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Are you wondering how to get a baby to bottle feed?
Just the other night, while I was awake at 1:30 AM with my 3 month old son, I was thinking about how hard it used to be to get my newborn baby to bottle feed.
Before my son turned 2 months old, I used to be able to just grab a clean bottle, fill it up with breast milk, warm it up and feed him without any resistance. But soon after he turned 2 months old, he started rejecting the bottle.
I later figured out why my son started refusing the bottle and how I to get him to come back to bottle feeding again?
What can you do to get your formula fed or breastfed baby to bottle feed even for the first time?
I’m a new dad, and I wish someone would’ve given me these tips when I was struggling to get my breastfed baby to bottle feed.
Below you’ll find 3 simple tips for dad(or mom) to get baby to bottle feed.
3 Tips On How To Get A Baby To Bottle Feed
Tip 1: Don’t Make Your Baby Gag While Bottle Feeding Baby
When bottle feeding my son, I used to insert the bottle nipple all the way into his mouth. Often times, he wasn’t ready for it or unwilling to take it. This lead to him gagging and eventually puking on me.
I had to remember to be more gentle when inserting the bottle nipple into his mouth. I also made sure to only insert the bottle nipple about halfway in his mouth then wait for his reaction.
If he wants the bottle, he’ll suck the nipple into place and begin drinking. Otherwise, he’ll refuse.
Try to get a drop of breast milk onto his or her tongue. My son doesn’t like the pacifier so this theoretically will inform him that there is breast milk on the other side of the nipple, giving him a reason to take the bottle.
Tip 2: Aim The Bottle Nipple Towards The Roof Of Baby’s Mouth
Because there are so many different types of bottle nipples and nipple textures. Before I do this, I make sure that the bottle nipple is soft enough.
About half the time, my son wouldn’t take a bottle even when I tried easing the bottle nipple into his mouth.
One day, after trying for a while, my girlfriend told me to aim the nipple towards the roof of his mouth. I tried it with great results.
My son accepted the bottle more easily with this technique. I don’t know exactly why this was, but it was probably because when he is fussing, he blocks the bottle with his tongue, causing the bottle to go underneath his tongue instead of over it.
By aiming the nipple towards the roof of his mouth, it wasn’t sitting under his tongue anymore, making him more receptive to the bottle.
Tip 3: Be Persistent When Getting Baby To Bottle Feeding
Firstly, make sure your baby is hungry. There’s a chance that your partner had already fed your baby while you were in the shower or making a sandwich. So make sure your baby is actually hungry before you attempt to bottle feed your baby.
After my son started breastfeeding again, every time I would give him a bottle, he would start fussing, turning his head, spitting the bottle out, blocking the bottle with is tongue, kicking his legs, swinging his arms, yelling, screaming and crying.
The mistake that I used to make was giving up too quickly.
I used to try giving my son a bottle for a couple minutes, after he fusses for that minute, I’d stop trying. Then he was back on the breast.
I stopped doing that.
I started doing this instead.
I would alternate between Tip 1 and Tip 2 for about 1-2 minutes. If he starts crying or fussing after those 1-2 minutes, I’d take a break from it for a couple minutes by playing with him or walking around him.
After a couple of minutes, I would rinse and repeat until he accepted the bottle.
Keep in mind that sometimes I had to keep trying even during the fussing, crying and screaming. Eventually, my son did this weird thing where he would go from crying and screaming at the top of his lungs one moment to accepting the bottle one second later.
Every time that happened, I would go from being a bit frustrated and flustered to smiling and laughing at him instantly. It’s weird how fast my emotions change, the only other thing that does this is football, haha.
There have been times when I’ve spent close to an hour trying to get my son to take a bottle until he finally did.
So, just keep at it. Your baby will come around sooner or later.
What may help is finding a bottle that your baby likes.
Below is the bottle that my son prefers.
The Baby Bottle I Use To Bottle Feed My Breastfed Baby
My girlfriend and I have gotten so many different bottles for our son. There are bottles that were too complicated to use because there were 4-5 parts that had to be washed and assembled, some were too hard to hold and some that my son just didn’t like.
This bottle, my son loves. It’s easy to hold and doesn’t have too many parts to wash or assemble. It is squishy so it’s easy to grip. It’s very easy to clean. And it’s one of the more highly rated bottles on the market.
It’s the Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle. It comes in 2 sizes(5 ounces/8 ounces) and 2 colors(pink/green). It’s our favorite baby bottle, and you can check it out here on Amazon.
Another bottle that we use is the nanobebe baby bottle. The nanobebe company says that it’s the best baby bottle for breastfed babies.
I say that it’s the best baby bottle for breast milk because it was designed to preserve the nutrients in breast milk. Wanna know more about the nanobebe baby bottle? Check out my review here.
What Caused My Baby To Refuse To Bottle Feed
When my son was first born, he had a lot of trouble breastfeeding. He had difficulty latching.
As his dad, I was extremely worried that he was starving so I suggested that we give him a bottle. That was a huge mistake!
To breastfeed, my son had to latch on and suck for a while before getting any milk. And because he had trouble latching, this made it very difficult for him to get even an ounce of breast milk. He would get frustrated and start fussing.
The bottle made it too easy for him to get milk. There was very little work for a big payoff. He was able to get breast milk without having to put in the work on the breast. Breast milk was literally dripping into his mouth.
After that, he was hooked.
This caused him to reject the breast.
The next night, my girlfriend spent the entire night(about 8 hours) trying to get him to breastfeed with no success. From then on, he preferred to bottle feed exclusively.
But why did he start refusing the bottle?
When he was about 2 months old, his mom attempted to breastfeed him again, this time she was successful. For the next week, my son would primarily breastfeed.
Soon after, it was decided that I would be a stay-at-home dad, and that I would have to bottle feed my son more frequently to get him used to the bottle while my girlfriend was at work.
At this point, my son had already preferred the breast over the bottle, and it only went downhill from there. He went from fussing about taking a bottle to completely refusing to bottle feed.
The struggles of attempting to bottle feed a breastfed baby were real.
Think about it guys, beer tastes better from the tap than from the bottle.
Anyway, I got my son to bottle feed again by following the 3 tips above.
Before I would attempt to bottle feed my son, I would do these 4 things first to prepare.
How To Prepare To Bottle Feed Your Baby
1. Make Sure The Baby Bottle Is Ready To Bottle Feed
My girlfriend does a lot of breast pumping to maintain a backlog of breast milk for when she’s at work or out.
Some of the pumped breast milk is frozen and some is refrigerated for immediate use.
Sometimes the milk is warmed up in a frozen breast milk bag or storage bottle.
Regardless of whether you’re using formula or breast milk, you gotta make sure that you’ve prepared the bottle. That it’s at a good temperature and in a bottle with the nipple screwed on properly to prevent leakage.
It’s easy to get flustered when the baby is screaming or fussing in your arms while you are trying to open the storage bag or bottle, open the feeding bottle, pour the milk from the storage bottle or bag into the feeding bottle then screw on the lid of the feeding bottle, all while trying to not drop the baby.
So make sure the breast milk or baby formula is ready to go beforehand.
For dads using formula, I found a device that automates the formula mixing and warming process by hitting a button. Check out my review here.
2. Grab A Burp Cloth Or A Soft Towel
My son hated taking a bottle but took the breast very easily. This meant that there was a lot of breast milk dribbling from his mouth whenever I tried to give him a bottle because he would spit the bottle back out and block the nipple with his tongue.
Even if he accepted the bottle right away, there will usually be some milk leaking out of his mouth so a burp cloth is always good to have available.
A burp cloth can also help prevent puke or spit up from splattering if the baby gags. I’ve had my son projectile vomit all over my couch and floor. If I would’ve had a burp cloth handy, I would’ve been able to minimize the mess by preventing the projection.
Having a nice burp cloth handy to keep things dry is an absolute must.
3. Take Off Your Shirt
I know that people say that skin-to-skin contact is good for baby, but I take my shirt off for a different reason.
If my son pukes on my upper body, I can just wipe it off instead of having to add another article of clothing to the laundry(on a side note: you should know that your laundry load will grow quickly).
Some guys like to wear dress shirts, expensive sweaters, brand name shirts etc, imagine if your baby pukes on your $300 shirt.
So, take it from me, take off your shirt before you begin.
4. Find A Secure Place To Sit To Bottle Feed
When my son would fuss from me giving him a bottle, sometimes he would kick his legs and swing his arms. If I wasn’t careful, I could’ve dropped him.
Trying to bottle feed your baby while you are standing up or sitting on a stool seems pretty dangerous and uncomfortable.
Finding a secure place to sit is very important to make sure that you can easily maintain control over your baby’s movements and to make sure that you’re comfortable because you might be there for a while.
5. Do Only What’s Safe For Your Baby
You and your partner know your baby better than anyone.
If there is anything about these tips or other parenting tips found on this website, on other websites or anywhere else that may be unsafe for your baby and your baby’s situation, don’t use them.
Please leave me a message below to let me know if these tips worked for you!
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