We are well back into the swing of things at work after a beautiful 2 week break. Not having to worry about the rush of the school run, not having to worry about expressing in between breaks and while driving, not having to worry about how much milk I have left in the freezer for our precious baby girl.
Enter our second day “back to work” however and I got an urgent call from our childminder to say that our 9 month old was refusing to drink from the bottle. It all happened out of nowhere, she had always taken the bottle like an absolute champ, but suddenly, she was pushing it away, playing with it or simply sealing her mouth shut and shaking her head (this girl knows what she wants).
I briefly remember experiencing this with my first born, but it was a brief phase that passed very quickly. So I put a poll up on my instastories on who has experienced this and gathered together most of the advice received.
What to do when your baby goes on a bottle strike:
Apparently its more common then you think, especially between 8 and 9 months. They are starting to get more mobile, more distracted during feeds in general. Its way more fun to crawl and reach out to everything then sitting through a feed.
If your baby is going through the same thing, don’t worry. We tried a couple of combinations that worked for us, but these are the most common suggestions I received.
Offer smaller amounts more frequently
Drinking is not their priority. Try offering smaller amounts more frequently. It’s not ideal, but at least you are getting the mls in. “Snacking” throughout the say. Warm up half the amount you would normally do and offer that at different times throughout the day, or when they are eating their meal. Either way, you’ll want to measure the bottles in smaller amounts so you don’t waste the milk. This goes for both breastmilk and formula fed babies. If you are freezing milk, freeze it in smaller batches. With formula measure out half of what they usually take.
Change up the environment
Try feeding your baby in a different place. Take them outside or in a different bedroom the novelty of drinking in a new place may be enough to get them to finish their bottle. In the same breath you could move to a quiet room with less distractions. No TV’s or radios or pictures on the wall to look at. Sit in a darker room or draw the curtains to create a calming environment.
Change your bottles flow
Bottle teats have various different flows. What worked initially as a newborn may be too slow and difficult to suck. Change up one level to see if it has an impact.
Offer the Milk in a different bottle
We shifted to a sippy cup instead of the typical bottle and its worked wonders. Start with transition sippy cups to make the move from bottle to cup smoother.
Changing the temperature of the milk
Yep – this worked for us weirdly. I think it might have been the shock factor. Expecting something warm and then getting it cold that peaked her curiosity.
It often makes sense if you step back and just think about changes occurring in your life and how that may have impacted them. For me it was definitely all the time spent at home, feeding on demand and not having to worry about a schedule. Youll often find with a little persistence and time things will get back to normal. Sometimes babies may get into more of a reverse cycle feed and they will often end up drinking more at night whilst you are away in the day. As long as they are staying hydrated you shouldn’t worry. If they are refusing to drink even at night I would advise seeing your pediatrician.
What worked for us:
Babygirl is back to drinking her milk while I’m away at work. What worked for us was offering it to her in smaller amounts, out of a sippy cup, and in smaller amounts. She plays and crawls, and takes a sip. Plays and sips until the bottle is finished. Like most phases, this should just pass. Its more common then you think and persistence is key. She is still hugely distracted, even when feeding directly from me. She drinks for 2 minutes, pops up to look around and play and then carries on. Its almost a game now, with each time she comes up, a huge smile forms across her face.
Whatever method works for you, persistence is key. At times, baby can also start to “reverse” feed. Taking in more milk at night when they drink. It’s all part of growing up I guess. One thing is for sure, the way that they can adapt and the way they have such determination in what they do; babies amaze me!