26 answers

7 Month Old Won't Drink Formula

I have breast feed my son since he was born. I also breast feed my daughter until she was 7 months old. Once my daughter started eating baby food, she wasn't very interested in nursing and switched to formula with no problem. However, my son is very much a breast baby. He has been eating baby food for over a month now, but still nurses at night and occasionally during the day, if his teeth are bothering him. I have tried many times to give him formula and he refuses to take it. I have tried Similac and Enfamil, but he has no interest in them. He will take a bottle if, it was breast milk or juice in it, so it not a bottle issue. I also had Mastitis recently, which caused me to nurse even less due to pain and being uncomfortable. As a result, I feel that I don't produce much milk anymore. I can tell when he nurses at night that he doesn't feel like he's getting enough. This causes him to be even more cranky during the night and wake up more often. My sister-in-law had a hard time switching her children from breast to formula and she did it by basically starving them until they were so hungry that they took the formula. I don't really want to do it that way. Has anyone else had this problem and what did you do it fix it?

In addition, some reason I want to switch to formula are:
1. My milk supply has already been greatly reduced.
2. My son moves too much and gets mad because of it when he does nurse.
3. He already has 2 bottom teeth and his 2 top teeth are coming in, which makes it hurt when I nurse.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to everyone for their great advice and outlooks. I'm going to try some of the mentioned ideas to see which one my son and I feel most comfortable with. I appreciate all the different point of views and information. I'll let you know if anything changes.

Featured Answers

I would try to go straight to the sippy cups. Rather then try to break him of the bottle later on. Im trying to break my son of the bottle and hes 2. very hard. or even mixing the formula adn breast milk. both of these might work. just remember with the sippy start with juices i learned start with the good stuff in the sippy and the "yucky" stuff in the bottle made it a little easy to transfer over

Hi A. ~
Have you tried using a sippie cup instead of the bottle? It would be easier to switch to that now instead of having to break him from the bottle later on.
Every baby is different, so that makes it harder.
My friend's kids liked the Carnation Good Start formula. Pediatricians do not recommend soy formula unless they really have to. The newest studies say it's not as good for babies ( but if that's what works, don't fret too much).
Good luck!

More Answers

Time to quit nursing, A.. Too many difficulties here that you describe. And the crankiness your son is showing is probably from cutting teeth.
Don't give in. Do so and the cycle won't stop. At some point he will have to accept something else. But if you have mastitis, and if you're taking some meds for it, that would definitely NOT be good for him to be taking in.
Good luck.

Have you tried going half and half.

Congratulations and Great Job nursing your son for the past 7 months. Is there a reason that you HAVE to give your son formula? The World Health Organization recomends breastfeeding until age two or while mutually agreeable to both mother and child. I'm not saying that you need to nuse until 2 but I do want to encourage you to nurse until 1 when he can switch to whole milk. Before 1 year breast milk or formula should be his primary food source. If you are afraid that your milk supply is going down it will increase with more frequent nursing. He should be nursing about 6 to 8 times in 24 hrs.
Many Blessings, K.

It is wonderful that you have breast fed your little ones as long as you have. Are there other reasons that you wish to discontinue nursing, other than the ones listed above? If not, I would contact a local leche league. Within the group is always a lactation specialist; I'm sure they will be able to give you tips to increase your milk supply and also ways to help make it comfortable again. Most babies continue to nurse after they begin eating other foods. Little ones nurse for comfort, which is equally important, as well as for nourishment. Though,I can understand your reservations to continue nursing after suffering with mastitis.
I wish the best for you and your little ones!

My suggestion is to start pumping and get your milk back again. Its really a supply and demand type of system. pump and feed him with a bottle alone first. Have your husband or someone else do it at night. He may be waking up just for the close connection in the middle of the night. He may realize that its not worth it to wake up for a bottle. Keep pumping and giving him the milk from the bottle only. Also, start introducing a cup at mealtime put a little water or breastmilk in it and let him start to learn to use a cup. My daughter wouldn't give up the breast until she was 2 and it was a stuggle. Now my son is loving it to and I can already tell he's a breast man, if you know what I mean. So It will be a struggle too. This is how I got my daughter to switch but if you start now it will be much easier than at 2! Good luck.

I am having the same problem with my 8 month old. He eats baby food, cereal and he will take juice out of a sippy cup or bottle but he will only take formula when I am working. He gets up at night sometimes to breastfeed and I have a hard time getting him to go to bed for the night and sometimes it is hard to get him to take naps. I sometimes give him an extra jar of food after his dinner of cereal. That helps a bit. You have to slowly wean him. My initial goal was to breasfeed until he is one but I know it is going to be tough to wean him so I am trying to breastfeed less now.

I nursed my first until she was 14 months. But what I did was full-time only breast milk until she was 6 months and then part-time thereafter -- after work and then at night. Most of what she was getting during the day was breast milk but it was from a bottle (pumped) and some formula as well and food.

I'm hoping that you son will at least take breast milk from a bottle which will make this process easier for you (or should)

What I would suggest to you if you haven't done it already is to transition him over a month's period of time to formula. Start by using your pumped milk into a bottle with some formula and then gently increase the formula into the mix until he's totally used to just the formula.

Moving to formula isn't easy, I admit. It tastes bad to them whereas breast milk tastes sweet and is warm. Plus, they're close to us when they eat. If you're diligent about the mixing and your son takes a bottle well, this should work for you.

Good luck!

If you are set against breastfeeding I might suggest warming the formula up. your BM is warm so I would try that.
If you are worried about your supply fenugreek ( you can get it at any vitamen store) will increase your supply
As far as teeth and the wiggle around I have told my daughter ( no biting and put her down and walked away for a couple minutes then said, try again...no teeth. ) and she seems to get it. She has 8 teeth now. that helps with the wiggle also.
How often is he nursing?

Hi A.,

Some babies will naturally ween around 9-10 months old. That is what happened with my youngest son. Some people tried to tell me that I should make him nurse for 2 more months, to make it a year, and I didn't do that b/c he basically weened himself. If you hold out a while longer, he may do that (my son was also very much a breast baby) b/c they tend to become more curious and mobile around that age, and want the freedom.
The other thing that I did was used the lacto-free formula. The consistancy of it is thinner, like breast milk, and that is what he liked best. (I knew this b/c I supplemented a 4 oz. bottle once a day starting at 5 months).
Good luck!

I would try to go straight to the sippy cups. Rather then try to break him of the bottle later on. Im trying to break my son of the bottle and hes 2. very hard. or even mixing the formula adn breast milk. both of these might work. just remember with the sippy start with juices i learned start with the good stuff in the sippy and the "yucky" stuff in the bottle made it a little easy to transfer over

There is a world of difference in the taste of breast milk and formula. Perhaps your son just don't like the taste of formula. One suggestion I have is to get a breast pump. That will help you to produce more milk and you can put it in a bottle(since you said he don't have a problem w/the bottle).

Your milk supply will increase if you nurse him more. Drink more water and nurse him more often and your supply will increase in just a couple of days. It will also help make sure your mastitis has cleared. I had that..oh my..I would have preferred having another baby to the pain that caused! The teeth issue can be alleviated. Is he biting you? If so, when he bites you need to take him off the breast and say a very sharp "no" and sit him on the floor. He will probably be upset and cry, so try again. He will amazingly understand. One of my 3 bit me a couple of times and this was all it took to fix it. She nursed til 15 months...my other one til she was 3. Formula tastes very different than breastmilk...imagine if someone made you eat something entirely new, that you didn't like and then wouldn't give you anything else. You would probably have a fit also!
It's great that you are breastfeeding...good job! So many moms miss this wonderful part of mothering.

use a breast pump and allow him to nurse from a bottle, then start mixing your breast milk with formula increasing the formula every couple days until he is weaned onto the formula... I am sure the taste is very different to him and you may simply need to make the change more gradual... Also by not allowing him to nurse directly, this will ease your discomfort, and also make the transistion to the bottle easier for little one as well. Good luck.

Have you tried mixing breastmilk with formula? I did that with my daughter to try to wean her...it worked

Hi A. ~
Have you tried using a sippie cup instead of the bottle? It would be easier to switch to that now instead of having to break him from the bottle later on.
Every baby is different, so that makes it harder.
My friend's kids liked the Carnation Good Start formula. Pediatricians do not recommend soy formula unless they really have to. The newest studies say it's not as good for babies ( but if that's what works, don't fret too much).
Good luck!

Hi i can suggest Nestle Good Start! I had the same problem with my daughter. She is 7 months old and I switched to Nestle Good Start the orange color one it works. Please let me know how everything is. Also I would pump a little and put the formula together. I also had my milk reduced it is easier if you mixed it first. Good luck and God bless you

Have you tried having someone else (dad, grandma, friend, etc.) offer the formula? I've heard that works often for people. Just make sure you're not in the area and that he's comfortable with who ever is doing it. Good for you for nursing for 7 months! Don't let people get you down because you want to stop, sometimes it's nice to just have your body back! I've nursed all my kids for as long as I could (3 boys for only 3 months each, my youngest for a year because I knew she was the last) You've been prego or nursing for about 3 years, you deserve a break. Good luck, I hope you find a way to get him on a bottle.

If you feel its ok to starve a child then go ahead but by the tone I dont think you do!! (phew!) :)

I am not sure why you are switching it doesnt seem to say in your message.

You can nurse through mastitas - there are MANY resources for you
please consider continued breastfeeding until your child is one.... breastfeeding is supply and demand - if you continue you WILL make enough!

you can contact a lactation specialist or your hospital or laleche or even one of us here would be happy to coach you through this rough spot..

Try making his bottles with 75% milk and 25% formula and see if he'll take it. Then, slowly increase the amount of formula. My guess is that he simply prefers the taste of milk over the taste of formula. My kids were the same way, but I was lucky enough to be able to nurse them until they were old enough to switch to whole milk. (Both were late teethers and didn't get their top teeth until around a year.) Good luck!

Hi, you recieved a lot of good advice from everyone. I have nursed all of mine and one stopped at nine months all by herself and I had to wean one at two years of age. I usually let them wean themselves but the fifth one wasn't ready until she was two. Some doctors completely freak out at giving whole milk before they are one. My two oldest had milk sensitivity until they were 18 months, but my doctor told me to put my nine month old on whole milk because she had totally weaned herself. I was shocked and asked if I should put her on formula which she hated and she said if she hated it why make her take it. She ate well and did fine on the milk, no problems and she has no allergies to anything. My one daughter I nursed completely until she was a year old and she has allergies and eczema. So what I am trying to say is maybe try to hang in there and then see what your doctor thinks about skipping formula. Or pump until your son is a couple months older. In the end you will know what is best. He will be healthy no matter if he is on breast or formula. If you wean, just cut out one feeding at a time and don't give in. Easy to say and hard to do. Definately try to mix formula with breast milk. I am sure that some people would freak out at me telling you to put him on whole milk, but every child and family is different. If you have lots of allergies in your family you might reconsider my adivice. Good Luck!

Although I want to respect your decision to switch to formula, I have to say that it makes no sense to me, and your son is, as you said, a breast baby. He's telling you every way he can that he wants to continue the special relationship he's had with you which includes nursing. I think he's a very smart boy!
Moms nurse active babies who have teeth all the time. It shouldn't hurt unless he's biting you which you need to lovingly stop him from doing. You may need to work on improving his latch and positioning. There's a website that is excellent which shows proper latch & explains in detail how babies nurse. It's part of the work of Dr.Jack Newman, who established a Toronto lactation clinic. Check out www.gentlemothering.ca for this information.
As you know, your milk supply has dropped due to reduced nursing and also this is likely the reason for the mastitis. Nursing even more is usually the best thing to do during mastitis, by the way.
Infants can't take in enough solids to replace their need for breastmilk, and he won't get his nutritional/growth needs met without breastmilk or a less suited-perfectly-to-his-needs substitute. It's not too late to rebuild your milk supply through more frequest nursing. It sounds like that's what he is trying to tell you he needs.


Have you thought of trying carnation good start. Smilac and enfamil are very rough formula they are very harsh on the baby stomach carnation good start is the closet things to mother breast milk I have used with all three of my kids. There spit up is just like breast milk the formula is closer looking to breast milk in my opinion. None of my kids could tolerate the other formulas. Just be patience I nursed all three of my sons each one is different. My last one never did take a bottle he just refused. To this day he refuses to take milk he says that it taste terribly and he doesn't like it. I have gotten him to drink daminals drinkable yogurt. So if you are patience everything will work out.

I know a lot of people have had luck switching from breatmilk to Nestle Good Start... Myself included! Maybe try giving that a shot?

Sounds like a bump in the road but if you stick with the breastfeeding, you can get past it. Formula is a less than optimal substitute for breastmilk. As long as you are still lactating, you can increase your supply by nursing on demand and there are some teas and supplements out there that can help you to safely increase your supply. YOu only have 5 more moonths of breastfeeding and then you won't even have to think about substituting your breastmilk. As far as the mastitis is concerned, I had that too. I took homeopathic Belladonna for it and it cleared up within a few days. IF your breasts are hot, you are feverish, it's a good remedy. I would bet that his teeth are irritating you because your breasts are sensitive from the infection, but once that clears up your nipples should toughen up enough that it won't bother you anymore. You can use lanolin in the meantime to alleviate the discomfort.

Breastfeeding isn't always this blissfully delightful bonding experience, but most of the time it is. Any mom who has done it for any extended period of time will tell you that there are difficult periods, but we get through them with perseverence, patience and understanding.

If you want to talk you can always write back to me or there is lots of support in your community by finding your local La Leche League chapter.

Best wishes,

HI A.,

I'm in the same boat...seven month old who doesn't like formula (He's 29inches long and 21lbs...long and lean like his dad!). My pediatrician told me to try Nestle's Good Start b/c its sweeter. I haven't tried it yet and I'm debating about just sticking it out for another five months and than not to worry about the formula. My milk supply has dropped as well, and its not b/c I'm not nursing or not pumping, I just think its what nature intended.

Good luck!

Hello A.:

Congratulations on nursing! Many mothers today don't and it's refreshing to hear you have been so committed to it.

I nursed all my children until they were about a year old and moved to cups. The formula that most resembles breast milk is soy formula. My children would take that when I wasn't available or able to nurse them. My youngest daughter (now aged 21)however, didn't like the rubber nipples! Not on pacifiers, or any type of bottle. The one she disliked least was the Playtex nurser. That may also be the issue for your son.

Congratulations on your three children. I wish you all well.

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