My 5 month old has been fighting his bottle for about a week now. He will eat at night when he's half asleep, but won't take more than an ounce or two at a time during the day. his last bottle was at 2:30 a.m. It is 11:20 a.m. and he is VERY hungry and fussy, but refusing his bottle. He gags whenever it hits his tongue...

I THOUGHT it was because he was teething, but this doesn't seem to be the case.

I have TRIED new nipples with faster flow, but that hasn't worked either.

I think the problem can be traced back to when we started solid food a few weeks ago- he will eat his cereal, but refuse the bottle- is he waiting for "something better", so I'll give him cereal everytime he's hungry? Does he prefer the taste of foods to formula?

All the nutrition he needs is in the formula- how do I get him to drink again?

asked 08 Jan '10, 16:20

DazedandConfused's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

edited 20 Nov '10, 17:10


Well- it got to the point where he was CRYING he was so hungry... But still refused his bottle and gagged when I tried to feed it to him. I made him some infant cereal and sweet potatoes (the only food other than cereal he's been introduced to so far) and he GOBBLED them up with a huge smile on his face.... Sigh...

(08 Jan '10, 16:41) DazedandConfused

Ah, my 5.5 month old has exactly the same problem. Very helpful question!

(01 Feb '10, 06:07) Umsd

*dazedandconfused how did you solve your dilema with baby refusing his bottles? Im having that problem now with my baby who is only 16 weeks old and im going out of my mind!! can you help me?

(13 May '11, 11:11) Juliana

@Juliana As long as he was peeing I was told not to worry about it- he took his formula at night and I just offered it a lot during the day and hoped the sip or two he took every hour was enough. The problem didn't last much longer than a couple of weeks, he was just 'telling' me he preferred food. But babies won't let themselves starve. Just try to make sure he doesn't dehydrate and offer water if you have to.

(19 May '11, 20:40) DazedandConfused

12next »

I have no personal experience with this as my baby has the exact opposite problem :) However, I did run across some links that offer suggestions though you may have already seen them. BabyCentre suggests trying:

A very common situation is the healthy baby who eats solids with gusto and then refuses point blank to take his bottle. He will then take more solid food if you offer it! The golden rule is to stay calm, and never try to force a baby to feed when he is resisting, as this can lead to long-term problems.

Try to give him his milk first and solids second, or give him his solids and try with his milk an hour later. If he still refuses, then give an extra course of something made with milk, for example cereal, yoghurt, rice pudding, custard, or a milky desert. At the end of the meal, offer a bottle or cup of cooled boiled water and he will take any extra fluid that he needs.

From the age of about nine months, a baby needs the equivalent of 500ml-600ml (about a pint) of milk to obtain the necessary calcium -- but this can also be obtained from dairy foods such as cheese and yoghurt. Many babies at this age will only have a bottle of milk in the morning and at bedtime, and water during the rest of the day.

You could also try offering him the milk in either a toddler beaker or an adult cup. It might be messy, but sometimes the novelty of drinking like Mummy can work.

The article goes on to say that if your baby refuses milk for more than 5 days to talk to a health care provider (though personally I'd probably do it sooner :)).

Wholesome Baby Food also discusses this problem but appears to have more "yes, this is a problem for us too" comments than anything else. However, it might be helpful to read just to know this problem isn't just your baby.


answered 08 Jan '10, 17:26

Kiesa's gravatar image

Kiesa ♦
accept rate: 26%


great answer, thanks!

(08 Jan '10, 18:19) DazedandConfused

Try putting his milk in his food and letting him eat it that way.


answered 08 Jan '10, 17:59

Phil%20Seller's gravatar image

Phil Seller
accept rate: 9%

This is late, but I'd try the sippy cup. My oldest went on a nursing strike for 2 days when he was 7 months old and was happy as the proverbial pig in excrement drinking milk from a sippy (this was 17 years ago when it was okay to introduce cows milk that early). I was in agony until he started nursing again, but he was "just fine, thank you very much."

And if your little one doesn't go back to the bottle, in a year or so when all the other mommies you know are fighting the weaning wars with their stubborn toddlers, you can pat yourself on the back for being so wonderfully far-sighted and forget entirely that it was you little guys idea. (With 4 kids I've learned to take it where and when I can get it!)

Anyway, here's hoping that your wee guy is drinking for you again already, and hasn't thought up any new ways to torment his poor Mommy.


answered 20 Jan '10, 08:31

Neen's gravatar image

accept rate: 30%

My niece has only one type of bottle she will drink from. She refuses the others. Perhaps it will just take more experimentation to find the one your little guy likes.

(EDIT: I realize that is very little solace for your parental agony right now, but maybe that's just what it will take to get him drinking again?)


answered 08 Jan '10, 17:16

Jeff's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

edited 08 Jan '10, 17:30

i have the same problem with my 10 month old baby. After starting her on solids, she started refusing her formula. She also refused to drink from the sippy cup. So, I tried to make it up by adding the prepared formula milk in her cereal 3 times a day. And in the evening, I feed her 3-4 ounces of formula milk with the help of spoon (like I feed her solids). Then, I try to feed her from bottle before going to bed, and also at midnight when she's sleeping. I also try to give her yoghurt, custard. She enjoys that :)


answered 06 Oct '11, 11:38

Angelika's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

So I have been dealing with this same issue since my son was diag with milk protein intolerance and put on neocate at about 2 mos. It has been terrible watching him suffer from reflux on top of that. He never ate more than 1-2 oz at a feeding.now he is 6 mos and started solids and is flat out refusing the bottle. Have tried adding flavors mixing cereal diff nipples bottles etc. He did take it with the baby food squirt spoon for a bit but that was short lived. I started adding scoops of formula in the fruits and spoon feed him that and give water in the bottle after which has been working great . My Dr didn't like the idea but he is thriving and we are both happy and he gets all his nutrition. It isn't ideal but neither is a 5 month old drinking 10 oz a day. He is still on zantac and prevacid. Good luck to all the other moms dealing with this. I have 4 new moms close to me and they all got the easy babies. It sux they don't understand what I have been dealing with but it helps to read I am not alone!


answered 03 Feb '12, 21:22

katwomn80's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

my 5 month old often refuses to eat too. we're working with the pediatrician and treating it as reflux. zantac didn't work so now we're using prilosec. he's definitely associating the bottle with pain and flat out will not let anyone put the bottle in his mouth sometimes. this is not a permanent solution, and may not even be safe for some babies, but i often resort to feeding him while he's asleep. i stumbled upon the idea once when he fell asleep while drinking. that night i picked him up from a sound sleep and put the bottle in and he drank the whole thing. be sure to ask the doctor before trying this, aspiration is one obvious problem that could result in 'dreamfeeding' and ,as i said, it's only a temporary solution. it's plays hell with your schedule. we've been getting about 20-22 oz in hime a day with rice cereal added to every bottle 1 to 1 with the frmula powder. if you need to add ric cereal to the bottle, do yourself a favor and get the nipples that are made for it. cutting them yourself does't work, they rip.

best of luck. you're not alone



answered 16 Dec '10, 20:52

concerned%20dad's gravatar image

concerned dad
accept rate: 0%

I have the same problem. My son is 7 months and this has been going on for at least 2. My doctor said "get it in him any way you can." This was so against my insticts but following doctor's orders, we tried every sippy there was, then tried the ones with straws, then tried grown up cups and now just pour it in his mouth straight from the bottle once he stops drinking. We don't push him to the full six ounces that he used to drink but we make sure he gets somewhere between 2-3. He cries and swats at the bottle and my neighbors think crazy things. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. We have tried EVERY formula! The thing is, this whole deal seems to come and go in phases! He was on the max of Zantac and some Prilosec but still did it, even with rice in ALL his bottles (1 tsp per 2 ounces of water), and warm bottles. He has two bottom teeth already and he gets a lot of cysts in his mouth. I have tried the orajel made from cloves along with the others. Teething tablets too. Nothing helps. This one formula online, (Baby's Only Organic) was REALLY helpful for a while and he thought it tasted great! All the pysicians sneer at it because it's not a big brand you can find in walmart. So they kept switching us off of it and now I think he has something against it. It wasn't even any more expensive than Gerber and the shipping is $8 no matter how little or much u buy. If you buy 12 cans, there is no shipping! So, try that maybe?


answered 26 Jun '11, 23:55

Brysons%20Mommy's gravatar image

Brysons Mommy
accept rate: 0%

edited 27 Jun '11, 10:17

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦

My son just turned 6months. We are having the same problem where he refuses his bottle during the day, but will eat at night. The only thing I have found to work is feeding him when he is very sleepy right before a nap. He is also on solids, but only 1 serving a day, we have just started introducing them. I think it might be due to teething or the introduction of solids or both.


answered 01 Dec '12, 12:02

Sam_s%20Mom's gravatar image

Sam_s Mom
accept rate: 0%

wow you sound almost exactly like me, only MY problem is my baby is 19 weeks, so a little over 4 mo, and hasnt been introduced to solids yet. she is always knawing on her fists and i think her teeth will cut soon, but they arent yet. also she seems to have a cold, a lil bit of sneezing and a SLIGHT runny nose, so maybe that has something to do w it? she normally gobbles like 8oz every 3-4 hrs (sleeps like 8hrs at nite) but today has barely had one and a half bottles and gets so mad when i try to feed her. i always put cereal in her bottle for the last month, so thats not it. and i tried changing nipples like 6x today (6 different ones) she gets extremely fussy when hungry so idk what to do!!!!


answered 04 Oct '10, 21:49

casey's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

@Casey from your description it sounds like your little one may be teething answers to this question may be helpful to you http://moms4mom.com/questions/3537/how-do-i-get-my-teething-baby-to-accept-his-bottle

(04 Oct '10, 23:59) Tammy ♦♦

@casey did you ever figure out why she wouldn't take her bottle? I'm in the exact same situation you just described! Any help you could offer would be appreciated!

(26 Apr '14, 09:16) Kristinblake7

@Kristin -the first answer above offers a lot of suggestions. It might be a good place to start. This appears to be a common problem as we see many similar questions on the site.

(27 May '14, 10:47) Tammy ♦♦
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Asked: 08 Jan '10, 16:20

Seen: 167,043 times

Last updated: 24 Apr '16, 21:17