3 Month Old Won't Take the Bottle

Updated on June 16, 2009
K.S. asks from Billings, MT
7 answers

Help! My 3 month old just screams and screams when either my husband or I try to give him a bottle. He only wants to nurse. We are moving next month and will be in the car for several days, so I had hoped to have him feeding with a bottle in order to give us more freedom on the drive. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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answers from Allentown on

Hi K.,

Contact your local La Leche League Representative at


Hope this helps. D.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi K.,

Have you tried having your husband give the baby a bottle when you aren't at home? Babies are pretty smart and they will know that you are around. I would suggest trying when you aren't at home. If you can get your baby successfully taking a bottle when you aren't around, then you can try getting him to take one when you are around. You may find that it ends up being easier to nurse on your trip so that you don't have to keep bottles cool (and there won't be a place to warm them on the road). Also, you will need to pump if you are spending several days on the road - and it may just be easier to pull over for 20 minutes every 3 hours or so and nurse the baby. It will be a good break for your 3 year old to get out and run around with dad.

Good luck with your move.


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answers from Harrisburg on

I supplemented my twins with a bottle while breastfeeding them. I always found they preferred the breast until (toward weaning them) I was feeding them more than 3 bottles a day and then they started to prefer the bottle. It's not easy because I found with my kids they wanted one or the other. I did find that feeding the twins at least 2 bottles a day made supplementing easier and they didn't turn away as often. Just stick with it and offer the bottle a couple of times a day is my only suggestion. Is it breast milk you're giving him or formula? You might want to start with breast milk.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Are you giving formula or breast milk in the bottle? If formula, pay close attention to your baby's reaction. If it's formula, he may simply not like the taste, or he could have an intolerance or allergy to the formula. Does his cry sound different than normal when you try to give him a bottle? My daughter, who ended up having a SEVERE allergy to milk protein, would cry when I tried to give her a bottle, and her cry sounded a little different--a little more muffled, perhaps. It might be worth a call to the doctor just to be sure.

When I took trips, I always stopped for regular feeding times, and made sure they corresponded with bathroom breaks, mealtimes, stretch times, etc. for the rest of the family whenever possible. I found that traveling long distances with an infant was disruptive enough of an infant's schedule that keeping nursing routines intact was really important for us. Then (and this is a little unorthodox, I know--but it worked wonders for us), if we were stuck in traffic and my baby was fussy and just needed to suckle a bit to go to sleep, etc., I would simply lean over the car seat and nurse for a couple minutes like that--when they were very young. Worked like a charm.

Our children were always really great travelers as infants, because the rythmic purr of the car engine always lulled them to sleep!

Best wishes as you travel!



answers from Erie on

I was never able to feed my baby a bottle while breastfeeding. They aren't dumb enough to be duped. If Mom is there, where's the "real stuff"? My husband was able to do it however. . . . You can try the bottle, but I don't think feeding a 3 month old while in a carseat is a good idea. What are you going to do if he chokes? The drive would have to slow down, pull over, stop, you have to get the baby out of the carseat and slap him on the back ? Way too time consuming.

Why not plan to take your time, when you have to stop to breastfeed, stop somewhere where Dad and big bro can run around, play ball or something, and you can feed the baby. Try to make the trip enjoyable instead of the move from hell.

another trick to entertain the 3 yr old ? Buy some inexpensive but new toys and give him one every so often as a surprise -- wrapping paper and all. It'll mess up the car, but it'll make the trip MUCH more fun for him, which will make it MUCH more fun for all of you.



answers from Philadelphia on

Dear K.:
Your infant is doing what is normal for him. Not only is 3 mos. a growth spirt time which would require an increase in your milk production but he is also probably teething; therefore, nursing is the only comfort he may have. My infant once refused a bottle for 16 hours (I had a breast infection and could not nurse). They are determined, but also with good reason. I have nursed all 3 of my babies and enjoyed the pease and tranquility of that special time in my life. I offer you the suggestion that you take your time with the 3 mos. old because your milk and comfort is of great demand in his teething experience. He will suck for a day (almost all day); you will have to drink more and then he should be fine. Your health care insurance may have a 1-800 number for a 24/7 nurse to talk to regarding your situation and may be able to give you additonal ideas for coping. The LaLeche League for Nursing Moms may also offer support. Good luck! E.



answers from Pittsburgh on

My next door neighbor went through this, and I hate to tell you this, but it took 7 months before her daughter would take a bottle. Made me glad that we had to supplement from day 1! She tried all the things that people suggested-- leaving, putting breast milk in the bottle, etc., and her daughter never would take it. Now, if it had been me, I probably would have held out longer than she did, but she couldn't stand the thought of her not eating, so she'd give up and nurse.

I would offer a bottle once a day (at one of the hungrier feedings), but I think you had better plan on stopping to nurse on the road. You are going to be stopping every 2 hours for diaper changes/potty breaks anyway. I think we do nursing mothers a disservice by not telling them to get the baby used to a bottle from the beginning...

Next question: What to Do When Baby Is Hungry/ While on the Road