Are you considering weaning your baby off breastmilk and getting them started on bottle-feeding? Here’s something you should know: not all babies take to the bottle easily.
You need a bottle that’s specifically made to breastfeed stubborn babies. But you may be wondering…
What Makes the Perfect Baby Bottle?
Ideally, you want to look for a bottle that has a slow-flow nipple — one that can mimic the flow of milk from the breast.
A breastfed baby has to work hard and use tongue movements to get the milk out of the breast, and a slow-flow nipple can offer them the same feeding experience.
You’ll have to test out a couple of bottles to find one that works best for your baby. Keep an eye out for the baby’s cues for hunger and fullness. Feed them only when they’re hungry.
5 Best Bottles for Breastfed Babies Who Refuse The Bottle
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to bottle feeding, some bottles work out better than others.
1. Calma by Medela
Medela’s Calma nipple is the only bottle nipple to have been peer-reviewed for breastfed babies, and the results are impressive.
This bottle only allows the milk to flow from it when the baby applies a suction pressure to transfer the milk, miming natural feeding behavior. The Medela Breastmilk Bottle Set is a great find for parents of picky babies who only want the real deal.
Because your baby is in control of the flow, the nipple also grows with your baby. So, you won’t have to keep changing nipple sizes as your baby grows.
The body of the bottle also screws on directly to the company’s breast pump, so you don’t have to worry about leaks or spills during transfer.
- Compatible with Medela breast pumps
- Special nipple design for easy use
- Dishwasher safe
- Limited options in terms of volume
- The nipple is not as flexible
2. Dr. Brown’s Options+ Wide-Neck Anti-Colic Bottle
Dr. Brown’s Wide-Neck Glass Baby Bottle has an anti-colic two-piece vent design. It reduces colic complications, burping, gas, reflux, and spit-ups. You can remove the vent if you wish to, or once your baby is free from feeding struggles.
The bottle has two designs, with the wider version being more suitable for introducing breastfed babies to bottle feeding. It’s convenient for paced-bottle feeding, and also allows you to see when the baby has finished the bottle. It’s also BPA-free and can withstand sudden temperature changes.
The nipples are hit or miss, but you can choose a small-sized nipple from another brand. It will lead your baby to work for milk, and will also ensure a controlled flow to prevent overeating.
- Comes in two sizes: 5oz and 9oz
- Has a venting system
- Available in glass and plastic versions
- Dishwasher (top rack) safe
- Has lots of parts; can be difficult to clean
- Susceptible to leaks
3. Lansinoh Momma Breastmilk Feeding Bottle
Lansinoh’s Momma Breastmilk Feeding Bottle is equipped with a NaturalWave slow-flow nipple that simulates a human breast. Backed by 50 years of research, it is perfect for stubborn breastfed babies who refuse to drink from a bottle.
The nipple has a wide base, so it allows the baby to latch onto it in a similar way they would latch onto the breast. This creates an authentic feeding experience, which can help avoid nipple confusion and eradicate any instance of resistance to the bottle.
The nipple is leak proof and has passed the shake test. It also has an internal vertical groove to prevent collapse. The product comes with an air-ventilation system, although it isn’t as efficient at reducing air intake as other breastfed-baby-friendly bottles.
- Comes equipped with an air ventilation system
- Compatible with Lansinoh breast pump
- Easy clean-up and maintenance
- Slow flow, soft flexible nipple — perfect for pace-feeding
- Two sizes to choose from: 5oz and 8oz
- Slow-flow nipple isn’t as slow-flowing as you’d like
- Could cause air bubbles to get into your baby’s mouth
4. Philips Avent Natural Glass Baby Bottles
Philips Avent Natural Glass Baby Bottle is popular with breastfeeding mamas, and it’s easy to see why. It comes with a wide-shaped silicone nipple, which provides babies with a nature identical latch-on for an authentic breastfeeding experience.
The 4oz bottles come in a 4-pack, so you’ll have backups ready on the go.
These bottles also have an inbuilt anti-colic system, meaning they’re great for your baby’s health. To top it off, they’re made with borosilicate glass, so you can rest assured that your baby won’t be ingesting any harmful chemicals with their daily dose of milk.
- AirFree vent. Keeps nipples full of milk and not air, great for pace-feeding.
- Easy-to-clean wide-neck design
- Offers a variety of nipple options for a customized approach
- Cannot withstand sudden temperature changes
- Bottles leak milk
5. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottle
Tommee Tippee’s Closer to Nature Baby Bottle has soft, breastlike nipples and is designed to stay properly latched, making the switch from nipple to bottle easy for babies.
The wide base and long yet soft nipples stretch and flex just like the real thing. It allows babies to use the same tongue movements they make to manipulate the nipple to drink from the bottle.
The bottle comes in different flow rates, such as slow-flow and fast-flow, so you can pick and choose one per your baby’s preferences.
It’s also equipped with an anti-colic valve, ensuring that your baby won’t swallow air that could cause gastric and colic troubles. Made of BPA-free material, also easy to clean and safe for your little one.
Simply put, the bottle is fantastic. Even your fussy baby will have little reason to reject the bottle.
- Soft and smooth silicone nipples designed to flex
- Wide neck, easy-to-clean design
- Wide range of nipple flows to choose from, including slow-flow nipples
- Natural latch for babies
- Has a weird bottle shape; not suitable for babies to hold and self-feed
- You may need to replace the nipple more often than with other brands
- Words/measurements may rub off
Tips for Babies that Refuse Bottles
If your baby is refusing the bottle, you can try a few hacks to get them feeding:
- Put a nipple on your finger and rub it around your baby’s gums and lips. Once they recreate the same feeding movements on the nipple, put a bit of milk in the bottle, and see how they take to it.
- Check different nipple flows. Babies have to work to get the milk out of their mother’s breast, so a fast milk-dispersing bottle won’t do the trick for a fussy eater.
- Listen to your baby’s cues. If they appear distressed or uncomfortable, abort bottle-feeding immediately. You can offer the bottle when your baby is in a happy mood – not when they’re crying out of hunger.
- Sometimes, babies resist bottle-feeding because they know their mother is around. So, if you’re trying to wean them off your breastmilk, have your spouse, sibling, friend, or relative give your baby the bottle.
- Some babies prefer their milk cold while others like it warm. Adjusting the temperature might be all you need to get to the bottom of the problem.
- Try different positions. You could feed them in an upright position or the one you use when you breastfeed to see what they’re most comfortable in.
- Use freshly pumped breast milk instead of baby formula. If your baby is refusing the bottle due to the taste, this could be an easy fix.
Most importantly, be patient. Stressing won’t speed up the process; rather, it will cause your baby to get distressed, agitated, and uncomfortable.
Get Your Babe Started on Bottle Feeding
Getting your baby to drink milk from a bottle instead of your breast can be a stressful process. But it’s not impossible to find a solution. With some trial and error, you’ll be able to find a bottle that your breastfed baby enjoys drinking from.
Just be patient and do not give up.