Bottle Refusal: Why It Happens & What To Do About It

Posted by Formuland Blog on

When your little bundle of joy comes into the world, you do everything you can to make them feel safe and welcome. Your baby is your entire world, of course you’ll want to bond with them, help them rest, make them feel comfortable, and, most importantly, obtain the proper amount of nutrients for optimal growth. However, you’ve stumbled into a new issue: your little one is starting to refuse their bottle.

Don’t panic. Bottle refusal is very common for babies, especially if they never had a bottle before or they’re more accustomed to breastfeeding. You may worry about whether they’re getting the nutrition they need, but don’t jump to any conclusions. Keep reading to learn the reasons why babies refuse bottles and how to overcome them. Remember to have patience and take your time, your baby will catch on before you know it.

When Should You Start Bottle Feeding?

In some instances, mothers can’t produce milk, so they have no choice but to bottle-feed as soon as their child is born. However, bottle feeding can happen at any age. Whether you use breastmilk or baby formula, ideally, you should start four to six weeks after you’ve had your baby.

Parents usually wait a month or so after their baby is born to bottle-feed because breastfeeding has already been established and become a routine. Building the confidence and comfort to breastfeed takes time, along with regularly producing breastmilk. However, it’s up to both the parents to decide when to bottle-feed their babies and the readiness of the baby.

Reasons Why Baby Refuses To Bottle-Feed

There are many reasons why babies refuse to bottle-feed, but they aren’t as complicated as you might think. Reasons can vary from the baby not knowing how to take the bottle to the baby getting distracted by outside noise and stimuli. Remember to take a deep breath and have patience, you’ll find a way to bottle-feed your baby.

Improper Milk Temperature

Perhaps you’ve been bottle-feeding your baby for a little while now. However, you start noticing some finicky behavior this time, which can be frustrating. One thing to consider when trying to bottle-feed your baby is the temperature of the milk.

All babies are different when it comes to their milk preferences. Some babies enjoy an ice-cold bottle of milk, while other babies prefer their milk on the warmer side. Check your baby’s milk temperature and see if making it more warm or cool makes a difference. It can be a simple solution that sways their interest.

Bottle Nipple Size

It’s crucial to remember that not all milk nipples are the same. When breastfeeding, babies learn to latch on to you specifically, so adjusting to a different mouth feel can overwhelm them. Sometimes the bottle nipple can be too big to latch on to or too small to get the proper milk flow.

So, experiment with different bottle nipple sizes for your baby. See which type of bottle nipple they respond to best and take your time with learning your baby’s preferences.

Colds, Ear Infections, and More

As seasons change, so does your baby’s health. One day, they’re incredibly happy and playful; the next day, they can be very fussy and not want to nap. If you start to notice that your baby isn’t interested in bottle-feeding, it could mean they’re starting to get sick.

All babies get sick at one point or another, and bottle refusal can come down to the intensity of their illness. Illnesses such as ear infections, the flu, colds, throat infections, and more can result in bottle refusal. If you start to notice that your baby is feeling under the weather, make a quick visit to the doctor and see what they can offer to soothe and comfort your baby.

Baby Distraction

While feeding your baby is an optimal way to bond during their early months, the time it takes to feed them can slowly increase and leave you feeling a little bored. It’s normal to sit for a considerable amount of time to feed your baby, and turning on the TV or playing some music can help make the time fly and make the process more comfortable.

However, distractions such as visual and audio stimuli can make your baby not want to bottle-feed and focus on what’s happening around them. So, instead of turning on the TV, try to keep your baby in a calm and peaceful area so they can feed distraction-free.

Tips for Encouraging Bottle Feeding

If you’re still frustrated with your baby’s refusal to bottle-feed, that’s okay; many remedies can help them get back on track. From adjusting your baby’s position to changing feeding locations, your baby will eventually catch on and feel more inclined to bottle-feed.

Adjust Your Baby’s Position

Sometimes changing how your baby sits can significantly affect their bottle-feedings. If you always have them leaning back, try to move them to a more upright position.

You can also have your baby sit on your knee or face out so they can look around the room. Changing a baby’s feeding position can make them more interested in bottle-feeding.

Help Your Baby Learn To Latch

Babies don’t magically know how to latch on to bottle nipples, so it’s crucial that you take the time to let them learn. Instead of directly putting the bottle in their mouth, try tickling their upper lip with the nipple and see if they’ll open their mouths.

From there, your baby should latch on to the wide base of the nipple instead of the tip for proper milk flow. Before you know it, your little one will master bottle latching.

Change Feeders or Locations

Sometimes a change of scenery or people can make your baby’s feeding experience more productive. Babies often associate feeding with comfort, especially when you’re feeding them. However, try having someone you know help them with bottle-feeding, it can make a considerable difference.

Just ensure the baby doesn’t see or smell you, as it can trigger an emotional response and further increase their resistance to bottle feeding. As for locations, try moving them to a different room or feeding them outside instead of in their nursery. They’ll eventually latch onto their bottles and feed like champions.

When you encourage your baby to bottle-feed, you should use the proper baby formula to support their development, growth, and personal taste. At Formuland, we offer European-based baby formula that provides support at every stage in your baby’s growth cycle without sacrificing taste. Our line of Kendamil formula comes in organic cow and goat milk formulations for your baby’s preferences and needs. Browse our catalog of European baby formula today, so your baby gets the support they deserve.

Bottle Refusal: Why It Happens & What To Do About It

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