19 answers

Need Advice for Older Baby Who Does Not Want to Drink!

Hello everyone,
I have an eleven month old baby girl who is not drinking enough all of a sudden. I have read that she should be drinking at least 24 ounces a day, and she is drinking much less, more like 12. This has happened all of a sudden in the last probably two weeks. A lot has happened with her recently. She has just finished weaning and the last time she nursed was two days ago. Also, she was sick with a virus earlier this month, and had very little appetite for almost a week during her illness. Prior to this month she had been nursing 2-3 times a night so my husband and I had been working on night weaning, which turned into day weaning too. She does take a bottle well, it's just that she is rarely interested. She will drink a little and turn away and refuse to drink anymore. The most she will drink at a time is 4 ounces, and that maybe once or twice in a 24 hour period. She doesn't seem in any pain, in fact she is her happy, sweet, active self. It's like she doesn't have the time to stop and drink. She has also decided that she will not be spoon fed anything and must do it all herself. So I had been able to feed her cereal three times a day with formula in it that was adding up to probably 8 ounces a day. Now she won't take that. Then she was eating at night, and now all of a sudden she isn't. So I expected that her daily intake would increase but it hasn't at all. Nor does she seem to be bothered by it. I wanted to wean her to a cup, but she just isn't that into it. She does know how to suck out of it, but has trouble holding it and tipping it up to get the liquid. Not that she really seems to want to drink. She can sort of hold her bottle by herself but mostly just plays with the bottle and the cup. She doesn't seem thirsty but her wet diapers have really decreased. Today I waited a long time to feed her breakfast to try to A) get her to drink a bottle before eating and B) get her to accept me feeding her. She drank maybe one ounce, and ate maybe 4-5 bites and then that was it. She still acted hungry and finally ate when I let her have finger foods. Help! I am concerned that she needs more milk and don't know how to get her to drink it.
I'm sorry that this turned out so long... I was just trying to piece it all together and give as much information as possible! Thanks so much for any advice.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone who took the time to write with advice! I really appreciate it. The ideas, the reassurances, and reports from your babies helped a lot. My baby is doing really well now. She has figured out her sippy cup and is wanting to eat and drink everything all by herself now. After a few days her drinking is back to normal. Sometimes they just go through a lot of changes all at once and it can be hard to know if it is normal and will even out, or if you should be concerned (and this even with my third child!). I should add that she weaned herself. I had tried to get her to breastfeed and she will have none of it. She graduated from baby to big girl all at once! Thanks again for all your help. Moms are the best.

Featured Answers

Hi T.,

At 11 months my breastfed son didn't want a bottle and didn't understand the whole sippy cup concept - he wasn't used to lifting a bottle to his mouth, so the sippy cup got shaken & dropped more often than not. Then I tried adding a straw to his sippy cups - we use the $2 Nuby ones at Wal-Mart & I stick the straw through the vent hole. He loves it & drinks a lot on his own now. He can hold the cup upright & drink on his own. And if he drops it it only leaks a little bit.

As for eating things on his own, Theo will eat a small bowl of dry cheerios and drink a cup of milk for breakfast - just separately.


My son did the same thing and he wasn't even sick! and he is a healthy 4 yr old now, so relax and as long as she is healthy and not looking dehydrated, she is fine. Her needs just may be changing as she approaches toddler-hood.

More Answers

I personally wouldn't worry about it. I don't go by those charts of what each child should do. All children are different and do different things at different stages in their life including eating. My daughter weaned at 10 months and I just bypassed any formula. I didn't even worry about it and I sure didn't calculate how much she drank or didn't drink. As far as the sippy cup issue, what I did with one of mine was just keep it in a bottle for a little bit. Sounds like you are trying too many new things at one time. (Weaning when the child isn't ready to wean is tough. I'm the type of person that will let the child lead and tell me when they are ready.) With another child, I just held the sippy cup to his mouth like I would a bottle. I didn't have them hold it until they were wanting to hold it and were really comfortable with it.

Unless the child is sick, I wouldn't worry about how much food is being taken in. Kids go through spurts where they hardly eat. My first went through this and I believed was going to starve to death. I remember telling the pediatrician that he wasn't eating enough to sustain life for a bird! Honestly! She said not to worry...as long as he is growing, no biggy.

Kids will eat and drink when they are hungry and thirsty unless they are sick.

1 mom found this helpful

We are going through the same thing!! My son is almost 10-months-old, and he recently became bored with his bottle. He has not mastered the sippy cup either. He went from drinking 32 ounces of formula every day to drinking 18-20 ounces. There is nothing wrong with him. I have heard several other mothers say that boredom with the bottle usually appears at this age. Ask your pediatrician how much formula your daughter should be getting each day. According to our doctor, as long as he is getting around 20 ounces, eating enough solid food, and growing normally, he is fine. My son is growing like a weed! It really scared me when he began refusing his bottle, but it is reassuring that this can be normal.

However, it is concerning that her wet diapers have decreased. You don't want her to get dehydrated. I would make an appointment with her pediatrician to make sure she hasn't lost any weight and discuss how much formula she should be getting. Take Care!

I have an 11 month old as well (and four older ones), but this is still new to me. I don't have any advise personally, but I can almost guarantee I know what my mother-in-law would say. She would say that breastmilk is sweet and you should try adding a drop of corn syrup to the formula to sweeten it up to encourage her to get used to it. I think corn syrup is her answer to everything with babies. I don't know if I agree or not, but she did successfully raise nine children. I think it is the switch from breast to bottle that is discouraging your daughter from drinking as much. Many babies go through this when they go from bottle to cup. They just don't drink as much. Of course, you have to be concerned about the wet diapers decrease. My son has the opposite problem. I think he would skip solids and take a bottle all day if I'd let him. He likes to use it for comfort, so now I'm having to head toward more sippy cup use. Good luck with your little one(s).

My two girls did the same thing, they preferred food to the drinking anything. My son loved both- milk and food. My girls are were smaller at age one than he was. At 9 and 3 they are very healthy and drink plently. I weaned my youngest at 11 months also and she never took the bottle, went straight to the cup and like your daughter only drank a few ounces. My oldest did drink formula from 7 to 12 months but when weaned to whole milk initially was not interested in it. They both drank diluted white grape or apple juice fine. (a sweet drink that is good to gain interest and success with a cup. At 11 months they really do begin to get more nutrition from food than formula or milk. Gerber's web sight has some great charts on foods and the amounts recommended for babies and children.
Best of luck to you and your baby.
V. E.

It's so stressful when your baby stops eating as much, isn't it? My son did the same thing during the same time, and it seem to be because of teething. He didn't seem to be in any pain, but I could feel or notice after a little while teeth coming in. A trick I used which worked perfectly until he went back on 8 oz at a time bottle, was to wait until he had just fallen asleep during his naps or bedtime and feed him the rest of the bottle. Early enough so it's not a cat nap ( we need or breaks). He would be about 10 minutes into sleeping and for some reason he would eat the entire bottle. I hope this helps! I know how stressful it can be.

A couple things I've done when I felt like my daughter wasn't getting enough fluids:

drinkable yogurt with a couple ounces milk or water hidden in it
vanilla soymilk
milkshakes (mostly milk with a teeny bit of frozen yogurt)
curly straws, fun cups, anything new to drink out of

My son is just over 11 months, and we have been through something similar recently. I believe it was due to a severe cold he had. When they are sick, it is hard for babies to eat/drink if they can't breathe through their nose due to congestion. For breakfast, I give my son his cup while I am preparing his breakfast. At this age, he is much more independent, and, and once he sees food, he might only want to sip on his cup much like an adult would do with his/her meal. Have you checked with your pediatrician regarding the lack of wet diapers? That would be the only thing that I would really worry about. It is probably just a phase, though. On another note, Born Free makes a great first cup. It has all sorts of benefits, but it is not spill proof. It makes it easier for them to drink out of, but it can get messy! Good luck with the drinking thing! Hopefully, it is just a phase that she will work through herself.

Hi T.,
I have 10 month old and don't have that problem, you have older children so you've been through it all by now! I just for a couple of months let my son play around with a cup of water and he finally figured it out. Now, he wants no part of his cup if there is food involved - ha! ha! Are you weaning her to milk or to formula? At this age, I would go ahead and put milk in the cup and see if she'll go for that - I know the dr.s say 16-24 oz is average for now. So, I would think she is fine. Does she eat table foods good? Maybe try cottage cheese w/ fruit, cheese slices (Thomas loves that) and yogurt to supplement for the dairy if she won't take the milk. I know I never did milk in the bottle with my first one, only the cup and he did fine I think because it was something new! Sorry, I just read you are doing milk and I don't think they need that much - I only did w/ my 4 year old, 6oz cup w/ each meal (18oz total).
Don't know if any of this helps!!

Hi T.,

As a mother of five who nursed for a while, it sounds to me like she may not have been ready to wean yet & is still in need of what she asssociates with her fluid intake. The bottle is hard for younger ones to transition to because it is such a different sucking process. She probably isn't ready for a cup, yet either. That is betetr accepted at about a year & a half. I would suggest that if you are up to it, you offer the breast again for a while. The 11-15 month old range is a very transistional time & alot of changes occur. The extra benefits for both of you to continue to nurse past a year is phenominal. I know it may seem like you are going to be at it forever, but trust me, that precious time when your child needs only you passes way to quickly. I understand the frustration you were going through with the virus & increased night nursing, but she just needed it then. Those difficult times of stress can cause us to abondon worthy things sometimes.

Give it a try & see what happens....good luck!

Hi T.,

At 11 months my breastfed son didn't want a bottle and didn't understand the whole sippy cup concept - he wasn't used to lifting a bottle to his mouth, so the sippy cup got shaken & dropped more often than not. Then I tried adding a straw to his sippy cups - we use the $2 Nuby ones at Wal-Mart & I stick the straw through the vent hole. He loves it & drinks a lot on his own now. He can hold the cup upright & drink on his own. And if he drops it it only leaks a little bit.

As for eating things on his own, Theo will eat a small bowl of dry cheerios and drink a cup of milk for breakfast - just separately.


My cousins child did the same thing but she would go days with hardley any food then she would have a good day and eat. I would not worry too much unless she starts to drop weight. We took her to the Dr several times and the Dr said "She will eat when she gets hungry". It sounds like she wants to "do it herself" so let her. It may get messy and take longer but if she eats, that is what is important. Some babies get tired of the bland food and want foods with more flavor. I would just be patient and make sure you keep an eye on her weight. You may want to ask your Dr or pharmasist about trying some of those drinks like Ensure but for babies. If things don't get better I would get some medical advice.

Sounds like she has had a lot go on for her in the past month. Being sick, weaning off the breast and trying to find some independance on top of it.

Not waking at night to eat is fine, in fact she shouldn't have been to begin with. You were her pacificier at night when she woke. So be glad for sleeping through the night now!!

Not taking much bottle is normal for this age as well. Most of her food intake should be from baby food/table food at this point. By this age for my son he was only taking about 12-14 oz a day of formula. The rest was table food. And also, I started mixing his bottles with whole milk and formula gradually so by time he was 1yr he was on whole milk all the time.

And as far as not wanting to hold her own bottles and feeding herslef. Welcome to little Miss Independant!! She may not want to hold her bottle because she is not happy about the weaning, but she will get over it. A good sippy cup to try (it was the only one my son would take at frist as well) is the Gerber trainer. It has a blue spout on it and one cup even has movable handles. And for self feeding, let her go for it!! Get a good mat (we have a computer mat under his chair) for under her chair and get some good bibs (Dex pocket bibshttp://www.babyearth.com/dex-products-dura-bib-stage-2.html
at Kmart rock!! And Walmart has their version too that are just as good.) Also, you have older children in the house and she is probably at the age where she wants to be like them! This is something else my son did since he had an older sister to follow.

Don't worry about how many oz she takes in. As long as she is eating regular food and is happy, she is fine. Just remember the saying--A child never starved themselves. Just offer her plenty of healthy, easy for her to self feed food and watch her go from baby to little person!!

Good luck!

When my boys were that age they did not like to eat meals since they were too busy walking around. They did what I call grazing. They would eat a yogurt, then an hour or so later veggie crackers, a while after that diced chiken. That was just how they preferred to eat. It was difficult at first to try to keep up with what they had eaten for the day since it was pieces of a meal throughout the day. One other thing that I would like to mention is that some children don't always show signs when they are in pain. She could have pain in her throat, teeth or ears. If you are concerned, you might want to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician just to be sure.

Just try to get her to drink any fluids, doesn't have to be milk. She's probably getting enough - little ones are amazing at knowing what they need.
My ped told me to get the calcium in, though. Still shoot for 2-3 servings of dairy. My daughter loved string cheese from the first bite. Yogurt is another favorite. And the ped told me to bribe her with flavored milk - it works!
Mine is almost 2 and I still panic about her dairy intake, but she does regulate. One day will be non-stop and the next drinks only a little milk.
Also, try cups with a straw and lid. We had trouble with the tipping too, but she loves to drink from a straw.

Don't panic yet. Your daughter can get fluid in her food, too -- fruits and veggies, mostly. I would maybe mention it to the pediatrician but as long as her urine isn't dark, she still makes tears, etc. she isn't dangerously dehydrated. Kids go in and out of stages when they eat and drink more (or less) than usual. I see you have three kids -- I know you know that -- sometimes it's just nice to get a reaffirmation, eh?

As long as she seems normal, has normal activity levels, diapers, etc. just keep offering drinks and water-full snacks. You, know, one last thing: when my daughter wasn't drinking "enough" milk, I went to my mom who said, "Why don't you put a little chocolate sauce in her milk." She drank that! So, for a while, all she drank was flavored milk -- which some would have a problem with, I suppose -- but she was drinking enough milk...

My son did the same thing and he wasn't even sick! and he is a healthy 4 yr old now, so relax and as long as she is healthy and not looking dehydrated, she is fine. Her needs just may be changing as she approaches toddler-hood.

You have to listen to what your gut is telling you and respond in that way. If you read your email back to yourself as though someone else wrote it what would you tell T.? I know it doesn't sound like learned advice but each family is different and each situation maybe similar to others but it doesn't mean we should all respond the same way so I don't want to give you another bit of advice you probably have already gotten so many different bits that you may be a little frazeled by now. Good luck

My advice is to relax. She's not a newborn anymore and probably doesn't need as much milk as you might think. She wants to feed herself finger food, so let her. If she won't drink milk, you can try yogurt to get her the nutrition in milk. I like Yo Baby whole milk organic yogurt and both my girls ate it when they were little.

Hi! I'm mom to a 4 year old picky eater. Kids go through growth spurts. Sometimes it seems like they are getting nothing- have you tried giving her some juice or something to supplement the calories until she's interested again? Again, KUDOS for nursing this long- my son went on strike and stopped nursing at 4 1/2 months, to my heartbreak. My pediatrician told me that as long as they get a balanced diet- like 5 servings and probably a weeks worth of milk over the course of 2 weeks, that they are still healthy and will get their appetite back. Call your Ped. and ask for their suggestions. This will be okay if it's just between growth spurts, but you don't want to overlook something more serious. :) Hope this helps!


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