Posted by: birdsandsquirrels | October 13, 2010

refusing bottles completely

So, the sleeping is a little better. Just a little better. It still takes at least 2 tries to get her down, and she will usually sleep for 2 to 2.5 hours before waking up, then I change and nurse her and she will sleep for another 4 or 5 hours, which is great, then wake again to nurse. She will only nap once a day, for typically 1 to 1.5 hours, but she will fall asleep for short cat naps in the car if we go anywhere. Those damn two top teeth still haven’t cut through. They are so close though. I can see the little white edge right there, under a tiny layer of gum. We got some Hyland’s teething tablets, and I don’t know if they are helping or if she is in less pain in general, but hey, it can’t hurt and we will try anything that might help.

Our new big problem is that she is refusing bottles of formula completely. She had been getting 10-16 oz of formula supplementation a day since mid June when I saw the lactation consultant who suggested that I stop killing myself trying to increase my supply. If you recall, I was taking fenugreek, I had tried Reglan, and I was suffering one to two painful blocked ducts a week. Once we started giving her some bottles of formula a few times a day, she slept so much better, she caught up on weight gain (she had been in the 15-25th percentile for weight, and 95+ for height). S would give her a bottle after I nursed her before bed, and for the first time, he felt like he was being useful. Things had been going great. I was getting more sleep. I would actually wake her up around 4am to nurse so I didn’t have to get up and pump.

Then, about 10 days ago, she started refusing bottles. She would gag and vomit and cry when she tasted formula. She seriously acted like it was poison. She had been on Similac sensitive since June. The stuff we had (mostly ready to feed bottles) was not part of the recall. We tried regular Similac. Soy Similac. Regular Enfamil. Enfamil Gentlease. She will take diluted pear juice in a bottle once in a while, but she has been so sick of us trying different kinds of formula that now when she sees bottles, she swats them away and closes her eyes and turns her head.

The only thing we can recall that might have anything to do with the timing of refusing the bottle is that about the time it started, S sneezed really loud when he was giving her a bottle one night before bed and it scared the shit out of her. She cried inconsolably for a while. She had been really drowsy from me nursing her, and she is pretty sensitive to loud noises to begin with. Could that negative experience have turned her off formula forever? She has never had a problem taking the formula up until now.

I tried formula in a sippy cup. Gag, spit up. Different bottles and nipples- Dr. Brown’s, Playtex drop ins, Medela. Different flow nipples. 4 different kinds of sippy cups. I haven’t been pumping for at least a month, but I got out the pump and only got 1/2 ounce. She took it reluctantly in a little medela 2 oz bottle. If I had good supply, I would pump more, but I don’t. I’m nursing her 5 or 6 times a day, but my supply has decreased over the last couple of months, and I’m no longer getting blocked ducts (which is great!), but it’s not enough! I worry about her getting dehydrated. She is only 9.5 months old. Her main food source should be breastmilk or formula for another 2.5 months.

She loves solid foods. Maybe she has gotten used to things that actually taste good instead of nasty formula. Maybe her growth is slowing down and she will be okay with me nursing and no additional formula (but I doubt it is enough). Maybe I could try to increase my supply. I don’t think I have it in me to spend 20 minutes pumping to get a half ounce of breastmilk though.  That is a lot of liquids per day that she is not getting now. Maybe with all the teething, it hurts to suck on a bottle, but that doesn’t explain the gagging.

Her doctor’s suggestion is to keep trying different formulas. Wow, thanks, that’s helpful. I suppose we can try every damn formula out there, but that’s going to get expensive and wasteful, since I doubt that one will magically taste fantastic to her.  He said we could try whole milk, but that she probably won’t be able to tolerate it at this point and might have the unpleasant side effects of gas, diarrhea and vomiting. I think we might try some of the “toddler” formulas out there and see if she will accept one of those. She does take a sippy cup of water and diluted juice, so that is good.

Any ideas? Have you ever heard of a 9 month old refusing bottles for good?



  1. I am sooo sorry to hear all these things are happening at one time for you. I applaud you for trying your very best to still breastfeed after all your issues as well. What a trooper you are 🙂

    You may try adding a teaspoon or so of the DARK KARO syrup to the bottles. It gives the formula a little better taste and it helps with intestinal issues as well. Peanut was put on Kari syrup early on to help with bathroom issues and she really seemed to like the formula much better as well. Worth a try and less expensive than buying all that formula 🙂

    Hope things get better soon. Our peanut is almost 1 in a few days and only has 2 teeth. Cracks me up. She only uses sippy cups now and been pacifier free for about 2 months or more. LOVE IT.

    Good luck. Take care 🙂

  2. Hmm, well maybe you could make her an ice pop with frozen formula and a fruit puree?

  3. Or soft french toast?Or maybe goat milk? My stepmom’s babies could not tolerate anything but goat milk.

  4. I’m in the same boat. I would say that my mom told me at around 7 months back in the day (I’m 30) when I was a baby they let moms put their kids on regular cow milk. So it might be worthwile to at least try it since the DR okayed it and see how it goes? She said neither I nor any of my siblings had issues with it. They have lengtheend the time to one year but that doesn’t mean its a one size fit all.

  5. But she will take a bottle with breast milk but just not the formula?

  6. I would nurse her as often as possible and continue with solids as usual. Look at for lots of good information. She obviously knows what she wants! 🙂

  7. It does sound like it’s formula in particular she’s scorning, but not loving the bottles or sippy cups either, do I have that right? What about trying regular cups? It may take a while before she’s able to drink a significant amount from them, but maybe she’ll like the feeling and flow of drinking like that better.

  8. have you tried the earth’s best formula?
    also, i know there’s goat’s milk formula, but i think it’s relatively hard to come by, you’d probably have to order it online:

    does birdie have reflux? we use enfamil a.r. for louise, have you tried that one yet?

  9. Dude, I was hunting around the internet today and I wonder if Birdie is anemic? It can cause sleeping problems and lack of appetite.

  10. Hi, I’m a lurker who’s been reading for a long time and feeling less lonely because of it. Your situation si so incredibly close to mine! And while my 9 month old doesn’t refuse bottles any more, it’s because we’ve stopped giving her any after she refused them point blank at 7 1/2 month.

    Here’s how it happened for us :
    – adequate supply and weight gain for her first month on breastmilk alone ( she was on the 25th percentile)
    – no weight gain and no growth at all on the second month, but was seen only at 2 months because of the good first month => nightmarish hospital stay with a medical team that knew nothing about breastfeeding, but it was determined that I produced only half of what was needed.
    – Begin supplementation, 5 2-3 oz bottles every 24 hour given after a feed.
    – I realise that I’m having plugged ducts regularly (nearly every week) and mostly in the left breast. No one can really help me with it.
    – I stop listening to GPs advice and find a lactation consultant, find the kellymom site and a lot of great help there, begin fenugreek and domperidone (which isn’t forbidden in my country), let my daugther stay the time she needs and wishes on the breast, allow ourselves to have breastfeeding naps, wake her up at 3 am to breastfeed. I also rent a scale.
    – it appears to work somewhat, and my daughter, at 4-5 mo, begins to refuse bottles. I ditch the morning bottles but don’t feel so sure of myself.
    – My daughter goes on refusing some of the evening bottles, I don’t believe it’s because she doesn’t need them (think it’s because she’s teething, doesn’t like the taste and so on). As a result, I try to force them on her and she goes on a total bottle strike at nearly 6 mo.
    – Bottle strike lasts for 4-5 days, she loses a little weight and we start solids. When I don’t insist so much, she finally goes back to 3-5 oz formula in two bottles in the evening.
    => Solids go well, and at 7 1/2 she refuses bottles again. That time, I weigh her and find that she’s gaining adequately. I stop bottles, don’t feel so sure of myself but go on.
    => Nights are a little harder at the beginning (but she’s teething and has separation anxiety), but weight gain remains good. I had a little supply drop in september because of my thyroid and gave her baby yoghurt meanwhile, cause I didn’t want to go back to formula.

    Oh, and I still have the plugged ducts 😡

    So I totally think that it’s possible that the same is happening to you, i.e. that your supply + solids are enough. Can you weight her womehow? And if it isn’t quite enough but you’re nearly there, there’s always yoghurt.

    Don’t hesitate to email me if you wish to talk!

  11. My 1st refused bottle AND breast at 8.5 months. We started whole cow’s milk in a sippy cup and he was fine.

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