Breastfed Baby Won't Take a Bottle

Updated on August 12, 2009
M.I. asks from Willowbrook, IL
9 answers

Hello. My breastfed 10-week old is refusing a bottle. I have to start because I will be returning to work in 2 weeks. We have tried Born Free, Dr. Browns's, Medela, and Gerber bottles, with both slow flow and 1-2 stage nipples. Also have tried having dad, grandma, and mom feeding him. Can anyone provide any suggestions?

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answers from Chicago on

First Years BreastFlow bottle. Works great for my breastfed daughter. I've only seen it sold at BRU and online (ie:amazon).

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answers from Chicago on

I had the same trouble with my daughter. I finally got her to take a bottle with this bottle i got off of It is shaped like a breast. I actually think Babies R Us has them now but i loved it. It rest's on their face like it's your breast. After a little time with her using that, she eventually transitioned herself to a regular Avent bottle. Good luck!
Here's the bottle on the Babies R Us website:



answers from Peoria on

I had the same problem with my 15 month old, and I feel your pain. I was sooooo stressed about it, and she ended up going to daycare at 3 months old without being able to take a bottle. I arranged it so that I could go and breastfeed her over my lunch, but I didn't end up having to do that because our provider was able to feed her with an eye dropper.

When I was doing research on this topic, I read a lot about having the person doing the bottle-feeding make it as much like breastfeeding as possible (holding her the same, wearing something that smelled like me, etc.) That did not work for us! What finally worked was making it the least like breastfeeding as possible. Our daughter finally began taking a bottle when she was in her bouncy chair, and our sitter stood behind her (the baby couldn't see her), and gave her the bottle that way. It took about a month into going to daycare. She's still that strong-willed too :)!

Good luck- I remember how stressful this was. My lactation consultant said that her in 20 years of working with moms and babies, only 1 baby ever refused to ever take a bottle. Yours will likely eventually give in as well, even if you've got a strong-willed child like mine :).



answers from Chicago on

My oldest did the same thing. He just didn't want anything but me. We he was a baby, there were nipples that were shaped like a breast that we tried with only a little sucess. My ped. said (after the fact) that we could have used a sippy cup. Ask your doc. for suggestions. I ended up working close enough to my babysitter and had a boss nice enough to let me take an extended lunch to breast-feed.

Hope this helps some.



answers from Chicago on

I had the same problem. My now 13 month old daughter would frown up and push it out with her tongue. It took me and my husband 3 weeks of offering the bottle twice a day before my daughter would finally take it. I'm not sure how long you've been trying, but hang in there. I have a few suggestions:

Make sure you're using one of the bottles/nipples that are designed for breastfed babies. These usually have a wider base.

If she is choking on the milk, check to make sure the nipple hole is not too big. I always used the slow flow stage 1 nipples--even when my daughter was almost one year old.

Warm the bottle nipple under running water before you give it to her. You can even try putting it in your shirt for awhile to make it smell like you.

If you are trying to have someone else give her the bottle (which is probably the best way to do it), make sure you leave the house. I read somewhere that babies know if you are still in the house and that they can smell you even if you're 50 feet away (or something like that).

What finally worked for my husband was to have her lying on her side like she does when I'm nursing her and have the bottle nipple positioned close to wear my breast nipple would be. Kind of awkward, but it did the trick. Before that, he held her with her lying on her back and the bottle upright like most people usually do when they feed babies.

Try making bottle time fun for her. Sing an upbeat song and act excited like she's getting a special treat. (This sounds kind of corny, but it actually worked for us sometimes). Give her the bottle while you're walking around with her or when she's sitting in her swing or bouncer or something else fun.

You could also even try giving the bottle just before she wakes up. She might start sucking right away and be too drowsy to notice that it's a bottle.

Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I had luck with the adiri bottles.



answers from Chicago on

We had a similar problem. Stick with the Dad feeding. It may take a while but stick with it. Have Dad feed and make sure you are no where to be seen. My son started catching on after about 3 days of tears. I would go into the other room about 20 minutes before bottle time - sort of out of site out of mind. This seemed to help. We would also try with the bottle before he was actually hungry - let him gum the nipple, etc. He eventually got it. You have to just keep trying and I know it is hard but don't rush in as soon as he/she gets upset. Give your husband a few minutes to keep trying. Hope that helps!!



answers from Chicago on


I get calls about this a lot in my practice and have done consults for this.. the first issue is why he won't take a bottle-once that is understood you can move forward..

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answers from Chicago on

Ah, I feel your pain! We went through this with our now 13-month old daughter. It wasn't easy and there was a LOT of crying. They ended up giving her milk using a medicine dropper. It was the only thing that worked. And even then, it was 1-2 ounces, maybe, at a time. Our DD never took a bottle, even though we tried every brand. We did have moderate success with the Adiri bottle. It's like a nipple. All the others were useless. We started giving her rice cereal at 4 months, and she loved it. That made a huge difference. She was no longer starving all day while I was at work. In hindsight, I think we could've started with the rice cereal even a little sooner, given the situation. We also tried every trick that you'll be told will work: sugar on the nipple... Nothing worked with our DD... She eventually would drink an once or two from the Adiri, but mostly she would just wait until I got home and nurse like crazy for half an hour. I'm not going to lie... it was a really tough time, but we all made it through.
Funny thing now is that I'm trying to wean this little girl, and she still won't really drink much milk from a sippy cup! LOL

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