My Baby Refuses to Breastfeed But Will Take A Bottle, Help!

Like any new mother, I wanted my firstborn to have the best of the bests, breastfeeding being the top of that list. My baby and I were getting along really well till one day, he just thought he had enough of breastfeeding and went on a strike, out of the blue. He started acting fussy, screaming, and pushing my breast away multiple times, so I went for the bottle to feed him. He was merely 9 months old, and it felt too soon to start feeding him through a bottle, but he seemed to like it more. So, I did a few things to get my baby back on the breastfeeding and have decided to share with you as well. With these tips, you will finally get your baby back to breastfeeding happily and in no time.

It’s ideal for babies younger than 12 months to breastfeed, to be able to grow strong and healthy. During the early months, most babies go through this fussy period, where they refuse to breastfeed out of the blue. Do not be anxious mothers; there’s nothing wrong with you or your baby, for he is only going through a growth spurt and will be out of it in a few days. First, make sure to check if your baby is sick or produce less milk than your baby needs. If your baby is not gaining weight with time, has any illness, or feels gassy, this could be one reason for losing interest in breastfeeding. If not, make sure that you pump as much as you used to breastfeed your baby, to avoid breast fullness and your baby going hungry. Use a Sippy cup instead of a bottle if your baby refuses to breastfeed repeatedly and is younger than 8 months. Sippy cups do not satisfy your baby’s sucking urge, which is an excellent way to get your baby back to breastfeeding while fulfilling his nutritional needs. Drinking milk from bottles is less of a hassle for babies as compared to breastfeeding. So, make sure that you do not get your baby addicted to bottles before the suitable age, as it significantly reduces the chances of your baby returning to breastfeeding. Instead of a bottle, use a cup, spoon, or a dropper to feed your baby and end their strike sooner.

Why do babies refuse to breastfeed in the first place?

Your baby refusing to breastfeed can be very shocking and worrisome indeed, but before choosing a strategy to overcome this obstacle, know that there can be more to this like:

Physical issues

  • Your baby could be feeling sick, have an ear infection, or cold.
  • Make sure your baby is not suffering from reflux, as it can make feeding painful.
  • You could be producing milk fast, leading to a fast and overwhelming flow for your baby.
  • Your baby could be suffering from an allergy that he caught during breastfeeding through some medication or drug that you took.
  • Your baby could be teething or had an injury and is unable to suck due to pain.
  • Your baby could be suffering from a reaction to a product like lotion, laundry detergent, or deodorant.

Environmental causes

  • Your baby could be stressed, upset, or overstimulated by something.
  • Babies tend to avoid breastfeeding on a strict schedule or if interrupted repeatedly.
  • Make sure not to leave your baby crying for a longer period, for it may affect their hunger and feedings.
  • Major changes in routine like traveling, shifting, or attending to work can also cause your baby to avoid breastfeeding.
  • Do not yell or talk loudly while breastfeeding, as it may disturb your baby and make him stop before he is full.
  • Most babies tend to bite while breastfeeding; though painful, try not to react strongly.
  • Some babies find it hard to breastfeed after a long time, so make sure not to be away or avoid breastfeeding for long.

Knowing the reason behind your baby’s behavior is the best way to find the right solution. For instance, all your baby need is medical attention if he is suffering from an illness and will most likely return to breastfeeding after being cured.

Reasons why your baby loves bottle over breastfeeding?

You must be wondering why your baby is open to bottle-feeding instead of breastfeeding; here’s why.

  • Bottles offer a faster and steady flow of milk as compared to breasts. In bottle feedings, the waiting time for the milk to let down is less, and your baby can suck passively and with little effort.
  • If your baby is overstimulated or is cranky, then bottles are the easiest to manage for your baby. It is hard for a fussy baby to latch onto the breast and suck it compared to the bottle. Bottles require little effort to suck milk and fulfill the baby’s sucking instincts.
  • Some babies like the firmness of a bottle nipple compared to a breast nipple, as it soothes them quickly.
  • If you have been bottle-feeding your baby for a while, then the chances are that your baby has grown fonder of it. You can take measures to help them learn how to breastfeed again.

Tips to get your baby back to breastfeeding

Tips to get your baby back to breastfeeding

If you are struggling with getting your baby back on your breasts then try the following tips.

Keep your baby fed!

You must ensure that your baby is fed even though he denies breastfeeding. If you do not wish to use a bottle, use other feeding methods, like sippy cups or dropper. Do not keep your baby hungry and keep pumping to fulfill his nutritional needs.

Don’t starve your baby

A starved baby gets fussy and won’t take the breast well, so feed your baby more often before he gets too hungry. Just increasing the feeding routine can help your baby get out of strike faster without making other changes.

Soothe your baby

A cranky baby will not take the breast to feed, so make sure that you soothe your baby before suckling. You can walk, sing, or have your baby suck on your finger or a pacifier to soothe them. This way, your baby will feel calm and ready to feed happily.

Supplement your baby before feeding

Make sure that your baby is neither too hungry nor too full before breastfeeding. Because he wouldn’t want to suckle when fussy or will be too full to feed anymore.

If your baby is fussy and not taking your breast, then you can do a little trick to breastfeed successfully. Feed your fussy baby little milk through a bottle or a cup, and then when they are calm, shift to breastfeeding.

Try a different position when breastfeeding

Try a different position when breastfeeding

Sometimes the solution can be as simple as changing the posture you breastfeed. If your normal position is the cradle, then try lying down, nursing in motion, or nursing in an upright position, for a change.

You can also try changing the shape of your nipple into a “C” or “U” for a change.

Make the flow easier

Try to make your milk’s flow steady by pumping or hand pressing before your baby latches on. By gently squeezing your breast, you can help your baby get a faster flow of milk.

Nurse before/after naps

 The best time to get your baby back on breastfeeding is by nursing when they are sleepy. Try feeding your baby when he is about to sleep, wakes up in the middle of the night, or had just woken up after a long nap. They are more relaxed during these times and are less likely to make a fuss over breastfeeding.

Take a break

Sometimes the best thing you can do to get things back on track is “take a break.” Spend time with your baby on the weekend, let him feed whenever he wants, cuddle, talk, and show him some extra love.

Try alternatives

Just because your baby is refusing to breastfeed doesn’t mean that they do not want to feed. So, make sure to keep your baby fed through a sippy cup, a dropper, syringe, or a spoon.

Use paced bottle feeding

Bottles are safe to use when you have no other alternative, but make sure to go for slow flow nipples and try a paced bottle-feeding method. This experience is the closest to breastfeeding, so you won’t have trouble switching back to breastfeeding when it’s time.

Take away

Do not start questioning your ability to breastfeed or milk supply every time your baby refuses to suckle. Just like adults, babies could be in need of a break as well.

This is the most common issue that mothers go through and can be resolved with a few changes. Ensure that your baby is not hungry, fussy, or stimulated, and gets his feedings timely. Try different positions, soothing techniques, and alternative methods to feed your baby back to routine breastfeeding.

Let me know how you overcame this phase in the comments below!

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Hajira is a certified editor, an experienced and thoughtful writer, and a mother of two. Her deliberate passion for writing convinced her to become a writer along with her mom duties. Driven by her passion for writing, she takes pride in providing the best possible. She aims to incite and provoke enthusiasm in her readers.

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