Q&A: Baby Won't Drink Bottle, Now What?

I'm trying to wean, but my baby won't take a bottle. What can I do?
profile picture of Jeanne Cygnus, IBCLC, RLC
ByJeanne Cygnus, IBCLC, RLC
Lactation Specialist
Mar 2017
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This depends on the age of your baby. Older babies — six months and up — can often be weaned directly to a sippy cup or other cup, with a little extra help from mom or dad. Younger babies can drink milk from a cup, but it’s a bit trickier and more time-consuming. Teaspoons and other feeding devices can be used in a pinch, but they’re often much less convenient long-term.

Most often it’s the nipple, rather than the bottle, that baby objects to. You may want to plan on purchasing an assortment of different types of nipples, and see if there is one that your baby is willing to accept. Sometimes it’s the one you’d least expect.

Also having someone other than mom offer the bottle can make a difference for many babies. Once baby becomes comfortable taking the bottle when mom is out of the house, he’ll then often accept it even from mom too.

Another strategy: Try varying the temperature of the milk in the bottle. Some babies like the milk to be very close to mom’s body temperature and may refuse a bottle that is warmer or cooler. Other babies seem to take a bottle best when it’s offered at a totally different temperature — sometimes even straight from the fridge.

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