Q&A: My newborn won't take a bottle. Help!
My newborn won't take a bottle. Help!
This is definitely a question that needs to be posed to your pediatrician without delay, as he/she can ask you what exactly your baby is or isn’t doing, weigh and examine your baby as needed, and even observe your baby as you attempt to offer a bottle. That said, I can tell you that the two most important jobs newborns have to help insure their healthy growth and development are eating and sleeping. In the case of difficulty getting a newborn to take a bottle, there are several potential reasons.
For some, it’s a matter of being too sleepy to wake up and eat. When this is the case, it’s important to keep trying and make sure that they get enough to drink during the day that they don’t get dehydrated or become even sleepier because of lack of calories. It’s also important to determine if there is an underlying cause for their sleepiness.
Other newborns have difficulty getting the hang of bottle feeding for more mechanical reasons, such as difficulty sucking on a particular nipple, or if the flow of the liquid out of the nipple is too fast.
And finally, in the case of newborns who are being breastfed, some grow quite partial to nursing, so much so that they refuse any attempts at a bottle. It’s worth noting that the way babies suck to breast feed is quite different than how they need to suck from a bottle, so transitioning from one to the other can pose a challenge for some. Others grow so accustomed to being nursed that even the scent of their mothers can trigger their urge to nurse. If a breastfeeding mom happens to be the one attempting to give her newborn a bottle when her baby has the urge to nurse, this may account for the refusal as well.
The bottom line is that it’s not uncommon for a baby to refuse a bottle, and there are many reasons why this might happen. But any time it does—especially in the newborn period—it’s very important to enlist the help of your pediatrician not only to make sure your baby is getting adequate fluid and nutrition and that everything else is OK, but also to make sure you get the advice you need to make the feeding experience a successful and enjoyable one for both you and your baby.