When Baby Refuses Bottle Feeding – 10 Tricks to Try

Is your exclusively breastfed baby refusing to drink from the bottle?

I know the feeling! But do not despair, there is hope.

It may be tricky at first, but you can still get baby to drink their milk.

I have found some wonderful tips that you can try. Check them out below:


1. Use a baby cup

Try with and without the spout. Have baby drink like we do – from the rim of the cup. The newness of that may encourage baby to drink. Or try with spout, or spoon or a wide brimmed baby bowl.


2.Have someone else feed baby from the bottle. 

When you are not in the same room. Try this with tip number 6!


3. Feed baby bottle with their back to you. 

So hold baby facing outward, in cradle position. Or have baby sitting upright, again facing outward.


4. Warm the nipple with cooled boiled water.

Just so the nipple is not cold.


5. Put baby in a swing or bouncer to distract them while you offer bottle.

Or you can trying rocking and moving as you offer the bottle.


6. Put mums t-shirt or piece of clothing on

Or something that smells like you close during the feed.


7. Offer bottle when baby has just woken up (but not fully awake yet)

Or when baby is sleepy or when baby is asleep.


8. Tickle baby’s lower lip to get them to open their mouth.

Don’t force bottle in. If you try and baby is resisting, do not continue beyond 10 minutes. Stop and then try again at another time.


9. Try different temperatures of the milk

Warm, cold or very warm (but not hot so doesn’t burn baby’s mouth.


10. Try a different bottle nipple/teat. 

Different nipples have different flows. Also a silicone nipple may feel more natural, like an actual breast nipple.


And that’s it. It might also help to get into a routine of trying the bottle at the same time everyday. So offering baby a bottle every evening, for example. If you can get Daddy or Grandma or Carer on your side to support the effort, that will remove or at least reduce the pressure you feel.


Some more thoughts on the topic:

When’s the best time to introduce a bottle?

There’s a lot of debate about when the ‘right time’ is, to introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby. If you want to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months (or longer), you might be hesitant to introduce the bottle because you don’t want to sabotage your success with breastfeeding.


Nipple confusion

There’s also something called ‘nipple confusion’ – because the bottle is technically easier to drink from than the breast, the breast suckling requires more effort, we are told  if we introduce the bottle too early, baby may like it better and then refuse the breast because its more work!


Preparing for a return to work 

However, if you’re going back to work between 6 weeks to 4 months, you might feel pressure to know baby will drink from the bottle, or some other means, when you are not home. Knowing baby is comfortably fed while you’re at work will give you major peace of mind, as you prepare for your return to work.

I don’t have the answers. I offer a solution prescribed by one of the links I have listed below. You could try this: At 3-4 weeks (or 2-3 weeks if you are returning to work at 6 weeks), you can begin pumping after feedings for 4-5 minutes if your baby had a good feeding, or 8-10 minutes if he didn’t nurse well or only nursed on one breast.


Mums, on this one, I’m counting on hearing your experience. What worked for your baby? When did you first introduce the bottle? Did your baby ever experience nipple confusion? Please share with plenty of details for other working mums in these shoes.


Motherandchildhealth | BreastfeedingBasics


Leave a Reply