Coping with Bottle Refusal

My second son never took a bottle. He just wouldn’t do it, and so for a year, I was never away from him for more than 2 hours. That was exhausting! Instead of going away to daycare while I worked part-time, he played with a sitter while I worked from our basement office and paused intermittentlycrying child to nurse him.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited when my third son easily, eagerly took a bottle. Pumping was going great, I felt confident leaving him, and I was excited to be back working in a quiet environment.

Until he got some teeth and quit accepting a bottle.

It made sense to me that having teeth in his mouth changed how he’d latch to any type of nipple. I’ve written before about how he also started biting my nipplesBut dang! He needed to consume some sort of food at daycare!

At first, we tried different sorts of bottles and he agreed to drink from a new type. Now, he’s 8 months old with 6 teeth, growing some more teeth, and basically refusing to drink milk that’s not from the tap.

When my husband or our daycare provider offer the bottle, he rolls it around in his cheek and gnaws on the nipple. We tried putting it in the same sippy cups that his big brothers use. We’ve tried some straw cups. My husband has moderate success getting him to drink an ounce or two by making persistent bumblebee noises and tickling him.

Thankfully, my wee man is agreeing to eat lots of different foods, and so we’ve just been stirring pumped milk into oatmeal and feeding him that throughout the day. This is, of course, tedious for the daycare and less than ideal.

It’s been a bit stressful for me because of course I want him to feel happy and content, not hungry all day! I have a few upcoming events that will take me away from home at my sons’ bedtime, and my baby is used to nursing to sleep. We aren’t sure whether he’ll agree to take the bottle at that time or if my husband will end up pacing the halls with the baby in a carrier.

Some days I wish I could just detach one of my milk-filled breasts and leave it with my baby for a few hours. I keep reminding myself this time won’t last forever.

Did your children refuse a bottle at any point? Leave us a comment to share your solutions.

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