10 answers

9-Month-old Suddenly Refusing Bottle

I'm actually posting this for the 9-month-old boy I babysit. He's always taken his bottle (pumped breast milk) beautifully, and he's now REFUSING the bottle. His mom and I are both stumped. I didn't watch him for a few weeks over the holidays, and he had trouble taking a bottle again in early January (he'd gotten used to milk straight from his mommy! Who can blame him?), but after a rough week, he was doing better. This week, he has howled like crazy every time I even come near him with a bottle. He just pushes the nipple out with his tongue and cries hysterically. I've tried several nipples (Playtex, Avent) and several sippy cups--he just won't take it. He has had a cold and cough for a couple of weeks (still coughing and congested), so we're wondering if he has a sore throat. He cries when I feed him his lunchtime fruit, as well, but he will eat crackers or cheerios just fine. He won't drink water or diluted apple juice either. I'd love any suggestions!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your input! The baby's mom and I both appreciate it! Since I posted this, the baby was diagnosed with a sinus infection, which he's been on for a week now. On Monday and Tuesday, he still completely refused a bottle, but he drank his breast milk pretty well from a plain cup (no lid--didn't like that). Tuesday afternoon, he had an ounce or two from a bottle, but he fussed the entire time. He also hadn't been nursing well, which we figured was an indication that it was a teeth and/or sinus congestion issue. Today, he nursed well this monring, so I decided to try a bottle. He actually took it! He complained a few times and we took brief breaks, but took the whole thing. He took the afternoon bottle willingly! Yay!! I feel like I've achieved some sort of victory. And I'm so glad he's back to his hungry, happy self. Hopefully it will stay that way! Thanks again for your help and support!

Featured Answers

First he needs to be seen by his doctor to see if anything is wrong. He actually could have an ear infection.

Some breast babies will drink better from a cup. Both of my children drank from a straw cup at nine months only and never took the bottle.

More Answers

If he has had a cold and cough for a few weeks then he needs to go to the Dr in my opinion. That shouldn't be lingering that long. He might have an infection of some kind. If not then the Dr can rule out that being the problem. Maybe he's not feeling well and that's affecting his eating. My daughter has a hard time nursing, drinking, eating when she's congested. Hope that helps.


First he needs to be seen by his doctor to see if anything is wrong. He actually could have an ear infection.

Some breast babies will drink better from a cup. Both of my children drank from a straw cup at nine months only and never took the bottle.

Honestly, It seems to be absolutly normal. My children have all gone threw phases like this. I recomend just keep feeding him the crackers and cherrios. After a while he will get thirsty and will want the juice or breast milk. He may be ready to stop breast feeding. When my children were done, they were done and there was not much I could do about it. It really won't hurt him to go without drinking any thing for a while. You can either see it as a problem or that he is just making his mark in the world. Give him time, things will change.

We had a boy who preferred formula from a bottle. Have you tried that? The other thought, if the Dr. okays it, 10 oz. whole milk to one serving of Carnation Instant Breakfast. We had another son who wouldn't take formula and this is a common formula replacement for kids who need to gain weight. GL

Sounds like my son except is isn't breatfed. He finally will drink his bottles though after a couple days of drinking through a straw. Also try laying him on the floor and giving him a bottle. My son will no longer let me hold him to drink it unless he is going to sleep. I guess he is asserting his independence. If he is having trouble breastfeeding too i would say he needs to see a doctor otherwise i think he is fine. Both my kids had a cold for almost two weeks and the cough was horrible but I just kept baby vick on their chest back and bottoms of their feet(seems to help on the feet bottoms but I don't know why). Hope this helps

Some babies decide when they are ready to take the next step in independence and this sounds like he is one of them. My oldest, girl, decided at seven weeks she didn't want the bottle anymore. She had a very strong personality even at that age. It was a power struggle for almost a week, but she then went back on the bottle, but at 8 mos, she decided again that was it. She went straight to a cup, no straw, no sippi cup; of course, I had to help her. Some children are just like that.

However, the child MUST have fluids. If you cannot get him to drink through any other means, try just a straw...no cup. Take a straw, dip into liquid, place your finger over the top of the straw to hold suction and see if he will suck the liquid out of the straw, he may also just want a plain 'big kid' cup

Good luck.

I was a la leche league leader years ago and this was an issue for some working moms. Some babies just want the nipple and I don't really know of any magical way to get them to take the bottle. Some babies just wait until they are with there mom and make up for lost time. The mom should just nurse as much as she can in the morning before dropping the baby off and be prepared to nurse a lot during the evening. This will probably pass with time and it could be due to the fact that the baby has been sick. Good Luck!
Also, I'd like to address one of the responses that said try formula or a milk/formula combination. If the mom stops pumping because the baby is drinking formula in his bottle, the baby will start weaning and the mom will stop producing milk. I don't believe what is in the bottle is making the baby not take it. The baby will definately prefer breast milk over formula. AND, if a baby drinks cows milk before he turns one there is a better chance of hime developing an allergy to milk.

L. S

This has happened to my girls from time to time. Usually it happens when they have not had a bottle in a while. I would check with the Doctor because the baby might have an ear infection or something and it hurts to swallow. I would check into it and rule that out. Good luck! -A.

Does he breastfeed fine while in mom's care? If so than it is probably not a health or milk issue it is a nipple preference and one that is normal. If he is eating when mom is around then just keep trying with the bottle and eventually he will get hungry enough to take the bottle again. This won't be easy on you but after a while of crying he will give in to hunger. Good luck.

My son refused liquids when he had a mild case of foot and mouth disease...I think it's called coxsacki virus. And I never saw blisters in his mouth. The reason why we thought that's what it was is that his buddy came down with it a few days later and had the same symptoms.

Hope this helps.

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