4 Month Old Won't Take a Bottle- Help!!

Updated on October 02, 2008
H.S. asks from Lewisville, NC
17 answers

My 4-month old has been almost exclusively breastfed since birth. Up until she was about a month old, we started giving bottles (of breastmilk and an occasional few ounces of formula). She took bottles then with no problem. However, at about 2 months she began rejecting bottles and will settle for nothing but the real thing! We have been practicing with her for going on two months now with every bottle and nipple imaginable, but without much luck. I returned to work 2 days ago and she has not eaten ANYTHING for the sitter. I go and nurse her on my lunch break, and that is all the nourishment she gets for the 7-8 hours I am away. It breaks my heart to think about her starving all day, and it certainly hasn't made it any easier for me to return to work. Any suggestions or success stories would be wonderful!

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Thank you all for your suggestions- I truly appreciate it!

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answers from Norfolk on

I haven't tried the breast bottle which is kinda cool but I agree with one of the other Moms, the Dr. Brown bottles (if you haven't tried them already) are fabulous. It's the only bottle my son would take. It's something about the large soft nipple and the way it flows. It's very much like the breast. Worth a shot!

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answers from Florence on

This very same thing happened to me! I tried several different bottles and nipples and was at wit's end until I found the Dr. Brown's bottles. I don't know if you've tried these or not but if not you must do so! The nipples are very soft very similiar (if you will) to the nipple. Anyway, my daughter immediately started taking them and we didn't have any trouble after that. Before that though, we were told to try cup feeding her. If you aren't familiar with that it just means using a small medicine measuring cup and feeding almost like she was drinking from a cup. That worked but only temporarily for us. And also we were told to try Nuby sippy cups with the soft spouts. Anyway, I hope that you find a solution! I know it is heartwrenching knowing your baby is hungry!! :) I hope some of this helps. Also, the website www.thenest.com has a message board for parenting. You can search old posts or start a new one and find lots of helpful tips! It was my parenting bible when I first had my daughter!


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charleston on

Have confidence in knowing that this is a very common issue. I belong to another website as well - www.babywhisperer.com.
Below is a lit of suggestions from that website, I thought might help.

"*Be positive approach the feed "knowing" baby WILL take it from you. Baby will sense your confidence. If you get stressed or negative it will /can fail.

*Remember that baby is not refusing the bottle on purpose.

*Sit your baby on your lap and talk to him, “It is time for your bottle. Look how yummy" etc. Keep the positive talk. Stress and negative vibes can be felt by yout baby. Take deep cleansing breaths and keep reassuring yourself and your baby.

*Remember, your baby will not starve herself/

*She (Tracy) suggested using the Haberman feeder so that baby can regulate flow. She suggested holding baby close, like when b/feeding, and having your fingertips on her face to provide the skin-to-skin contact babies get when b/feeding. Tracy also advised walking with the baby if she fussed during the feed, and 'jiggling' her a tiny bit.

*VERY warm milk

*Start on breast or pacifier or finger then slip the bottle in after a minute or two..

*Cut out the distractions! No TV, dim the lights, etc.

*One day, at about 9 wks, I gave her nothing but bottles of ebm. The first bottle took an hour, with problems. She only took maybe 2 oz. Since she was on a roughly 3-hr schedule for feeds, I made her go the 3 hrs until the next feeding (she was REALLY hungry.) Bingo! She took the next bottle with no fighting, and downed 4 oz. in 10 minutes! The third bottle that day was actually her first trial of formula. Again, no fighting, and she took 3-4 oz. very efficiently.

*Hold baby in the crook of your leg (my left foot resting on my right knee) so that she's not right next to the real thing

*Tickle the roof of her mouth with the nipple and then lift the bottle up

*Feed in a different place/room (i.e., bouncy seat, car seat, high chair, your bedroom, living room, kitchen, etc)

*Try different bottles/teats. Look at your own nipples and try to find one that matches the shape of your nipple when baby is feeding

*Let your baby put her hands around the bottle herself.

*Try a sippy cup, maybe without the stopper (so there is no sucking needed)

*Start when baby is not hungry, perhaps 30 minutes after a bf to get used to the nipple and the bottle. Eventually offer for a feed.

*Used a nipple with the same shape as the pacifier

* Be persistent

*Have someone else offer the bottle, and take the time to go out and do something for yourself (so you don’t hear the battle, if there is one)

*Try it cold (if teething they may prefer something cold)

*Mommy has to be out of the room where baby can't see or hear her. Daddy gives the bottle; take off his shirt and strip baby down to her diaper when he feeds her so that she gets the skin-to-skin contact that she gets with Mommy. There are no distractions and he gently talks to her while feeding her and lightly bounces her while she is cradled in his arms.

*Get them used to the taste of formula by dripping formula into their mouths.

*Drip the milk from the teat so that they know it is the source of food supply and keep doing this until they latch on.

*Hold down both hands so that they can't push the bottle away.

*Put it in the corner of their mouth rather than the middle and rest it on their gum.

*Try and calm baby down from real screaming with cuddles then try again.

*If weaning to formula, try mixing EBM with the formula. Make the formula first (so water to powder ratio is correct) then add EBM. Try ¼ formula and ¾ EBM. Slowly adjust the ratio of formula to EBM until full formula

Start at an early feed. Baby will be more hungry and perhaps more accepting.

*Stand in front of a mirror so baby can see himself

*Give the baby the bottle for 5 minutes, then take a break for 20 minutes, try again for 5 minutes and after that, nurse. Do this 2 times a day for a week. Make the 5 minutes fun and set a timer so you’re not watching the clock



answers from Charlottesville on

Try a bottle called Breast flow -find it at Target.



answers from Charleston on

My son never liked anything bt the old-fashioned Playtex nursers with the slow flow latex nipple. We tried all the formulas and liked Nestle's Good Start Supreme best. Formula can be tough to digest on their little tummies and the Nestle "comfort proteins" really did the trick. Carnation was bought out by Nestle. Carnation had the first baby formula and they've really mastered it over the years.



answers from Sumter on

I know it's kind of late for this, but I just read your post and my sister found a bottle that is freakishly close to the nipple at babiesrus. Here's what it looks like:


if that link doesn't work, it's called Adiri Natural Nurser.

Hope you were successful and if not, maybe try this one!



answers from Raleigh on

We must have the same child!! Seriously, I put my 4 month old in daycare just this week for a "trial run" before I have to go back for real in October. He, too, has been almost exclusively breastfed but has taken about 5 bottles in his lifetime successfully. I was also worried when my son went 6 hrs without anything to eat (but it wasn't like they didn't try!). The teachers said it didn't seem to phase him - didn't cry all day. Still, I don't think that's a healthy thing for infants to go so long without hydration of some kind for several days.
I spoke to my lactation consultant yesterday & she said this is normal for a child of this age who is now so much into his/her environment (stimulated) that breastfeeding provides a lot of comfort for them when overstimulated. Here were her recommendations that I'm in the midst of trying:
*use the nipple that he/she had success with in the past when you gave a bottle
*use breastmilk in the bottle
*warm the bottle really, really well AND the nipple
*distract your child during the attempted feeding (put in an infant seat with a mobile or toy overhead, hold infant facing away from you, walk around while trying to feed the infant)
*be consistent (its probably not the nipple/bottle - its most likely just due to the child's age)

Looking at your email date, this is probably not an issue for you all anymore, but hopefully these tips will help those of us in such a predicament!




answers from Spartanburg on

Good luck. My little one never took a bottle after I tried every bottle and nipple on the market. I had to return back to work after she turned 3 1/2 months. I worked it out with my job that I leave 3 times daily to breastfeed my baby. You will need to talk with your supervisor to let him/her know this is what you need because your baby will not take a bottle. You will be very surprised that your management will work out a schedule for you to take care of your baby's needs.

This is how I approached my managers...... I said that my job is extremely important to my family and me. I have a problem that I hope that you can help me with. My newborn baby will not take a bottle and will only breastfeed. I have tried every bottle and nipple on the market and nothing is working. My request is to leave at 9:30 , 12:30, and 2:30 to breasfeed my baby. This is only temporary until my baby will either stop breastfeeding or she will start taking a bottle.

It worked for me. I am still breastfeeding my baby and she is now 10 months old.



answers from Charlotte on

There is abottle out there that is shaped like a breast. It is called the Breastbottle nurser and you can get iti and the folowing web site. It helped my litle one transition. I hope this helps! Good Luck!http://www.onestepahead.com/product/85207/686/117.html



answers from Charlotte on

My Sophie wouldn't take a bottle either unless it was REALLY warm. We had to hold the bottle upside down, (nipple side to the floor) and make the nipple REALLY warm. Also, the ONLY formula she liked was Good Start with the breastmilk protiens in it. It gave her NO gas and was the only formula she would take after trying every one on the market. AND, she would NEVER take one from me. Remember that the baby will NOT starve herself. She will eventually take the bottle. I had low milk suppily, so Sophie had to take the bottle. She had no choice. She was hungary and she ate. They WANT to eat. There is something your baby does not like,,the formula, or the nipple, or with Sophie, it was the temp (liked it VERY warm) and the formula. Once we figured the temp very warm and the formula she liked, she would drink it out of ANYTHING,,even a sippie cup when she was 5 months old!! Best of luck to you. I TOTALLY KNOW how stressful it is when they won't eat. OH!! And don't rule out ear problems,,,my Sophie had a double ear infection with NO OTHER symptoms, no fever, no rash, no nothing,,just double ear infection when she was 3 months old. I totally just thought she was being a fuss ball about eating like she always had been. Blessings to you and your family.



answers from Spartanburg on

Did you take her to the doctor? She might have ear infection (it hurts to suckle and they refuse to eat) or reflux. Check with the doc to rule out these possibilities. Good luck.




answers from Raleigh on

Oh H., my heart just goes out to you. I can only imagine how difficult it is for you. I unfortuately don't have any magical advice. I have always been a SAHM. I just felt that was best for us. I have lots of friends who are employed outside of the home though.

I want to say that I am sorry if anyone made you feel bad about working. Guilt from someone on here is the last thing you need. We all do what we need to do for our families. I don't know you, or the situation that your family is in, so I am in no position to tell you how to organize the finances for your home.

I believe God allows all things to happen for a purpose, including the woman being employed outside of the house. I did breastfeed both of my boys, they are 5 & 8 now. I also supplemented with a bottle/formula or breastmilk. I applaud you for pumping and giving your child breast milk that way.

I was blessed as to where my kids would take either one, bottle or breast. Apparently my husband was like your baby is now, so says my mother-in-law. He didn't want anything to do with a bottle. I found this website and there are some suggestions on it. Maybe it will help.




answers from Norfolk on

I could not get my daughter to take a bottle when I wanted to go out or get anything done. She would not even do it for my husband. Finally, when I would leave for a few hours, I would leave my shirt I had been wearing all day with my husband. He would feed her with the shirt on his chest and hold her close. She could smell me and then she would drink from the bottle. Give it a try ...it sounds crazy but it was what helped me so much!!! Good luck!



answers from Jacksonville on

is it the formula she doesnt like or the actual bottle? if its the bottle try the advent they are shaped like a breast. Also im wondering why you arent feeding baby cereal or fruit at 4 months old? most people start this between 3-4 months (at least in the bottle) wouldnt that at least keep her less hungry while you are away? if that doesnt work you may need to quit your job or have your sitter feed her formula through a larger dropper.



answers from Columbia on

Have you tried warming the nipple and making sure the milk/formula is warm enough? My little girl won't touch a bottle unless the milk is nice and toasty (like Mommy!).

Also, see if there's a difference in the way you're holding her to give her a bottle. Snuggle her up just like you were breastfeeding her.

Good luck!



answers from Norfolk on

Hi H.,

I feel so sorry for your little angel having to be away from you all day. If I were in your shoes I would listen to what your daughter is telling you. There is NO substitute for YOU! I am looking for motivated people that would like to work from home. We were featured in Empowering Women magazine two months in o row as THE best work from home opportunity. This is a NO inventory investment, No packing or delivering, opportunity. Feel free to contact me to learn more. I'd LOVE to help you get control of your time/life!
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answers from Charleston on

Please do not let people make you feel bad about working!! My daughter was the same way. I didn't work, but I desperately wanted to stop breastfeeding at 4 months and couldn't b/c she wouldn't take a bottle. I decided to only breastfeed once a day as a compromise and offered only a bottle the rest of the time no matter what. After much crying and 1 miserable day, she gave in and was perfectly happy with the compromise. I'm not saying you should stop breastfeeding--just pump until she takes a bottle successfully. I used Avent bottles and Good Start formula. I also like the suggestion of another mom about asking your employer to work with you temporarily until you resolve this situation (if your boss is male, the mention of breastfeeding ought to make him give in to any request you might have!! ha ha!) WHICHEVER BOTTLES YOU CHOOSE, MAKE SURE THEY ARE GLASS OR BPA-FREE PLASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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