5 Tricks to Get Baby to Drink From a Bottle

There are many benefits to breastfeeding, though being attached to your baby 24/7 isn't necessarily one of them. When mama needs a break or to go back to work, it's time to try a bottle (whether of pumped milk or formula, fed is best!) but it's not always that easy. Some babies take to drinking from a bottle with no issue while others have stronger opinions about where their food comes from. Ahead, readers share their tips for getting babies to drink from bottles.

1. Make a Bottle That Feels and Tastes Like Mom

Readers say some babies only like milk from a bottle if it's similar — in touch, taste, and temperature — to drinking from mom's breast. Joyce W., for example, says her son is very particular, only wanting mommy. She notes he took breastflow bottles and nipples better and would only drink if the milk was at the right temperature. "When my sister was helping me, she would have to reheat it after he only ate a few ounces," she says.

To find out if your baby is picky about temperature, Sarah M. suggests moms pump and feed the baby the milk in a bottle immediately. If temperature isn't an issue, then perhaps your baby wants to drink from a bottle and nipple that more closely resembles a breast. "I went from buying the cheapest to the most expensive bottles, then she finally took the Soothie bottles. The bottle's nipple looks exactly like the pacifiers that the hospital gives you." Meanwhile, Sarah G. says she went through about five different types of nipples and finally her daughter took the Adiri bottle. "My son was the same, and would only take Medela nipples. So I think just finding the right nipple is the key," she shares.

2. Move Away From Mom

Some readers suggest it helps if moms not bottle feed their babies, but instead put some distance from their children. "My pediatrician told me that I need to leave the house and not be anywhere near my daughter when someone tries to give her a bottle," Adisalem C. says. Previously, she had always been in the house but in another room, and her 22-month-old wouldn't bottle feed. Once she left the house, her husband was successful in getting their daughter to drink from the bottle.

Shelley H.'s breastfeeding coach made a similar recommendation, advising that the bottle not resemble a breast, and to have daddy or someone else give the bottle instead of mom. She also suggested not to repeat your breastfeeding routine (i.e., if you breastfeed in the dark, don't bottle feed that way), Shelley reports. Alley C. says the person trying to give the bottle should have baby face away from them and sit up so that it doesn't remind the baby of breastfeeding.

3. Be Patient

Getting a baby to drink from a bottle takes a little persistence, moms generally agree. "It took me two months and about 10 different bottles to get my baby girl to feed out of a bottle," Victoria W. reports. "I found the flat nipples worked in the end, but it was just perseverance. Just keep trying, you will get there!"

4. Skip Ahead to a Cup

If you're not having any luck with a bottle, then by all means offer a cup. Sarah M. shares that a friend's daughter would never take a bottle, even when she was little; she would only take a Nuk sippy cup. Christina P. also chose that route, noting that her daughter won't take a bottle but will drink out of a sippy cup, or even a regular cup.

5. Ask For Help

When nothing seems to be working, then moms suggest asking an expert for assistance. Doreen P. says she learned her daughter wouldn't take a bottle around 5 months old, but then started taking it around 7 months old because she was teething. Meanwhile Vanessa S. says a speech pathologist helped to assess her son's sucking behavior and provide exercises for his tongue, and then he was able to take a bottle all day.