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How To Get Breastfed Baby To Take Bottle?

by Amy
(Omaha, NE)

My baby is 4 1/2 mth. old and I am trying to get him to take a bottle of formula once a day with no luck. I am leaving on a trip in 3 weeks and I don’t know what I am going to do if he still refuses the bottle.

He literally turns purple while screaming from the bottle and taste of the formula. Should I let him go ahead and nurse or let him get really hungry? My first 2 kids weaned off the breast very easily. My husband and kids try to feed him the bottle and he still “freaks out”! Help!

Baby Help Line:

Breastfed Baby Refuses Bottle

I’m not surprised your little boy doesn’t want to stop breastfeeding, you are much yummier than a bottle! It can be hard to wean a baby that clearly knows what he wants. I suspect he is also picking up on your stress at trying to make him take a bottle, and the pressure is making the situation worse. Very difficult when you have the deadline of going away.

I can totally sympathize with you, two of our three children would not accept a bottle either (all breastfed). It takes some creativity!

Here are a couple of things you might try to get your baby to accept the bottle:

  • Firstly, I wouldn’t wait until he is starving to try to get him to take the bottle, at that time he is already hungry and grumpy and just wants you. Feed him a little bit earlier.
  • Rather than making it something you are forcing on him, try to make it more of a smiley game. Let him try to hold and grab at the bottle, play with the teat etc. That way he sees smiles and fun with the bottle, not frowns and pressure. Just do little tastes of the formula so it becomes familiar.
  • The third thing I would try is express your own milk and get him used to the bottle with the good stuff in it. That way, at least the taste is familiar. You don’t have much time left, but once he gets used to the bottle, you can gradually introduce formula every second feed, or for the first couple of ounces, then swap if he complains. You can even mix in a little bit formula with the milk to make him gradually get used to the taste.
  • You could also try changing formula in case he prefers the taste of a new brand, and experiment with different teats (you probably have already tried that!) For one of my children, what helped was to switch formula brand. She went from spitting and refusing to eat to suckling greedily when she got a formula that she liked. And to be honest, when I tasted the two, I also preferred the one she did. Maybe it had to do with this interesting fact that research has found; the taste of the breast milk is affected by mom’s diet.

Finally, also check out these additional bottle-feeding tips that I have written down here. They helped another of my kids to accept bottle-feeding.

I hope it all works out in time for you to go away,
all the best,
Paula

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Comments for “How To Get Breastfed Baby To Take Bottle”

May 17, 2013

6 month old with the same issues
by: Anonymous


Just wondering if you have found anything that works for your little one?


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