Formula Fed Baby Suddenly Refusing Bottle
Baby Toddler Safety

Formula Fed Baby Suddenly Refusing Bottle

Your baby was drinking the formula fine, and then one day, it was like they had tasted something they didn’t like.

What should you do if your kid won’t take a bottle? Bottle rejection can be a problem right away in some cases, or it can emerge suddenly later.

Your child is not opening their mouth as eagerly for the bottle anymore.

It almost seems like they have developed an aversion to the bottles and being fed by them. Don’t freak out.

Your baby’s refusal to latch onto a rubber nipple is not set in stone, and there are many quick fixes to get your sweet baby sucking again.

But first, you need to understand the roots of the problem. 

So, why is formula fed baby suddenly refusing bottle? 

Formula Fed Baby Suddenly Refusing Bottle

The first thing to mention is that this is normal, and it’s nothing to worry about.

Your baby may only be feeling full at the moment, or they are enjoying the time without the bottle. 

It may be more difficult to understand this if you’re used to feeding your baby on demand, but remember that babies have preferences too.

They get bored with routine, and they want to explore the world around them, including food.

When babies get older and learn how to feed themselves, they become pickier about what they eat and more independent in how they eat it.

And when they’re not hungry, they’ll probably skip the bottle altogether and move on to something else like playing with their toys, looking out the window at the birds and squirrels in the backyard, or studying their fingers and toes up close.

However, there could be other reasons that could make your baby refuse a bottle if formula-fed. 

1. Teething

Teething causes discomfort for babies and infants can act out of character when dealing with pain.

One way for your baby to express discomfort is by refusing to eat or drink.

You may notice other signs of teething, such as:

  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Crying
  • Your baby may also rub their gums together
  • Chewing on toys or their hands

You should consult with your baby’s pediatrician if you suspect that your baby is teething.

Many tricks can work wonders on a teething baby, including the following:

  • Cold spoons
  • Frozen pacifiers
  • Massaging gums with wet clothes or gauze pads

2. Accidentally eating too much solid food

Sometimes, babies get excited about a new food that they tend to eat a lot at once.

They might be filling up on solids and refusing their bottle because they are not hungry.

How much are they eating? If you give them a jar of baby food at each meal, try giving them less.

You can remedy this by skipping a solid food meal, just giving them the bottle, and then resume your solid food schedule.  

By skipping a solid meal, you are helping your baby re-establish hunger cues.

They need to understand when they’ve had enough solids and when to drink formula.

3. Growth Spurt

A growth spurt may also make your baby more demanding during feedings and cranky when they refuse them altogether.

Although it may seem like your baby has suddenly turned into a whiny monster overnight, this behavior is only temporary.

It will pass after a short period if you continue to offer bottles as often as possible throughout the day or night.

When babies grow rapidly in a short amount of time, they may suddenly want to eat more.

So if your kid is eating more each feeding time, then it only goes that they will be taking longer between feedings.

4. Illness

If your child suddenly doesn’t want to take the bottle because they’re sick, then it’s entirely normal.

When your child is sick, their appetite likely goes down as their body concentrates on fighting whatever illness they have.

They’ll probably take the bottle just fine as soon as they’re healthy again.

On that note, any changes in diet can disrupt your child’s normal eating habits and make them picky about their food; this includes formula changes.

If you’ve recently switched your baby’s formula to something else, try switching back to the old one.

Your baby might be rejecting the new formula, but once they’re used to it again, they should be back to normal.


While it’s not always easy to pinpoint why babies act the way they do, it’s comforting to know that this is a relatively common problem and nothing to worry about.

There might be many possible reasons why your formula fed baby suddenly refusing bottle; some of them are easily identifiable, but there might also be factors completely out of your control. 

If you have tried all the different ways to feed your child and still refuse the bottle, consider making an appointment with a pediatrician and discuss whether it’s worth giving the child a hypoallergenic formula.

Related Post: How To Baby Proof Cabinets?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a baby suddenly stop liking formula?

It’s possible, and it’s not just the formula. Babies are little people, and like big people they have their preferences, too.

It might be the taste or smell of the formula. Or it could be the bottle you’re using. 

If they were using a bottle when you breastfeed them and now you’re using a different bottle, it could be the nipple they don’t like.

Also, many babies love to chew on something while they’re eating.

Why do babies stop drinking formula?

It’s not uncommon for babies to stop drinking formula or even breastmilk. Sometimes it’s because they’re teething, and their gums are aching. 

Sometimes it’s because they’ve had a change in routine (maybe they’re sick or have been traveling), and sometimes they’re not that hungry.

It’s usually not a cause for concern, but here are some things you can do to help them get back on track.

What do I do if my formula baby doesn’t drink formula?

You should first check that you’re giving your baby the right formula: that it’s meant for their age and that your baby has no known allergies or sensitivities to any of its ingredients.

If everything checks out, you can several different things to see if they might work better:

  • Switching brands
  • Changing the temperature of the formula (some babies prefer cold, others hot)
  • Adding a little water to the formula to dilute it slightly
  • Going back to breast milk or adding breast milk

Emily Zin

Nurse Practitioner at Venus Med Spa

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