Your Baby is Refusing the Bottle? Here's What to Do

“Help! My baby is refusing bottle-feeding”

I’ve heard this tons of times from busy moms who have to bottle feed their child as they go back to work.

This problem is characterized by the baby turning away from the bottle, refusing to suck, pushing the bottle away, or crying as the bottle comes closer to them.

If you’re facing obstacles bottle-feeding your baby, rest relaxed knowing that 25% of moms report similar problems.

So don’t worry, I got you covered. Today I present you with the best ways to help your child accept bottle-feeding:

Mirna Elsabbagh, Adult & Child Nutritionist - Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition

 1. Let someone help you with bottle-feeding 2 weeks before

One of the most effective ways is to prepare your child for bottle-feeding before you actually go back to work is to allow a trusted person to help you as you bottle-feed your baby. Seek help from your partner, family, or helper during this transitioning period.

Make sure not to force the bottle, but instead to propose it every once in a while until your baby finally accepts it. Also, seek a calm and soothing atmosphere to encourage your baby to eat.


 2. Try different bottle brands/sizes.

Bottles and their nipples can come in different sizes and shapes based on several brands. Bottles can be angled, have drop inserts or have vents. Nipples also can differ in size and flows.

Therefore, you have to try different options to find the bottle-nipple combination that best suits your baby’s pace and preference.

I personally recommend “Phillips Avent” and “Nuk” bottles as they were the best for my baby.


 3. Change your feeding position

As your baby is changing their feeding style, they might experience discomfort with their feeding position.

Accordingly, try having different techniques and positions to figure out the most proper one for your baby, and give your baby enough time to adjust to each one.

Some proposed positions include reclining the baby within your arms, positioning them on a pillow, or sitting them on your lap.


 4. Let someone else (other than you) feed your baby

Babies generally link breastfeeding with their moms, which may confuse them when she offers a bottle instead. Consequently, babies will refuse to take the bottle from their mom.

Therefore, having someone else give the baby their bottle would help your baby accept it faster, and he/she will associate bottle-feeding with this person.

It is helpful to have your baby’s father, caretaker, grandparent or nurse to bottle-feed them.


5. Try bottle-feeding when your baby is sleepy

When your baby feels sleepy, they’re less reluctant to bottles than when they’re awake and alert. Therefore, if your baby is getting ready to get into some sleep or has just woke up from their nap, it’s a good idea to bottle-feed them.


 6. Don’t offer it when your baby is too hungry or cranky.

A common mistake moms do is wait until their baby is so hungry to bottle-feed them thinking they’ll accept the bottle this way. In fact, this will only lead to a more upset crying baby.

Your hungry baby is seeking to be fed, and is not ready to adjust to new feeding habits. These new skills need time, patience and effort to be learned.

Therefore, try bottle-feeding when your baby is in between feedings, and when he/she is not very hungry.


 7. Try breastfeeding first then offering the bottle

Another efficient method to help your baby accept the bottle faster is inserting breastfeeding as they’re transitioning to bottle-feeding. This includes breastfeeding for 5-6 minutes first then offering them the bottle. This reduces their confusion level, and helps them better accept being bottle-fed.


Eventually, be patient, and don’t panic! Your baby might be reluctant at first, but after several tries they will accept the bottle.


Want more tips for breastfeeding and positioning?

You can get access to my breastfeeding course on the following link!


Mirna Elsabbagh, Adult & Child Nutritionist - Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition


I hope this was helpful!

Mirna Sabbagh, an adult and child dietitian, nutritionist, and lactation consultant. She also has several digital courses: Pregnancy Nutrition Course, breastfeeding course,  starting solids 6-12 months courseand also child nutrition for all children including picky eaters, that you can sign up for from the comfort of your home.

The courses are pre-recorded. As soon as you make the course purchase, you will receive a link to watch the course from your phone or laptop.

You can also e-mail Mirna for questions on