Help! My Baby Won’t Take A Pacifier Or Bottle! (10 Ways To Fix It)

It’s common for breastfed babies to reject pacifiers and even their feeding bottles. The reason behind this is maybe you’re trying to introduce something new when they’re already anxious, hungry, or cranky. Some breastfed babies don’t like the texture of the teat of the bottle or the pacifier and may reject it for the same reason. What you can do is to try offering them a bottle or a pacifier when they’re calm and happy. You can also try offering a bottle when they’re sleepy. Try offering a pacifier by switching your breast with the pacifier immediately after you breastfeed them. But, keep in mind that you need to be consistent and try again and again every day. Consult the pediatrician if your baby still rejects even after a few weeks.

Hi, dear anxious-parent,

Parents are always debating the side effects- the pros and cons of offering a pacifier to the baby, but you can’t deny that it does calm down a fussy baby.

When I was traveling with my 3-month-old infant via airplane, the pacifier came in very handy because it was the only thing that kept my baby calm during the journey.

Coming to the benefits of bottle-feeding, well, you and I both know the list will go on and on about the benefits and how easy it becomes for mothers who choose bottle-feeding. For instance, you can always go back to working full-time while a caregiver takes care of your baby.

But, what do you do when your baby wouldn’t accept a bottle or a pacifier, no matter what you do? Our babies become wiser and are more resilient as they grow older.

So, a baby who’s already inset with the breastfeeding ways would naturally reject the bottle and the pacifier because they have a 24-7 walking milk bar around them.

But don’t worry about them starving themselves. Believe me, a healthy, hungry baby will latch faster on a bottle even before you could finish saying “bottle” and finish it off.

Yes, with some children, you’re going to face some struggle while offering them a pacifier or a bottle.

How to offer your little one her bottle or pacifier

A newborn baby is crying and refusing to take a pacifier that's being offered by mom.

Following are some ways you can try offering your little one the feeding bottle or a pacifier. Kindly don’t try them all at once because you don’t want to upset your little one by stressing about it too much.

Don’t force them by inserting the bottle or pacifier inside their mouth by force- you won’t get anywhere and will end up with a scarred baby.

1. Leave the room

If you’re trying your best to bottle-feed your baby, then it’s not going to happen until you hand over the baby to a caregiver and you’re not close enough for the baby to sniff you out.

If you’re trying to bottle feed your baby while having breasts filled with milk and keeping the baby in your comfort, can you blame her when she prefers you over the bottle?

So, it’s better if you hand over the baby to someone else who can help you out, maybe only till the little one gets used to drinking from the bottle.

2. Dip the nipple in the formula or breast milk

Whether it’s the baby’s bottle or pacifier, this is one of the quickest and simplest tricks that many babies fall for, and that is dipping the nipple in the formula or your milk.

As the baby gets the smell or even the taste of it, she’s going to accept it, and the natural course of her sucking on the teat will take place.

Make sure to always sterilize and clean the bottles and pacifiers before offering them to your little one.

3. Try pulling it out

This works for both bottle-feeding as well as offering pacifiers. Pulling it out is kind of a “reverse psychology” that pediatricians recommend parents to do. This is when the breastfed baby is confused and keeps pushing the nipple out of the mouth.

What you do is when she’s not interested in sucking the nipple, try slowly pulling it out, and you might find them quickly grabbing it with their mouth and start sucking on it.

Reverse psychology is based on “what’s in my mouth belongs to me.” So, trying to pull the pacifier or the bottle out is like prying away a toy from a 2-year-old, and you know how they can become possessive about their things.

4. Time it right

If you try offering a bottle or a pacifier to a crying, fussy baby, your efforts will always be in vain. It’s like an unwritten rule that you can’t offer anything new to crying or baby who’s not their usual self because they’re going to reject it.

The same applies to potty training, trying to get them to sleep on their own bed, trying out diaper-less nights, or offering a bottle or pacifier to a breastfed baby.

Offer them when they’re calm and not hungry. Crying is the last sign babies communicate through, telling you that they’re hungry. So, offer them their bottle much after their last feed and just before they’ll supposedly be hungry.

5. Let them play

If your baby is old enough to hold a toy, then offer the teat and the pacifier to play with, and as they get used to it, try directing their hand to the mouth, and their reflex will automatically kick in.

6. Try the sleep and switch

A sleepy baby is more likely to take in the bottle or the pacifier than a fully awake baby. This is because the baby won’t even realize when you put in the bottle or the pacifier, and they’ll happily take it.

You can try breastfeeding, and then as they become drowsy, unlatch and give them the bottle or the pacifier, and look at your baby happily sucking it on.

7. Warm the nipple

If the teat of the bottle or the pacifier is cold or not at room temperature, then they’re likely to push it out of their mouth.

Try warming it up by running them under lukewarm water, and be mindful that you don’t try to offer the bottle or the pacifier directly after boiling it and not cooling it down first.

8. Change the brand

With pacifiers and bottles, you get so many options to try out. So, if your baby is rejecting the bottle, then try buying another bottle that has a teat shaped differently. Even with a pacifier, you get both latex and silicone-based. So, try offering different types of teats.

You can also buy nipple teats that are shaped in the form of the human nipple. Breastfeeding babies are more likely to accept those particular ones.

You should also make sure the pacifier size is right for your baby. Buy one that specifies is perfect for your baby’s age. With the bottle, you can either try changing the teat shape or the flow of the nipple if your baby is slightly older.

9. Check your baby’s health

If your baby is teething or has thrush, they’ll probably don’t want the bottle or the pacifier and would need only your comfort. So, if they’re sick, then wait till they recover, then try offering them again.

10. Keep trying

If you think your baby is never going to accept his bottle or paci forever just because he rejected them once, then you’re wrong. As much as they’re resilient, they’re likely to drop down their guard and accept it.

So, don’t stop trying but also don’t force it on them. Keep patience and keep on trying every day.

And if still, your baby seems to reject it, then talk to your pediatrician, and they’ll be able to guide you further.


What if my baby never takes a bottle?

Some babies will try to reject and be resilient against it, but you can always keep trying. Consult the pediatrician if she still rejects after a few weeks.

When should I stop feeding my baby every 3 hours?

Most babies will feel hungry every 3 hours until 2 months of age, after which try feeding them only on demand. The gaps between each feeding will increase as your baby grows and increase in intake of milk.

Do formula-fed babies sleep more at night?

Yes, studies have shown that formula-fed babies tend to sleep longer than breastfed babies because as the formula tends to be thicker in consistency, babies feel fuller.

Are mixed feedings bad for the baby?

Mixed feedings aren’t harmful to your baby, but they can affect your milk supply if you’re supplementing your little one with formula on regular basis.

How do you know if you’re baby is lactose intolerant?

If your baby is lactose intolerant, she’s likely to show symptoms like diarrhea, extreme irritability, increased flatulence, crying while pooping, and failure to gain weight.

Call your pediatrician immediately if you’re baby is experiencing these symptoms.


If you’re going back to work or have to go somewhere, but the baby doesn’t seem to accept the bottle, then some of the above ways and see what works best for you.

Don’t worry; as time goes by and they become more accustomed to the bottle and the pacifier, things will start to fall in place.

Meanwhile, tell us how your journey has been so far while trying to offer your little one the bottle and the pacifier.

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Located in India and a mother to a joyfully mischievous son, Kelin is the wife of the world’s most patient man and a busy homemaker. When she’s not busy cooking and running after her kid,  you can find her in a corner reading, or penning down words on her laptop. She believes the world will always try to instil ‘mom guilt’ in new mothers, but she goes by the maxim ‘a mother knows best'.

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