9 Mo. Old Suddenly Not Interested in Breastmilk Bottles

Updated on September 16, 2010
R.C. asks from Portland, OR
11 answers

My 9 month old is still primarily drinking breastmilk, though much out of bottles as I'm working 4 days/32 hrs/week. We breastfeed when we're together.

Last week one day she suddenly started refusing to drink more than an ounce or two out of a bottle at a time. Agonizingly much breastmilk was wasted. So far yesterday and today this week she is doing the same after a weekend of breastfeeding normally. I took her to urgent care over the weekend because she was tugging and rubbing her ears but she had no ear infection and all else appeared normal. Her providers are trying all their tricks to get her to drink, but none of them are working. Any ideas ladies? She eats very few solids and replacing the breastmilk with solids is not something I really want to do before she is a year.

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answers from Portland on

Definitely try giving it to her out of a cup. I saw someone suggest a sippy cup, which would be fine, but isn't necessary. She can start learning now to drink out of regular cup. Put only a little bit in the cup at a time so you don't lose much if it spills or hold it for her while letting her sip.

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answers from Seattle on

Totally sounds like teething. Sucking out of a bottle can be very tough on swollen gums. Try giving her crackers, etc., to chew on (Baby Mums are good as well as the Barley teething biscuits). Or they can also try giving her the breastmilk from a cup. I did that with my son when he was teething really badly at about 1 year old (molars, ugh) at the doctor's suggestion. I was really surprised at how well he drank from the cup! My sister has been cup-feeding her 11-month-old daughter for a looong time as she won't take a bottle either (she also breastfeeds, but her husband offers a cup when she's out).

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answers from Seattle on

My child did the exact same thing around that age, and come to find out she was teething. I personally became kind of distraught over this when it happened to me. I breastfed exclusively for a year but around this mark I questioned going to formula because I wasn't sure she was getting enough and my supply seemed to slow down. I didn't though because from talking around I heard its normal and a phase. I learned that they seem to eat what they need and do just fine. Once she started eating more my supply picked up again too. My child is now 14 months old and still growing strong. Funny thing is I think she is teething again right now too.
I know it's stressful because we want to know they are getting enough. You are doing the best thing by breastfeeding and just being a caring mommy. Good luck

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answers from Eugene on

Can anyone bring her to you at lunchtime or your breaktime.
Do you have enough time to go meet her during the day. That is the way it works best.
Not all children will accept a bottle rather than Mama.



answers from Gainesville on

Well, you can't replace breastmilk with solids in the first year. Breastmilk or formula *must* be primary nutrition for baby to grow and develop properly. Solids will not provide the necessary nutrients, fats, etc that baby needs in the first year.

Have they tried giving her the warm breastmilk in a sippy cup? She could be teething and drinking from the bottle could be painful perhaps.

I remember reading on here about a mom that her milk would taste "soapy" after a period of time and her baby would refuse it. Try googling that. I apologize that I can't remember more about it. I doubt that's the case since she's been doing fine all this time with it.

Try googling nursing strike. Seems to be very common around 9 months of age.

Is she nursing ok when she is with you? There are babies that will refuse the bottle and make up for the "lost" milk when they are with mom.

They could also try cup feeding her the breastmilk as well. I had to give my preemie son meds and had dropped the bottles while trying to teach him to nurse and we cup fed the meds. You have to hold the cup but most will drink from it.



answers from Portland on

By a year old, she should be getting all of her nutrients through solid food and using liquids for hydration, so by 9 months, she should be eating two meals of solid foods as well as nursing. If you hold off too long, it will make her much more reluctant to eat solid foods. A lot of babies go through a phase between 9 and 11 months of refusing to drink bottles or nurse. They are getting to be more independent, discovering solids, and are generally so busy learning and exploring that they don't want to take the time to stop and eat.

The first thing I'd try is a sippy cup. Breast milk can sit at room temp for a long time, so she could work on it slowly and intermittently. Temperature may be an issue for her. You might try making it warmer or cooler and see if it piques her interest more. As a last resort, you can mix things into the milk to make it taste different, thus more interesting. I once used a bit of Nesquik out of desperation, but you can mix a bit of any stage 1 fruit into the bottle too (Banana milk, etc).



answers from Eugene on

two thoughts - is there any way you could breastfeed her at lunch? also, a cup might work better at this age.



answers from Corvallis on

Hi, you might try a different nipple or a different type of bottle such as Dr Brown's as maybe she is getting full on air rather than milk. I would put less milk in each bottle so it isn't wasted (if she drinks the whole thing you can always add more). she may just be going through a phase. As long as she isn't loosing weight, is still peeing and pooping and seems generally happy try not to worry. Maybe by not drinking from the bottle after breastfeeding all weekend she is expressing her displeasure from not having you close during feedings. Maybe try to feed her at least one or two bottles over the weekend so it isn't such an abrupt change on Mondays. Good luck to you.



answers from Houston on

I'd recommend a free-flowing sippy cup (I enlarged the holes on a take and toss type) or a nipple with a larger opening. Then, offer smaller portions at a time to avoid waste.

She'll drink when she is thirsty and hungry. Barring some other problem, which likely would be apparent by now, she won't let herself starve. I know that doesn't soothe you in any way, but I faced the same thing with my daughter and it just took some time to get over the hump.

My breastmilk would get a little "soapy" tasting after being frozen. Normal, but can cause some wrinkled noses until they adjust. I found that keeping it a little cooler in her cup/bottle alleviated some of the distaste.



answers from Portland on

This happened with my son with some of his teething. The ear pulling, too. It seemed to hurt too much to such the milk out of the bottle, although taking it from the breast was easier.

I was lucky in that he would drink from a sippy cup (that didn't require sucking) if someone held it for him and carefully controlled the amount of milk flowing out. Maybe bottle nipples with more/bigger holes would have the same impact.

Good luck, I know how hard it is to work and keep up your breastfeeding!




answers from Portland on

I think your daughter is telling you that 'something' is up.You mention that she eats very few solids-- do you mean that you are introducing just a few, or that she is only accepting a few, or are you speaking of quantity ( in either introduction or acceptance?) I ask this because some children are really ready for more food earlier, and solids are important. I also wonder if the milk has been offered in a cup while in care, if that would be novel enough to help keep her drinking.

If it were me, I'd offer the milk first, and then solids, and let her eat until she's full or disinterested. Watch what happens at this point. Sometimes, our children are ready for the novelty of solids; all the flavor and texture is quite a contrast to any sort of milk. As long as the solids are fruits and veggies/grains in a pureed form, and as long as her diapers are wet, she'll be getting enough hydration. Water in a cup can be offered too, to augment the milk she'll be getting when she nurses with you.

Sometimes our children have funny ways of telling us they need something different than what we want for them. I do understand your desire to keep the breastmilk up, and she is still enjoying this as part of her bonding with you. However, she may prefer bonding over meals and feeding with her caregivers, and it's important to let that routine happen. She may also have the nutritional need for solids (which is one reason it's often recommended to start them at 6months, as their nutritional needs change) that is coming to the fore. If it were me, as I said, keep offering the milk first, then food, and just see what happens. Ask your caregivers to share their observations, and help them to develop their routine with your little girl. It sounds like she's lucky to have so many people who are all looking out for her!:)

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