go, I had to use three different types of bottles (a different one for each child). Some babies will take any nipple, mine were very finicky. It was a matter of trial and error. I! bought the one that I thought would be best (I choose playtex nursers because I was able to squeeze out the excess air) and if they didn't take to it I bought another brand until eventually I found the one that they would take. I've already written way more than I planned. Please feel free to contact me directly if you'd like more details. Good Luck and know that one day you'll wake up feeling fully rested, your baby will be sleeping through the night. This too shall pass.
Hello (and congratulations!) tired mom, I can definitely relate to your exhaustion and frustration! I have a six week old and my husband and I started feeding our little girl bottles with expressed milk when she was three and a half weeks old. She had already established a good latch on to the breast-- so we were told to go ahead and start with the bottles around 3-4 weeks. I've been warned about nipple confusion, but also told by numerous friends not to wait beyond 4 weeks to start with the bottle or the baby might not take it. Anyway-- our baby hasn't experienced nipple confusion at all and my husband takes her every morning around 7:30 and gives her a feeding or two to allow me some uninterrupted sleep and a shower. We've been using Avent (''naturally'') bottles and nipples that are designed for different ages. My sister recommened them after using them sucessfully with her son, and we've been happy with them. (They seem to protect against the baby sucking a lot of air.)

And as far as pumping is concerned-- I usually pump sometime while my husband is feeding the baby in the morning (using the Medela system--which is great). If you want to skip a night feeding-- I'd suggest pumping before you go to bed to prevent waking up engorged. If you want any more detailed advice, I'd be happy to talk to you about it.


4 week old can't get milk out of bottle

March 2007

My baby is one month and I am trying to introduce a bottle with breast milk in it. She happily sucks on the bottle but she is unable to get any milk out. I am using Avent bottles with the 1 month nipple on it. Any suggestions? new mom


Maybe the hole in the nipple needs to be made bigger. I've had to do that in the past with the baby I helped raised. It was taking her too long to get just a couple of ounces into her. The bigger hole made a wonderful difference. Start by making the hole a little bigger and go from there. Randy Jane Reitzes, LVN, CMT, CCHH
I had a similar problem with my baby... try a variety of bottles, it may take sometime (weeks or more) before your baby gets the hang of it. The breastflow bottle from The First Years company (sold at Babys R Us) worked well for me. (email me if you want mine, i no longer need them) margaret
My adopted son was bottle fed from birth. The silicone in Avent nipples was too thick or stiff or something, and he never could get the milk to flow easily. We've had good luck with the Playtex ''drop-in'' silicone nipples and bottle, so maybe try those. You can always decant the milk from the Avent bottles if that's the kind of pump you have. bottle-feeding mama
Get the Avent nipples with more holes. Your baby is less likely to take a bottle if it's a chore. If at 4-weeks she's a good nurser, chances are that she won't suddenly prefer a bottle to you, even it if is easier to get milk out. anon
my lactation consultant only recommends Playtex Premium nurser drop-ins for young EBF babies. I just bought one today so can't tell you how it will work with my 6 week old yet! my LC is an old hippie, was mid wife, now LC, and just knows everything...OK, not everything, but she is wise, experienced, and thoughtful. swear by my LC

Breastfed 11-week-old spits out the bottle and cries

Dec 2004

Following the advice of every doctor and baby book out there, I have exclusively breastfed my baby from the day he was born. He is now 11 weeks old and I want him to start taking the bottle so that I can return to work. I've tried a number of times but each time, he spits out the bottle nipple and cries when I try to put it back into his mouth. It is still filled with breastmilk so I don't think it's a taste issue. I've tried both Medela and Dr. Brown bottles without success. Is there a trick to getting him to feed from a bottle? Help!


Hi: My son is 4 months old, we started him on the bottle after he was 3 weeks old(w/ breast milk only). The nipple that worked for him was the Playtex easy latch. But still, the only that he will take the bottle from is my husband and the baby sitter. It is very strefful because there are nights I want to sleep, but he will not take the bottle from my husband if I am in the house!! It is amazing how smart they are. Good Luck
Have you tasted your milk? it must taste sweet and fresh. mine was going bad (metallic soapy taste) so fast due to lipase that my daughter wouldn't take the bottle. when i realized this was the problem i began briefly heating my milk in the mw until tiny bubbles form at the surface (la leche league directions), then I could store it in the fridge or freeze it. my daughter then happily took the bottle

[Editor note: see Gross tasting frozen breastmilk


Bottle for breastfed 11-week-old

March 2004

My partner has started pumping so we can start our 11 week old daughter taking a bottle in preparation for her going back to work. The first time she took the bottle like a champ at about 8 weeks, but ever since then she has been pretty resistant to it. She at best just does nothing when I put the nipple in her mouth and more likely cries and cries. We have tried many things and are looking for suggestions. The only thing that has worked once was when my pertner slipped the bottle in after she had been breastfeeding a few minutes. Thanks


We didn't have a problem with either of our two young sons and sadly I think it was because we started them on a bottle (by necessity and against all ''professional'' advice) at only a couple of days old. We had no problems with nipple confusion. But since you can't turn back time I can tell you what else we do. We use the nipples with the wide base since these more closely match the shape of the breast. At first my husband fed the bottles and so the babies didn't smell or see me and so the breast was not an option. We would feed them from the bottle when they were hungry but not desperately hungry. I think that if your method of feeding from the breast and then switching to the bottle is working to help your daughter make the transition then do it and slowly give her less and less time on the breast before switching her to the bottle. Good Luck. Suzie

11-week-old refusing to take bottle of expressed milk

Jan 2005

Hi My 11 week old girl refuses to take a bottle of expressed milk. I have been trying to get her to take the bottle since 6 weeks and we're actually regressing instead of making progress! I've tried Avent bottles, Dr. Brown's, Playtex original nurser, Nuk, and really small Gerber nipples. She would take the milk from Dr. Brown's if I gave it to her asleep but that doesn't even work anymore. We've tried heating up the nipple, having my husband, mom, neighbor, give her the bottle, we've tried when she's hungry, when she's not hungry, and NOTHING is working. I have to go back to work in 4 weeks and am really stressing out about this. Any other ideas???? I'm open to trying anything! Thanks so much, I keep kicking myself thinking I should have tried the bottle on her earlier! Stephanie


It is very common for breast fed babies to refuse a bottle. There are other options besides a bottle that you can consider. Even an infant can be fed from a small cup, an eye dropper, a spoon, a syringe, etc. These other methods will also be less likely to cause nipple confusion like a bottle or pacifier would. If you would like more help consider attending a LLL meeting or calling a Leader. Good Luck! Melissa
Our baby was reluctant to take a bottle. When I tasted the milk I realized why. It tasted horrible! It was soapy, metallic, and rancid tasting- not merely sour. It turned out that I was producing too much of the enzyme lipase and the lipase was digesting the milk and turning it bad within a few hours of pumping even if it was refrigerated or frozen right away. If this turns out to be the case, you can deactivate the lipase by scalding the milk right after pumping- either by heating it in a saucepan until tiny bubbles form at the edge of the pan, or in an Avent bottle warmer on the high setting for about 20 minutes. For some reason the Avent model doesn't have an automatic shutoff mechanism and you can heat the milk to about 175 degrees. This is really handy if you need to pump at work or somewhere where you don't have access to a stove. Sandra
this is a tough one, we faced it as well. we got advice to try a sippy cup or a dropper, neither of which worked for us but worked for others we know. our only success was in trying over and over again, in different areas of teh house and in different situations (the bouncy seat ended up being the ticket). i know it sounds awful, but if she gets hungry enough, she will take a bottle. it just happened to us again last week when she didn't nurse all day because of too many distractions and i had to leave for a few hours...she got hungry while i was gone and took four ounces from my husband out of the bottle, a minor miracle in our house. hang in there, she will sort it out. anon
We had this same problem last year when our daughter was 8 weeks old - my husband had to feed her with a medicine dropper to get her to drink her milk... finally after about a week and a half, she got the hang of the bottle, once he noticed that she was sucking the milk from the dropper. I hope that helps! Good luck!!!!!! Heather
I recently read a lot of postings from about a month ago (about Nov 2004) about how hard it can often be to get 3 and 4 month old breastfed babies to drink from bottles. It didn't even seem to matter whether or not the babies had been given bottles earlier or not (i.e., there were many stories about babies who had had happily had several bottles or more a week still rejected it at about 3 or 4 months!). I, too, was panicking and reading the current and archived advice in November because my usually very happy 3.5 to 4 month old, who had earlier taken bottles about once a week, rejected the bottle with wild cries. Now my son is 6 months old and taking a bottle easily, without even much effort on my part. My so-called ''tactic'' involved simply waiting until he was 5 months old. At this age, he became intensely interested in objects in the world around him, and he could grab on to the bottle himself (with a caregiver still holding the bottle up for him). It seems that his curiousity got the better of him and at 5 months he could deal with the bottle while at 3 and 4 months he wanted nothing to do with it. Of course, I am extremely lucky in that my work schedule was very flexible and I could take him (and my au pair) to work with me during the 4 to 6 weeks that I had to wait. We tried the bottle again the week before I had to be in San Francisco for a meeting every day for a week, and he seemed to be ready and interested in it. So, there's lots of good advice in November newletters and on the archive and things to try and not to try. I just wanted to add my experience to all the varied stories that I didn't do anything at all but manage to wait another month. And to add that you shouldn't guilt- trip yourself for not practicing the bottle thing earlier; it's possible that it *might* not have made a difference for what's going on for you right now. been there and survived
You didn't mention if this is your first baby or not, so what I am suggesting could be difficult or very difficult, depending on your comfort level. My 2nd born would NOT take a bottle. PERIOD. So when it was time for me to go back to work, I called my pediatrician (Dr. Philip Rush) and asked what I should do. His response was that if/when she was hungry ENOUGH, she would take the bottle -- otherwise, she would wait until I got home. Sure enough, I kept pumping at work, and she would wait -- sometimes 6 hours or so, until I got home. She finally got the idea, but it was a long time. She took from a Playtex sippy cup (the kind with the valve) after a while, but never took any type of bottle. It was stressful for me at first, but I finally realized that the Dr. was right -- she didn't starve. In fact, she sure appreciated when I got home! It helped that my mom was the one with her, because it was stressful for me. Good luck! Trish
For my daughter, the trick was making sure she was already calm and reasonably contented each time we gave her a bottle. That is, she had to be rested, not too hungry, warm enough, etc. If she was already even a little upset, she would reject the bottle. After several weeks she would take the bottle under almost any circumstances. Anon.
we had some nursing problems with our second child and were tauaght a number of things which might possibly be helpful to someone in your situation: to get the baby used to getting breast milk from a source other than a breast, we first tried using a small tube taped onto a finger (not ''mommy's finger'') through which milk could be expressed.

this got the baby used to getting milk from a different source, and he was already comfortable sucking on a finger. we moved from there to bottled breast milk without too much trouble. in our case, because our baby had some physical problems, we used a nipple that had a faster flow than might otherwise have been used for a child his age. this doesn't sound necessary for you. if you want to try the tube-on-finger route, most lactation consultants, and many dulas, can help you get started. the tube and bag can also be affixed to the caregivers body in such a way that a nursing position can be achieved for the baby, but that may backfire. as a previous poster said, it's good for the baby to know ''mommy=nursing, everybody else= bottle (or tube)'' t. adams


My second child also refused to take a bottle as an infant. This caused me a lot of anxiety as the time approached for me to return to work. Like you, I tried many different strategies -- leaving the room while my husband gave the bottle, trying different nipples, putting juice on the nipple. Nothing worked. Except hunger. After I went back to work, my baby boy just had the nanny and the bottle. No bottle, no food. He wasn't dumb -- babies get pretty hungry and he figured out pretty quickly that the bottle was the only way to go. It was not the way I'd wanted it, but it was the hand I was dealt and my son is now very happy and healthy. By the way, he preferred me to the bottle right up until about 9 months of age, when he suddenly self-weaned. Ann

Having a hard time getting 3 month old to take bottle

April 2008

I am a new parent of a three month old girl. I have one more month of maternity leave left and I'm having a difficult time getting her to take a bottle. She is breast fed exclusively and I have pumped since she was six weeks old. However, she has taken the bottle only a few times. She doesn't like pacifiers either and we've tried every bottle/nipple out there. I've also tried spoon feeding her, sippy cups, warm/hot milk, etc. My biggest concern is when she has to go to daycare. I'm out of ideas and pressed for time! Any suggestions or advice? Thanks! L


This sounds like my daughter exactly. She never used a pacifier, I breastfed exclusively, I tried to pump and give her an occasional bottle but after about 2 or 3 weeks of age she would not take a bottle at all and I gave up until she was around 3 months and I tried again because I had to go back to work soon like you but I had no luck. I bought every nipple manufactured and tried all of the things in the baby books. When she was 4 months old I had to start working. I took her to the daycare in the morning, came back 3 hours later during lunch to breastfeed, went back to work for 3 hours and then picked her up for the day because that was all that was really feasible. Simultaneously, I would send a small bottle of pumped milk to the daycare every day and an angel of a woman who took care of her worked with my daughter a little bit every day to get her to take the bottle. It is all such a blur now several years later and I can't remember exactly how long it took (about a month maybe less?) but she got her to take the bottle. Once she would take a bottle at daycare and she was drinking more I started giving her formula because the nature of my work made it impossible to pump. I still breastfed at home but the less I nursed the more formula she drank which led to her quitting the breast on her own at about 7 months. You can do it but it is going to be several weeks of uncertainty which is very uncomfortable in this situation. Have patience and ask your daycare to help you and work with you. They deal with this all the time they don't expect your daughter to come in being totally bottle trained, at least I hope they don't. It feels heart breaking now but it is a short period of time in the grand scheme of things and your daughter will be OK. You should try to work something out with your employer for the first month or so to have some flexibility while dealing with the transition. Good luck! anon
Babies often will not take a bottle from their nursing mother - have you had someone else try to feed her yet? With you out of the room? Also if you haven't tried it yet Adiri natural nurser bottles are most like a breast - you can buy them at Whole Foods. good luck
My daughter is going on 3 years now, but I remember we had this same issue. I was very stressed and emotional about it at the time. I can tell you what we did that worked. We did a ''bottle bootcamp''. My amazing midwife actually volunteered to spend the morning with my daughter when she was 4 months or so. If the baby is hungry--she will learn how to do it. Do you have someone that would do this for you? You can also hire an experienced babysitter/nanny to do this. Anyway--just an option. Good luck! Kelly
Dear L--

My (now 6 month old) son also refused a bottle and was 100% breastfed. We also tried an amazing permutation of bottles, nipples, temperatures, etc. He finally (on his own timetable) started taking a random bottle here and there, but it was really up to him as to when he'd do it.

We'd heard there's this ''magical window'' of time when you have to get them on a bottle or you've ''lost your chance'' of it ever happening. That, of course, scared us. Further reading and talking with doulas, friends, etc. has convinced us that ''window'' is bunk. So try not to get worried about that.

Your baby WILL take a bottle. Eventually. On her own time table. It may not be till the very first day of day-care, but she WILL take it. Don't fear. She won't starve. Best of luck! Been There


BPN archives has great advice on this issue, which was very helpful. I returned to work part-time when our baby was 3 months old. We had been trying to bottle feed since she was 6 weeks, but she was resistant. Like yours, she didn't like pacifiers either. We tried different bottles and nipples, all with the same result. Right before I returned to work my husband and I started giving her a bottle at the same time every day. Sometimes she drank about an ounce, and other times she'd completely rejected it. We found we had the best luck with Born Free bottles/nipples. When I started going to work (four to five hours in the mornings), I would feed her right before leaving. My husband, who is caring for her at home, would try to give her the bottle a couple hours later and many times she would not drink anything and would cry. When I'd get home she'd be very cranky and very hungry, and I'd end up doing a marathon of feedings all afternoon. After a couple of weeks of this, though, she had a breakthrough. She has been drinking happily from the bottle without any issues now. We continue giving her bottles on the weekend to stay consistent. I think she just needed some time to get used to it. A couple of things helped: 1) we play her favorite music at very loud volume during the feeding to distract her, 2) we make sure to feed her before she gets very hungry so that she is still in a good mood, 3) we make sure my husband, the caregiver, always gives her the bottle, and 4) we keep trying at different times if she doesn't take the bottle the first time. My advice is to keep trying. Good luck! It does get better!
We introduced the bottle at about 4 weeks and couldn't get her to drink more than a few sips for months. She simply preferred the breast (very loudly) and I never pumped all that productively (plus I hated washing all the gear just to have her reject those few precious ounces!) We tried to keep exposing her once a week, maybe more faithfully and more frequently as I approached having to go back to work (she was maybe seven months). Here's what worked for us:

1. we cultivated a set bottle feeding - eventually every day we would give her a bottle at this time. (We developed the habit of evening family bath - very warm and relaxing, low pressure environment. In fact we would put a capped bottle with partially thawed milk into the tub as the water was running, and the bottle would be the perfect temperature by the time we were ready to bathe. My husband would generaly be in charge of holding her in the bath and feeding her the bottle.)

2. The first couple days I went back to my job full-time, she only drank a couple ounces a day. But within a week, she was up to what the pediatrician recommended.

3. To the extent possible, take a deep breath and know that your baby will adjust and you too! With a good daycare provider, you will find your baby can learn to do so many things she may not even do for you (bottle feed, nap well, etc.)

hope that helps mom of a former bottle-rejectiung baby


Both of my kids were serious resisters of the bottle, and it was frustrating to go through the process. But persistence was the key for both, and consistency. I recommend offering the bottle every day, once or twice. Don't make it into a power struggle. Let him/her chew on it, whatever. Put it in the mouth far enough where he/she gets the idea to suck on it. There is also the trick of starting feeding on the breast and then slipping in the bottle once the baby is sucking. That shows them the bottle will feed them. With both of my kids, after several weeks, they finally learned to drink from the bottle and they were a lot happier than the babies I know who never learned and suffered when their mommy went back to work. Another thing, maybe you can have the daycare provider try it before you go back to work. They sometimes have ways, and may be willing to help you with this. Lynne
I had that problem with my first child. We solved it by having someone other than you give her the bottle. She has learned that you are the one with breasts so expects that from you. Have her father give her the bottle. Don't worry, if she gets hungry, she will take it. Hope that works. It only took a day with our baby. kr
Sorry you're having to stress out about this as you prepare to return to work! I had a little trouble getting my son to take a bottle as well, and here are some of the things that worked well for us:

- Have someone besides you feed her. Don't even be in the room and don't let her hear your voice. In other words, resist the temptation to offer advice to your partner/husband/babysitter from the next room like I did.

- Run the nipple under warm water to soften/warm it up right before feeding.

- Position your daughter sitting in the feeder's lap facing forward, leaning her back against their chest, rather laying down in someone's arms, since that is so similiar to breastfeeding.

Best of luck to you! A Fellow Nursing Mom


3 month old was accepting a bottle, isn't now

Jan 2008

My son is 3 months old and have been nursing fulltime, with a bottlefeeding twice a day since he was born. He has recently started refusing to accept the bottle and insists on nursing all of the time. He was accepting a bottle from my husband, but not me. Now, he is fighting with my husband when it is feeding time and cries for a long time for me.

I will need to return to work soon and will not be able to nurse him during the day. I am afraid that he will cry the whole day and refuse to eat. He has cried until he chokes before. Has anyone had similar problems and have any advice to overcome his aversion? Thanks. D


have your husband keep offering once a day it when you are out of the room. you baby probably won't take it, but keep offering. my second did the same thing - would take the bottle, then stopped. we were nervous for when i returned to work. then, the nanny shows up, the environment feels different to the baby, and they take the bottle. my #2 was just like this and she took the bottle immediately. i did have a very good nanny - not a ton of experience but just excellent with kids. try not to worry too much, just do your best and it will work out. anon

3 month old refusing bottle - what should I do?

July 2007

My 3 month old daughter has been refusing to take the bottle for the past 4 weeks. She was introduced to the bottle at 6 weeks and did very well, both nursing and taking the bottle at least 2 times a day. I was even the one giving her the bottle. Now, she's anti-bottle. I've stepped out of the room, and have had other people attempt to give it to her and still no go. I have to return to work on August 1st and I'm freaking out. What should I do??? Jo-Annie


i see there's tons of past advice. i'm not gonna look at it all, so i'll be brief: very common (usually between 3-4mos) to start to refuse it. when she's hungry enough, she'll eat. if dr.s can say it's ok for (and even encourage) older babies to not get food all night, then they can stand to go all day (but probably will eat eventually). just be ready for the all night nursathon to make up for it. and don't cry too much when you see your spurned pumped milk go down the drain (boy, that's tough to see!). signed: BTDT, but she drank it eventually (but not the first week or so...)

3 month old is suddenly refusing the bottle

Dec 2006

My son is 3 months old and breast fed. We introduced him to a periodic bottle of breast milk starting at 6 weeks old and everything was fine until about 1 week ago when he suddenly decided that he didn't like the bottle from me or my husband. I have switched nipples with no luck. It was suggested that I try a different bottle altogether. I would welcome input from anyone who has gone through this and overcome it. I am returning to work at the end of January and I am stressed that he will cry all day at day care refusing the bottle amf


we went through exactly the same thing a couple of months ago. it was a battle for my daughter to learn to suck from the bottle's nipple, and we tried many kinds! we just had to keep trying, and usually my husband was a bit more successful than i was (maybe because she smelled me and expected the breast?). i know it's hard, but be persistent. i was worried she wouldn't eat at daycare, but she did just fine. i think that with the practice, they'll do ok, especially if they're hungry! good luck! new mama
I wouldn't worry too much, and I wouldn't bother with trying a different bottle if he was taking the other kind before. It's pretty typical for children to reject the bottle for a little while around 3 months, but if you keep offering it, they will get used to it again.

It's so hard, I know! I started giving my son one bottle of pumped milk a day from the time he was a few weeks old because I wanted to prepare him for when I had to go back to work at 3 months. He took it like a pro right from the beginning and was perfectly happy with it every day, right up till a week before I went back to work. (Just about 3 months old). Then he started refusing it and fussing every time we offered it. I was very stressed because I didn't have a choice about going back to work.

He had some trouble the first week I was back, but while I was at work, his caregivers kept offering it, and he drank some milk each day for the first week (not as much as I would have liked), and over the next few weeks he got less fussy and drank more. So, if you can think of this as normal development where he has started to be more discriminating and is expressing a preference for the breast, it might make you feel better. AND knowing that he won't starve while you're at work, and especially if he took the bottle before, he'll take it again if you and his care givers are patient.

Good luck. I know how hard it is to go back to work. It's nice that you still have a little time--keep offering the bottle every day, but don't stress too much if he doesn't take it. Been in your shoes!


We went through the same thing with our son when I went back to work (granted he was a little bit older). First, read the archives on the parents network, there was some helpfully info there. What ended up working for us was not using a nipple bottle at all, but instead using the Avent soft sippy cup inserts you can use on their bottles. They have them for 3 month olds. What we did as well is cut a very small wedge out of the rubber stopper that snaps on to the sippy cup insert so that the milk would flow a little faster. Also sometimes putting a little formula in it helped as if it was just breast milk it didn't seem right to him that it wasn't coming out of a breast. When he first started day care they actually would spoon feed him milk at first but then he got into the groove of using the avent sippy cups. hang in there!
We dealt with exactly the same thing except that it sounds like you were better about the bottle in the beginning than I was.

We basically did bottle-training boot camp before I went back to work at 3 mos. and it wasn't what I'd call fun, but she did get it and was fine after that. The trying different bottles/ nipples is good advice: My daughter transitioned with the playtex nipple (I think it's bigger and softer than some others) and then we switched to the Avent once she was really good. I also ordered this expensive (`$18) ''breast-bottle'' off the web which is designed to look and feel more like a breast. My babies were not impressed, but maybe yours would like it.

Another friend of mine said she pumped and left the house for the day and her husband got their baby to take the bottle. Sometimes they won't take it from mom but will take it from dad or someone else.

Good luck! Naomi


Baby refusing bottle with breastmilk

March 2006

Hello! I'm currently experiencing a difficult situation and wondered if anyone has advice. I currently breastfeed my baby girl. When I leave to work for a few hours or to take a class or just get out...I leave a bottle or two of pumped milk with her and her dad. She did fine the first three or four times but since then has refused to drink from a bottle. Any ideas? Should I change the bottle type? Nipple type? Keep trying until she gets it? I don't leave too long so she's not starving but...she goes a good 2 or 3 hours sometimes without drinking. And I'd rather she did. Thanks!


I could have written your post about 1 month ago. We gave our daughter a bottle of pumped milk with no problems starting at one month. But, we were only doing it about once a week. Well, I guess that was too infrequent and one day she just refused to take the bottle. I was really upset about this as I envisioned no time away from her for the next 10 months or so until she was weaned. My goal was to get her in the habit of taking a bottle every day and then once that was established just taking a bottle as needed (but at least every other day so at least she wouldn't get out the habit again.)

Well, here are the things that worked for us - 1) I fed her a bottle first thing in the morning when she was hungry and half asleep. I did this for a few days - to a week, just trying to establish the bottle habit. She would take the bottle this way, but only an ounce or two.

2) On the advice of a friend I changed bottles from Avent system to Evenflo. The Evenflo nipple is shorter and apparently more breast-like. She did seem to like this bottle a bit better, but still wouldn't really take the bottle.

3) I bought a bottle warmer and warmed the milk warmer than I actually thought was necessary. She seems to like it better this way.

4) I put her in her infant car seat or bouncer seat and fed her the bottle without touching her. THIS REALLY WORKED!

I can now leave the house without worrying about her feeding schedule. Her care- giver plops her in one of the seats and gives her the bottle. She now coos and smiles through the feedings. I still don't think she is drinking quite as much as when I breastfeed her. She will take 4 oz. max. But she will also take a subsequent feeding by bottle, if necessary. And when I return she just seems to nurse a bit longer and harder which helps keep up milk supply anyway.

Anyway, I hope this helps! I definitely know how frustrating this can seem. Good Luck!


My daughter also was fine with a bottle while I was on maternity leave. Then, suddenly, I had been back at work about a week, she started to refuse. We tried everything - I thought at first it was my diet, so I quit chocolate, tea, many vegetables - kind of everything with flavor. Then we thought it was the plastic bottles I was pumping and storing in, so we switched to glass. Still, only slight improvement.

Finally, we switched her daycare, and they suggested that we try soy formula, only during the day while she's drinking from a bottle. I was torn, because I'd hoped to keep her on just breast milk for several more months (she is 6 mos). We went ahead and tried it, and she drank several bottles of milk that day and since.

I wouldn't switch to formula right away - I'd do all the things you suggested - try a different bottle, a different nipple. Our daughter won't *touch* a silicone nipple - only rubber. Try glass instead of plastic. Try holding her differently. Try offering the bottle every 20 minutes or so... But then if all else fails, do a formula test. Good luck! cate


I'm not sure you said how old your baby is. I know we missed the ''window'' to get our now 15-month-old to take a bottle. I went back to work when she was about 9 months and she refused to take a bottle during the 8 hours I was gone for a long time (1-2 months!) She was eating solids and drinking water out of a sippy cup, but it was stressful. After I took 2 weeks for winter break, she refused again for at least a month. The nipple she finally took is the NukNuk, but I think that is because the other baby in our nanny share uses that one. The only thing that worked was to keep trying every day and remember that babies will not starve themselves and she will take the bottle when she realizes that is her only option. If your schedule is irregular, you could try to make sure you leave her with someone else to offer the bottle a few hours every day, so she learns it is a regular thing. I suggest you keep trying, because the longer you wait, the more stubborn they get (in our experience). You might also try formula instead of breast milk in the bottle - our daughter refused breast milk from any source other than the breast, but she did drink formula (especially watered down) and now drinks whole milk (watered down). She also makes up for it by breastfeeding more when I am around. Good luck! Miranda
We had the same problem (starting at about 3 months -- it was ok before that.) While I was at work (3 hours), my husband walked her if she cried. Sometimes, they'd go with me to the class I was teaching to minimize the time. My husband would go to a cafe and figure out other ways to distract the baby (and himself). Then when class was over I'd nurse in the car. The problem was fairly short-lived because at around 5 months he was able to feed her milk from a spoon, which she was willing to take. this too will pass
We ran into the same diffifulty with bottle feeding. I stayed home for over one year with our second child and during that time I only breast feed our daughter. When our daughter was 9 months old, I knew that I need to go back to work after she turned one year old, so I started to introduce the bottle. It was unsuccessful. SInce the bottle came late in the game, when our daughter was 9 months old, she had already grown an attachment to the breast and to me holding her while she received milk. I tired various nipples, bottle and even sippy cups. She would entertain these new devices like they were toys and simply turn away from all nipples, bottle and sippy cups. I became desperate and needed be sure that when I am at work she would receive milk. I started to spoon feed her the milk. One method of getting to sit still to take her spoon feed milk was to le ther watch her favorite show, Barney. It was the only time that I can get her to sit on my lap and have her attention completely on Barney. I would get the milk (at that time used formula) warmed it in a bowl, turn Barney on and have my daughter sit on my lap while I spoon feed the milk. One spoon at a time. It took about 10-15 minutes at the most to finish and eventually I was able to do it in 5 minutes. I would do this 3-4 times a day, depending on how her schedule works out for each day.

Our daughter is 18 months now, and I no longer need to spoon feed milk to her, as she has taken a liking to milk's flavor and now takes it all by herself from a cup with a built in straw.

I know that it is tedious and time consuming, but all worth it. I wanted our daughter to like the taste of milk so as she gets older she can drink on her own with a straw cup. I think if I didn't introduce milk (formula or cow) when I did with spoon feeding, she might not acquire a taste for it. And now she loves it.

My advise to you is to try this method as kids grow older they become more independent and will eventually ask for milk in a cup. Happy Milk Mom


4-month-old won't take bottle - we've tried everything

June 2007

Help! My baby won't take a bottle. I've tried every nipple known to man, I've had various other people try to give her the bottle, I've put grape jelly on end of the nipple, I've waited till the brink of starvation...blah blah blah!!!!!!!! She's 4 months old, and my husband and I are so frustrated, as we have tried since the first month. pam


Consider yourself blessed and give her sippy cups!! If she doesn't want it, accept it. If down the road she shows interests, she'll ask for it. It's a drag to see big kids with bottles! My baby isn't interested in pacifiers and can live without bottles! I have three kids...no bottles and no pacifiers have saved me bundles and he's fine and happy! Stop worrying!! Babies are extremely intelligent and know and express their needs. Hallelujia

4-month-old refuses bottle, resorting to sippy cup

Feb 2007

I have been breastfeeding my son since birth and he is 4 months old now. I introduced the bottle to him when he was 4 weeks old and he was drinking one feed a day until he was 8 weeks old and then all of a sudden he refused to take the bottle. I have tried everything and keep offering him an ounce or two everyday hoping that he will take the bottle. I have decided to start him on the sippy cup as I will be going back to work when he turns 6 months old. I bought a sippy cup but realized it has a valve which means he will have to suck from it, which he is not interested in (I figured this would happen). Is 4 months too young to start on the sippy cup without the valve ? What should I do when he starts daycare ? I plan to start him on solids when he is close to 6 months old but even then, milk will be his primary source of nutrition and I am afraid that he will not drink milk from the cup or the bottle when he is in daycare. Has anyone else experienced this problem? Any advice would be welcome. worried mama


Hi, I too had a child who refused to take a bottle. She then had trouble with a sippy cup at age 1 even when her peers easily took it. I suggest trying the sippy cup without the valve. Then they don't have to suck as hard, but they do have to tip the cup and it's not leak proof. Another option are the sippy cups with straws. You do not have to suck as hard to make those work and you don't have to tip them. For my child, that was easier. They are not totally leak proof. Rubbermaid makes a version that is sold in grocery stores with the other food storage items (Tupperware type stuff) and Playtex makes an insulated version too. Good luck! Hardin
I got my son back on the bottle after a break by breastfeeding him and slipping in the bottle before he realized what was up. I did this only a couple of times. I also used the nipple to squirt a little into his mouth with him in an upright position, but be careful with this as baby can choke. Others may tell you that at daycare he will take a bottle if he is really hungry, or he may wait until he gets home. Good luck. been there
I hear your pain!! We just went through this with our 5 month old. although we introduced the bottle around 3 mos, she refused it and I needed to start work. After two difficult weeks, she finally has taken the bottle. The things that worked (after spending a fortune on every type of nipple and bottle, and every night online looking for a ''magic trick''), were having another person give it to her, keeping consistent with the one bottle/nipple that she seemed to hate the least, and putting formula in it.

The absolute worst thing you'll have to go through is knowing that your baby hasn't eaten all day (and this is very very hard.) The best thing to know is something an advice nurse told me: most babies will absolutely take the bottle when they are hungry enough, even though some people tell you they won't. In our case this was true. During the day, she did not eat, and i nursed her every hour until bedtime and through the night. She coped by sleeping more during the day and crying, of course. Finally, thankfully she is taking it.

If you can afford it, hire someone you trust to do this for you all week/weekend. The greatest advice nurse told me that the babies will not take a bottle from their breastfeeding mother. After all, why would they when you've got what they want.

visit www,kellymom.com for great info and support.

Good luck, I really feel your pain. But I just know that your baby can and will do it! ssc


I had the EXACT same problem with my son. We used the Avent soft sippy cup spouts. Don't take out the valve, the milk will just flow way too fast and he'll gag. What we did is cut out a very small piece from the valve. This allowed the milk to flow a lot slower.

Also, I've seen many posts on BPN about kids not taking a bottle/sippy at daycare. A lot of folks wrote saying it's ok if they go 7 - 8 hrs at daycare w/ out drinking much, but that they'll make up for it at home. anon


My daughter did EXACTLY the same thing. She took the bottle for about two weeks (although reluctantly) at 6 weeks and then refused it altogether. We stopped trying to bottle feed her a couple ounces every day. She would either cry and get hysterical or just play w/ the nipple in her mouth and not take any milk.

She started daycare when she was 6 months old as well. A couple weeks before daycare, we started solids. I gave her a sippy cup w/o a valve but she didn't know what to do w/ it. I first had to teach her to drink my milk from a small open top cup (small diameter shot glass to be exact). I then moved to the sippy cup w/o a valve. She is using the sippy cup top for the Avent bottles. Some of the other sippy cups were too hard to use w/o a valve. They had internal drains on the lids that did not allow for all the milk to come out of the cup. Some cups had views that were obstructed and I could not see whether milk was pouring out from the spout. I found the Avent bottles w/ sippy cup spout to be the best. The daycare is now feeding her milk w/ the Avent bottle/sippy lid. It takes a while and it can be very messy, but it works. At daycare, she eats solids 2 to 3 times a day and has 3 'bottles' of milk.

On the positive side, your baby won't be lying down sucking milk from a bottle, which prevents ear infections, and you won't need to wean him from a bottle. Right now my daughter is learning to hold an open cup with handles and can almost drink from the cup! Good Luck! pamela


Try a few different nipples, persevere, and try having someone else give the bottle to your baby. If left alone with your partner and a bottle (ie you are out of the house) your baby will eventually decide to take it. I wouldn't try the sippy cup without a valve as you will lose most of the milk. anon
oohh, you are not alone on this one. my 7 month old son suddenly started refusing the bottle at age 4 months. like your son, he had been fed from a bottle daily, but still, one day, poof, he just decided he wouldn't do it. i returned to work when he was 6 months. i only work 2-3 days a week, but am gone for 10 hours at a time. i will tell you some of the things we have done to keep him fed and hydrated in the absence of the beloved breasts:

-spoon feed breastmilk or formula that has been slightly thickened with rice cereal -offer sips of breastmilk or forumula thru a regular cup

-tried at straw (at my pediatrician's recommendation) -give baby applesauce, pears and carrots, especially for their watery, non constipating quality -introduced whole fat yogart (okay'd by my pediatrician) just to get more milk products and calories in him.

-offered watered down juice via the bottle, which the little stinker will drink a little of and keeps him hydrated

this all takes a lot of effort on the part of his caregive (his dad) but it seems to keep him properly hydrated and content. when i get home from work, i basically nurse him twice an hour until he goes to bed and i breastfeed him more frequently at night. we were having a constipation issue, but that has resolved since he started taking 2-3 ounces of juice and water while i'm away along with pureed prunes. we continue to offer the bottle and sippycup, but so far he hasn't taken from them. i think its a good idea to start the table foods for your baby sooner than later so that he/she will have a good repetoire going by time you go back to work. remember in the begining you should only offer one new food every 5 to 7 days.

also, don't give up on the bottle and sippycup, cause you never know what your baby will give in to when your not around. i would also recommend pumping in the evenings before you return to work so that when you do start working your body will be ready to meet the baby's feeding demands in the evenings after work. good luck. i can't say it isn't a little stressful, but it's do-able. mommy of babe who loves the breast


Hi, My 6.5 month old also refuses the bottle and at this point, I have just put them all away. I went through the same thing where she took it initially, but by 10 weeks, she just refused it. I also tried the sippy, and she was more interested in that, than the bottle, but would get to much when she sucked, so just stopped. My mother suggested trying a cup, which she really prefers now. Sometimes it can get a bit messy, but what I do now is take the suction part out of the sippy cups (the Avent infant ones are great because they are soft and fit on the bottles) and just drop a bit into her mouth at a time like she is sipping it.

She takes it just fine and prefers that. The way I look at it now is that at least I wont have to wean her from a bottle later on. Check to see if the day cares would do that...I dont know why they wouldnt becuase its just like bottle feeding. Good Luck... mina


Struggling to get 4-month-old to take bottle

Oct 2004

I am really struggling trying to get my 4 month old boy to take a bottle. I introduced the bottle when he was 2 months (one a day), but have continued to breastfeed. I have tried everthing...different nipples, different times of the day, someone else giving him the bottle, etc... and it is not getting any easier. It takes an hour to give him 3 oz and then he is hungry again 1/2 hour later. He just lolls the nipple in his mouth and can't quite seem to suck. I really want to continue breastfeeding for at least another 6 months, but also want him to drink from a bottle. I would love to hear any suggestions or if anyone has had a similar struggle and what you did about it. Lisa


My daughter also wasn't big on the bottle. Like you, I struggled with all sorts of different strategies to get her to take it. But you know what? She is now 13 mos old, I breastfed her until 10 mos, and in retrospect, I'm really glad she never took a bottle, because it would have been just one more thing to wean her from. I actually plan to just skip the bottle with my next one, now. You can introduce a sippy cup at your baby's age. I offered my daughter a cup at 5 mos, just occasionally; she got the hang of it between 6 and 7 mos, and could hold it herself at 8 mos. It's been great--no bottle weaning. Granted, you are more tied to your baby having to nurse all the time until your baby gets the hang of a cup, but you could consider it a blessing--you'll miss it later! Best wishes. happy with a cup

Breastfed 4-month-old refusing formula

May 2003

I have a 4 month old son, who has been breastfeed exclusively. I will be starting work in 3 weeks so i want to introduce formula. I have tried several times but he is rejecting it. His father has also tried feeding him formula in a bottle but without any sucess. Since i am starting work soon, I am really concerned. Pumping is not an option for me as it is too painful(even with an electric pump).

When i start work I want to nurse him once in the morning and then in then evening and nights. However I want to feed him formula while I am away during the day. Does anyone know if this can work (both breastfeed and formula feedings)? Also does anyone have tips on how I can make him take the formula? Please help...


First, the good news Yes, combi feeding is possible. However, some women do seem to struggle to keep up their supply when doing this, and many babies who get a lot of bottles, especially of formula, wean prematurely. Nurse your baby as much as you can during the hours you're together -- possibly even if that means more interrupted sleep, or commuting home and back on your lunch hour. You may find that you have to supplement with formula on the weekends, during the hours you're ordinarily at work.

Chances are, your baby will come to accept the bottle eventually, but even if he doesn't, he'll likely be fine. I know a few moms whose babies have ''reverse cycled'' -- sleeping a lot and taking the bare minimum from a bottle during the workday, and nursing a lot in the evening and through the night. If you can cope with that, it's fine for your baby.

The bad news Your baby is probably rejecting both the taste of the formula (smart boy!) and the bottle itself. There are lots of tricks that you can try to help with bottle refusal, but everyone I know who's dealt with this was using pumped breastmilk, not formula, so I've no idea whether they'll work for you. Anyway, the main one is to vary the temperature of the milk (formula); try everything from a bit warmer than body temp to straight out of the fridge. Also, try varying how the person feeding the bottle holds the baby -- some prefer a greater distinction from nursing position, while others reject the bottle unless everything else is as close as possible to nursing. Oh, and DON'T try to give bottles yourself (except possibly as a last resort.) You want him to learn that Mommy=nursing and Everyone Else=bottles; otherwise, nipple confusion, bottle preference, nursing strikes and premature weaning are more likely.

Also You said you can't pump because it's painful, and I wonder whether you've tried some different types of pump? Or hand expression? Have you tried it since you got over the newborn-period sore and/or cracked nipples (assuming you have)? (A decent pump should not be painful. If you've been using a Gerber, First Years or Evenflo, throw it in the trash and buy a real pump.) I had HUGE psychological issues with using an electric pump and, throughout my pregnancy, insisted that I Would Not Pump. Well, to make a long story short, some of the initial problems we had breastfeeding put an end to that, and I learned that I could indeed cope with using the Avent Isis manual pump, and got good enough results to use it at work every day for seven months.

But if you choose not to (and it's hard to blame you -- pumping *is* a royal pain), then don't worry. Your baby won't starve himself. You'll work it out. I wish you the best. Holly


I am also starting to give my 4 month old formula after exclusive breastfeeding. Fortunately, I am pumping so I am able to mix formula with breastmilk so she can get used to the taste. First I started with a small amount of formula mixed in, then when she seemed to tolerate it and like the taste, I've been raising the proportion. I suggest you keep trying the pump . It does hurt and feel strange at first, but just like nursing, it gets better over time and is totally worth it. You might also consider a different pump. I use a Medela and it's great.
I was able to breatfeed when home and use formula when not, with good milk supply until 9 months old with two babies. I pumped for a time when I went back to work, but my job didn't allow me to do it regularly, so I ended up nursing 3 times per day only after they slept through the night at 5-6 months. My kids rejected both bottle and breast soon after they started walking (both at 9 months old), or I probably could have kept the 1/2- 1/2 arrangement going until 1 year. You must keep well hydrated to do it, but your milk supply is so well established by 4 months it's likely to work for you. I don't have much advice on switching over to formula feeds at this age- I introduced a bottle every few days starting at 3 weeks or so and they didn't mind formula after the first few times (how come they're so picky now about food?!)
Though it may hurt to pump, my advice is to try mixing 1/3or 1/4 formula w/ breast milk and gradually increase the ratio of formula to breast milk. good luck
We got our son to take formula as a supplement (a few times a day along w/ breastfeeding a few times a day) at about 4 months.

A couple of suggestions

1) maybe try a different kind of formula. We used enfamil lactose free and found that was easier on his tummy. maybe he just doesn't like the taste of the particular one you are using.

2) We did it by having my husband try to feed him the bottle at the same time each day (for us it was the early morning feeding so I could sleep in). If the baby didn't cry but didn't take the bottle, he'd just wait a few minutes and try again. The first couple of times it didn't work, but after few tries of being introduced to the same thing at the same time, our son came to expect it and finally took the bottle. It became a bonding experience between him and his father. Maybe this would work with a caregiver as well. Gradually my son came to be able to take formula from his caregiver, my husband, and even me! I continued to both breastfeed and supplement with formula untill I weened him at 11 months.

Hope this helps, and good luck!
been there


I found that after my 4 month old learned to successfully take it from dad, I never had a problem feeding him a bottle and also breastfeeding when I wanted. He never had nipple confusion (by 4 months, the baby definitely knows the difference betweeen a nipple and a bottle, no matter who provides it!)I had trouble pumping as well, but the formula supplementing never disturbed my milk supply. my body just got used to nursing at the schedule I chose. I tried to bottle feed and nurse at predictable times each day. I think our comfort level with the decision to supplement affected how comfortable our son was with it and finally, after several tries, he began taking the bottle regularly, 2 or 3 times a day. It ended up working out really well for us.

Only you know if this choice if it is the right one for you and your baby. Good luck!

happy supplementer


6-week-old won't take a bottle

Feb 2004

We are trying to start our 6 week old, breasfeeding baby on the bottle as I will be going back to work soon. Have tried numerous different nipples with no luck. Have tried the Avent, Gerber and Nuk. any suggestions or ideas? Thanks! Rikki


Make sure you are far away when your child is given a bottle. JB
Our breastfeeding daughter refused a bottle for months, although we tried almost every day, in every way, with every different nipple, from about 3 weeks old on. The first time I left her with my partner for an entire day (to attend a wedding out of town), she was 5.5 months old and had only taken a bottle once (Playtex nipple). She refused to eat for about 7 hours, then finally got hungry enough and took the bottle. She's now in daycare and happily eating from the Playtex nipple. She will not drink from any other type of nipple, and she will not take a bottle from me (bio mom). It helped a lot when I got the faster flow nipples, but she was a lot older than your baby by then. Good luck! I think she will take the bottle when she gets hungry enough; until then, it's just anxiety-provoking! noel
Many, many, new parents have been in the exact same position, I think the only answer is to just keep trying, keeping in mind that eventually your baby WILL take it. (Also once he/she takes it give them a bottle at least 2x a week for a while -even if it is just to start the feed), or amnesia can set in and you have to start the whole learning process over. Been There
Keep trying! You really need to try EVERY day. Try putting baby in bouncy seat with one of the Baby Einstein's playing on TV--the visual will distract baby while you reach around from behind and put bottle in baby's mouth. This worked for our baby (though, only for a few weeks--maybe you'll have better luck). Also, Dr. Brown's bottles have a good nipple--it's more pliable than Avent and was easier for our baby to get into her mouth. If these suggestions don't work, you may have to leave the house while your husband or other caregiver tries the bottle, as some babies refuse the bottle while mom is around. I feel your pain, as our 5 month old daughter will take a bottle only sporadically (fortunately, I am home with her)--I think our mistake was letting her nurse exclusively from 4 to 8 weeks. Anyway, I think you are at a critical point with respect to your baby's age, in addition to the obvious--you going back to work. So keep trying every day. Good luck!! Tracy

Breastfed 6-week-old suddenly refuses bottle

May 2003

My daughter is 6 weeks old, and was taking a bottle on a daily basis without a problem. Suddenly, she's decided not to take it. She starts to latch onto it, sometime drinking a little, and then starts fussing and crying. We've been unsuccessful in our attempts to try it at different times of day, with different people, the bait and switch, etc. I'm wondering if anyone has any successful experience to share. Should I give it a break for a while? Should we keep trying daily? Should we be persistent, and let her cry through it? I'm becoming very concerned that this will be a big problem when I have to go back to work in four weeks. Thanks for any help! Laura laura


Does she need a faster-flowing nipple? My son was exclusively bottle fed, and he would start acting frustrated with the bottle when he was ready for the next stage nipple. Catherine
This happened to us when our daughter was 9 weeks old. I searched the archives and found a lot, but nothing helped, and neither did Sears & Sears long list about how to bottle feed a breast fed baby.

We tried to understand WHY and WHY NOW. A dozen theories, but we could never really figure out what it was. That my partner had tried the bottle at night once so that I get some more sleep? that the milk had been too cold once? or not fresh enough? or the baby feeling she was to be forced to stay with relatives who were visiting? the wrong bottle nipples? Etc.

A few times we were lucky with fingerfeeding (very slow, but could delay a nursing) and spoonfeeding. But not really, she started to resist that as well.

We didn't want to let her cry, but actually ended up doing exactly what you do not want to do if you believe in conditioning ''good habits'' in babies We kept trying a couple of times, listened to her protest for a while, and then we gave in. We let her breaking our will, not the other way round. Our daughter was a very easy and happy newborn (and still is now, at age 11 months). The only one really important thing to her was nursing. We felt that it would be unfair of us to be so insisting about the bottle. This precious baby has only this one desire, we really should let her have it is what we felt. And if we communicated to her that she is allowed to have her own will, that's good. (Every child will figure that out eventually.)

We felt relieved after we made the decision to stop trying the bottle. It had added an enourmous amount of stress to our lives.

Someone recommended not to try anymore for 3 weeks. Then we would have a differnt baby. I didn't really believe it. We didn't try anymore for 5 weeks.

Your going back to work must be a very scary thought for you. Maybe you can make a worst case scenario. Taking baby to your work maybe with a babysitter, or babysitter hanging out very close to where you work, cell phones, working from home - to name a few things.

If smokers can leave their workplace every hour for 10 minutes, than nursing mothers can do so for 20 minutes every other hour. Don't feel bad about expecting others to make a few compromises. You are currently following the schedule of a newborn 24 hours a day. Others can also make a few compromises. Another point is that breastfed babies get sick far less often than bottlefed babies, and that is certainly in the interest of an employer. (If a 3 months old has an ear infection the mother is probably going to stay home no matter what.) Look at your work situation closely. Things often can be stretched here and there. It's probably only going to be a problem for a very short time after all.

My work situation was very flexible, and I am grateful for that. But I also had to take my daughter to some meetings and workshops (she stayed with a babysitter close by) where I wouldn't have dreamt to take a baby along before I had a baby myself.

After 5 weeks we tried again and it worked. She didn't really like it, but she took it. My partner gave her the bottle during a walk in the sling. He started giving it to her while she was still half asleep, in the process of waking up and crying for milk. Now she didn't care which nipple. Nuk, Avent - whatever.

Around 6 months she started to really like and explore solids, and it got very easy from there.

We still minimized the number of bottle feedings not to make her upset again. Then it became easier and easier. Especially when she got interested in touching and manipulating objects. The bottle became something like a toy for her. However, she would always prefer the breast, especially when she is tired. Good luck, Julia


The exact same thing (refusing a bottle of breastmilk) happened with my son around the same age. He also had been taking a pacifier and began refusing it then,too. We didn't care about the binkie, but we did want him to be bottle friendly for when I returned to work. Since I wasn't returning until he was 6 months old, we figured we would give the bottle a rest and try again in a few weeks. BIG mistake. By then he totally refused.

When he was around four months old we got advice that we needed to be persistent and try a bottle every single day, to give it at the same time of day (when he was a little hungry but not to wait until he was starving nor wait until he was really tired), and to not get sidetracked trying every type of bottle and nipple under the sun (we stuck with the Nuk orthodontic silicone model). We also were to try feeding him the bottle in different ways and places in the lap, in the bouncy chair, while walking him in a bjorn, etc. Also I'm sure you've heard that it might be easier for the non-lactating parent to be the bottle giver as baby knows Mommy has the good stuff on her.

My son refused the bottle every day for 4 weeks, then would randomly take a little milk one out of 5 times, and now finally is taking the bottle again, about 8 weeks from when we started getting serious about reintroducing it. For some reason giving him the bottle outside in the park worked for him. Go figure.

He is now seven and 1/2 months old. I had originally planned to return to work for two full and one half day a week, but with his bottle refusal I changed my schedule to five days a week, mornings only. My situation was easier because by the time I returned to work he was six months old and taking solid food, so he would take expressed milk mixed with rice cereal on a spoon. Even though he finally started taking the bottle this week, I plan to keep the four hour shifts as I think it will be easier for him to have me consistently gone a short time every day instead of either home all day or gone all day.

My advice is be persistent in trying every day, be consistent about the time of day you try, don't force it when the baby gets upset, see if you can get your baby to take a binkie ( to keep baby used to sucking on rubber nipples)and with an older baby to let the baby play with their bottle like a toy. Chances are she'll eventually get back on track if she's only been refusing a short time. But there are some very stubborn babies who will not return to the bottle and if your child ends up being one of then I would explore working only half days out of the house until Baby is able to eat from a spoon if this at all an option.

Good luck getting Baby back on the bottle; I know how stressful it is returning to work, and how the stress is compounded when you are worried your baby isn't eating. Susanna


Hi. I know everyone has different experience with getting babies to take a bottle, but I wanted to pass mine along. My baby also took a bottle for a while and then started refusing the bottle. We kept trying for a while -- my husband would give him a bottle downstairs while I hid (or slept) upstairs, and my son would scream for 20 minutes and take almost nothing. We finally gave up. But, the good news is, we never had a problem with him taking a bottle when I was gone. (How he knew whether I was upstairs or gone I have no idea). He never took a lot from the bottle, but he always took enough and he never threw a huge fit like he did when we gave him the bottle while I was around.

So, I don't know what to tell you about whether or not to keep trying. Before you go back to work, you might want to leave him alone with grandparents or dad and a bottle and see what he does when you are out of the house. Also, we always fed my son pumped breast milk; formula tastes different, so you might try breast milk first, then mix formula and breast milk and then transition to formula (if that's what you're planning on feeding your baby). Plus, once he starts solids (usually between 4-6 months) he may eat solids and not as much milk when you're away. Good luck! Laura


Our son did the same thing at about six weeks. It turned out that he was ready for a faster flow on the nipple. Once we moved up to the next stage he started taking the bottle again just fine. I am not sure what type of bottles you are using but Avent worked the best for us. Good luck! anon

7-week-old won't take a bottle

June 2004

I've been trying to get my 7-week-old son to start taking a bottle. He has been breast fed exclusively since birth. I will be returning to work at the end of August and I want him to be comfortable with it by then. Also, it would be nice to be able to leave him for a little bit without worrying that he'll be hungry.

He takes a pacifier (Nuk) and we bought the same kind of nipple for the bottle. But when my husband tries to give him the bottle, my son just ends up crying. He does get a few drops of milk but does not seem motivated to start sucking to get more.

Any suggestions? Some people have said ''He'll take it if he's hungry enough.'' But that seems so traumatic to me. I'm hoping there's a better way.

Thanks. rcl


Hello there -- we had the same problem when I went back to work part-time at three months. What finally worked for us was ''bottle boot camp'' which was a lot of work, but involved me pumping during the day (even on the days I was home) and offering only the bottle (of breastmilk) during daytime hours. We continued breastfeeding at night. Our son began to associate bottles with daytime and breast with evening/night time. The trick is to be consistent. It was a real drag-- we basically stopped nursing during the day, which I missed tremendously. It also involved quite a bit of crying in the beginning, until he figured out the routine, but at least preserved nursing at night. Oh yes, one trick you might try (if you can picture it) is offering the bottle while bouncing up and down sitting on an exercise ball (one of those yoga balls). I'm not kidding-- somehow it distracted our baby enough to start him sucking! Good luck. Mom who has been there
We started feeding our son with a bottle at 3 weeks, and made a point of making sure he got one bottle a day so he wouldn't be too surprised when I went back to work. So far, at 3 months he's had no problem with either breast or bottle. However, during the ''training'' time he did flat out refuse to take a bottle one time and we were pretty freaked out. He was crying like crazy. So, we put the bottle aside. I did NOT breast feed him. He stopped crying after a few minutes, then we tried the bottle again in an hour and he sucked down the whole thing. I didn't even have to leave the house. I'm guessing he really wasn't that hungry at first and was irritated about having a nipple shoved in his mouth. So, maybe next time your baby refuses a bottle just try being patient and let him get hungry enough. I wouldn't wait all day long, maybe just an hour before trying again. Spikesmom

Trying to get my 11-week-old to take a bottle

Jan 2008

I will be returning to work soon and I am trying to get my 11 week old to start taking a bottle. I have tried different bottles (Avent, Dr. Brown's, evenflow), pumped breast milk, formula, feeding her when she is very hungry, feeding her when she is sleepy, etc etc but my baby just starts crying when she's offered the bottle. Does anyone know a supernanny or someone with experience getting a baby to take a bottle to help out? I really don't want to starve her until she takes a bottle (advice I was given)-too traumatizing for her and for me! Chloe


I have heard that some babies simply will not take a bottle from the mother. I luckily do not have first-hand experience with this, but my sister-in-law said she couldn't be in the room when her son was being bottle fed, and, in fact, couldn't be in the HOUSE. Her son knew she had the real stuff and would sniff her out. So this is probably your problem. If someone else can give the bottle, this would probably help you out right now - and I'm assuming that's what would be happening anyway when you return to work. Also, some babies that have never been given a bottle don't want one 11 weeks down the road (many recommend trying to add a bottle into the routine at 3 weeks). But that doesn't help you much. I bet other parents with first-hand experience might have better advice than I do. Good luck. --You've got the real stuff and baby knows it
You are not alone. We had trouble getting our daughter to take any bottle. We tried EVERY one. She finally took the NUK bottle with the slanted nipple (have to be careful to put this one in the right way though). She just couldn't get a latch on any other one. It took her over a month but I am a SAHM so the need wasn't as great. I just needed a break so we kept trying with the bottle. Different people fed her, which was very important as she was very mommy centric, and we did it at the same feedings so she always knew what to expect. I had to train my husband though who would give up really easily. You just have to persevere. My mom would walk around with my daughter to calm her while she cried and tried to take the bottle. It would work for at least a few ounces which was better than nothing. When they are ready and it doesn't feel so foreign they will take the bottle.

My niece also had the same problem. They just get so attached to the breast and mommy it's a big step. My niece had to start taking the bottle at 6 months old as my sister had to go back to work. My mom watches my niece and the first week was hell. My niece would only drink a few ounces and wait till my sister got back. After the first week though my niece got it. She now is a VERY healthy eater. During that first week we got her to eat the most in the car. My niece would get tired and I would shove the bottle in. She would watch things go by, suck on the bottle and fall asleep. Again the distraction really helped her get use to the bottle so she could then get use to someone else feeding her.

Just hang in there. Your little one will work it out. Alexis


The way I get my son to use his bottle when he doesn't want to is I let him suck on me for a little while and then when he's good and going (eyes closed helps) then I pop out my nipple and replace it with the bottle nipple in one quick motion... This usually works as soon as he tastes the breast milk coming out... Or I have also squirted the breast milk from the bottle nipple into his mouth to give him a little taste and he usually latches on after that... hopefully this is useful to you! stefanie
My third was the worst about taking a bottle. With my other two persistence worked, but not this one. I finally tried giving her the milk HOT (seemed too hot to me, but what do I know) and it worked! I heard about trying different temps on BPN but it took true desperation to make me give it a try and it worked like a charm. Maybe it will for you too...plus it's cheap! Hot Milk

2-month-old now refuses the bottle

October 2001

Does anyone have any advice on how to convince a breastfed baby to accept bottles? We are at our whits end. Our normally happy and easy-going 2 month old baby has recently started to completely refuse the bottle (she accepted bottles easily her first month). She is breastfed, but I'd like her to take a bottle during the 4-5 hours that I need to be away at work.

She started refusing bottles when we went on vacation and didn't keep up with the bottles. It's my pumped breastmilk, so it's not a formula problem. I'm afraid we probably made the situation worse by trying to continue giving her the bottle when she was crying. Now she starts crying at the sight of the bottle approaching. Different people have tried (even grandma), we've tried different nipples (gerber's, avent, playtex, rubber, silicone, fast flow, slow flow, preemie). We've tried a medicine dropper and even Medela's Hazelbaker FingerFeeder (a supplementer that allows you to feed baby from your finger). In every case, as soon as she figures out that it's not a breast (a second or so), she starts refusing. She won't even suck on a finger as a substitute. We're not forcing her anymore, just offering it to her, but she will cry and cry for 2 hours (that's as long as we've dared to go). I've even tried leaving the house when my husband is trying, but still no dice.

I've been told that some babies just won't take bottles, but she used to before. It just pains me so much to hear her crying and crying when she could just take a bottle. I'm not as freaked out about it as I used to be, since I realize that she won't starve, but eventually she'll need to go to daycare, at least part-time, so I'm really concerned. I'd really appreciate hearing if anyone has had similar experiences. Is it hopeless, or have you had any success? Thanks for your help! Marguerite


I stumbled on a solution to this with my first, when she was adamantly refusing the bottle at two months. While bathing her, I just picked up a nipple (no bottle), put a little warm water in it, and put it near her mouth. She sucked it, so I repeated it with water, then put a little milk in it (still, just the nipple, not the bottle). I can't remember if I introduced the bottle then, or at a later bath. After that, she took the bottle--although she still always prefered nursing and didn't like me to give her a bottle. However, she'd take it from someone else easily after that. I think the key was that we were both relaxed and happy at the time, and the situation wasn't loaded...it just occured to me to try this while she was in her bath. Good luck. meghan
I'm in the process of introducing my 6wk old baby to the bottle as well. She was having a little tough time. But the only advice I can give that I did was just let her fuss and be patient. I was very persistant. She's going to be hungry at some point and will want to eat. I tried talking to her too, so that she would know that it was mommy's milk. I know its hard to hear them cry and this is my second child so its not as hard. Crying is good for their lungs anyway. I try and give her a bottle as much as possible too, so that she will get used to it. Don't let the baby take control over you. You have to lay down the guidelines and rules for them. Nia
Our son _never_ took a bottle with a nipple -- and like you, we tried everything! Finally, when he was about 6 months old, we got the sippy-cup spout attachments for our Avent bottles, and those worked very well for us -- we'd tip a little breastmilk into his mouth and he would happily swallow it. It was kind of a high-maintenance feeding method, but it did enable me to leave him with a sitter for the first time ever! If I have the same problem with my next child, I'll probably try this solution a little bit earlier. Sara
My daughter also refused to take the bottle (at around 4 mos), after having no difficulty when she was very small. We tried just about everything, as it seems you have. The only thing that really worked was letting her go hungry for a long period of time. I left the house for twelve hours. She didn't eat until the 10th. I would recommend that you find someone other than dad.. like grandma, or auntie, or a good friend with kids who will not take it personally when your child screams at them all day for not having boobs. Your baby knows how, survival instinct will eventually kick in. Some babies only want the real thing and will wait a long time to get it.

It will also get easier in a few months when your baby starts to eat some rice cereal and other starter foods. It certainly doesn't satisfy them in the same way, but at least if you're getting some solids in, you don't feel quite so bad when they bottle strike. Good luck!


My oldest child had exactly the situation you describe- at first she took the bottle willingly, and when we didn't follow up for a few weeks she began to refuse. I, too, needed to return to work and we were panicked. We received all sorts of advice; one friend told us that he got his child to take it by putting strawberry Quik in the bottle; another said he went down in the basement with the baby and bottle and didn't come up until he succeeded. We did neither of those. My amazingly patient husband just hung in there and offered her the bottle in a quiet, gentle way, with lots of encouragement, and calming strokes (through all her screams). He did it in the morning, when she was hungry but not cranky, and I left the house. He did this several days in a row. Finally, after one 45-minute session she finally took the bottle, and we were careful to follow up every day after that with at least one bottle a day. After the battle was over she took the bottle willingly. Good luck! Lauren
I had this experience with my son who refused to take a bottle when he was about seven weeks old after accepting the bottle when he was younger. We tried all types of nipples and bottles to no avail. We had the best luck with a sippy cup, but it was difficult to really establish the habit when he four-five months old. However, when he was about six months old he bonded with the sippy cup and now readily uses it to take medicine, vitamins or breast milk when I am not around. We've been told that now he won't have to wean from a bottle and a breast. Good luck. tiara
My daughter also cried at the sight of the bottle. When she was six months old and I went back to work, however, breastfeeding was not an option during the day and she took the bottle from her father with no fuss at all. After a month or so she didn't want to breastfeed. Now she is 16 months old and drinks from the bottle at bedtime and drinks from a tippy cup during the day.
(1) Check your breast milk. Make sure it hasn't soured. I learned that mine didn't store for long (high amounts of lipase) which made the baby sad.

(2) Make your bottle routine really different than the breast feeding routine. For our baby, that meant I (mom) couldn't even be in the house. Her daddy found that putting her in the sling and walking around with her worked the best (and it was really different than our nursing routines of rocking in the chair or lying in the bed).

(3) Go to a La Leche League meeting and talk to experienced breastfeeding moms or call a La Leche League leader. They are a great resource. Ilana


We had exactly the same experience with our now 18-month-old boy. My husband introduced the bottle at 4 weeks old and we gave him a bottle once a week from there, but that only lasted a few weeks. He started to refuse, and it soon became quite traumatic for everyone. By the way, he also never wanted a pacifier and never exhibited much of a sucking tendency at all (except nursing, which he did quite well). I needed to return to work and put him in daycare starting at 4 months. We tried everything, paid a consultant, tried every bottle, every nipple/flow, every position, every caregiver, everything! Like your baby, he soon screamed at the sight of a bottle, it had become so traumatic. This became VERY stressful for me as the target date for returning to work approached. I was so tired of reciting all the details, and it seemed that everyone had advice on what we must be doing incorrectly.

The first thing that worked for me is that I declared I wanted to give up trying - accept he would never take a bottle - and a huge weight was lifted. We shifted our energy from trying to change him, to trying to find another alternative that worked. The problem is that all the advice - in books, from friends, family, professionals - convinces you that there must be SOME WAY to make your baby take the bottle, instead of giving you options other than the bottle. We did find a way - quickly - as soon as we put our minds to it. First, I work close to his daycare, so I went there to feed him at lunch for the first few months. I don't know if this is a possibility for you, but if there is any way you can make it work, it is worth the effort. I came to love our mid-day visits, and it helped smooth the transition to daycare. Second, a consultant pointed out to us that he would be on a sippy cup in a few months anyway, and the beauty of a sippy cup is that the milk pours into their mouth - they do not have to actively suck - and they have no choice but to swallow. The product that saved us was Avent's soft rubber sippy-cup-shaped nipple that fits on its regular bottles. In the beginning, we gave him just a few sips, putting it in, pulling it out right away, and then I breastfed him. He was held upright in our lap, or sometimes in the car seat. He had some trouble, but soon got the hang of it. He by no means had it mastered by the time he went to daycare, but our center was very patient and his desire for milk won out. The combination of lunchtime visits and the slow learning curve (never pushing) of the Avent sippy worked for us. At 18 months, he still uses the Avent sippy (we use it for milk only) and can hold it himself and handle the fast flow - so it is like he takes a bottle after all.

I am sure you have heard that some babies do not have milk during the day and make up for it at night by breastfeeding more. While not ideal, I think it is preferable to shrug your shoulders and say, "we'll make it work," rather than beating yourself up over the bottle thing.

In restrospect (and this is too late for either of us, but I do tell my pregnant friends this, and I know it is controversial), I would have allowed a bottle to be introduced in the hospital, and I would have given him a bottle more often than once a week. But in the end, like all things baby, they find their own way and, together, you make it work. Good luck. Jennifer


My baby took breastmilk from a bottle from around age six weeks to four months, then totally refused. I went back to work when she was five months and at first she would not take a bottle at daycare either, but it worked out. First, the infant room teachers at our daycare center (Child Education Center) had been through it before, and knew what they were doing. They coaxed her with different bottles that they had on hand and eventually found a type she would take. Second, although I had planned to go back full-time, I was fortunate to be fairly flexible at first. I didn't leave her there all day until she started taking the bottle; I called after a couple of hours and if she wasn't eating, I picked her up. I only had to do this for a week or so. That gave the teachers time to work their magic and, I think, gave my daughter time to figure out without trauma that in this new place, with these new people, there was only one way to eat. She continued to refuse bottles at home for a long time. So my advice is not to stress out about the bottle now. Your baby may not take it at home from her familiar people, but given a patient and experienced daycare provider and a little time, she will learn what she needs to do in her new situation. At 20 months my daughter loves both daycare and bottles. Teresa
We have a 5-mo-old who has had a LOT of problems with the bottle. We started at 6 weeks and have struggled endlessly, until about recently. Our story sounds like yours -- we tried a lot of different nipples, different people, etc. Here are some things that have worked for us, based on information you DIDN'T mention:

- change of location -- our baby did a lot better with the bottle when he was in an unfamiliar environment. We tried feeding him outdoors, at friends' homes, and in rooms where he wasn't breastfed.

- don't let it escalate -- this was advice we got from our ped's office and it helped us. Once he started crying a lot, we just stopped, because we didn't want it to become a war of wills and have him associate the bottle with being really upset.

- change of position -- one position that worked well for us was NOT holding him, just putting him on the floor and letting him suck the bottle.

- take a break -- I think we just gave up for about a week or so, then reintroduced the bottle. He actually kind of forgot how much he hated it.

- time of day -- we discovered that the one time he would take a bottle, almost consistently without protest, was at bedtime, right before going to sleep (he would tank up to get ready for bed, so he was always hungrier). So we started adding a bottle at bedtime, and this seems to have made giving bottles during the day easier.

Good luck! Teresa and Sam


8-week-old will not take the bottle - been trying since week 4

Dec 2003

Our eight week old baby will not take the bottle. We've been trying since week four with no luck. We probably did not try consistently enough and I was not always out of the house as recommended but any ideas for success at this time? Robin


My husband also had tremendous struggles with our now 27 month old daughter and the bottle at the age of 6-8 weeks. We started with the Advent system which she refused. The thing that worked for us was to try different bottles and nipples and she finally accepted the Playtex drop ins. anon
My daughter would not take a bottle until she needed to -- that is, when she was six months old and I went to work full time and she got hungry while we were apart. Babies are pretty clever and will not let themselves starve. LC
Some tips you might try for your infant who refuses the bottle--

1. Have someone besides mom give the bottle, and have mom out of sight.

2. Try heating milk on the warmer side--some babies like this. Also, try freshly pumped breastmilk (are you offering frozen? it might taste different).

3. Try giving the bottle while bouncing on one of those exercise balls, this seems to distract them and they start sucking automatically.

4. Bait and switch--- have mom breastfeed, then when baby is in a rhythm slip nipple out and bottle in, chances are baby will just keep sucking.

5. Try holding baby facing away from you and bouncing him up and down, with bottle in mouth. This again sometimes distracts them enough to start sucking.

6. Try various nipples-- they come in different sizes/shapes (silicone has less of a taste and our baby prefers it to latex)

I went back to work part-time at 10 wks and my husband had to ''bottle-train'' baby the hard way while I was gone -- even though we had given our baby a bottle a day since week three, he always preferred the breast (and still does now at 4 months). My husbands approach: he would try for ten minutes (crying), take a ten minute break, try again for ten minutes(crying), and so on. Eventually some milk would get in the baby.... Also, once you make progress, stick with it. Make sure baby takes at least a bottle (or two is even better) a day even on the days mom is home, so he/she doesn't forget.

Good luck. anon


We had the same experience with our baby. We tried the bottle almost every day for about a month with absolutely no success. She never sucked on the nipple, and when she did, she'd just let the milk run out of her mouth. We stopped trying so often, and bought every type of nipple we could find. She finally agreed to take the Playtex latex nipple, but not until she was about 12 weeks old. We tried everything: feeding her when she was hungry, feeding her when she wasn't hungry, me (breastfeeding mom) leaving the house, feeding her in our arms, feeding her in the swing, etc. She finally took the bottle from her other mom when I was out, but sometimes will only take it from me. We still ''practice'' because I'm going back to work soon. We are most successful if we try when she's not ravenous because sometimes she gets really ! mad when presented with the bottle. She is now 5 months and still struggles. She wants to chew on the nipple rather than suck, so we are going to try a faster flowing nipple. But she still will drink only from the Playtex and still refuses Avent, Gerber and Nuk nipples. Good luck! noel
My mom started watching my breastfed daughter on when she was 6 weeks old. My child would not take the bottle either. What finally worked was for the baby to lay in a bouncy seat on a table and to have my mother sit behind her. My mom would hold the bottle in front of my daughter, and all the baby would see is a hand and a bottle. My daughter would get very mad if she saw someone other than me feeding her, but she didn't seem to mind just an arm! I do think you need to leave the home, and when the baby gets hungry enough, she'll be more motivated to try. Good luck! Been there
I experienced the same problem with my son, who is now 9 months old. I, too, tried to give him a bottle at 8 weeks, which led to resistance from him and a lot of crying. What I finally did and what finally worked, was that I would make sure that he was fairly hungry, begin breastfeeding him, then after a few minutes, take him off the breast and put the bottle in his mouth. The bottle was filled with breast milk. For the first minute, he would take the bottle, no problem. Then he'd wise up and reject it. I'd then do the breast-bottled switch a few more times. I would do this everyday at the same time. Gradually, he would take more and more of the bottle, until he consistently would take a whole feeding from the bottle. Of course, once he did this, I made sure to give him ! one bottle a day from then on. I'd say that it took about a month of doing this before he would take a full feeding from anybody at any time without any problem.

One important thing is to be patient. I found that it was worse for my son if I forced him to take the bottle, or if I kept trying to give it to him when he obviously didn't want it. I tried once to withhold a feeding, thinking that if he got really hungry, he'd take the bottle. This approach, however, did not work, as all it got me was a lot of stress and crying from him. In my opinion, what worked was offering hiim the bottle everyday at the same time when he was hungry, but not starving, and if he fussed or was clearly not interested, I'd put the bottle away, breast feed, and try it again the next day. I believe that babies sense your mood, so if you act like it's no big deal, it won't be a big deal to them, either. Good luck, and remember, it may take some time for your baby to take a bottle, but it can be done. new mom


I have the same problem (began trying at 2 1/2 months old, although she took bottle at 1 week old no prob)) and she's still not taking the bottle at 10 months. So, don't know if I'm in a good position to give advice, but this is what I heard might work: use a latex nipple protector to get baby used to the feel of latex bottle nipple (from Children's Hospital's excellent advice line). Try to mimic your nipple shape with different bottle nipples, have others try feeding the baby, or face him/her away from you. Keep at it because the longer you wait, the harder it gets. We're just skipping the bottle and going to a sippee cup but she's now using breastfeeding as a pacifier (big mistake!). She has the added complication of having GERD, or acid reflux. You might want to rule out any other reason such as this. Hope this helps and good luck! g_i

Going back to work; 5-mo-old won't take bottle

1999

I just went back to work part time two weeks ago. Our baby, Lily, will be five months on Feb. 20. She is breast fed and we tried to offer the bottle to her starting at about six weeks but she never really took to it. Now she becomes very upset when our babysitter gives it to her. (I am pumping). She cries really hard and only drinks an ounce at most. This weekend my husband tried the botttle (I left) and altho she didn't cry she only drank about an ounce again. I have only been working mornings, so leave her 5 1/2 hours at the most, so she nurses like crazy after I pick her up. Aside from the feeding problem she seems happy and stimulated with our babysitter. We've tried gerber and avent nipples. She seems to prefer the brown gerber one. A possible solution is for me to just work four half days until she takes to the sippy cup which I tried today and she didn't swallow any milk but it's easier for me to work two and a half days since it's a 30 minute drive. any ideas? Thanks! Andrea


I would like to ask for some advice regarding bottle-feeding. My daughter is 3-1/2 months old and I just went back to work. I pretty much exclsively breast fed her, although I gave her some bottles of breast milk and a breast milk/formula combination that she took fine. A couple weeks before I returned to work, we tried to give her bottles regularly, but she refused (I tried and my husband tried, and we tried different types of bottles, Avent, Evenflo, etc.). She refused them all. Since I went back to work (about 7 working days ago), she has followed this pattern: I breast feed her before I go to work (approx 8am), she's fine until about 11am or 12 noon (she refuses any bottles offered her, i.e., gnaws on the nipple a little and then begins crying until the bottle is taken away), eats about 1 oz. later in the afternoon (around 3 or 4pm), and then I breast feed her when I return home. As the day wears on, she becomes inconsolable unless she is being held, and cries a fair amount. FYI, we're feeding her breast milk in the bottles and she is being offered bottles throughout the day. I breast feed her when I am home. I am becoming very concerned because it just doesn't seem that it's good for her to go ten hours (I get home around 6pm) with eating only an ounce of milk. The pediatrician said to keep trying. Any advice?
Does anyone have advice on getting a 4 1/2 month old baby to take a bottle? We didn't start trying until he was in his third month (probably too late) and he still won't take it. I'm now back at work and the baby will spend a good solid hour or more screaming because he wants to nurse. He never gets to the point where he is "hungry enough to eat". We have tried practically every bottle - avent, playtex, gerber, etc. and nothing seems to work. He eats rice cereal and some solids but when he wants comfort, a nap or his "usual" food he starts screaming. Any suggestions are welcomed. Thanks. D.
I've been trying to introduce my now 4 month old baby boy to drinking breast milk from a bottle for the last several weeks, with no success at all. He spits the bottle out of his mouth without sucking at all. It doesn't matter who offers it to him, or whether I'm around or not. He's been completely uninterested in pacifiers since he was born, so he has basically no experience sucking on anything but my breasts and his own hands. Does anyone have any tricks to get him to accept a bottle? Is it too late by now? I'd be VERY grateful for any ideas. Rachel
We had a lot of trouble getting our second child to take a bottle when she was about 4 months. It wasn't clear to me if you're giving breast milk or formula - my baby was getting breast milk in the bottle. But what seemed to have helped were these suggestions from my midwife (hooray for Lindy Johnson!!):
1. don't just go to another room - leave the house
2. wear the bottle nipple in your bra for a day so it smells like you
3. put some of the milk on the outside of the nipple
Hang in there & good luck!
We switched our son over to the Playtex Avance bottles, which have vented bottoms that also unscrew for easy cleaning, and special cross-cut nipples to keep bubbles away from the baby. He has found it much easier to get good flow with these and doesn't have to interrupt his sucking pattern to let air in. They come in small and larger (9 oz.) sizes, and cost $4-$5 at Longs, more at the supermarkets and Rite Aid when you can find them.
I was told that it is very common for breastfed babies to reject a bottle at around 4 or 5 months, even if they have taken it successfully before. When my baby did it, we first tried switching to a faster flow nipple (we also use Avent) -- this worked well for a while. You can try either the slow or medium flow or you can get the variable flow and save a bit of money. You might find that this is all you need: your baby may be crying because the milk isn't coming out fast enough (if the new nipple is *too* fast you'll know because s/he will cough or gag a bit -- not dangerous, but a clear sign).

You can also try a few other things, many of which I and the mothers in my new moms group tried: distract the baby -- ma bottle feeding "no big deal" by walking around the house as you do it, talking about other things, etc.; only feed a few ounces at a time instead of giving a whole feeding at once -- if the baby wants more, give another small amount (this has the added advantage of not wasting precious pumped milk -- if s/he doesn't take it, you only throw out a little bit); have someone other than mom give the bottle; try bottle feeding only when the baby is really hungry (note: this technique backfired on me, since it only made my baby angrier -- I had to do the opposite and try when she was *not* very hungry, sometimes after nursing a little first); bottle feed at the same time every day so your baby will come to expect it, then gradually increase the number of bottles to what you'll need when you have child care.

Finally, rest assured that your baby *will* get over this -- mine did, and so did everyone else I've heard about.


I hope you are able to accompllish this but, if your baby steadfastly and permanently refuses like my breastfed baby did, here's how we dealt with it. [Note: I was having breast infection problems until around 3 months during which time I was told I needed to avoid the bottle while retraining my daughter to latch on correctly. By then she was absolutely unwilling to switch.]

For the first two months after I returned to work, I took our caregiver to work with me. She took the baby and walked around campus and hung out in the engineering lounge during the day and brought the baby to me every two hours to feed. I also negotiated a special parking pass just for those two months as I fed the baby in the car--- there was no private, comfortable place to sit down. This worked until I decided it was too cold and rainy out. Then I negotiated at work to take 2 one hour breaks during each day and drove home then (15 minutes drive each way) to feed the baby so she was breastfed every 3 hours. Did that for a while -- sometimes required that I come in on the weekend to make up a few hours. Then I switched to half time work and negotiate to work at home where I had childcare. Which is just to say that, if your baby is as stubborn as mine, there may be a variety of possibilities for dealing with this problem. Good luck.


We had a very similar situation. First thing: The newborn Avent nipples hardly let any liquid through- try it yourself. If your breasts ever leak milk, then the baby is getting milk a lot faster than that avent nipple can provide (mine would squirt milk after lat down). We (that is the daycare providers, who are a lot more experienced at this than me) tried ALL the nipples and found that the nuk cross cut high flow work best. The rubber ones, not the silicon. That said, my baby, now 14 months NEVER liked the bottle. He almost always cried when my husband or the daycare people tried to give him the bottle (I was not in the house or at the daycare). I worried alot about him getting enough milk at daycare. Even now, his all time record for 9 hours of daycare is 5 oz of milk. Usually, I'd leave him in daycare for about 7 hours, and he drank 3-4 oz of breast milk from a bottle. My pediatrian assured me that this was fine- he made up for it when he got hom, and at night. I got less worried after he started to eat solids. Now he takes a sippy cup. We had no problem with the transition from bottle to cup. However, he still drinks maybe 1-2 oz of anything (milk or juice) at a time. He is still nursing in the evening and at night.

One consequence; my son still seems to save up his thurst for 6pm when he sees me. He always nurses then, and I am very full, so I think he gets a lot of milk then. He also still nurses twice a night, despite our attempts to limit this. I think he drinks at night and not in the day. I'm not worried at this point- I am sure he will be fine by the time he is 20. Good luck!


From the time my daughter was 2 months until 4 1/2 months, she absolutely refused to take a bottle. She started -- reluctantly -- only about 2 weeks before I went back to work (after I had all but given up hope). What worked for us was to experiment with different brands of nipples (Avent didn't work, Johnson & Johnson's Healthflow did), to have me be completely out of sight during feedings, and to have an experienced bottle-giver do the feeding. The nanny was the one who was finally able to get my daughter to take a bottle; someone it to trying to give a cat a pill yourself, then watching a vet do it. Since then, my daughter still has a clear preference preference for drinking her milk straight from the source, but she doesn't fight the bottle at all. I remember how much more stressful stressful this made my return to work. Just keep trying different approaches, and best of luck.
From: Leslie

When I returned to work, our daughter was 4 months old, and had only taken one or two bottles before (I, too, introduced it WAY too late). We tried many bottle/nipple variations -- none seemed to work. Then, at a friends suggestion, we put the handles on the Avent bottle, and VOILA! She took it like she'd been doing it all her life!


From: Heike

I had a similar situation when my baby started daycare at 7 months and refused to take bottle and baby food from the daycare provider on her first day. I immediately gave her the bottle when I went to pick her up after 4 hours, but then switched hands with the daycare provider holding the bottle half way through the feeding. I stepped behind the provider's back (out of my baby's sight) and kept talking to my baby throughout the remainder of the feeding. My baby must have had the impression that the provider had my voice. For some reason that was the turning point, and she willingly accepted bottle and food from the daycare provider from that moment on. Hope it works for you too. I don't know, I spontaneously came up with that idea back then - it's nothing I read anywhere - maybe I was just plain lucky.


From: Kathy

We had this exact issue when I went back to work at 3 months. My daughter had never had a bottle of anything or a pacifier (we had tried, she just wouldn't use it), just breast milk. After several unsuccessful attempts we did 2 things that eventually worked. 1) I left the house completely, not just the room and 2) NUK nipples for the bottle (I found mine at Rockridge Kids, they did not carry the right kind at Lucky's or Payless). I was skeptical of this advice initially but the type of nipple really does make a difference. A friend of mine actually had to go to a silicon vs. a rubber nipple to finally have success. There are probably a good 5 or 6 different kinds of nipples and babies may react different to each. We had unsuccessfully tried Platex, Advent and another angled kind of nipple (I can't remember the brand name) before having success with the NUK.


From: Diane

Have you tried switching nipples? My baby is now one year old and was on breast only for the first 3-3 1/2 month. I started to switch him to bottled breast milk (just like you) around 3 1/2 month because I was going back to work too at 4 months. I tried switching various nipples made by different companies, different textures, and different shapes. Most nipples are interchangable with the normal bottle except for the ones where you use a disposable liner inside the bottle. So I bought one or two of each nipple (and 2 of those wider bottles).

Also, I alternated between breast and bottle feeding. So if his first feeding of the day was breast, then the next one was going to be bottle. If he didn't eat much of it, I wouldn't give him the breast until it was time for the 3rd feeding. So, he may go through 6 hours without much food. But during this period, I would keep offering him the bottle. He ended up taking an ounce or two around half way to the third feeding. This way, I knew that even if he didn't eat enough of the bottle milk, he would still get enough nutrient from the next feeding. I must warn you, that last 3 hours where they're crying and fussing is difficult because it's so easy for us to just give in.


From: Heather

Have you tried using different kinds of nipples on the bottle? My son was/is VERY picky about the nipple on his bottle. He has always only wanted a certain brand of nipple and they have to be colored (he especially likes the red ones). I had to experiment with a lot of different brands, shapes and sizes to find the right one for him. Keep trying and I'm sure you'll find something that he'll like.


From: Pia

My son had a hard time accepting a bottle when I had to go back to work, although he was a little younger, 12 wks. It took two weeks for him to finally get used to drinking from the bottle (he would only take about 1 oz/day while I was away and he would cry almost the entire time). It was tough, but after those two weeks he must have realized what was happening and just started accepting the bottle. Things that may have helped was to hold him upright and facing forward while giving him a bottle, and to walk around while doing so (my husband had the best luck when the baby was in the front pack). Also he liked his bottles very warm.

The two weeks when he wasn't taking a bottle were hell, and I even asked the pediatrician about it. He said that some babies just don't want a bottle. He told me about another Dr. in the practice that had had a baby that refused a bottle entirely while her mother was at work, and made up for the lost milk when Mom was at home. That baby is now a perfectly healthy 10 month old.

Other friends have told that it takes one or two weeks for the baby to get used to it, and it is just one of those awful times that you have to get through. Hope this helps, and good luck!


From: Naomi

bottle tip- did anyone mention trying the Avent bottle? That was the only one my son liked around 4 months, and he took to that right away (after many tries with others). More like Mom, I guess.


From: Acarion

We had the same problem. We tried to feed our daughter at 3 months with a bottle. Nothing worked. We tried all the nipples - still nothing worked, so we gave up after one month. I belong to another group - it's an Australian mother group and got a tip from one of the Aussie mothers - she had her baby go straight to a sippy cup. My La Leche Group in New Jersey also suggested this. My daughter learned to use the sippy cup just after a few tries. Maybe this will work for your 4 month old.


From: Angela

I need advice about introducing the bottle so my baby can drink breastmilk once I go back to work. I read the advice above but it hasn't been too helpful so far.

I have got 10 different kinds of nipples by now, Avent and Nuk and straight ones, in various sized and flow-rates, silicon and rubber, and absolute nothing works. My daughter hasn't even taken one sip from any of them. It doesn't matter if she's hungry or not quite yet. I've just had her go without food for 7 hours today, which means not only her screaming with hunger, but also me pumping milk constantly, because you can't keep milk for too long once the baby has had the nipple in her mouth contaminating it with the bacteria from her mouth (at least that's what they taught me in the hospital - is this true?).

My husband has tried unsuccessfully, too, with various kinds of nipples, and I can't expect him to fight this struggle for weeks to come while he is working full-time, so how can I possibly leave the house for the hours that we try bottle-feeding?

We even got one of these soft spouts for training cups, but any milk that goes into my daughter's mouth from this or any bottle she pushes out wuth her tongue, so it all ends up on her clothes, while she keeps screaming.

I'm just at the end of my energy, we're not making any progress, and I find myself in tears every day. Are there any child care givers out there whom you can hire for a short time just to get this problem sorted out. Maybe someone can recommend an experienced person. Or are there any magic tricks that I don't know about?


From: Andrea

You are not alone. I too welcome any suggestions on feeding my 4.5 month old daughter who so far has completely refused all bottles, pacifiers, etc. and I am scheduled to go back to work in early September.


From: Jeanne

This is regarding your problem trying to get your baby to drink from a bottle. My husband got our baby to drink from a bottle after a few failures and much distress on my part. Here are some tips. I'm sure you have heard of many of them, but I hope one of them is new and will help:

1- You should be completely out of the building when Daddy is trying to get the baby to take the bottle. Baby can smell Mommy a mile away, and sense Mommy waiting and worrying in the other room, when a bottle is pushed into their face. I lurked around the corner and worried and worried instead of just leaving while my husband worked with our baby.

2- Get a "Granny-type" or a person who has a lot of experience with babies. Some people who have worked a lot with babies seem to have a special kind of patience and firmness with them and know how to get things done.

3- I know you want the baby to drink breast-milk, not formula, and it is great that you can pump. But in order to get the baby to drink from the bottle, have you considered getting a small can of soy formula? The smell of the breast-milk in the bottle might be just reminding your baby that you aren't there. "Where's Mommy? What's this rubber thing in my mouth?" She might be willing to take formula instead. Then you could mix in breast-milk in higher and higher concentrations until baby is getting only breast-milk. I reiterate, breast is best, but it may be worth a try.


From: Fran

Regarding getting breast-fed babies to take a bottle: this advice is too late for the person writing, but it should be repeated for the benefit of others to come as this isn't the first time it's come up in this group: Our pediatrician said that a baby should be given a bottle by the age of 6 weeks or he/she may never take one. I've seen his observation to be true with the babies of friends.


From: Juliann

Hi, This is a response to Angela, who is having a problem introducing a bottle to her baby.

Angela, I had a similar problem with my now 16-month-old daughter. We waited until she was 11 weeks old, which was outside the window recommended by the baby books we had. She took the bottle the first time we tried, but would have nothing to do with it after that. I tried various nipples/bottle systems and ended up using Avent on the recommendation of a friend (although I think the others would have worked eventually).

What finally worked was this: I would nurse her and she would fall asleep still suckling a little; when she fell off my breast, I would slip the bottle in her mouth. I think this allowed her to get used to the nipple while she was very relaxed. I did this for about a day, every chance I got, and after that she started drinking from the bottle. Also, I think it's VERY important to remain calm and detached (which is not easy with a screaming, hungry baby in your arms) and to have an "I don't care if she drinks this or not" attitude. My husband would get tense and impatient, and she would refuse it, but if I took her and talked to her softly and tried not to attach any importance to the event, she would drink.

One other thing: once she starts drinking from a bottle, give her one maybe once a day for practice. Good luck!

PS: While I was holding my daughter, speaking softly to her, and trying to remain detached, we were standing in front of the refrigerator in our kitchen. This might have helped because (1) I almost never nursed her in the kitchen and (2) the fridge is covered with photos, magnets, and newspaper clippings, giving her something interesting to look at/be distracted by. Hope this helps!


From: Cecilia

Our daughter also would not take a bottle. We tried all the nipples, etc. The only thing that did work, although it was time-consuming, was to get one of those little syringes with the curved tip, put it on your finger held pad up, and very gently squeeze the syringe as she sucks on your finger. Of course, *I* couldn't do this, because as long as I was in the room she would scream for the breast. But my husband or the babysitter was able to do it.

As for the problem with wasting milk in the bottle, we soon learned that each time we tried a new nipple, we only put about 1 ounce of milk in the bottle, so that when she refused it we didn't lose a whole lot of milk!

If nothing works, and your baby will only take the breast (it's a fairly common problem, apparently!) I also know other mothers who were able to work out flexible schedules with their employers, such as coming home for a long coffee break in the morning and afternoon to nurse, and taking a shorter lunch or staying later in the evening to make up the hours. Another woman I know found a daycare very near her job, and was able to run over during morning and afternoon breaks and at lunch to nurse her baby. After a couple of months, she only needed to stop by at lunchtime. Pretty soon the baby will be eating solids and you can get by with nursing only in the morning, evening, and at night. It happens sooner than you expect! Best of luck!


From: Dawn

What a horrible experience for you to go through! It's hard enough leaving your child without having to endure all this screaming, too. Have you tried using a syringe? My doctor gave me one that is quite large, and has a blunt end. You can then stick it in the baby's mouth and squirt the milk into the throat actively. I didn't see this listed as something you'd already tried. Good luck!


From: Caroline

For practical help on how to transition a fussy baby from breast to bottle, try seeking the help of a lactation consultant. There is a wonderful one here in El Cerrito named Janaki Costello. She is an "International Board Certified Lactation Consultant" and has lots of experience and very reasonnable consultation fees. She can be reached at 510-525-1155.


From: Raissa

When my first son had some similar difficulty it seemed to me that he was frustrated with the bottle because he wasn't getting as much milk as fast as he was used to getting it from my breast. We also tried a bunch of different nipples and ended up adding a few small holes to the nipples he seemed least upset with, to make them more breast-like, and this solved his problem.


From: heather

I can sympathize with your issue regarding trying to give your breast fed baby a bottle. My daughter (who is now 9 months) also refused the bottle. We had a little success with the NUK nipple but she put up a huge fuss anyway. I had to return to work when she was six months. What ended up working for us is that by then she was eating cereal. My childcare provider would feed her cereal mixed with breast milk throughout the day. So, basically she was being spoonfed the breast milk. The cup was a little too much for her. When I picked her up after eight hours she would nurse happily. At seven (!) months she finally realized a bottle was okay and now drinks one a day (and it doesn't matter at all what nipple we use). Hang in there!


My sister, who is a labor and delivery nurse, and also does post partum home visitations says she is often able to get babies who won't take a bottle, to drink breastmilk by putting it in a medicine dose cup (the kind that come with children's liquid medicine) and feeding it to them that way. She says it works quite well with new borns.
My daughter went through something similar about a year ago, when she was 5 months. It was very nerve-wracking -- especially compounded with all the other stresses involved in returning to work, but it did eventually resolve itself. Here are the things that I found most helpful: -- trying different kinds of bottles. I had been operating on the assumption that she would prefer more breast-shaped bottles (or rather, bottles, marketed as breast-shaped); that turned out not to be the case. -- if it's feasible to have an experienced bottle-giver offer her the bottles, this worked well for me (like trying to give your cat a pill yourself, then watching a vet do it). Overall, I started out by trying to make bottle-feeding be as much like nursing as possible, and that wasn't necessarily what worked. Maybe it just reminded her of what she couldn't have. For a short period of time, she would take a bottle most easily if she was lying on her back on the floor -- talk about counterintuitive.

I agree with your pediatrician that if you keep trying, things will probably settle themselves. But you might think about being creative in what you try. Keep in mind, too, that while seven working days may feel like an eternity, it's really not a very long time to get used to a new routine. Just because your child hasn't adjusted yet doesn't mean that she won't. And until she does, best of luck getting through a very stressful time.


My son refused all types of bottles too, for the longest time. Although I was able to accomodate him, the trick that finally worked was to put him facing out in the Baby Bjorn then walk around holding the bottle up to his mouth while cupping his chin. I think I read about this in a La Leche League book. (We ended up stuffing a dish towel down the front of the Baby Bjorn to catch all the drips.) His father and I each did this routine twice a day with the same results. At first it was very dicey, and the baby baby would only take a tiny bit. We kept at it, offering the bottle at the same times every day. We timed our bottle offerings for just before we thought he'd be hungry. It took about two weeks before we were up to 3 or 4 ounces. It took about another week or so before we could sit down. Once we could sit down, we had to do so in a different room and in different type of chair from where he was breastfed, and he had to be facing out. While we were in the beginnings of this little program, we would do our best, but when he got upset, we'd stop, TRY not to have to feed him right away, then maybe try the bottle routine again before I fed him at the breat. We did breast milk exclusively, formula never was accepted. Also the flow rate of the bottle's nipple seemed important. We ended up using the Avent bottles and nipples, but the nipples were for the next age group up, i.e. they had more holes, two I think. I figured it had to do with the fact that the breast gives an easy flow of milk immediately, then requires more sucking work as the breast is emptied. The baby wants that immediate flow, and some of the nipples recommended for the youngest babies might be just too slow. This is tricky however, because you don't want the baby to to get TOO much and choke either. Best of luck.
I had a similar experience with my now 2-1/2 year old daughter. She had taken bottles at home before I returned to work. When she went to daycare, she initially took the bottles, but then stopped and would not drink for the entire day (8-6). Since she was about 5 months old by then, we started to introduce rice cereal diluted very thinly with breast milk. So the only liquid she took was by spoon. This lasted about 2-1/2 weeks, and then she finally decided to start drinking from the bottle. Our pediatrician also said to keep trying, and the care provider was very patient, consistently offering her bottles throughout the day. Finally, it worked. If your baby is having enough wet diapers (6-8 per day) and gaining weight, I would not worry. I know it is stressful, but she will probably decide to start drinking hopefully sooner rather than later. Good luck.
I went through much the same scenario with my daughter, and I can share my story and some of the advice I received. It ultimately worked out, but it was quite stressful. To be perfectly honest if i was to do this again I would beg borrow or steal money to stay home for the first year. When my daughter was 5 months old I started back to work and built up slowly from 2 four hour days to 2 eight hour days during the week & 2 six hour weekend days. During the week I would nurse her on my lunch break (I chose child care on the basis of proximity) but during the weekends she was at home (half hour from my work) so I couldn't really nurse her during my work time.

She never took a bottle until she was like 14 months old, although I wish she would have earlier. At first it was really tough on the care givers: she would be thirsty and cry and they didn't have what she wanted. The advice I got was to try different nipples, also different liquids, like breastmilk, and different kinds of formulas, and try to find a combination which is acceptable. Some kids think breastmilk in a bottle is a poor substitute for the breast and would rather drink something else (although we still have to pump or have huge sore breasts). I thought it was pretty unnatural for the baby to go all day without drinking, my lactation nurse assured me it would be okay (some babies of this age can sleep through the night without drinking anything) but you are trading one for the other. If you are continuing the nurse the baby full time except during the day, you'll have many night feedings. The upside is you'll probably be tired enough of meeting the demands of at least three people (your child, partner, and boss not to mention yourself) that you'll sleep through them.

I think really the course of action depends on your priority of continuing to nurse the baby. If you are planning on weaning soon anyway, I would be pushing the bottle good and hard. If you really want to nurse for a year or at least quite a few months more, I would persist with what you are doing. It seems inconceivable that your baby really won't drink every day, 5(?) days a week, but don't underestimate the stubborness of a 12 lb. little bundle. But if the child has capitulated this much, he or she will probably drink a regular bottle eventually. If (s)he doesn't, I would try to nurse during the day. My supervisor was surprisingly empathetic when I explained the situation.

As for what happened to me...My daughter was stubborn and just didn't drink during the day. She also didn't take to eating with any kind of consistency and so basically gained no weight (although she got way taller) in the second 6 months of her life. I started nursing her 2xs a day while I was working. On her first birthday she was in the 5th percentile and borderline anemic. After her first birthday, she started drinking Gerber yogurt drinks in a big way, eventually she would drink straight cows milk, even from a bottle. By 18 months she had caught back up and is now a normal sized brilliant 3 year old. I have no idea of course whether she wasn't gaining weight because she wouldn't drink a bottle, perhaps it was just how she was pre-programmed. It helped to have a doctor who just saw this as the normal variation in rate of weight gain, not to mention a wonderful supportive lactation nurse. My best advice is to consult with one of these people in addition to your doctor and La Leche League. I was a Kaiser Hayward patient and talked endlessly with Lori, one of the nurses there. Good luck, and I hope you continue to nurse. The nursing relationship can easily outlast all the problems of the early months and become a wonderful and smooth and easy.


To the mother of the 3+ month old refusing bottles: We had a very similar problem with our 4 month old when I went back to work. Our breastfed daughter refused bottles at daycare after no problems with them at home. By the second day, she wouldn't take them from anyone, anywhere, anyway. We also tried every nipple we could find. By the fourth day, our daycare provider suggested I might need to wean her. I decided I needed another daycare. I found a place closer to work so I could run over at lunch for a snack. The babysitter kept offering the bottle throughout the day, but didn't push too hard. By the end of the second week, she began to take the bottle.

I think there were a lot of things contributing to our daughter's refusal to take a bottle--her strong will, the first daycare's inexperience and anxiety about her not eating, our inexperience and anxiety about her not eating, difficulty adjusting to a radical change in her daily environment and routine, not enough bottle feeding in the first few months, nipples that were too difficult to suck.

When I was able to feed her midday, it took a lot of pressure off both of us. We were also lucky enough to find a babysitter who wasn't worried about her not eating and had enough experience to try different things until something worked. The two positions that worked best are having the baby sit in your lap, facing out, which gives her more control of the bottle, or sitting in the swing, with the bottle propped up in front of her. The nipple she liked best was the low flow silicon Nuk. Since all babies are different, I don't know if these specific ideas will work for you, but I hope it helps to know you're not the only one who's had this problem. Good luck!


My son also began refusing the bottle just as I was transitioning back to work. Everyone told me that his hunger would get the better of him and he would eventually give in, but it sounds like your little one is a tough one! My son finally accepted the bottle after 4-5 days where I was away for partial days. On my first full day, his papa wrapped the bottle in a flesh-colored t-shirt that I had worn (so it smelled like me), and he said he snuck it in from the side. After that it wasn't a problem. Good luck!

5 month old not taking bottle

Feb 2011

We've been trying for about 6 wks, and every day for the last 2 wks, to get our 5-month-old on the bottle. She wants nothing to do with it. I settled on ''the first years Breastflow'' bottle because it was the only one where she could control the flow, so she doesn't scream as much with that one as with others. Nonetheless, she hates it, mainly just chews the nipple, and it takes an hour to, drip-by-drip, get 2 oz in her. In that same timespan, I pump 5 oz, so I know she's not eating her fill. What on earth should we do? She's been coing in to work with me till now, and my mom is in now town, trying every day, then my husband will be with her for March, then daycare in April. Next week, I'm taking her on a trip and wasn't going to pump, but I don't know if that will interrupt the program. Also, she started solids about 2 weeks ago and has some fruit each afternoon and evening. Should we stop that till she's on the bottle? She also has a cold now, and is regressing with falling to sleep, wanting to suck for 40 mins before sleep. Help! thinks breast is best


Our wonderful boy ultimately refused the bottle, even after being happy with it occasionally in his early weeks. We didn't keep up with it on a regular basis, so when it came to daycare at 6 months, it was his provider who came up with a solution: serve his daytime milk with rice cereal. She always offered him some in a cup too (he might take 2 oz just by chewing on the nipple of a bottle), but he has always been happy to eat up a bunch of rice cereal (and eventually oatmeal) with his breastmilk. He's still taking it that way along with some in sippy cups and along with a normal solids diet, and he's 13 months now. Good luck! Emma
We had the exact same problem because we didn't start the bottle soon enough with our daughter. Lo and behold, I went back to work at 5 months and she was totally uninterested! (Next kid around I'm starting at 4 weeks with a bottle once a day!) Anyway, we were stressed out by this, but here's what we did:

Nanny tried everything to give daughter my breast milk during the day - sippy cup, regular cup, straw, breast milk mixed with rice cereal, etc. So she got some. She was also on some solids at the time, so it wasn't a huge big deal that she wasn't getting that much milk during the day. In addition, I nursed a lot in the morning and at night. Wish I could say she slept through the night, but alas, she did not, and it was actually a good thing for her milk consumption. We CIO'd at 10 months so she wouldn't do these nighttime milk runs, and by that time she was eating so many solids we weren't as worried.

I know, it's easier said than done not to stress out about this, but please try not to. She'll get enough. She'll drink when she's hungry/thirsty. Just don't load her up with anything bad like juice when she refuses to drink milk. Good luck! Alexandra


We had the same problem when our baby was 3 months old. He would scream and arch his back in anger when we offered him a bottle. I work from home so most of the time, I was able to breastfeed him. I have to work away from home once a week so he followed me, along with my mother for his meals! We tried many bottles but he never took a bottle. What ended up working was just giving him a small cup or a cup with a spouted lid (not a sippy cup). He was willing to drink his milk this way. He is now seven months old and pretty adept at using a cup. Good luck! Relieved mom

5.5 mo. baby who refuses bottle, cereal, and naps!

March 2005

HELP! I have been struggling to get my baby girl to take a bottle of pumped milk or formula. She shrieks when the bottle is near and we've tried all the suggestions and even let her go up to 7 hours of refusing it before I gave in and gave her the breast. I have to go back to work and have tried everything, even a medicine dropper! I posted once on this board a few months ago and tried all the suggestions but parents kindly emailed but nothing. How long will she go on like this? And, what if I want to wean? Please offer any advice. I am only going to work a few hours a day since she starves and cries all day while I'm gone. Another issue is that she won't fall asleep on her own but that is secondary to the milk issue. What happens at 6 months? She takes a few spoons of cereal but then cries for us to stop. I am so torn and feel so guilty when I leave and I know my baby is not eating. Please offer any advice! steph


My baby, now 5 months old, would not take a bottle until just a couple weeks ago. She still hasn't taken a full bottle, but she's taken a few sips here and there. I assume you've tried lots of nipples. Nuk has been the one that's worked finally for us. In addition, make sure your milk doesn't taste or smell sour (if so, you can scald it before storing it...or so I hear). My daughter definitely prefers freshly pumped milk. The advice that was helpful to us was to introduce the bottle as a toy; and give it to her with water and a pinch of sugar, when she's NOT hungry. We played with the bottle a little every day (i.e. pretending it was an airplane, etc); and carried it around with us from time to time. Soon she stopped crying at the site of it, and enjoyed playing with it. Now that we have started solids, when she's done eating we give her the bottle and she takes a few sips. Maybe its easier now that she has taken in food in other ways besides nursing? She seems to like putting anything in her mouth, every since she started solids. I also wonder if somehow us sort of giving up on the bottle issue took some of the pressure off because she started taking sips around the time we decided to ''just forget it'' because we were losing our minds. Our daughter also likes to drink milk right out of a cup (its messy but she definitely takes some of it in) and drink milk from a spoon. And have you tried using the Avent sippy cup with the white top? Good luck! anon

Strong-willed 6 month old refuses bottle

April 2011

We need some advice on what to do with our 6 month old daughter who is very strong willed when it comes to taking the bottle, especially if it has breast milk. It has taken us two months to have her finally accept a bottle when she feels like it. She doesn't take it eagerly but will eventually take it. She seems to only drink formula from it but when we try to use breast milk she clamps her lips down. I've tried mixing the formula and breastmilk together and that didn't work. Does anyone have any advice what to do? Giving her a bottle is a struggle as she prefers the breast. I have tons of milk stored and would like her to drink that instead of formula. I am about to throw away some stored milk as it will be close to expiration date in the freezer. We need help. Thank you! Emeryville mom


If she is hungry enough, she'll drink it. My kids were the same way. My pediatrician said keep trying and if she's hungry enough, she'll drink it. And sure enough, they both did. Remember, babies will not starve themselves. if she's not willing to drink it, just keep offering it to her, until she is. babymamma
6 months is early to ween your baby. Since she wants to nurse, stop pressing your infant to drink from the bottle. Breast milk is much healthier than formula and nursing rather than drinking from a bottle is also healthier. You might be able to donate your frozen milk to a hospital so it won't go to waste. amma
My first born baby, who is now a senior in high school, did the same thing at about 7 months. She has remained strong willed and it has served her just fine in life! She started refusing anything from the bottle and spit out formula when it was tried. Didn't matter if it was offered from babysitter, dad, or me. Sippy cup worked after a few weeks of low milk consumption. For whatever reason, she got back to drinking the milk, and nursed until one year. I'm not sure what form you froze the milk (bottle, ice cubes) but disquising it in other offerings may help put it to good use. I found that 2-3 times a day nursing worked fine and dimished pumping as my baby got older. I'm sure she'll stay healthy! anon
You may have excessive lipase in your breast milk. Lipase is an enzyme that aids in the digestion of fats, and in some women with excess lipase, it begins to break down the fat in stored breast milk. This leads to a soapy or metallic taste in the breast milk that makes it unpalatable. Your baby might be rejecting the pumped and stored breast milk for that reason. This seems particularly likely since the baby will take a bottle no problem if it has formula in it. Look it up online. There are some things you can do about it: http://breastfeedingbasics.info/lipase-and-bad-tasting-breast-milk
This might not be the answer you want but I'd give the breast milk to someone in need and just give her what she wants. My son almost NEVER took a bottle, finally at 8 months. I mean we tried everything and you just can't fool them. They know what they want and they want it fresh. They are darn smart. So if breastfeeding is an option and is possible then just see it to the end. angel
Since baby is still nursing when you're around (therefore getting a good amount of your milk), it sounds like your main concern is the fluid issue, especially as the weather warms up. Since baby already takes formula from a bottle, you know it's not the bottle itself. I know you said you already tried mixing breast milk with formula, but since you didn't specify what proportion you used, I'll go ahead and suggest trying that again, starting with a very tiny mount of breastmilk (try 10%; if that doesn't work go to 5%. Go as low as you need to - eventually it will be low enough). After a few feedings of that, increase the amount very very gradually every few feedings. Again, it might take your baby just one bottle of each, or a whole week, but eventually it should be doable. If baby will take water in a bottle, you could also try the same process with water if you want to avoid so much formula. RK
http://www.sanjosemilkbank.com/ The San Jose Milk Bank takes frozen breast milk which they mildly pasteurize for preemies who thrive on breast milk but have trouble with formula.

My son declined the bottle a lot after I went back to work when he was six months, and he's not very strong willed. Our nanny ended up cup feeding him, doing some bottles, mixing my milk with rice and oat cereals, and anything else that would work. It was frustrating. He ended up getting lots of nursing when I was home. His weight stayed good despite the bottle rejections. Good luck. - mix of approaches


It may be too late for the milk you have stored, but you may still be able to pump and give milk. I had high lipase in my breastmilk, which meant that as the milk was stored over time that enzyme basically broke the fats down into soap. The milk was OK when it was just pumped but as it sat (even frozen) it began to smell and taste chemically and soapy. It's not spoiled, and it's perfectly safe, but understandably most babies won't take it. At the time I discovered this with my first baby I had to toss about 40oz of milk. You can disable the enzyme by scalding (heat it until just bubbling at the edges of the pan) shortly after pumping. How long you can wait until scalding depends on how much lipase you have and how picky your baby is. Scalding kills off some of the good stuff along with the lipase, but it's still good breastmilk. After that your milk can be stored as long as anyone's. Also -- if you have 100oz or more stored, try contacting the breastmilk bank in San Jose about donating. Tube-fed preemies wouldn't care about the lipase taste, so if your milk is donatable that's much better than having to toss it. Lipasey mama
We had that very same problem. We tried all different kinds of bottles, assuming it was the bottle. Then we tasted the breast milk. It was terrible! Tasted like soap. I found out it was because I had excess lipase, an enzyme that helps them digest the fat in the milk (I hope I am recalling its function correctly). If my expressed milk was outside of me for more than 4 hours, it would turn. So, I had to start cooking my expressed milk (scald it to just before boiling). I was very sad about that because the cooking destroys the immunological benefits of the milk. But at least she would accept it. But still, even with that, we had trouble getting her to take the bottle consistently. As I was heading back to work, we hired a very experienced nanny just for a few visits, especially to train my daughter to drink from the bottle. I had to leave the apartment. Then it had to be my husband who fed her the bottle, not me-- again I had to leave the apartment. If I was home, she would sense it and the bottle would be rejected. Finally we got it figured out. Good luck! Andrea

6 month old will not drink milk at daycare

Sept 2010

My daughter is 6 months old, and recently started at a daycare center. She is breastfed, and has never really liked bottles. Although she is in daycare from 9 to 5:30, she has never had more than 6 oz of milk at school, and yesterday had only 1.5 oz! My son had the same issue, but he was in a nanny share and she spoonfed him 20 oz of milk per day.

What is reasonable for me to expect a center to do? I find it unacceptable that we are paying SO much money, and my daughter has to nurse all night long because she eats so little during the day. Plus I am exhausted. Other than this issue, we really like the center (my son is there too), and my daughter is already bonded to her caregiver, so we aren't looking to leave, just for potential solutions. Thanks for your suggestions! Pamela


My infant daughter went through this, but she finally got hungry enough to take the bottle. One thing that worked was putting her in a bouncy chair and feeding her from behind (the child only sees an arm holding a bottle to her mouth). You might want to have your partner bottle feed her to help her get used to the bottle. I've also heard of people going to a sippy cup. Good luck!
So sorry you're having this problem; it sounds really tough. I hate to say it, but I think your expectations of the daycare spoon feeding your child formula or breast milk during the day are a little unrealistic. We have an amazing daycare, with a 1:3 ratio (teacher:child) in the infant room, and there is no way they could spoon feed a baby 20 oz a day. The daycare teachers wouldn't be able to properly care for the other infants in their charge because they'd be too busy trying to spoon feed your baby all day. If you need or expect that kind of intensive one on one care for your infant, you're better off with a nanny. What about skipping the bottle and going right to a sippy cup? The teachers could still treat it like a bottle (cuddle the baby, hold the cup while feeding, etc) but it wouldn't be a bottle. Or if you really want her to use a bottle, you might be better off working on it at home over the weekend, rather than having the burden be solely on the daycare. Have your partner offer bottles frequenly all weekend long while you pump. If the alternative (the breast) is not available, the baby will take the bottle eventually. Just some thoughts
Our baby went through this too. For us it was as simple as switching the nipple shape. Almost every bottle has a round nipple which sets my son off into a fit but try to find a flat nipple and see if that works. We also introduced it during playtime rather than when he was already hungry. Good luck! - Laura

6-month-old's bottle strike!

July 2001

My 6 month old son has been on a bottle strike for about 6 weeks now. We are going nuts. I have a fairly flexible work at home schedule (luckily!), but I am soon going to be very busy and every day is a battle with this little guy. We feel as if we have tried everything: our nanny works with him every day that she is here (3 days) on the other days both my husband and I have tried. What we all essentially get is 1-2 hours of screaming and protesting. We have tried every nipple we can find (we are sticking with Avent for now). We have tried numerous holes.( WE are up to three holes right now.) We have tried warming it and not warming it. We have tried various different times of day... We have tried when he is starving and when he isn't hungry.

We obviously don't want to torture him, in fact we have been advised to used the bottle as a toy and give him a little sugar water to desensitize him. Tried it. He's wise to the game. Bottom line is this kid wants to breast feed. We are able to get 2 oz. at best into him but, again, it is a big struggle. Lots of tears and screaming (and yes, I can't bear it). It is so frustrating to see all of this expressed breast milk go down the drain. And a two hour battle can wreck our day, even if we are only trying to actively feed him for 10 collective minutes and the rest of the time is spent trying to calm him or ourselves down.

What can we do? I must be able to leave him alone with our nanny while I work with a client. I also really want my husband to have the experience of feeding him a bottle the way he used to when our baby took it just fine (which he did since he was 3 weeks of age). Any words of wisdom would be so appreciated!! Molly


I had a very similar situation with my daughter when I tried to return to work after maternity leave. She had been taking a bottle from me and from my husband since she was 3 weeks old. Although we had only given her a few bottles a week, we felt she was comfortable with them. Then for some reason, when our nanny started working with us, the baby decided she would not take a bottle from her. The nanny got upset, the baby cried for hours and I could not work at all (since I knew what was going on at home). We also tried every bottle and every nipple available. The situation got worse and worse as everyone got very tense everytime it was time for a bottle feeding. It got so bad that the baby would not take a bottle from anyone.

I don't have a great solution to report...after three weeks of this my nanny quit, I decided to quit my job rather than have my baby go hungry, and we went several weeks without a bottle at all just to ease the tension. After that time, I was able to get my baby to take the bottle and our part-time babysitter was also successful. Eventually, my husband was able to give the baby a bottle again too. I am not sure what made the difference - at the time it really seemed like a personality conflict between the baby and our nanny, but since she stopped taking a bottle from anyone, I am just not sure.

I wish you lots of luck. I know how frustrating and difficult this situation is. One thing that people suggested to me was to try using a sippy cup rather than a bottle, but my baby was only 4 months old and was not very good with a cup at the time - maybe it is worth a try for you. Caroline


Dear Molly, I had this problem with both of my children. The answer was: forget the bottle. Go straight to the sippy cup. We have had the best luck with the Pooh (The First Years) sippy cups (they have them at Target), because they don't have valves in them. It's hard for a baby to use the valved cups because they have to suck to get liquid, and I'm sure it's a different kind of suck. So, use the cups without the valves and just start with 2-3 ounces of breast milk (I also used a breast milk/formula combination at times) and tip a few drops in your baby's mouth at a time. They have taller thinner cups without handles and short rounded cups with handles. My son prefers the handles, my daughter the other type. It will take about a month for them to get confident with them. Your baby might take only half or one ounce in the beginning, but they definitely catch on fast. Then you can breastfeed at other feedings. My daughter did both for probably six months - until I weaned her and she stayed with the sippy cup. We started her at about six months, in preparation for day care at around 8 months.

With our daughter (our first) we tried every bottle/nipple combination known to man to no avail. Maybe at six months it's just too late to go to a bottle if you haven't been using it all along. They know a good thing when they see it! Good luck, Julie


I don't mean to sound simplistic and perhaps I missed something. BUT... have you tried a cup? A six month old is old enough to cup feed - open cup or one with a top - and that might be a bit easier if he's refusing the bottle. Even a spoon is something that may be used. The milk can be fed plain or with food. If he's taking solids the breast milk can be mixed with cereal or other foods as well. His nanny can even feed it to him as soup out of a bowl. Best, Joan
My 4 month old suddenly won't take a bottle either, and I hear this from a lot of people, so it must be pretty common. I've pretty much given up trying now that we're starting him on solid foods, but I'd be curious if anyone else has any advice on that because I'm not sure we're doing the right thing. Our baby took a bottle at 3 weeks, too, then stopped at about 3 months. We had some initial success with playing Baby Mozart videos while feeding him--he was distracted by the TV and before he knew it, it seemed, he'd drained the whole thing. But now, like you, nothing seems to work. Also like you, I luckily work from home, but the other day I had to be away from him for several hours and my husband tried unsuccessfully to give him a bottle twice. Then he used the milk from the bottle, mixed it with rice cereal and fed him with a spoon. When he got hungry again, he made a thinner mixture and spoon fed him. I fiure he was getting a decent dose of breast milk, though not the 3-4 oz he usually takes in a feeding. When I got home, he wasn't ravenous but he did have a long feed. I think he knows how to take a bottle now, but he prefers not to. Instead he'll just wait for me to come home. My question is--what do you do with these anti-bottle breastfeeders as they get older? When I'm not home, can a babysitter or my husband just feed solids instead? I hear breastfeeders can transition from breast to cup and skip the bottle, but what about at night, since he likes to nurse to sleep--will I always have to be home to put him to bed? Whitney
Clearly your baby prefers to be at the breast. It is so wonderful to hear that you are so commiting to giving you little one the #1 best choice, mama's milk! Here are some things I recommend. Is it possible to tide baby over with foods...rice cereal...or other baby food when the breast is unavailable? Some babies who flat out refuse the breast will eat foods during mommy's absence and will make up for missed feedings when mom is there or may nurse a little more at night. Another suggestiong would be to try using a paper cup or even a sippy cup. My son started on a sippy cup at 4 months ( he was by no means an expert) and by 6 months could tolerate it pretty well. Does your baby realize that YOU are around when refusing the bottle? Many babies know that mommy is nearbye and will refuse to take breastmilk from a bottle if she is around. As far as you husband wanting to feed baby, I would not have him do this unless you were not around and baby needed to be fed. There are so many other ways Daddy can bond with baby besides bottle feeding. My husband was the only one who fed baby food to our little one, and this was a very special time for them. Dads can do bath time, go for walks, etc. I hope these ideas help! Teresa
My daughter never took a bottle at all. I used a spoon, she was thrilled to use it. - Richa
Give him a sippy cup. He's old enough. fiona
At six months, our infant started taking a bottle much more easily after she saw her mother drinking water from one herself. It was not a baby bottle, but a one that we had used for hiking. That seemed to give her some kind of encouragement, or something. --Rachel
I had the same problem with my nine month old. He took a bottle with no problem until he was about four months old. Then there were protests, fussing, even screaming and shrieking. Once in a great while, he would take a bottle, from my husband or someone else he knew and trusted. But for the most part, no go.

At nine months now, he will guzzle water from a bottle, but still not milk. But he is eating solid foods now, and that makes the difference. I can have other people care for him and not worry that he will go hungry because his appitite for solid food is so strong.

Since your baby is six months old, it might be time to start him on solids. Check with your pediatrician for advice on how to start. Most will recommend cereal, rice or oats, mixed with milk for baby's first solids. Use your pumped milk there. Then gradually add in other solid foods following your doctors instructions. I often mixed breast milk in with new foods to ease the transition. Now my baby mostly wants table food, ground up fine, and I no longer mix things with milk.

The main thrick with this transition is making sure the baby gets enough nutition from the variety of solid foods. Again, ask your pediatrician, plus there are some good books on infant nutrition. Since I don't work full time, I still nurse my baby enough to give him all the protien he needs. But it's a great relief to have others be able to feed him too. In fact, it makes those times we still nurse much more pleasureable for us both. Good luck, Carolyn


On your six-month old rejecting the bottle, my daughter went through a similar phase when I tried to introduce the bottle at 4 1/2 months. It sounds like you've tried everything, but just in case I thought I would tell you what worked for us. First, I used breast milk for the first few months we partially bottle fed my daughter, but some of my friends had better luck with starting the baby out on the bottle with formula under the theory that breast milk comes from mom, and formula comes (in a bottle) from the babysitter. Whatever you do, try not to make it a struggle. I found that someone would try the bottle, and if it didn't work after an hour (or less) we would give up and I would breastfeed (not right away, but whenever I would have otherwise). We also didn't try everyday, and if one person (mom, dad, babysitter) had tried one day, the next time someone else would try (we tried to avoid being predictable). One of the things we tried was giving her sips out of tiny cups (the hospital gave them to us when we were having trouble breastfeeding for the first few days so we could give her a little formula without using a bottle), sort of "priming the pump" (we also tried that with a big medicine dropper). We also tried feeding her in unusual ways. For example, I would try, but I would do it while walking around the room with her in the Baby Bjorn. Our babysitter would sing to her while trying to feed her (my daughter has always loved music). She also took her outside and pushed her around in a stroller while trying (which takes a lot of coordination!). If dad or babysitter tried, I would leave the room and say goodbye so she thought I was gone and wouldn't cry out to me to feed her. Anyway, one day she decided it was okay and never looked back, and I'm sure your son will do the same. Stephanie
A friend of mine returning to work at 6 months, with a breastfed baby who refused the bottle, gave the baby breastmilk mixed with cereal, spoonfed. And while the quantity was not as much as from a bottle, the baby just nursed more when mom was home. Jennifer
Thanks so much to all of you who gave advice to our family when my son went on a bottle strike. The good news is that while he has still refused the bottle, he is very happy to eat any and all solid baby food that is put in front of him (don't worry, the kid's just up to rice cereal and veggie and fruit baby food). He also likes the Avent sippy cup, but so far only wants it with his meals. What a little grown up. So all is well, I can feel comfortable leaving him for a little while knowing he will eat something. Thanks all!!! Molly

6 months old won't take bottle

Jan 2007

I am planning on weaning my 6 months old from breastfeeding but he won't take the bottle. I tried not breastfeeding him for 17 hours and only gave him both breast milk and formula from the bottle but he refuses to take it! He would take the milk if we spoon feed him and he likes to eat rice cereal. If anyone has any advice or tips on how to make babies take the bottle please help! Thanks First time mom


When we were weaning my daughter we were told, by my midwife, that if we had difficulty I should leave the house and have my husband give the bottle. It could take all day and into the night but it might help. Nancy
Hi. Generally, you want to start your baby on a bottle with expressed breastmilk before the baby turns 6 weeks old, provided he is latching on well and your milk supply is well established, or he will reject the bottle (according to my lactation consultant). Here are a few suggestions that you may or may not have tried that may be of help: 1) Start with just breastmilk until your son takes the bottle before introducing the formula. You'll have more success getting him to try the bottle if it has the breastmilk he is so familiar with. 2) Have someone else give him the bottle, such as your husband, or parents. And sometimes it helps if you are not in the same room. 3) You may have to try different bottles/nipples until you find one that he likes. This can get expensive, so you may want to check with friends and craigslist for anyone giving away bottles and then buy new ones based on the type your baby likes. It will take time, but with patience and perseverance, you can do it. Oh, and another suggestion. Some people say that if your baby is old enough, you can go from breast to sippy cut and skip the bottle. At 6 month old, your baby may be ready for a sippy cup, so you can try that as well. GOOD LUCK!! Cecilia
Try a sippy cup. You might have to try a few different styles before finding one that works -- some babies prefer the straw sippies over the ones you suck from, ''nuby'' is also an ''easy'' sippy cup style. Many 6 month olds can handle the big kid cup just fine. in my cups!
I'd suggest letting someone else attempt to feed your little one with the bottle. In fact, try going out with a friend for coffee/tea for a couple of hours and leave baby with his other parent, a family member or trusted caregiver.

Often babies who are nursed exclusively won't take a bottle from the person with the boobs.

Start gradually with one feeding a day from the bottle and slowly increase as the bottle is accepted.

Don't forget to pump while away from the baby for more than an hour or two or you could wind up engorged - stepping down nursing should always be a gradual process. (http://workandpump.com has some great tips for going back to work and pumping)

If he really won't take the bottle, try some other options. A sippy cup, a straw-sippy etc. There's also breast-shaped bottles that may help to ease the transition, you can get these online from One Step Ahead and some of the baby stores in Rockridge may carry them.

How established is your son with cereal? If he's in the middle of transitioning to solids and also transitioning to the bottle at the same time, it might be too many changes at once. If you focus on one first and get him comfortable with it, he may be more amenable to the other.

If he likes food and is eager to try solids, you might want to establish him on solids first. With a baby who likes food it doesn't take that long to get them transitioned over to more meals of solid foods and they need less milk as a result so that you might even be able to get away with feeding solids during the day and nursing when you're home, though generally speaking 6 month old babies still need a bottle or a nursing before or after a meal of solids. Beth


Have you tried a little juice in the bottle? Maybe half juice half water? Jenny
I undertand your concern becaue I am there. I started my son on the bottle when he was 4 weeks old and he was taking one bottle a day until he was 8 weeks old and then all of a sudden he refused. I tried all the tips available online, from friends etc. I tried different bottles, techniques etc. except the ''no choice starving'' technique. My son is 16 weeks old and he still refuses the bottle but every day, I religiously offer him a few ounces of breastmilk in the bottle hoping he will learn to accept it. I've heard some babies never take the bottle and its not really true that all babies ''eventually'' take the bottle. The reason I stressed over it was mainly because I was concerned about his feeding when in day care or just so I can get a break once in awhile while my husband looks after him. But I've learned to accept it and don't stress anymore. I don't go back to work until he is 6 months old and maybe he will be ready for a cup by then (which I've heard is another nightmare). You can try all the tips online (just type in baby refuses bottle on google) and be persistent, maybe your baby will ''eventually'' take a bottle. Good luck. mom of baby-on-bottle strike
Have you tried different bottles? we use the born free bottles (with no biosphenol A) and they seem very different from other bottles. Our usually quite fussy son loves them. another first time mom
My daughter did not take the bottle until about a year old. I weaned her at 15 months. Now she is 22 months and takes the bottle twice a day (I should have gone straight to the cup.) We tried everything from 10 weeks to 1 year old. It was frustrating esp. since she was never good at eating. She started her first few months at 50th percentile in weight and now in the 5th. She is a healthy girl with lots of energy. I went to work 2 days a week at 4 months. She just did not eat much (until around 10 months when she really took to solids) while I was at work. I think a baby will not starve themselves and that the 8 or so hours you are gone without food is ok. Take care and it will eventually work out... Another mom of a bottle refuser

6.5-mo-old refuses the bottle

Sept 2005

Hi folks, I need your help!!! I am still breast-feeding my 6.5 month old son. We started solid foods, but it is not at a level to replace a meal yet. We have been bottle-feeding him once a week (more or less) with my milk, since he was 2-3 weeks old, and we did not experience any nipple confusion. We even tried formula several times, he accepted easily.

Now things changed all of a sudden. We haven't bottlefeed him for a month or so and now he refuses the bottle all together. We tried formula and my milk, day and night, when he is hungry and full, from my husband and me. We also tried a sippy cup (non-spill-proof) from which he currently drinks his water. He drank some but only a little ( 2oz).

We need to solve this problem soon, since I will start taking evening classes and I won't be at home for his before sleep feeding. Have you experienced similar problems? Do you have any advice and/or suggestions?

Cheers, Nes


We went through a similar situation when my daughter was 6 months. i was getting ready to return to work part-time and even though she had taken bottles in previous months, she started to refuse the bottle. We tried everything, me giving her the bottle, my husband giving her the bottle, millions of different nipples, etc. I became very stressed about returning to work. Finally, one day my husband told me to just leave the house for a few hours so that my daughter would have no option but to take a bottle from him. I went out to lunch and a movie with a good friend. When I came home, I found out my daughter had taken 6 ounces while I was gone. It might not be that simple for everyone, but that's what worked for us.

7-month-old refuses the bottle

Feb 2008

I have a terrible problem with my 7-month girl baby.She refused a bottle from 4 months ago.She was on breastfeeding but as I got post partum thyroditis 3 month after delivery so I stopped breast feeding. And the real problem is that She is lacking for the suction action and she keep the milk in her mouth without swallowing even after long time of keeping her hungery. But when she's sleeping,she take the bottle. Realy,she destroyed my life and this also affected her brother. Please advise me what to do with her. Note that I asked 3 pediatrians in her case and they told me every thing is ok sara


You sound like you need some support. Here are a couple of links where there are people you can talk to:http://www.familypaths.org/, http://www.bananasinc.org/parents.php I'm not sure we have all the details as to your baby's problem but you could try other types of bottles if you haven't already. Some good ones are : Adiri natural nurser, Soothies, or Born Free. Their nipple shapes are more like a breast. Or you could try introducing a sippy cup and have your baby drink formula out of that. Please be patient with your baby. She needs you. anon

Breastfed 7-month-old won't accept bottle at night from dad

Dec 2004

How can i get my 7 month old to accept bottles from papa at night? We've had NO LUCK convincing her I'm still alive and love her even if it's not me going into her in the middle of the night with boob in hand. We've tried offering her my pumped milk, rice milk, and formula. No go. We want to experiment with a bottle of formula to see if she can handle it and sleep better. any tips? tired


It's probably because night nursing at 7 mos. is much more about comfort and familiarity than it is about getting calories. My son will take a bottle of expressed milk during the day, but he's never as satisfied with it as he is with nursing. Kids at this age generally don't *need* to eat during the night, so it's probably that she doesn't know how to put herself back to sleep without the breast. If your concern is about getting more sleep, I would try sticking with the nighttime nursing but gradually decreasing the amount of time you let her snack. (Not letting her fall completely asleep while nursing, at night or during the day, will help with this as well.) And if it's about letting her dad share in some of the nighttime duties, you can try letting him rock her for a couple minutes at each waking before bringing her in to you to nurse. She will probably protest at first (not because it's him, but because he's boob-less), but after a week or two she may well let him rock her to sleep, no food required. Good luck!
Your baby may not be taking a bottle at night because she's ready to sleep through the night, or at least go those 12 hours without eating. At 7 months, my baby was down to 1-2 feedings at night, and he wouldn't eat first thing in the morning, so I decided he probably didn't really need the nighttime snacks. We started having my husband go in to soothe him when he woke up at night, without a bottle -- cuddling, often without actually taking him out of his crib, and singing lullabies. He would get pretty annoyed at first each time, since he wanted me, but after about 10 minutes he would calm down, and in 20 minutes (the same time it would have taken me to nurse him), he was on his way back to sleep again. Without about a week and a half, he was pretty reliably sleeping through the night. I think my husband offering him a bottle would have just woken him up more, since he wasn't nursing because he was hungry, just for comfort. I hope this turns out to be your situation as well -- you may soon be enjoying some great sleep!

7.5-month-old won't take a bottle of breastmilt or formula

Nov 2005

My 7.5 month old daughter won't take a bottle of breastmilk or formula. I'm going back to work and don't know what to do. I've tried every nipple: Playtex, Avante, Medella, Gerber... no luck. I've pumped and immediately tried to feed her the warm milk, I've tried having my husband give the bottle, her babysitter to give the bottle... no luck. I have given her a bottle of water + apple juice just to see if she'd drink it and she thinks the bottle is just something to play with. She would rather go thirsty then drink from bottle.. oh dear, I'm worried. Any suggestions? EMM


I had the same problem with my daughter (now 4 months). It turned out, for her, that the problem was that the milk wasn't at exactly the right temperature. So finally, I tried heating it so it felt warmer than I thought it should be and she slurped in right up. And now she takes it every time, whereas before she acted like I was trying to poison her. I'm planning on gradually reducing the temperature but haven't tried it yet. Don't know if this will help you but I thought I'd mention it. anonymous

8-month-old chews bottle rather than sucking on it

May 2005

I have been gradually cutting down breastfeeding my 8 month old son - he loves his solids and eats a ton while I'm at work during the day. He nurses in the morning and evening and sometimes at night. For months my day care provider and I have been trying to get him onto a bottle or sippy cup, but all he will do is chew on it. He is interested in both bottle and cup, reaches for them, and puts them in his mouth, but then chews! Needless to say, he never gets more than half an ounce out, and most of that goes down his front. I wasn't too worried as I was still nursing, but he has just announced a nursing strike, and I am considering taking the opportunity to wean, but am panicked about how I'm going to get enough formula and water into him. Does anyone have any experience with bottle chewers? anon


Chewing plus nursing strike says teething to me. If I were you, I'd continue nursing when not at work, continue offering cups of ebm or water during the workday, and hope those teeth come through soon! I also wouldn't wean an 8-month-old, nursing strike or no nursing strike, just so you know my position. I'd be working like crazy on getting him back to the breast so that I didn't have to worry about cups and bottles. Your baby is a little young to go an entire workday without breastmilk but not by much, and if he eats lots of solids he'd probably do fine with morning and night nursing only.

I'd probably stop offering baby bottles at all, and try various other things -- with water only at first, so that spills won't matter much. Sippy cups with different types of valves and spouts, open cups, sport bottles, straws. Most likely, SOMETHING will work.

If your caregiver really can't get him to drink anything, feed lots of ''wet'' foods like fruit, cereals mixed with water or milk, yogurt. And count diapers to assure yourself that he's not getting dehydrated -- you want to see at least 6 wet ones per day.

Good luck! Holly


Our 15 month old son who was 9 weeks premature has had multiple feeding issues and sees a pediatric feeding specialist regularly. For the same issue, she recommended trying several different sippy cups to see if he would take to one.

Initially, he did have limited success with the kind with no valve that actually releases fluids when the spout is chewed. Most of it ended up on his bib (waterproof is best to start) but he did get the understanding that it was for drinking. Later we taught him to use the Avent magic cup with the soft spout by teaching him first how to make kissy noises, then getting him to imitate us making the noise with the sippy cup in his mouth. At first it surprised him that milk came out and he sputtered, but now he's a pro. Hope this helps. Good luck! mom of twins


Getting 8-month-old onto formula and bottle

Aug 2004

I have been exclusively breastfeeding my 8 month old and now want to get her onto both a bottle and formula. She has reluctantly taken a bottle with breast milk and will take a few sips of water from a bottle but has absolutely no interest in formula. In fact, she typically gags when i try to give it to her. We have tried every type of formula available!

So, I had been trying to express milk with a manual pump with extremely meager results. After reading the rave reviews about electric pumps i went and dropped $300 on an electric one. Now, after 4 attempts I have not even managed to get 1 oz. of milk.

I am both frustrated and at a loss as to what the next step should be. While I don't need to transition my child due to returning to work I do need to get her on a bottle for my own well being. I have not had a moment to myself since she's been born because of my exclusive nursing. Any feedback and advice will be greatly appreciated!! anon


Hi, we had/have this same issue w/our first & second! First question, have you started your baby on solids? If not, that was definitely a help w/the older one in terms of getting her used to another food source. If you have started solids, second question, have you tried a sippy cup (instead of a bottle)? I am sure you've tried all the ''tricks'', i.e. bottle from another person; when the baby is super hungry, when you're out (and I mean OUT) of the house, in front of a Baby Einstein video (or some other form of distraction), from behind the baby (the magic bottle)...Also, I am sure you've played around w/the different types of nipples that are out there. Did you try the the ''Breastbottle'' available at One Step Ahead (http://www.onestepahead.com/jump.jsp? lGen=detail&itemID=686&itemType=PRODUCT&iProductID=686&change=11 7), it's a bottle shaped like a breast.

Okay, back to the sippy cup, if you haven't tried that, our pediatrician recommended starting w/one that doesn't require them to sip, so one of the free flow cups, you'll obviously have to go slow to begin with. In the end, this is what worked w/my older daugher ~6ish months and it was such a relief, I was in a panic for several months, thinking I would never get a break from the nursing! So I do understand your wanting to introduce an alternate method. Unfortunately, my 4.5 month old is not taking to well to the sippy cup, it's been hit or miss. But I am keeping my fingers crossed.

And another trick is to feed solids and then give the bottle/sippy cup right afterwards.

Don't worry, something will work out, I felt fairly desperate w/my older one, I felt like she would NEVER take anything but my breast... If you want to email me for feedback, we literally tried EVERYTHING with my older one...and did have success eventually. hb


here are things that worked for us at the beginning: daddy gives bottle bottle during car ride funny shaped bottle baby can hold facing baby outward while feeding with music or TV on (I know, but it's only for the first couple of times) change different nipples (our baby liked a latex one better at first then we easily moved her to avent silicone ones) good luck anon
I have a few pieces of advice about this. I was only able to produce much by pumping when I nursed my son on one breast and pumped the other at the same time. Also I gave him goat's milk mixed with breast milk when I had to supplement, he never had formula. I figured with the small proportion of his intake from the bottle (compared to breastfeedings and solid foods) it was ok if it wasn't as fully balanced as formula, and formula seemed like it was overhyped to some extent. I hope this is helpful, Alma
Since your purpose is to get a break now and again rather than to go to work all day every day, and since your baby is 8 months old, you shouldn't need to use formula. Although it is nutritionally the best replacement for breastmilk, older babies who only need alternatives to breastfeeding a few times a week or less can do just fine with solid foods and other liquids (water, perhaps diluted juice, and even small quantities of cows' milk or other types of milk), ideally from a cup, not a bottle -- and for babies like yours who dislike bottles and reject formula, using other supplements is a big sanity saver. If your baby will eat other foods and/or drink from a sippy cup, you should be able to leave her for at least several hours and up to a full day, with no bottles bei! ng necessary. It may not be optimum nutrition (of course, formula's not optimum either) but it'll get you your break, with a lot less stress and agony for both mom and baby! You may also want to try a few tricks to increase your pump yield -- not everyone does respond well to a pump, no matter what, but if you're not sure you're doing everything you can to maximize your yield, post again for advice on that subject. Good luck! Breastfeeding mom

9mo old eating solids, but not taking bottles

Sept 2005

Hi I'm still breastfeeding my 9 month old baby (and loving it) but am slightly distressed that she seems to want to consume only solid food now and has little interest in taking a bottle from our nanny. She still nurses with me 3 times a day, but I'm concerned she might not be getting enough liquid/breast milk. Also, seeing as I want to continue breastfeeding I need to pump while I'm at work. Before I decide to start donating my breast milk (which I'm so excited to do!) I want to see if anyone has any thoughts on holding on to it. Do you think she'll ever take bottles of milk again? Thanks for your help! Krista


I just went through this with my 9.5 month old. I went back to work in the middle of August and it took until this past week for her to start taking milk away from me (now she will drink about 4-6 oz). One thing I did was to mix breastmilk into her food, so she at least got a little bit. I also had her caregiver continue to offer her the bottle or cup several times a day and I guess one day she decided to take it. She is in a nannyshare 3 days a week, so she also saw the other baby taking a bottle and that helped as well. The bottle that ended up working is a cheapy from Payless or Longs: KinderGrip by Playtex. My daughter likes it in part because she can hold it herself. Good luck! Miranda
After having to bottle feeding my first child (premie with sucking issues), I wanted no part of bottles with the next two. I weaned my second and third babies right on to a cup. I started them with sippy cups at about six months, so by nine or ten months they were totally proficient. I'd suggest offering your baby a cup of milk or water often, in addition to nursing, and forget about bottles. If she's nursing three times a day she's probably getting plenty of milk. The bathtub is a good place to practice with a cup, by the way. Jan
My son did the same thing. I thought it was a good thing though. No need for his dad or nanny to fuss with bottles. We transitioned nicely to the sippy cup (eventually) and it was great not having to break a toddler from his comfort bottle.....he doesn't have one!

You can tell they're getting enough if there are plenty of wet and poop diapers and if they're growing/gaining weight. If you kid wants to eat let him! When my son did this I just stopped pumping. Nursing a few times during the day and at night kept my milk up fine and i figured there was no need to be exploding with milk if he's eating more food.

We have to listen to our kids, and lots of the time they're doing what's best for themselves. Good luck, monica


One-year-old refusing bottles, needs extra feedings

Sept 2006

My daughter turned one year old recently. She was of normal weight at birth, and had a normal weight gain till six months when I started adding solids and also moved into our own apartment (previously with my parents). She settled well, so there are no anxiety problems - I just mentioned the change for completeness. Her appetite has been pretty poor and its only now that she is taking some food without my pulling my hair out over it. However she has hardly gained any weight in the last six months. The pediatrician says to wait some more time before investigating, as her activity and milestones are normal. My feeling is that if I can get her to drink milk thrice a day, it will help, but I just don't seem to be able to do it. She has a peculiar habit of falling half asleep first - she sucks her thumb while I rock her in my lap - and then latching on to the breast. She has been doing it since about a month of age. Anyway, I tried giving her the bottle before or after the breast but she pushes it out. Also, as the time taken to fall asleep is so variable, I have not been able to maintain the right temperature for milk. Have tried sweetened milk, milk with chocolate flavour Bournvita, cold milk, Lactogen, everything I can think of. She doesn't yet drink from a cup, but I have still tried that. She doesn't like the taste, thats all. She doesn't even take any juice. She used to like yogourt but has stopped for a few months now. Cheese is the only thing she seems to like, and it makes a part of each meal of hers. I just don't know what to do. I have no problems with continuing to breast feed but I don't think it is enough, and she has the feeds down to three or four times a day anyway. I wanted to stop her sucking her thumb too, but that is a secondary issue. Does anyone have any suggestions? At wits' end


My son also has weight gain issues, and the transition from liquid diet (breastfeeding) to solid diet was especially stressful for us. So, I wanted to share with you a few things that have worked really well for us--my son gained over a pound between his 12month and 13month check ups. From your posting, it was unclear whether or not you are letting your child self-feed finger foods. Part of the refusal over the bottle might well be a matter of your daughter wanting to express her independence. Anyhow, after getting some good advice from BPN, I started putting my son in his high chair with four or five pieces of cut up food in front of him. An egg scrambled with milk and cheese (cooked in the micro for 1 minute) cut up into 1/2 inch squares is his normal breakfast (he often eats the whole egg this way), plus some banana. He also really likes toast with cheese and butter melted on it, again cut up into 1/2 inch squares. Home-made mac and cheese spooned out in little clumps has worked great also, and meatloaf often is readily accepted too. But he does NOT drink much at all during the day. He'll take a few sips of milk, or a few sips of water from my cup, or a bit of juice here and there, but definately he gets his nutrition from FOOD. That just means I have to serve him really fatty, nutritious food all the time. At one year of age, you should also be expecting your daughter to be getting most of her nutrition from food, rather than liquids. It was a frustrating transition because he wouldn't eat well and wouldn't drink well either at first, but it only took about three weeks of me cutting back on breast feedings and other liquids for him to become a champion eater. Good luck! Been there...
One is fine to start using sippy cups. You don't say if she is walking yet. But chances are when activity increases so will her appetite. breast milk and solids are fine for children. my daughter never liked cows milk, except for little sips of strauss's organic (which tastes good even to a non milk drinker like me!). Rice milk in small amounts is fine, too. get the enriched, unsweetened kind. older children are efficient nursers. i wouldn't worry about milk or teaching bottle use if you child is eating and nursing at one. think cups and introduce more solids. anonymous
Sorry about the feeding problems! You may wish to try Silk brand vanilla soymilk, which seems for many babies to resemble breast milk the most in taste. (It's also widely available (Whole Foods, Albertsons, etc.) Also, I don't know if you've tried a sippy cup or a regular cup, but if you haven't tried it, the Avent sippy cup with the ''transitional'' soft spout might be useful, as it can be sooothing for teethers to chew on, much like a thumb. Finally, and as a worrying mom myself I know this is hard, if your pediatrician isn't worried, try to relax and not stress about what your daughter eating or not eating. If you keep offering her different kinds of healthy food every day, it is extremely likely that she will eat enough for her nutritional needs. anon
Thanks to all of you who responded. Feels good to know that I am not alone, and I will try out the suggestions outlined. Sometimes my daughter is pleased with finger foods, and at others, she doesn't want to eat at all, but perhaps I ought to be more consistent in offering her these, and I haven't tried the eggs before. She is now 14 months old, and walking for more than 3 mths, but has gained only 1.3 lb in six weeks. Still its an improvement. She seems disinclined to even take breast feed now, so maybe it will dry up on its own, and she will switch to food/milk. Keeping my fingers crossed!

11 month old refuses formula and water

Sept 2008

My 11 month old has stopped breastfeeding during the day and now refuses to drink formula or water out of a sippy cup or bottle. She has never been a fan of formula-- and she is a teeny baby. What do i do to get her nutrients and keep her hydrated? thanks! worried mom


You say she doesn't breastfeed during the day which implies that she does nurse at night. At 11 months, if she's nursing at least a couple times night/early morning and she's eating a pretty good diet of solid foods, she should be fine, nutrition- wise. There's no real need to push formula (or any other kind of milk, though it's okay at this age to offer her some) on her. She does, of course, need to stay hydrated, but if she's not a fan of any type of cup (do try some different kinds, including a sippy or sport bottle with a straw, and a plain open cup rather than a sippy), she could probably get by with plenty of whole fruit and other ''wet'' foods. She's so close to ''toddler'' age, and toddlers can go surprisingly long stretches of time eating seemingly nothing. (And then they'll suddenly scarf everything in sight during a growth spurt.) Mom of Picky Eater
You should talk to your pediatrician right away, if you haven't already!!! Try pedialyte or juice (or juice dilute with water). Find out the symptoms of dehydration and look for them. I know your baby is supposed to have several wet diapers during the day. This is serious and important. Good luck. Worried for you
I have a 7 month old who suddenly refuses to take a bottle and his doctor said to mix extra water in his cereal (make it very soupy.) I'm trying to teach him to use a sippy cup, but he will only attempt to sip diluted juice - but not water or breastmilk (he gets mad when breastmilk comes out of the cup.) Good luck! ac

14 month old will not accept a bottle from me

August 2008

I have a 14 month old son. I breastfed him up until he was 12 months old, then I stopped when I found I was expecting a second child. I stayed at home with him for the first four months after his birth. During this time I would nurse a majority of the time and occassionally give him the bottle, which he would accept. Then I went back to work and the nanny would give him a bottle with my milk. He later began taking formula from her in a bottle as well. After I went back to work, I would only give him the breast when I was home. Now that I no longer breastfeed him he absolutely refuses to accept the bottle from me. He throws it and screams when he sees me coming towards him with it. What do I do? I feel so helpless. He does not get any milk on the weekends when the nanny is not here. I get so worried that he will be calcium and vitamin D deprived, not to mention that I feel like less of mother because he won't accept a bottle from me. Any advice greatly appreciated. J.


I don't think it's unusual for a child to refuse to take a bottle from his mom, especially if he associates her nearly exclusively with breastfeeding. From what I've read, though, 12 months is a good time to start weaning off a bottle to a sippy cup anyway. Maybe this is your opportunity to start a new phase with him and if you introduce it during a weekend, before his sitter does, you'll probably have fewer problems. Good luck!
Have you tried a sippy cup? My son never would take a bottle from me, and went straight from the breast to a sippy cup at 11 months. Just a thought? saved by the sippy
Maybe it is time to use a new medium..sippy cup. Fourteen months is a great age to wean a child from a bottle. Our bottles disappeared on their first birthday (we'd been working with sippy cups for a few months prior) even though I did continue to nurse for a few more months...Just a thought. -anon
Well, this will make it easier to give up the bottle. Really, at 14 months the bottle is no longer a good thing for him. Prolonged bottle use is bad for the teeth and bad for weight gain (it's a risk for obesity). He doesn't *need* milk the way he needed breastmilk or formula. He needs a balanced diet with adequate protein and vitamin D, and milk happens to be one way to get those. If he drinks enough milk for the week with the babysitter, then you don't need to worry about it. If he doesn't, he just needs to get the protein and vitamin D in other forms -- dairy products, meat, eggs, fish, sunlight (but no sunburn). There's a million reasons moms make themselves feel inadequate that aren't really their fault, but not taking a bottle from you need not be one of them. Kate
I think your son is weaning! Don't fret, sounds like you will soon have another to breastfeed. It's all part of growing up. It's really okay that he's not nursing anymore. You now have to think about what foods you can give him that will give him the calcium and vit. D (and all the other vitamins) that he will need. I suggest getting a book on child nutrition. anon
Two things: many babies won't accept a bottle from mom. So don't worry about this. It has nothing to do with being a good mom or not! Second: your son is probably getting too old for a bottle. It's time for a sippy cup or a regular cup. Try offering milk in those. If he doesn't take milk, that's OK. No human NEEDS milk after they are weaned. You can get all your nutrition from solid foods, and vitamin D from the sun. We are lucky here in the Bay Area that we can get all the vitamin D we need year-round from the sun. A short bit of daily exposure to full sun (10 to 30 min) wihtout sunscreen should do the trick. (Don't do it between 10 am and 2pm in the summer.) Have a little more sun exposure if your son has dark skin. Calcium can be had from other dairy products or leafy green vegetables. Anon
It sounds like your son is doing some self weaning. I assume at 14mos he's eating some kind of solid food, and he may associate you and nursing with comfort. I wonder why you refuse to breastfeed if he won't take a bottle. Is it discomfort, or you think he's too old? My mom breastfed my siblings until we were 3, and at that point it's not really about nutrition (though the immunity is good). I know several children who would take a bottle from dad but never accepted it from mom. Sounds like he'll take what he can get from the nanny, but he's insisting on the real thing from you. I suggest going back to breastfeeding if you're comfortable and working him onto solids if you're not. good luck. mgb
At about 16 months my son (now 18 months) just decided he wasn't going to drink milk from a bottle or cup anymore. He won't take cow's milk (warm or cold) or my breast milk from a cup or bottle. We were starting to ween, but now I still feed him when I get home from work, before he goes to bed and first thing in the morning. I am no longer pumping and I don't think that I am producing a lot of milk.

I spoke to my pediatrician about it who said I could try soy milk, but that it's up to me (I have not tried). She said to continue to offer milk to him regularly, sometimes it's just a phase. We do continue to offer milk to him in a cup at meal times, and he'll take a sip or two but nothing major. Sometimes he'll see his older sister drinking milk and he'll want her cup. But then he'll only take a few sips and then ditch the cup.

To make up for what he's missing, I make sure he gets plenty of other dairy: cheese and yogurt, and calcium containing veggies like broccoli. Fortunately he loves all the things. A vitamin supplement doesn't hurt either. I would recommend speaking to your pediatrician about your sons diet. Perhaps she can recommend a good nutritionist. Good luck! -In same boat but making do


Maybe try giving him milk in something other than a bottle? Sell him on the novelty of drinking through a straw, out of a colorful cup, or out of the same kind of cup/mug mommy and daddy drink their coffee/tea/whatever from? Mama of ''milk in a mug'' boy
Do I understand correctly that your son has been weaned now for 2 months? In this time have you offered sippy cups, or other means of drinking? A 14 month old does not need to take fluids from a bottle, and is entirely capable of drinking from something else. I imagine that part of the refusal is knowing that you were the source of the breastfeeding comfort. Why should your baby want to settle for less than your breast? I think it is understandable that he refuses knowing that you actually have something much better. If everything else fails, try offering popsicles made out of milk, breast milk, or water. You can place frozen ice into a mesh feeder. 14 months is also teething time. The ice might help with that as well. Anon
my daughter is 15-months-old, and your son seems much better than mine - at least he gets calcium and vitamin D 5 out of 7 days! have you tried sippy cups? you could also try a regular cup, though that takes LOTS of time and patience. also, try a cup using a straw. perhaps the novelty of all these different methods will distract him enough to intake a few ounces of liquid.

if nothing's working, i'm assuming that your son is eating solids, so for calcium, you can try other dairy products like cheese, yogurt, etc... for vitamin D, the sunlight is great, but they also have vitamin D drops.

but your son should be fine since the nanny can feed him sufficiently. and congratulations on your pregnancy!!! i wish i could get prego, but i'm not even ovulating yet... bottleless mom


Give him milk in a sippy cup that he can hold himself. Voila. anon
I weaned my daughter at 16 months and she never drank milk again. In other countries I don't think this is that unusual. Literally billions of people around the world don't drink milk and none of them are walking around and having their bones suddenly shatter. In a million years of human history we have only been drinking the milk of other animals for less than a 1/10 of that time, yet somehow our race has survived. This being the case, there is absolutely no way that if your son doesn't drink milk for 2 days per week that he is going to be unhealthy. Getting kids to drink milk is an expectation of our culture, not one based on fact, like eating vegetables. You have way more important things to worry about, despite what the lobbyists and advertisers of the milk industry want you to think. You can let this one go without harming your beautiful boy. dairy free
Gosh, where did you get the idea that a ''good mother'' should be feeding her baby from bottles? I'd expect the opposite, if anything, from most Berkeley-area people! I'm sorry you are having such a hard time over this issue but actually, you don't have a problem.

To be honest, your 14 month old should not be taking a bottle from anyone, least of all you. Extended (through toddlerhood) use of a baby bottle can lead to dental and orthodontic problems, plus (although this isn't relevant in your case since you've already weaned him from the breast and apparently don't plan to change that) can encourage bottle preference and premature weaning. The dental risks are not a big deal until maybe 3 years old but it's usually a lot easier to ditch the bottles at 1 year old than at 2 or 3 -- so there's certainly no reason to encourage your son to take one if he's not attached to it! Please relax and be grateful that you won't have to endure a difficult weaning from the bottle.

Given that he is no longer nursing, your toddler probably should be drinking formula or some kind of milk in order to most conveniently cover his nutritional needs for protein, ''healthy'' fats, and calcium -- but he can drink it from a cup, with meals or as a snack. And if he doesn't like formula or milk, he can get all the nutrition he needs from other sources; it's just a little bit harder to do. Lots of foods have calcium. And the natural source of Vitamin D is sunlight -- really just a few minutes a day -- not food. Most Californians get plenty of sun exposure (especially at this time of year!) so it just isn't an issue. I know there have been past discussions of nutrition for kids who don't drink milk, which may be in the archives, so you could take a look. Should be reassuring. Holly


I have a 12 month old daughter and I have the opposite problem. She had her 12 month check up this past week and our Dr. said that she's getting too much milk! She's a milkaholic and the Dr. suggested that we take the bottle away and only give her milk in a sippy cup with the idea that she'll consume less. Which is fine by me because frankly, I find it pretty boring just watching her guzzle down milk. Your son probably refuses the bottle from you because he associates you with breastfeeding. Maybe think of it this way: now you have extra time on the weekend to spend playing with your son or doing something else you both enjoy.

My daughter is mostly on solids now, so she should be getting most of her nutrients through the foods she eats. There are other food sources for vitamin D and calcium, such as cheese, fortified breads and cereals, and yogurt. My husband believes that the milk industry has programmed us to believe that babies need milk in order to thrive. If you're really concerned, check with your pediatrician. Tiffany


you might try introducing him to a cup (either sippy cup or regular cup). If he won't take milk in a cup, try offering water (or juice) in a cup first, until he accepts that, then try introducing milk in the sippy cup/regular cup. After about 3 months old, my daughter refused the bottle from anyone. It was very stressful until she finally took a sippy cup at around 10 months (had to try lots of different kinds - she finally took one by Munchkin - it wasn't non-spill, but at least she would drink from it!). She first started taking sips from a cup when I would drink water, and then offer her sips from my cup. So it was less a substitution for a bottle or the breast, but more letting her drink water/milk from a cup like mom & dad. It was a process, though, so be patient! Good luck! been there
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