Be Consistent & Persistent

Every now and then I get an email or a phone call from a mom whose breastfed baby won’t take a bottle. Perhaps she is going back to work in a few short days or perhaps she just wants a few hours to herself to go somewhere or do anything that doesn’t involve having her baby, whom she loves dearly, hanging off her boob. A baby who won’t take a bottle is a scary thing. Suddenly you are looking down the barrel of months of feeling “trapped.” You are plagued with the question:

What if my baby never takes a bottle?

Whenever I am presented with this question, I immediately spiral into PTSD.  My baby never took a bottle. I can’t remember the exact details because, well, I was a crazy, exhausted, emotional, overwhelmed new mother myself.

(By the way, I should mention that I have a comprehensive set of online courses on everything breastfeeding, if you’re interested 😉

What I do remember is buying every bottle available on the market that claimed to be “just like the breast,” including a bottle that was literally shaped like a breast. It leaked all over me. I can’t remember when I started offering, but I do know that when I went back to work when Lucy was 12-16 weeks (I can’t remember when, okay?!), she wasn’t taking a bottle. I remember my husband calling me in a panic and driving her 30 minutes to the hospital in Philly where I worked so I could come down and nurse her.

I remember my mother thickening my breastmilk with cereal (yes, cereal, people) and attempting to feed her my thickened milk with a spoon.

I remember offering her a no-spill sippy cup full of my breastmilk, but I removed the part that made it no-spill. Then I helped her tip it back so she could pour it all over herself.

Do you want to know what happened in the end? I quit my job. At the time, it felt like everything in my body was telling me that my baby just wanted me to stay at home with her, so I did. In retrospect, it was not a good choice. I don’t regret it, because I don’t regret anything in my life, but I do think that this was the tipping point of a series of events that eventually led to the demise of my marriage.

And, now that I know Lucy at age 12, I know she absolutely was telling me to quit my job and I absolutely succumbed to her will. I continued to do that for the first three years of her life until at one point, in the heat of a throw-down with my terror of a three year old, I literally said to her, “YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!” Now, most of the time, I will not be bullied by her. She is just like her mother, mind you. She will have her way if there is nobody to stand up to her (she does it to her father multiple times a day). So, I am not surprised that she bullied me when she was only a few months old.

Needless to say, I am a breastfeeding expert… not a bottle-feeding expert.

But I have noticed something throughout the years of working with other panicky moms of non-bottle-accepting breastfed babies. There are two major components to bottle refusal:

  1. Reverse Nipple Confusion (baby doesn’t understand how to suck on an artificial nipple)
  2. Stubbornness (Baby knows damn well how to suck on a bottle and won’t because she is smart enough to know that a bottle means mama won’t be around)

My daughter suffered from a disastrous combination of the two.

Component One: Avoid reverse nipple confusion altogether by starting early.

Around four to six weeks, practice bottle-feeding—even if you are scared and even if you don’t wanna, do it.  You don’t have to replace a breastfeeding session entirely to practice this. You could just offer about one ounce, then finish up with breastfeeding. The idea here is to make sure your baby understands how to do it. Brush up on how to offer an occasional bottle here. This is a really important window to teach a baby to how to suck on something other than a boob. If you miss this window, things are going to be a lot harder.

I also have this theory that babies who take a pacifier have an easier time taking a bottle. Now, I happen to be one of the only Lactation Consultants in the world who seems to think that pacifiers are fine to use as long as you aren’t using them in the first two weeks to avoid breastfeeding when the baby is clearly hungry. So, if you want to be safe, wait two to four weeks after birth to introduce the pacifier. A breastfed baby who sucks a pacifier can switch from breast sucking to artificial nipple sucking, an important skill that she must have if she is going to understand how to take a bottle.

It doesnt matter who offers the bottle at this stage. 

A one- or two-month-old simply isn’t smart enough to know the difference. A baby three months old or older, however, is. That is when she may only accept the bottle from mom or never accept the bottle from mom or only accept the bottle when mom is out of the house or after not eating for four hours or only when she is just waking up. Understand? Once they hit around three months old, they become finicky. So, start early.

Now, once you have determined that your baby can and will take a bottle, don’t make the silly mistake of thinking you can now stop practicing. Just because you baby has taken a bottle in the past, does not mean that your baby will continue to take the bottle in the future. Babies are like goldfish: very short memories.

Component 2: Offer consistently & persistently.

If you know your baby can take a bottle, great! Now be sure to offer the bottle a few times a week to make sure she doesn’t forget the skill. If you have a baby who loves her pacifier, then you can probably get away with doing this one time a week. If you have a baby who isn’t a strong pacifier sucker, do this three times a week.

Again, you do not have to replace an entire breastfeeding with a bottle if you don’t want to; you can just offer about one ounce in a bottle, then finish with the breast.

But I do challenge you to take this bottle-feeding time as an opportunity for self-care. Do something for yourself! Go to the gym, go shopping, get your hair done, sit in the car by yourself in silence. Take a nap. Give daddy some space and time to get to know his child in a new way.

If you baby does not take a bottle, offer in place of breastfeeding consistently and persistently. That means practically every day. That means allow baby to get hungry enough to need the bottle. That means don’t give in as soon as things get tough. You are up against either a confused baby or a stubborn baby—or both.

How to know whether your baby is confused or stubborn:

A confused baby mouths around the bottle nipple happily, but doesn’t suck. If milk dribbles out of the nipple, it may either pour out the side of her mouth or startle and choke her, causing her to cry and get upset. The confused baby will tolerate mouthing the lovely flavored chew toy for a few minutes before fussing to ask you to please get that thing out of her mouth.

This baby needs consistency, but a leaky bottle could be part of the problem. You would think that this baby just needs to understand that there is milk in the bottle and then she would drink, but actually, this baby needs to understand that she is supposed to suck on the bottle.

My advice for this kid:

Try a no-drip bottle that only releases milk when baby properly sucks. This will prevent her from having milk-choke when she is not ready and will reinforce good behavior by giving her a tasty treat when she does suck properly.

The Calma Nipple by Medela
The Bare Bottle by Bittylab

A stubborn baby knows how to suck a nipple. You have seen her do it. She may even regularly suck a pacifier. But every time the bottle comes at her, she freaks out. If she is put in a situation where she is very hungry and offered a bottle, she may stubbornly drink only enough to take the edge off her hunger (further proving she can, in fact, drink from a bottle), but then stop and scream without finishing the rest of it.

My advice for this kid:

Consistency, persistence, and experimentation. Something is bothering her. Is it who is feeding her? Sometimes this baby will only accept a bottle from her mother because she has learned that is where food comes from. Is it from her father or another non-mother person because she has learned that she only nurses from mom, not takes a bottle? Do you have to offer it when she is very hungry? Just starting to become hungry? Upon waking from a nap? After just falling asleep? While walking in a sling? In the nursing position? In a position completely opposite from the nursing positing, such as in a bouncy chair or faced away from you? When the milk is just the same temperature as breastfeeding? When the milk is cold so it is different from breastfeeding?

Get my drift? Something will work. You just have to figure out what it is. Unfortunately, your baby can’t talk, so you are going to have to try a bunch of things.

There are a lot of “tricks” out there on the Googles as well to make your baby take a bottle. Most of these involve buying stuff or tricking your baby into thinking mom is there with a stinky shirt or something.  Don’t insult your baby’s intelligence, especially if she is three months or older. I know I called the one- to two-month-old a goldfish, but once they hit three months, they are very deeply connected to their mothers. They know her by heart, by smell, and by touch. No smelly shirt is going to trick them into thinking Old Spice-smelling daddy man is life-sustaining booby woman.

A note about buying nipples: So, some people have had luck with finding the one bottle that their kid accepts, usually after spending $300 on each and every type of bottle. I have found that oftentimes this is the most frequently attempted trick and the least likely to work. The times I have seen it work is because the texture of the nipple is different, for example using a latex nipple. There aren’t many left on the market as they are all silicone now, but I have seen a bottle refuser accept a latex nipple, probably because of the color and the increased flexibility of the nipple.

If you have a confused and stubborn bottle refuser, may the force be with you. If you really need your baby to accept a bottle because you are going back to work, then be consistent and persistent. If you don’t have a strict deadline, know this: Around six months, your baby will start eating solids and drinking water from a sippy cup, albeit poorly. By the time your baby is nine to 12 months, you will most likely be able to hold your baby off from breastfeeding for a few hours with solid foods. By 12+ months, you can offer full fat dairy foods in place of breastfeeding.

So, there is hope. At 14 months, I did go back to work. My mom primarily watched Lucy while I was gone. She ate food all evening long while I worked and may have even drunk some cow’s milk out of a cup (I don’t remember). Otherwise, it was just her and me, nursing ‘round the clock. By that time, I was a single mom and Joe deeply respected our nursing relationship, so he didn’t take her from me overnight or for weekends practically until she was weaned.

Sure, it sounds like a death sentence to have a baby who never takes a bottle, but it is heartbreakingly temporary to have a baby who needs you every few hours in order to stay alive. In the blink of an eye, your little baby will be heading off to full-day kindergarten, spending the night at a friend’s house, going to sleep-away camp.

So, if you are like me and you have a strong-willed baby who refuses a bottle and just wants you to stay home and you can, know that I look back at that time of my life with so much fondness and gratitude. I don’t remember it all, but I know without a doubt I was there for every feeding. At a time when life was falling apart all around us, breastfeeding was our constant. Perhaps God knew that we would need that; what seemed at the time like our greatest challenge turned out to be our greatest gift.

I would also like to add that there is a possibility that the milk you are giving your baby tastes not quite right. Be sure the milk you are offering baby isn’t spoiled or slightly off in flavor. 

 

44 Comments

  • Joanne says:

    Hi! Although at this point breastfeeding for me is “old hat”–I’m nursing my third, who is now 21 months–I’ve really enjoyed reading your articles. So much of it rings true to what I’ve learned the hard way! My first refused the bottle. We tried at 5 weeks and continued to try. It seemed to be a combination of the two things you described–the milk would drip and make her mad. But we kept trying. I went back to work when she was 11 weeks, which included overnight travel. My mom traveled with us and would try to feed the baby in the hotel room while I was away. It was finally a combination of facing the baby out, sitting up, with the TV on, and bouncing her up and down. My poor mom! My poor baby! She never did really take a bottle, and I did quit that job for something part time with no travel! At 7 months, she took a sippy cup and had breastmilk that way from then on. When I speak with families who never had this problem, they are sure we didn’t try the right thing. Well, baby #2 came along, and he took the bottle no problem, like he knew exactly what to do. Same age, same bottle, mom giving the bottle. Amazing!

  • disqus_bHaL0IkVrp says:

    I’m so worried my baby is going to starve next week when I have to go back to work! I have the Medela Calma and she didn’t take to that too well but after reading your article I’m going to try again. After reading some forums I ordered “the first years” bottle that is now only available online thru Amazon and hope that works. If that didn’t work I’m going to try to find latex nipples. None are sold at Target. I think my baby falls under the confused baby. I tried a MAM bottle because the nipple looked close (not too long) but the milk flow seemed too fast and then she started fussing. Articles say to not offer bottle if baby starts crying, is that true or should we keep trying beyond that?

  • Cameo says:

    I wish I read this 4 weeks ago!!

  • […] attempted to return to work when Lucy was three or four months old and she wouldn’t take a bottle.  Out of fear or stupidity, who knows, I asked Joe if I could quit my job and out of love or […]

  • Chital Mehta Jey says:

    Katie..thank you so much for writing this article. . I have been forcing my four month old take a bottle after he suddenly stopped refusing to take one. I don’t work anymore after I gave birth. And I now realise my baby needs me more than ever.. I won’t be trying to force him anymore. .. thank you so much. .

  • Chloe Gray says:

    Hi Katie
    Reading your blog has given me some comfort to know someone else has experienced the same but I truly am at my wits end.
    I have a 5 month old who is outright refusing a bottle. I like you have tried every single kind of bottle imaginable, even the supposed miracle bottle shaped like a breast. Baby now gets so worked up the minute he sets eyes on the bottle. I’m finding the whole experience very traumatic and draining.
    He did take a bottle in the early stages. From 6 weeks he used to take a bottle of expressed breastmilk every evening when my husband used to feed him. Then we hit a stage where we discovered baby had quite severe reflux and I was put on a dairy – free diet at which point I was really struggling to express and well of course the bottle feeding fell by the wayside. Baby has also always refused a dummy. I know he can suck one as he does so when held in mouth but spits put the minute the opportunity presents itself.
    It was always my intention to think about stopping bfing at about 6 months but now that he has 2 bottom teeth I am desperate as the whole experience is no longer enjoyable knowing that I’m likely to be bitten as he has already done on several occasions sometimes even drawing blood. He is also waking often in the night to feed and feel introduction of formula would help this as lately he is not interested in the solids we feed him.
    I really don’t know what to do. I always felt so proud that I’m a patient parent but the lack of sleep coupled with the fact that I dont get 5 minutes to myself is making me hit a downward slope and fast.
    Is there any advice you can give that might help my situation? I start work in 5 months time and don’t want to leave my poor child at nursery desperate for mom’s breast. It breaks my heart to think of the state he will be in. Please help. I don’t know what else to do.

    • KatieIBCLC says:

      Hi Chloe-

      I am so glad to hear this blog was helpful to you– I wish it could magically fix your problems! I am so sorry to hear you are struggling so badly. This is a REALLY challenging place to be in! Here is what I can help with.

      1. https://balancedbreastfeeding.com/free-course-access/the-5-most-annoying-breastfeeding-behaviors/

      This is a free e-course on annoying breastfeeding behaviors including biting. Until you get this straightened out, he needs to stop biting. Hopefully this will help.
      2. Acknowledge that you cannot worry about sending him to daycare in 5 months. He will be a COMPLETELY different kid then! Just think about how much has happened in the past 5 months, certainly you can appreciate how much will happen in the next 5 months. By then he will be eating a lot of solids and most likely taking a sippy cup. Which brings me to sippy cups
      3. At 5 months, I would most likely give up on bottles and move to sippy cups. You can start with water in the cup or expressed breastmilk. Experiment with different temperatures. You can even try formula or a mixture of breastmilk and formula in the cup. Offer solids and sippy cup often throughout the day. Experiment if she does better with solids before or after nursing.

      I wish you the best of luck! You ARE a very patient parent and you should be proud!!
      –Katie

      • Chloe Gray says:

        Katie. Hi! Thank you so much for replying to my message so quickly. It came at a time most needed. I certainly wasn’t expecting a reply so quickly.
        I have bought a sippy cup and have tried it with baby but that hasn’t worked so well so far either but will try the cup and solids often as you suggest. Thank you so much for the e-course recommendation. I’ll get onto that straight away!
        Thank you again.

  • Kiara Gill says:

    Thank you for this article. My baby is four and a half months and I’ve had inconsistent success with bottle feeding for over one month. I was starting ‘the hunt’ for the perfect bottle/nipple and realized that could drain me of time, money and energy, all of which I have very little. It’s reassuring to know that taking the bottle may or may not happen, but yes by 14 mos baby will have moved on to another stage. At the moment there is no urgent need for baby to take the bottle other then my desire for some independence. Reading about your experience is comforting and validating. I’ve waited a long time to be a mom and the most important aspect of my life right now is our bond. Personally I feel good being connected and there for every feed. It would be convenient to have an option to go out but it’s by no means necessary. So I might try different approaches but not get obsessed with the success of bottle feeding. This is a brief window in a lifetime of mothering that I want to enjoy and not stress out about. Added pressure detracts from the present experience and my focus as a mother. Also, I identified with you being a single mom. I don’t read many articles with this perspective. Healthy baby bonding outside of the ‘ideal’ marriage is rarely discussed in parenting articles and blogs, etc. It’s helpful to read that you waited until baby transitioned to solids for over nights with dad, and that worked out. So, thank you.

  • Eva says:

    Hi Katie,

    Thank you for this article. I’m wondering if you could give me advice on this…my son is almost 3 months old , we first gave him a bottle at 2 weeks and he took it right away and since then until about 2 months of age he got a few Oz from a bottle every day with no issues – he would gladly take it at any temperature, before or after breastfeeding , even different bottles. 3 weeks ago he started to refuse the bottle, he won’t even try to suck or even open his mouth and cries if I push him to take it. Tried with a spoon or dropper as well, he would only take breastfeeding – no bottle at all any time of the day or night, any position, not even from dad. I already stopped working to take care of him and want to breastfeed only for as long as I can but I do like the occasional long shower or otherwise a few mins to myself but we end up breastfeeding for hours every day and night. Why would he suddenly refuse the bottle, is there anything I could do? Also, not sure if relevant but he never took a pacifier, tried since 2 weeks old and always refused it. Thanks!!!

    • KatieIBCLC says:

      Hi Eva! Thanks for reading! I can’t say for sure what is going on here. I am sorry this is happening! It is less likely that he doesn’t know HOW to suck on the bottle and more likely he is being stubborn because he prefers breastfeeding. Here is my advice for you– take a long shower. Go out for 3 hours. He will not starve waiting for you to come home and feed him. Go back to consistently offering a few ounces from the bottle like you were before, ideally in place of a feeding so he gets a little hungry. If he refuses, that is on him– he is being offered food, you can’t MAKE him drink! Of course, don’t skip more than one feeding in an effort to encourage the bottle, but don’t feel like a slave to him either. You must take good care of yourself no matter what. Shower, go out for a few hours. Leave a bottle for him and if he opts to refuse it, he can skip a feeding and nurse when you get home. Good luck!

    • Diana says:

      This sounds just like my 10-week-old daughter, including the pacifier refusal and the fact that she was bottle fed an ounce or two a day for almost 8 weeks. Have you had any luck with the bottle since?
      I definitely have to return to work (albeit part time) in three weeks, so I’m desperate to get her reintroduced to the bottle. So far, nothing has worked.

      • Eva says:

        Hi Diana!!
        .I kept trying almost every day for about a month and if I manage to pour some milk into his mouth he’ll just let it pour right out and smile…I have given up at this point since I don’t need to be away from him. Different bottles, nipples, formula, spoon, dropper, syringe, day or night – nothing has worked for us. Even tried to do it in the dark so he can’t see, or first thing early morning when he is really hungry – no luck. He would take 5-10oz from bottle daily from 2 wks till about 2 months and then he started to refuse it on occasion till he just completely stopped taking it. Hope to start on some solids&water in a month or two and try this again. Till then I might have to let it be his way

        • Diana says:

          Eva, thanks for your reply! I’m not giving up yet, but I don’t have a lot of hope that she’ll come around – stubbornness runs strong in our family. Good luck to you!

          • SR says:

            Hi Eva and Diana, Did something work for you eventually? My son was given a bottle of pumped milk from week 3 in medala bottles.He didn’t have any issue drinking from breast or bottle and no nipple confusion either. He caught a cold around 12 weeks and I didn’t give a bottle for 3 weeks. Since then he has refused to take a bottle or pacifier.He cries when a bottle is offered, chews on it sometimes. He refused to take the bottle, the six hours I was away when he was about 4m old. I have managed to give him 1oz or 2oz once in a while after breastfeeding him. He is 5m now and I am slowly introducing solids once a day in between feeds. He ate cereal and banana in breastmilk from a spoon when i was out yesterday but wouldn’t take the bottle. I have been working from home so far but have to return to work soon. Even if he takes solids he will have to drink from a bottle once or twice when I am away.

          • Diana says:

            Hi SR, yes! When she was 5 months old, I’d had enough of her bottle-refusing ways and determined to exclusively pump for as long as it took to get her to accept the bottle. I stayed home with her for several days in order to do this, but it ended up working pretty quickly. For several weeks after, i made sure to give her at least a couple of bottles each day so that she wouldn’t start refusing them again. I also switched to latex nipples and made sure the milk was exactly 104 degrees (with a milk warmer). She hated the silicon nipples and still uses the latex nipples to this day. As long as your son doesn’t have a latex allergy, it’s worth a try! They made a difference for us. Good luck!

  • Erin Marie says:

    This has helped a lot. My son is 11 months old and I’ve breast fed him since day one. His doc advised I start bottle feeding because with 3 solid food feedings and breast feeding he’s a little under weight. I’m ok giving up breast feeding but baby not so much. I’ve seen him suck on the bottle but he will only do it for a min. And if he’s really hungry he wants nothing to do with the bottle. Going on week 2 . I offer him a bottle threw out the day but all he does is chew the nip or throw it on the floor. Any advice?

    • KatieIBCLC says:

      Hi Erin! Thanks for your question. It is interesting to me that your doctor is recommending bottlefeeding at 11 months when he will turn around and recommend you wean from the bottle at 12 months. I say go right to the sippy cup or cup with a straw. Your son has no CLUE what to do with a bottle (besides throw it on the floor of course!). Also, be sure your solids are nutrients packed– add olive oil, flax oil, coconut oil, or avocado to mixtures with grains and protein so each bite is calorie dense. Good luck!

      • Erin Marie says:

        Thank you for the reply! That’s exactly what I did, I went out and got him a sippy cup. Hoping within a week he will learn to use it. And I will be adding those oils to his food, I had no idea I could do that!. Thanks again!

        • Zenaida Orozco says:

          Hi I have an 11 month old, all breastfed hates bottles . Which sippy cup did you start him off with and how did it go? I’m starting work soon and I’m so nervous to see how he’ll do without.

          • Erin Marie says:

            I tried a few different types as all babies are different but he took the one from munchkin, the have handles on both sides. After two weeks he finally learned to use it. I gave it to him threw out the day, on walks, going to the store etc. Eventually I replaced it with breastfeeding. (Still do at night) also may take time to get used to formula. Good luck!

          • Zenaida Orozco says:

            Thank you I will be trying that one out. We tried a Playtex one but the spout was hard plastic which is probably why he didn’t take it. Thank you for the advice & the luck … As I will need it lol

  • Ursula Eicker says:

    Reading your article is like reading my own story. My little girl is 3.5 month old and will not take a bottle. I think she is the little confused one… have also tried every bottle on the market, Sippy cups with and without the flow regulator, spoons, syringes you name it. She just spits the milk out and smiles at you. Going back to work full time in 2 weeks and am literally pulling my hair out. She can take the sippy cup, but only for a brief period (30ml max) and then becomes completely disinterested. I’m getting ready to leave now, out of the house for at least 4 hours so that daddy can try…Cannot bear to have her get hungry so its not going to be a nice morning. It feels like torture…

    • Claire says:

      My little guy.. 3.5 months old is not eating.. except breastfeeding. Nothing has worked! Was wondering if you had any luck? I started back to work yestserday. I just got back from my lunch break. I had to go to my mom’s (who is babysitting him) to feed him because he was hysterical. I can’t do this every day!!! HELP. I don’t know what else to try at this point..

  • Sharon says:

    Hi. I have a 7 months old and she has been bf since she was born. Took a bottle at 8 weeks for a couple times and will not take it. I have lupus and need to go back on meds. I’m so so frustrated that I can’t be without her for more then two hours. She is on soild food but likes to nurse before naps and before bed. I have tried every bottle and every nipple. Just bought the calma by medula and nothing. She s screams and pushes it away then I get frustrated that no one else can put her to bed or get up with her in the middle of the night. She will take a sippy cup only a few drops out of water out it. I’ve tried every trick you suggested and nothing. She won’t eat for no one. I’m running out of ideas and could really really use someone’s help. I need to get healthy again but I don’t want to starve her. A cup we could get by during the day if I sleep trained her to fall asleep on her own but what about the night feedings she won’t. Take a full meal. I would pay someone at this point to do this. Just feeling helpless at this point.

    • Zenaida Orozco says:

      Hi, I have the same thing going on right now. My 11 month old has been only breastfed and doesn’t take want to take any bottles. I was wondering what kind of sippy cup you started off with and did it work? Im going back to work soon and I’m so nervous about how he’s gonna do without.

  • Amanda Wilkins says:

    At 4 months, my son decided to STOP taking a bottle when not in daycare. He is almost 5 months nkw and I am trying to figure out how to solve the problem, especially since he also decided to start waking up every 2 hours. (He has always slept 4 to 6 without issue.) I don’t know how to make him take a bottle! In public, from someone else, with me not around, he just won’t do it except at daycare.

    • Christina David says:

      Wow ya I feel your pain I can’t believe that babies do this my baby is 7 months and she is such a stubborn hard head and it’s so hard to deal with and I am not producing anymore that’s the bad thing…. What’s going to happen when I have nothing else to feed her in there….ya some comes out still but it’s not really filling her up… She still wakes up like 3 times a night wanting to suck the boob and doesn’t want to sleep in her crib I am at a point too!!!

  • Josie Dougall says:

    Hello, my 9 month old will not take a bottle! He is a combination of confused and stubborn! I am also a nurse and do 12 hour shifts! I am due to go back to work in a months time! He eats solids well but only takes tiny sips from a sippy cup. I have no idea what to do! I can’t give up work because we cannot afford it! If I give him nutrient dense foods and lots of regular small drinks from a sippy cup is this enough for him in 12 hours or will I need to talk to work about having to leave to breast feed him at regular intervals! Not at all practical in a busy ITU unit!

  • Amy Klein says:

    help! the baby stopped taking bottles at 4 months, now 5.5 I don’t know whether to freeze her out or try a gradual approach. I work from home but can’t get anything done. I’m not sure if she’s being stubborn or there’s something she really doesn’t like about the bottle…she takes water from a sippy cup but not milk.
    I want to wean anyway at six months.
    should I just starve her till she takes a bottle or cajole her daily?

  • […] The Breastfed Baby Who Won’t Take a Bottle […]

  • Domenica Martinez says:

    Wow. Your Last 2 paragraphs made me cry. You hit home. My 5 month old son (my third child) preferred not to eat over 8 hours today until I nursed him. He cried his little eyes out all day but I have to teach him to take the bottle because I will be returning to work soon. Reading this makes me think maybe he doesn’t want me to go back.

  • Julie says:

    Hi, thank you for your article.. I have a question for anyone that can help. My son is already 13 months, he never took a bottle , plus its too late for a bottle now. I’m still breastfeeding not BC I want to but because he wants it. I been trying to wean him off but its not workin . He not only refused the bottle but now refuses milk. He likes sippy cups but only with water in them. He spits out the milk when me or my mom try to give it to him. We are going out of town over night at the end of the month, so I really want him off the breast milk by then. Any advise? Has anyone else gone through this?

    • KatieIBCLC says:

      Hi Julie! I am so sorry you are in this difficult spot. First, if nothing improves before you are supposed to go out of town, just go out of town anyway. Have milk in a cup for your caregiver to offer him as well as plenty of food. He will either choose to drink his milk or not. Either way, you deserve that night away and he will be FINE. Unfortunately, it sounds like you are at a point where you will need to take more drastic measures. Perhaps schedule progressively longer periods away with options of food and milk in a cup. This WILL pass and he WILL drink milk other than your milk. Good Luck! More info on weaning here: https://balancedbreastfeeding.com/products/weaning/

      • Julie says:

        I took your advice and went on our trip anyway. Thank you so much for helping with the guilt and letting me know it was going to be ok.when we got back he was ok!

    • martha says:

      Yeah ignorant mother dat feel like there better cause they got some breath milk but if baby don’t wnt to lash ahhhh that girl that wrote the first thing seriousl a bsby dont hoe to suck s bottle hell formula LMAOO. Ignorant women

  • Jennifer Miller says:

    I had to go back to work very suddenly and it was a nightmare. My baby was only 4 months and I didn’t have any family to help. I found a bottle called Bare that helped. It still took some time and a lot of crying for both of us. My heart goes out to all of you still going through this! Try different bottles and know that it is temporary.

  • martha says:

    Wow very sorry to here that about your story but mothers like you are very stupid I just don’t n won’t understand da concept of wanting to give breast milk I just don’t what if you didn’t had breast milk seriously I had to natural birth throwing up 9 month my first was 10 pounds n 2nd 9 pounds n there healthy I don’t understand da part u said they don’t knows how to suck on a bottle wow u are straight dumb seriously when a newborn sees da Bottles n smells just like they find a stupid nipple they go straight to it I have not ever heard that u are ignorant n some of u putting a newborn baby threw hell Iam not going to understand it I had my first at 23 no one teach me shit n I did had a little milk but thank god for not doing it 1 not putting my baby at risk 2 md my breast now at 33 amazing u are all weird that’s why we have formula women like you n other women dat are so persisting n stubborn lord I don’t knw wat you trying to probe but mostly women who don’t have to proof to da world I’m breast feeding I bet u had csection to proof u a mother smhhhh please some of you are straight weird

  • Tammy B says:

    Omg after three weeks of not taking a bottle the Mimijumi bottle was a winner.

    So for the first three months my daughter would take a regular bottle while i was working. She was not on a bottle feeding schedule because my hours varied days and nights. Well at three months i had to switch caregivers and at this point she no longer wanted the bottle.

    She would go 6 or 7 hours without eating. I tried everything: avant, playtex, nuk, sippy cup, spoon.
    Finally i took her to a new girl and she was able to get her to drink something with a syringe. But it was not a full feeding. After a recommendation i ordered this bottle and she finally latched. Good luck parents!!

  • LUZ GRANADOS says:

    My daughter is 2.5.months. I waited a few weeks to introduce the bottle. She would take a little here and there at the beginning. Not with to much enthusiasm, but she drank an Oz or 2. Now she refuses anything at all. I’m getting ready to go back to work next. She completely rejects ervything from.anyone. I’ve tried spoons. Sippy cups. Different bottles, different nipples. Ive left her hours with my mom, I’ve tried feeding her in the sleep, all kinds of methods. She refuses it more than rver. She nibbles on it througg the side and just cries herself to sleep. She only gets angry for u really push it on her. Other than that she gets sad and falls asleep. And repeat until I get back to feed her. She also tendsaid to gag. She does a vomiting look when we push in the bottle to try tout push it on her more. I. Out of ideas and becoming stressed. Don’t want to leave to work knowing she won’t eat and could loose weight. Please help with any advise I haven’t tried.

  • Melissa Munoz-Rush says:

    This was a very helpful article! My daughter has been exclusively breast fed for almost 5 months now and rebels any time she is offered the bottle. I will certainly start being more consistent with attempting bottle feeding.

  • MissAlaneous says:

    I had tears swirling around in my eyes reading your story. Yes, I bought almost every single bottle there is on the market; and my baby now 3 month old still doesn’t take any of them. Now I know, it may not just be the bottle.

  • Trinity Zollinger says:

    My little girl will be 2 months in four days. She is constantly on the boob. I just went and got a bunch of different bottles today and even formula. For one, I worry about what I’m eating causing her belly discomfort. Which it has been lately, resulting in 2-6 hours of scream fest. And two, if I leave to go somewhere just to get away I can’t go far because dad obviously doesn’t have the magical boobies that mama has. Here’s the problem… bottle refusal. I’m at wits end trying to get her to suck on anything besides boobs or my finger. I’ve bought different pacifiers before I bought the bottles and still nothing. She has latched onto a pacifier once before but that was short lived.