26 answers

Breastfeeding Babe Refuses Bottle

I have been breastfeeding my baby exclusivly since she was 2 weeks old. Now that she is 4 months old I would like to seperate from her for longer than 1 hour. I have tried many bottles with many different nipples. She refuses to take it, no matter who gives her the bottle. I have now tried a cup. She takes a few sips and then doesn't want it. I know she knows how to drink from it. She just doesn't want to. What do I do? Mommy needs a break! I forgot to mention that it is breastmilk in the bottle!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for the great advice. My daughter still refuses the bottle so I have given up on trying to make her take it. But She does like the soft-spout sippy cup by NUBY. She won't drink milk from it. She only likes her milk from the tap but she will drink water. Thats a start!!!!

Featured Answers

It is sometimes hard to introduce a bottle to a breastfeed baby. One thing you may have to do is to let her cry till she is hungry enough to take the bottle. Have you tried the milk cold? That was the only way my daughter would take it. Have you tried the Avent bottle? I hope some of this help's.

Have you tried the bottle that a company called One Step Ahead makes. It is a bottle that looks and feels like a breast. You can visit their website and look at one and see if you have tried anything like it. I recommended it to another friend and it worked.

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Hi C.! I had the same problem with my baby ( now 15 mos) Have you tried putting the breast milk in the cup? She may take it that way. My son never took the bottle. He went straight from my breast to a cup. I tried every type of nipple/ bottle I could find. He refused it. I was unable to pump but I did give him water in his cups ( at first) he was fine with that and I was able to get away! So I would suggest trying your milk in the cup, water and juice. My son still will not drink milk. The only milk he ever drank was breastmilk. Oh and you might want to try formula in the cups. She may take it then. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter was 5 months when I went back to work and she refused a bottle too nor would she take the pumped milk in a cup. I started her on water in a sippy cup and used the pumped milk in cereal. I started her on the cereal a little early (I think 6 months is the recommended age)and she did great. Of course she still nursed like she was starved!

1 mom found this helpful

C.,
Im a midwife and lactation educator in Richmond.

I can tell you that she associates mama with breastfeeding. If you want to be able to be away from her for a little longer, try her with whom ever her care provider will be with the bottle or cup. You will have to not be in the room at all, or she will likely not accept the breast substitute. Try leaving her in the care of her sitter/other parent, and go to another room of the house, say to work or whatever, and see how she reacts to taking the breast substitute from the care provider. She may balk at it the first couple of times. Try it when you know she will be hungry, so that she is willing to put forth the effort to get the food into her belly.

At 4 months nipple confusion is unlikely, but I suppose still a possibility, so be aware that this situation could occur. Also... Stopping nursing exclusively may interfere with your milk supply and your fertility. If you havnt gotten your cycles back, skipping nursings will likely cause them to start up again. Be sure you are emptying your breasts often, try not to go longer than 6 hours without nursing, as it could cause you to drop your supply and/or get a breast infection. Your body will tell you when you MUST get that milk out, listen to it.

Are you involved with La Lache League? They are a wonderful organization for helping and supporting breastfeeding moms and there are morning and evening groups around Richmond and Williamsburg.

This seems like it might be a silly fix, but is the breastmilk warm enough? I had to have a medical procedure done, so I was pumping, and I found that my little one made faces like the milk was yucky if it wasn't warm enough. And sometimes towards the end of the bottle I would warm it again, just a little.

Good luck!~

My second son refused the bottle if he knew I was around. My husband was able to get him to take it a couple times though if I was completely out of the house. Maybe try running to the store and ask DH to give her the bottle while you are gone. Also, someone else suggested the Nuby sippies. Those worked wonders for us also. They have a very soft supple spout that he would take no problems.

I have a question. Is this the first time you have tried giving your baby a bottle? Usually they say you should introduce the bottle around 4-6 weeks because they get used to eating by the breast and don't want to take a bottle. I have been breastfeeding exclusively as well and I use playtex drop ins with the brown colored nipples and my daughter likes them just fine. You may just have to keep trying for a little while and hope she will eventually take it. I have had the same problem with the pacifier but I am still not able to get her to take it. I wish you luck!

My five month old baby girl won't take a bottle as well. She only just started accepting a pacifier a couple of weeks ago (Gerber Nuk). Once that happened I figured she might be more open to a bottle so I tried one with the same type nipple. Surprisingly it sort of worked and now she will take about an ounce. Obviously that is not really enough if I'm to be gone for more than an hour at a time. So we started her on cereal and stage one prunes (the iron in the cereal constipates her). It has been a great way to bridge the gap for us. Good luck. I feel your frustration!

Have you tried the bottle that a company called One Step Ahead makes. It is a bottle that looks and feels like a breast. You can visit their website and look at one and see if you have tried anything like it. I recommended it to another friend and it worked.

I sympathize completely! My child also has a very strong preference for the breast and i work full time outside of the home. we started her on the bottle when she was 5 weeks old with breast milk and she flat out refused it for a week - just one feeding. i had to leave the house because i couldn't listen to the crying. After 5 weeks of this, she finally started taking the bottle, but only when she was very hungry. When i returned to work, she was 13 weeks old. She stages a "hunger strike" about once a week - just flat out refuses the bottle. At one point, my partner but my bra up to her face so she could smell me and then finally got her to take the bottle that way - she had gone 6 hours without eating that day.
i am happy to say that she now tolerates the bottle enough to eat when she is hungry. it helps that she started solids, and we are going to try the sippy cup. But, when i am home, she wants me - and if she sees me, she will refuse a bottle.
Good luck.

My daughter is 4 years old now but I was in the very same situation. I had two daughters that refused breast milk from a bottle. At four months, you should be able to break away for at least two-three hours. If she is not going that long yet, she should be soon. I asked our pediatrician about it when I went for one of our well visits and she said that if I was out of the room and someone else gave my daughter the bottle, she would probably take it. You just can't give her the choice. When she is hungry enough, she will take the bottle. Personally, I was never able to do this. I felt too guilty but thinking back I should have tried a little bit more. Both my daughters(ages 4 and 6 now) breastfed until they were about 13 months old. You might want to keep trying the bottle so you are not tied to the house for so long. You definitely need to take care of yourself and get a well deserved break. Good Luck!!

Just chiming in that I also waited too long and ended up never getting my daughter on a bottle. This time (due 2/11) will be different! Good luck, I saw a bunch of suggestions, hopefuly one will work for you.

Hi, I had the same problem with my son. He never did end up taking the bottle. I think I waited to long to introduce it. I had someone suggest teaching him how to drink out of a straw and he learned how to do that around 7 months old. I also started him early on solids since he was such a big eater. Trust me I know it really limits you when they won't take anything other than the breast, but thankfully eventually he liked the straw option! I'm due in March and plan on introducing a bottle sooner so I don't have the same problem with this one.

This can be tough, I know. Especially with the second (I have 2 as well) because it's so much easier to just breast feed when you're dealing with trying to keep the other child happy. AND, you have no extra person at home to help you with the other child while you are trying to bottle feed the baby. Waiting until 4 months makes it even harder, because your baby knows what she wants and she is going to make that clear. :-)

Here's my advice... (1) definitely pick ONE type of bottle and stick with it (as it's not the bottle she is having difficulty with, it's giving up the breast.) Offering different bottles just confuses matters. Both mine were fine with the Avent bottles, once they took to the bottle. And, just think... our mothers and grandmothers didn't have 50 different types of bottles to chose from when they were doing this. (2) If possible, go out for the day and have someone else give the bottle (if there is someone else you feel the baby is comfortable with... I used my mother for this and she was just very patient and nurturing.) She's have to take the bottle sooner or later because she'll be hungry. (3) Be super patient (I know... it's really hard). My husband kept telling me our baby wouldn't take the bottle from him and that maybe it was the bottle... I know it was just that I was more patient and "mothering" for lack of a better word. Although he contributed greatly by keeping our older child busy while I did this.
GOOD LUCK and hang in there!

I am a mother of three daughters, mostly grown now, but I had the same problem with my "baby." When she was five months old and still wouldn't take a bottle, I mixed melted vanilla ice cream in with the breast milk in the bottle. Out of desparation I squirted some in her mouth and she began sucking away! Then, with each feeding, it was just a matter of mixing less ice cream and more breast milk, until I had all breast milk in the bottle. I don't know why I chose vanilla ice cream, except that maybe my other children were eating it at the time. But it worked for me! Good luck!

My daughter was stubborn about this too, but I had to go back to work part time. Basically I could not do the bottle feeding for the first couple of months (which was fine). But also my first 1/2 day back to work she refused to eat until she saw me. She was fine and happy, but did not want to take the bottle. Then the next day I had to work the full day. So, we just did it. She barely touched the first bottle, but let me tell you when they are REALLY hungry they will eat. So she ate from a bottle ever since. She was just trying a game of battle of the wills and when she realized she wasn't going to get what she wanted she gave in. Then she would drink from any type of bottle once she realized she needed to do it :)

You absolutely need time away. My son did the same thing and the only way we could get him to take a bottle was to increase the temperature of the milk. Of course you need to test that it is not too hot but an increase in temp. is what worked for us. I hope this helps.

I understand what you are going through. My now 12yo son wasn't offered a bottle for the first half year (my choice) but then refused one when I did offer. I tried breast milk, then formula, but it didn't matter who was feeding, he knew that HIS milk came from MOMMY. However, he would take watered-down juice in a bottle if he was really desperate.

With my other babies, the first was given bottles of formula in the newborn nursery and never did breastfeed well as a result (he was lazy and liked that bottle). The second loved eating and would happily take either breast or bottle (and later, the cup). The last one would take a bottle of breast milk in the 2nd half of his first year, but I could not be the one offering it. Everyone is an individual. Hang in there!

As a baby myself, I also refused a bottle, and I would rather cry it out than accept it. My mother weaned me to a cup (whole milk) at 8mo because she was enrolled in graduate school.

Same thing with my son!!!! I sw his doc & he said that when I had help in the house, I was under no circumstance to give him the breast. After 2 weeks (only 2 days a week of trying bc I felt so bad for the little guy for 6-7 hr stretches) he now takes the bottle perfectly but not from me!!!!! The ONLY one he uses is Dr Brown's...we tried ALL bottles...who knows. Good luck!!

If possible, have someone else try and feed her the bottle. Good luck!

Hi C.,
I know how you feel. Neither of my children wanted bottles. And despite what the doctors said, they cried themselves to sleep rather than take their milk any other way than breastfeeding. Finally I just had to resign myself to the fact that "this is how it is". It took some lifestyle adjustments but it all worked out. My kids are now 9 yrs old and 6 yrs old. They are both extremely healthy and have a great relationship with me, two things I think I can attribute in part to the breastfeeding. One thing that may help you though--I started feeding both of them baby cereal and baby fruits at age 4 months--the youngest the doc would let me start. THat helped because they could then go for longer without breastfeeding. Good luck to you! ---A.

My youngest daughter absolutely refused breastmilk in a bottle, but after much desperation, I tried a formula sample and discovered she would take formula from a bottle. Of course, it may just be too that she can smell the milk on you. Try having your husband give her a bottle and see how that works. Good luck!

Have you tried a Nuby cup? If she takes a few sips out of a regular sippy cup then she might like a nuby cup. They are about $1.00 a piece at any walmart or target and they are great! My littlest used a bottle for a bit but was off the bottle and on to the nuby cup at about 6 months. She started using a regular sippy cup at about 9 months! The nuby cups have a soft spout top that sort of feels like a bottle but is shaped differently. Could be worth a shot! Good luck!

After months of the same thing, a friend of mine tried formula in the bottle and it worked! I definitely wouldn't push the cup thing, she's pretty young for that. I don't blame you for needing a break. Breastfeeding doesn't and shouldn't mean you're the only one who can feed your child. How exhausting!

It is sometimes hard to introduce a bottle to a breastfeed baby. One thing you may have to do is to let her cry till she is hungry enough to take the bottle. Have you tried the milk cold? That was the only way my daughter would take it. Have you tried the Avent bottle? I hope some of this help's.

I went through the same thing as you. My youngest refused to take to the bottle. I finally found one that he liked. It was Gerber Nuk bottles. If she likes the Gerber nuk pacifiers then she might take to it. It will just take alittle adjustment to the milk coming out of it. But that was the only bottle he took. And then he was on his sippy exculsively at about 10 months.

Hi C.,

I understand as my son breastfed til he was 14 months. I would recommend Avent bottles with the smallest nipples. I believe they have 1 or 2 holes. The more holes the faster the flow of the milk. A breastfed child has to work at eating while a bottlefed baby doesn't. Also, some people the nipples according to the child's age that has more holes but I wouldn't. Your breast doesn't doesn't change so the nipple shouldn't. That may be an issue with her. Maybe her mouth is getting flooded - she hasn't gotten the hang of it.

She probably will not take the bottle when you are there because she smells your milk. She probably will not take one from you for a while. My son did not want a bottle at all. I did pump as well.

I would try going out for a few hours, like a while before she gets hungry. If you can have someone she knows really well feed her while you're gone. It may take a while. If she is really hungry she will eat from the bottle. I hoped that helped :)

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