Reasons Why your baby is refusing bottle or not nursing

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As a mother, it could be very stressful when the baby refuses to nurse or start refusing the bottle. It is a common issue with every mom who seems extremely worried if the baby has not eaten for a while or has started refusing a bottle. There are a few reasonable reasons why your baby stops eating all of a sudden, you still have to stay put and keep offering milk.

Remember this is not going to last for a long time. Babies do not starve themselves, they will eat when they feel like it, just like adults have their food aversions.

Either your baby is bottle-fed, formula, or breastmilk, suddenly she starts refusing bottle after a couple of months you need to figure out what could be the reason.

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Reasons why your baby is refusing bottle or Nursing

Here are a few reasons you need to know if you think your baby has reduced his feeds instead of increasing.

1. Nipple size and the teat is an issue

You have to make sure the teat is properly working. The flow is right as per the baby’s age. This you can assure about nipple size engraved on every baby bottle nipples. Every baby bottle comes with size 1 nipples. You have to purchase size 2 and 3 as your baby grows according to his age.

Pro Tip: Poke something sharp that has a thick tip to increase the flow of bottle nipple. Always check the milk flow on your hand. Babies might gag due to overflow. However, with time your baby will be a quick eater.

2. Milk temperature is not right

Some babies do not like taking cold milk. They prefer warm milk or at room temperature. Do not feed too much hot milk. You have to make sure that milk temperature is perfect, not too hot and not too cold.


Use a bottle warmer to warm formula or breastmilk. Do not microwave, and if you want to prepare warm milk, microwave water in a cup or glass bottle and then add formula milk. Always check bottle milk temperature on the back of your hand before feeding your baby.

Pro tip: Pour some hot water in a cup and put the baby’s milk bottle for a few minutes in the hot water cups. Shake well to ensure milk is warm uniformly.

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3. The formula is not good anymore

If you are feeding your baby formula, make sure it is not expired. You can use the formula milk within one month once you open it. You have to be sure it has not gone bad or taste any different due to the hot climate.

Some babies are very responsive to any kind of change and they might not like the taste. That being said, changing the formula could help significantly.

4. Bottle type/nipple type is not comfortable anymore

Breastfed babies are very much comfortable with nursing as they are soothing on their gums and easy on digestion. Just be sure your baby is liking his bottle if your baby is bottle-fed. However, the nipple seems to be soft on the gums and if your baby is refusing the breasts due to small nipple size, you can definitely try using a nipple shield.

Using a bottle that is closer to breastfeeding may reduce the chances of rejection. This Comotomo Natural feel baby bottle is getting popular in new parents.

5. Sign of illness

The main reason your baby is not eating all of a sudden could be due to any sign of illness. There could be a chance of fever, ear infection, thrush, cold, flu, cough, congestion, etc.

Although babies refuse the bottle and do not want to eat from a bottle and even do not want to suck. As a mom, you still manage to give frequent feedings ounce by ounce.

As recommended by pediatricians, even if your baby is sick or refusing the bottle, do not force them to eat if he is resisting. Try to nurse her as frequently as possible rather than following a timetable of every 2 to 3 hours.

Feed on demand would be the best thing to follow. If you are not nursing, you can use the dropper or syringe for milk, if a baby has suckle issues.

Just make sure your baby has to stay hydrated. Dehydration would not be healthy for babies.

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6. Sign of teething

When your baby is on her way to teething, that is the most difficult time for moms. No matter what timeline your baby follows for teething, it is going to be a task to feed them.

My kids started teething around 10 or 11 months, the first thing was they started refusing the bottle and sometimes even nursing. It was very stressful for me to be a mom to feed them. After battling a few days, I changed their bottles from Avent to Tommee tippee as their nipples are relatively soft and easy to suck on. Thus, this was less painful for him on the gums.

When a baby’s top incisors are on their way, it is very likely your baby might refuse nursing or even a bottle due to the gum’s pain and discomfort.

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7. Your baby’s tummy is full

Another considerable reason is your baby might have started solids, thus she has been taking less milk, once you have fed solid wait for some time and then give milk after an hour or so.

8. Your baby seems distracted

As babies grow they easily get distracted with cell phones, televisions, Ipads, tablets, Kindle or any kind of device. Moms while nursing their newborns tend to browse on their phones, or tablets, however, when babies grow a few months old they start to get distracted and refuse to eat.

Put your gadgets away or stop using it for a while, if your baby is getting distracted. By all means, the baby needs your undivided attention.

9. Tongue Tie

This is the most common issue with breastfeeding – when babies are not being able to latch properly due to tongue-tie. Due to this condition moms have to struggle with milk supply as it takes quite a while to get a smooth start. As the baby cannot latch properly and faces difficulty moving her tongue side to side.

Tongue-tie is a condition in which the tissue under the tongue is limiting the movement of the tongue as it is connected to the floor of the mouth. Doctors after evaluation do a small surgical procedure to treat tongue-tie.

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10. A decrease in milk supply

There is quite a chance your baby is refusing to nurse, as there is a sudden decrease in milk supply. Baby does not feel full or there is less milk supply even she is latched on perfectly.

Eating milk booster food might help regain your milk supply. Breastfeeding supplements significantly help in boosting milk supply.

Furthermore, you can try healthy food to boost milk supply.

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How you can help baby to eat

Although there is not much you can do to force your baby to eat when he or she is resisting. Just a few precautions and then wait because this phase will be over before you even know it.

1. Do not stress

If your baby is refusing the bottle and you are pretty much familiar with the issue your baby might be going through, then the first thing you should do is DO NOT STRESS. 

Try not to make it a control issue or force your baby to eat, this would worsen the situation and leaves you more frustrated and mentally exhausted. 

Try not to stress as this too shall pass. Your baby is going to resume eating anytime soon. 

2. Consider changing a soft nipple or a sippy cup

If your baby is nursing and not taking a bottle then the considerable option is to change nipple size or bottle brand which has a softer nipple. However, if it is too small then switch to a bigger size as it takes a lot of effort to suck on to eat. For breastfeeding, you can use a nipple shield if your baby is having suckle issues.

3. Small and frequent feedings

Sometimes they do not want to eat everything in one sitting due to any illness. They might eat as much as they want to eat in very small and frequent feedings. Once they start feeding better, their eating would be on track soon. 

4. Cut down the distractions.

If you think your baby is getting distracted with your gadgets or phone usage, try not to use it until your baby is done eating.

5. Milk-based food

If you have started solids, eventually your baby’s milk intake is going to reduce, If it still not on average then talk to her pediatrician and try to feed your baby with milk-based food like yogurt, cheese, milky dessert, etc. to meet all that milk requirements.

6. Your baby is not interested in milk anymore

Although milk is quite an entertaining drink for babies still there is a chance your baby has lost interest in milk and they enjoy eating solid food rather than milk.

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If your baby is not getting back on track with his eating habits, you need to speak to your child’s pediatrician as it could result in serious dehydration that would eventually because of UTI in babies.

Bottle refusal is not necessarily a newborn thing, this could happen to babies or kids until they quit taking bottles. Once you start solids with your baby, be sure there is a right balance between milk and solid food. If your baby is thirsty, he or she will drink milk anyway.

Reasons why your baby is refusing bottle or not nursing

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