A breastfed baby suddenly refusing bottle feeding is a normal problem.
There are many reasons your little one might be on bottle strike
they could be upset about something, bored of the normal routine
or trying to get back to the breastfeeding that you just weaned them from.
Bottle strikes never last forever.
Try these tricks, be patient, and don’t give up.
When they get hungry enough, they’ll go back to bottle feeding as normal.
Why Your Breastfed Baby Suddenly Refusing Bottle
Any baby can go on a bottle strike, even if they’ve never been breastfed before.
If you know why they don’t want the bottle, you can find a solution.
The Baby Is Ready for Solid Food
First, consider how old your baby is.
Babies can start eating solid food as a supplement to formula at 4 to 6 months.
A baby on bottle strike might be asking you for some of those delicious mashed peas she’s heard about.
Mix up the menu with baby food and soft cereals.
Provide formula on the side to ensure the baby is getting enough nutrition.
If they love the solid food and refuse the bottle entirely, try mixing formula into cereal to sneak in those vitamins.
Remember that a baby eating solid food doesn’t need to drink as much formula.
Don’t be upset if they drink half the formula and crawl away.
The Baby Is Bored
Some babies are more interested in playing than eating.
Of course, when it’s not mealtime anymore, they’ll remember how hungry they are.
These kinds of strikes require a lot of patience on your part.
Try to tire out the baby during playtime so that they’re not bored at mealtime.
Feed them in a boring environment; you don’t want them distracted by toys when they’re supposed to be eating.
You can also keep a filled bottle in the fridge so that they can eat when they’re finally hungry.
The Baby Is Negotiating
A breastfed baby suddenly refusing bottle feeding might very well be asking for the good stuff.
This situation is an actual strike, and you shouldn’t give in to hostile demands.
Make sure you haven’t tried weaning cold turkey; it’s just not very effective and can be very stressful for both you and the baby.
Wean gradually and be compassionate.
There will come a day when you must refuse to breastfeed altogether.
The Baby Is Sick
There’s a small chance that your baby is sick or in pain.
Check for small sores and cuts in their mouth; the bottle might be hurting them.
If you can feel little ridges on their gums, that’s a sign that teeth are coming in.
Invest in teething rings and gum-numbing medicine to help them get through this stressful time.
A case of the flu can also result in an aversion to eating.
Make sure your baby stays hydrated by dripping a little formula into their mouth.
Give them extra attention and comfort.
Talk to your pediatrician if symptoms last more than a day or two.
Why a Baby Won’t Take a Bottle from One of the Parents
One extremely frustrating situation is when the baby decides that mom, and only mom, will feed them from now on.
They can also decide this about dad, grandma, or anyone else in the family.
A breastfed baby suddenly refusing bottle feeding from dad might be making a statement about the food service.
This is a little amusing, but it’s also frustrating for a mom who wants to sleep.
Assuming that no one has made a mortal enemy out of your infant, this situation isn’t too difficult to handle.
Your baby usually has a specific reason for their distinct preference.
Figure Out What’s Different
Some people hold the baby differently while eating.
Others push the bottle at the baby’s mouth aggressively or hold it too far away.
Have the successful parent watch while the other parent feeds the baby.
See if you can notice any major differences.
Babies like to be held quite close while feeding; a posture change might be all that’s needed.
If mom always sings the same feeding song, maybe dad should start humming it, too.
Feed the Baby Together
The baby might not have realized that you’re all part of the same family.
Try sitting next to each other on the couch.
Have one parent hold the baby while the “preferred” parent holds the bottle.
At some point during feeding, transfer the hand that feeds to the other parent.
If mom is around for several feeding sessions, the baby will eventually realize that dad is also authorized to perform those essential feeding duties.
Babies need time to make logical connections that seem obvious to adults.
Baby Stopped Taking Bottle: Tips and Solutions
Every baby is different.
Pay attention to the way your baby is refusing the bottle.
The little guy is trying to communicate with you, but he doesn’t have the words yet.
A small change might be enough to get back on track.
Change the Bottle
Your baby might not like the bottle that he’s drinking from.
Bottles come in different materials, sizes, and designs; there’s nothing wrong with an early statement of preference.
Your baby might also be complaining about the state of an old bottle nipple and simply want a fresh one.
Bottle nipples are designed to dispense milk at various speeds.
These are defined by levels and geared towards specific age ranges.
Level 1 nipples are for infants, level 2 nipples are for 3-month-olds, and so forth.
Experiment with different bottle nipple styles.
You might find a different material with a taste and texture that your baby likes.
Variating the color and shape of the bottle might also help alleviate boredom.
If you switched bottles right before the strike started, try going back to the old one.
Some kids like to stick with familiar things until they’re a little older.
Feed Less Formula More Frequently
A whole bottle is a lot to get through.
Try breaking up your baby’s meals throughout the day.
Cut down to half or even quarter amounts of the formula you’re giving them, and be ready to feed them again in a few hours.
If this seems like too much work, pre-fill some of those bottles.
A grab-and-go setup will save you time and cater to that finicky eater until they’re old enough to be reasoned with.
Change the Environment
If you distract your baby enough, they might mindlessly take the bottle when you hand it to them.
There are a few ways to get to this best-case scenario.
Change the room where you feed your baby.
If you usually feed them in the nursery, pick them up from their crib and go to the kitchen.
Sit them on the counter and let them watch you mix the formula; they might suddenly take a fresh interest.
Try feeding them outside.
Lunch outdoors is a great solution for a dull day at the office; your baby might find the experience totally refreshing.
You could also put on some nice music while they eat.
Who doesn’t like an atmospheric restaurant?
Change the Formula
Have you started preparing your formula or breast milk differently lately?
Maybe your baby is upset about the taste or temperature.
Try making it warmer or colder.
If that doesn’t work, try slightly changing the ratio of the formula, or switch to a different brand entirely.
Another fun trick is to freeze the formula to make popsicles.
This one works especially well for babies who are teething, but any baby might appreciate the new experience.
Gently Convince the Baby
Some babies are just stubborn.
You can try to gently convince them that it’s feeding time, but don’t push too hard.
Hold the baby in their normal feeding position.
Give them a little attention first; hugs, talking, and love will get them in a good mood.
Next, bring the bottle up to their lips and gently press the nipple to their mouth.
Softly move it back and forth.
When they open their lips, slip the nipple in and see if you can get them to latch.
This process isn’t very different from getting a baby to breastfeed for the first time.
Never force the bottle into their mouth.
If they don’t want it, they don’t want it.
Be patient with your baby.
Bottle feeding is a comparatively short part of their lives.
Talk to your pediatrician if none of these tips work; they’ll be able to make a more educated guess.