What It Means When Your Baby Refuses To Bottle

As exhausting as they may be, feeding-related problems are not uncommon when caring for a baby. In fact, a full quarter of parents experience this issue at some point during infancy (per Healthline). However, just because it is relatively common doesn't make it any less frustrating.

There are a number of reasons a baby may not want to bottle-feed. Did you start the weaning process with your baby recently? If so, your baby may just want to continue feeding at the breast. This may also be the case if you are still breastfeeding in addition to bottle feeding, according to Parents.

Otherwise, your baby may just not be hungry. Alternatively, he or she may not be happy with the milk or the bottle being offered. The culprit may even be as simple as your baby being held in an uncomfortable position. Additionally, your baby could be feeling colicky or unwell, according to experts at Healthline.

Unfortunately, you can't just ask your baby why he or she doesn't want to drink from their bottle, so resolving the issue may require experimentation and dedication.

What to do if your baby refuses to bottle

If your baby is still breastfeeding or has recently been weaned, try having somebody besides the mother offer the bottle. The mother may need to first leave the room or the house entirely before the baby accepts the bottle, according to the Institute for the Advancement of Breastfeeding & Lactation Education (IABLE). The caregiver may also need to wrap the bottle in a cloth worn by the mother so that the bottle smells familiar.

Otherwise, try switching up your baby's feeding position. IABLE suggests propping up your baby on your lap while feeding from a bottle. Moving throughout the room while gently rocking or bouncing your baby may also be helpful.

You may also want to experiment with different milk temperatures or try different types of bottles. Teething babies may prefer cooler milk or bottles. According to IABLE, it would be a good idea to try a bottle with a long, straight nipple. If all else fails, you may want to try using a spoon or sippy cup to feed your baby. However, be sure not to pour the milk into your baby's mouth too quickly, as doing so can be a choking hazard.

According to Healthline, you should consult your doctor if your baby is showing signs of a feeding disorder or is suffering from fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty breathing.