How can I get my baby to take a bottle?

Ask Anne…

Baby boy crying to have foodAnswer: Getting an older baby to take a bottle can be challenging. Babies often get pretty set in their ways after the early weeks of nursing, and may decide that milk is supposed to come out of breasts, not bottles, and they just won’t accept a substitute for the real thing.

Will he take juice from a bottle? Some babies will accept juice but not milk, and if he will, then you can try adding a tiny bit of milk to the juice (maybe 1 tsp to an ounce of juice) and then gradually increase the amount of milk until he learns to accept the taste.

Are you in a situation where he absolutely has to take supplemental feedings regularly? For example, are you returning to work or going on a trip without him? If not, then that kind of takes the pressure off a little bit. The article Introducing Bottles and Pacifiers to a Breastfed Baby may have some tips on getting him to take a bottle, but at this age, you might have more luck at offering him a cup.

Many babies this age are very interested in cup feeding, and are more likely to accept it than a bottle because they associate sucking with breastfeeding, but not cup feeding. I would try offering him breast milk in a cup, and if he refuses that too, I would try the juice trick.

With time and patience, I’m sure you’ll get him to accept supplemental feedings of milk from someone other than you. It sounds like he is a smart young man who knows what he wants, and isn’t willing to settle for anything else, (you really can’t blame him for figuring out that “breast is best”!) but I’m sure he’ll come around eventually.

Anne Smith, IBCLC
Breastfeeding Basics

About Anne Smith, IBCLC

Anne Smith, IBCLC
As the mother of six wonderful breastfed children, three perfect breastfed grand babies, and an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) with over twenty-five years experience in lactation counseling, I can offer you professional support, as well as information and advice based on my personal experiences over the years.

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