One thing I’ve learned about babies is that they don’t like their routines changing suddenly! A question I see popping up often is why your baby won’t take a bottle from anyone but mom and my first answer to this is not to take it personally. 🙂 There are pretty good reasons why this happens and I have some great solutions to solve the problem.
Babies form strong attachments to the mother if she nursed them from birth. A baby is also more comfortable with established routines and will reject the bottle if a new person tries to feed them. They also won’t accept a bottle from someone else if the mom is in the same room.
- Babies are comfortable with an established feeding routine and don’t accept changes easily if the mother nursed them from birth.
- Knowing how to bottle-feed your baby from the beginning helps your little one accept other people besides the mother to feed them.
- Sharing parenting duties helps reduce your baby’s attachment to the mother.
- Using the right eating position and milk temperature, and ensuring your baby is comfortable and relaxed before a feed makes them more accepting of other people feeding them.
Reasons a baby will only take a bottle from the mom
The baby is still attached to nursing by the mom
If your baby has been breastfed from birth and transitioning to the bottle, it’s going to take some time for them to adjust to bottle-feeding. Your little one is still attached to nursing by mom and finds comfort from the familiarity associated with this feeding routine.
Changing from breast to bottle-feeding throws your baby out of their routine. Until they settle down into the new feeding method, they’re only going to want their mom to feed them.
The baby feels more comfortable being held and fed by the mom
If mom did all the feeding from day one, your little one is going to feel more comfortable being held and fed by her. Babies are sticklers for established routines and this applies to their feeding as well. Mom knows what feeding position best suits her baby and how to hold the bottle in just the right way.
When the father or another caregiver suddenly takes over bottle-feeding they often hold their babies and bottles differently. This causes your little one to feel unsettled and reject the bottle. They might even stop holding their bottle if you as a parent were proud of your little one holding the bottle on her/his own.
Baby is distracted by mom being in the same room
When feeding, a baby can get easily distracted by sounds, lighting, and new surroundings and may push the bottle out with their tongue! If dad tries to take over bottle-feeding with mom in the same room your little one is going to be equally distracted by her presence.
If the mom has always done the feeding, your baby will become confused when someone else takes over bottle-feeding especially if their mom is in the same room.
6 tips from a dad to get baby to take the bottle from someone other than mom
1. Make sure the milk is at the right temperature
As a stay-at-home dad (while I was unemployed), I handled a lot of our daughter’s needs as a baby. This included bottle-feeding her while mom was out of the house. Making sure the milk was at the right temperature made it easier for my daughter to accept the bottle from me – she seemed to find comfort in perfectly warmed milk!
I would test the temperature of the milk by putting a few drops on my wrist. If it felt too hot I would hold the bottle under cold running water for a few seconds. Most babies prefer lukewarm to cool milk at just below body temperature – around 98.6 F°.
2. Ensure baby is in the correct eating position
I would watch how my wife fed our daughter and adopt the same feeding position when bottle-feeding our baby. This helped our little one to feel more settled and happy to take the bottle from me.
The correct eating position makes it easier for your baby to latch to a bottle no matter who’s feeding them. Child experts recommend holding your baby in a semi-upright position with their head cradled in the nook of your arm for ultimate feeding comfort and safety. This can also help you stop your baby making a clicking sound.
3. Baby should be comfortable and relaxed
Ensuring your baby is comfortable and relaxed before bottle-feeding them helps to make them feel safe when someone else besides mom feeds them. Before feeding my daughter I made sure of the following:
- That her diapers were clean and dry
- The bottle nipple flow rate was right for her feeding style
- That she wasn’t too warm or too cold
If your baby cries and squirms when bottle-feeding it might not be because mom isn’t feeding her but because she’s uncomfortable for the above mentioned reasons!
4. Mom shouldn’t be present when the baby is feeding
When I took over feeding our little one, my wife would go for a walk outside the house. This minimized any distraction her presence would cause if she stayed in the same room or even somewhere else in the house.
Our daughter was easily distracted whenever mom was around so my wife needed not to be present when it was my turn to feed our baby. Doing this from the beginning helped my daughter get used to other people feeding her.
5. Move around while feeding the baby
Our daughter enjoyed the gentle rocking motions I made while feeding her. It made her feel safe and willing to take a bottle from me. Sitting in a nursery rocker can also soothe your baby as she gets used to anyone but mom feeding her.
However, if your baby isn’t used to moving around when feeding don’t try this during your first attempts to get them to accept a bottle from you.
6. Try reducing the attachment to the mom
Reducing your baby’s attachment to mom isn’t always that easy especially if the mother was the primary carer from birth. However, partners can get involved from the start by helping with diaper changing, bathing the baby, and taking turns putting the little one to sleep at night.
Knowing how to bottle-feed a baby and getting involved in the process from the beginning ensures your little one accepts you as part of their daily established routine. Sharing parenting duties helped me to form a deep connection with our daughter, making her more willing to reduce her attachment to her mom during feeding times.
Babies need to feel secure when feeding from the bottle and most times they’re most comfortable with their mom giving them the bottle. However, using my tips will help parents to establish a happy bottle-feeding routine with their babies to avoid difficult situations at home or at daycare where a child might refuse a bottle.
This allows the mom to benefit from the pros of bottle-feeding which means she can get support from relatives and friends.
Understanding the reasons why babies reject other feeders will help you not to take it personally when your little one refuses the bottle! I share one last tip as a father who’s been there – get your timing right and decide if you should give your baby its bottle before bath or after!