If your breastfed baby is refusing the bottle, you are not alone! Here you will find the best bottles for breastfed babies who refuse the bottle. I have compiled a list of the best bottles for you to choose from based on my experience with having 3 babies and information gathered from parents just like you.
(this post may contain affiliate links)
What Do You Do If Your Baby Won’t Take A Bottle?
I remember being a new mom and trying to find the right bottle that my baby would take. There are so many options that it can be overwhelming. The good news is that there are so many great options and tips here that will help your baby take a bottle once and for all.
Being a first-time breastfeeding mom I was told that it was a good idea to wait to give my baby a bottle until we have established a strong breastfeeding relationship and to prevent nipple confusion. The problem is that older babies can start to have a preference where they get their milk from.
Since having my first baby, they have made so many good options that mimic breastfeeding.
Try having someone else feed your baby with a bottle
Have a friend or a family member feed them with a bottle. After all, everyone likes to snuggle a baby! This is also an excellent way for parents to get some time away from their little ones.
It’s hard for babies to accept milk in a bottle from their mom when they know they can go straight to the source.
Try different nipple sizes and flow rates
Try different nipple sizes and flow rates to find what’s best for your baby. Sometimes a nipple size can be too large and could gag your baby. Also, the flow rate is important. Bottle feeds can have a much faster flow rate than they are used to. Try a slow flow rate and work your way up depending on the baby’s age.
Speak to an expert
Lactation Consultants or other Breastfeeding Expert can also help. They’ll have ideas and help with troubleshooting.
Be patient; it may take time for some babies.
Try different bottles. There are so many options available now that can help your baby.
Offer the bottle before your baby gets too hungry
If your baby is too hungry they will not be open to trying something new like a bottle. Offer the bottle to your baby before they get too hungry, when their stomach is still somewhat full.
Offer a pacifier or breast at the same time as a bottle. Babies who are used to getting milk from both sources may be more likely to take a bottle because it’s a familiar feeling.
Try to feed your baby in different positions
If your try to feed your baby with a bottle in the same position you feed them when you are breastfeeding, they could be too upset when they realize that they aren’t getting what they wanted.
So, your best bet is to get creative with the bottle. If they are sitting up try putting them on their side or if you have a carrier put it in there and give them a few minutes before offering milk from the usual sources again.
Try different nipples and bottles until you find one that works for your baby.
Bounce or rock while feeding your baby
Creating a movement to calm and organize your baby will help them so they are willing to try the bottle. If your baby is feeling frazzled, chances are that they won’t take a bottle. Find a quiet place so your baby isn’t distracted from all of the noise and bounce or rock your baby so they are relaxed before you introduce the bottle.
Let the baby latch
Instead of inserting the bottle into your baby’s mouth, let your baby latch on its own. Do this by lightly rubbing the bottle nipple onto their lips. You can even add some expressed milk on the nipple to remind them that it’s feeding time. They can be more open to taking the bottle if it’s them latching on instead of someone else inserting something foreign into their mouth.
Introduce a bottle 2-3 weeks before you are going back to work
Don’t try to introduce a bottle to your baby just before you are planning to go back to work. Sometimes it can take time for a baby to accept the bottle so be sure to plan that in. Try leaving the room while someone else feeds your baby at the same time once a day for a couple of weeks.
An important thing is to pump if you are going to miss a feeding to keep your milk supply up.
What Can You Give Your Baby Instead Of A Bottle?
There are some alternatives to feeding your baby if a bottle isn’t an option. However, these options can be hard work and might require a lactation consultant for some help.
For older babies, you could offer milk in a sippy cup. This way they won’t be turned off by the bottle nipple and you will be easily able to know how much milk they are getting.
For younger babies, you can use a syringe.
Cup feeding for a baby under 6 months can be difficult to ensure that they are getting enough milk so work with a lactation consultant if this is what you choose.
Why Your Baby Is Refusing A Bottle
A breastfed baby can prefer the feel and smell of their mom’s breast. A bottle nipple can feel hard and foreign in your baby’s mouth. This is a very different feel than a real nipple; making it a hard time for them to accept bottle feeding.
Another reason you could be dealing with bottle refusal is that breast milk can change taste when it has been expressed. It can have a soapy taste to it especially after it has been frozen and thawed.
Babies can have a preference on breast milk temperature as well. Some prefer warm while others prefer room temperature. Try warming it up with warm water to see if that makes a difference.
When a baby feeds, they are used to a certain milk flow. The first bottle and nipple you try might not have the same milk flow that your baby is used to. Try different bottles with a slow flow nipple.
A breastfeeding baby also could be having a hard time getting air bubbles with a bottle. When your baby swallows they could be swallowing air with the milk. This can cause a lot of discomfort for your baby and make them not want to accept the bottle. Try a bottle with a venting system to less air makes it into their tummies.
There are a lot of different sizes and styles of nipples on different bottles. There are bottles that have a wide nipple to ensure a good latch and even small bottles that have a preemie nipple for much smaller mouths.
Which Bottles Are Best For Babies Who Refuse A Bottle
Finding the best bottle for your baby can feel so hard and so important when your baby won’t accept anything you have tried. Hopefully, the tips above and some of these recommendations will make a difference.
Comotomo bottles are some of the best baby bottles in my opinion. I’ve used these with my second and third babies and they are a great option. I love that it has a wide neck and a wide base so you don’t need a bottle brush to clean it. The nipple and even the base are made with soft silicone to feel like mom’s breast and are easy for older babies to hold. It also has dual anti colic vents which is a life saver for babies with colic.
- Shaped like a breast
- Protects a good latch
- Easy to clean and sanitize
Made of silicone
- Higher price point
Buy at BuyBuy Baby
Tommee tippee baby bottles have been designed by breastfeeding experts to closely resemble the shape of a breast with a wider base and have a nipple that is able to be very easily accepted as a result. The best thing this bottle company will say is that 90% of babies will take this bottle after three tries max.
They offer different flow rates so choose the slow-flow nipple first while introducing a bottle. Choosing the right bottle is sometimes a difficult task for breastfeeding parents. One thing to keep in mind is that there are different flow rates and vent systems designed to make it easier and reduce the amount of air your little one swallows when they drink from a bottle, which may result in them taking more bottle feedings.
- Most babies will accept this bottle
- A realistic nipple that is easy to latch on to
- Made with high quality materials
- Nipples could need to be replaced more often than other brands
Dr. Brown’s Bottles are always a great choice and this wide-necked model is no different. Made of easy to hold BPA-free bottles, the bottle offers an experience that resembles breastfeeding as closely as possible.
The air ventilation system consists of a straw valve that reduces colic, gas, and spit-up. The vent system can be removed to clean or place everything in the dishwasher or sterilizer for bottles.
- Made with BPA-free plastic
- Great venting system that will truly prevent any air getting into your baby’s tummy
- High quality materials that will last a long time
- Extra pieces that are harder to clean
Buy it on BuyBuy Baby
The lansinoh breastfeeding bottles have a naturalwave nipple that has a very different shape than other nipples, which might help get your baby to accept the bottle. The nipple is not as long which reduces the difficulty for a baby to take it.
This design will promote the same suction and motion that your baby would be used to. The motions are necessary for proper oral development and a good latch.
The bottle is made with a sturdy plastic with a wide base so they are easy to clean. The nipple is also thicker so your baby won’t be able to push it in to make a mess.
- Made with a sturdy nipple so your baby can’t easily push it in to make a mess
- Great for picky babies
- Has more of a natural feel
- It has a higher flow rate which might be too much for some babies
These are larger size plastic bottles. If you buy these from the get go you won’t need to get larger ones once your baby is bigger and eating more. The bottle features multiple nipples with different flow rates, so it can adapt to your baby’s needs. I recommend buying a slow flow rate with your newborn and later buying a medium flow rate nipple so you won’t have to buy all new bottles. depending on which nipple you pick, they can have up to 9 nipple holes for a faster milk flow.
Some babies will break their latch when the nipple won’t stretch with movement but these nipples have lots of stretch to help keep your baby latched. It comes with anti-colic features in an all-in-one-piece nipple so it is easy to clean. A great thing is it also comes at an affordable price.
- Has multiple flow rate options
- Easy to clean
- Has to be used in the correct position because of the small vent hole on the nipple
This is a really unique type of bottle. It’s the only bottle that is shaped like a mother’s breast. With a dome-shaped bottle that is hollow on the inside. The artificial nipple is on one side of the bottle to keep the flow of milk going and for easy feeding.
You can easily pump directly into these bottles with a pump adapter. They are anti-colic as well to keep the baby happy.
- Shaped like mother’s breast
- Warms evenly to help preserve nutrients
- Awkward shape to hold
They are a great option for babies that are intimidated by the look of a regular bottle since these look like the real deal.
- Breast like look
- Soft nipple
- Easy to clean
- Higher price point
This set offers a lot for a reasonable price, including three 4-ounce bottles with two slow flow nipples and one stage two medium flow nipples, as well as three sealing discs. The pump adapters are sold separately but work with most pumps including the medela breast pump.
These bottles come with an anti-colic valve at the bottom of the bottle. These are a good option because they encourage a proper latch and get less air in their tummies.
- Great for creating a good latch
- Works with most pumps
- Affordable price
- Holds only 4 ounces so your baby will outgrow it quickly
These glass bottles are a good choice for breastfed babies because of their nipple shape. They are a lot wider than other bottle nipples and are made of soft silicone. They carry 4 ounces of milk which is a perfect bottle for younger babies.
It comes with an anti-colic system built in so it’s easy to have a clean bottle. I love that they are glass so you don’t have to worry about any harmful chemicals.
- Wider nipple for a good latch
- Soft silicone to feel more life like
- Can be used with any Avent nipple
- Easy to clean
- Some say it can leak
This is a silicone bottle with a wide base so it is easy to clean and to hold. One great thing about a bottle that has a wide base and neck is it’s easy to pour expressed milk into and less likely to tip over. There is nothing worse than for your liquid gold to be spilled while pouring it into the bottle.
It is triple vented to prevent colic. It’s a larger bottle that holds up to 9 ounces so it will grow with your baby. You can add on handles for older babies to easily feed themselves. They come in 5 different flow rates for what works for your baby.
- Non-collapsing nipple
- Triple vented anti-colic design
- Easy to clean
- Can make a whistling noise from the vent
This bottle is made with silicone and comes in 4 and 8-ounce bottles. The nipple is off-centered to allow for a continuous flow or allow for upright feeding. The nipple has an integrated dual-venting anti-colic system to help with air getting ingested.
- Easy to latch nipple
- Dual venting
- Easy to clean
- Higher price point
Really cool design for a bottle. The reusable pouch is filled with milk and collapses as your baby drinks the milk so it is completely free from air. The nipple is designed to promote good tongue position and a proper latch. It’s made up of three pieces that can be cleaned in the microwave, dishwasher, and frozen.
- Air free feeding to prevent colic
- Soft and wide nipple
- Good for promoting a proper latch
- Some say the nipple will have to be replaced sooner than other brands
I hope these tips and recommendations help find the best choice for you. There can be some trial and error but with a little bit of time, you will find what works for you and your baby.