Why won't my breastfed baby take a bottle?!

You thought learning to breastfeed was the hard part - SURELY my baby would just take a bottle? I mean don't they suck on anything?!

I wish it was that easy!

Below is a roadmap to get you started and see if you need to make some changes to help your breastfed baby take a bottle!

Fresh breastmilk can taste different to frozen breastmilk.

When breastmilk is frozen or even sometimes when it is put in the fridge, the milk can develop a soapy or 'off' taste.

The lipase enzyme in your milk has the role of breaking down the fats - and if you have milk with high lipase it is thought that the fats will be broken down quickly during storage and cause the taste change.

The milk is still good for you baby - there is nothing wrong with it. However many babies will not like the taste and refuse to drink it!

Formulas all tastes different to each other. Just because a baby will drink one formula doesnt mean they will drink another. Allergy formulas, goats milk formulas, soy based - they all taste vastly different to each other.

The temperature of breastmilk is the same as the mothers body temperature. So your baby is used to this extremely stable temperature that doesn't fluctuate.

Some babies need the milk in the bottle to be very similar to this - other babies will tolerate or even prefer cold milk.

However for some babies - having milk that is too cold or too warm will frighten them!

Just because a baby likes to breastfeed in one position does not mean that they will like to bottle feed in that position.

We often try to make bottle feeding as similar as possible to breastfeeding but this rarely works.

Your baby may much prefer to be in a completely different position to how they breastfeed.

Breastfeeding is about much more than just nutrition. Breastfeeding is often about sleep, reconnection, feeling uncertain, feeling unwell, whereby bottle feeding is usually solely for nutrition.

So trying to mimic the 2 to be the same is a bottle feeding myth!

Our babies know that they are very different!!!



Newborns have an involuntary suck reflex which means you put a nipple, teat, or finger or anything really into their mouths and they will suck it!

Once babies get to 6-8 weeks they start to lose this reflex and sucking moves to voluntary - they need to make the choice to suck for nutrition. So for them to suck on something they need to feel that it's familiar, its safe and its a positive thing - very different from a newborn.

A nipple sits vastly different in the babies mouth than a bottle teat ever will.

A nipple is also extremely stretchy - much more stretchy than a nipple teat ever will be. SO while there are some bottle teats that are much more conducive and less overwhelming for babies than others, they are always going to be very different to how a baby breastfeeds.

Most of the time the bottles that are marketed for breastfeeding babies are not the best choice! Many factors influence what bottle will be best and often buying all the bottles and then trying them all will just result in MORE overwhelm and refusal from your baby.

Do NOT buy all the bottles!!!

When a baby breastfeeds they somewhat control the flow of the milk - the flow also starts off non existent and then the let down hits and they gulp the milk for awhile and then it wanes and they get to have a break and just do smaller sucks.

They are in control.

Bottle flow rate can be controlled through the teat that you purchase but also the way you actually give the bottle. If a baby does not feel control they wont actively bottle feed.

A bottle is a foreign object!

Babies have a protective instinct and in order to protect themselves they are not just going to automatically choose to suck on something that has been pushed into their mouths when they are not comfortable with it.

I see so many clients in my practise that are worried that something must be wrong with their breastfed baby because they wont take a bottle. This couldn't be further from the truth!

We are just trying the wrong way to give them the bottle - that leads to these clever babies putting their protective walls up.

This doesnt mean they wont ever take a bottle - not at all - they just need it be given to them in the correct way.


Where to from here!!!!

If you are thinking to yourself...

'Susie, I really just want you to step me through this'!

Just tell me exactly what bottle to buy!

Exactly when and how to try!

I dont have the brain capacity to right now to think about this!!

Well this is where my easy to follow step by step online bottle refusal program fits in!!!!