Bottle Acceptance / Refusing to Take the Bottle

Some advice from the members of Park Slope Parents on getting a baby to accept a bottle.


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Quick Tips:

  • Keep trying - offer the baby the bottle for 10 minutes each day, whether s/he accepts it or not.  After 10 minutes, stop trying.  Be consistent and patient.  Many babies will accept a bottle after weeks (or months) of trying.
  • Don't worry - your baby will not starve by holding out while you're away.  Your baby may want to nurse more when you're around to make up for the missed meals, however.
  • Experiment with different people offering the bottle:  some babies won't take a bottle from the mother and will accept it from another caregiver.  In some cases, the mother has to leave the home during bottle feedings.  On the other hand, some mothers may find it useful to offer the baby a bottle each day themselves.  Many babies will learn to accept different kinds of nourishment from the mother.
  • Try lots of different bottles and nipples - you may find one that your baby likes better than others.  Some babies respond better to the shape of one nipple over another, and some babies prefer a faster or a slower flow.  Don't be afraid to try a "stage 2" nipple for a faster flow, if that's what your baby is used to from the breast.
  • Consider trying a sippy cup if your baby is 6 months or older. 
  • Consider soupy rice cereal if your baby is older than 4 months.
  • Offer the bottle in unusual places.  Some babies will respond to a bottle from mom while out in the stroller but not at home.
  • Try offering the bottle when the baby first wakes up; s/he may be more receptive at this time.
  • Get a bottle ready. Put the baby in a carrier facing away from you. Go for a walk outside alone. Hold the bottle so that your baby can see it - try offering it to her mouth. Walk and gently offer until she takes it.
  • Try having the baby sit facing away from you, or sit in a bouncy seat in a position different from a nursing position.  Some babies respond, however, when in a nursing position.
  • Let your child play with the bottle when you're not feeding.
  • If you give up and nurse (because it is sometimes too hard... and that's ok), try to wait good 15/20 min... not easy
  • Taste the milk before you offer it to the baby.  Although breast milk is often good in the freezer for up to 6 months and in the refrigerator for up to a week, sometimes it becomes sour sooner.  Some women's milk only lasts for a few days (in the refrigerator) or weeks (in the freezer) at most.  Make sure you're not offering the baby sour milk, and make sure your refrigerator is below 40 degrees.


Member Advice:


It *will* happen:

"The best advice I received was that babies will not let themselves starve. My pediatrician told me that we'd have one or two stressful weeks at the beginning of daycare and then the baby would start taking the bottle. She was right. Daycares see this issue all the time."


Try a cup:

"As an update, I tried nearly every bottle out there, but she struggled with every one. I still think it's more of a mechanical issue than a behavioral one since she always tries to take it, but her tongue gets in the way. What seems to be working is a little, open cup. It's actually pretty cute! Hopefully getting these responses into the archives will help someone else in the future. This seems to be a common, but little talked about problem. I also bought a helpful book called "Balancing Breast & Bottle: Reaching Your Breastfeeding Goals" that's specifically about bottle feeding a breastfed baby and goes into a lot of detail about nipple flow, shape, etc." 

"Your little one will be 5 months old? So almost old enough for solids, which takes a little pressure off of bottle feeding. But until she starts solids she could drink the milk via a cup if the bottle doesn't take. My advice is not to worry that she won't take the milk from a bottle yet. That the entirely different space and entirely different people of daycare may make it easier to take the bottle. And she will be 2 months older, nearly twice as old as she is now!"

"I went back to work at 4 months and my daughter refused to drink from the bottle the whole time I was at work. I tried every bottle/nipple out there. It was extremely stressful. The only thing that eventually worked was this transition cup (which is for 4+ months). It’s great: Munchkin Latch Transition Cup, Colors May Vary, 4 Ounce"


Try a playtex drop in liner wide nipple bottle:

"This happened with my daughter too and it just took us trying every other feeding for like 4 weeks (it was exhausting!) before we had success with aplatex drop in liner wide nipple bottle. It was so hard not leaving the house for longer than 2 hr increments but we just wore her down eventually. Also, Some moms in my psp group had no success with bottles but slow flow sippy cups worked. Good luck!

"When I worked at a daycare, we would recommend the playtex nurser with drop in - there is a nipple sample pack. Almost always worked. Also having a non-nursing person give the bottles seemed to help. Most of the infants we got in that had been EBF did really well with these for bottle transition. If they show some interest or acceptance then it's keep using. If total rejection try something else, but rotate back if needed."


Try a syringe:

One thing that worked for us was using a little medicine syringe. It’s a slow process, but we were at least able to get some milk into her. That said, I do think that she will eventually adapt, she probably just prefers it straight from the source."


Try with a dropper:

"Before A. would take the bottle, he would take milk from a medicine dropper. Not ideal, but at least he was eating."

"One thing that did work for us was dripping a little milk onto her tongue/lip before offering the bottle. This little taste of breastmilk seemed to let her associate the bottle with eating, rather than just a weird plastic thing in her mouth. She would at least drink a little from the bottle after that, and we went from there."

"Trying the dropper method [worked for us] (Comotomo bottle is silicone, so you can kind of squeeze the milk into her mouth so she's at least getting some nutrients)"


Try everything that's not a bottle:

"You may also try other non-bottle methods to see if that helps get him used to things — either as a transition, or bottle replacement altogether — medicine syringes, spoons, frozen milk in a mesh feeder, cup, sippy cup, straw. My daughter took to the Pura Kiki w/ straw and cups fairly early (before a year, but not sure it was quite as early as 4 months). A daycare classmate of hers had most of his milk mixed with fruit or avocado purées, though he was probably 6 months by then."

"We used this teether with regular non frozen milk and while it’s annoying to refill he did take it down when he was refusing the bottle."


Try putting sugar water on the nipple:

"Sugar-water nipple (!!!). I dissolved sugar in warm water and kept applying to the bottle nipple. C. was then excited to lick it and let go of her outright refusal fo let it near or in her mouth."


Try weaning in slowly and try the switcharoo:

"I have a 10 mo old daughter. At about 3-4 months, she had taken a bottle maybe once a day but we had done only nursing for about a week and when we tried again, she was not having it. If you are still having trouble and need to find an extreme - here's what ended up working for us... First day: I got a bottle ready and put it in a bowl of hot water next to me. I would let her start nursing and then tip the bottle upside down, plugging the nipple and warm the nipple so that it was like body temp.
Then as she was nursing, I would edge the nipple into her mouth and do a little switcharoo on her. 1-3 days after doing this: I would have the bottle in the hot water. I sat with my shirt up like I was going to nurse but then put the bottle down at nipple level and let her latch there thinking she was nursing - same view, same milk. 1-3 days after doing this: I would do all the same stuff just with my shirt on. Warm bottle / nipple, bottle down at nipple level... 1-3 days after this: she took the bottle no issue. So I don't really remember the timeline. It didn't take me 10 total days to get her to do the bottle... so I'm just estimating those time intervals. I just sort of went off of how confident I was to move to the next step based on the success of what we'd been through to that point."

"The first time I had luck getting my first son to take a bottle - admittedly after only a couple false starts - was with a quick switcheroo. I started nursing and then after a brief period (before baby is satiated but after he’s drinking), do a very quick swap between nipple and bottle. He gave me some serious side-eye, but it was seamless enough that he just kept drinking. It was easier for us after that, and soon he didn’t care at all."

"For me leaving the apartment didn't work and for a while I was the only one who could bottle feed him - actually I used to sneak a bottle into his mouth while breastfeeding, I would literally be feeding him at the breast, quickly pop him off and insert the bottle in his mouth, often with success and it got better over time - I did this to get him to tolerate bottles when I wasn't home and it eventually worked. Oddly he is 13 months now and at around 11 months, he started to really like bottles. So strange these wonderful babies can be."

"I also started by kind of tricking her - I put her in a position to breastfeed, gave her my boob for like 10 seconds, and then pulled out and quickly put the bottle in. I did that for every feed for a few days and then she started to take to the bottle better. Eventually she would take it sitting up, and got used to it. It was just a lot of practice and slowly transitioning from boob to bottle. Within a week she was fine with the bottle."

"Bait and switch: my husband would give baby J his finger to suck on then sneak in the bottle in- this worked really well."

"I nursed her when I knew she was hungry, and I gave her my 'lazy lefty.' She drained that one and was obviously very ready for more milk. I slipped the bottle in her mouth at that point and she guzzled with little hesitation."


Or cut out nursing entirely and make bottle-feeding the norm:

"If need to, try cutting all feeding at the breast for 1-3 days (this is what I ended up needing to do) aka pump and do everything by bottle. Then reintroduce breast once the bottle is the norm (reintroduction was not an issue)."


Try warming the milk and at different temperatures:

"Hang in there! Try warming the milk and try out different temperatures. And keep trying the techniques that haven't yet worked bc one will eventually work!"

 "Did you try scalding your milk right after pumping? My colleague found out right before returning to work that her baby wouldn't take a bottle and she figured out it was lipase. Her daughter turned one in June and she is still doing this (I checked with her before writing to you just to make sure this is still what she is doing and nothing has changed): she heats the bottle in a bottle warmer right after pumping. She uses a cheap first years bottle warmer plugged into a kitchen outlet. It sounds so high maintenance but she's still pumping and going strong! Might be worth trying just to rule it out."

"Currently we are finding that my daughter prefers milk that has never been frozen."

"I would second playing around with the milk temperature. Even at 10 months, my daughter would refuse to drink the bottle unless it was very warm."

"I know folks who were persistent and tried lots of different bottles until their kid finally accepted one. But mine never did... until I realized that the problem was my frozen breast milk! I had high lipase milk (it smelled and tasted funky to him after being frozen) and I didn’t even know it for many many months. I think it turned him off bottles. Once I started scalding the milk and once he was away from me long enough and was eating a bit of solid food, the problem resolved. Just mentioning this in case it’s useful to you. If you google high lipase there should be lots of info. Hang in there! It gets infinitely better."

"We just had this issue with our 9 month old. He had been taking the bottle fine and then stopped. As it turns out I started making lipase in my milk and it made the flavor very soapy tasting and he refused it. Now I have to scald the milk immediately after pumping.

If you taste the milk from the fridge or freezer it is quite obvious if lipase is the problem. (Lipase sets of a chemical reaction that makes the milk taste bad some time -could be hours or days— after it’s pumped, but not right after)."

"My oldest daughter hated the bottle so much! What wound up working for her was sitting in her car seat and she also liked it cold from the fridge (and by “liked” I mean would drink two 1.5-2 ounce bottles while I was at work for 9 hours. She was and remains very petite, though, so I don’t think she was eating more than 3 oz at any feeding."

"What was most important for us was learning that both our babies liked milk that was quite warm. Once we heated to a warmer temp than we had been, that worked like a charm."

"You never want to make milk too hot, but it doesn't really matter if the milk is cooler than body temp, so if warm isn't working you can try cooler."

"We had this problem with our second which goes to show each kid has specific preferences!  We hired a baby nurse to solve our problem and what ended up working was tomee tipee bottles with hot milk- freshly pumped milk didn't do it, she wanted 100-105 degree milk, which seems hot until you try it. Good luck, you'll figure out your baby's trick soon enough!"


Or even try it frozen!

"The best thing though by far was around 3/4 months when my son had head control was to feed him breast milk ice pops. He never refused those."


Try warming the nipple:

"Also try warming the nipple, not just the milk."


Or let them get used to the nipple before drinking from it:

"A couple of times I took the nipple off the bottle and let him suck on it as if it was a pacifier before feeding."


If you're using a scented soap on the bottles, that might be off-putting to baby:

"For us, turns out my daughter needed unscented soap for cleaning and the milk had to be reheated to be slightly warmer than body temp)."


Try feeding with a pinky:

"My sister had a really hard time with her son and she did the following: She would start nursing the baby and slowly put in the bottle nipple to replace her nipple. I know it sounds very counter intuitive but apparently it works. A caregiver can also try using a pinky to let the baby suck on and slowly move the bottle nipple in to replace the pinky."


Try repositioning baby:

"After a lot of trial and error, we found that she would take the bottle if she were in a seat (for her it was the baby bjorn bouncer) but not while being held. I heard from other moms that their babies would take the bottle if they were being held while walking."

"For us, mixing up positions really helped - feeding her while walking around, having her sit in a seat, facing out on a lap, even in the bath. Mimicking the breastfeeding position or anything close didn’t work and also avoiding the feeding chair/spot where I fed her as well."


Make things playful and let them grab the bottle themselves:

"[Have] the baby grab the bottle or latch on freely instead of putting bottle in mouth right away."

"Playing- trying to approach it in a playful way. Let him touch the bottle, chew on it, smell it- whatever! Also weirdly this was the first thing that worked: I pretended to drink it myself while he watched me, then he was more interested (he was 3 mo at the time)."

"Let her 'take' the bottle. We’d hold it near her and she’d reach out her hands with interest. Then, since she’s obviously in the oral phase of development, there was a natural reflex to mouth it. ... Having her control the process of bringing it to her feels respectful, too."


Make sure the milk is fresh:

"Are you sure your milk that your giving is fresh? Is your nanny handling the milk properly? Like my son did not like warm pumped breast milk unless it was never refrigerated... He liked it cold. Maybe play with the temperature a bit. And despite our best efforts many many times the milk would spoil for no apparent reason.  Maybe try some formula... See if that makes a difference."

"Use very fresh milk at first - the taste can vary greatly. My son was very picky."


Try with someone other than the breastfeeding parent:

"The best advice I received was that mom should not be the one to offer the bottle, and shouldn't even be home when the bottle is offered.  I would nurse, wait a bit, then go outside for a while, and have someone else offer the bottle around the time you would nurse next. If the baby smells that you are nearby, they are less likely to accept the bottle, knowing that they could nurse instead!"

"What worked for us was to have one person (not me) be the point person. Every day at the same time my babysitter (who was working part time during my maternity leave to help me care for my older son) would attempt to give Kristina a bottle. We would try in different positions, environments, bottle type & nipple, milk temperature, and levels of hunger. She progressed to taking a 'few' pulls from one particular bottle (the 'Lansinoh Momma' bottle was the winner). So we stuck with that bottle. Then I went out for a day trip with my son. I was nervous to leave her alone! But wouldn't you know it- she took a bottle while I was away. I had left the house before to 'see' if she would take a bottle without me around, but never left for 6 hours before. Ever since then she will take a bottle. She definitely prefers a boob, but if she is hungry and I am not there., she takes a bottle. I am away for 11 hours a day so she drinks between 20-24 oz in my absence now. Also, it was important to have the milk hotter than we thought it should be and she preferred to be moving around. So- she wanted to be walking around while she ate. Crazy child. We learned that the person who feeds her has to be patient, take breaks and not get frustrated. The baby senses the anxiety. It is so hard for the person feeding!! (And momma)."

"If it's possible, as you're training her to use the bottle, you might want to try having your partner be the only one actually giving her the bottle --- and you might want to be out of the room, or even the house. She might realize that when you're nearby, if she complains enough, you're there and she can nurse. Also, walking around the block while she's crying could give you some peace of mind - it's hard to listen to the crying!  For us, my husband eventually cracked through. But it wasn't easy. We picked a weekend, and for every feeding, they went through the same routine. He'd put our son on his lap, try to feed him.  Our son would cry for a while, and then get tired and start to fall asleep.  My husband would hold the nipple near his mouth so that when the little guy would stir, my husband would put the nipple in his mouth with the hope that his instincts would kick in and he'd just start to suck on the bottle without really thinking about it.  The first couple times we did it, the little guy would wake up, cry and go back to sleep. But soon enough, he'd take it a bit, wake up, cry and go back to sleep. Finally he just took it and drank the whole bottle."

"I have my husband feed our 1 month old baby girl a bottle a couple times a week for her to get use to it.  We've tried some morning feeds, afternoon and 6pm.  It's best if you let your husband try it so it doesn't confuse your baby why mom is giving him a bottle.  I use the modela bottles because that's what I use for pumping  (size 1 for slow flow).  We tried the calma and she hated it - refused to take it.  They are supposed to be like the breast but we didn't fool her!  Try it a couple times a week with you not around and see how he does with dad."

"I went back to work when my daughter was 8.5 months old, and up until that point she was exclusively breastfed. At first, my daughter wouldn't take a bottle if I was nearby. What worked was her nanny would give it to her in the stroller, and would prop it up with a blanket. She wouldn't take it directly from the nanny or while being held. She's 11.5 months old now, and her nanny just hands her the bottle and she holds it herself. She even drank from the bottle while I was with her the other day!"


...though that didn't work for everyone:

"Everyone says get someone other than mom to try the baby with a bottle, but actually we had most success initially with me giving her the bottle. 
Hope that helps! Good luck, I know it can be stressful."

"I had more success offering it myself than my husband had (he basically could never get her to take a bottle from him). It took us 6+ weeks to get my daughter to take a bottle and at the end of it, she refused when she started daycare anyway and we had the "breaking in" period of a few days with no food, so sometimes I feel like our efforts were for nothing. She went through months of rejection with other caregivers after that, basically until I ran out of breastmilk at 10 months. Good luck -- this was the most stressful part of having an infant for me but as everyone else has said, they won't starve. When they start eating solids it's such a relief."

"My two cents—it actually worked well for us to have me (the breastfeeding mom) introduce the bottle. I know it’s not the conventional wisdom, but it helped a lot. I’m back at work now and my wife is on leave with the baby and our little guy is taking the bottle well. We also use comotomos. This book was very useful in figuring all this out: Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple by Nancy Mohrbacher. She suggested having the breastfeeding parent introduce bottles, plus lots of other helpful advice."


Try leaving:

"We had heartbreaking times in introducing the bottle... so terrible. So here are few things that have worked, knowing that we wantedti introduce the bottle, not fully transition.
- don't even waste any energy trying to do that yourself, and don't stay around. We made the mistake and it finally worked with me away out of the house. It still took my husband some time before she accepted it, so need to be patient but not give up. - if you give up and nurse (because it is sometimes too hard... and that's ok), try to wait good 15/20 min... not easy. 
- we started with the philips avent and they didn't work for us. We move to the munchkin latch and those worked
- afternoon weekend / evening worked best... but I'm not sure we tried different times...  
Now, those babies are full of mysteries... things that don't work one day may work the next day;  things that have always worked may no longer work out of the blue... Where is the stupid manual???  All I want to add is that you will all find the way and what will work. You are doing great so keep it up, and be patient with yourself.  And be sure she will eat eventually!!"

"The only way we had a modicum of success was when the breast feeding parent (me) left the house entirely. Babies sense anxiety and when the good food source is nearby and they will reject anything else unless they know they have no choice. I couldn’t jus leave the room, i had to leave the house in full. And though we had a couple bits of success that way, we never had full success until i went back to work and left him with a nanny. He had one tough day and then realized there was little other option and he took to the bottle easily and well after that."

"I had to leave the house completely, not just in the other room"

"I don’t know what your childcare plans are but this all ended for us (for good!) when we put our daughter in daycare at 3 months. The magicians that cared for her got her to take a bottle right away and that was that. New people, new environment, no mom in just seemed to jolt her out of her pattern entirely."

"the only way we got my daughter to take a bottle was for me (breastfeeder) to be physically gone and out of the house for a few hours and the baby get pretty hungry. Even then it took not the dad, but a third person, my sister in law, with very calm (—> probably because she had no real dog in the fight vs. us parents) and persistent demeanor to get her to accept the bottle. Best of luck!"

"Make sure mom is not around, and if she's out of the house stay clear of things that might have her scent (blankets, clothes, etc.)"


Try not to worry, your infant will come around:

"Sorry to hear about your feeding troubles! My daughter (now 11 months) was very picky about taking bottles in the first few months- she did fine the first couple of times we tried and then went through a phase of refusing. She did come around after a few weeks."


Try to be consistent:

"Also, are you trying to do a bottle everyday around the same time? Consistency might help."


Try formula in the bottle instead of breastmilk:

"My daughter would take formula from a bottle but not breast milk. So maybe that is worth a try."


Try to be patient:

"I'm a believer that your child doesn't have to be exclusively breastfed to get the benefits of it and I was still able to keep my supply up enough to feed her when i was around for as long as i needed to. She did at one point reject all bottles and we tried everything but just had to wait for her to come around. Just keep telling yourself kids will not let themselves starve."

"My experience was that when she got hungry enough, she ate (at least a few oz, if not the full bottle); she didn't let herself starve. After about 5 days of what felt like a battle of wills, she got used to it.  And after about two weeks, she actually started preferring the bottle over breastfeeding...Good luck to you. It will get better!"

"My biggest piece of advice is just to keep at it. A healthy baby won’t starve themselves. As hopeless as I’m sure it must feel, they’ll come around to it. Good luck!"


...and persistent:

"Be persistent: if he resists I take it away and reintroduce it a few min later. This doesn't lead to long feedings and he'll typically only drink a little at a time, but at least he's getting something down over a couple of hours."

"As soon as she started crying, we would put down the bottle and go do something else to distract. When she calmed down, we would try again."


Particularly if it may be a temporary teething-related issue:

"I had a similar issue with my daughter who is 6.5 months around when her first two teeth were coming in. She had been taking a bottle regularly with no problems and then once her teeth started coming in she completely refused. She would get extremely upset and cry every time someone tried to bottle feed her, but would eat from me happily. It was very inconvenient and our pediatrician did not have any useful recommendations. The good news, though, is that it passed. After maybe a week and a half or so she just started taking her bottle again with no problems. Waiting it out is probably not the most satisfying suggestion, but I just wanted to share my experience that it did pass! So maybe if it is teeth related it will pass for you too."


Try different bottles and nipples, and particularly experiment with flow speed:

"We tried three bottles (medela calma, philips avent, and comotomo).  Our baby loved playing with the comotomo, but didn't really eat from it.  What ended up working for us was Dr. Brown's wide neck glass bottles.  They were perfect from the first attempt. We also started having my husband give the bottle early in the evening so we weren't stressed about bedtime. Good luck!  Something will work.  It's just frustrating because it takes so much trial and error (and time and money)."

"I had the same issue! We never REALLY found a solution, but different bottles/nipples helped (KleenKanteen bottle, also Dr Bronner's)."

 "We also tried a bunch of nipples. I recall reading that lots of parents used Comotomo as a "learn to use the bottle" nipple. The shape and softeness are a bit closer to a real breast. We also tried the Mimijumi bottle --- with that one, the whole point is to look and feel more similar to a real breast. These helped a little. At least they got him to open his mouth a little bit and take it. Eventually, though, it was the persistence and me being out of the house that got him going."

"This may be obvious, but have you tried different bottles and nipples? If I were you In a time crunch I would buy like 5 or six bottle types, try them all one by one. My babies each preferred different bottles/nipples and flow strength, unprepared to the age indicated on the nipple.  You of course, you should leave the house and have another caretaker do it. My babies would never eat from a bottle if the main milk was in the house. They can sense you there even if your in another room."

 "We had big problems with this for several weeks. It took more than a month for our now-14-week-old to take a bottle. What finally seemed to work was Nuk slow flow nipples/bottles. We also tried when she was sleepy and she was a little more agreeable. It also took patience. For weeks, she screamed whenever we tried. When we started using Nuk, she didn't argue, but also didn't really take it. She'd just chew on the nipple. But not screaming was major progress. Then eventually she started sucking on it but only taking about a half ounce at a time. Then she finally got comfortable and would drink several ounces.   I'm not one for product placement, but I do think the Nuk slow flow nipples were key. They have a different design that's meant to be more like the real thing than most nipples."

"We tried a few bottles that were said to be good for great-fed babies but Comotomo slow flow worked best for us (moving up to mid then fast flow when I stopped nursing altogether). I also found trying to feed her when she was hungry but not ravenous had most success - so maybe try an hour or so earlier than his next feed would be."

"I went through this in July and it was so stressful! It actually took probably 3 weeks of me being back at work to get Lucy to finally be consistent. We tried every bottle recommended to us and she would reject all of them. Finally we got her the Nuk pacifier and Nuk bottle. She wouldn't take either right away but after a day or two took the pacifier and within the week was taking the bottle. I think getting her used to the nipple with the pacifier was key for us. I hope this helps and good luck!!"

 "I wanted to mention the Playtex Nurser bottles.  These were recommended by our lactation consultant and our daughter took to it really easily and we never looked back.  Buying the liners is a little annoying (and I know it seems wasteful but you can recycle them) but I didn't care because they worked so well for us.  All babies are different and you will figure out what works for you & your family.  Good luck!"

"In the end, she only ever accepted Comotomo bottles. We tried many, many different types. I think that we would have had better success if we had just chose one type and stuck with it instead of throwing new ones at her every few days."

"We've had some occasional progress (we got a bit of traction buying disposable nipples that we then soaked in breastmilk overnight)"

"The Avent bottle (higher flow nipple than the newborn ones) - which I didn’t like early on but were better when he was bigger"

"we found that we were drowning in variables and bottle choices and just trying so many different things that we couldn’t make heads or tails of any actual progress.  We decided to just pick the bottle that was working some of the time a little bit....and stuck with it.  In our case it was the MAM brand."

"We tried quite a few bottles, but in the end, I think it makes sense to stick with one that’s well recommended. How confusing would it be to be given all sorts of different unfamiliar things if you were the baby?  We liked Dr Browns, but I would stick with whatever you have."

"We also had good luck with ComoTomo bottles for what that's worth."

"We're using the lansinoh purple bottle and it's working well."

"Around 3 months I had to go back to work and we were in a real pickle with getting bottles to work. We eventually got him to take the Tommy Tippee (sp?) bottles which are supposedly most "nipple like" or something. But different nipples really can make a difference apparently. Also the flow speed. Unfortunately, it can get expensive to keep buying new things to try! So hopefully you can find something soon. But, light at end of tunnel... something is bound to work eventually!"

"Just make sure you are using fast or medium  (not slow) flow nipples so the baby doesn’t get frustrated/gets the milk easily."

"I would keep trying different bottles and different nipples. My daughter was the same - we went through about 10 before we found the one that she would accept (in her case it was a Playtex one, Evenflo maybe?) They all have different flow rates and I think some were too fast or too slow for her."

"I'd experiment with a few different bottle types - my son was fine with the Comotomo early on, but after a while we stopped using it much, and he started rejecting it when I tried to reintroduce it. We had a few showdowns, none of which got us anywhere. Ultimately what got him back on the bottle was the Tommee Tippee - it's the only one he would accept."

"Have you tried using a preemie size nipple?  When they're first taking the bottle they have to learn to control the flow which is different than when breastfeeding."

"Not sure which bottles you are using but wonder if it is a slow flow nipple? We use Comotomo bottles and after a few months the slow flow wasn't enough for our little dude and he started rejecting them,  once we switched to a medium flow he was stoked on it. Could be something that minor."

"Our daughter ended up taking a Munchkin Latch bottle I got as a free sample after we purchased every bottle under the sun and she likes her milk very warm."

"Getting more breast-shaped bottles helped - we got Tommee Tippee bottles. She didn't take to them right away, but definitely went more smoothly than other bottles."

"You can also try changing the nipple speed.  When E. was 4 months old he all of a sudden hated his bottle (that he had loved until then).  He would cry and scream and barely eat and basically wrestle with me when I was trying to feed him.  I did some googling and the website I looked at said it may be time to switch to a faster nipple.  I switched from the 'slow flow' to the 'medium flow' and it made a HUGE difference.  He immediately went back to loving the bottle.  We like the Como Tomo bottles and the advent bottles."

"We went through this really early on and it was a struggle for a long time. J. is our second and I wanted to introduce the bottle much earlier this time, so started around 4 weeks ago and she struggled from day one. We tried various bottles but I started to think it was that she didn't like the plastic. I bought those super cheap disposable nipples from Enfamil, that you can put on a formula bottle and those were the only thing she would take - the nipple is much softer than a regular bottle. They also fit on the mandela bottles which is a bonus."

"We were using Nuk anti-colic bottles, which have a wide, flat nipple that she was using as a chew toy. We happened to have Pura bottles on hand that were too fast-flowing for her at a month old, so we tried switching to that and she’s doing great. The nipples aren’t truly fast-flow (just too fast for a month old), so we don’t think flow was the issue now at 7 months. The Pura nipple is significantly thinner, so we think it’s just a less desirable chew toy than the flat Nuk nipple."


...but this might not work either:

"I have learned that typically once a baby has begun to refuse bottles, the type of bottle isn't the issue. Sticking with the SAME bottle (many have been mentioned) is key. Consistency is important with this challenge. Additionally, for those who may be in the early stages before bottle rejection occur, I always recommend families who want to use bottles introduce them as soon as breastfeeding has been established; typically in weeks 3-4, and the key is to give at least 1 bottle per day, every single day. I have worked with many parents who easily introduced them around weeks 3-4 but then assumed baby took them with ease and backed off the routine, only to experience rejection between weeks 6-10. I'm happy to chat more if anyone wants. Best of luck and hang in there, your baby will get the hang of it!"


Try solids sooner:

"Also we started my son on solids earlier than I would have, at the pediatrician's advice. We just needed other options for things he could eat when I wasn't around! (Luckily he loved solids.) Now, of course (at 17 mos) he eyes all of the babies' bottles and wants them for himself!"


Try a spoon:

"How about a cup? Or a spoon, or a dropper?"

"I haven't done it yet, but have considered spoon feeding him the milk, as he's been good with spoons on occasions where we've given him a probiotic."


Try different feeding positions:

"Try different holding positions. Not being held, being held upright, etc..."

"Also, he prefers to be facing my mom in the boppy when he eats from the bottle. He only wants to be cradled for breast feeding."

"Positioning baby’s back to feeder’s chest so baby is looking forward (like in a forward-facing carrier)"

"My son was taking the bottle and breastfeeding fine in the first month (we did a little supplementation at first) but then my supply increased a lot and we stopped the bottle (no time to pump!) and he refused it around 4 months when it was time for daycare. It took about 5-15 minutes of trying for 10 days. What ended up working was allowing him to sit in his bouncer, coming up silently from behind, putting the bottle in front of him, letting him grab it and play with it a little, getting curious. And then eventually he latched and drank it. I gave it to him without speaking, kind of like an arm detached from a body just appeared out of nowhere and gave it to him. He was hungry but not too hungry to get upset."


Try distracting them:

"Eventually we discovered that she would take a bottle while lying on her play gym distracted by the hanging toys. We did that for a few days and were eventually able to get her to take it in a more normal position. We didn’t find that hunger helped and she still sometimes fusses with the bottle but distraction and different positions were what worked for us."

"We couldn’t get my baby to take a bottle at home, and I trusted my daycare to figure it out. They said that they got him to take it this way: the baby lay back on a small boppy pillow, the caretaker lay back too next to him. She had a rattle or toy in one hand and distracted him with it (he was 5.5m at the time), and snuck the bottle (Comotomo allows you to squeeze it as its silicone) in while distracting him. Now he will take it fine but not while I’m home."


...or avoiding potential distractions:

"14 weeks is probably too early for distraction to be the problem, but doing the feeding with the lights out in the same chair where the child is nursed might help."

"Burp him every few minutes just in case. My daughter wouldn't take the bottle if she had to burp or needed a diaper change."


Try outside the house or try new places inside:

"Maybe try feeding outside of the house. In the stroller. My first baby would never nap in the house. We HAD to take him out."

"One trick that worked a bit was trying to feed her in odd places that my wife normally wouldn’t have fed her. I literally walked all over the apartment, used each room, stood, sat, etc."

"I just went back to work and dealt with this with my 5 month old. My husband was on leave and we went from 100% breastfeeding to trying to bottle-feed during the day, and our son was NOT happy. After a few days of struggling in the apartment (with or without me around), my husband realized that it was crucial for him to take our son out of the apartment and feed him the bottle in a nearby park. I think the combination of context switching (i.e. leaving the apartment that was associated with breastfeeding) and the distraction of being outside made our son more amenable to the bottle. After a few days of feeding him outside, my husband found a spot in the apartment near a window to bottle feed (a spot where I never ever breastfed). Once that worked, my husband was able to feed our son anywhere, even with me around. I even could give him a bottle. All in all, it took a week."

"We really struggled with our son taking the bottle when he was a baby. We tried what seemed like ALL the bottles and various nipples. What ultimately worked was my husband putting our son in the Bjorn bouncer and offering him a bottle there. It seems like being in a different position (as opposed to how he would be nursed - i.e. cradled) and, perhaps, “location” helped. After this discovery and sometime later, he was fine taking a bottle."


Try recording your voice to playback:

"Maybe make a recording of your voice saying the same things you say when you are nursing. And play it when he is eating."


Have your smell close by:

"Also try putting your dirty slept in Tshirt next to the baby, near its face, that smells like you when the caretaker is feeding. My husband did this all the time (he was a stay at home dad),he said just the smell of me would relax the baby."

 "My husband was brilliant! He wrapped the bottle in my nursing tank that I had worn the previous day and overnight. It was the only way my daughter accepted the bottle - with the mommy smell on it. You, however, cannot be anywhere around while this is attempted. She will not want a substitute with mommy around!  While it's not a guarantee that what worked for my little one will work for you!"

"My mom wore my nursing scarf on her shoulder as something that he would recognize and would smell like me"

"Find a ratty old T-shirt that smells like you and cut a small hole where your boob would be and stick the bottle nipple may “nurse” this way. Seriously."

"My older son had trouble taking the bottle right before I went back to work, and while being out of his sight/smell for bottle feedings helped, what was really helpful for us was to wrap the bottle in a shirt I'd slept in, so that it smelled like me. This was a trick we learned from the lactation consultant (shout out to Susan Burger!). We saw improvement right away and after a couple days, we didn't need the shirt anymore.

Doesn't work for everyone, but I always recommend it, and seems to be helpful to many."


Try a different feeding time:

"Feeding her right as she fell asleep or right as she was waking up from a nap.  As someone else said, their instincts seem to kick in over their brains at that point.  Of course, it becomes problematic when the only time you can feed is when they are sleeping...ours now will take a bottle while awake, which is easier, but the sleeping trick was a good stop gap measure for a while."

"offering bottle first thing in the morning when baby is most hungry...and not letting baby nurse until at least some of the bottle goes in."

"One other tip that did help a little bit was that back when she was fighting the bottle, the only way we could ever get her to take any milk out of it is if we offered right when she was waking up from a nap, basically when she was mostly still asleep, and she would sometimes take some milk before she fully woke up and realized what she was doing!"

"Begin to chart the feedings - time of day & # of oz is enough - and find the rhythm that works best for him. It could be every 2 or 3 hours, and you want to have the bottle ready before he's really hungry.

Before and after naptime can also be good times, depending on the length of his naps."


And don't wait until they're too hungry:

"If you wait till the kid is demanding food cause of hunger (while you heat the bottle) they might be too upset to eat, so try heading it off before they're too hungry."

"Don't wait until he's hungry: I started playing with him and getting him to take the bottle when he's in a good mood, rather than when he's crying for it."

"[Try] when baby is not starving, but could eat. Like I’m not expecting the bottle I give him to replace a feeding right now, but he’s been drinking about an ounce after about 10 minutes of trying."


Consider whether you could be applying undue pressure on baby to take the bottle:

"We landed on the book Your Baby's Bottle Aversion and that's what ultimately helped, but it did take a long time. ... The basic idea is that a baby who feels pressured to drink from a bottle (even if the pressure is super mild) will develop a bottle aversion, and the solution is to teach your baby to trust that you won't apply any pressure at all.  Reading the book made me and my husband feel like monsters, but it did ultimately help. ... we implemented a less extreme version of the book's plan for getting back on track -- she tells you to stop all forms of feeding other than the bottle but I continued to nurse.  On top of that we've also had success with changing positions during the feed and taking frequent breaks."


Try some one-on-one help:

"f you haven't already and going to a La Leche League meeting (free monthly!) with your baby boy or connecting with a lactation consultant (read PSP Member Reviews of Lactation Consultants here) if that's feasible for you.
The one on one help can really make a difference since, as other experienced moms have said, babies can be so weird (and have such specific individual wants/needs).
Hang in there! 6 weeks is young and things change so much week to week. Which can feel good & bad. It feels dire but your baby boy will bottle feed and thrive. It's the longest, shortest time :)
Be gentle with yourself too! You are doing awesome!"

"Professional lactation consultants can be miracle workers. We had one for nursing, not bottle feeding but it was a life saver and it never hurts to ask if they can consult on the topic. We had to condition our kiddo to use their tongue the right way by having them suck on our little fingers when not nursing."

"I just had a very helpful consultation with a bottle aversion therapist from Baby Care Advice. ... The consultation was pricey but I found it very helpful, especially since G. was really refusing bottles and crying every time we tried to feed her. The book and the consultation both offered some very helpful tips."



Check out tips from professionals around the web:

"I recommend Karrie Locher on Instagram. She has great highlights about all things baby. She’s a pediatric nurse. We have a four month old - our second - and I refer to her page all the time for advice."


Member stories and words of encouragement:

"We struggled with getting my daughter to take a bottle from when she was about 6 weeks until I went back to work at 12 weeks. What finally worked, which the pediatrician assured me repeatedly would happen, is that I went to work and was gone for a couple 10 hour stretches. The first day she didn't eat at all while I was gone (and ate a lot when I got home not surprisingly), the second day she ate a little bit, and by the third day she just gave in and took the bottle from there on out. So, I was very worried this would last forever and it didn't, don't worry!
But the bottle she ended up taking was the MAM bottle (I have no idea why, maybe because the nipple is flat?) And the lactation consultant and pediatrician encouraged us to try it when I was away so she knew breastfeeding wasn't an option. That wasn't very practical when I was home on maternity leave, but we tried on the weekends. They also said to try in the morning when she first woke up because she would be hungry and not cranky, but that didn't work well either because she didn't sleep much.
I did get her to hold the bottle and gum the nipple a few times when she wasn't hungry to just get used to it - I'm not sure that helped either but I think the lactation consultant suggested it.

So bottom line, it will resolve itself eventually, especially if you're going back to work or going to have someone else coming in to help with childcare. In the meantime those are the things people suggested. Hope that helps!"


"I was right there with you a couple of months ago and I know how stressful this is!  Here's what we did - I've talked to a lot of friends who had similar problems so I definitely know it's not 1 size fits all but hopefully this will help.
We tried EVERY bottle (Medela - slow flow nippes, medium flow nipples, Tommee Tippee, Dr. Browns... etc) and finally Como Tomo worked. Buuuut, it was NOT right away. There was probably a week or two of our daughter rejecting even the Como Tomo. I eventually got a medium flow nipple (I think it came with the slow flow?) and that helped, but I don't know if it was the medium flow + Como Tomo that "worked" suddenly or that plus the fact that she was a few weeks older by that point.  At a certain point when nothing was working well we just decided to stick with Como Tomo since it seemed like the one most likely to work based on advice and it seemed like switching it up was just making it worse. Just a gut instinct though - nothing scientific about that choice.
We counted it as a major win the first time she drank a measly 1.5 ounces from it. Then it probably took another week to get her to 2 oz, and finally by the time she started daycare at around 3 months old, she was drinking 3-4 ounces with my husband, and with her daycare teachers she drank the full 5 ounces just fine. (I suspect there's some magic touch with daycare professionals who do this all the time!) 
As far as when we gave her the bottle, honestly I'd tried everything - morning, evening, when she was super hungry, before she got hungry, with me fully out of the house, etc.  Honestly nothing worked for a really long time--until it finally did. It was better when she wasn't ravenously hungry because then she was just frustrated with the bottle and too angry to try to drink from it.  We also finally got her to suck on a pacifier and then once she was sucking on the pacifier my husband would quickly replace it with the bottle and that seemed to help get her on to start off a feeding.
Good luck!  My best advice would be to keep at it (try once every day or every two days to give yourself a break) and try your best not to stress too hard. I know I was very stressed about it and it impacted my ability to enjoy the final days of maternity leave because of my fear that she wouldn't eat at daycare."


"This happened to me with my first and it is hard to believe this but they will eat when they are forced to.  For the first couple weeks she may only eat when you come home and then she will not have a choice but to take the bottle. And it is ok   And if you need to have your nanny give her milk in a cup."


"My kid (now 11 years old!) did that until either the day before I went back to work or the day I actually went back to work. I was also worried - a decade later he's still stubborn about food and drink and strong willed.  But he was hungry so he had to take the bottle.  If she's really hungry she'll take the bottle.   If not the first day, the second.  Small babies do have a sense of self-preservation, I think."


"Ugh, my heart goes out to you as I was in this exact situation 5 years ago. One piece of advice given to me that I have shared widely, because even though it didn’t work for my son, it has worked for many others, is to try the Platex drop-in system with the brown latex nipple and get the nipple in a faster flow. The conventional wisdom when you are breastfeeding is to use a slow flow nipple because you don’t want to get the baby used to getting a rush of milk without having to do the work. But if you have a good supply and quick let down, your daughter may be getting the equivalent of a faster flow from you and be very frustrated with the slower flow nipples. And something about that particular nipple seems to also work for people, but you have to replace them fairly often because they break down easily, which is why I think they are generally less preferred than silicone.

This is probably the last thing you want to hear right now but I lived your nightmare! And I tell you that not to freak you out but to let you know that there is light at the end of the tunnel –as torturous as it is, its temporary. My son never took a bottle and I tried every possible thing that was recommended to me. I bought dozens of types of bottles, had dozens of people try feeding him in dozens of different scenarios and nothing worked. My son never drank milk from anywhere but me and didn’t even drink cows’ milk until he was 3½. I went back to work when he was 4 months old thinking, well, now he’s going to *have to* take a bottle because there won’t be any other way for him to eat, but he didn’t. My poor husband was home with him those first couple of weeks and he would just scream and cry from about 11am onward. My mother-in-law who was coming over to help out, had to stop coming because she couldn’t take it. I would sit at work crying and feeling insanely jealous of the women who only had to miss their babies while at work but were spared worrying about them suffering. We finally hired an amazing nanny (after too many interviews to count with people who wouldn’t entertain the job after hearing about the no bottle feeding) who was willing to bring him to me at work in Manhattan to eat on my lunch break. He ate just that one time between 8am and 6pm every day and our nanny spent two hours of her day with him riding the subway back and forth. I faithfully pumped 2-3 times a day to keep my supply up and ended up tossing the milk. A co-worker of mine who had a similar situation put her daughter in a daycare across the street from our office so she could run over on breaks to feed her.

I spoke to a lactation consultant during that horrible stage of motherhood, who I found really helpful for my mental state. She didn’t have any new suggestions, but she assured me that my baby was making a rational choice, that he would not starve himself to the point of having health problems, and that we were experiencing a very natural consequence of living in a society where mom-baby bonding is not valued as it is just about everywhere else. That of course made me angry and a big advocate for better family leave policies, but it also helped me to really feel that my son and I would both be okay. My son did wake and eat more frequently at night during those months, and I didn’t try to stop that until he was well into eating solids. He is now a healthy 5 year old who has carried through some of the characteristics from the first year: he’s pretty indifferent to food and eats very little, and is very strong willed.

I see from your post that you already have an older one, but in case any more kids are in your future, what I did with my next 2 was give them a bottle every other day from day 1, against the loud and crazy protests from the hospital lactation consultant. Good luck and keep trying different things, being consistent try a bottle every day. I am sure you will find a trick that works for your daughter. Most people do. But if you don’t, you will all be okay in just a few short (long feeling) months. Its agonizing. Hang in there!"


"Just some words of encouragement - my daughter refused to take the bottle until the very day I went back to work (she was 6 months old) and then adjusted quickly over about a week. She did not eat much during the day for that week (maybe 6 ounces over 10 hours) but once she realized that bottle is here to stay she began to drink from it. Good luck!"


"Dealing with this as we write since I went back to work a few weeks ago. It's going to take some time.. And agreed with M., babies are totally weird!
I would def try a few times with each kind of bottle if you are trying several. We tried a few different ones (but tried not to go too crazy with a million diff ones) and landed on the Comotomo and the bottles/nips that come with the Medela pump. We also realized that Magnolia didn't like thawed milk so the stash I had built has become nil. She just gets warmed milk that was pumped the day or hours before.
When I was still on leave, we started trying bottles with my husband or mom giving them while I was in the other room or out of the building completely. It didn't work for days. Then my mother in law tried - singing to Magnolia as she did so - and got her to take almost 4 oz with me just standing a couple feet away. Its continued to be sort of hard but getting better and better. Partly because she's more used to being offered the bottle and because my mom and MIL always try to feed her when she's in a good mood and/or when she's just up from a nap. And I don't doubt me actually being at work and not able to rush home has helped in a weird mom-baby connection way.
That said, at around 4/5PM every day (I get home around 630) - she flat out refuses to take a bottle anymore and just looks at the apt door.
On days she hasn't eaten as much as she should, she makes up for it at our first nursing after I get home. So your baby will still get enough to eat at the end of the day."


"Also, for what it's worth, even after accepting the bottle, my daughter never drank very much milk at daycare, preferring to nurse in the morning and at night when I was at home. It worked out fine (though it took her longer to sleep through the night than I would have liked) and made pumping less stressful for me because I wasn't as concerned about output as I would otherwise have been."


"I found this insanely stressful and I felt like every single piece of advice was useless (though well meaning) as our baby at around 4 months (as I was going back to work) would scream like the world was ending if he even saw a bottle.  So it felt so futile to hear that another type of bottle or nipple or temperature or anything would work--his objection was clearly to the very IDEA of a bottle rather than any little thing like that.  What ultimately worked: my husband putting in earphones to listen to a podcast to distract himself from the pain and just continuing to try feeding him until he gave in (which could be up to 45 minutes).  It was awful for them--I was never there so I was spared, since my husband was still home when I went back to work--but ultimately after about a week and a half of utter misery he just gave in and has had no problem since.  And still seems to love us :)  So I guess I'd say don't despair, we truly thought this would NEVER resolve but it all worked out and now he'll happily switch back and forth between bottle and breast like it's nothing."


"So all this to say—DO NOT WORRY. It will happen, probably not as soon as you'd like (I was dying to leave the house alone for more than 2 hours). And also as you'll see with all things, each month, every few weeks, they change so much and adapt in their own ways. And I really do believe they do what they need to do when ready. (we have similar stories with swaddling, rocking to sleep, and still with naps). Good luck and you are both doing so great!"