Things to do when your 6 month old baby refuses milk

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Your baby may refuse milk or fuss over feeding for lots of reasons. It may be that they prefer to breastfeed when you wish to offer then expressed milk via a bottle or during the weaning transitional stage.

Firstly don’t get too worried. Refusing milk is usually a phase that your baby will soon get over. Your baby will not starve themselves and is more about them attempting to assume control. Don’t let this phase become an issue by over thinking it or letting yourself get sucked into your baby’s games!

The best thing to do is continue with your regular feeding routine, including offering your baby a feed at the normal times. Your baby may resist, but don’t become frustrated. Babies sense your tension and seem to know how you are feeling. Don’t give in by nursing your baby.  It may seem cruel but much better to get a feeding pattern that benefits all and leads to a happy mom and family!

Sometimes breastfed babies refuse to take a bottle from Mom because they know she has something better. If this seems to be the case, ask your husband or a grandparent to take over bottle feedings until the phase passes (you may have to leave the room, or even the house, for a while during these times). Have your husband or relative offer her the bottle by first letting a few drops of milk fall onto her lips and into her mouth so that baby recognizes the breast milk. Then stroke your baby’s lips with the nipple until they open wide, as if to nurse.

If they clamp their mouth shut, don’t try to force the nipple in between their pursed lips — this is a battle you are guaranteed to lose.

You should also consider the bottle nipple you’re using. At this age, babies have often become so good at breastfeeding and have developed such a strong suck that they become frustrated with the newborn nipples they used to take willingly. Try switching to a nipple for babies 6 months and up.

If, after trying everything, your baby still staunchly refuses to take a bottle from anyone, then don’t try to force them. Take the bottle away and offer it again every half-hour until they feed. Babies can be stubborn and may hold out for an hour or more, but once they get hungry, they will take the bottle. If this is hard to do, remind yourself that a healthy baby will not starve themselves.

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