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What To Do If Your Baby Won’t Take A Bottle

By Rebekah Kuschmider |

“She’s starving,” my neighbor told me when I came home from a recent date night. She’d been watching the baby for four hours and the baby had not eaten so much as a mouthful of milk. The bottle just made her mad. She had been crying for an hour.


I’m a breast-feeding stay at home mom and I just kind of forgot to introduce a bottle during that optimal window for doing so when the baby was 4 weeks old. Now, she won’t take one. Hates them. They make her scream. It’s not a huge problem because I seldom leave her but once a month I need to volunteer at my son’s school and she can’t come with me. Plus I sometimes need to do other stuff like visit the dentist or the doctor and it’s better to do it without baby.

Now, anyone looking at my baby could see that one missed feeding here or there won’t harm her long term. She’s got enough chub on her to survive a few milk-free hours. That doesn’t mean I relish the idea of her crying from hunger while I wrangle pre-schoolers or get my teeth cleaned. So, I asked the great Internet hive-mind of moms for some advice on how to get her to eat even if I’m gone. Here are the great responses I got!

Many thanks to my readers and Julie Miner and her amazing followers at Rants from Mommyland for their input!

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What To Do If Your Baby Won't Take A Bottle

Offer The Bottle Before the Baby Is Too Hungry

A frantic baby looking to nurse won't be as amenable to a bottle as a happier baby who might be willing to try something new.
Photo Credit: photo stock

Read more from Rebekah at Mom-in-a-Million, The DC MomsThe Broad Side Follow Rebekah on Facebook and Twitter too!

Photo credit: Photo stock


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About Rebekah Kuschmider


Rebekah Kuschmider

Rebekah Kuschmider is a writer and mother with an over-developed sense of irreverence, who has socialist tendencies and a blog. She lives with her husband and two kids outside of Washington, DC. You can read her work regularly at Stay At Home Pundit and The Broad Side. Her work has also been seen at Salon, Redbook, and The Huffington Post. Read bio and latest posts → Read Rebekah Kuschmider's latest posts →

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2 thoughts on “What To Do If Your Baby Won’t Take A Bottle

  1. Coralyn says:

    At 4 months I went back to work part time. My DD gave us such a hard time with the bottle. As soon as we would put it in her mouth she would gag! She does the same thing with pacifiers. We tried putting milk on the nipple, sugar water, different positions (some as if I was nursing her, in her swing, face to face). We went out and bought about 8 different bottles with a dozen different nipples and began the long process of trial and error. My husband would try one in the morning and one at night, I would have to go outside and wait. She couldn’t know I was near. She hated the silicone nipples, hated the small base nipples, hated fast flow, hated if the milk was too cold. Finally we tried the playtex drop-in with a slow flow latex nipple, and bingo! It was the right combo for her! It was definitely a rough few weeks in the beginning, my MIL actually drove to the school where I teach so I could nurse a few times, but it got better pretty fast.

  2. Sara A. says:

    It sounds really weird, but try to find a nipple that is shaped roughly like yours when the baby unlatches. Or if baby will take a pacifier try a nipple shaped like the paci. LCs recommend against the flat spade-shaped nipples because they can make baby’s latch sloppy.

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