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He won't take a bottle

Posted by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 11:36 AM
  • 15 Replies
My 7 wk old goes to daycare next week. He's had a bottle a few times (like 4 or 5) but doesn't like it. Well, now he just cries and won't take the bottle at all. What should I do? I love that he prefers the breast, but he has to take a bottle at daycare.
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by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 11:36 AM
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by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Are you giving him the bottle? My dd wouldn't take a bottle from me the 1st few times I gave her one. If he is hungry he will eventually take the bottle. Get a few different ones and have your SO offer them and see if he prefers one over the other.

by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Have you tried different brands of bottles? My first wasn't BF I was 15 and never taught how it works, but I had a hard time getting him to take a bottle and I finally found one and they stopped making them so I ran to ever store possible and bought ever single one I could find. It was only for the first few months.

by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 11:39 AM

If he's hungry, he'll take it.

by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 11:43 AM


Try to get a bottle that imitate the breast like nuk, breastflow.... try to see which one he likes most my daughter only took well on the nuk, she was beastfed aswel.

by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 11:51 AM

 my current nursling refused a bottle. it took him almost 2mo to really take one, he was older than yours when i went back to work (4mo). he's still resistant.

make sure others are offering the bottle. baby will take it if they are truly hungry. make sure you nurse right before leaving baby and immediately upon return. some babies will not eat while mom is away and will just reverse cycle (nurse throughout the night). you can also try syringe feeding, sippy cups without stoppers, different bottles (my son will only take breastflow) and eye droppers.

when i first went back to work he was taking maybe 1-2 oz throughout the day and over time moved up. now he'll take anywhere between 6-10oz while i'm away (i'm gone 10hrs). it'll work itself out and i know how stressful it can be. a baby will not starve itself.

by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 12:20 PM
DH is the one giving him the bottle. We use nuk bottles. He has a tongue tie that never affected nursing however I wonder if it affects the bottle. I plan on going today to get a couple of different ones for DH to try. Hopefully it works out. :(
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by Bronze Member on Aug. 17, 2011 at 12:28 PM

My daughter will be 6 months soon and still won't take a bottle.  She refuses at daycare, the most she has ever taken is 6 oz. in a 9 hour day (and that has only happened once!).    She won't take a paci either.  I have ended up sending a soft sippee cup with her that she accepts sometimes.  Your son is  a little young to try that though.  My husband has resorted to a medicine cup with bm in it when he has had her.  I have gotten to the point where she will just have to deal.  If she doesn't eat all day, I make sure I am available to her all evening and night to make up for it.  Good luck, I really hope you find a bottle he will accept, I know it is stressful for mom when they are difficult like that. 

by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 12:34 PM
Honestly its okay. Its called reverse cycling and you can find info about it on My lo has went 12 hours with out anything.
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by Group Admin - Amy on Aug. 17, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Are you anywhere around when the bottles are given?  That can cause the baby to refuse because he can still smell you and wants the real thing.  If he still won't take the bottles at day care, it is reverse cycling and is safe.  

What is reverse cycling?

Reverse cycling is when baby nurses frequently at night and less frequently during the day.


Why do some babies reverse cycle?

  • Newborns may reverse cycle in the early days or weeks simply because they have their days and nights mixed up.
  • Distractible (and/or very active) babies or toddlers may nurse more at night to make up for missed or shortened nursing sessions during the day.
  • If mom is very distracted or busy during the day, baby may nurse more at night to make up for missed or shortened nursing sessions, or simply to get more uninterrupted time with mom.
  • If mom is away from baby during the day, baby may take just enough milk (by bottle or cup) to "take the edge off" his hunger, then wait for mom to return to get the bulk of his calories. Baby will typically nurse more often and/or longer than usual once mom returns. Some mothers encourage reverse cycling so they won't need to pump as much milk. Reverse cycling is common for breastfed babies who are away from mom part of the day, especially those just starting out with the bottle.


Tips for handling reverse cycling

General coping tips for interrupted sleep:

If your newborn has days and nights mixed up:

  • During the day, keep the lights on and go on with your normal daytime activities -- don'tkeep things dark and quiet where baby is sleeping. Play with and talk to baby during waking times. Wake baby to nurse every 2-3 hours.
  • During baby's night wakings, keep everything calm, quiet, and dark (if you need a light to breastfeed, try using a smaller light like a nightlight or closet light). At some point you may want to begin a bedtime routine (such as bath, story, breastfeeding) to signal that nighttime has begun.

When mom is busy or distracted:

  • Consider using a sling or other baby carrier so that baby can be with you and breastfeed while you go about your day.
  • Be aware of baby's typical breastfeeding routine, and remember to watch for baby's cues on busy days -- this is easiest when baby is close by.
  • Be aware that after a really busy day (we all have them!), your child may need some one-on-one time with mom to breastfeed and reconnect.
  • Tips for juggling a newborn and toddler

If your baby is distractible, see The Distractible Baby for tips. Do babies under 12 months self-wean? has additional tips for distractible older babies.

If baby is reverse cycling and taking very little milk when mom is away at work:

  • Be patient. Try not to stress about it. Consider it a compliment - baby prefers you!
  • Use small amounts of expressed milk per bottle so there is less waste.
  • If you're worrying that baby can't go that long without more milk, keep in mind that some babies sleep through the night for 8 hours or so without mom needing to worry that baby is not eating during that time period. Keep an eye on wet diapers and weight gain to assure yourself that baby is getting enough milk.
  • Ensure that baby has ample chance to nurse when you're together.
  • If you prefer to pump less milk while you're away from baby, you may choose toencourage baby to reverse cycle.


Lilypie - (wn9y)

by Silver Member on Aug. 17, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Your lo won't starve himself.  I would send no more than an  ounce an a half bottle per hour he's there (an ounce wouldn't hurt, though) and be ready to reverse cycle when he gets home with you!  Hugs and I hope it all works out ok for you.

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