How to Get Breastfeeding Baby to Take Bottle

  • Read 3 reasons why breastfed babies may refuse milk in a bottle
  •  Find out how changing bottle nipples might actually help
  •  Know your options when your baby completely refuses the bottle
  •  Bonus video: How to get a breastfed baby to take a bottle

Are you getting ready to start weaning your little one from breastfeeding?

Or are you perhaps just going back to work and want to continue giving your baby breastmilk from a bottle when you aren’t available?

Do you need someone else to be able to help feed your baby now and then?

Whatever the reason might be, if you need to know how to get breastfeeding baby to take bottle, you’re in the right place.

In this article, you’ll learn all about the reasons why babies may not be willing to try taking a bottle. You’ll also find out about 5 tried-and-true mom tips that can help you improve your chances encouraging your little one to take a bottle, as well as three options to choose if your baby just absolutely will not ever drink from one.

By the time you finish reading, you should be ready to tackle whatever bottle issues may come your way!

3 Reasons Babies May Refuse Taking Milk from a Bottle

There are many reasons why babies may refuse to take milk from a bottle. While this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, it’s a good start toward helping you understand what may be going on with your child. Check out these three reasons why babies may not want to take milk from a bottle and see if you can figure out what’s causing a problem for your little one.

milk from a bottle
  • Is the temperature of the milk in the bottle correct? If your baby is used to drinking milk from your body, you may need to heat up or cool down stored breastmilk a little bit before he or she will try drinking it. This is also true of formula and, when your baby gets old enough for it, cow’s milk.
  • Is your baby sick? If your child has a cold, an ear infection, or some other problem that may make it painful for him or her to drink from a bottle, you may notice more resistance than you will when your child is well. Make sure there isn’t anything physically going on with your little one before you get started trying to introduce a bottle.
  • Is your baby distracted? If your baby is getting older, he or she may be distracted at mealtime by other things going on around you. If this is the case, try offering a bottle at a time when things are quiet in the house, or going in another room away from any chaos.

5 Mom Tips for Getting a Breastfeeding Baby to Take a Bottle

Moms just like you have been dealing with trying to get their breastfeeding babies to take a bottle for a long time. Although this is a common problem, it’s also one that many moms have developed methods of dealing with throughout the generations. Check out these five mom-tested tips for helping your baby take milk from a bottle.

1. Have another family member feed the baby. 

Many times, babies won’t take a bottle from Mom because they know they can be breastfed instead. You may have to step outside or at least go wait in another room while your partner or another adult in the family tries to feed your little one from a bottle.

place of a snack feeding

2. Stick to your normal feeding schedule. 

Don’t offer a bottle at a time when your baby doesn’t usually eat. Try it in place of a snack feeding time first, but make sure it’s still a part of your regular schedule.

3. Consider switching bottle nipples. 

Over time, your baby’s needs will change in terms of his or her bottle nipples. If one type of nipple isn’t working for your child, he or she may just need a different type of flow. If that’s the case, changing the nipple on your baby’s bottle should encourage him or her to drink from it much more readily.

4. Put some breastmilk on the bottle nipple first. 

do not breastfeed

This is a very effective way to encourage your baby to put the bottle nipple in his or her mouth if this has been a problem up until this point. Do not, under any circumstances, ever put honey on the bottle nipple to encourage this, however. Honey is not safe for babies and can lead to infant botulism.

5. Take the bottle away and don’t force your baby, but don’t give in, either. 

If you must, take the bottle away from your child and just go on as if nothing has happened. However, do not breastfeed your baby if this happens. You want your baby to get just hungry enough to be willing to try nursing from the bottle when the next feeding time comes around.

3 Options if Your Baby Completely Refuses a Bottle

If your baby absolutely refuses a bottle and you’ve tried everything you and your pediatrician can think of, it may be time to go to something else altogether. Remember that these should definitely be last resort options, but if you do need to use one of them for your baby, that’s okay.

1. Directly to sippy cup. 

Many babies prefer the feeling of drinking from an infant sippy cup rather than from a bottle. You can find these cups with soft spouts designed for babies of at least 3 months of age. Just like with bottles, you can find these with spouts that allow for different flow speeds depending on your baby’s specific needs and wants. Just remember that you may have a lot of messes to clean up as your baby adjusts to using a sippy cup.

continue directly breastfeeding

2. Direct feeding. 

If your baby is not happy drinking from a bottle, you may need to just continue directly breastfeeding until he or she is ready for solid foods. This may sound overwhelming, and in some situations, it may be completely impossible. However, if it is an option, it could be one that you need to consider.

3. Baby-led weaning. 

Baby-led weaning is the process of weaning infants from breastmilk or formula by encouraging them to self-feed foods that are appropriately chosen based on their age and development stage. This process requires a lot of research and solid understanding of what your baby can and can’t have at different parts of his or her infancy, but if you’re willing to put forth the effort, you can provide your child with a lot of nutrition through baby-led weaning. As a bonus, you can make baby oatmeal or baby cereal using breastmilk so your baby still gets those nutrients, too.


As you can see, it can sometimes be very challenging trying to convince your little one to take a bottle. However, with plenty of patience and understanding, you should eventually be able to encourage this. Of course, if your baby never goes to a bottle, that isn’t the end of the world! You do still have options, and there are many moms out there who help their little ones get their nutrition in other ways aside from just bottle-feeding.

Remember to speak with your child’s pediatrician to help figure out which option is best for you and your baby.