There could be a few different reasons why your baby is refusing their bottle, but for the most part, it’s down to either the milk, the bottle or the baby.
How to establish if it’s the milk or the bottle:
Is the teat still working? And not blocked. When the bottle is up turned the milk should drop out reasonably fast.
Is the teat the right size for baby? It could be that your baby is ready to move to a larger hole teat, and has grown tired of trying to get what he needs from the smaller hole teats.
Formula is a very sensitive substance and can be affected by the foods that it is stored with, and take on their smells (especially so with strong smelling foods), so check how you are storing it. Also, you should always check the date and ensure that it hasn’t been left open longer than the recommended time.
What is the temperature of the milk? Babies can prefer different temperature milk whether it is room temperature or slightly warmer.
How to establish if it’s the baby:
Is your baby sick? Are there any other symptoms that might give you clue – snuffly nose or rubbing their ear, could be signs of a cold, ear infection which are often accompanied by a throat infection. Check inside the baby’s mouth to see if you can see any spots or patches inside on the cheeks/gums etc as this could be a sign of Thrush. You should check with your doctor if you think you baby is unwell.
What is the baby eating? Have you recently started to introduce solids
? If so, perhaps baby might just be full. Starting solids is often a trial and error experience, which needs adjustment to get it right.
Is baby tired? Sometimes a refusal to drink their bottle can be attributed to baby being tired. Don’t force the bottle at that point, instead leave it and try again later. Baby will always drink when they are thirsty.
Many babies feed no matter where they are, but very often, distractions can interrupt the feed. It could be radio, TV or other people in the room. Try and approach a feed in a calm and peaceful place to see if that makes a difference.
Sometimes babies can lose interest in the bottle if they have started solids. It can take a period of adjustment to get the balance right. Often, adjusting how much bottle and solids you give and when you give it can help, alternatively you can offer an alternative drink of cooled boiled water. You can also include more milk based solids such as cereal or yoghurt.