View Full Version : baby won't take a bottle

01-13-2002, 12:37 PM
My 3 month old steadfastly refuses to take a bottle. We've tried just about everything we can think of - avent, medela, healthflow, playtex, all to no avail. My pediatrition says that once you've tried a few different nipples with no success, the problem is not the nipple, however, friends of reluctant bottle feeders swear by finding the right niple. I recently found a product called the breast bottle, which looks like an actual breast. Before running out and spending $15 for one of these, though, I seek your advice. Should I keep trying with what we have? Try something new? We keep trying to be persistent, but he won't suck from a bottle and just ends up getting very upset. My poor husband, who does the bottle feedings, is getting traumatized as, I fear, is my son! Help!

01-13-2002, 07:28 PM
Oh, geez, have I ever been there!

The bad news is that my daughter (now 8 months) never did take a bottle. The good news, however, is that she very quickly mastered the cup, and can handle it herself now. That doesn't make the intervening time easy, though... you have all my sympathy.

There is a whole pile of tactics to try available in the Breastfeeding Information area of www.lalecheleague.org (search on "bottle".) Friends and my doctor also variously suggested: various nipples (we tried tons), changing the temperature of the bottle (warmer or cooler), wrapping it in my nightgown to help it smell like Mom, offering the bottle when my daughter was not hungry, so she would explore it rather than immediately rejecting it, offering it when she was sleeping, and even going straight over to a sippy cup (Avent, among others, has a soft-spout sippy cup). The public health nurse also offered me a thin tube to tape to the feeder's finger, to see if she'd suck the finger and get the milk that way. She also gave me a little plastic cup, which is what got us started with the cup. We also tried juice in the bottle (diluted half and half with water) to see if she would break down and use the bottle in order to get the juice. (Not that I want to encourage the frequent substitution of juice for milk, but we were hoping just to get a breakthrough on sucking on the bottle.)

And finally, the lactation consultant reassured me that if I had to be away for 5, 6, or even 8 hours at a stretch, the baby would be all right. "Have whoever is taking care of her do stuff she likes, to help pass the time, and then she'll make up for the missed feedings in her night feedings," she said. And she was right. The first couple of times I had to be away were rough, but not too traumatic. Then she and her Dad kind of got a good routine going. And then she got good with the cup shortly after.

Sooo... try the stuff above, but if it doesn't work, go straight to the cup. And keep chanting the mantra about "the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..."!!

Good luck,


01-13-2002, 08:49 PM
The only one I could get my son to use was the Gerber bottles with their silicone orthodontic (NUK) nipples. Have you tried those yet? You mentioned a bunch of things, but not those. I, too, tried Avent, Healthflow, and Playtex, but my son just doesn't like the regular, round nipples. I think Evenflo also makes an ortho nipple, but we just stuck with the Gerber.

Since I couldn't get him to breast feed in the hospital, and we still weren't sure whether we were going to attempt again after we came home, the lactation consultant at the hospital gave us the finger feeding system to use. That worked for the first few days. But once we decided to formula feed, we started trying all the different bottles until we found one.

Good luck!

--Sue B.
SAHM to Evan Jeffrey 03-11-01

01-15-2002, 10:31 PM
All I can say is...I can feel your pain...and so can my pocketbook. I have probably a half a dozen different kinds of nipples in my kitchen cupboard. I read somewhere that around 3 mo. they are able to distinguish a difference between breast and bottle and then definately show a preference!!!

I have had no success and my son is now 6 1/2 months. I sought advice from everyone and everywhere. I am trying a sippy cup w/ the boy, but he just chews on it (just like he started doing w/ the bottle). He will take milk from a small cup or bowl, but this is messy.

Good luck and let us know if you find a solution!!!

01-24-2002, 03:37 PM
Wow, sounds familiar. My daughter finally accepted the bottle at 3 months (and I was close to despair), this after introducing it at 3 weeks! We ended up with the playtex nursers. We found we had to be really consistent with it (we would get frustrated and upset and not try it every day). I gave her a bottle 2x a day, mostly morning and afternoon, when she was in a better mood. Once we started this, she would take the nipple without screaming (a major improvement) and kinda play with it. Eventually she would tire of this new game and want to eat. I distracted her for 5-10 minutes and then would nurse her. After 1-2 weeks of this, we figured she actually needed to be hungrier to take it. So I gave her the bottle when I knew she was hungry but not crying. All of a sudden, she took the bottle. It took about another 2-3 days for her to really get it but now she takes the bottle like a champ. We did all the other things, different nipples (I suggest trying one kind for at least a few days), warming the nipple, being sure the milk was warm enough was important too. In the end, it worked, so there is hope, but it took a lot of persistence. Good luck.

02-04-2002, 05:03 PM
We had the same problem when my daughter was 3 months (she is now 10 months and will take a bottle of breastmilk). We found (after alot of screaming and crying by her and alot of anxiety and tears from the grownups) that what worked was to wait until she was truly hungry (if not she would just play with it and then start crying); not have me anywhere near her; heat the milk to a point where it was pretty warm -- we heated it in almost bioling water; and warm up the nipple a bit. (I experimented with alot of nipples and found that the silicone/Johnson & Johnson/wider than normal (most like mom)worked best, although the type of nipple was NOT as crucial as the temp of the milk and her hunger level.) Also, we found that she would eventually take a bottle from either of her grandmothers, but not from other women and not from her father. After a while, things eased up and she would eventually take a bottle from anyone.