Baby Playing With A Bottle Instead Of Drinking

Baby Playing With A Bottle Instead Of Drinking

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Are you concerned of your baby playing with a bottle instead of drinking? 

Transitioning from breastfeeding to formula or breastmilk bottles can be challenging for young parents.

During your baby’s bottle-feeding journey, you might encounter instances where your little one rejects the bottle and starts to play with it instead.

Although it seems ordinary, it is still annoying when your baby refuses to eat when you are feeding.

The younger the child, the more they’re accustomed to breastfeeding. Your newborn will reject the bottle, even if they are hungry.

When older children reject a bottle, there can be possible reasons they dislike the bottle or nipple, tease, or be too tired to eat.

Other possible reasons include being distracted or wanting to play instead.

Baby Playing With A Bottle Instead Of Drinking

While you’re trying your best to get your little one used to bottle-feeding, they may become fidgety and distracted during feedings.

It can be quite frustrating for you; a baby becomes more accustomed to bottle feeding as they grow up. It is a passing stage for most babies.

Various factors can lead to troubled feeding behavior. 

However, determining the cause of your baby’s squirming, fussing, crying, or refusal of a bottle can be challenging.

Observing when she exhibits these behaviors will help you choose the cause.

The Most Common Reasons A Baby Plays With A Bottle Instead Of Drinking It

#1 Insatiable appetite

When your baby is not hungry, they won’t eat. Parents trying to adhere to certain feeding times may become confused despite this simplicity.

A baby’s routine varies widely. In very young babies and preemies, feeding takes a lot of energy, and if they don’t appear hungry, they may not take food.

#2 Preference for nursing

Direct breastfeeding differs from drinking milk or formula from a bottle. Bottles carry milk based on the nipple size and the bottle size.

As the milk is being nursed, it may flow quickly at first and gradually become slower over time.

The baby can control the way and amount of milk it wants to gulp.

#3 New Nipple Or Bottle

The most effective way for babies to feed on a bottle is to practice it.

Your baby may refuse to drink if you introduce a different type of bottle or nipple or if you offer them a different temperature than what they are accustomed to.

So let them play with the bottle and nipple to become familiar with these new feeding devices.

#4 Diversions

Your baby may have trouble focusing on feeding and get distracted by loud sounds, bright lights, toys, or a sibling playing nearby.

At about three to four months of age, around the time they emerge from the newborn stage or fourth trimester, babies are more aware of the world around them and can see much more clearly.

#5 Infants teething

Many babies’ troubles are attributed to teething. Drooling, night waking, and fussiness are all caused by teething.

Having a problem with your teeth can make you not want to eat, just as it does for babies.

#6 Experiencing fatigue

A tired baby can sometimes show heavy eyes, sluggish activity, or big yawns.

Still, it may look more like crying, pushing away their bottle, or even increasing activity since stress hormones in their blood increase when they are overtired.

#7 Playing for fun

You can transition the playtime and feeding time more efficiently with a routine.

It might simply be that your baby prefers to play rather than eat if they don’t take the bottle.

You may need to help your baby burn off that energy before giving them another bottle if they are really in the mood to play.

Is There Anything You Can Do When Your Child Wants To Play With His Bottle Instead Of Eating?

To encourage more focused feedings, you might want to change the feeding environment, the bottle, or the daily routine.

#1 Reduce The Amount Of Milk Offered More Frequently

Drinking may not be a priority for your baby as he becomes more mobile and curious about his environment.

You can offer smaller amounts more frequently rather than waiting for him to finish a bottle for a long time.

#2 Bring The Bottle Into A Dull Room

It’s no wonder your baby prefers to drink her bottle when there’s so much to see and do.

Make the temptation disappear by placing the bottle in an unattractive room.

Do not let her enter bright or loud rooms, especially if they contain distractions.

Present The Bottle In A Different Environment

If feeding your baby in a boring room does not work, try feeding them in a “new” room.

You can offer him the bottle in his high chair, in your backyard, or in a different room from where you usually do it. 

The novelty of providing in an unfamiliar place might attract his attention so much that he continues to drink the bottle without complaining.

It might be enough of a change to draw his curiosity and allow him to finish his milk anywhere you don’t usually give him bottles.

Solid Foods Are A Suitable Replacement

Provide your baby with solid foods and milk if you already do.

You might consider changing your baby’s formula if he has been drinking the same formula for months.

A variety of flavors will satisfy his taste buds and supplement his calories

Milk can be consumed simultaneously as a meal or before the meal.

This will enable him to associate different tastes with the experience of drinking from a bottle.

Editorial pick: Can Teething Cause Baby to Refuse Bottle


Now you know why babies play with a bottle instead of drinking. Baby bottle strikes are annoying and can overrun your patience.

Adjusting to a new schedule will take both time and effort.

You’ll also notice weight gain in your baby during this time, making you feel even more determined to overcome his tantrums while feeding.

But it’s rarely a successful strategy. Rather than giving him a bottle every night, consider feeding him in a different room or eliminating distractions. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

My baby doesn’t drink her bottle. Why is this happening?

When your baby refuses a bottle, look out for the following reasons:

Your baby has just been weaned and wishes to continue being breastfed.

You are not providing your baby with enough food. It is time to feed your baby if he is sick, colicky, or otherwise unwell.

What can I do to prevent my baby from guzzling bottles?

Place the bottle horizontally (just slightly tilted).

You can release the suction in your baby’s mouth by gently pulling on the corner of the mouth while you’re feeding.

As a result, your milk will flow more steadily, and your baby will be less likely to breathe in air.

What is causing my baby to drink less milk?

Baby chooses to avoid feeding; Baby chooses not to drink enough. Sleep-deprived babies are unable to drink effectively.

Babies have poor appetites, or he is just full. 



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Iesha Mulla

Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She's an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.

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