A breastfed baby refusing bottle feedings is fairly normal, and usually it is no cause for alarm. Many mothers find themselves giving up breastfeeding once their baby has begun to bottle feed. However, starting to cry when offered a bottle or presented with a bottle is a different story. It may be very difficult to understand why your baby is crying for bottle feedings, but if you look at it carefully, there are several clues that will help you decipher what might be wrong. Once you have figured out what is wrong, then you can try to remedy the situation.
One of the most common causes of a baby refusing bottle feedings is that he or she is too weak to nurse. The baby simply does not have the strength to nurse while being bottle fed. If this is the case, there are a couple of things you can do to help. First, if your baby is extremely weak, give the bottle a quick alternate push before putting the baby back on the breast. This will give your baby a chance to get the needed fluids.
Many new mothers find that the baby refusing bottle feedings is due to the milk going flat. This can happen as early as the first few feedings. It usually happens when the mother is nursing very quickly or when she switches from breast to bottle too quickly. In addition, mothers who are taking higher than normal dosage of medications or who have recently had surgery can also cause this problem. Consult with your doctor to see what can be done to resolve the issue.
Another possible cause could be a formula bottle strike. This can be especially common during the first three months. At this time, your baby will be ready to consume solids if they are offered frequently and without fuss. As the baby starts to get older, this is no longer the case and there could be a variety of reasons for this. If your baby has been offered solid foods frequently and refuses to take them when nursing, or if there are other foods in the bottle that the baby refuses to take orally, this could be a potential sign of a formula bottle strike.
In order to settle this issue, there are several things you can try. The first is to get your baby used to a solid food routine. Offer them a combination of breast and formula at some point during the day. If they refuse to take solids, this will provide the extra protein they need to feel full on their own. This will allow you to increase their intake of formula throughout the night and will help them avoid the possibility of a bottle feed.
Another trick is to make them sleepy before offering formula. This will make it less likely that they will nurse if they are hungry, which is what we want to happen anyway. Make sure they have something hot to drink before you leave them in the feeding zone. You can heat a warm bath or give them small kibble as an alternative to drinking formula.
Some babies are bottle fed by others like you, but not everyone is comfortable doing this. For these babies, it might be easier to offer them some rice cereal. It is still better than nothing, but not as nutritious as some other milk formulas. It will also allow you to watch them more closely. You can also try giving bottle to bottle with them, which will prevent them from going hungry and allow you to monitor their weight and other developments more easily.
If you feel like you are being too controlling the situations your baby experiences at night, consider trying a different method. Some parents choose not to bottle feed, but breastfeed. Breastfeeding offers the nutrients your baby needs at a much slower rate. Your baby will still be getting needed nourishment during the day, but at a much slower pace. This is a great option for some families, especially if one or both of the parents suffer from severe health issues.