Bottle feeding teething baby

Baby Refusing the Bottle? Try These Tips

If you’re having trouble bottle-feeding your infant, rest assured that you are far from alone. Around 25 percent of parents report feeding-related problems with their child at some point in their development.

If your baby has been breastfeeding, trying to introduce a bottle can also introduce some challenges. Likewise, changes to the formula or breast milk you’re giving them or the bottle you’re using can lead to difficulties even for experienced bottle-fed babies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends delaying the introduction of foods other than breast milk until your baby is around 6 months old, suggesting exclusive breastfeeding before that time. However that’s not always realistic and you may find yourself introducing the bottle at any time during the first year.

Additionally, formula isn’t the only reason to use a bottle. Many breastfeeding parents want to incorporate bottle-feeding of breast milk for flexibility. The breastfeeding advocacy organization La Leche League suggests waiting until your breastfeeding baby is 3 to 4 weeks old before introducing a bottle.

Whenever you begin using bottles, it can be extremely frustrating trying to feed a baby who stubbornly refuses feeds. But with dedication, experimentation, patience, and love, you can eventually acclimate your baby to bottle-feeding.

Since babies can’t communicate clearly, parents and caregivers are left wondering and guessing why their baby refuses bottle-feeding. The following reasons are some of the most common things to look out for if your baby refuses the bottle:

  • Your baby was recently weaned and wants to continue breastfeeding.
  • Your baby isn’t hungry enough to want feeding.
  • Your baby is feeling sick, colicky, or otherwise unwell enough to feed.
  • Your baby is being held in an uncomfortable position.
  • Your baby doesn’t like the temperature, flavor, or texture of the milk.
  • Your baby doesn’t like the texture or feel of the bottle.

Depending on your previous experience with feeding you may be able to figure out the specific reasons why they’re refusing the bottle. Many times, knowing why they refuse can give you better insight into figuring out how to fix the problem.

Some of the most common and effective things you can try to help your baby accept bottle-feeding include:

  • Slowly, consistently, and gradually transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding.
  • Wait until your baby is sufficiently hungry before feeding.
  • Try changing the bottle size and shape, the nipple, or other aspects of the bottle to see what your baby responds to.
  • Experiment with the temperature of the milk or formula. Breast milk is lukewarm, so make sure the bottle isn’t too warm or cool.
  • If your baby is teething, try changing the temperature of the milk (teething babies sometimes prefer cold milk), massaging their gums, or otherwise helping them with the pain of new teeth poking through.
  • Hold your baby in a different feeding position and see what they respond to.
  • Allow someone else to handle the feeding. This can be especially helpful during a transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding.

Before changing the formula you’re using you may want to talk to your pediatrician. There are different types of formula customized to different needs, but too many changes or certain types of formula can cause other challenges.

More tips to try

In addition to the list of possible remedies above, it is important to try to have a calm and consistent approach to bottle-feeding. Sometimes, your own frustrations with bottle-feeding can affect the infant and make it even harder for them to change.

In general, try to follow these behavioral tips for yourself when bottle-feeding a fussy baby:

  • Maintain a comforting routine around mealtime.
  • Avoid distractions, such as media, music, and toys when bottle-feeding.
  • Feed your child at consistent time intervals of 3 to 4 hours.
  • Stay calm and consistent. Don’t become angry, anxious, or overly excited with your feeding child.
  • Limit mealtimes to 30 minutes.
  • Try to avoid frustration during feeds. Consider having another caregiver offer the bottle if you need a break.

While it is normal for babies to sometimes refuse a bottle, there are some instances where chronic refusal to feed can be indicative of an eating disorder or an illness that requires medical attention.

About 1 to 5 percent of very young children have feeding disorder, which is characterized by an inability to consume an adequate amount of food, resulting in malnutrition.

Getting enough food is absolutely essential for a growing baby. If you think your baby is experiencing a feeding disorder making it difficult for them to gain weight, you should see a doctor immediately. Feeding disorders in early childhood are an important health issue.

In the short term, babies with feeding disorders will experience nutritional deficiency and weight loss (or inadequate weight gain), but in the long term, your baby can experience growth deficits, cognitive functioning problems, stunted neurodevelopment, and behavioral or emotional impairment.

Another time to talk to your baby’s doctor is if your baby refuses to eat due to an illness or pain. Call your doctor right away if in addition to refusing the bottle your baby is showing any of the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • vomiting
  • constant crying
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty breathing

Consult with a doctor to determine whether there are any illnesses or physiological issues you are unaware of that might play a part in your child’s fussy eating.

Feeding difficulties are common problems in infants and toddlers. Don’t be too worried if your baby is struggling with the transition to bottle-feeding.

There are many different approaches you can take to fixing the problem, and if you are nervous or worried about any of your child’s eating habits, contact your doctor immediately.

With consistency, determination, and lots of attention paid to your baby, you can help them overcome their obstacles and anxieties around bottle-feeding.

Feeding and teething: how to help them with the pain | Baby & toddler articles & support

Your child might have just started weaning when teething creates a stumbling block. Here we see how teething can affect eating, and how to get through it.

One symptom connected with teething is a decreased appetite for solid foods (Macknin et al, 2000; Lyttle et al, 2015; Eisenstadt et al, 2017). And guess what? You’re likely to start weaning your little one around the six-month mark – the exact same time many babies cut their first teeth (eyes roll again) (Lyttle et al, 2015).

So why do they start fussing all of a sudden? It will come as no surprise that teething causes a lot of discomfort (Eisenstadt et al, 2017).

Where’s my baby’s appetite gone?

Just like us adults can go off our foods when we’re feeling under the weather, so can our little ones. The gums swell and are tender to touch just before a tooth breaks through (Ashley, 2001). So anything in your little one’s mouth could cause more pain.

That said, not all babies lose their appetite when teething. Like with everything else, they’re all different. In fact, the science shows only around one third of teething babies lose their appetite (Macknin et al, 2000).

When will my baby’s teething affect their appetite?

Interestingly, some studies show children lose their appetite with teething only when their canines come through, not when their incisors or molars emerge (Memarpour et al, 2015). Generally, these canines – the pointy ones either side of the front four – appear when your little one is 16 to 22 months old (NHS Choices, 2016a; NHS Devon, 2018).

We know from parents we speak to that many encounter food fussiness earlier than the 16 to 22 month mark. So our practical tips can apply whatever your baby’s age over six months, when weaning starts (NHS Choices, 2018). This guide shows you what to do if your baby is struggling to juggle tooth pain and munching.

Which foods are best when they are teething?

If your baby goes on a feeding strike as they start to cut some teeth, the following should help. It is a case of trial and error here, there’s no right answer. Experiment and see what they seem most comfortable with the following types of foods.

1. Soft foods

Much like us adults might eat nothing but soup after a painful procedure at the dentists, babies might just want to stick with soft foods and purees. Anything they can slurp from a spoon with minimal contact with their gums. A fruit or vegetable puree, or a soft risotto or macaroni cheese (blitzed or slightly overcooked for minimal chewing) could be just the comfort food they need right now.

2. Cool foods

Chilled foods can take the heat out of those burning gums (Ashley, 2001). Yogurt is an easy option here. A ready-made pouch popped in the fridge. Or try some fruit or veg straight from the fridge such as cucumber sticks, a whole strawberry or avocado mushed up.

Just remember foods containing meat, or prepared in advance will need reheating for food hygiene reasons so might not be suitable (NHS Choices, 2015). And make sure you stay with them while they’re eating to watch out for choking.

3. Hard foods

To chew and bite down on have been proven to provide relief in around half of teething babies. Why? Their firmness provides counterpressure to a rising tooth (Memarpour et al, 2015).

Try carrot sticks, whole green beans or sugar snap peas, sliced pepper, breadsticks or bread crusts for babies over six months (Ashley, 2001). As above, just ensure you are on watch to avoid them choking on the chunkier items.

Avoid rusks, because nearly all brands contain some sugar. And sugar can cause tooth decay, even if your child only has a few small teeth (NHS, 2016b). You can read more about how to ease their pain with hard foods and teether toys here.

Does it matter if they are not eating as much as usual?

Try not to worry if not much is going in at any one mealtime. If they are still drinking their usual milk, they’ll be getting nutrients from that. That said, if their hunger strike seems to last more than a few days and you’re worried, see your GP or health visitor.

Try to keep them hydrated. While some babies want to suck and therefore breast or bottle-feed more during a bout of teething (Macknin et al, 2000), others go off the idea. If they are refusing milk or drinking less than usual, try to get them to sip some water, or add milk to their purees. Some parents we speak to also make breast or formula milk lollipops to get milk into their little ones, and soothe their gums at the same time. Win, win.

If they are chewing down on everything, including their bottle teat, try a teether toy instead, which might be more sturdy. If your baby is chewing down on your nipple (hideous), then read our article on feeding and biting.

When will the fussing end?

Your baby will probably have a reduced appetite for solids for the five days ahead of a tooth peeping through, the day it surfaces and for three days afterwards (Macknin et al, 2000). So in general, your baby should be more into their food again in just over a week. That is, unless another tooth is on its way (. guessed it, another eye roll).

Further information

Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.

You might find attending one of NCT's Early Days groups helpful as they give you the opportunity to explore different approaches to important parenting issues with a qualified group leader and other new parents in your area.

Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.

For guidance on how to look after those teeth once they appear (and what foods and drinks they should avoid) read our article on brushing baby’s teethand why teeth hygiene is important for babies.

NCT has partnered with the British Red Cross to offer courses in baby first aid.

How to feed a child during teething? – Kid's Republic Blog

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Parents sometimes notice that their beloved child suddenly refuses the usual food, cries, is naughty. The reason for this behavior may be painful teething. How to feed a child during this difficult period, how to find out that his teeth have begun to appear and that they cause discomfort?

How can you tell if a child is teething?

The central teeth appear first in children. Usually they can be boasted as early as 6 months. But individual symptoms will be noticeable much earlier, two months before the onset of an important event. Most babies experience discomfort 3-4 days before teething. They completely disappear on the 4th day after the tooth comes out. By what signs can teething be recognized in order to organize the proper nutrition of the baby?

  • the child becomes very moody. He refuses to play his favorite games and often cries, even when he is in his mother's arms;
  • produces much more saliva - so be sure to stock up on a change of bibs;
  • the baby can bite. To quickly alleviate this condition, let him gnaw on a special ring;
  • face or cheeks become red, like after a long run;
  • temperature may rise;
  • the established sleep pattern is disturbed;
  • no appetite.

The exit of the first teeth is always the most painful. Therefore, it is so important to initially learn how to make the right children's menu for every day, which the baby can eat completely.

Proper nutrition for a baby with toothache

How to help a baby with no appetite due to pain? To make food enjoyable, use the following tips:

  1. never force anyone to finish what is left on the plate or in the bottle;
  2. always prefer liquid meals that are easier to swallow. During this difficult period, ready-made organic fruit and vegetable purees produced by the French brand Good Gout will help you. They contain 99.9% natural, the most useful products for children. Soft, delicious puree of pumpkin, apples, pears, strawberries, mangoes, bananas with a drop of lemon juice will appeal to any picky eater. Ready-made liquid cereals from cereals "Strawberry Muesli", "Oats, Wheat, Rice" and other ingredients contain only organic flour, vitamins and nothing else;
  3. products are best given chilled. In this form, they will play the role of a light pain reliever. Invite your child to chew vegetable or fruit sticks from carrots, bananas, cucumbers;
  4. to create comfortable conditions, try to cook only your favorite dishes.

Diet for older children

The process of teething takes a long time, it usually ends by the age of three. What foods to choose for children from 1 to 3 years old if they are teething? Good Gout suggests using organic biscuit sets specially made to provide some relief from the pain of new teeth. Small squares with an incredible taste of mango, banana or coconut will become your fidgets' favorite dishes.

Assortment of children's eco products Good Gout. extremely large. Today, a child can try pasta with eggplant, tomatoes and cream, mini baguettes with cheese, rosemary and tomatoes, and tomorrow invite him to chew on delicious pea sticks or three types of crispy rice cakes with apple, carrot, blueberry. Organic nut, banana, almond, and round vanilla or oval cocoa cookies will relieve itchy gums and help make chewing less painful.

The listed products are recommended to be included in the diet of the child and in the usual period. Fruits, vegetables, cereals and other ingredients included in their composition are not chemically processed, do not contain harmful substances, heavy metals and GMOs. All products, certified according to high European safety standards, are packed in convenient, securely closed bags made from safe, environmentally friendly materials. You can take them with you on a daily walk and on a long trip.

Good Gout organic nutrition is a correct, varied diet that strengthens the child's immunity and is beneficial for his health.

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During pregnancy, milk teeth are formed, permanent teeth begin to form only when the child reaches one year of age. Therefore, healthy nutrition of the child is important for the teeth both during pregnancy and after it.

Breast milk is the best food for an infant, and breastfeeding is the best exercise for the bones and muscles of his jaw to develop properly. It is very important that the baby suckle correctly, because incorrect sucking techniques can cause the back position of the lower jaw. Then the so-called. microgenia (micrognathia of the lower jaw), which then has to be treated orthodontically. If your baby is unable to suckle properly, contact a lactation consultant. It will help you figure out what is causing the problem. For example, a child may have a tongue tie that interferes with suckling.

Newborns do not have bacteria in their mouths that cause holes in their teeth. These bacteria get to the child from loved ones who kiss him on the lips, taste his food or “clean” his nipple in his mouth. If the number of microorganisms that cause holes in the teeth is high in the mouth of the parents, then it is also likely that these microbes will be transmitted to the child. Therefore, it is very important that both the mother and the father have no holes or inflammation in their teeth.

All forms of transmission of germs from adult to child should be avoided - for example, kissing the child on the cheeks instead of on the lips, cleaning the pacifier under water instead of sucking on it, feeding the child from a baby spoon, and not from the one with which an adult tastes food for temperature and taste, keep their own and children's toothbrushes separately, etc.

After the birth of a child, it is important to share information about dental health with relatives whom you will trust your baby. The oral microflora and eating habits are passed on from parents, which means that both hereditary factors and the environment influence the child's teeth, i.e. habits. It is in developing the right habits that the family plays a large and important role.


→ Bottle nipples should be selected according to the age of the baby.

→ If your baby sucks his thumb, give him a pacifier or feed him more often. Thumb or thumb sucking can become a hard habit to break and can cause jaw bone deformity.

→ No one should touch the child's spoon, nipple or rim with their mouth. Keep your child's toothbrush separate from other family members' toothbrushes.

→ When introducing complementary foods, do not overdo it with carbohydrates.

→ Do not give sugary drinks in a bottle.

→ When the child is already teething, make sure that there are pauses between meals. Gradually try to make these pauses longer. Avoid nighttime feedings if possible.

→ Wean a sleeping baby from the breast or take the bottle from him.

→ Give your baby a sip of water after a night feed.

Baby teeth are important for a child's normal nutrition, for maintaining space for permanent teeth, and for language development. Around the sixth month of life, the lower incisors erupt first, followed soon after by the upper incisors. Eruption continues for the next three years until all 20 milk teeth appear in the mouth. It happens that teeth erupt earlier, then they need to be taken care of immediately.

Teething can be painful and the baby may refuse the breast or bottle, the gums may become swollen and red, and excessive salivation may occur. Sometimes the temperature also rises. The child may scream more than usual, and parents may have more than one sleepless night. Whether teeth have erupted can be checked by running clean fingers over the baby's gums - the sharp crowns of the teeth are easily felt.

If a child has not yet erupted a single tooth by the age of one, this may be a cause for concern and a doctor should be consulted. In premature babies, teeth may erupt several months later than usual.

Teething relief

To relieve the discomfort and pain associated with teething, you can massage your baby's gums with clean fingers. If too much saliva is released during teething, the child may develop a rash around the mouth, in which case the saliva can be blotted with a soft cloth. In case of inflammation, a moisturizing protective cream or hygienic lip oil will help.

Teething can be soothed by cool drinks and solid foods. Cold softens inflammation in the gums, so before giving the baby a teething toy, you can cool it in the refrigerator. Chewing on the edge of a clean, cool, and damp cloth can also be soothing. The child can also be offered solid food, such as crackers, a piece of cold apple or cucumber. If sucking is difficult, you can also feed from a cup with a spout.

During teething, carefully monitor the baby's behavior and temperature. Sometimes problems that require medical attention (such as otitis media) are mistaken for teething inflammation. If your child has a high fever or very severe pain, see a doctor, because these symptoms are not typical for teething.

6-12 months


6-12 months

9-16 months


13 - 19 months


13 - 19 months

16 - 23 months


23 - 33 months


23 - 33 months

When the first milk teeth have just erupted and are just peeking out of the gums, they should already be cleaned! Newly erupted teeth are easy to clean with a soft silicone fingertip toothbrush or clean gauze wrapped around your finger. You can also use a regular brush, but it should be soft and with a small head.

No toothpaste required at first, but if desired, a special children's dentifrice gel or toothpaste labeled as suitable for children aged 0 to 3 can be used.

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