Baby not taking bottle: Has anyone got any advice on... - NCT


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Baby not taking bottle

kt_11 profile image

Has anyone got any advice on helping a breastfed baby to accept a bottle? My little boy is 6 weeks old and I’m trying to get him to take a bottle of expressed milk but it’s not happening.

I waited til around this time to reduce risk of ‘nipple confusion’ but I’m now starting to believe this is a complete myth and that I’ve missed the window of opportunity, as most of my NCT group are now combination feeding and introduced the bottle much earlier with minimal problems (I’m the only one now exclusively bf).

I’m now starting to feel really quite worn-down and depressed about it. I love spending time with him so much but the thought of never being able to spend more than an hour or so away from him for months and months is really worrying me.

I’ve tried having my partner give him the bottle instead of me, tried doing it both before and after a breast feed and at different times of day. He just doesn’t seem to know what to do with the teat and pushes it around with his tongue instead of sucking. Eventually he gets distressed and cries and we have to stop.

I know there is lots of support to help people with breastfeeding but is there anybody out there who will help with bottle feeding at this stage? I’ve been discharged from midwife and health visitor. Or has anyone got any tips from their own experience? My mum has told me that I never took a bottle myself so I’m now feeling like it’s not going to happen. I never anticipated that this would be an issue when I started breastfeeding 😢

Bit long, sorry but hope someone can help xx

23 Replies


Have you tried different types of teats? I combination fed my daughter using medela calma teats, as was recommended this by another combination feeding mum. I know there are several other types of teat that are also meant to mimic breast feeding.


kt_11 profile image
kt_11 in reply to Maltr

Not yet as wanted to consistently try one type before trying another but I do plan to try others. Just difficult to know which to try as I know what works for some doesn’t for others. Some friends have mentioned Medela calma though so might give that a go thanks. Using tommee tippee closer to nature which I know loads of people have had success with but also know people who it didn’t work for.

Might also try MAM as he has very briefly accepted one of their dummies.

Really hope something works cos starting to feel really down about it and it’s definitely affected me over the last few days.

Maltr profile image
Maltr in reply to kt_11

Bless you, i know its hard. Give a different teat a go for a few days, if that doesn't work, try a different one. We tried tommee tippee closer to nature, but had very little joy with those. A few friends also have tried NUK teats and they worked for them. My daughter definitely had a preference for breast over bottle, so especially if she was sleepy, i would sometimes start to breastfeed, and then swap mid feed to a bottle i had already prepared. She often didnt notice the swap. I'll have my fingers crossed for you.


kt_11 profile image
kt_11 in reply to Maltr

Ha I did try the sneaky swapping of the breast for the bottle tonight. He did tolerate it being in his mouth for much longer without crying when I did that but didn’t really form a seal or suck on it. That might be the way to go though.

Thanks for the support. Really hope I can find something that works x

Hi try them cheap cherry teats I swopped from breast straight to bottle using them.

Hi, I was also going to suggest the medala calma teats as they need to suck at them the same way as they suck the breast rather than learning a new suck. I am kind of the opposite, I went from exclusively expressing to exclusively breastfeeding.

I would recommend Tommer Tippee Closer to Nature. The bottles are shaped like breasts and the teats are like nipples. Some NCT baby groups have a baby feeding expert who can help you with queries on both breast and bottle feeding. Or when you next get baby weighed, ask the health visitors for advice. Some hospitals do infant feeding cafes which are ran by midwives/health visitors and they give advice on mixed feeding. I’ve used all of the above and found them very helpful. My advice would be speak to more than one person as some people say different things. Then make a decision from there. Week by week BF gets easier and won’t feel so tiring and taxing. I’ve been BF for nearly 7 months but I nearly threw in the towel at 4 days cos I was shattered. It’s so much better now. You’re doing a great job x

kt_11 profile image
kt_11 in reply to Ribena1987

Thanks. I’m going to the drop-in session to weigh him next week so there might be someone there who could advise (haven’t been before and I think you just weigh them yourself so not sure if there’s any help available).

Unfortunately it’s the tommee tippee ones that he’s currently refusing! I do manage bf ok I guess, but I do feel that if myself and OH don’t get any time to ourselves until he’s weaned, our relationship will suffer. I’m not keen on feeding in public and don’t think I ever will be really (just who I am). I do it now because I have to but there are some places I don’t feel I can do it & I suspect I’ll end up just avoiding going certain places so I don’t have to feed him.

I’m still happy that I decided to breast feed but feel sad that it’s affecting my mood so much now and wish I’d been made more aware of this possibility from the beginning. x

Ribena1987 profile image
Ribena1987 in reply to kt_11

I’m the same, not keen on breastfeeding in public. I usually feed my little girl at home before going out to playgroups, food shopping etc. I feel more comfortable that way. As the weeks go by and his routine changes his feeds will start to drop and he won’t be on the boob as much. Also things are easier when he can stay awake for longer and his naps are more established. You’ve probably heard it before but it's true: the first 6 weeks are the hardest. Try and get out and about even just a walk around the block. I went through a phase of not wanting to leave the house so I know it’s hard. They don’t tell you how hard BF can be especially in the beginning. It is worth it though. You will make it through. It’s normal for moods to go up and down especially whilst BF and feeling tired x

kt_11 profile image
kt_11 in reply to Ribena1987

Thanks. Makes me feel better 😊 I was doing really well up til now, getting out & about right from the beginning, being quite active etc. I think the bottle thing has just knocked me back as it’s changed my expectations of the next few weeks and months & made me feel a bit like I was doing something wrong (even though I know this isn’t true - I refused a bottle as a baby myself & didn’t turn out too bad! 😂)


Ribena1987 profile image
Ribena1987 in reply to kt_11

I know what you mean, I always have expectations then feel down when things don’t work out. I started weaning my little girl at 6 months. She was showing all the signs but now she can have food she doesn’t want it. All the babies I know love their food and their mums weaned them early so I am questioning myself now. Feeling like I’m doing it all wrong. There’ll always be knockbacks but we bounce back 😊 xx

i highly recommend the Chicco natural feeling bottles/teats - the angled ones, they're stocked in mother care or on amazon. they're angled to mimic the breast positioning and also the nipple.

Also if you're in the UK you wouldnt have been discharged from the Health Visitor as they're with you until your child goes to primary school. They should have left you their number for you to contact them with any queries you may have x

kt_11 profile image
kt_11 in reply to Jmww01

Thanks. Will check that out 😊

Yeah I know I’m not technically discharged from them but don’t have any more visits until he’s 9 months now.

I could (and maybe should) contact them but I couldn’t help feeling it’d be quite low priority for them compared with people who are actually struggling to feed at all. After all we are managing breastfeeding fine and he’s growing well. I might speak to them though if I don’t get anywhere with it and feel it’s continuing to impact on my mood. x

Have you got a cover? I felt I got my freedom back when I got this for feeding out and about

kt_11 profile image
kt_11 in reply to sweetilemon

No I haven’t but might look into this thanks. Won’t solve the problem that I won’t be able to have any time away from him but might help me feel a bit more comfortable feeding in public. Thank you x

Does he have a dummy? My sister breastfeed my niece for 6 weeks and struggled. When going to bottle my niece wouldn’t drink so she gave her a dummy to get used to the teat and it worked.

kt_11 profile image
kt_11 in reply to Hopful85

No, he won’t have a dummy either! He does the same thing with it as the bottle - just plays around with it with his tongue then pushes it out. I think on one occasion he kept it in for about 10 seconds, possibly sucking, but hasn’t tolerated it since.

Have left it for a few days without trying as I was just getting so stressed & upset and will maybe try again later this week with my Mum giving him the bottle as she is likely to be a bit more confident than my partner. If that fails I might just have to accept that it’s not going to happen. My mum will be gutted though - she’s desperate to babysit him but won’t be able to leave him with her if he won’t take the bottle 😂

Hopful85 profile image
Hopful85 in reply to kt_11

That’s a tough one then maybe try other tests like the other suggestions. I don’t think you should give up though I think you need to preserve so he’s not so confused! Good luck! x

kt_11 profile image
kt_11 in reply to Hopful85

Thanks. I will see how it goes this week. I’m just aware if it’s that difficult & confusing for him I don’t want to force it so much that I end up turning him off breastfeeding. x

If you're still struggling, try calling the NCT feeding helpline. They can help with every thing breast or bottle.


May help you just to talk to someone, rather than struggling on your own. Xxx

kt_11 profile image
kt_11 in reply to mrsdala

Thanks. This was actually quite a while ago - baby is now nearly 12 months old. He never really ended up getting on with a bottle that well and even now will only have a couple of ozs from one.

He’s just started nursery and doesn’t really drink milk the whole day whilst he’s there (he has water from a cup and is still breast-fed at home) x

mrsdala profile image
mrsdala in reply to kt_11

Sorry yea, I realised after I posted, then couldn't work out how to delete 😂

It's there for future people who stumble across this thread lol.

Sorry you couldn't get it to work that well, hope you're ok xx

No worries. You’re right, it might help others to hear that we got through ok in the end. We have our struggles (he doesn’t sleep well either) but he’s growing into a very clever little boy with a strong personality and I feel so lucky to have him.

Hope you’re getting on well with your little one 😊

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