Why is every feeding a battle? How come your baby can drink only when drowsy or asleep? How come you saw several professionals and nobody could help? You will find the answers in this article if you have these questions.
If you want to read the summary only, scroll down to the last paragraph.
I’m Szilvia Lanzas, The Bottle Aversion Coach.
Here is our story:
My baby started refusing bottles after her 2-month vaccination. First, I thought she wasn’t hungry. But she didn’t get better, so I thought she didn’t like the formula anymore. I changed the formula, but she wasn’t willing to have a sip to taste it was different. So out of good intention, to let her know it was different milk, I forced the nipple into her mouth. She drank. Phew! I felt relieved.
The next feeding came, and she refused. I thought she didn’t remember it was different milk, so I forced the nipple into her mouth again. She drank. Phew! I felt relieved.
Again, the next feeding came, and she refused, and I forced again. And this cycle kept going until I couldn’t even force it anymore.
As soon as I put my baby in the feeding position, she arched her back and tried to jump out of my arms. It was impossible to feed.
Then she screamed even before getting into the feeding position when I put the bib on her.
I feared for her life. I thought she would die out of starvation, which would be my fault. What kind of a mother I am – I thought.
I frantically searched the internet for answers and found a condition called bottle aversion. I recognized our baby, and I felt relieved that it had a name and there was a solution.
I bought a book and read it overnight. I started applying what I learned the next day. The slowest and most stressful day of my life! The number of tears and thoughts of my baby dying was unbearable. My baby didn’t drink for 12 hours. The whole day. And she didn’t drink in her sleep either. She drank some at night when she was awake.
The next day came. It was even longer! My baby drank after 9 hours this time.
On the 3rd day afternoon, she accepted the bottle more times.
On day 4, she was drinking! I was over the moon!
On day 7, we went back to square one. My baby refused all her bottles. I broke down. I was at my wit’s end, and I had no hope. According to the book, I should have started over the process, but I couldn’t make myself do it. And I lost my trust in the process, so I didn’t want to starve my baby.
As I was crying in our bedroom, my husband grabbed our baby. I will fix this – he said. Our baby linked bad feelings to feedings, so I will change her feelings – he explained. I fought with him, saying he would ruin our baby more, and he didn’t listen to me. He sat down with our baby, and 15 minutes later, our girl was drinking calmly.
I was shocked! I couldn’t believe it. It’s a fluke – I said.
The next feed came, and I did what my hubby did and fed our baby. It was not a fluke, and it was the solution!
Our baby drank from this time on. We had to repeat what we did a few times in the next 3 weeks, but the bottle aversion never returned after that.
I decided to make a YouTube video to share what we did because no solution worked so quickly and without starving the baby. I was camera shy, so I asked my hubby to explain what he had done.
I thought if we could help 1 family, it was worth it. Many other families were dealing with the same thing without finding a solution. After getting a lot of questions, I decided to explain what we did with more clarity. This time I spoke.
After 2 years of getting questions and requests for help, I decided to officially help babies with bottle aversion.
Why we could come up with a solution that’s different than standard medical approaches
My husband and I have changework backgrounds. We both coached people with different issues and helped them change their mindsets to get the desired results. And this is the reason we could come up with something totally different that’s available out there.
Professionals in the medical field don’t work with a mindset. They work with symptoms and sometimes with cause, but rarely behavioral issues. And even with behavioral problems, they don’t work with the mind.
My first challenge was to create a process that everybody could understand without having our background. I wanted every mom to be able to read it and get the same result we did.
I broke down what we did into simple steps everybody could repeat and wrote an ebook. I kept it short because I knew when I was a new mom with a baby who didn’t eat, I had no energy, time, and willingness to read long books. I wanted a no-fluff, straight-to-the-point book that parents could start implementing right away.
I gave away the book for free to more than a hundred families with the problem. I got their feedback, so I knew it worked for others too.
The rest is history.
Since then, I’ve helped hundreds (probably more than a thousand) of families through my ebook, video course, and consultation program.
What are the leading causes of bottle aversion?
- Being a preemie
- Heart problems
- Rotavirus vaccine
- Other issues babies are born with that make feedings challenging
The main signs of bottle aversion:
- Your baby becomes fussy, screams, or arches their back as soon as getting into a feeding position.
- Your baby gets upset and screams or arches their back any time during feeding.
- Your baby is very distracted during feedings and turns their head often, trying to get away from the bottle.
- Your baby drinks milk only when being distracted.
- Your baby drinks without fuss, only in their sleep or while drowsy.
- Your baby drinks very little at a time and goes 5-7 hours between feeds.
If there are so many causes, how to tell if it’s bottle aversion or something else?
First, you will need to check for 2 things.
These are the 2 main things that have similar symptoms to bottle aversion. These are medical conditions; medical professionals can tell if your baby has reflux or tongue-tie.
For reflux, you can take your baby to your pediatrician. Highly likely your doctor will prescribe medication for your baby to try for 2 weeks to see if it makes a difference. If it doesn’t, they may increase the dose and try it again for 2 weeks.
Or you can find reflux specialists who have a holistic approach. They help you find the cause and most likely won’t give your baby medication.
For tongue-tie, find a dentist or another professional certified in tongue-tie assessment.
You may find that your baby had reflux, which got under control, but your baby still shows the above symptoms. It means your baby has bottle aversion. It’s very common for babies with reflux to develop bottle aversion because of the pain they experience during feedings. In addition, parents are pressuring their babies to drink more out of good intentions. Just like I did.
You may find that your baby had tongue-tie, which got reversed, but your baby still shows the above symptoms. It means your baby has bottle aversion. It’s very common for babies with tongue-tie to develop bottle aversion because of the pain they experience during feeding. And parents pressure their babies to drink more out of good intentions, of course. Just like I did.
You may also find that your baby has no reflux or tongue-tie. It means your baby has bottle aversion.
So, you will need to check for reflux and tongue-tie to know if it’s bottle aversion or something else.
Common mistakes parents make when looking for a solution for bottle aversion.
Mistake 1: Believing their pediatrician when they say:
“Your baby will grow out of it,” or
“your baby is a dream-feeder,” or
“your baby is gaining weight, so there is no problem,” or
“you are a first-time mom.”
Mistake 2: Choosing a professional who is not specialized in bottle aversion
Mistake 3: Waiting months and months before deciding to do something about it
Mistake 4: Dream-feeding their babies throughout the first year and being stuck at home, feeling miserable
How to choose the right solution
When you seek help, ask these questions before you start working with somebody:
- How come my baby has bottle aversion?
- Why can I feed my baby while asleep and not while awake?
- How long does it take to solve bottle aversion?
- How much weight is my baby going to lose in the process?
- How much milk is my baby going to drink at the end?
- Can my baby regress?
- Do I have to starve my baby in the process?
- Why Does my baby get upset in the feeding position and when seeing the bottle?
Here are my answers to the questions above:
1. How come my baby has bottle aversion?
Your baby linked bad feelings to feedings. It starts with something else, like being a preemie, reflux and CMPA, vaccination, heart problems, cleft palate, etc. Parents are unsure what’s happening and pressure their babies out of good intentions and worry. The condition and the pressure combined cause babies to link bad feelings to feedings and thus develop bottle aversion.
2. Why can I feed my baby while asleep and not while awake?
When babies are asleep or drowsy, they are not fully aware of what’s going on, so even though they linked bad feelings to feedings, they still drink when tired or asleep.
3. How long does it take to solve bottle aversion?
Working with me one-on-one, it takes 4-5 days to solve bottle aversion.
4. How much weight is my baby going to lose in the process?
Babies lose a few oz in the first few days because they are learning to trust the feeding process and to be in control of their feedings. Typically, they gain it back within a week and gain more weight afterward.
5. How much milk is my baby going to drink at the end?
Babies increase their milk intake for 2-3 weeks and always end up drinking the amount they need. It may be different from what you expect, but I never had a baby who didn’t drink as much as they needed for their development.
6. Can my baby regress?
It’s rare for babies to regress after working together. The reason was pressure. Somebody pressured the baby again, and the baby regressed. Babies with aversion are more sensitive to pressure, so it’s crucial never to pressure your baby to drink.
7. Do I have to starve my baby in the process?
No! Remember my story? With the method I tried, I had to starve my baby to get a result. And I got the result for a few days, then I would have to start over. With my method, your baby will have plenty of opportunities to drink. It will be up to your baby to drink, but you can offer many times throughout the day, so you won’t feel like you are starving your baby.
8. Why Does my baby get upset in the feeding position and when seeing the bottle?
Babies with bottle aversion first refuse the bottle, then it can transfer over to the bib and the feeding position. So when you put your baby in the feeding position, they know feeding is about to happen. Your baby gets upset because even though they are hungry, they don’t want to do anything with the bottle. My method is the only one that deals with this problem. They are called triggers, and it’s a mindset issue. My process changes these triggers so your baby will be happy instead of mad.
If your baby shows signs of bottle aversion:
1. Check if your baby has a tongue-tie.
Main signs of tongue-tie:
- clicking sound when drinking,
- unlatching-relatching often.
Who can assess your baby for tongue-tie: professionals certified in tongue-tie assessment, often pediatric dentists.
If your baby had a tongue-tie and got reversed, wait 2 weeks. Suppose your baby still shows signs of bottle aversion 2 weeks after frenectomy, and you checked for reflux too. In that case, your baby likely has bottle aversion.
2. Check if your baby has reflux.
Main signs of reflux:
- Spitting up after most feeds
- Crying a lot at night and during the day
- Uncomfortable laying down
Who can assess your baby for reflux: pediatricians and reflux specialists.
If your baby has reflux and it’s under control and still showing signs of bottle aversion, your baby likely has bottle aversion.
If your baby doesn’t have reflux and showing signs of bottle aversion, your baby likely has bottle aversion.
If your baby has bottle aversion, look for a professional who specializes in solving bottle aversion and ask the questions outlined above in this article to find the right fit.
Bottle aversion can be solved in 5 days, and your baby doesn’t have to be starved.
I hope this article helped you find some of the answers you were looking for.
If you have questions, please find me on Instagram or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a 1-week consultation program where I work with families one-on-one and help them through the process. Babies recover from bottle aversion within 4-5 days and increase their volume for about 2 weeks. If you want to know more about my program, please visit Virtual Consultation With 2-Week Support. To work with me one-one, first, you will need to complete my Bottle Aversion Solution Online Video Course.