What Is Bottle Aversion And How To Solve It

If you are here, because you are wondering why you can only feed your baby when drowsy or asleep, you may get your answer by reading this article. 

When babies have constant bad experiences with feedings, they start to link bad feelings to feedings, and if it continues, they eventually begin refusing to feed while awake. Babies can still drink in their sleep or when drowsy because they are unaware of what’s happening, so their instinct kicks in, and they drink. 

What are the main reasons for babies to link bad feelings to feedings?

  • Experiencing pain and discomfort during and right after feedings by having reflux or tongue-tie. 
  • Experiencing pressure from parents. It usually starts with a doctor’s or a health visitor’s comment about how much the baby should drink to gain appropriate weight. If the baby doesn’t drink that much, parents feel pressured to force or pressure the baby to drink more because they want the best for their babies. But this leads to babies linking bad feelings to feedings and refusing the bottle, so eventually drinking even less than they “should.”

When babies drink only in their sleep, and you rule out reflux and tongue-tie, it’s highly likely, that your baby has bottle aversion. 

why does my baby cry while eating formula

What is bottle aversion?

Bottle aversion is an adverse reaction to bottle feedings. It’s created by linking bad feelings to feedings. Your doctor may have told you to force-feed your baby, so you did out of good intention, but your baby doesn’t want to be forced, so unconsciously, they refuse the bottle and cry or arch their back when it’s time to feed. 

Or your baby has reflux or tongue-tie, and it went unnoticed for a while, so they experienced pain and discomfort constantly for an extended time. You may have reversed the tongue-tie or got the reflux under control, but your baby still reacts negatively to the bottle. It’s an unconscious reaction, so your baby can’t help it. But you can. Keep reading to find out how. 

What are 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 screams and 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. 

How to solve bottle aversion?

First of all, you may ask why your baby hates you. Your baby doesn’t hate you. It’s an unconscious reaction to what your baby experienced in the past few weeks or months. Since it’s an unconscious reaction, you will need to do something that creates an unconscious change. 

As I mentioned before, bottle aversion is caused by linking bad feelings to feedings. So to solve it, you will need to link good feelings to feedings. If your baby constantly experiences good feelings while drinking, they will quickly (within 2-5 days) start feeling good about feedings and will want to drink while fully awake. 

why does my baby hate me?

Who to see to help your baby?

Most people go to their pediatrician first. That’s the natural response to a problem with our babies. And pediatricians are excellent for diagnosing and treating illnesses. But they don’t know what to do with feeding issues. It’s not their specialty. The usual response they give to parents when their babies refuse the bottle and drink only when asleep is that “your baby will grow out of it” or “your baby is a dream-feeder” or “there is nothing wrong with your baby, they are gaining weight.” 

Then who else should you go to?

You could go to a feeding therapist. Feeding therapists are fantastic for helping with oral and fine-motor skills. And some of them even know that your baby has to feel good about feedings to solve bottle aversion. But the usual advice they give is “bounce or walk around with your baby while drinking” or “play with your baby while drinking to make them feel good.” The intention is great, but this makes things worse because your baby is not aware of the feedings by being distracted, and they realize after a while that they are being tricked so that you may experience some improvement first. Still, after a week or two, things will go back to where they were. 

Then what should you do?

Find a professional who specializes in bottle aversion. But not just that. I will share what else to look for, but first, I want to share our story. 

My baby had bottle aversion when she was two months old. I force-fed my baby out of good intention. We got to a point when my daughter arched her back and screamed when I put the bib on her. Feedings got worse and worse every time I attempted to give her the bottle. I felt like a failure. I thought my baby hated me. I was at my wit’s end. 

My pediatrician thought everything was fine since she was gaining weight. Unfortunately, the internet had no answers either.

Until one day, I found a method to solve my baby’s bottle aversion.

After four days of using this method, change started to happen. My baby began to take the bottle without fuss. I felt relieved and happy. But it only lasted a few days. So then we went back to square one. I broke down. 

And then, almost as if by a miracle, things changed. When I broke down and said I couldn’t repeat the same method, my husband took over, and within 15 minutes, he fed our baby. I couldn’t believe it. 

We solved our baby’s bottle aversion within two weeks, and it never returned. 

baby is drinking happily in mom's arms after solving bottle aversion

We then created a YouTube video to help other parents with babies with this same struggle. So many people had similar struggles, so I decided to turn this into a method others could follow.

Still, I knew for it to work for others, the technique had to meet all these criteria:

  • Something that everybody can do right now in their own home.
  • A step-by-step process to make it easy to replicate.
  • A process that teaches parents the skill to identify the specific trigger that causes their baby to refuse the bottle.
  • Treats every baby as an individual and is flexible enough to modify as needed.
  • Something that creates a deeper bond and peace instead of more anxiety and stress.
  • Have extra support available if required.

And I did just that. I created a step-by-step system that meets all the above criteria. I’ve worked with hundreds of families, and the results have been amazing. 

My program is faster than waiting for an appointment with a pediatrician or a feeding therapist who can’t help and cheaper than paying all these professionals. 

So if you want to go out with your family and friends and feed your baby on the go, get my Bottle Aversion Solution online video course and start helping your baby today.