15 answers

Help! My Milk Is Drying up and My Son Won't Take a Bottle

I have an 8 month old little boy who has been breastfeed since birth. He has probably only had 10 bottles in his life. My milk is fine first thing in the morning and at bedtime but I am not producing any during the day. He tries to nurse and then yells at me when he doesn't get anything out. I know he is hungry but I try to give him a bottle of formula and he yells even more! Any other time of day, he is a precious little angel and never cries. He is a great kid. I don't mind switching to bottles and formula (I was going to breastfeed for the first year) but I need some suggestions. Did anyone else have this problem? How do I get him to take a bottle of formula? Will he eventually give in because he is hungry? He is eating some solids (crackers, carrots and also his baby food) and he drinks water from a sippy cup sometimes. Thanks!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

drink lots and lots of water...also malt beverages will help bring down more milk....like smirnoff...that what the ped. told me when that happened and it def. helped.

Good Luck!!

More Answers

Hi L.,

You are not trying to wean him, so I am not sure if you want to try this, but I weaned my son from breastmilk when he was 8 months old. He goes to daycare, so he had bottles daily, but not with formula. I could not get him to drink any kind of formula. But, I finally got somewhere with Goodstart Soy. I mixed his bottles of breastmilk with a little formula and gradually increased the amount of formula until he had an entire bottle of formula. (1 oz formula/5 oz breastmilk; 2 oz formula/4 oz of breastmilk; 3 oz formula/3 oz breastmilk and so on). After a couple of days he was weaned. You may want to try a few bottles of just breastmilk before even trying to introduce the formula since he has not had very many bottles. You'll be surprised.....once you start giving him a bottle, you will probably have an abundance of milk come in. I thought my milk was drying too, but as soon as I started to wean, I became engorged. Good Luck!!!

drink lots and lots of water...also malt beverages will help bring down more milk....like smirnoff...that what the ped. told me when that happened and it def. helped.

Good Luck!!

I have two children, both were breast fed and if they were ever bottle/cup fed it was breast milk pumped either immediately before leaving to have the correct temperature they were used to or I nursed right before leaving and only prepared a couple of ounces just in case.

My son was on the spill proof cups you get from walmart that have the soft nipple on it at 5 months and before that I used nipples that helped with the transition from breast to bottle for mothers who supplement..
I never fed anything but breast milk or water in either and I always sat him up while nursing and drinking from the bottle or cup.

I found that my son would not nurse until I returned which honestly was ok because he ate every 5 hours and when I started going to school again it was nothing unusual feeding wise..
But if either one was hungry they would give in eventually..

DRINK YOUR MINIMUM AMOUNTS OF WATER.. Everytime you nurse try to pump atleast 5-10 mins after to increase your milk supply.
Drink water while nursing

You may not be low on supply he may not like the surroundings at that time or something may be bothering him or it may just be a routine that he does and you have to coach him out of it.
think about that time.
Is there more distraction than normal, are you not nursing where you normally do, is there something you can do to hold his attention? singing dancing etc.
If he does yell and scream stop nursing allow him a second to cool off by entertaining him, and drink some water in the mean time.

When you begin to nurse again insist that he try for atleast 5 mins.. Eventually milk will come in..

If you do think you are low on milk supply purchase a vitamin called Phenugreek.. I believe its under $10.
nurse right before leaving
leave fresh milk
have others supplement with you around to ensure the infant that it is ok
allow alternatives for supplementing (cup, bottle, different cups, and nipples)
have the person hold them in the same position you nurse in

My second would not take a bottle from me...so I had to give it to her in her carseat or bouncer and when she was even older, I sat the bottle on the floor and walked away. Slowly she would go to it. I think she thought if I was too close to her that I would nurse her so she refused it, but this worked for us.


this gets to be such a scarry thing for moms when baby is just not working with you on such an important issue. Congratulations for trying to get him through the first year on breast milk. Many moms have a difficult time with this.
Several people have mentioned water, which is very important, and fenugreek (an herbal supplement that elevates prolactin levels) as a significant helper. Beer has brewers yeast in it that seems to help. It is possible that your calcium levels or protein intake is down and that can affect your milk as does feeding the baby after his solids instead of the other way around. Another factor may be not emptying your breasts for a 9-10 hour stretch at night while baby is sleeping.

These are just some idea's. I am a lactation consultant (yes I charge for my time)and I would be happy to problem solve through this with you. Please feel free to contact me privately @ The Nestingplace in Grapevine.

Are you sure you're drinking enough fluids during the day? Most of the milk your baby gets in a feeding is produced while he's actively nursing. Are you nursing in a quiet place and are you relaxed or are you in a rushed environment and it's kindof a hassle to stop at that point to nurse - that could be impacting the "let down" of the milk when the baby tries to nurse.

It may also be that you're eating or drinking something in the morning that he doesn't like the flavor of. My son did
not like it if I ate either broccoli or drank orange juice.

My second son also refused a bottle. And, it depends upon your son's personality as to whether he'll give in - mine didn't and to this day, he is a very strong willed child.

I have a day care at home and I have been working with a mom who has a 45 month old almost 5 now. He does not like bottles either, and he will not take it from mom because he knows she has more. So I have been trying different things. The doctors said sippy cup and he would chew that one, but got it down. Then he liked when I cut off a nipple and the whole was bigger then I wanted but he was ok. I seemed to be force feeding him as it just went down fast and he was satisfied. He also kept grabbing it for more. Now the last week he seems to just like a plain old bottle. We found those fancy bottles with the insert are hard and he did not like them. He likes the simple old fashion bottles that are about 99 cents. Good luck if nothing else just try to give him a cup. Anything to satisfy him. Easier if he would because then he would not have to be broken from the bottle. Years ago before they had all this stuff my mom's milk dried up with one of my brothers. She gave him whole milk and he was fine. I would not suggest it now but some how they all survive. Take care and God Bless G. W

I have taken Fenugreek which is a dietary supplement available at your local GNC. It will increase your supply! It will also make you smell like maple syrup :) I have used it with two babies to increase supply after an unexpected stay in the hosptial. I took three pills a day and it worked for me. However, the lactation consultant at Baylor Grapevine said that 9 a day would really get the milk going.

I saw that Someone else suggested beer - PLEASE DON'T DRINK ALCHOHOL WHEN YOU ARE FEEDING HIM!!! The alchohol stays in your milk for about two hours after you drink - however there are vitamins that have brewers yeast in them they work great take one with a glass of water right before you go to bed or take a nap (the rest reall helps) also - at Tom Thumb they have Mother's milk tea which helps a lot - i've heard that mother's milk tonic works, but i'm not sure where you can get that! The more you feed the more your body will produce so if you are trying to get him to stop that mid - day feeding you should pump during nap time or something so that your body will still think you need that milk!! I think it is GREAT that you are breastfeeding for that long - good for you (AND YOUR BABY!!) (I didn't make this stuff up - I'm nursing my four month old daughter and I have a relative that is a lactation consultant and I have talked to her about all of this also!!) Good Luck and keep it up!!

I have a 7month old that won't drink from a bottle either, which poses certain problems when i would like to get out of the house on my own. We have been letting her drink water from a cup since she was 3 months old so when ever i leave the house i just let whom ever is watching her feed her with a cup. It takes more time and a watchful eye but it works. I think she rejects the bottle because it is similar to the breast, and it confuses her. We don't use a sippy cup either but i'm sure it would work hope this is helpful!

Are you not nuring or pumping during the night? If not your milk supply can diminish in the day. Have you tried pumping and giving that to him through a bottle? The idea being that if he takes your milk (warmed) in a bottle you can slowly add formula to wean him off your milk.

If your goal is to breastfeed for a year, then you are sabotaging yourself by offering him formula. I would suggest you consult with a lactation consultant and see what you can do to make the mid-day feedings go better for both you and baby. The body should adjust to whatever demands are place upon it. If it's not, check your eating habits. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water, getting enough rest and eating lots and lots of fresh raw fruits and vegetables. That will keep every system of your body functioning properly.

Good luck!


ok definately drink lots of water! like 90oz a day! i know that sounds like alot but that's what most people are suppose to drink. also this is something my sis-in-laws friend was told to do by her OB was to drink half a glass of beer(very small half like 3-4oz) because something in it-i'm not sure what makes your milk come in great! her friend was skeptical but tried it cause she was already doing the water thing and her milk started coming back like crazy! just a thought. but it was her doc that told her to do this. anyway take it or leave it- i hope you get more milk!!!!

Hi L.,
I was taking 9 pills of Fenugreek a day and I could not believe all of the extra milk that it made!! It was crazy, at night it would just leak right through 2 breast pads. Or, I would be feeding him on one side and it would just be pouring out of the other side. I felt like a milk maiden! :)
I got a bottle from my chiropractor for $7. Which is a much cheaper and better option than switching to formula! Let me know if I can help any further.

Something else is going on. The odds are very very very slim that your milk is actually drying up. Giving him a bottle will only hasten a dip in your supply as well btw.

I would strongly recommend you contact someone from La Leche League (free) or a lactation consultant (may charge) regarding what's going on and they will offer you suggestions. They are HIGHLY knowledgeable and nice. Check out the La Leche League web site and see if you can give one of the leaders an email or call regarding what's going on.

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