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

“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!

  • Offer The Bottle Before the Baby Is Too Hungry 1 of 10
    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
  • Try Lots Of Different Bottles 2 of 10
    Try Lots Of Different Bottles
    Size and shape of nipple can make a difference to a baby. Give a few bottles a try.
    Photo Credit: photo stock
  • Make It More Like Mom 3 of 10
    Make It More Like Mom
    Wrap the bottle in a piece of mom's clothing or rest the nipple against your skin to get your scent and flavor on it.
    Photo Credit: photo stock
  • Put Some Milk on the Outside of the Nipple 4 of 10
    Put Some Milk on the Outside of the Nipple
    The flavor of milk might stimulate the baby to start sucking on the bottle.
    Photo Credit: photo stock
  • Let Daddy Do It 5 of 10
    Let Daddy Do It
    Finding someone other than Mommy to give the bottle can help because the baby won't expect to nurse.
    Photo Credit: photo stock
  • Speed Up – Or Slow Down – The Flow 6 of 10
    Speed Up - Or Slow Down - The Flow
    Do you have a forceful let down? The bottle may be slower than what the baby is used to. Or perhaps the milk is coming too fast. Try a different level nipple!
    Photo Credit: photo stock
  • Skip to a Sippy 7 of 10
    Skip to a Sippy
    Skip the bottle altogether and try a sippy cup.
    Photo Credit: photo stock
  • Try a Switcheroo 8 of 10
    Try a Switcheroo
    Start by letting the baby suck milk from a clean finger then try the bottle.
    Photo Credit: photo stock
  • More Expensive Isn’t Always Better 9 of 10
    More Expensive Isn't Always Better
    Some babies aren't into fancy, exensive bottles. The most basic one on the shelf might be the best bet.
    Photo Credit: photo stock
  • Shotglass? 10 of 10
    If all else fails, do what a friend of mine did in total desperation - try letting baby sip from a shot glass. Or any small glass!
    Photo Credit: photo stock

Article Posted 4 years Ago

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