Are you a new mom who is transitioning from breastfeeding to powdered formula? However, your breastfed newborn will not take formula? Fear not, you are not the only one faced with this problem. If your baby refuses to take a bottle, you should not be overly concerned.

Many new mothers face the problem, and it is usually frustrating. Breastfeeding is usually best, but it may not be possible or practical for working class mothers. We are here to help you with this predicament, continue reading to learn more.

Does it Really Work?

It is possible to carry on breastfeeding once you have gone back to work? Yes it is possible, but your newborn must accept formula. If your newborn is over six months, it is a challenge. But, if your newborn is under six months, it is a real challenge.

As a nursing mother, you should know what is best for your infant. If that means you have to switch after six, seven, eight, or twelve months, that is your choice to make. The fact is that you can do the switch whenever you are ready.

baby refuses formula

What to Do If Baby Won’t Take Formula?

1. Prepare a Feeding Bottle

There is only one way that you can use to introduce your baby to formula, and that is through a bottle. Therefore, the very first thing that you have to do is prepare a feeding bottle that has the mother’s milk temperature.

You are strongly advised to follow the instruction for preparing a germs and bacteria free bottle. This way, you will not introduce germs and bacteria into the baby’s mouth. The instructions are as follows:

1. Wash your hands to free them of any germs or bacteria before handling your child’s bottle.
2. Sterilize the bottle, the nipple, and ring by placing them in a pot of boiling water for five minutes. Alternatively, you can run them through a full dishwasher cycle. Wait for the parts to cool before using them.
3. Mix the powdered formula with respect to the container directions. Pour the prepared formula into the bottle or fill the bottle with 3 to 4 ounces of expressed breast milk.
4. Warm the milk by placing the bottle in a bowl and running hot tap water over it for a few minutes. Some newborns like chilled or room-temperature milk, but you should strive to achieve the mother’s milk temperature.
  • Never warm the bottle in a microwave. This can develop riskily hot pockets of milk.


5. Shake a few drops of the prepared milk onto the inside part of your arm to confirm the temperature.
6. Sit in a comfy chair and hold your baby in an upright position in your lap with his or her head supported in the crook of your arm. You can place a pillow under your arm to help support your baby’s head.
7. Insert the bottle’s nipple into your baby’s mouth while holding the bottle at a forty-five-degree angle. Make certain the nipple contains milk before you provide it to the newborn. A half-filled bottle nipple can make the newborn swallow air, leading to gassing.
 8. Enjoy feeding time with your child by making eye contact and talking to him or her as he or she drinks.
 9. Place a clean cloth over your shoulder, lift your child’s head to the shoulder, and rub and pat his or her back gently to create a belch.


2. Take Your Newborn for a Walk

If your baby refuses to drink formula after preparing a bottle, you will then have to think of something else that can motivate them. In this case, a walk outside.

Carry your newborn in a baby carrier while he or she is facing forward. Taking your child for a walk is one of the best ways to help them calm down in case they are upset.

Normally, the baby is used to skin-to-skin contact when breastfeeding. So, if you attempt formula feeding, he or she may refuse the bottle because of lack of skin-to-skin contact.

Facing your baby forward helps to distract them and help the baby forget the skin-to-skin contact. If you are the mother and this seems to be difficult for you, then you can ask someone else to do it on your behalf.


Pat and Rub Your Baby from Underneath to Help Calm Them

Use your left hand to pat your baby from below while they are facing forward in the carrier. Make sure you pat and rub him or her gently. The patting should raise the baby up and down as you walk.

Create a rhythm while patting. This way, you will develop a soothing motion that will likely distract your newborn. You should do this for a few minutes until your baby is relaxed and calm.

Then again, you can choose to calm and relax your baby by singing or talking to them. You need to make your baby stop crying, if he or she was crying. A crying baby is unlikely to take a bottle.


Attempt to Feed the Baby

Check and confirm if your baby is distracted, calm, and relaxed. If yes, then it is time to slip a filled nipple into his or her mouth. You can do this with your right hand.

Some babies can let the bottle stay in their mouths without sucking. Therefore, you should continue patting and rubbing gently to keep him or her distracted and relaxed.

Make sure you do not pat the baby so hard to the extent that he or she is choked by the bottle. The walk and the patting helps the newborn to switch into a feeding mode. Therefore, the fresh air and the distraction should help kick in his or her instinctive sucking reflex.

3. Dream (Sleep) Feeding with a Bottle

If the walk and patting does not work, it is time you think of dream feeding. In most cases, sleep feeding is recommended for babies that experience pain during feeding.

A baby can easily accept feeding while he or she is asleep. Dream feeding is best for young newborns because they are likely to sleep for long hours. Toddlers may need to be fed all night after a day of feeding refusal.

Remember that a dream feed should not be based at night. Otherwise, you will be cutting into the night, and your baby may eat much less during the day, and he or she will get into the habit of waking at night from hunger.

baby-milk-bottle-eatingYou might find yourself waiting for your baby to go to sleep so you can feed him or her. Of course, the objective is to manage the reflux. Dream feeding may provide a short term feeding solution as you work on a more permanent one.

If you are the kind of mother who complains that the baby is hungry every hour, then your feeds may be too short or your newborn is not getting enough to eat at each feed. Therefore, you have to give more.

Final Words

Your baby can go on a feeding strike. A feeding strike simply means that your baby is refusing nourishment by mouth and specifically by bottle. When a baby associates feeding with pain or any other discomfort, just the sight of a bottle is enough to cause distress. If your breastfed baby goes on a feeding strike regardless of what you do, you should immediately seek the help of a pediatrician.