Help! My baby doesn’t finish her bottle.
When it comes to feeding, there are two options for young babies; bottle or breast. There is no wrong answer here. Either method of feeding will leave your baby healthy and happy. The only difference that some parents may notice is consumption.
When you are breastfeeding there are different indicators that your baby is not eating at much as normal. Bottle feeding makes this a little more apparent right away. After several bottles, you may notice a trend. If you often think “my baby never finishes a bottle” then start paying attention to a few cues from your baby.
8 Reasons Baby Never Finishes A Bottle
- Baby is full
- Doesn’t like the bottle
- Not comfortable
- Doesn’t like formula
- Baby has allergies
- Not getting enough sleep
1. Baby Is Full
There are a few cues that your baby will give off to indicate that he or she is full. Your baby could quite possibly be coming off of a growth spurt and experiencing a time of less hunger. When a baby is growing they will often want to feed more frequently but once that growth spurt has ended the baby will resume normal eating habits again.
Keeping a feeding logbook will help you indicate these times easier. When your baby pushes the bottle out of their mouth with their tongue or holds their mouth shut it means they are done eating. Older babies will even swat at the bottle and turn their heads.
Never force a feeding.
As long as your baby does not have a temperature and is having normal bowel movements and urinating as normal you can continue monitoring the amount of formula your baby is drinking. Just as you would not want someone to force you to finish a plate if you are full of food you should not force your baby to finish his or her bottle.
2. Baby Has Gas
If your baby is dealing with indigestion and gas then he or she will not be as adapt to finish their bottle. A lot of things your little one experiences you also experience. When you are dealing with gas pains you will want to change positions, walk around a bit and try to relieve those pains. Often the idea of eating a meal while being so uncomfortable is out of the question.
The same is true for your baby.
If your baby seems uncomfortable and stiff then try alternating positions, rubbing your baby’s tummy and back and focusing on working with any discomfort associated with the gas pain. Once the gas passes your little one will most likely want to finish the bottle.
If you notice your baby never finishes the bottle due to this ailment then you should reach out to your pediatrician. Persistent gas can be caused by several different things.
3. Baby Is Tired
There are many reasons why your baby could be tired. Perhaps your little one is experiencing a growth spurt or had a day of over-stimulation. No matter what the reason is, sometimes your baby just wants to nap. Check out this helpful article on how to help your baby sleep if this is happening to you.
You cannot force a bottle on a tired baby. If your baby would rather nap you may need to adjust your feeding schedule. If this sleepy behavior persists for an extended period without a reason that you can think of then it is time to contact your pediatrician.
Otherwise, just let your little one nap, when he or she wakes up and happy you can then have a bottle ready.
4. Baby Doesn’t Like The Bottle
Sometimes the reason why your baby never finishes a bottle is as simple as preference.
If your baby dislikes the bottle or nipple then he or she may not want to keep using it. The feel of the nipple or the bottle may bother your baby and they may just want it to be gone before they even finish their meal. If you notice this then you can pour the contents into a different style bottle.
If the feeding goes on as normal then you can assume the bottle was the offender.
There are many bottles and nipple varieties available. Some babies prefer wide mouth nipples or plastic bottles over standard nipples and glass bottles.
5. Baby Is not Comfortable
If you notice your baby trying to reposition their body rather than take their bottle you may want to try repositioning your little one. If your baby is uncomfortable, their discomfort could be distracting them from mealtime. Perhaps their arm is at an awkward angle or maybe the just would rather be in a different position for mealtime. A few positioning changes will solve this problem if this is the cause of not finishing the bottle.
6. Baby Doesn’t Like The Formula Brand
Adult tastes change and so do babies. If your little one seems bored with their bottle or like they just don’t like then it might be time to switch brands. Your baby may be constantly spitting out their formula.
This is an indicator that they no longer like the taste. Speak with your pediatrician but often various brands offer the same type of formula. Each brand will taste a little bit different but feature the same health benefits.
If you switch brands and your baby gulps down their first bottle happily then you know they needed a new flavor to enjoy.
7. Baby Has Allergies
Allergies are not the most common cause of not finishing a bottle but it is one that should be discussed. Each indicator to watch for can be nothing to worry about. If all of those indicators are present at the same time then you might be dealing with a food sensitivity or allergy.
In this case, babies sometimes end up on soy or other types of formula. Food allergies can cause exhaustion, discomfort, gas, and make the little one not even want to enjoy the bottle because of the feelings each feeding comes with.
If you notice your baby never finishes a bottle and many of these signs in addition to abnormal bowel movements are present then you should contact your pediatrician about the possibility of food allergies.
8. Not Getting Enough Sleep
A baby who won’t finish a bottle might not be getting enough sleep. There are helpful ways to know if your baby’s sleep is impacting diet – click here to try our helpful baby sleep trick and see if it improves your baby’s sleep. Once your baby starts getting better sleep, it’s possible he/she will start finishing a bottle. Try our baby sleep workshop and see if it helps you tackle this issue.
Do not instantly worry if your baby does not finish his or her bottle. If this becomes a routine then keep a feeding journal of each feeding and how much is consumed.
Also, keep a guide to each of your baby’s dirty diapers. This will give you vital information to pass along to your pediatrician in the event of a necessary visit. In most cases, the root cause of not finishing a bottle is nothing to cause alarm.
Pay attention to your baby’s growth spurts, activities, comfort, gas, and reaction towards the formula.
Usually, this is a short term problem and can be easily rectified by changing a bottle, the baby’s position, or brand of formula.
Sometimes even a nice, restful nap can do the trick!
My nights used to be a struggle, trying to get my baby to sleep soundly. All that changed when I discovered SleepBaby.org. It’s amazingly effective, getting him to drift off to sleep in just 45 seconds! This gem was suggested to me by his daycare. Life without SleepBaby.org? Unthinkable now.