18 Things To Try When Baby Suddenly Refuses A Bottle

Things to Try when baby refuses bottle

One of the most frustrating things for any parent is when the baby suddenly refuses to take the bottle. If the mom is not around to breastfeed the baby, then this can mean that the baby won’t get enough nutrition that they would otherwise get from the milk in the bottle. It is always a good idea to be prepared for this by knowing the things to try when baby suddenly refuses a bottle.

There are several factors to consider when addressing why your child won’t drink from a bottle, and luckily there are a few tips that you can use to help the baby ease feeding from the bottle again.


A baby refusing their bottle is not unusual. If a child rejects a bottle, he or she will avoid it, refuse to open their mouth, push it away, and even scream when approached. It can be especially challenging if you expect someone else to feed your child while you’re absent.

The transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding can result in this problem, as well as with babies who have always been bottle-fed, and even with babies who regularly switch between nursing and bottle-feeding.

2.   Baby Refusing Bottle all of a Sudden:

Make sure the milk is still flowing from the bottle. It is important to choose a bottle for your child that fits comfortably in his mouth. If you see that your baby is working really hard to make the nipple fit, then it’s probably not a good choice.

A sick or colicky baby will also have difficulty eating as they’re maybe feeling unwell.

3.   Let Someone Else Feed the Baby:

If the baby knows that mom is still around the house or even in another room, they may refuse the bottle as they would rather nurse and breastfeed. Try having mom completely out of the house so baby can accept bottle feeding from someone else.

4.   Bottle Feed When Baby is not Hungry

Perhaps the baby isn’t accustomed to bottle feeding. It could be a skill that they haven’t mastered yet. To train a baby to feed from the bottle, you can try bottle-feeding when they’re not hungry. Remember that it may require time and patience until the baby is fully accustomed to bottle-feeding and all the better when they are not hungry.

5.   Change Feeding Position

Every baby is different, some babies prefer to bottle-feed in the nursing position on the mom’s lap, while others want to sit in their high chair as they feed. Try changing the position of the baby and find one that they are most comfortable with. Perhaps the baby is just curious about their surroundings and is just distracted.

6.   Don’t Force the Bottle Nipple into the Baby

Trying to force the baby to take the bottle could cause them to develop a negative attitude towards bottle feeding. Instead, allow the baby to latch onto the nipple by themselves. Their curiosity will get the better of them eventually and they will take to bottle feeding.

7.   Wrap the Bottle in Mom’s T-Shirt

Babies are highly sensitive to their mothers and will be familiar with how she smells. The smell may make the baby feel comfortable knowing that mom is with them. By wrapping the bottle in the mom’s shirt, the baby will feel the mom’s presence and may be more receptive to the bottle., this method can especially be worth utilizing when the mom is absent.

8.   Move Around While Swaying or Holding Baby

Swaying a baby makes them feel relaxed and calm. This may make them more receptive to the bottle. You may also want to move around the house to get rid of any boredom that baby may have. The swaying or walking around the house should be done in a gentle manner so that baby can still drink the milk without feeling so much of the movement.

9.   Ensure Milk is at The Right Temperature

Every baby has a temperature preference. Try warming up the milk in the bottle and see if the baby likes it this way. Some babies may prefer lukewarm milk, while others love cold milk. Also, check to see if the baby is teething. If so you may want to put the nipple in the fridge, so it doesn’t irritate their gums.

10. Try Using Different Nipples and Bottle

There is a wide array of nipple choices available for babies. Some are made from rubber while others are made from silicon. They also come in different shapes with some being longer than others.

The size of the nipple hole may also be different which means different levels of milk let down. Your baby may prefer a fast milk letdown down while others may prefer a slow letdown.

11. Switch up the Environment

Things to try when baby suddenly refuses the bottle
Things To Try When Baby Suddenly Refuses A Bottle

If you always feed your baby in the same room, you can try feeding him in a different room. He might continue to drink the bottle without complaint if he finds the unfamiliar place so fascinating.

If the weather permits, you might offer the bottle outside. Any place where you do not usually give him bottles may be enough to draw his curiosity and allow him to finish his milk.

12. How Does Your Breastmilk Taste or Smell?

The baby may simply not like the taste or smell of your breastmilk. Different diets may have different effects on breastmilk. For instance, a fish diet may cause the smell of your breastmilk to change. Try experimenting with different diets and find out if this is what is causing your baby to refuse the bottle.

13. Have a Feeding Schedule

It is important to note that if the baby wants to eat at a time that is outside, their regular feeding schedule, then please feed the baby as they may be hungry.

14. Offer Milk More Frequently

As opposed to giving him a bottle at a time, offer smaller amounts more frequently.

If your baby accepts that schedule, try it. Rather than serving the whole amount you normally do, you might decide to offer half, then reserve the other half to drink with his snack. If he continues to refuse, you might even want to keep the bottle nearby and offer it for a few minutes at a time.

Sadly, this doesn’t establish a habit of eating meals at a table, but if he prefers to snack on the go, frequent feedings would be a temporary solution to try

15.   Try Offering Milk in a Sippy Cup

In the event that your baby continues to fight the bottle despite all your efforts, consider introducing your baby to sippy cups. You may be able to encourage him to drink more milk by offering him a sippy cup, regardless of whether he drinks water.

You can use transition sippy cups to help your child move from a bottle to a cup.

16. How Long Baby Can Go Without Milk

It is recommended that newborns not go longer than four hours without feeding, depending on their age. As a newborn, your baby should eat 10-12 times a day on average. It is recommended to feed the baby every two or three hours when he or she is awake.

You will eventually be able to tell when your baby is hungry.

17. Other Reasons Why a Baby May Refuse the Bottle

Other reasons why the baby may suddenly refuse to take the bottle include:

  • Sometimes the reason could be as simple as a baby not wanting to bottle-feed because he or she recently fed and is thus not hungry.
  • When you are transitioning from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding, consider doing so gradually. Introduce the baby to the bottle slowly while still maintaining breastfeeding to get them used to the texture of the bottle nipple.
  • He or she was recently weaned from breastfeeding. Your baby may still want to continue breastfeeding and may therefore not take to the bottle feeding immediately.
  • Check the position, as the baby being in an uncomfortable position may prevent them from wanting to be bottle-fed.
  • Your baby may still not be used to the texture of the bottle nipple and is therefore not willing to bottle-feed.
  • Try experimenting with different options to find out which your baby likes the most.

18. Visit the doctor

Sometimes all else will fail and you may wonder what is wrong with the baby. Sometimes refusing bottle-feeding could be a sign of an illness.

It is best to seek the advice of a pediatrician, who will evaluate and help rule out any issues. He or she will also offer the best advice on the best way forward. For instance, the baby could have a feeding disorder which may cause malnutrition if least interested.

Final Thought

Things To Try When Baby Suddenly Refuses A Bottle? The best advice for parents would be to use their best judgment at all times. Baby refusing the bottle can be a concern for most parents. But don’t be discouraged if this happens to you. You should not be afraid to seek help and know when to consult your doctor.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts