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Most doctors agree that a baby should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of his life. But there are a lot of instances when breastfeeding becomes impossible. The health of the mother or that of the child can be the most common reason behind choosing to bottle feed the baby. There are times that even a breastfed baby may need to be fed by the bottle. This can be done by pumping the breast milk and feeding the baby. Many a time, being able to bottle feed the baby makes the father bond with the baby. This will also provide the mother with a much-needed time for rest.
Just like breastfeeding comes with its set of difficulties, bottle feeding too has a set of challenges. Some babies do not like the feel and texture of bottles, the plastic nipple or the taste of the formula. In such cases, the baby may reject the bottle and may absolutely refuse to feed on it. This puts the baby's parents in a fix.
Fortunately, with some observation, you can find out why your baby refused to feed on the bottle. Many a time, it is not the parent's fault or the baby's. The baby may just prefer the feel of his mother better than a bottle. Today, we shall talk about the various reasons that may cause your baby to refuse being bottle fed. Read on and find out more.
Reasons Why Your Baby Refuses To Feed On The Bottle
• Baby is not old enough for the bottle
The feel and the texture of a plastic nipple is very different from that of your breasts. The baby will need an adequate amount of time to get used to the plastic bottle. This is true if your baby is also being breastfed at the same time. If you try and fail at bottle feeding your baby, it might be best to try again after a few days. Remember to keep offering the bottle milk at regular intervals.
• An increased amount of lipase
Sometimes, mother's milk may have more than the normal amount of lipase which is an enzyme that helps to break down the fat molecules in the milk. When the milk has high levels of lipase, the breast milk that has been pumped and stored may taste a little off to the baby. When the milk comes directly from the breast, it does not have such problems.
• The baby just won't take the bottle when offered by the mother
When the mother tries to feed the baby from the bottle, chances are that the baby will refuse it. This can be because babies have a very specialized sense of smell and they can smell the breast milk on the mother. In such cases, the baby will prefer your milk to that of bottled milk. Try asking the father, grandparents or a help to offer the bottled milk. Most likely, the baby will happily take it.
• The shape of the plastic nipple may be the problem
If you go to the market to purchase a bottle nipple, you will see that there is a plethora of shapes and sizes. Based on the mouth of the baby and his suckling technique, chances are that your baby will not take on to every nipple the same way. If your baby refuses to latch on to the bottle nipple that you currently have, try changing it until you find the one that the baby is comfortable with.
• The formula milk tasted bad to the baby
If your baby has only ever had formula milk, this shouldn't be a problem. But if your baby is breastfed and you want to introduce formula milk to your baby, he may not like it. The formula milk tastes a little different from your breast milk. Try feeding the baby pumped breast milk. If that is not possible, keep trying different brands until you find the one that your baby likes the most.
• Allergy to milk
Though rare, some babies may be sensitive to the milk in the formula that you may be trying to feed your baby. This can cause the baby to refuse the bottle. If not refuse, the baby may show symptoms of milk sensitivity like stomach pain, hives, and eczema. Talk to your doctor and if he confirms, try feeding your baby a soy-based formula or a hydrolysate formula. If breast milk is used and the baby is allergic, the mother too may have to remove all dairy products from her diet.
• Cold milk
When offering a bottle to your baby, you might think that the baby would prefer a cold bottle or one that is of the room temperature. The truth is that the baby is more likely to take a warm bottle than one that is cooler. The natural temperature of the breast milk when fed directly from the breast will be the same as that of the mother, which is slightly warmer than the room temperature. Warm milk is also soothing to the baby. It is also easier to digest when compared to cold milk. Offer milk that is slightly warm. Remember to never microwave the milk as it fails to uniformly heat the milk and may have hotspots that can burn the baby. Microwaving also destroys some nutrition in the milk.
• Your baby is distracted
As your baby grows, he will become more and more observant and curious. He can become easily distracted and if you try to feed him when they are engaged with other things, he may refuse the bottle.
In such cases, you must try and remove the distraction and try again.
• The baby is sick
When a baby is sick, he may not want to feed as he may not have an appetite. If your baby is refusing to eat along with symptoms like fever, diarrhoea, stomach pain and runny nose, take the baby to the doctor.
• Wrong position
Sometimes the position of the bottle feeding may also cause your baby to refuse to feed. It can happen when you change your position or a different person is feeding your baby. The ideal position is holding the bottle to a 45-degree angle with the baby's head cradled by your elbow.