Can Teething Cause Baby to Refuse Bottle
Baby Toddler Development

Can Teething Cause Baby to Refuse Bottle

Teething is a significant milestone in your baby’s development. Nonetheless, it comes along with several challenges and can be a painful ordeal for your little angel.

This post will shed insights on a top concern for many parents, can teething cause baby to refuse bottle, alongside other expectations during this critical period in your toddler’s life. 

Can Teething Cause Baby to Refuse Bottle?

In most cases, teething occurs between 6 to 24 months of age. Toddler development happens differently in all babies.

So don’t be alarmed when your little one’s teeth start showing as early as four months or until late on their first birthday.

Nevertheless, your baby’s teeth erupting through the gums is a significant feat that comes along with discomfort and pain for your little angel.

Not to mention how daunting this period can be for parents. 

The most notable symptom of teething is tender and swollen gums.

As such, most babies tend to be fussy, cranky and since toddlers lack the words to communicate what’s wrong, they will often cry or scream.

But, as we have discussed later in this post, the good news is that there are several tips to help relieve your child’s discomfort. 

Also, teething might affect your little one’s appetite. When the teething pain is at its worst, it’s typical for some babies to stop eating momentarily.

In addition, some toddlers might want to nurse and bottle feed more or less frequently.

Babies might refuse to breastfeed or bottle-feed due to the sucking pressure causing their teething pain to be more intense.

On the other hand, some babies might want to suck, consequently breast or bottle-feed more often when teething since they find it soothing. 

So, for the concern can teething cause baby to refuse bottle, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you expect.

As already outlined, it’s normal for teething babies to repulse the bottle due to the intense pain resulting from the sucking pressure.

This can be detrimental to your little one’s well-being and can cause dehydration. Also, there are other reasons why babies refuse to bottle feed. 

Also read: Baby Latching and Unlatching Repeatedly

Reasons For Baby Refusing Bottle

As babies come of age, it’s typical to eventually go through a period of sudden, unanticipated bottle refusal.

Yes, teething can be an attributing factor to this worrisome period. But, also, there could be other factors making your baby refuse the bottle. They include: 

  • Your little one prefers to nurse. This is common for parents who breastfeed and bottle feed interchangeably or simultaneously. 
  • Your baby isn’t hungry enough to want to feed. Again, this is typical for older toddlers who have started on solid food. As they start eating more food, they might not like the bottle. 
  • The milk temperature might not be ideal as your baby usually prefers. Also, your toddler may not like the texture, flavor or different taste of the milk. 
  • Your baby might be frustrated by the milk flow. As a result, they might want a different nipple flow. As babies age, they become frustrated with slow-flow nipples and want to take in more milk at once. 
  • Your little angel is feeling sick. Cold, ear or throat infections tend to be painful and uncomfortable for babies to suck from a bottle. 
  • Maybe their mind is somewhere different. Older toddlers can easily get distracted while eating and may start to refuse to drink from a bottle. As a result, it would be best to turn off the television and minimize distractions before offering the bottle. 

It’s vital first to understand the reason your baby is refusing to bottle feed.

As such, you will gain better insights into figuring out how to remedy the situation. If it’s a result of teething, here are some practical tips to help fix the problem. 

How to Help Teething Babies to Bottle Feed

It’s technically impractical to treat teething since it’s a natural process of your baby’s growth.

However, there are things we can do to help them out and make their lives more comfortable. 

The most crucial step would be relieving your baby’s teething pain. Here are several ways to ease their discomfort and incline them to feed on a bottle:

  • Gum massages. Try rubbing your baby’s gum with a clean forefinger, damp washcloth or a special gum-rubbing finger pad before latching on the bottle. 
  • Offer them a teething ring to chew. Chewing on teething rings alleviates the discomfort by providing pressure on the gums and a soothing coolness. Also, you can give babies something to gnaw before and after feedings. 
  • Feed the bottle in a more seated position or paced bottle feeding. This position is somewhat similar to breastfeeding and gives your baby control of the feeding, making them more comfortable. 
  • In extreme cases, and with consent from your pediatrician, give your child pain medications. Still, teething gels, especially homoeopathic teething gels, have some risk, and it would be best if you didn’t consider them. 


So, for the concern can teething cause baby to refuse bottle, there is a likelihood your little one might prefer not sucking to avoid the intense pressure on the gums that result in pain.

Still, sucking might offer some comfort, and your baby might want to bottle feed more often.

Also, your baby’s bottle refusal could be from a different reason rather than teething.

Therefore it would be best if you scrutinize the exact reason for this behaviour and remedy the problem. 

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.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *